My boyfriend (age 24) and I (age 22) sailed on the beautiful, Explorer of the Seas on April 10th, 2010. Blame it on the cold weather, stressful situations in NYC morning of embarkation or the handful of rude people we encountered onboard - this cruise left us feeling underwhelmed.
Transportation: We took the 11:59pm Bolt Bus from DC H & 10th >> NYC 34th & 7th arrive Saturday at 4:10am. The stressful situation we encountered was a fight broke out in the first McDonald's we went to. Warm welcome after being there a total of 15 minutes. After 4 hours of sitting around in another McDonald's and some Walgreens shopping for last minute items we preceded to the port around 8am. We took the 33rd street stop PATH train to Hoboken >> NJ Light Trail to 34th street stop which is directly across the street from the port. $8 flat fare cab ride and we were sitting down waiting in the terminal at 9:30am. Total transportation cost for 2 people round trip; $80.00
Cape Liberty: We checked in at 10:30am and assigned a number. The smaller the number the earlier you get on the ship (which we could not wait to do since we hadn't slept since 8am on Friday.) The terminal is open, drinks and cookies are provided, and the staff is friendly. We boarded the 3rd shuttle bus to the ship once the boarding process began. We were onboard at noon.
Stateroom: #8595 Promenade; great room with more than enough space for 2 people without the claustrophobic feeling of a interior room. The shower's temperature seemed to change up and down from lukewarm to hot. Noise was never an issue expect when a parade was taking place.
Activities: Putt-putt golf, roller blading, basketball and ice skating were activities we participated in. Only negatives were the roller blades were extremely painful and very worn out. We could only skate for 5 minutes before being in pain. The ice skating rink is small and not the best arena for intermediate skaters. My boyfriend brought his own skates but could only be out the ice for 10 minutes before it became too crowded.
Shows: If you've seen one variety song and dance show you've seen them all. The production shows were a bore and not entertaining. We did however love the comedian and magic show. Quest and Love & Marriage are definitely an activity/show that cannot be missed.
Bermuda: Wonderful port. Bus & Ferry pass are a must but we only purchased it for 1 out of the 2 days. The first day we traveled to Hamilton and Horseshoe Bay. Hamilton we did not spend much time in since we didn't know where to go. We followed what it felt like was the entire ship to Horseshoe Bay. Very touristy beach but my boyfriend and I were able to find a quiet, almost private area away from others. The second day we stayed closer to ship and visited the Maritime Museum and the Glassworks & Rum Cake Factory. If you're looking for hot weather in Bermuda, don't travel in April.
Fellow cruisers: Rude. I'm from DC and was shocked to the handfuls of rude people I ran into onboard. My boyfriend had teenagers step on his feet and push him aside for food in the Windjammer with numerous rude adults pushing for food as well. People tell me it's because of the ports location to NY & NJ. All I know, my cruise out of Norfolk, VA was night and day compared to this trip. If the port's location is to blame, I will not cruise out of Liberty again.
Ship: Beautiful ship but needs more elevators or less people. The elevators were impossible to utilize because A) Waiting forever for one to arrive B) Once arrived too full to get onto C) and if you were lucky enough to get on one it took forever to get anywhere since it stopped on every floor. We took the stairs almost the entire vacation to the point our knees hurt. My boyfriend and I are young but 5 and ½ days of stair climbing can wear a person out.
Food: My boyfriend and I dined in the Windjammer for every breakfast, lunch and dinner. We prefer a relax dinner on our terms but it might not have been worth it. The food was boring and lacked variety at every meal. We were very disappointed. We had high expectations since our cruise on the Grandeur May 2009 had wonderful food.
Overall: It was an underwhelmed adventure. If it wasn't for our first cruise on Grandeur we probably would've had never returned to cruising if this was our first-time. I am not saying it was the worst vacation of all time nor the best but somewhere in the middle around "fair to good".