We have cruised on Explorer of the Seas before, but have never left from New Jersey (Cape Liberty). We would never take another cruise out of this port because of our fellow passengers. I have never been on a cruise(taken 14 cruises) where the passengers were so rude, crude and just plain pushy. Most passengers were the stereotypical NJ and Brooklyn, New Yorkers. I truly thought that behavior was only in movies.
Pros: Great Waiters in the Dining Room. Spa service was great. Children's program certainly entertained our grandchildren. Ice Show was wonderful. Costumes for other shows beautiful. Plenty of activities for everyone of all ages. Sea Pass was efficient. Handy explanations and booking of shore excursions on room TV. Sea Pass balance could be obtained on the TV.
Cons: Ship's carpets and furniture stained and worn. Casino was too smokey. Hot and humid in the ports. Not ships fault, just bad timing. Shopping on board ship was disappointing. The one and only time we have ever ordered room service on a cruise arrived as we were leaving for our shore excursion. Transfer to airport was poor. Bus arrived late and we barely made our flight. Had to beg driver to please leave for the airport. We could have hired a limo for half the price. Photographs too expensive. We spent over $600 on less than 20 pictures. I never saw staff around the pool areas to clean-up during the day. Food in Windjammer was so-so. We ate in the Dining Room most lunches and always dinner. Dining Room food and atmosphere was l00 times better.
There were ten of us traveling and we had a great time. However, we would never take a RC cruise that left NJ. I think the crew did an amazing job considering the passengers.