My DH and I embark on our first Back to Back cruise this last month. We first did the 9 day to New England and Canada and then stayed on for the 5 day to Bermuda. It gave us a full two week vacation and we enjoyed both parts of the cruise.
We live in upstate NY, near Rochester, and drove to the port the day before. We stayed at the Hampton Inn on Staten Island. We have done this all three times that we have sailed on the Explorer. We get a really nice room, breakfast in the AM, a shuttle ride to and back from the pier and free parking for our car in the hotel lot while we are gone all for the price of our room. In my opinion, it is the best deal going for sailing out of Bayonne. I would recommend it to anyone thinking of sailing out of Bayonne.
We had the 10 AM shuttle over to the pier and arrived about 10:20 AM. As usual, there were lots of people leaving the drop off area and also coming into the same area. I am hoping, when they get the new terminal done in Bayonne, it will be a bit more organized. Embarkation did not start until noon, which was later than the other two times we sailed out on the Explorer. We were aboard by 12:30 PM since we are Emerald members of the Crown and Anchor and get priority boarding. Up to the Windjammer for lunch and at 1:30 PM our rooms were ready. We walked down the hall and, surprise, our luggage was sitting in the hall outside our door. We have never gotten our luggage that early. Unpacked and walked around waiting for the lifeboat drill. With that out of the way, we expected to be on our way. The Explorer had propulsion problems on it's return from the previous cruise to Bermuda and there was intense work being done. Captain James came on the PA and told us we would not be leaving until about 9 PM instead of the normal 4 PM departure. That was really OK since we got the extra prize of seeing the New York City skyline all lite up at night. What a spectacular site. Off to supper. We had MTD with 6 PM reservations and were seated right on time. As it turned out, we only ate in the dining room four nights of our 14 night cruise. We found the Windjammer to be more to our liking and enjoyed the different countries that they specialized on one of the food stations each evening. One night was Italian, one German, one Caribbean, one Mexican, one French, one American, and one night it was all kinds of burgers. If you did not like the special night's food, there was always other options to choose from. We ate one sea day noon lunch in the main dining room and really enjoyed the spectacular salad bar. That is something not to be missed. We did breakfast and lunch every day in the Windjammer. We enjoy the casual atmosphere in the Windjammer rather than having to dress for dinner every night. In the evening, they only open the Island Grill at the back and it is very peaceful and quiet. When they open up, the waiters stand at the door and clap you into the Island Grill. Excellent service and a lot quicker then the Main Dining Room. Many of the same things are served in the Windjammer that appear on the Main Dinning Room menus.