Traveled on Explorer of the Seas out of New Jersey on 7/31. There were 5 in our party - parents and three young adults (15, 17 and 20). Getting to the port was a nightmare because of road construction and inefficient traffic flow at the port. Things were smooth in the onboarding process and we were able to quickly board the ship once we go through the traffic.
The ship is nice but is showing her age in a few places. Our balcony had been very recently painted and we couldn't sit out there on the first day because of paint fumes. After that, it was fine.
Biggest complaint about the ship was that the elevators do NOT work efficiently. They are downright horrible, in fact. I can't count the times we gave up on waiting and took the stairs.
We had the main seating for dinner. Our waiter was excellent. Food was very good, but portions were too small for teenaged boys. Most nights the kids also got room service or ate in the Windjammer because they were still hungry. The Windjammer exceeded all of our expectations.
There were computer issues of some kind on the ship and all purchases were manual for the first day and a half. This made things extremely slow at the bar. Even after the issues were resolved, bar service was very, very slow.
The kids had a hard time finding things to do - particularly our 20 year old daughter. They went to a couple of shows with us, but the shows are geared toward middle aged adults and the kids didn't really enjoy them. As an adult, I thought the shows were outstanding. They boys liked the rock wall and sports courts.
Royal states that Explorer is primarily a non- smoking ship. Be aware - this isn't really true. All outside decks have smoking and with the wind, you are going to breathe smoke. Casino had only one non-smoking night, which is ridiculous, considering 76% of Americans do not smoke.
One other thing - the bed in our cabin was like sleeping on a brick.