It was our fifth cruise with Royal Caribbean. Unfortunately it was not as good as others, but still Ok.
We stayed at Hampton a night before the cruise, drove to the port in the morning and parked there. Parking is pretty expensive ($19/day), but convenient.
As other reviewers already mentioned embarkation was not as smooth as it was before. We also got # 44 and had to rush into the crowd after all numbers at once were announced.
Our interior stateroom was Ok. We always take interior when we travel with our child.
Dining and food was pretty good. I already memorized RCI menu. It looks like it will stay the same for the next few years. So mainly we had dinner in Windjammer and were never disappointed. Same food and even better selection, always hot. No delays.
Entertainment and shows were so-so. However the guys from Philippines were great: left them some tips.
Now about Thanksgiving Day. It was a mirage: no celebration, no evening show. Imperceptible, so called parade at noon and turkey in the evening. That's about it.
This cruise I did not book any shore excursions and never regretted about it. San Juan is very suitable for exploring on your own. San Maarten is a shopping place. We also took a cab to Orient beach and had a good time there. Beware of Antigua: not a safe place at all. While on the beach all money were stolen from one of the cruisers. On the opposite side I love St Kitts: definitely the best port of call in this itinerary. For $20 per person we booked a cab with the driver/guide. He drove us around the whole island. During almost 4 hours we got tons of information and visited everything. I especially recommend Brimstone Hill Fortress. By the way, in my opinion taking a cab/bus is definitely the best way to explore new ports. Just compare of what you pay for private or ship shore excursions.
Few words about quality of service: do not know why but many room attendants and almost all dining room staff on Explorer OTS are from Trinidad and Jamaica.
Overall it was a good cruise but 100% our last cruise on the Explorer OTS.