I just got back yesterday from my cruise. I figured I might as well write my review while everything is still fresh in my mind. This is a pretty lengthy review, so bare with me. All in all, this cruise was EXCELLENT. Royal Caribbean is a fantastic cruise line. They have something for everyone, and it is really amazing.
Explorer of the Seas is a great ship. It is almost seven years old, but shows almost no signs of wear and tear. I have heard from other cruisers that Royal Caribbean is known for taking great care of their ships, and that is definitely true. I was on Mariner of the Seas in 2005, so I was somewhat familiar with the layout before I even boarded the ship. The one downside of such a large ship is that at times, it can be somewhat difficult to get from Point A to Point B. A few times I tried going to the Windjammer (the huge buffet restaurant) only to find myself at the other end of the ship. Oh well, a little walking never hurt anyone.
We arrived at the pier in Miami at around 12:45, and we were on the ship within a half hour. We probably would have been on a lot sooner, but the RC representative that was checking us in was kind of slow. We went right to our stateroom (6248) and dropped our carry-on bags off. Our stateroom attendant, Gerry, greeted us almost instantly. He was really great. Gerry was a very nice guy who didn't mind the fact that my boyfriend and I slept until noon almost everyday (we're 20 and 21 and enjoy sleeping). He made us towel animals almost every night, which was really cool. I really, really liked him.
After getting to our rooms, we headed to the Windjammer and had a delicious lunch. We then did some exploring on Explorer. We found our table in the dining room and took some pictures there and by Studio B. We then went to the pool deck and then found the Rock-Climbing Wall and the Mini-Golf Course.
Our tablemates at dinner were really cool, all in our age range (19-22). We met some really great friends. Our waiter, Made, was really great, and our assistant waitress, Tamara, was also wonderful. We really enjoyed having them serve us. The Head Waiter we saw only on the last night to collect his tip, but we decided not to give him anything, for obvious reasons.
The second day was a day at sea. We just relaxed by the pool, had some drinks, and watched the Belly flop competition, which was really great. Better than the one they had on Mariner of the Seas a few years earlier. The second night was the first night we went to "The Chamber" which is the dance club on board. That was a lot of fun. I also ended up winning $9 in the Casino playing Roulette. It came in handy when we went to the ports and bought souvenirs.
The first port was Belize. We went Cave-Tubing which I HIGHLY recommend you check out. It was amazing. It truly felt like I was on an adventure in the middle of the Rain Forest. Our tour guide, Dorian, was really funny. The lunch they provide was delicious. Rice & beans, cole slaw, and delicious chicken. A great day.
Costa Maya was the second stop, and it was ok. Not much to do here if you don't book an excursion except go to the various shops. My boyfriend bought a pipe and I got a blanket.
Cozumel is pretty much the same as Costa Maya, except there are many more shops. I bought a few trinkets, and my boyfriend bought a bottle of Absinthe, which we were able to get on board, hehe. There is a guy who has three parrots, and you can take a picture with them for $10, which we both thought was rather pricey, so we decided not to do that. But the birds were still cool.
Grand Cayman Islands were very nice as I remembered when I went two years earlier. We went to a rather cheap liquor store called Tortuga Liquors. My boyfriend bought a bottle of brandy and a bottle of champagne for $17 total. They deliver it to the ship for you and you receive the night before you leave.
The last day was another day at sea, which was kind of a lazy day. It was also rather windy out, so lounging about on the pool deck wasn't too much fun that day.
We didn't go to any of the official shows- just the "Love and Marriage" Game show and "The Quest." Both were very fun.
Another complaint I have about this cruise was the cruise director, Eric Dowis, who was really awful. He made some rather bad and inappropriate jokes in front of children, and all in all, no one on the cruise seemed to like him all that much. In a way, he was kind of like a sleazy car salesman. I liked the cruise director I had on Mariner much better,
All in all the cruise was fantastic, and I highly recommend going on Royal Caribbean soon!