After the Explorer of the Seas refurbishment in 2015, the biggest cruise ship ever to be based in Australia has something for everyone. Along with its new and improved stateroom concepts, upgraded ship-wide Wi-Fi, 3D cinemas, the boutiques and bars of the Royal Promenade, ice skating, and three new dining concepts, you'll find a rock-climbing wall, full-size basketball and sports court, plus the brand new FlowRider surf simulator for action outdoors. Here are our top Explorer of the Seas tips for making the most of your time on this buxom beauty.
Tip 1: Book a Room With a View
Explorer of the Seas' recent multimillion-dollar refurbishment included a refresh of all the ship's staterooms. As well as inside staterooms with a virtual view, Explorer of the Seas has added brand new staterooms on level 12. Private, quiet and fresh, the pick of the bunch is one of the new Panoramic Staterooms, which boast floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows. Best of all, they're just metres from the Vitality Spa, so you can make the most of your spa time.
Tip 2: Mix Up Your Meals
The buffet in Windjammer is extremely popular, but if you'd prefer a la carte service and no queues, breakfast and lunch are also served with open seating in the Sapphire Dining Room. If you're after a lighter meal skip the dining rooms altogether and pop into Cafe Promenade for really good pizza -- all day and into the night. The three new specialist dining concepts -- Izumi Japanese Cuisine, Chops Grille steakhouse and Giovanni's Table Italian Trattoria -- are so popular that it's advisable to make a reservation as soon as possible on the day of embarkations so you don't miss out on the signature dining experiences
Tip 3: Pamper Yourself
Make sure you spend an hour or several being pampered in Explorer's full-service Vitality spa. To get the most bang-for-your-spa buck, keep an eye out for daily spa specials that offer significant savings and bonus treatments -- especially on days when the ship is in port and demand for services is reduced.
Tip 4: Go Skating
Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line that offers ice skating at sea. Get inspired by the exceptional champion skaters as they wow guests during the incredible ice show in the 700-seat Studio B. Afterwards, show off your own moves, or lack thereof, during the public sessions. It pays to arrive at least 15 minutes before each session, as the ice rink is incredibly popular.
Tip 5: Get Your Game On
Judging by the popularity of the full-sized sports courts and constant stream of mini-golfers and rock-climbers, Explorer appeals to sporty passengers. But it is the new FlowRider that is creating the biggest waves. We found the best time to get a piece of the minigolf action was straight after breakfast, and to maximise your Flowrider fun, choose early sessions or port days when the crowds are smaller.