This was the 4th time we've been on the Explorer of the Sea and it was by far the best, except for the storm we traveled through to return to NJ. The food was much improved from that we had last year on the ship, same number of days. That includes the second seating dinner, Windjammer for breakfast and lunch, dining room for breakfast and lunch (lovely salad bar), and Portofinos. The last sea day brunch buffet they have introduced this year was a little disorganized - somehow overdone eggs Benedict with cool chicken parm and cream-puffs at 11: AM needs more work.
The entertainment was wonderful every night, especially the Platters and their ship's productions, the ice skating shows and the game of Quest.they also ran guest lecturers - especially good was one on life and laughter- he was so funny they needed to open a larger room to fit the added passengers coming to hear him. (Joseph Cardone)
The ports of call were also terrific with the exception of Samana- not much to do after you tender in and there are limited excursions- either private or through the ship.
The staff was friendly and very helpful.
We loved going out of NJ- even left our car at the pier and after the heavy snow while we were gone the lot where we parked was almost clean- they even had a worker with a shovel to help dig out cars- and he wouldn't even take a tip!!!
We are only disappointed that Royal Car. has seen fit to cut the number of days Explorer will be going out from now on and has limited the ports to the same four time after time. We would gladly book again during the winter but not to cruise for 5 days- 3 in the cold, only to go to the same ports of call year after year- wake up RC-people want change not repeat visits- there's a limit!