My husband and I traveled with other family members on the Explorer out of Bayonne N.J. We drove from Massachusetts, and joined up with them in Connecticut for the rest of the trip. Driving down on Saturday morning wasn't bad we were there in about 5 hours total.
The Port of Bayonne is difficult at best. After parking at Premier Parking, we had a 45 minute wait for a shuttle to the pier. We learned why after being picked up, leaving a long line behind us at the parking lot. We got into a long line of cars crawling to the terminal. We were dropped off at the far end of the terminal, and were able to leave our luggage. Then we walked to the other end to go through the door. What happens to the Premier shuttle next we learned when we were picked up. We were instructed to wait at the near end of the terminal when the doors are, we watched the full shuttle drive past us and wave with his full shuttle, he was dropping of those on the next cruise. He told us later he had to get back in the line to crawl around again to pick us up at the near end. None of this made any sense, the port is mostly deserted, with empty crumbling buildings, there has to be a better way to route the traffic since they have ships going out of there year round. Just by dropping people off at the near end and picking them up at the far end would eliminate going around again.
Once inside the terminal we were in Royal Caribbean's hands and it could not have been easier, they are very organized and checking in is quick, we didn't even encounter a line.
We were out of the terminal in minutes, but the ship is not there, it is down the pier, and we found ourselves back on a shuttle. We were having an unusual cold May day, only 45 degrees, we were exhausted and cold just getting on the ship.
The cabins were ready, we dropped off our carry on luggage and headed for the Windjammer a welcome sight. The food in the Windjammer was excellent, plenty of choices.
This was our first time on the Explorer and it is a beautiful ship, with the most extraordinary art work everywhere, and on a 5 day cruise we could not see all of it.
The public area's are very well maintained, the cabin show some wear, (bottom of curtains show dirt, drawers all scuffed inside, rust on balcony, bathroom mirror discolored at the bottom) We all had cabins on the hump with the slightly larger balcony 7328. The hallway is a bit larger out side of the cabin too. Never heard any noise, bed is comfortable, and plenty of storage. The extra space on the balcony was great, we enjoyed sitting out there most evenings, plenty of room. The location could not have been better right near the library and stairs and elevators. Someone has mentioned that the cabin stewards are covering more cabins. On this trip our steward seemed stressed, it took several days for us to get ice. I requested that the refrigerator be emptied, it never happened. The library is large with lots of couches and chairs and it has a glass wall overlooking the promenade. Good selection of books, and lots of magazines from around the world left by passengers to borrow.
We attended the production shows which were great as always, and the ice show. There were always plenty of seats at all the shows. There was a younger crowd on this cruise, and there was lots of activity in the inside Promenade. We enjoyed the fitness center, library, solarium, and walking on the decks. It never felt crowded in these areas, but the pool and promenade seemed to be busy most of the time. The ship is big enough for everyone to enjoy themselves. My husband went to a lecture of the Bermuda Triangle, he said it was not very informative.
We ate one lunch and all our dinners in the MDR. The food was excellent, the service was also. We had MTD, and reserved our times for the first few nights. But there was a problem with the computers and our reservations did not come through correctly. There were four of us, and we did not want to share a table so we found ourselves by the waiters station staring at dirty dishes for lunch and two nights in a row. We asked for a better table and they did move us for the last two nights. The tables seem to be set up for 2, 6 , or 8.
We had been to Bermuda before, but never docked at Kings Wharf. The area is very built up now, with lots of shops and things to see. We enjoyed the crafts fair held in the park there, and walked around the fort in the evening. We did not shop there, but went to Hamilton by ferry. The ferry's were great, and there was room for everyone. I was concerned since between the Explorer and the Dawn there were over 6000 people docked there. We bought the two day pass as soon as we could get off the ship. There are three places to buy passes and there were no lines to buy tickets. The weather was perfect both days were we there.