First time sailing out of Cape Liberty. Getting to the terminal is an adventure. Then standing in line outside is no fun. Fortunately, the line moved quickly--especially once we went through security. Special lines for Platinum and Diamond really helped (this was our 9th on RCCL and 17th overall).
First time we didn't take a balcony since we figured we couldn't use it most of the time (true). We'd been on the Voyager and Adventure before, so the layout of the Explorer was very familiar. My time dining worked great. And the food actually seemed better than our last couple of RCCL cruises--although we did dine at Portofino two nights. The first and second days at sea were pretty rough. They closed off the decks so noone could go out. Winds reached 120 MPH and waves were more than 25 feet high. We were on the second deck, which worked out great. It was much calmer on the lower decks.
Finaly got some sunshine and warmth when we got close to San Juan, our first port. Weather was beautiful there. We'd been there before, but never tried the Segways. Did this time. Well worth the money. Took my wife a little while to get used to hers, but she was a pro reall soon. We had a fabulous guide for this and took in a lot in 2 1/2 hours.
On to St. Thomas, another frequent port for us. Took a local tour with Sunny Liston Tours. Only $25 each and a lot of fun. Did a couple of hours of shopping and the wife picked up some jewelry. Next day was Samana in the Dominican Republic. We'd never been there before. Now that we've seen it, we have no desire to go back. There's really nothing there. We did take an ATV tour and saw poverty like we've never seen before. Last port was Labadee. RCCL's private island is nothing special. Of course, you can pay $85 to go high-lining or $15 to go on a roller sled.
The ship's entertainment was good, overall. Surprisingly the ship's cast was very good on this cruise. Great signers and dancers. Activities were about what you'd expect. A couple of wrinkles I hadn't noticed before--bridge lessons and a bridge game on every sea day. Very enjoyable. And financial seminars several times. Very poorly done--unless your idea of a good talk is someone reading esoteric nonsense out of a text book. Disembarkation was handled very well. Customs was easy. Now we have to think about our next cruise.