First, I'm 36 years old and this was my fifth cruise, the first with RCL. I cruised with my parents and two close friends on this particular trip. My wife and I always cruise during the month of October for our wedding anniversary. Explorer of the Seas is ten years old, and was refurbished approximately five years ago, I believe. A lot people have mentioned that the "ship is showing it's age". I didn't know exactly what that meant until I got on broad. My wife and I noticed a lot rust on the balcony and carpet throughout the ship which needed to be replaced. The pull-out sofa in our room was also very worn and appeared to have stains on it. The shower fixture had a crack which sprayed water into your face and the toilet was stained. However, the bed linens and towels were very clean.
This was our first cruise with RCL and we were disappointed. Not by the rust, stained furniture in the cabin, or old bathroom fixtures. But, by the poor entertainment on the ship, compared to other cruises we've experienced on NCL and Carnival. RCL didn't seem to have the same caliber of shows and entertainer on our cruise. Sure, you could entertain yourself on the rock climbing wall and the ice-skating ring; buy, you could only take part in those activities during certain times of the day. The comedy wasn't good, there wasn't any magic shows, or talent shows. It was pretty much just the RCL dancers and singers. In addition, the food in the main dining area and buffet (Windjammer) was not good. However, the service provided by our waiter (Erwin) and assistant waiter (Anna) was outstanding!
For me and my wife's sixth cruise, I think we will return to NCL or Carnival. "Freestyle Dining" on NCL is great, and Carnival really is a "Fun Ship". RCL is not as good as people say it is. Not bad, not good. So in conclusion, the ship is getting old, which will be evident in our cabin and in certain area throughout the ship, the food is poor, and the entertainment is sub-par, as compared to other cruise-lines such as Carnival and NCL.