Explorer of the Seas July 6th
Embarkation: We arrived at the port in Bayonne NJ around 11:30. There was a little traffic but it moved along. We called over the baggage person who told us to just leave them there, she will take care of them. We trusted her. We got our bags during dinner (late seating).
Cabin: The cabin is well appointed with lots of storage space, enough hangers and although a bit worn and stained comfortable furnishings. The bed was very comfortable, the sheets crisp and the pillows fluffy. The balcony is spacious but the outdoor chairs could use an upgrade. A regular height table would have been a nice extra. The bathroom although clean, had a permanent dark ring in the toilet. There was good water pressure and the temperature in the shower was easily maintained.
Food: Breakfast and lunch were mainly eaten in the Windjammer. We always found something we liked, especially at lunch where they had many Asian and Indian selections as well as roast meats, salads and veggies. However, they ran out of fruit yogurts and strawberry frozen yogurt on the 6th day. Snacks were also quite good. Dinner was OK, nothing to rave about. I do remember the lamb shank being quite good. The rest was average. Deserts were uneventful for the most part, too much gelatin in their creams. They did have a Grand Marnier meringue that was delicious we even asked if we could have it again and they prepared it for our table the last evening. However, they overcooked them. Room service was prompt, the food was warm and freshly prepared and they offer a good selection. I really liked that they call just before they come knocking at your door. The Cafe promenade also had nice sandwiches and cookies. I didn't try their pizza; it looked like the one they served in the Windjammer which was bland.
Service: Again it was just ok. I've had more caring and fun waiters on other cruises. The service was too long some nights (2hours). The cabin attendant did his job, we even got some towel animals. At the windjammer, on some days, I was lucky and was served coffee, the service was uneven.
Entertainment: I liked the comedians and the Jimmy Carrol and Carl Strong, they were funny and entertaining. The juggler was good but the best was the guy with the duck. He was hilarious. I don't know if the audience participants were in cahoots with him but I laughed so much, I cried. I enjoyed the ice skating show. Incredible what they could do on such small ice surface. Great costumes too. The Drifters were ok. I personally am more of a rock type person and after a couple of oldies songs I get bored. The productions shows were boring. I only went to 2 of them and they had the same format: Short video or PowerPoint presentation followed by song and dance. The singers were sometimes shouting and the sound was awful. The material was for the 60 and over crowd. The pool band was loud and repetitive. What I really disliked about these shows is how they milk you for applause. It gets very annoying. I will applaud when I think it's good, not because you tell me to.
Pool: This is the first time I had my things removed from my chair. Good for them. I only do it because everyone else does. This happened to us in the Solarium pool, I don't know if they do it at the main pool. Speaking of which, had lots of shady places to sit as well as sunny chairs. The water however was cloudy by lunchtime (yuk).
Cruise activities: I participated in the group trivia games which were quite popular. The 8pm team trivia was so crowded, they should have moved it to the Maharaja lounge. On the last night they had the majority rules game that was really fun. But again, it was so popular, they should have moved it to a bigger (non smoking) lounge. We also tried name that tune one day but found they played mostly old songs. The big quest game was a hoot, very entertaining and fun to watch.
Health and fitness: I also took some fitness classes. They were quite good, better than on other ships and the instructors were cute and helpful. On the other hand, Yoga was a disappointment. I still don't understand why they make you pay for that. The gym has lots of cardio equipment but they are old and some functions don't work on them.
Disembarkation: Terrible!! They tell you to wait in either the Palace, Studio B or the Solarium otherwise you wouldn't hear the color tags calls. BS... They were heard all over the ship. They also told us there would be video of the cruise and the building of the ship in Studio B... nope... it was hot and crowded if all these places, so we went to the Royal promenade.