Our group consisted of 3 couples, all Crown & Anchor members (gold level). We chose this cruise partly because of the port and extended our vacation a few days to go into the city. This was all in all an excellent choice.
We drove up the day before and had booked our rooms and Country Inns and Suites in Elizabeth. We had 2 Park and Cruise rooms and one regular. Parking was for 10 nights so we could leave the cars there while we cruised. We had transfers to Port Liberty from the hotel. Worked wonderfully. Glad we went this way because the traffic into the Port was horrendous and it was a rainy morning, We got off right at the baggage check location, quick shuttle to check-in (and as C&A members, that was a breeze). The hotel was very nice (has a free continental breakfast--but get there early because they run out of eggs quickly). There is an IHOP and Ruby Tuesday right beside the hotel which is nice and it's just a short walk to an incredible mall. I highly recommend this hotel for a pre- or post- cruise stay.
We stayed 3 nights after the cruise and could get a complementary shuttle to the airport and from there took the train into the city.
How many stars can I give this cabin. First time for a balcony or JS. I could not believe the storage space. I had brought all the things to maximize storage space -- the shoe bag for over the BR door. The command hooks, the magnets. They all stayed in my suitcase under the bed. We had to find stuff to use up the space. We were on level 10 and had no issues with noise. Also had no issues with ship motion-- just a gentle rock to sleep. We had 2 minor issues: our phone didn't work when we first go to our room but it was quickly replaced. Our safe malfunctioned twice but we got a pretty quick response both times.The cabin was well taken care of by our steward. I hope when the Explorer goes in for her Revite in March that they don't change the size but I greatly fear they will. Our group had 1652, 1650, and 1648 -- all identical. GREAT CABINS