I read the review of the cruiser who took the same itinerary the cruise prior to mine and I must disagree completely with what they said. I sailed out of all ports in Florida on Royal Caribbean and Bayonne was by far the best, easiest and friendliest port of embarkation ever!!!!
The crew of Explorer of the Seas were friendly, courteous, clean and helpful. The ship was in perfect condition - no repairs needed. The "washy washy" girl was funny, energetic and loved everyone - young and old alike. There was no annoyance whatsoever from her little song and dance at the Windjammer Cafe. People enjoyed her and children cried when they had to say good-bye to her.
Cruise Director Leigh Xuerub was entertaining and by far the best I've seen. The shows were spectacular and the headliners were superb! By far the best entertainment I've seen since I was in Vegas!
Though the menu in the main dinning room did not offer any choices that I liked, the head waiter went above and beyond to assure that special dinners were prepared for my finicky taste. I enjoyed specially made pasta dishes that were not available as menu items (garlic and oil, alfredo etc.) and made to order chicken dishes which were, again, not available from the menu. On the last night of sail, our head waiter presented us with a bottle of champagne on the house because I was so dis-satisfied with the menu choices. He didn't want us leaving with a "bad taste in our mouth." (pun intended.)
Our dinning room bar attendant went out of his way to provide us with anything we had asked for. One night, the shooter of the day just didn't have that special "zing" to it. He did not charge us for a second round of shooters and the second drink was perfect! (Sambuca and Bailey's) Shout out to Roger from St Vincent!
I had a Promenade Stateroom which I thought would annoy me the night of the 1970's party (which was held on the Promenade.) The noise was not loud and the party wrapped up by 11pm - perfect for getting a good night's sleep before Labadee!
If I could reach to come up with any negative comment at all, I guess it would be that this is the tenth cruise I had and the tenth time one of the ports of call was San Juan Puerto Rico. (I think I've seen everything there is to see in San Juan - I didn't even get off the ship this time around.) But here again, this is not the fault of Royal Caribbean - actually I'm to blame because I keep picking the itinerary that includes Puerto Rico.
If you are interested in sailing out of the NY/NJ area or if you are looking to go to Bermuda....this is definitely THE cruise to go on. On a scale of one to ten - I give Explorer of the Seas 25!!!!!