Second time on this ship, 9 years apart, this time with kids. A different experience. The Explorer is still one of favorite ships, although she is by no means the smallest, she still offers the best of both worlds- the feeling of being at sea with a range of activities available. Nice mix of passenger ages.
Embrakation was a nightmare- rumor that porters were on a slow down and certainly appeared to be true. The luggage was waiting outside while they sat around doing nothing. Our family lugged our own luggage and were glad we did- others we talked to received theirs very late. Unfortunately this also caused debarkation to be a nightmare as nobody seemed to trust personnel to move their luggage getting off the ship. Rather than motivating me to support their union, it made me hope the RCI will look into other options in the future once their contract is up.
Onwards to the ship. We still love Explorer of the seas and her crew. We would have preferred a band that regularly played ballroom dance music.... but the musicians were talented. Service was very good overall, staff friendly. Michelle the ice skater (dark hair) was very sweet to my daughter and Yin (cleaned restrooms) was sweet as well. Best show is the ice skating program, hands down. This ship is a great value for 6 yo plus crowd. Daughter loved ice skating and rock wall. Lacked options for children under 3 years- if paying full fare (and it was more expensive to book 1 room than 2 separate), I would expect more entertainment for the younger crowd... at least a nursery.
Not sure why this is rated a D1 other than to charge more money for the connecting staterooms. Fairly quiet, although a trip to get to some parts of the ship. Closet door had broken hardware or maybe 6676?, issues with toilet but were called in by stateroom attendant before we could call. Some wear in room- light stains on couch in one of the rooms. Room attendant was efficient and made towel animals everyday after the first night, which my daughter appreciated. If I had it to do over again, I'd book an aft balcony and one inside- baby needed a pack and play and we could have fit easily in a 3 birth cabin, the second cabin was just because it was cheaper than booking everyone in the same room.