Before our Bermuda cruise on October 6, 2013, several reviews were rather negative concerning Explorer of The Seas. My BH and I have been on 13 cruises so we do have some experience.
I found Explorer to be in good shape and clean. We had a Promenade cabin and it severed its purpose, although I don't think we will book a Promenade cabin again. Did that, so back to a balcony or Ocean view in the future.
I thought the food was excellent both at the Columbus dinning room and the buffet on the 11th deck.
If you cannot find something you like on that buffet you must be really picky!
Bayonne (Cape Liberty) needs to be rebuilt. I do understand that RCCL is in the process on redoing the port but it had to be the worst port I have sailed out of. BUT you really are only in the port area a short time so it should not really make a difference.
I did find SOME passengers from New Jersey and New York to be really impatient and demanding of the crew to the point of rudeness.
Over all met some good people.
Bermuda was a beautiful place. I bit on the expensive side. We bought the 3 day transportation pass for ferry service and the city buses and it worked out great.
There are 2 places to purchase the passes, right at the ship dock and a short walk to the ferry dock.
With the Explorer and the Breakaway in port that was a potential for 7000 people to be at the dock yard so you really have to be patient.
Took the bus to Horseshoe beach. Expect a walk from the bus down a steep road to the beach. There is a shuttle bus for $2.00 that you can ride back up the hill.
Horseshoe was a nice beach. The surf was rough that day but people were swimming and the water was warm. Crowded on one end of the beach but a short walk and there was lots of room.
I saw a You tube video on how to walk to Warwick Long Bay beach and that is what we did. The paths are not marked but we did find Long Beach and it had 4 or 5 people there. There was a hotdog stand with rental chairs. Nice beach.
We walked up a steep road and caught the city (pink) bus to Elbow Beach. It is also on a fairly steep road but it is walkable.
Elbow beach was a nice beach but part of it claims to be private. We walked the whole beach and no one seemed to enforce anything.
We did find the Coco Reef Resort but it is not right on Elbow Beach. We had to walk around (I went over) some rocks to get to the small beach there.
Coco Reef was quiet. We had a drink and walked to the road to catch the next bus to Hamilton.
FYI: After 3:00 pm the buses run every 40 minutes and it gets crowded but it was ok.
Got to Hamilton and took the Ferry back to the Dockyard. Expect crowds on the ferry and line-ups!
On Thursday morning we toured the Dockyards and the Museum and it was a good tour. But we probably should have booked some kind on island tour. We were there to see Bermuda.
We had an excursion on a Catamaran (Rising Son II) we booked through the ship. for Thursday afternoon. It was not the best I have been on (I think the sail and snorkel out of St. Kitts to Nevis was the best) Most Cats provide bottomless dinks but not in Bermuda on this Cat. One free dink and then 2 for $5.00 after that. The sails went up for the ride out but not the ride back. I was a bit disappointed.
On Friday we took the Ferry to St. Georges. Excellent ferry ride and the old city of St. George is worth seeing. We able to walk to Fort Elizabeth but the hill down to the beach was steep and you do have to climb back up! So we did not go to that beach.
(We are spoiled. We have been to Grace Bay beach in the Turks (Provo) and I have not found any beach to match Provo even Aruba or St. Thomas or 7 mile beach)
Went to Snorkel Beach right at the Dockyards and it was small but okay just to relax before the ship leaves. Several people said the snorkeling there was better that the Catamaran.
Overall, Explorer was good, Bermuda was worth seeing. Ate to much. Drank too much and had a good time.
Next cruise is Windstar out of Barbados in December.