We enjoyed our 9-day cruise on the Explorer. This was our 5th cruise, but 1st cruise with RCCL. Our previous cruises have been with Carnival. The staff was outstanding, best we ever had on a cruise. We ate most of our meals in the dining room and the food was excellent (except for the NY Strip Steak). The Windjammer buffet was typical buffet food. Their soft frozen yogurt machine was broke or closed half the time, and too soft when it actually did work.
We had an interior room, and it was definitely smaller than the Carnival interior rooms--it was crowded for 3 people. The ship was beautiful and clean. The pool area was crowded and usually all seats were 'reserved' by mid-morning. There were 3500 passengers on the cruise, but the only area where it seemed crowded was the pool area. There were lots of teens on this cruise, but very few participated in the 15-17 year old activities. My son attended one activity the second day of the cruise and then refused to try any other activities. I thought RCCL could find a better way for the older teens to connect with each other. They had a Meet n Mingle the first night of the cruise, but it was during the late dinner time and my son chose to go to dinner. We didn't meet any families where the teenagers participated in the teen program -- they chose to stay with their families or do things on their own. Also, we were at a table for 7, but the other party assigned to our table never came to dinner -- we were disappointed since we normally like to socialize with others at dinner. And as a mom I was hoping that we would be seated with at least one other teen.
We really enjoyed the sports deck and played lots of miniature golf, ping pong and shuffleboard; my husband and son climbed the rock wall one day (also fun).
The evening shows were okay, but we all agreed that the shows on the Carnival ships seemed more fun. The 3 shows that featured the Explorer dancers/singers were our least favorite--too many 'oldie' tunes. We did like the juggler and the Beatles shows. We REALLY enjoyed the ice show -- make sure to get your tickets as soon as they are available; we thought it was the best show on the ship. We had late dinner (8:30) so sometimes the shows didn't start til 10:45. We like late dinners, but we would have preferred for dinners to start at 7:30-8:00. In hindsight we wish we would have My Time Dining (we signed up for the cruise too late and My Time Dining was full).
We took a ferry to St George on our first day in Bermuda - walked around the town, watched the Noon dunking, and walked to Tobacco Bay. We really enjoyed the town and Tobacco Bay. Probably the favorite day of our cruise. The second day in Bermuda we took a bus to Horseshoe Bay (they had lots of special buses to take passengers to Horseshoe Bay, and to pick them up in the afternoon). There were hundreds of people at the main area, so we walked to a beach past the rocks on the left of the beach which was much less crowded -- absolutely beautiful beach.
In Nassau we had lots of rain in the morning, so we didn't get off the ship til after lunch. We walked to the Queens Staircase and Fort Fincastle, and then did the straw market -- it was hot and crowded so we decide to just spend the rest of the day on the ship instead of the beach as planned. The next day at Coco Cay Beach -- thoroughly enjoyed our beach day. The first beaches we came to were very crowded so we kept on walking and then came to a beach with thatched roofs & chairs. We spent the whole day in that area -- the shade was needed since it was 105 degrees. My husband and son snorkeled all day, except for a break for lunch. We loved this beach.
Overall, a good cruise, but not our favorite.