What can I say but Excellent, Excellent, Excellent. As 1st time cruisers we have nothing to compare the Explorer of the Seas to but...it was so outstanding that it will be hard to match this cruise with another. Hopefully, all new cruises will be this enjoyable and thrilling.
The family is experiencing post cruise syndrome. All very sad to see it end and leave the people, staff and excellent amenities of this beauty. She is getting a bit old but still has much class and finese.
Embarkment was easy. If you arrive by 11:30 am you bet the "rush" hour when more guest are arriving. Dropping off your bags was a little nuts but manageable. You go through customs and get your seapasses and welcome aboard picture (1 of many you will get to "Buy"), You get a holding card w/a number and when they call your number the party really begins... You come aboard! They give you cookies and lemonade while you're waiting to board. RCCL and Cape Liberty Port Staff seem to have their act together to make your arrive as pleasant as possible. The key to arrive by late morning.
Windjammer on Deck 11 will feed you all day with lots to choose. You will never go hungry. The food was good and the desserts were our weakness. Took Lemonade, Iced Tea, and Fruit Punch out to the pool every day w/a plate of munchies in between a big breakfast and a delicious 1st class dinner. Take bigger pants to wear towards the end of the cruise...you will need them! The food at dinner was the best-Yum!
Entertainment: The ice show was very beautiful and enjoyable. Get tickets-worth the 45 minutes. Brush up on your movie/music trivia and play along in the Schooler Bar Lounge. Don't miss the "Quest" and Love and Marriage Games. You will pee your pants laughing. Your Cruise Director will conduct these activities. We had Dave Chapman. He was a looker and excellent cruise director that keep things moving and people fired up.
Casino closed in port...sorry addicts. It was big to give adults the pleasure of trying their luck and relaxing by their machine. Beware...smoking allowed. If you don't smoke, hold your breathe while you cut through to get to the forward of the ship. It wasn't that bad but noticeable for sure. Casino beautifully decorated w/bar.
Public Restrooms available w/soap and paper towels. If anything is missing, alert Guest Relations. They make sure everything is taken care of. Any questions you need answered, they are there for you.
Seasickness: Don't sweat it. You can get seasick meds (Bonine) on board at Guest Relations as well. The ship rocks but didn't see anybody sick. It was just getting use to your sea legs. We are still swaying a little but that helps to keep the cruise in us a bit longer.
Dining was so superior! The tipping for these folks is so worth the $$$. They sing to you if you have a birthday, anniversary, graduation or anything else special to celebrate. They service to you makes dining most enjoyable and wonderful experience. We normally don't eat dessert but we did each night on the cruise. The food was A++. The service A++. and you will get attached to your waiters. They are like family. They will take pictures of you and with you. Key: Aim to please and 1st class guest service. Dressing up was on casual side. Golf shirts and dockers for men, nice sunglasses, pants and tops for women. No jeans, shorts and bathing suits allowed. Dress like you were going to a nice casual affair. Your dress code reflects the respect you give back for the service, atmosphere and service you will receive in the dining room. The Explorer servers were the best!!!
Fitness Room: We used the stairs for exercise. Wish we would have used the gym. Fully equipped and spacious. Plan to use these amenities on next cruise. Did walk the track on Deck 12 (5 laps = 1 mile) Definitely will use this facility next cruise to save the waist line and keep the body in shape.
Lots to do for kids, teens, and young adults each day. It's what you want to do and make of it. Our 18 & 19 yrs old son and daughter loved meeting other people their age and just hanging out with us (Mom & Dad) by the pool sunbathing and participating in games around the pool, the hot tubs or just soaking up the sun. On sea days, the pool gets crowds. Plenty of bar attendants walking around to sell you a drink of the day or cocktails of choice. Lounges some are showing their age but no big deal...you lay on your provided beach towel.
Bermuda: Beautiful! Purchase day passes to use public buses and ferries to see the island. Bermudans are very friendly and appreciate the tourism. Check you ferry and bus schedule for times. The Explorer will give you a briefing on Bermuda where to shop, beaches and getting around before you dock (like the day before). Just like other shore excursions/ports. You can buy your shore excursion on board...so you have some time to decide. Don't wait until the last minute b/c they sell out!
Disembark: Sad day:( Not crazy if you don't need to catch a flight. RCCL seem to have everything down to a science. Gray goes 1st and Brown last. You will get you color assignment the night before and tag all luggage with these tags if you want them to go to the holding place. All organized after you vacate the ship. Look for your color& # to locate your baggage. We drove to port so I can't comment on the experience of departure and catching a limo to the airport w/baggage etc. You need to wait until your color and # is called. Empty feeling when you're leaving:(((
OVERALL: Would do it again on the Explorer. She was a beautifully decorated and well kept vessel. The staff and crew made it very special. Worth the $$$ just don't drink too much or purchase every single picture they take of you. Your wallet will thank you. Just buy enough to enjoy with going "overboard"! So "Get Out There"