My wife and I, and three other couples recently returned from a 5 day Royal Caribbean cruise to Bermuda. We have cruised previously on other cruise lines, but this was the first “Cruise Experience” for two of the couples in our party and our first with Royal Caribbean. In preparing for this cruise/vacation, I researched many reviews and found some information to be accurate and some not. I thought I’d post my observations for better or worse.
Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ – Make no mistake about it, the port is a physical mess due to the construction of the new port terminal. That said they are organized and the boarding process went smoothly. Word of caution – arrive prior to 11:00am! Arriving at noon or later, add an additional hour or so to the boarding process. Also, upon returning to the port we experienced major delays in the disembarkation process. The issue was not the cruise line but with the port/terminal as you had to be shuttled from the ship to the terminal by bus. This created a backlog of passengers waiting to depart the ship, with some people standing in line for over an hour and several passengers were extremely aggravated. The elevators to deck one (to leave the ship) were not working so you had to take the stairs down only to stand in line to await the shuttles to the terminal – this by far was the most unpleasant part of the trip. Note – I’m told that the “early/express” departure option encountered the same issue.
Explorer of the Seas – My personal preference in cruise ships is a larger ship as I find them to offer more amenities, activities, specialty restaurants, bars, pools, etc. The Explorer of the Seas was in excellent condition – clean outside and in. The service and attention provided by all members of the crew was second to none. The shows in the Palace Theater were very entertaining as was the entertainment in the various bars throughout the ship.