9 night on Explorer of the Seas
Departing from Bayonne, NJ on April 28th 2011
o Cape Liberty Port in Bayonne, NJ.... This port is very easy to get to, but if you are coming from the west, do not follow the MapQuest directions. You can't make the left hand turn on the street you need to get to the port, so instead make the left onto Goldsborough. Then follow the signs all the way down till you see a toll to pay for parking ($170 for 9 days). Then we dropped our luggage off at big tents and parked the car. We walked back to the tents and went through check in very fast. We got there an hour before embarkation, so we had to wait till the bus picked us up to bring us to the ship. They start picking up at noon or one depending on the day so if you get there too early you can wait in the giant room that has bathrooms and vending machines. Royal Caribbean even has free cookies, coffee, tea, and lemonade while you are waiting.
Day 1 - In other reviews I have read that the ship looked old or damaged. But, I definitely did not see that. The ship looks great. I know it's no Allure or Oasis, but don't let the negative reviews of this ship stop you from going on it. I love the art work and pictures around the ship. It was very bright with comfortable colors, making you feel relaxed. Going under the bridge connecting Long Island and Staten Island was cool. Definitely better than you see in the pictures. Being at the front of ship was a great experience. Just wear a jacket if you are going to stand in the front helicopter spot like I did because the wind was terrible. Next year I'm going to stand on the top deck by the smoke stacks since that is the highest point of the ship.
Day 2 - Sailing day. Our first cruising day had very bad winds all morning and afternoon due to a passing storm. The ship was rocking hard, so there was no way to swim or take advantage of the sports deck. Luckily, the Adventure Ocean team does a great job at keeping the kids busy. My 5 year old son did not want to leave. They do all types of activities with the children, and my son liked all the adults who were there playing games with him.
Day 9 – Sailing Day. Another windy day that was too cold to swim. The shows I went to were good. The juggler was funny and good for the kids. They had a blast watching. The ice show was better the one on Mariner of the Seas two years ago. Don't miss it. The 70s Dance Party was great, and the activities manager plays a perfect Austin Powers. He has been doing that act for a long time for amusement parks and shows. o o Leaving the port was not as easy as getting on board. After you get off the ship, you and your carry ons take a bus trip to your luggage, which I myself don't get. It is a very short distance, and I would have rather walked. Then you pick up your luggage and take it through customs. What a pain that was! Then you can either carry all your stuff to your car or have someone try to get it and load it up. Once you are loaded you try to inch your way out of there and not hit someone. Then you are home free. LOL.
In closing, I say go on Explorer of the Seas. It's good for all. I will say one bad thing, though. Don't bring a child under three. They do have things to do for them for a couple hours a day, but the other 90% of the day you will be either stuck in the small room like a prisoner or walking and carrying them around the ship while they cry and others around you are relaxing and having a fun vacation. Now, I know what you are thinking - take the kid to the pool. It's May and 4 of the 9 days we are either in the north or going north, and its 66 degrees. Then, within an hour my kids’ lips were purple in that pool. So, if you have small children, go in June or July when it's 88 the whole trip. Or take a 5 day trip, but 9 days with a one year old will make you feel like you need a another vacation from your vacation.