We just returned from a 9 day cruise on Explorer of the Seas, 06/23/11. We were traveling with my Mother, 3 children and 2 nieces. It was to be a 80th birthday cruise for my Mom.
First, let me tell you the things that we liked. My husband and I were in a Grand Suite which was lovely. Nicely appointed and very roomy. My family was in 3 additional standard rooms which were adequate, but the tube TV's need to go! Also, in the standard rooms they do not provide shampoo or conditioner. they had to use the "universal" soap in the shower dispenser. The cabin stewards were efficient and very nice.
Our waiters in the Columbus dining room were outstanding!! We had such a good time with them that we never booked a meal in the Portofino because we didn't want to miss seeing them. We had a ball every evening! If it weren't for Dwayne, our waiter, Rodrigo, our assistant waiter, and Rabi our bar waiter, the cruise would have really been a flop!
The ship itself was nice, but there was nothing exceptional about it. The promenade was cute (all smoke and mirrors) The shows in the palace theater were good. The casino was adequate.
Now, let me tell you the things that we didn't like. It started at check in. They had a very difficult time getting our passes printed and getting us on the ship in a timely manner. We checked in at 2:00 after the bulk of the passengers were already on board.
I knew we were in trouble when there was an overhead announcement regarding passenger conduct code. I can say that I have never been on a cruise where the passengers were told how to behave!! Security was extremely rude and heavy handed. But after this cruise, I can see why. The passengers were rude, somewhat slovenly and loud. There was no dress code in the main dining rooms. And the SMOKERS!! I can honestly say that I have never been on a vacation with such a large number of disrespectful smokers. My life expectancy had been reduced after sucking in all the second hand smoke!!
The level of customer service that were have been used to was really sub par. Especially the ancillary staff on the ship. Rudest bar tenders on the pool deck! The staff in the cafes, ice cream shop and the shopping areas were obviously bored and under trained.
I had heard that there was more to do on RCCL and since we were bringing a group of 17+ kids with us, we had hoped that we made the right choice. There was not a lot for them to do, especially the 17 year old girls. We rarely saw the cruise director and his staff. I had heard that the cruise director on this ship was probably one of the best in the cruise industry, but there was very little interaction with him.
The food was just ok. Not great, not bad, just ok.
I would say that our cruise experience on the EOTS was mediocre at best and that we most likely will not sail with RCCL again. They really need to work on their customer service.