This was an enjoyable cruise, overall, so most problems listed below were not the fault of RCCL. We were 4 single women - over 60 - booked on Explorer of the Seas from Cape Liberty to Bermuda and Eastern Caribbean. Ship info explained that parking was available close to ship. There was a parking lot adjacent to the terminal which provided excellent service with ample parking. However, there were several private parking lots available and we went to one of them.
Parking + Embarkation: We went to the private lot and arrived at 11:30am. We waited on line for 1hr and 45min for a shuttle to the pier. That ride was 30min because the jam up at the port was abominable. There was a huge tent-like structure with passengers leaving from the previous cruise to get into shuttles or other waiting vehicles. There were also cars lining up for our cruise to drop off people and luggage. Then there was our shuttle from the parking lot waiting in line to get through this mess and into a spot where we were finally able to get off and check in our luggage. Then check-in was easy, but we were astounded to learn that we had to take our carry-ons and ride another shuttle to the ship.
Ship is very old - needs lots of repair. Furniture in cabin is old and stained,
many stains on carpeting in cabins and hallways. Found sticky and dusty areas, as well. The balcony had dirty glass and there was a lot of rust along the railing The sliding door to the balcony had hand prints on the glass the entire time we were there. We had several days of bad weather and very rough seas.
Food: I found the dinner selections in the dining room were fewer in number than I've seen on previous cruises. The quality of the food was mediocre. However,service in the dining room was excellent. The Windjammer at lunchtime seemed to have very little variety from day to day. The dining room at lunchtime had an excellent salad bar and a large menu.
Entertainment: Very good nightly shows and many evening activities, which we enjoyed.
Staff: Cruise director and his staff were excellent. Dining room staff and cabin stewards were very attentive to our needs.
Disembarkation: On previous cruises, everyone was off the ship by 10am because we went from gangway to terminal,luggage pickup, customs, and off the ship. This process allowed all passengers to disembark before the next embarkation began. However, once again, the process was slowed down by having passengers come off the ship and ride a shuttle back to the terminal. Therefore we didn't disembark until 11am, with still more passengers after us. once at the terminal, luggage pickup and customs were quick.
Shuttle: After finally getting luggage and going through customs, we were on line for 2 hours waiting for the shuttle back to our parking lot.
Finally: Cape Liberty needs to be redone. The signage into the port needs to be improved. Vehicle entry procedure nedds a radical change. One suggestion would be separate areas for incoming and outgoing passengers, as well as separate lines for shuttles, vehicles dropping off or picking up passengers, and vehicles going to the terminal parking facility. If the ship were docked adjacent to the terminal, there would be no need for shuttles, thereby speeding up embarkation and disembarkation.