I sailed on the Explorer of the Seas out of Bayonne, New Jersey on January 6, 2012. Let me start of by saying that if you are leaving on a particularly cold day to dress warm because you will be waiting outside on a line. However, the day I left the line did go fast. My boyfriend and I arrived around 11 o' clock and we were on the ship at 12! Check in went very fast and we were exploring our cruise ship in no time.
Our stateroom was a balcony cabin (8228). Our stateroom attendent was fabulous! Everytime we left the room, he tidied it! He was fantasic. Our stateroom was the perfect size! Our balcony cabin was beautiful.
I will say that my boyfriend and I are both in our early twenties, so we were both a little nervous that there werent going to be enough activites for us to do. However, this was quite the contrary. We did bingo, we went to shows, we went to the casino, we did mini golf, etc. There was always something to do.
The casino on the ship was what I expected small, but it did the job. The slots did not pay very well and my boyfriend found it quite diffciult to win on the tables.
There are numerous bars on the ship no have no worries! And they make their drinks strong! So pace yourselves lol!
The ports: St. Maarten was our first port of call. I have been to this island numerous times, So I will say that it is my absolute favorite island in the Caribbean. All the natives are so humble, nice, and welcoming. We were very fortunate to have beautiful weather during all of our ports of call. This particular day it was sunny and 82 degrees! Perfect! When we got off the boat, we headed straight to Front St. Front St. is amazing. It has great places to eat. And the jewelry shopping is out of this world. I always buy my watches in St. Maarten. I have purchased two Michele Watched on Front St. (joe's jewelry) for 30% off the retail value. Great Prices in all the stores. You will not be disappointed. SO when me and boyfriend headed to Front St., we got two chairs on the beach, an umbrella, and two drinks for $20. Great deal! We then ate at Hard Rock Cafe for some lunch. Delicious
St. Thomas. St. Thomas is just as beautiful as St. Maarten with its green mountains and turquoise blue waters. When we stopped in St. Thomas we went straight to Magan's Bay. It was rated one of the beat beached in the world. So naturally this is wht we wanted to do. We go in a taxi/bus right off our cruise ship. For $18 a person she took us to Magan's Bay it was about a twenty minute ride from the ship to the beach. On this day, there were five cruise ships in town, so Magan's Bay was packed! I was very disappointed with that. There was barely anywhere to lay. The beach was beautiful and so was the water, just very disappointed in that. There was a beach bar/restaurant here so if you wanted a cool drink or bite to eat you can get it there.
When, we made our way back to the ship, we hit up some shops for souvineers, etc. We also got a bite to eat at Wendys.
Puerto Rico. I have been to Puerto Rico before and so has my boyfriend. So neither of us had any desire to really explore the island. And for some odd reason we arrived there at 8 in the moring and had to be back on the ship by 12. So we got off the boat got some cigars and went right back to the ship.
Labadee Haiti. This island was exceptional!! We were both shocked in its beauty and cleanliness. Labadee is a private side of Haiti owned and governed by Royal Caribbean. RC sets up a beach bbq for its guests so you dont have to worry about what your eating or drinking. The beaches were beautiful. My boyfriend and I did jet skiing. It was a tour,so we were both a little iffy about that, but luckily our guide, Fred, was amazing. The price was also not bad at all. It was 90/pp so that was reasonable compared to all the other prices I saw on the other islands.
I strongly recommend everyone to do express check out when leaving the ship upon arrival to New Jersey. We were off the boat in twenty minutes!
And I also strongly suggest that you make travel arrangements because when you get off the boat there is no where for you to hang around inside waiting for your ride. And being that we got off the boat in mid-January it was freezing and we stood around for an hour waiting for our ride and no taxis went to brooklyn!
In conclusion, I cannot wait to go on my next cruise. We both had such an amazing time. There was always something to do!