We were sailing to celebrate my father's 80th birthday. My family and I have been loyal RCL cruisers for several years and have never left disappointed until now. It seems as if Royal Carribean has diverted its focus to the larger ships and let this cruise fall off. Embarkation at Cape Liberty was relatively smooth, the angst did not start until we got on the Explorer. When I got to my cabin, the first thing that jumped out at me were the disgusting yellow stains on my sheets and pillow cases. I asked the cabin steward to change them. He did, but amazingly enough, 2 days later I returned to the cabin to find more stained sheets. I don't care how good or bad the rest of the cruise is, stained sheets leave a lasting impression.
The service on this ship was also way below what we have come to expect from Royal Carribean. The pool deck ran out of towels on more than one occasion, and the towels that they did have were old, faded and also stained. Additionally, many areas of the ship seemed to be way understaffed. Wait times at the pool to take and return towels sometimes took up to 15 minutes with only one staff member at the towel station. Also, there were times during the sea days when there was only one bartender at the main pool bar trying to handle a crowd that was 8-10 people deep. Also, the photographry department on this ship was very poor. The photographers were incompetent and the staff members at the photography desk were very unaccomodating.
The food was adequate, but not spectacular. The dining room staff was excellent. They were very attentive and made every effort to accomodate us. My kids (15,13,11) all loved the kids' clubs.
All in all, a very disappointing cruise. We are scheduled to go on Oasis in November. Hopefully, this was a one off experience.