We traveled the Explorer of the Seas the first week of January with three generations. My husband and I, in our late 40's, two college aged teenagers, a 20 something and a four year old. Since we were traveling with quite an age spread, we chose one of the Voyager Class ships so that there would be plenty to keep everyone happy.
The ship was beautiful and meticulously clean each and every day. We had two connecting inside rooms on the 9th floor, and these rooms were TIGHT! Across the hall we had a larger balcony room, and that was much more comfortable. I was also impressed with the ease of getting around this ship. The last cruise we took, at the end of the week we were still trying to find our way around. This ship is very passenger friendly.
We spent a lot of time in the common area of the Promenade. It is a huge open area in the center of the ship that gives you the feel of walking down a city street. The children on board loved the self serve ice cream machine that was open certain hours every day.
The children's program for the 4 year old was not great. We could not get our grandson to stay there alone, and the first day a very grumpy employee greeted us. She made it clear that parents were GREATLY discouraged from coming into the room with their toddlers. I was soundly rebuked for taking a picture of only my daughter and grandson. This we found very disconcerting, and from this experience we found it very difficult to convince the little boy to come back and participate in the children's program through the rest of the voyage. It is not set up as parent friendly, and frankly, it is not a great idea to enforce immediate separation of parents and children in preschool in a completely new environment with total strangers. I must say that the following day we were met by a different group of employees who were much more accommodating and kind. I did notice that the older children seemed to have many more children participating. I am not sure if this was due to improved quality, or simply because the children were older and more willing to leave their parents.
The dining room with its columns and sweeping staircases was absolutely spectacular. Our server, Dennis, and the assistant waiter, Mario, anticipated our every need and provided superior and friendly service. The food was very, very good at the dining room, and there was enough of a variety offered to keep everyone happy. This was the best food we had on a cruise so far. The performances by the crew in the dining room made our meals not only delicious, but something to look forward to every day in entertainment.
The buffet was nothing out of the ordinary, and it was vastly inferior to the last cruise we took. There was very limited variety of foods and it was often difficult to find seating, especially in the mornings.
The entertainment all week was great. The ice show was wonderful, we all enjoyed it and marveled at their ability to land jumps on a ship! The comedians were superior, and did a great job. The variety show with the cast was very good. The singers were strong and talented, and the productions professional.
We also took part in the art auction and felt we received a good value for the money. The only complaint is that most of the art purchased on this ship is not framed. This is the first time we purchased unframed art on a ship, and feel that having framed art would be the better way to do it. They did have a wonderful variety of famous artists. Some beautiful artwork was available for sale.
The stops at Belize City, Costa Maya, Mexico, Cozumel, Mexico, and George Town, Grand Cayman were all beautiful. In my opinion. These are much nicer ports of call than the standard Eastern Caribbean ports most people stop at.
Considering everything, I think this is a lovely ship with very well trained employees. We all had a wonderful time, and we would definitely sail on this ship again if we could.