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Just back from a wonderful vacation on Explorer of the Seas! For a ship getting ready for dry dock refurb, it's in great shape. There are minor areas in the cabins and the public rooms where you can see chips and worn fabric/carpeting, but overall she is in great condition. We stayed in promenade rooms, which were roomy, lots of storage, and very comfortable. Never heard any of the commotion in the promenade, but always had an interesting view. Highly recommend them. The crew and staff were great. Most were very friendly and eager to make the trip a wonderful memorable experience. The Chefs made regular appearances in the dining room and were happy to chat. Most bartenders were fabulous (and drinks were great in taste and strength). Disappointed in our room attendant, who noted he was under the weather, often skipped things in the room, failed to deliver compass info, etc. And very disappointed in beverage service for soda/wine/drinks in the dining room for dessert. Food was overall quite good. The dining room food was good to very good. Certainly can get better at fine dining options on land, but lots of good choices and some excellent dishes (Greek calamari salad, Asian duck entree, and lobster were faves). Buffet was a bit disappointing in variety and quality, especially for breakfast. Indian options for lunch were stellar. And do try to check-in for a little something during dinner time - some great options! Cafe Promenade pizza is fairly good, but buffet pizza is awful. Entertainment was good. DD (11 yo) especially loved the shows and singing. Ice show is not to be missed! Wish there were more trivia and other activities better scattered through the day. 70s party at the promenade was lots of fun, but super-crowded. And watch out for the flying flashing rings - they hurt when they hit you in the face. Cruise Director Leigh and his sidekick TT were hilarious. Watch the morning show on the tv. And Captain Rick is the most personable and interesting Captain we've seen! Loved his announcements and enthusiasm! Kids enjoyed Adventure Ocean and begged to go every day and as often as possible. As a parent, I was a little dissapointed, though. They didn't check IDs, the staff seemed to always be sitting on the sidelines, and it seemed they played variations of dodgeball most days (hardly ever matched up what was advertised in kids' compass). Last year we cruised on the Breakaway, and I felt their staff, facilities, and programs were far superior. Of course, bottom line is that the kids had a blast. Enjoyed a lovely spa experience last full sea day. They had some great spa sampler packages. Definitely check them out! The ports of call were great. Had been to Bermuda before, so didn't do much. Warning to those who buy liquor from the cruise suggested stores: don't let them send directly to the ship. The Glasswork store failed to do so, and now we don't have our Bermuda Rum. Thus far, not much from RC for help, but we'll see how it works out. (Most likely will be calling credit card co to refuse the charges.) Previously spend time at the beach, and would do so again! Labadee was fun, athough even the beach they said wasn't rocky was very rocky the first few feet in the water. Consider taking water shoes. Once in the water, we enjoyed the breeze, the ocean, and the views. We spent our time at Adrenaline Beach. DH and DD enjoyed the Wave Jet tour. Lines for food were ridiculous, and by the time we decided to go check it out, they were closed. Wear lots of sun screen!! Puerto Rico was fascinating - wish we had more time and/or arrived later in the day. Did a self-guided walking tour of the old city (it was like walking through a pirate movie set!) and enjoyed mofongo in Cafe Manolin (recd on cruise critic discussions). Wandered around St. Maarten, which was very hot. Beware of lots of locals asking to braid your hair, do your portraits, take you on guided tours, give coupons for jewelry... it was constant annoyances of offers. I'll agree with those who complained about Bayonne port. Our driver there had trouble finding it, and we were stuck in about 30 - 45 mins of traffic to be dropped off. Our driver picking us up was more than an hour late, as he was stuck in the same mess coming to get us. Overall, we had a fabulous family vacation on the Explorer. The ship is a great size - big enough to have a variety of places to hang out and explore but not too big or too crowded. (I heard the sailing was sold out, but with few exceptions, it didn't feel crowded.) Would definitely recommend her!

Fabulous Family Cruise

Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by HAD

Trip Details
Just back from a wonderful vacation on Explorer of the Seas!
For a ship getting ready for dry dock refurb, it's in great shape. There are minor areas in the cabins and the public rooms where you can see chips and worn fabric/carpeting, but overall she is in great condition.
We stayed in promenade rooms, which were roomy, lots of storage, and very comfortable. Never heard any of the commotion in the promenade, but always had an interesting view. Highly recommend them.
The crew and staff were great. Most were very friendly and eager to make the trip a wonderful memorable experience. The Chefs made regular appearances in the dining room and were happy to chat. Most bartenders were fabulous (and drinks were great in taste and strength). Disappointed in our room attendant, who noted he was under the weather, often skipped things in the room, failed to deliver compass info, etc. And very disappointed in beverage service for soda/wine/drinks in the dining room for dessert.
Food was overall quite good. The dining room food was good to very good. Certainly can get better at fine dining options on land, but lots of good choices and some excellent dishes (Greek calamari salad, Asian duck entree, and lobster were faves). Buffet was a bit disappointing in variety and quality, especially for breakfast. Indian options for lunch were stellar. And do try to check-in for a little something during dinner time - some great options! Cafe Promenade pizza is fairly good, but buffet pizza is awful.
Entertainment was good. DD (11 yo) especially loved the shows and singing. Ice show is not to be missed! Wish there were more trivia and other activities better scattered through the day. 70s party at the promenade was lots of fun, but super-crowded. And watch out for the flying flashing rings - they hurt when they hit you in the face. Cruise Director Leigh and his sidekick TT were hilarious. Watch the morning show on the tv. And Captain Rick is the most personable and interesting Captain we've seen! Loved his announcements and enthusiasm!
Kids enjoyed Adventure Ocean and begged to go every day and as often as possible. As a parent, I was a little dissapointed, though. They didn't check IDs, the staff seemed to always be sitting on the sidelines, and it seemed they played variations of dodgeball most days (hardly ever matched up what was advertised in kids' compass). Last year we cruised on the Breakaway, and I felt their staff, facilities, and programs were far superior. Of course, bottom line is that the kids had a blast.
Enjoyed a lovely spa experience last full sea day. They had some great spa sampler packages. Definitely check them out!
The ports of call were great. Had been to Bermuda before, so didn't do much. Warning to those who buy liquor from the cruise suggested stores: don't let them send directly to the ship. The Glasswork store failed to do so, and now we don't have our Bermuda Rum. Thus far, not much from RC for help, but we'll see how it works out. (Most likely will be calling credit card co to refuse the charges.) Previously spend time at the beach, and would do so again!
Labadee was fun, athough even the beach they said wasn't rocky was very rocky the first few feet in the water. Consider taking water shoes. Once in the water, we enjoyed the breeze, the ocean, and the views. We spent our time at Adrenaline Beach. DH and DD enjoyed the Wave Jet tour. Lines for food were ridiculous, and by the time we decided to go check it out, they were closed. Wear lots of sun screen!!
Puerto Rico was fascinating - wish we had more time and/or arrived later in the day. Did a self-guided walking tour of the old city (it was like walking through a pirate movie set!) and enjoyed mofongo in Cafe Manolin (recd on cruise critic discussions).
Wandered around St. Maarten, which was very hot. Beware of lots of locals asking to braid your hair, do your portraits, take you on guided tours, give coupons for jewelry... it was constant annoyances of offers.
I'll agree with those who complained about Bayonne port. Our driver there had trouble finding it, and we were stuck in about 30 - 45 mins of traffic to be dropped off. Our driver picking us up was more than an hour late, as he was stuck in the same mess coming to get us.
Overall, we had a fabulous family vacation on the Explorer. The ship is a great size - big enough to have a variety of places to hang out and explore but not too big or too crowded. (I heard the sailing was sold out, but with few exceptions, it didn't feel crowded.) Would definitely recommend her!
HAD’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Entertainment
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Ages 10 to 12
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Spacious cabin with lots of storage. Loved the big window and window seat overlooking the promenade. We even watched the parade from our room! Also a small couch next to bed and desk with chair. Some nicks and scratches on the mirrors and cabinets, but overall in good condition. Loved the spotlight lamps over the bed for reading at night. Lots of lighting options. Lots of hanging space in closet.
  Explorer of the Seas Deck Plans