Just returned from a 9 nighter aboard Explorer of the Seas. Overall, I would rate the cruise a solid 9.5 Here we go by the categories:
Accommodations: 10. We were in a Grand Suite. No wear, tatters, etc. Bathrooms were in tip top shape, and kept immaculate by the cabin attendant. All of the furniture, carpet, and other accoutrements looking to have very little if any wear. Outstanding overall.
Embarkation at Port Liberty: Somewhat stressful. As suite guests, we were told we were to get VIP boarding. We were crowded into a departure lounge and onto crowded trams, and went through the same hatchways to board as the entire ship. Still can't figure out what the VIP treatment entailed, nor could anyone tell us. Public Areas: Immaculate and gorgeous. Very well maintained and spotless.
Food: Buffet: I would say fair to good, depending upon what you select. Dining room: Better than buffet. Service was great also. Johnny Rockets: Can't speak to Johnny Rockets (not big on fried foods). n Portofino: Upscale and quite good. Nice slow eating experience.
Main Spa: Elegant, well maintained, and in good condition. Solarium: More quiet than regular pool area, enforced adults only pools and hottubs. Nice. Gym: HUGE, more equipment than at Sports Authority. Excellent overall. Misc: Different interior bars were great, shops and open areas great. No problem with deck chair availability until about noon when the entire ship took to the weather decks. Main pools nice. Hot tubs nice. Viking Crown Lounge on top of ship at deck level 14 aft was fantastic for apredinner drinks. The Chamber great for late night.
Staff: The best I have ever experienced. It was very difficult not to find a smile and cordial greeting anytime, anywhere.
Ports: Labadee (nice); Casa De Campo (nice): St.Thomas (okay); San Juan (okay).All acceptable, none stood out. Excursions: Pretty much did our own thing, but did take advantage of the Bayahibe beach party in Dominican Republic. Nice beach, kinda long ride.
Disembark at Cape Liberty: Dante's Inferno with luggage. Not too pleasant once you leave the ship. Have to hunt for your luggage in a warehouse with umpteen thousand other guests, then fight for a stevedore for carriage, then wait for your ride to wind its way through the myriad of other vehicles to hook up with your transportation and get outta Dodge. Not counting embark / disembark, I would rate our cruise a 9.5. This was so nice that we have already booked our next with RCCL for next year. You cannot go wrong on Explorer, or with RCCL in general. Highly recommended!!!