Where do you even begin? It can be very hard to find time to relax on Explorer of the Seas -- even on sea days -- because of the head-spinning array of activities that run from dawn to dusk and beyond! The ship's entertainment staff offer an intriguing blend of activities, and everyone, from the most traditional passenger to the completely contemporary traveller, will find something to do.
The Palace, the main show lounge, is the place to see Broadway-style revues and headline acts. The four-deck-high, 1,350-seat theater has an opera-house ambience and excellent sightlines.
During the day, you'll find plenty of traditional cruise activities, such as bingo, ballroom dance lessons, towel folding demonstrations, art auctions, bridge pairing, arts and crafts workshops, films and seminars (on everything from healthy eating to acupuncture to facial rejuvenation). More athletic activities include rock climbing wall competitions, table tennis tournaments, boogie boarding sessions and the Men's International Belly Flop competition.
Throughout the day and night, there's often some type of performance along the Promenade, such as a parade or performances by comedians or musicians. Not to be missed is "Spirits of the Seasons" -- the ship's incredible ice skating spectacular in Studio B, complete with falling "snow." Or if you'd rather pull on the skates and show off some moves of your own, there are regular public sessions.
The Casino Royale beckons with a Vegas/rock 'n' roll theme and 300 slots, 10 blackjack tables, three Caribbean Stud tables, three roulette wheels and a craps table.
The Dancin' Under the Stars Deck Party is an evening of dancing, food and socialising with a DJ and all-star band by the pool. While indoors you can mix it up with karaoke at The Tavern, or the late-night fun of the Rock Britannia Street Party or '70s Disco on the Royal Promenade.
Other options include chilling in '60s cool of R Bar; live entertainment at the Crown & Kettle Pub; late evening sing-alongs round the piano at the Tavern; quiet drinks in the nautical inspired Schooner Bar; live music and dancing at Star Lounge; secluded Connoisseur Club; jazzy vibes in Viking Crown; The Diamond Club for the exclusive use of Diamond-level (and up) members of RCI's Crown and Anchor Society; and late-night parties with a DJ in Dizzy's.
Explorer of the Seas Bars and Lounges
With a huge selection of lounges and clubs of varying intimacy and style, Explorer of the Seas has a venue to appeal to every passenger.
Schooner Bar (Deck 4): Royal Caribbean's signature piano bar is a nautically themed space and the spot for cocktails, live music and trivia games.
The Tavern (Deck 4): This lively sports bar is fitted with large screens showing live sport, including NFL games, football, hockey and major sporting events.
Crown & Kettle (Deck 5): One of the most popular and eventful venues on Explorer, the Crown & Kettle resembles an old-fashioned English country pub and serves a variety of imported beers and ales.
Star Lounge (Deck 5): Star lounge (formerly Maharaja's Lounge) is a 350 capacity show lounge with a dance floor and its own full-service bar. It is an entertainment hub and the place for activities that include art auctions, karaoke, bingo and game shows.
Connoisseur Cigar Club (Deck 5): The quiet and secluded Connoisseur Cigar Club has the vibe of a sophisticated gentleman's club and is the only lounge bar where smoking is allowed onboard.
R-Bar (Deck 5): Royal Caribbean's signature cocktail bar (formerly the Champagne Bar) is an elegant bar with a sixties vibe; it's the place to go for classic handcrafted cocktails prepared by the ship's resident mixologist.
Concierge Club (Deck 9): This exclusive lounge and bar with concierge service offers hors d'oeuvres, petit fours and complimentary self-service drinks to passengers staying in Grand Suite-level rooms and higher, as well as Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club Crown & Anchor members.
Pool Bar (Deck 11): The Pool Bar serves beverages throughout the day alongside the main pool area.
The Solarium Bar (Deck 11): This bar is for passengers visiting the adults-only Solarium pool.
Sky Bar (Deck 12): The alfresco Sky Bar is a second bar area servicing the pool and sun deck areas.
Diamond Club (Deck 14): This signature 24-hour venue -- for use by Crown & Anchor members only -- is a full service bar, also serving Continental breakfast and hors d'oeuvres
Viking Crown (Deck 14): The spacious Viking Crown Lounge is an indoor observation lounge, which offers incredible vistas over the ocean by day and cocktails and music by night.
Dizzy's (Deck 14): The lounge and bar is an atmospheric jazz club with a dance floor and bandstand for live performances and dinner shows.
Explorer of the Seas Outside Recreation
Explorer is all about offering active travelers a smorgasbord of outdoor fun with loads of activities for every fitness level.
The ship's main pool area features two adjacent pools, two jumbo-size and two regular whirlpools, and stadium lounge seating. One interesting note: One of the pools and a whirlpool have hydraulic lifts for the disabled. The solarium pool is an adults-only area with a retractable glass roof making it possible to enjoy the pool and two whirlpools rain, hail or shine.
If you feel like running off a few of the calories from your buffet breakfast, there's a jogging track that loops around the sports deck. The track is split in half, with one half for joggers and the other half for walkers so you can go at a pace to suit your fitness.
There's Royal Caribbean's signature rock climbing wall that soars 75 feet above deck with different tracks for various experience levels. Or get your game on at the full-size sports court for basketball, volleyball, tennis and even cricket for Australian and British passengers. If you prefer a slower pace, the nine-hole miniature golf course might be more your thing.
The most exciting new addition to Explorer's outdoor line-up is the FlowRider Surf Simulator. Passengers can try stand-up surfing or opt for body boarding in the wave-shaped pool. Sessions are very popular so get in early or book a private lesson for a small surcharge.
There are two levels of sundecks and an abundance of adjustable loungers and deck chairs, though the area above and around the pool can be crowded. If you're after a little privacy, try the lounge areas at the bow or stern.
Explorer of the Seas Services
The shore excursion desk is located alongside guest services on Deck 5, and both offer friendly and efficient service.
The ship has been updated with the latest technology features, including shipwide WiFi and Digital Wayfinders to help passengers navigate around the ship. Portrait studios are located on decks 3, 4 and 5 and a new "print on demand" onboard photo service is available at the Focus Photo Gallery, where you can also stock up on those need-it-now camera accessories.
Cruisers can also make use of a well-stocked library on Deck 7, 24 hours a day; and the Skylight Chapel (at the highest point on the ship, on Deck 15) is a place for quite reflection.