Three sisters from separate households, all in their 50's, spent 9 nights together on the beautiful Explorer of the Seas. We picked this itinerary because it had all Canadian ports.
Drove in the night before and stayed at the Hampton Inn, Elizabeth, NJ. Safe, clean and comfortable accommodations. Only negative was the inability of the front desk to give good directions to the port. Good thing we had maps! Cape Liberty is not the easiest port to drive to. The turns are not well marked and it took us an hour to get to the ship. Once we arrived it was very easy to drop off the luggage and park. We arrived around 11:15a and debarkation was just finishing. Between us we had a diamond, platinum and new to RCI. Checked in thru the priority line and was unimpressed. Everything was fine, just nothing special. Just as has been posted on the boards wait time was short to board the bus and we were in the Windjammer at 12:15p.
The Explorer is beautiful! Just as I have come to expect from an RCI ship. This was our 1st time on the Voyager Class and we were wowed. She does show some wear but nothing indicating neglect. Our stateroom was very clean and in good repair. However it was smaller than we had expected. The third bed was a drop down from the ceiling and for a middle aged woman to climb up a narrow metal ladder... We had our wonderful stateroom host, Edward, put the mattress on the floor every night. The stateroom choice was mine so I know to never book an E1 again for 3 people. Even if a child was sleeping in the drop down, the head room clearance for the people sleeping below was about 18 inches.
Activities on board were standard offerings, trivia, name that tune, bingo... Unfortunately, unless you showed up an hour ahead of time the venue was packed. Service was great. Room service, bar service, staff in the Windjammer. Always delivered a smile.
Shore excursions were fine. Again, as a frequent cruiser, I thought the tours were the usual. Our favorite was the Beaupre Canyon tour in Quebec. Nice bus, interesting stops, magnificent scenery and a delightful tour guide.
We all liked the dining experience. Our servers in the Magellan restaurant were very pleasant and efficient. The food was better than average, in my opinion. The Mystery Dinner in Portofino was great. We really enjoyed the entertainers. My favorite was the slow motion fight! Food was exceptional, but very slow. We did cancel our ressies for Portofino on another night because of the slow service. Johnny Rockets was fun but not a must do. The Windjammer was buffet food. Good choices but lukewarm. Finding a seat was difficult and the staff was not helpful in finding a seat. We only had one breakfast and lunch in the main dining room. The wait was long and the choices were limited.
Can't say enough good things about the Ice Show. Great costumes, good music and magical skating. Only saw one production show and one headliner because you could not get a seat in the theater unless you arrived an hour before.
Debarkation was fine. We were the 2nd color called, got a porter right away. Off the ship and on the road by 9:30a. In summary we had a great cruise. Loved this itinerary. Canada is a beautiful country. I doubt I will sail on a ship this big again. Over 3100 guests must exit and enter thru one door. The lines to get on the ship were sometimes 90 minutes. We were late for 1 shore excursion, couldn't get off the ship!