Explorer of the Seas Review

4.5 / 5.0
2,038 reviews
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Editor Rating
4.5
Very Good
Overall
Aleney de Winter
Contributor

The second of five in the revolutionary Voyager-class series that started with Voyager of the Seas in 1999, Explorer of the Seas follows the floating resort concept, with a wealth of entertainment, facilities and activities that will appeal to every age group.

Some Explorer of the Seas’ most exciting attractions include the retrofitted Perfect Storm duo of water slides (Cyclone and Typhoon), each with three stories of twists and turns. There's also an ice-skating rink/concert venue/TV studio, spa/solarium complex, a shopping/dining/entertainment boulevard, 3D movie theater, and outdoor movie screen. A fitness center, outdoor jogging track and outdoor youth area with a rock-climbing wall, full-court basketball, nine-hole miniature golf and brand new FlowRider Surf Simulator offer active cruisers of all ages, from children to seniors, something to enjoy.

The Explorer of the Seas’ Deck Plan Allows for Easy Passenger Flow

Designing a huge cruise ship is never easy, but Explorer of the Seas’ deck plans are an improved version of Royal Caribbean’s older ships. The majority of cabins are located on stateroom-only decks, which allows for quiet nights. The decks that could be more problematic for light sleepers are decks 2, 3 and 6, as they are located below, above or adjacent to loud public spaces that get foot traffic until the wee small hours. Those, and a few aft cabins with obstructed views are the only rooms to avoid on Explorer of the Seas.

A clever layout feature of Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas is that restaurants are not all packed into one or two decks but spread out over multiple levels. This keeps crowds at peak times at a minimum -- though Explorer of the Seas has a capacity of 4,290 passengers, so expect to share space with a lot of people. 16 elevators help keep a nice flow of guests as well.

The Royal Promenade is the heart of Explorer of the Seas. You feel like you are in an upscale mall as you walk this longer-than-a-football-field and wider-than-three-lanes-of-traffic boulevard anchored by two atria that are marvels of marble and colossal sculpture. Diversions on the promenade include shops selling everything from ship's logo items, to cheap accessories and designer merchandise.

Despite all the Explorer of the Seas onboard activities, the ship has been out-sized and out-classed by the line's Freedom-class and Oasis-class ships. Still, it has plenty of solid selling points. Just note that while Royal Caribbean announced big changes to the ship in 2019, the Explorer of the Seas refurbishment was finally cancelled, meaning the ship is showing some age.

Pros

A wealth of facilities, activities and entertainment for every generation

Cons

The high passenger capacity means queuing is inevitable

Bottom Line

With a broad range of activities, Explorer has something for everyone, from active cruisers to families

About

Passengers: 3284
Crew: 1185
Passenger to Crew: 2.77:1
Launched: 2000
Shore Excursions: 769

Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

  • * Meals in the three main dining rooms and Windjammer Marketplace, as well as at Cafe Promenade; continental breakfast room service

  • Main theater shows

  • Most activities and events, except as noted below or in the daily schedule

  • Use of the ice-skating rink

  • Use of the fitness center, but not most classes

  • Use of the sports center, water slides, Flowrider surf simulator, Explorer Dunes mini-golf course and rock-climbing wall

  • Daily Adventure Ocean children’s programs.

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • · Daily gratuities (amounts vary depending on cabin category)

  • Auto-gratuities of 18 percent applied to salon, spa and beverage purchases, as well as most specialty dining reservations

  • Drinks excluding water, tea (including iced tea), coffee and selected juices from the Windjammer Marketplace buffet

  • Room Service (flat rate) except for continental breakfast

  • Most specialty dining

  • Most fitness classes and all treatments and services in the spa and salon

  • Sessions in the Escape Room

  • Activities like bingo, arts and crafts, arcade games, alcohol tastings and shopping events

  • Casino play

  • Late-night activities in the Adventure Ocean kids’ club

  • Shore excursions

  • Internet access; Explorer of the Seas Wi-Fi can be accessed by purchasing an internet package

  • Photos and artwork

Fellow Passengers

Royal Caribbean typically appeals to couples and singles in their 30s to 50s as well as families of all ages. The median age is in the low 40s on seven-night cruises and in the 30s on three-and four-night cruises. Passengers 50 to 55 and older tend to dominate 10-night and longer cruises. Royal Caribbean attracts passengers that are looking for an affordable, active vacation.

Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Dress Code

Daytime: During the day, dress is casual.

Evening: Evenings are either casual, smart casual or formal. On casual nights, suggested attire is sports shirts and slacks for men and sundresses or pants for women. On smart casual evenings, ideally men should don jacket and tie and women dresses and or pantsuits. On formal nights on Explorer of the Seas, men can opt for a tuxedo, though a simple sports coat and tie is becoming the norm, while women should wear cocktail dresses or gowns.

Not permitted: Shorts are not allowed at dinner, regardless of the venue (with the sole exception of the buffet).

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Royal Caribbean.

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More about Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas

Where does Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas sail from?

Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas departs from Miami, Barcelona, Piraeus, Piraeus, Laviron, Rome, Civitavecchia, and Port Canaveral

How much does it cost to go on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas?

Cruises on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas start from $283 per person.

Is Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas a good ship to cruise on?

Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas won 7 awards over the years.
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