Our experience on Explorer of the seas . Was a fantastic vacation for a family from the cold Midwest!!! A little background... We were a group of 7ppl - ages 5 to 59, I myself am a 34 year old female. This was my 16th cruise, first on Explorer of the seas for my whole family. Previously tried Carnival, Disney, Princess and a diamond RCCL member. I love food, I love good shows and I love good service. This is why I/we cruise!
Our van driver picked us up at 11am from the hotel, only 15 minute ride to port. We were greeted by porters immediately and were thru the terminal and check in quickly. Waited for a short while in the holding area for our number to be called. Total from drop off outside about 40 minutes.
The main pool is very small. I'd be tempted to say tiny in fact. While there are an abundance of pool chairs all over the deck above the pool, the space by the actual pool is either covered or wasted space. It was disappointing for a ship that size. Most of the typical "pool space" gets hogged up by the Haven (super suite members) or the ginormous water slides. Yes my family thought the slides were fun but after the few minutes of fun on the slides, there was no space for them in the packed-in-like-sardines pool. The kids area is nice, also small, with no chairs in the sun. The Nickelodeon splash pool was packed all week. I did see several children in swim diapers in that pool, pretty sure that wasn't supposed to be allowed.
Cabins were ready by 1pm. We had an interior cabin on deck 11 aft. My parents had a standard balcony on deck 11 aft also so I will make mention of both. Our interior cabin was the smallest cabin I have ever seen on any ship. And it was equipped with 2 pull down beds to sleep up to 4ppl. Wowza. No drawers at all anywhere. A few cubbies proved to be a space gold mine. At first glance we thought "no way we can unpack for 3 people in this cabin". Somehow, we did fully unpack 3 large suitcases and a carry on. I'm still unsure how. There were about 18" of space on either side of the bed, a nightstand on each side. With the pull down beds above the side of bed, smacking your head as you try to wedge beside the bed is likely (speaking from experience, ow). Bathroom was average size for our cabin category. Shower is a tad larger than the rounded capsules on RCCL or Carnival. And there is a little foot pedestal to help with shaving your legs, nice touch! Dispensers are in shower with shampoo and body wash. And a dispenser by sink with hand soap, no bar soap. 2 outlets by vanity only, none in the bathroom, I recommend bringing a small outlet plug in with additional spaces if you plug in multiple electronics to charge at night like we do. Note about cabin electricity --- you have to place a key card or credit card, etc in the main light switch to power your cabin. If you take that card out at night, your outlets go dead also and nothing will charge! We saved our pre cruise hotel key card so that we could always have a card in that slot. The room attendant didn't have a problem with us keeping our hotel key card in the slot, either. The one or two times we pulled our hotel key card before dinner, he put it back in so that the lights were on and the room was cool when we returned. The balcony cabin was average sized, typical layout. There was a couch in this room, unlike our interior cabin. Same bathroom as interior. Slightly larger closet. A single cup coffee pot was a surprising and fun find! The balcony was the smallest I've ever seen in our travels. 2 metal chairs and a small metal table. But hardly any depth to the space at all...someone with long legs would probably bump their knees on the glass in front of them when sitting out there. We all had the same room steward - Oliver. He made us 5 different animal towels over the week and was very kind to our 5 year old daughter. He didn't always bring ice or remember wash cloths but hey, whatever. If we asked, he was on it right away. He clearly had a lot of rooms, we couldn't quite figure out if he got a break from 8am-10pm because we could always find him. He became our daughters buddy by the end of our cruise. He even left her a note and tiny towel sting ray the last night. I'm going to lump sea days together as we tend to do the same things. Eat/drink, sun bathe/swim, nap, eat/drink.... The towels-on-chairs pool hogs were rampant on this cruise. We were on the prowl for sun chairs by 9:00am each day. On the pool deck they were all "held with towels" by that time. We always went up a deck to find 3 chairs. Drink of the day was quite good, we tried them on sea days. Usually $6.95 so affordable. The NCL mini fish bowl was a cute favorite. Lots of servers walking around often. Deals on buckets of beer or bottled water daily. Shopping on this ship is horrid. Selection is virtually nothing.MS tees, etc very limited or gaudy. Didn't buy anything onboard, except for 1 family photo we had taken. $25 for one 8x10. Photographers are everywhere as usual, however I felt they were slightly less annoying/pushy as I've experienced in the past. We did a group photo on day 6 and the photographer worked great with our group of 7 ppl and the pic was wonderful of everyone.