We embarked on the Explorer of the Seas on August 13, 2011. It was my third time on the Explorer and fourth Royal Caribbean cruise. I am partial to Royal Caribbean. We love cruising out of Bayonne since it is only 1 - 1/2 hours from home.
We were on the ship by 12:15 and enjoyed a nice lunch. We know what to expect on this cruise and I'm comfortable with being familiar with the layout of the ship.
The ship shows a little wear and tear but overall is still magnificent. By the second day (formal night), we learned that Tropical Storm Gert was threatening and the Captain announced that we might not make it to Bermuda as planned. There were rumors all over the ship that we were going to divert Miami, or San Juan, or South Carolina. My husband wanted to start a rumor that we were heading to Chicago -- to see who believed him!
We had a family with us who had never been to Bermuda before, and they would have been very disappointed if we had not gone to Bermuda. When we woke up on the third day, we were still not in Bermuda and rumors abounded that we weren't going to make it there.
During breakfast, we spotted land and, lo and behold, it was Bermuda. We docked by noon, got off the ship and headed to Horseshoe Bay, my favorite beach. It made us appreciate Bermuda even more since we almost didn't get there.
The entertainment on the ship was great, always different with the different personalities and guests. I enjoy the predictability of the five-night cruise, but I am sad to disembark. I'm ready for a 9-night some year! I heard that the Explorer of the Seas was going to be refurbished in a few years -- I can't wait to see how they improve it.
Overall, good food, good entertainment (especially Lance Ringnald, Olympic gymnast) and good weather. Check-in is easy and once onboard, everyone is in a good mood. Some people were pushy at the Windjammer, butting in line for omelets, etc. I think the tension of almost not going to Bermuda got to them. Despite the near-miss of Bermuda, we were happy cruisers!