We are in our late 50's and have cruised many times. We stay at a local hotel the night before sailing in case of bad northern US weather.
The port in Bayonne, N.J. was not equipped to hold all of the passengers waiting to board. We were warned of a boarding delay due to a medical emergency. Everyone understood that, but the terminal got very crowded and chaotic due to poor communication at the terminal. Being a diabetic, I just wanted to know how dinner would be served since it was already past 5:30PM and we had not yet boarded the ship. Five RCCL employees were quick to give me the same answer, "We are not sure." I finally found an official looking uniformed employee who told me to stuff my pockets with potato chip bags in case dinner would not be served until very late.
If someone had been able to tell me that dinner would be served as open seating immediately upon boarding, I would not have gone to bed with a headache from worry. There was not a refrigerator in our cabin to accommodate my medical supplies as promised. I had to use an ice bucket all week.
Explorer of the Seas is a beautiful ship with great employees and super entertainment. We loved Charo and the beautiful Ice Show.
We had trouble walking around the ship without running into very smoky areas. Many people complained since all of the lounges are not enclosed and stairwells from the smoky casino run up to the lovely Promenade Deck. Hopefully RCCL will get on board as Carnival has done and enclose smoking areas and make all larger public rooms non-smoking.
Our disembarkation was another nightmare. It was extremely dangerous doing the Self-Assist Luggage exiting. Four staircases, two hallways, and four elevators all bottle-necked out to one exit door. It took us 70 minutes to get off the ship. For one hour we saw people who could not exit the elevators because the hallways were already packed with people.
So the beginning, the end, and the smokiness of this ship has not made us RCCL fans. I urge you to read all the reviews before booking a ship. You can learn alot of helpful tips and avoid unexpected disappointments.