Let me start by saying that this was our first cruise so we did not have anything to compare it to. We made it onto the ship with out any problems. It was March 28th 2008.
I was little surprised that when you first get onto the ship it's like you are in a basement. Where is the Grand Staircase and the beautiful artwork? Well it is all there, but you certainly do not see immediately upon walking onto the ship. We made it to our inside stateroom and upon opening the door I was just blown away by how small it was. In retrospect there are alot of people on the ship and being our first cruise, I did not know what to expect. Later in the cruise we had an opportunity to see a Junior Suite that a nice couple was staying in across the hall. It was fabulous. We also saw a Deluxe Balcony Room. Also very nice. We actually already had a second cruise booked on the Adventurer, that leaves on Easter Sunday, April 12th 2009. As I am writing this it is 19 days away. We went to the loyalty desk on the ship and spoke to a woman that was very helpful. we were looking to upgrade to the Deluxe Balcony Room for our 2009 cruise and after hearing my complaints about our current room, she highly recommended that we upgrade to a Superior Balcony Room and we took her advise. Our 7 year old daughter will be going with us, so there will be 3 of us in the room. A few more notes about the room. It was so small I had to sit on the bed while my wife got dressed and when you walked into the room you were looking at the foot of the bed. You could not get around the sides of it and had to crawl up from the bottom to get into it. Please, if you have the means get a larger room. On the positive side, maybe we just got lucky, but the room was very quiet the entire time.
On a more positive note, after the Muster Drill, we ran up to the Viking Crown Lounge to watch the ship pull out. The view was great and I recommend this if it's cold and wet outside. We ate in the Main Dining Room every night, except the one night we ate at Portofino's. We both felt that the food in the main ding room was great. Although Portofino's was also very nice, we just could not see doing it again, do to the $20 cost per person. I would however recommend that you do it once, especially on a 9 night cruise.
Having grown up in NJ and owning a few boats I have a fair amount of time out on the water and was I was a little surprised that the shipped rocked as much as it did. The first night was probably the 2nd or 3rd roughest, which is to be expected because it is the Atlantic. We were watching a show in the main theater and you could hear the waves against the haul of the ship. We thought that all of the shows were good and we were especially impressed with the Ice skating, considering that the ship was rocking a bit.
Labadee was great and we enjoyed it the most out of the 4 ports. We heard alot of complaints about Casa Decampo and we were very glad that we had opted for a Catamaran sail and snorkel trip to Catalina Island. We highly recommend this trip if going to this port. Some very good advice is to make sure that you always have something on your feet when going in the water. A boy on this excursion stepped on a sea urchin, which looks like a porcupine and he was in terrible pain with numerous spines sticking out of his foot. St.Thomas was nice, we did not book an excursion. It may be a good idea if you plan on spending alot of time at the beach. I believe you get lunch and a beach chair with the excursion to Magens Bay Beach. We only stayed there long enough to have a drink at the bar that is right on the beach and walk the length of the beach, again very nice. we then took a cab downtown and did some shopping. Puerto Rico was ok, we went to the Bacardi Rum Distillery and Old San Juan City Tour. San Juan was our last port and we pulled out of the port into 40 mile per hour winds and 9 to 12 foot seas. That sounds bad, but the ship is so large it really wasn't as bad as it sounds.
In conclusion, we had a fabulous time on the Explorer, the ship was clean, well maintained and the staff was great. Our server seemed to get a little annoyed only one time during the cruise. That was when I ordered my third Lobster Tail on the second formal night. I highly recommend a cruise on a Voyager Class ship.