This is our first time cruising with kids and in the last 7 years. For people who have cruised a lot in the past you can see the age or lack of maintenance. For instance our balcony handrail has not been varnished in a long time and where they did paint it was splatter here and there. The bathroom though clean was showing its wear and tear with rust showing on the shower curtain holders etc. I must state that I loved the size of our cabin. We had booked a JS before on Princess and basically it was a regular balcony room with a bathtub. Here on Explorer it has a walk in closet and was noticeably bigger.
The public areas of our ship was kept up well and they were always working on these areas. The food has not changed much over the years, its good but not home cooking. The kids program is very good where if you want you can basically drop off you kids and not see them till the wee hours. My son liked going to the adventure club though we did not use it all the time. It really stinks if you are travelling with kids that must wear diapers or pull ups though as you can not even use the kids pool. What are you expose to do? And they charge the kid like an adult even though they don't eat much or use much of the "free" services you normally get. The service is great, I'm thinking we got extra attention because we had young kids. The staff always loved to talk to them and went out of there way for them. However there are a few staff members who are lousy (maybe lazy)and not very attentive you can see the difference between the good ones and not so good in the windjammer cafe. For the people that complain about the kids. My advise to you is not to sun bathe by the kiddie pool. There was a lot of senoirs on our cruise and 99% of them either tolerated or enjoy our kids but there is the 1% that no matter what they were doing they would complain.
Overall we had a great cruise and look foward to cruising again. I will probably wait a few years for my kids to grow up a little so they can see the differences between life at home and aboard.