Included in our travel group was myself, my children ages 7 & 5, and with my mother. We had connecting balcony rooms on the 6th floor.
Ship: The ship was the largest we had been on and was beautiful. This was our 4th cruise with Royal Caribbean, and some of the differences on this ship compared to the smaller ships that we have been on were; -Free regular Seattle's Best coffee -Free sushi -Omelette station that made fresh omelette's for breakfast
Ship Amenities: Although there were a multitude of things to do on the ship, most were not available to use for most of the trip. The waterslide was listed in the compass as being open, we got the kids dressed in their bathing suits, went to the waterslide, and it was closed. We then attempted to go in the kiddie pools next to the waterslide, but they were not heated and were much to cold. We then went to the waterslide another day and again it was not open, we were told that they closed early since no one was there. We finally got to go to the waterslide on the 3rd try and the kids had a great time. The 4th time we attempted to go on the waterslide was the day before we were leaving, which was an at sea day, and were dismayed to find out that the waterslide was closed for the day due to being painted. The ice show was FABULOUS, but the ship had only 2 shows on 2 days, and not everyone was able to get tickets (suggestion:get tickets early!). We waited outside the ice skating rink for it to open at the scheduled time (which it did not) and an almost riot ensued! It was reminiscent of the days when I used to go to concerts! Everyone started pushing, the people in the front opened the glass doors and started banging on the closed metal doors, and people started clapping and shouting. My mom had to take the kids out until the doors opened!
Adventure Ocean: Let me start by saying that the kids had a WONDERFUL time. That being said, I have never seen Adventure Ocean so poorly run. The first port we were to see was New London, CT. This was after the ship switched the itinerary from Rhode Island to Connecticut. We purchased an excursion called The Breakers that went from Connecticut to Rhode Island. We were surprised when the compass said that Adventure Ocean opened at 9:00 when our excursion was for 8:15. We called Adventure Ocean and did not get any answer. Next, we attempted to get an in room babysitter to no avail. So, the next morning, we went by Adventure Ocean at 7:30 and there was a sign on the door stating they did not open until 9:00 am. We ended up having to cancel our excursion. Later that day, Adventure Ocean advised that they opened at 7:45 am as they do on all port days, and that the compass as well as the sign on their door was wrong. The next day the compass advised we could drop our kids off for the breakfast bunch, and we were told that they were not having breakfast bunch and that the compass was wrong again. They also did not have pirate night stating they did not have enough children (there was over 15 children there that evening) and did not adhere to most of the schedule listed on the children's compass, opting to show movies and play wii (sp?) games instead. On movie night they showed, I believe it was the 3rd, Harry Potter movie, which had to be turned off because many of the young people, 6 and 7 year olds, were scared. Even through all of this, the kids had a great time. It was the parents that had the issues as I heard many of them complaining over various other issues.
Overview: Let me start by saying that we had a great time, but not as well as expected. I was surprised at how poorly and unorganized the ship was. This could have been partially due to this being the first time the Explorer of The Seas has done New England/Canada, it could be because many of the staff seemed to be new, or it could be because it was such a large ship. We are going on Rhapsody of the Seas to Hawaii later this month...hopefully we will be typing a much better review!