Went on the RCL Explorer of the Seas cruise from New Jersey to Bermuda with one other adult and 2 teenaged kids.
THE EXPLORER This is the perfect boat for family fun ! Between the rock climbing wall, the ice skating, and the many pools there is always something to do. The Explorer really is huge and impressive. I don't think I managed to see every part of her. The decor is like many ships - a floating mall, this one with an impressive Main Street through the center. A cross between Vegas and the Mall of America.
THE CABINS We selected 2 inside staterooms to accommodate 2 persons in each. The design is impressively efficient and airy. I was surprised that we were able to put away all our clothes and keep the room tidy. A handy curtain allows you to separate the beds from the sitting area for privacy. Bathroom was tight on space. Next time I would consider an outside cabin with balcony.
THE FOOD The food on board is average - let's face it, you get what you pay for. My teenaged kids thought it was delicious and were thrilled with the 24 hour cabin service. Our waiter was attentive and remembered our preferences every day. Since we noted that the dishes came with very few vegetables he provided us with a large platter heaped with steamed veggies very night. Try Johnny Rockets as it is worth the extra price. My only complaint was the lack of the free water/lemonade/iced tea. These are the only drinks included free of charge and you really had to search for them between meals.
ENTERTAINMENT We loved the shows. The ice show is not to be missed. Personally I could have done without the parades in the main promenade.
ACTIVITIES Anyone who is bored on this ship must be comatose. Went rock wall climbing - equipment is first rate and the wall has both novice and advanced sections. Ice skating was a riot, although the skates provided were crummy. Bring your own if you can manage it. Used the jogging track which is best before 9am since it circles the pool area and becomes congested. We tried repeatedly to use the inline skating but it was always closed due to the weather. I would loved to have seen longer hours for some of these facilities. The fitness area is first class and offers spinning, yoga and other classes for $10. To my disappointment there were very few classes offered and they were are filled up (sign up sheet) by dinner the first day. After you board go straight to the fitness area to sign up for your classes.
WHO'S ON BOARD? Almost everyone is American, mostly from New Jersey and New York. We were just about the only non-Americans on the entire ship (apart from the crew). Of the 3000 passengers, 900 were children ! If you are looking for a quiet, romantic getaway this is not a good choice during the summer months. This cruise is very family oriented with tons of activity and the noise of people having fun.
BERMUDA What a gorgeous island - only wished we had more time there. Chose to go Snuba diving and loved it. The private beach they bring you to is worth the price alone. Hired a cab privately ($120 for 3 hours including tip) right at the dock and got a custom tour of all the hidden highlights. Much cheaper than the regular tours - this is the way to go if you can gather a few people to share the cost.
All in all a great trip !!! Service by and large was outstanding, with staff greeting you with a big smile everywhere. This is a perfect family getaway.