33 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

Remember this song ?There was no land in sight !!!! October 25th was quite a nice day to embark on our 11 night cruise to the Canaries I have been on this cruise many times and couldn't wait to sail. Embarkation was reasonable ... Read More
Remember this song ?There was no land in sight !!!! October 25th was quite a nice day to embark on our 11 night cruise to the Canaries I have been on this cruise many times and couldn't wait to sail. Embarkation was reasonable but being Diamond does not seem to have that preferential treatment it used to ....sadly . Once onboard we were able to go straight to the cabin which was one of the last two available as we only booked three days prior to sailing at a great price too I hasten to add, an inside cabin on deck 8. Off we sailed and we were nowhere near the Bay of Biscay before we heard the most awful crashing at the front of the ship which was apparently the waves ! The ship was pretty rocky and there were several falls and lots of sickness all of which I have never witnessed before . The Captain informed us the weather was bad but would settle down which it eventually did a day later lol We ate in the main dining room svereal times but we were the only people on a table of six there were lots of tables likes this and despite asking to sit with others it was never granted so we decided to eat at at the Windjammer instead, The food was very good I especially enjoyed the curries and seafood of which their was plenty . The entertainment was not very good at all and sadly the cruise director not much better he gave you no incentive to put the tv on and find out what was happening .The only entertainer who drew crowds every night was Perry Grant he sang in the Schooner bar and he was my reason for going on this cruise this was the third time I had seen him in a year .The bar was packed and it was standing room only every night The audience participation was second to none on this cruise it was hilarious . After we had visited Madeira, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria the weather had started to take a turn for the worse for our route home and apparently we would approach four storms ,after a lot of confusing hearsay we were told that we would not be visiting Vigo nor La coruna and in fact we would be spending four extra days onboard to avoid the storms . We reached Lanzarote (theres a great zara in Lanzarote ) and some people disembarked , obviously this change of itinerary affeceted lots of people in many ways either children not being able to return to school and people waiting to have surgery that they could not rebook as they did not know how long before it would be rescheduled and some people just desperately wanting to get back to ther own businesses . Eventually the ship sailed and the Captain announced that we would now be stopping at Malaga for two days then a further two days in Lisbon ,I for one was elated I love Malaga, and Lisbons Antiques and general market was due to be held on the day we arrived (Tuesday ). The weather In Malaga was quite windy and there were several ships in port it was very busy the market was on but it was a thouroughly enjoyable stop,again some passengers disembarked and I admit to being scared regarding the seas as we sailed away . We arrived In Lisbon and it was cloudy with a few showers The market was great as you look from the ship its behind The Dome to your right so not far and I took a 10 euro tuk tuk there and walked back down the hill . As we sailed away from Lisbon we heard that our Captain had in fact given up his own vacation to keep us safe which I think is to be admired . People were apprehensive mainly because we had experienced such bad weatther on the way out ,We did feel more movement and I believe that peoples cabins were changed away from the front , we never felt a thing in our cabin as it was inside and midship .some people stayed in their rooms as they were unable stand up due to the movement and sickness and some people slept on the sofas on deck 11 as they felt the fresh air helped . Miraculously we avoided the worst of the four storms and reached Southampton late on the Thursday evening and started disemabarking about 20.30 . The passengers that left the shipprior to Southampton were offered £300 each as compensation to get home and I managed to claim on my travel insurance for delay and received £200.Passengers that had the drink package had to pay their own for the extra four days which was not appreciated by some .Unfortunately The Explorer was due to commence a Transartlantic Cruise and this itinerary was also changed they missed all the ports bar one and also lost four days so I believe lots cancelled .I will think twice before booking October and November in future as things could have been far worse but thanks to our Captain this time they were not . Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I choose cruises (after more than 40 throughout the years) mainly for the itinerary. I used many lines, some extinct by now, and Royal Caribbean never disappointed me (actually except one line, MSC, truly disappointed me). We departed from ... Read More
I choose cruises (after more than 40 throughout the years) mainly for the itinerary. I used many lines, some extinct by now, and Royal Caribbean never disappointed me (actually except one line, MSC, truly disappointed me). We departed from Southampton, embarkation was easy, with plenty of Staff to make you feel you are a wanted passenger from then on. The ship is large, but has many venues, and the food and service were very good. Wine service at the restaurant prompt, with large variety and prices of wines of the world. Unfinished bottles are kept and if you switch restaurantes the unfinished bottles are readily available for your lunch or dinner. Breakfast has a large variety, I was particularly surprised by a favorite of mine: smoked salmon of the first quality and presented in enormous plates with all the complements side by side. The cabin Staff perfect. The restaurants Staff idem.Japanese restaurant: first quality food and service, can compete with any Japanese gourmet around the world. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Just got back from our first ever cruise and I dont think I could go back to a "normal" holiday. Absolutely amazing! Ship was amazing and staff were so attentive. Bars got very full at night and not enough seats but that's ... Read More
Just got back from our first ever cruise and I dont think I could go back to a "normal" holiday. Absolutely amazing! Ship was amazing and staff were so attentive. Bars got very full at night and not enough seats but that's the only thing I can honestly moan about. Entertainment was excellent and the cocktails!!! We only ate in the main areas so cant comment except Johnny rockets which for the price is a must! Absolutely amazing holiday and highly recommend! Excellent cruise for kids. My daughter loved it (6) Son is 2 so no kids club for him but staff were very accommodating and entertaining. My kids left feeling like royalty! So many different cocktails to choose from. Would definitely recommend buying the deluxe package. We were hesitant but ended up saving a lot of money. Photos were good and a reasonable price! Just waiting for ours to be delivered. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Love Royal Carribean and have travelled with them a couple of times. We travelled with 2 other couples who have never cruised before. Arrival at port and onto boat was very quick. As soon as we got on the ship our friends were amazed. ... Read More
Love Royal Carribean and have travelled with them a couple of times. We travelled with 2 other couples who have never cruised before. Arrival at port and onto boat was very quick. As soon as we got on the ship our friends were amazed. We had a full drinks package and all premium drinks and cocktails included and we definately made rhe most of it. Food was unbelievable as always and thought i was going to have to be rolled off when we arrived home. We picked the Canaries as we thought the weather would have been good at this time but a bit dissapointing (obviously nothing could have been done about that). Arrival at all ports was easy to get off abd back on. The only port that disappointed was Gran Canaria we arrived at port and nothing was opened so couldnt really do much. The only disappointment we had with the ship was the entertainment. We sold it to our friends as top class (as it had been kn previosly ships). I have never been on a cruise were the theatre shows were so poor that people were walking out. Take that tribute band had the place rocking and the Frankie vali and 4 seasons tribute were great but 2 nights out of 10 isnt enough. To put a cruise director on as a main act and a movie which was then shown outside was a joke. The entertainment was more like i would expect to see on a budget holiday not a cruise and a number of people commented on this. All in all however we had a great time and would definately return to Royal Carribean but not on the Explorer of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Be careful when going into ports with Royal Caribbean they try and charge you for shuttle service. Ours was $9 per person to go to the edge of city centre. When we got off the ship, the local taxis charge 2.50 euros. The bar prices are ... Read More
Be careful when going into ports with Royal Caribbean they try and charge you for shuttle service. Ours was $9 per person to go to the edge of city centre. When we got off the ship, the local taxis charge 2.50 euros. The bar prices are also so high and sometimes the packages are not worth it. Also Do you research on the ports before you go. 3 of our ports were rubbish, nothing to do and just a normal town, might as well of stopped at home. Also one of the days the entire island was closed. Nothing was open. Yet they still try and push for an excursion to visit the old town where the main shopping centre is open, but the shops inside it weren’t. The entertainment team singers. (Chris & Vanessa) were superb, the best I’ve ever heard on any stage. WOW. The dancers were a little messy, but redeemed by the ballroom couple. The headliner guest acts were awful. The Frankie valli tribute sounded like Orville the Duck. He was also very weak and on occasion out of tune. The take that tribute were not bad. But let down badley by the guy playing Gary Barlow. He was not good. Cringe worthy. The food in the windjammer was excellent. The cabin steward was also excellent. The cruise director (Graeme) was so funny, made the cruise. Just wished he would walk around the ship more. The TV and stations needs looking at. Need to offer more choice. Also some areas around the ship are very cold. I would suggest for everyone to take a cardigan or ask the ship to make it less cold. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Our cruise out of Southampton was below my expectations. Fortunately, the Canary Islands, Madeira and Azores balanced out a somewhat lackluster Vigo, Spain and Bilbao, Spain. The problem was not the ports however but rather the Explorer ... Read More
Our cruise out of Southampton was below my expectations. Fortunately, the Canary Islands, Madeira and Azores balanced out a somewhat lackluster Vigo, Spain and Bilbao, Spain. The problem was not the ports however but rather the Explorer itself. It was overcrowded with nary a seat to be had during evening hours at any of the lounges. And, because there was such an overcrowding, the Schooner was used for trivia and other games during cocktail time, which eliminated any attempts to have conversation. During the day it was impossible to find a seat at a table on the promenade. Forget about getting a chair on any of the sun decks. Passengers claimed their chair for the day and staked it out with towels or friends saving them. I didn't use Windjammer, but imagine it was a madhouse most days. The main dining room was quite pleasant, although the food selection was boring on some days. As a non-meat eater, selections were limited by my choice, but some of the fish was awful. Very chewy and obviously frozen. The cod was especially horrible. Whoever writes the menus are creative in their descriptions, but not accurate. Luckily, the staff were wonderful and always had vegetables for me. The entertainment was second rate other than the ice show and Livewire. Karaoke was popular and well attended. The smoking in the casino was totally out of control. In order to get to the Palace Theater, one has to go through the casino. For non-smokers, it is so smoky that you can choke. And, instead of adhering to their own rules, the casino workers allowed smoking throughout the casino, instead of a designated area. It was so bad that if you were near the steps on the promenade it wafted up and was annoying. I was in a junior suite and when I came onboard, I didn't have any shampoos or excursions tickets. There was no information greeting me as I expected. I shouldn't have to complain about something so basic. Shopping was lackluster. I have traveled on other cruise lines such as Princess and they have always had local crafts and items available when traveling to a specific port. When we went to St. Petersberg we had icons and nesting dolls, Poland we were able to purchase amber. When traveling though the Greek Islands we were offered packaged local delicacies. The selections were not creative and the same throughout the cruise. HoHum. Boring. Didn't make me want to spend any money, how much perfume or Invicta watches can one person use? The selection of excursions was limited. When an excursion at Vigo was canceled, it was impossible to choose another one. When cruising through the Caribbean one expects to have limited selection beyond the beaches, but not in Europe. There should be more of an effort to offer some variety in every port. The meeting place for all excursions was the ice skating rink. It was miserable cold and we had to wait for sometimes half an hour or more. Why not meet in Palace Theater? It was very disorganized and ill-run. The guides were not able to control some of the groups and some of us didn't even know what to do because of lack of clear direction. My husband and I have never experienced these problems on any other Royal ship. In fact, we sailed Radiance through Alaska in June and had a wonderful experience and have been on other ships through the fleet without this level of complaint. I am returning to Celebrity for the next two cruises. Hopefully they won't disappoint inasmuch as it is the same umbrella fleet. It will take a really interesting itinerary for me to return to Royal any time soon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
14 Night Cruise on the Explorer of the Seas September 2015 A little apprehension kicked in when for ecological reasons you print your own luggage tags, forgive me but to get four it took four sheets of paper instead of the eight you ... Read More
14 Night Cruise on the Explorer of the Seas September 2015 A little apprehension kicked in when for ecological reasons you print your own luggage tags, forgive me but to get four it took four sheets of paper instead of the eight you used to get on a single A4 sheet, methinks that it is for economical not ecological reasons. The last time we sailed with Royal Caribbean was in 2011, and then these were printed for you We looked forward to this cruise and on first impressions the ship is beautiful. Sailing out of Southampton, Royal Caribbean seem to have tailored thing to the European style with tea and coffee making facilities in your cabins. The food service on the first night was acceptable, but the drinks service was well below standard, at the end of the meal when the head waiter came round asking if everything was OK he was told in no uncertain terms that it was not, after this we were served expertly by the food and beverage staff. Unlike most cruise ships on the pool deck the beverage staff are not continually trying to get you to purchase a drink but seem reluctant to circulate, it appears to save money staff have been reduced, as well as the chocolates on you pillow. The ship is acceptable and the staff are friendly and approachable, very professional. Royal Caribbean have a couple of policies, these must have been introduced since 2011, which step back to the last century, firstly the smoking areas externally state pool deck starboard side, however some people smoke in non smoking areas, and when questioned suggest you move. People who partake of e-cigarettes are informed that they can only Vape in designated smoking areas,THIS IS WHOLLY IGNORED AND NOT POLICED AT ALL The second ancient policy is regarding bringing alcohol on board, all alcohol has to be surrendered on returning to the ship, even if you have a drinks package why, because you have already paid for any alcohol why would I buy more other than to take it home. On board there is a connoisseur cigar club as a designated smoking area, and 50 meters away the biggest mistake, the casino, which has a smoking and non smoking section, the smoking section is allegedly for gamers only, it says so in the daily literature, in reality this is the gathering area for those who smoke, they chose to ignore the non smoking area and put ashtrays over the no smoking signs. Due to the design of the ship this opens the whole of the Royal promenade to getting anything from zephyrs of smoke to full range smog, making the whole central area smell like an old ashtray. We were offered complimentary laundry for some items of clothing, and the manager of the casino promised his staff would be more vigilant, this was not obvious to us. Complaining to the Crown and Anchor loyalty ambassador was a complete waste of time, I realised why, after she admitted to being a smoker herself. Complaint to future cruise sales team asking to cancel an earlier booking, received possibly the worse customer service we have ever had, with fierce pro smoking and the comment "the majority of Royal Caribbean cruisers smoke" talking to her manager sorted things out and hopefully she will be on a putting the customer first course. The daily newspapers were only produced for the first week and when asked something had gone wrong but no further information was supplied, not good on a ship that had a major refit earlier this year. The entertainment staff were very professional and great fun, always ensuring that the events they ran were as enjoyable as they could be. Some of the shows were acceptable, some amateur and some very poor obvious cost cutting here. There are four ‘Speciality Restaurants’ on board Jonny Rockets a 50’s style burger joint, this was acceptable, worth the $6.95pp cover charge, it was empty most of the time as people are reluctant to pay. Uzumi A Japanese style restaurant with a very confusing pricing structure, we decided to avoid this. Giovanni’s Table- This was the pick of the bunch with a one off cover charge, however even with RCI’s ultimate drinks package it was impossible to get a glass of red wine in the pricing policy, this was due to it being out of stock, and us having to dig our heels in and insisting the staff to go and get one. Again we feel this is due to cost cutting taking effect. Chopp’s Grill A cover charge to eat here, but if you require the best air dried steak or the lobster then you are asked to pay again on top of the cover charge, DISGUSTING RIP OFF and even more evidence of cost cutting. Royal Caribbean have also removed lobster as a main in the Sapphire Dining room unless you are prepared to pay over $30, again the cost cutting is showing through. It appears that Royal Caribbean have a new sponsor in British American Tobacco and should rename the ships the Ashtrays of the seas, and as this policy is fleet wide, and not widely printed on their glossy website, people should be made well aware of this. The cost cutting has taken such an effect that quality on board has dropped to an unacceptable level, the coffee is the most disgusting I have ever tasted. We will not sail with them until they make the interior of the ship non smoking, apart from the cigar lounge, which you can choose to avoid. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I’m a regular on RCL and normally travel on my own in a GS grade suite. I would very much agree with nearly all reviewers that embarkation could not get any smoother. The agents that run the service for RCL are first rate. I boarded ... Read More
I’m a regular on RCL and normally travel on my own in a GS grade suite. I would very much agree with nearly all reviewers that embarkation could not get any smoother. The agents that run the service for RCL are first rate. I boarded at about 2.00pm and was in my cabin within 15 minutes. The usual extras were there including a new brand of coffee supplied I think by Starbucks. Plenty of fruit and some complimentary bottles of water. It was just as I expected. There were a choice of restaurants on board. Giovanies, Izumi’s and Chops. I ate in Giovanies several times over the next two weeks and I couldn’t fault them. It’s when they greet you by name that you know that they pay attention to detail. With the restaurant manager insisting I try a new sweet as I was leaving one night. Chops was a total waste of money. Having paid $30 excess for dining there I was charged another $21 for a “Surf and Turf” which included lobster. This wouldn’t have been too bad except that the lobster consisted of two bites of white meat plus a reasonable steak. But then to want to charge you $8 for a coffee was just too much. I cancelled my remaining reservations. Then they charged me a cancellation fee (or tried to). Just not good enough. I guess as a profit centre they were not earning the bucks. The food and service in the MDR was quite acceptable. But I still wish they had silver service. One day the Americans will learn that there are other types of potato than mash. I also noticed that the number of men wearing dinner jackets was on the wane. The entertainment was better than average with several decent shows plus a tribute act. However the magician was hopeless and I missed the hypnotist. Plenty of room in the theatre and the reserved seating worked well. Worth additional mention was the ice show which was par excellence. In fact this was so popular that entry was staggered according to lifeboat stations. The parades in the main shopping area were well presented with an enthusiastic cruise director. Moving onto the shops there was as usual plenty for sale and RCL have cut down the tables lining the centre of the prom. Cigars were overpriced and I could have bought cheaper in the UK tax paid. I do wish that RCL wouldn’t take us all as fools announcing all products were tax and duty free. This might have been so but what they didn’t say was that they had increased their mark up accordingly. There seem to have been a considerable amount of complaints regarding seating. Although RCL have done away with one “nite spot” increasing cabins accordingly (more revenue) and a new specialty restaurant (yet more revenue). There was difficulty in finding spare seats for two or more people, and the extra two hundred plus people has certainly not eased seat availability. In fact overall guest space has been reduced and revenue raising areas increased. Prices in the bars was as excessive as ever with a Pinot Grigio priced at $9. A lager was $7. The ports chosen by the company were very acceptable other than Bilbao which is just a glorified port. I can thoroughly recommend The Azores which is administered by Portugal. A first rate island that deserves more visits. A two night stopover in Madeira was well worth the extra time. It gave cruisers the chance to explore the night life. Wifi was a bone of contention. As part of my package I was allowed one full (24 hours) of free Wifi. I’m glad that I didn’t buy the package priced at some $20 per day. The speed was so slow it hardly registered on my Nexus. My terminal came up with 0.27m per second. This so slow it took 5 minutes to download a lengthy email. Video was impossible. RCI really need to upgrade this service. Even the switchboard operator had the authority to credit dissatisfied guests. I could only get my copy of The Times on a couple of occasions. To put this into context I could catch up on the BBC iplayer whilst I was on the coach going home. No problems with a speed of 25mg per second. Being in a suite plus being a Diamond member of the Crown and Anchor program, I could use the Concierge Lounge from 5.00pm to 8.30pm (with free drinks). as a lounge to meet with fellow guests. I guess that there was seating for about 50 people. Unfortunately for me was that Crown an Anchor members with the status of Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle were also allowed in. The aforesaid members have their own Diamond Lounge on another deck. This is quite large and could accommodate 150 people. I understand that there were 13 Pinnacle members on board. With greatest of respect to Diamond and grades above, clients in Suites have paid many thousands of pounds for their onboard status and quite rightly expect to be able gain a seat when in the lounge. My suggestion is that RCL only allow into the Concierge Lounge guests with suite status. The present situation only devalues the value of the lounge. It was also noticeable that the lounge concierge did not check any of the gold passes for entry with their guests (or children under 18) If the door opened with your card - then you and your party were allowed access regardless of their status. As I had no children with me, I am not in a position to comment on their facilities. I would say though that there were less than a dozen children onboard. There were no zip wires, no bumper cars or air tunnels on this ship - although a wave rider had been added during the refit - not that I would have taken advantage anyway. Overall the ship fulfilled my expectations, but as always there is room for improvement. However, I’m back with P&O next year. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Having been on IOS two years ago, we booked this cruise knowing that the Explorer was a "sister" ship, with all the same facilities and layout. This Cruise was also visiting many Ports that we had never been to before. We choose ... Read More
Having been on IOS two years ago, we booked this cruise knowing that the Explorer was a "sister" ship, with all the same facilities and layout. This Cruise was also visiting many Ports that we had never been to before. We choose a Stateroom with Balcony on Deck Seven (7272). At the outset I must say that we found neither outstanding nor awful aspects though some were better than others. Embarkation was fairly quick and with a short stop to upgrade our complementary "Drink Package", we were in our stateroom within half an hour of arrival from Eastleigh Airport. Similarly, Disembarkation was also really straightforward and well managed and luggage easily found with the numbering system. (Pity our pre-arranged taxi (O.T.S) didn't turn up, causing anxiety on getting to airport for flight home) The Stateroom was fairly compact but with adequate space for clothes. Queen size bed took up most of the room, along with a two seater couch. The bed mattress was rather firm and may not suit everyone. The Shower room/Toilet area was also fairly small, though the shower did have sliding doors rather than a curtain. The room was maintained to a good standard by our steward, who seemed to know when we were leaving, morning and night, as he was always outside the door. He kept us entertained by the towel animals, when changing the towels daily, though shower gel was not replaced. We took all our meals in the Windjammer Buffet, more for speed than anything else , as we had a busy schedule of events. There was always plenty of choices in various styles of cuisine. We never found any need to queue for a table and although there were busy times, again we never had any problems in finding what we wished to eat. Breakfast had all the normal aspects, with a dedicated grill for either fried eggs or omelettes to your requirements. Lunch and dinner were a mixture of many cuisines and all were well cooked and always hot. Trays were replenished immediately. The Main Dining Room had the normal timed serving along with "Mytime". You could also use, at extra costs, the "Speciallty" Restaurants of Chops Grill. Giovanni's Table, Izumi and Johnny Rockets Burger bar, along with Starbucks Special Coffees and Ben and Jerry's Ice Creams. The entertainment was split between the RCI Team and Professional acts. The day time activities ranged from quizzes, wall climbing, Flowrider to Seminars on various subjects including the Ports of Call and Art Auctions. For those who said that the RCI Team didn't put much effort into the activities obviously did not have Kevin, Amy or Katie with them. They made every activity, especially the "Quizzes" something special and hilarious with their "pronunciations" whilst taking it all in good spirit. The Pool side entertainment was a Caribbean group, "Belly Flop" competition, Water Volleyball and films on the "Big Screen". The various lounges had their own type of entertainment, with pianist in the Schooner Bar, Singer Guitarist in the "Crown and Kettle" Pub The Showtime acts in the Theatre were all well appreciated with full houses and ranged from Bohemians (Queen Tribute), Comedian Andy Watkins (could be funnier !), Julie Maguire and Jacqui Scott singing songs from Musicals (different nights), Juggler Pete Matthews (more juggling less running around as if breathless), Livewire a musical duo on guitar and fiddle (excellent show), Magician Martin Brock (more adept for close up rather than stage magic), Hypnotist David Knight (took 30 minutes of 45 minute show to get started), Westcoast a Beach boys tribute, BMX Acrobat Rob Alton and two Song/Dance shows by the RCI Entertainment Team. The PORTS of CALL included VIGO a nice town but rather hilly to reach town centre; ARRICEFE in Lanzerote with still a long walk to town centre from bus drop off point; SANTA CRUZ in Tenerife again a bus ride to town, though short free shuttle took you to outskirts of town; Overnight in FUNCHAL, Madeira which is well worth the visit for Architecture, Open Top Bus Tour and the Cable Car to the top of Monte and ride back down on the Funchal Toboggan; PONTE DELGADO, Azores which is really only a walk from port to town but not much to see or do; BILBAO a 12 Km bus to town from Getxo Port and is really a sightseeing tour for architecture and expensive shopping. All ports had organized tours but at a fairly expensive costs. Other main points of note through the Cruise included Captain Rick Sullivan's midday report in his "dry wit" giving ship's position and not knowing nautical terms, weather report, speed to next port, where he will be eating at night and selling of products around ship, There was the normal "Reserving" of sunbeds on "sea days" especially in the Solarium Pool area where the better sunbeds are found. One deck up there were still plenty to be found. The ship's "Smoking Policy" restricted people to the Starboard on certain decks,the Connoisseur Cigar Lounge and a part of Casino. However stale smoke has no way of telling boundaries and the smell drifted to many other parts of the ship, whilst creating a "fog" in that part of the Casino. The shops and stalls on the Royal Promenade were well stocked and had fairly competitive prices, whilst the Promenade Cafe served Coffee, sandwiches and sweet treats on a 24 hour basis, so good for early morning coffee or late night snack. All in all an enjoyable cruise where we met like minded people, visited new places, though might not return to some, enjoyed the entertainment, won some quizzes, though the Schooner Bar became very crowded during the quizzes, and never found any problems with meal times. Finally, one special mention for a staff member by name. ANCA BOUDAIN in the Schooner Bar is by far the outstanding member of RCI Staff. Within one visit to the bar she knew our name, our preference of drink at any particular time of day and always had a smile and time for a quick word asking how we were and what we had done. I'm sure she did this with many other people and deserves all the plaudits around. Always doing something but never looking harassed. A note to RCI Management, a PROMOTION to Bar Manager would not be out of the question but an enhancement to your Staff. By now this Review will only be appropriate for those taking a Far East or Australian Cruise as the Explorer Of The Seas is on its way to the Far East and Australia for the winter season. Thanks for reading this and hope it helps in deciding whether to cruise with RCI and the Explorer Of The Sea. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Embarkation at approximately 1.00pm was quick and easy. From arrival in the City Cruise Terminal to entering our stateroom took approximately 15 minutes. Having checked in on-line prior to the holiday probably helped speed the ... Read More
Embarkation at approximately 1.00pm was quick and easy. From arrival in the City Cruise Terminal to entering our stateroom took approximately 15 minutes. Having checked in on-line prior to the holiday probably helped speed the process. Disembarkation was just as easy and quick. We had opted to carry our own luggage off the ship and had an early departure at 6.15 am as soon as the gangways were in place and were out of the terminal by 6.20! Travellers should note that the RCI gangways meet the cruise terminal at first floor level and to get to the ground floor you have 2 very slow lifts and an escalator – an obvious congestion area during busy departure times for those struggling with 2/3 heavy cases! Our first impressions of the Explorer were good . Some recent reviews were critical describing the ship as tired despite the 2015 refurbishment. That was not our impression. We thought everything was immaculate and spotlessly clean. The new interactive information panels on each deck were great and provided instant information on what was on and where and how to get there. The Saphire Dining Room which is three decks high is impressive with excellent furniture, fine cutlery and china. All the public areas, bars and the Windjammer buffet room were well appointed and well laid out. The toilets were always immaculately clean. The Palace Theatre is excellent with good sight lines, Studio B - the ice rink - was another impressive venue. We had a promenade stateroom [6605] on Deck 6 with a bow window that overlooked the Grand Promenade on Deck 5. We thought it might suffer from noise from the Promenade but the room was well insulated and there was no disturbance. The window seat was a good vantage point even though we were away from the centre of the Promenade The cabin was well equipped with a flat screen tv, tea and coffee making facilities, excellent king size bed, plenty of storage space, dressing table and a double seat sofa. The shower was excellent, piping hot water at all times, with a glass door - not curtains, and fine 100% Egyptian cotton bath towels. Towards the end of the cruise our shower developed a fault but was back in full working order in less than an hour after a telephone call to ‘Maintenance’. Full marks to RCI. The ship was full and had about 1,000 children on board but much to our surprise we had no problems finding seats in bars and other public areas. The loungers around the pools on deck were invariably full or reserved by selfish travellers who seldom occupied them. Unfortunately this was not policed by the staff. However we always found loungers or seats in lovely sunny locations a short walk away towards the stern or near the Flowrider. Dining in the Saphire main dining room was a pleasure. The venue is impressive and on three levels. Deck 5 was reserved for Mytime dining which meant you could dine at any time between 5.30pm and 9.00pm whilst decks 4 and 3 were for those on fixed dinner times. This was our first experience of Mytime dining and to ensure an early dining time we had booked on-line for 6.00pm. We presented ourselves on the first evening at that time and were taken immediately to a table for two. This table was reserved for us for the rest of the cruise so we were served by the same waiter and assistant just as if we were on a fixed dining time. The food and the choice in the Saphire was excellent and though we had planned to dine in one of the speciality restaurants we were happy to stay in the Saphire for the whole cruise. We also breakfasted and lunched a la carte [ Brasserie 30] in the Saphire and cannot fault the service, choice or the quality of the food. We thought it better than on P&O. The wine as usual was overpriced but when you’re on holiday………!! Our only other gripe was the quality of the coffee served on board. Even after paying extra for what was described as cappuccino it proved no better. In fact the biggest downside of the cruise for us was the absence of a proper coffee shop. Apart from the Windjammer the only venue was the Promenade Cafe which served Starbucks coffee in cardboard cups! This was the first cruise ship we have been on which did not have a nice coffee shop. Our only visits to the Windjammer were for afternoon tea or a quick snack after arriving back on ship after being ashore. We thought the buffet well planned and laid out and were happy with what was on offer. We were pleasantly surprised by the standard of dress in the Saphire with something like 90% of diners on the three formal evenings abiding by the dress code. Ladies were particularly well dressed but sadly a small minority of men opted for short sleeved shirts and one or two dined in flip flops and shorts! Unfortunately it appears that RCI have adopted a policy of turning a blind eye to their declared dress code and one is left to wonder how long it will be before formal evenings disappear from some cruise lines. On the other hand we did witness one brave member of staff refuse entry to a bare chested man to the Windjammer buffet but that was the only enforcement of the dress code that we saw. We were disappointed with the entertainment on offer in the theatre. There were only three full production shows featuring the orchestra, dancers and singers during the 10 night cruise. These fell well below the standard we have enjoyed on our three last cruises with P&O. The other evenings were taken up by solo performers – a singer and a comedian again of not a particularly high standard. However a ventriloquist did have a very funny act and the family of violinists were impressive. The most enjoyable entertainment for us was the ice show which was excellent. An added bonus for Crown and Anchor members was an invitation to the Captain’s reception and another ‘private’ ice show in ice rink. A minor irritant was the high noise levels in the theatre and the Grand Promenade discos. Our itinerary included Madeira, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Vigo. Unfortunately it was not the best planned itinerary principally because of the short stays in some of the stops. Having taken two and a half days to reach Madeira which is a beautiful island the time ashore was limited to some 5 hours just enough time for a coffee and a glass of wine. Time was also at a premium in Tenerife. We opted to take the ship’s bus ride to Puerto de la Cruz a lovely 40 minute ride away but which left just two hours in the resort before heading back to the ship. Gran Canaria on the other hand was the only full day [10 hours] in port. We opted to do our own thing and took the hop on hop off bus tour of what turned out to be a disappointing city. The visits to Lanzarote and Vigo were also limited to a morning and an afternoon respectively. Both were attractive locations particularly Vigo with its bustling fish restaurants. Any prospective travellers opting for a similar itinerary should consider opting for out of port excursions particularly in Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote but beware cruise line excursions [and shuttles] can seriously damage your finances. Overall, it was a lovely and leisurely cruise which my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed. The ship is in fine shape, our stateroom was delightful and well placed close to the Grand Promenade and the Saphire dining room. The food and service in the Saphire was excellent and we only have praise for the friendly and efficient staff of the Explorer of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My wife and I travelled to Southampton from Essex with our daughter and husband and their little girl aged 2 1/2 on The Explorer of the Seas. We arrived about 11.30 and were pointed in the direction of the car park. Our bags were collected ... Read More
My wife and I travelled to Southampton from Essex with our daughter and husband and their little girl aged 2 1/2 on The Explorer of the Seas. We arrived about 11.30 and were pointed in the direction of the car park. Our bags were collected off us and put into a van and we had a couple of minutes walk to the terminal. We were through check-in and on board by 12.15, really easy and no real queuing. The Explorer is a large ship and was fully booked for the trip to the Canary Islands this included about 960 children. After reading various bad reviews about the Explorer I must say I had some concerns but I am of the opinion that these people must have been on a different cruise ship! Overall you could not have told that this was a 15 year old ship.There were new carpets throughout the ship and everywhere was kept clean. Our first day out across the Bay of Biscay was fairly rough and windy so not many people on deck (plenty of room round the pool!] so was pretty busy inside so if you have bad weather you must expect this. After the first day weather changed and became calmer and warmer and that's when it becomes really crowded around the pool, not easy to get a lounger and although they say about removing towels it is not a practical operation. Having said that there are plenty of places to find a lounger, on top of where the new cabins were put is a large area and also a lot quieter than round the pool and on deck 4 where you can walk right round the ship. We ate most of our meals in the Windjammer because with a toddler it is easier than the MDR. Found the selection of foods well varied and probably aimed more toward U.K voyagers but still an interesting mix. Seating which seems to have been a big problem for some people according to reviews is no hassle if you time it right. If you are there for breakfast around 8 am plenty of space, same with lunch go a little bit earlier and also evening meal. We used to go in about 6.45 and hardly anyone there.Cannot really comment on MDR as we only ate there once but menus varied. The entertainment on the ship is varied and what appeals to some will not to others you just have to pick and choose. The Headliner acts, we saw two, the Queen tribute band and the ventriloquist were both excellent and whatever you do do not miss the ice show as that is brilliant. For the kids they have a club for 3 year olds and above which must have been well used for despite there being so many children on board you would not have realised it. For children under 3 there is a playroom in the Conference centre which is not supervised, so you must be with your children, which has a varied selection of toys for the kids to play with. Kept our granddaughter amused anyway. We were slightly disappointed that they took the pool away at the back of the ship to make way for the Flowrider but we were still able to take her in the hot tubs at the main pool [they must be potty trained] A lot of kids at the pools and in the hottubs as you would expect but they do keep one tub for adults and also there are two in the Solarium and one in the gym for adults as well as the pool in the Solarium. Service on the ship was excellent, very friendly from all staff. washy washy's at Windjammer a blast always funny. waiters in Windjammer very good always making a fuss of our granddaughter, I think they miss their own children. They work hard and give them respect and they will return it, unfortunately some people treated them not as people but as servants which I didn't think was very nice. The other venues on the ship do get crowded at night and seating is limited but it is no different to a busy pub or club but nobody had to wait long for a drink. don't know where these queues for drinks came from. Excursions. Madeira we just had shuttle into town, o.k nothing special although the excursions looked alright. Tenerife. We had transfer to the beach which was fantastic, lovely sand crystal clear water and beautiful scenery. Gran Canaria. Loved it. Walk of the ship into town,lots of shops and 10 minute walk through town to fantastic beach and promenade. Lanzarote. Went on trip to Aloe Vera farm and and underground volcanic pool, very good. Vigo. Our trip had to be cancelled so walked into town 2 minutes. Loads of shops really nice place. Most of the excursions were expensive, not sure that you would get value for money on some, so need to pick and choose. Lastly our room steward Chris was great, been away from home for seven months and has two children, looked after us and my daughter and grandchild. Should only have towel animal every other day but he and one of the other stewards were leaving them once or twice a day for my granddaughter which was very nice. Always friendly and smiling,not easy sometimes I would imagine. Arrival back at Southampton. Left cases out night before. Told to be in our designated waiting area by 7.30[we chose 8-9 am disembarkation] and were called straight away and off the ship and through customs by 7.50, a breeze. Hope I've covered most things but will happily answer any questions.We had a great time, some things were not to our taste but then we are all different but I cannot fault RCI for there efforts and would recommend. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Just returned from a ten night cruise around the Canary Islands on the Explorer of the Seas....we could not wait to get home! We have sailed previous with Disney who were fabulous....RC don't even come close. First of all, ... Read More
Just returned from a ten night cruise around the Canary Islands on the Explorer of the Seas....we could not wait to get home! We have sailed previous with Disney who were fabulous....RC don't even come close. First of all, embarking at Southampton was superb, no complaints or issues at all. From parking the car, to actually setting foot on the ship took less than 30 mins. It's from there that it starts to go downhill.....fast. It took the majority of the day to receive our luggage even though we were allowed to enter our cabin from 1pm onwards. I'd advise future passengers to carry the necessities in a hold-all etc just in case this is the norm. It was very frustrating. We'd arranged weeks prior to our holiday for a birthday cake to be in our stateroom when we arrived. This didn't happen. After a long wait at Customer Services we finally received it well into the evening. Customer Service staff are very helpful and polite by the way. The ship is spotless....our cabin was clean and comfortable but for people who haven't sailed before, inside staterooms aren't the biggest! The entertainment was a huge let down. Very very disappointing. The main shows were just amateur, unlike the shows on Disney that could have slotted in on the WestEnd easily. The ice show was very good and it was a shame more shows can't be done, especially for the children. At the start of our voyage there were quizzes being held in the Star Lounge....quite a large venue on the ship...but as the days passed the quizzes were transferred to small bars around the ship. Why!? The bars could only seat 30-40 people! What's the point! Food. Oh dear! Not good! The Windjammer is just a place of chaos! There is no order when queing for food, tables....the food itself is very samey, rather bland.... I understand why the buffet has to exist. It would be impossible to accommodate every passenger in the main dining rooms, but the place needs to be managed. We ate at Johnny Rockets one evening. The place empty, probably because you had to pay! However, food was very good as was the service. I spent a lot of time in the Fitness suite as there was so little to do during the day, unless you fancied climbing up the side of the ship or risking injury on the flo-rider....a disclaimer must be signed for both! I think that tells you something! The gym was well equipped but quite a few machines were broken and remained so for the whole ten days. The kids arcade is a great idea, but beware you can easily spend a fortune in there!!! Drinks are very expensive unless you buy a drinks package which just aren't thought through properly. In order to get your money's worth you would need to be drinking 7-8 bottles are lager say, per day. So if you are a person who just fancies a couple of drinks during the evening, they don't offer any sort of 'deal' like that. So per drink...a bottle of lager would set you back £5 ! Even Dick Turpin wore a mask! That's the biggest issue with RC. From the moment you set foot on the ship, they are just after your money! Every penny they can squeeze out of you, they will! To sum it up....it was Butlins on Water! Full of people wanting to gorge on food and drink....hence the ship running out of both after six days. I would NOT travel with RC again. The staff do an excellent job for very little wages no doubt but this ship is hugely overcrowded that lead to soooo many standards being jeopardised. Try Disney! They are fab! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The ship was absolutely amazing. For my first time going on a cruise I was amazed by the explorer of the seas. The staff were so helpful and provided a fabulous service along with many smiles and even interacted with the children very ... Read More
The ship was absolutely amazing. For my first time going on a cruise I was amazed by the explorer of the seas. The staff were so helpful and provided a fabulous service along with many smiles and even interacted with the children very well. From the cleaners to the waiters and waitresses, they were all great (special mention to our waiter in the sapphire lounge) There is plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants so it will never be too crowded and lots of things to do when cruising. I personally didn't like the pools as they were salt water (that's just me) and they were very deep which is why the hot tubs would always have the children in and splashing everyone. Though when shows would finish it would be very very busy and hard to get a seat but everyone soon filters out. Though expensive, the shore excursions were wonderful, we went on one in lanzarote and seen many things and learnt many facts. Cabins were as good as any hotel room, but it was lovely having a balcony if you wanted to just sit somewhere. The most exciting thing on our cruise was seeing dolphins almost everyday! Of probably about 100 or more dolphins was absolutely fantastic and watching them jump out together was even better. The captain would interact with the people from the bridge and was very funny. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We have over the last ten years been cruising with our family with Royal Caribbean and are at this point Diamond members. However this cruise was disappointing to say the least. It seems RCI are no longer really interested in their ... Read More
We have over the last ten years been cruising with our family with Royal Caribbean and are at this point Diamond members. However this cruise was disappointing to say the least. It seems RCI are no longer really interested in their customers at all and service is being cut back drastically! The entertainment on this cruise was appalling. The sail away was no more appropriate with Rule Britannia being belted out over the speakers, followed by some kind of tranquil music you would normally hear in a spa and moving on to ABBA slowly lowered down to nothing... no live band, no entertainment team dancing and involving the guests and that was the start to a very bad entertainment package for the rest of the holiday! The shows were aimed not to entertain everyone but an older crowd of people which is fine if they tell you that before you book with young adults. The night club has been taken out altogether and replaced with a restaurant that you can pay for your dinner in. I feel I have paid for my food already and should not be constantly have to have the option of paid restaurants pushed at me. So as the nightclub is gone there was no real place for the younger adults and including ourselves to really go. The place that was allocated was Dizzy's which is a lounge then the DJ Bombay showed up and had no interest what so ever in what he was there for. There was an on going battle to have music played from the last two decades so not representing a night club! The shows were low quality and as we were on the second seating for dinner we had to either go before dinner or not at all as they were I think expecting everyone to watch the show and head off to bed. I book the later sitting for dinner for a reason not so we could be back in our room at 5.30 to shower and get ready if we wanted to watch a bad show. RCI also increase the prices of drinks I can only assume to push people towards buying packages. They are now under staffed at the bars and so always a queue to get a drink as they don't care if you wait they already have your money. The security was not up to standard either. No one at the door of the so called night club making sure no children were in there which of course on occasion resulted in under age people in there. There was also an issue with one drunken man trying to attack my son at the end of the night,when the bar man was asked to call security he refused. We eventually did get rid of the man who could hardly stand only to watch him go and start annoying the young adults on the pool deck. This resulted in us calling security who instead of detaining the man thought the best option was to follow him! Eventually when my husband and son insisted they remove him and do their job as he was upsetting our daughter they finally did. There was meeting conducted the following day but this should never have happened, RCI are not protecting their guests and ensuring safety we had to do this ourselves. The food was ok but not up to standard in the windjammer as was on previous years. The standard in general is dropping as they seem to be doing away with the little extras, no ice sculptures, no chocolates on your pillow, poorly trained staff who plainly just didn't care. The only really good thing I could say about this cruise was our waiter and room attendant were excellent, having said that you could see that they had not had the same training but simply doing their best. Also I have noticed that there seems to be a massive difference in the prices to cruise in Europe than in America. It seems we are just not as important as guests or they really think we are just fools in Europe? Really just turning into a money grabbing fest. If a cruise line cannot look after people who have cruised with them for years then its not looking good. We will have to look for a better alternatives. Karen. Diamond member. Dublin, Ireland. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We recently returned from a 12 night cruise on the Explorer to the Canary Islands, Morocco, and Spain. The reason we selected this cruise was that our vacation time is limited and the Canaries are rarely visited during the summer months, I ... Read More
We recently returned from a 12 night cruise on the Explorer to the Canary Islands, Morocco, and Spain. The reason we selected this cruise was that our vacation time is limited and the Canaries are rarely visited during the summer months, I don't know if RCCL is slipping a bit, or it was the ship, or because of the mostly UK guests, but from our perspective the food especially was pretty bland and uninteresting. NO AMERICAN BACON for breakfast - heartbreaking for a woman who only eats bacon on a cruise. Now that's not to say that we (my husband and I) didn't enjoy the cruise or couldn't find enough to eat, it was just not quite what we expected. We've done over 40 cruises and are diamond plus with RCCL. We've also done cruises from the UK that were also predominantly from the British Isles before. The best things about the trip were the people we met, the ports (except for Agadir, which deserves a minus 100 rating, avoid at all costs) entertainment and the wonderful service. We played some pretty serious trivia with my brother and new friends from Australia and England. If you read this John, Angie and Dave, drop me a line. Lanzarote was outstanding and every other port interesting. Embarkation and debarkation easy and smooth. In general a very nice cruise except for the food. I guess that I should be more specific about the food. Very heavy on starches, limited selection of fresh fruit, very limited selection of fish for dinner, ordinary and bland deserts, they ran out of cookies at the Windjammer every day, limited options for pizza, NO AMERICAN BACON, pastries were heavy and not much variety of fillings, and the self serve ice cream machine was very thin and watery. One bright spot was the Indian food and the evening selections at the Windjammer - much more interesting. I hope that the readers find this review helpful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I don't normally write reviews but as this was our first cruise we read all the reviews on this site and asked lots of questions so hope it may help others like us. We travelled with our two Young boys, 3 (turned 4 during cruise) ... Read More
I don't normally write reviews but as this was our first cruise we read all the reviews on this site and asked lots of questions so hope it may help others like us. We travelled with our two Young boys, 3 (turned 4 during cruise) and 2 year old on the 12 night canaries and North Africa cruise. We booked one of the new panoramic rooms of deck 12. For us the room was fantastic. Spotless, amazing views and great location. Quiet and easy quick access to pool. Our room attendant Andrei was great also. Checking in: Quick and easy, once on the ship we did have difficulty finding room, but once found all was good. Food: We only ate in the main dinning room once. We made the mistake of booking the early sitting. For us with two Young kids the later one would have worked best. On the one occasion we did eat there the food was very good. Windjammer was very good, no complaints, food was varied, always hot and staff were always efficient. Chops grill was simply amazing. Food was incredible and staff were fantastic. Johnny rockets was great fun and good food. Drinks We had all inclusive package. Select and premium. The choice of drinks was endless, so much to choose from. Entertainment was very good although there was little to do after 10 pm other than hit the bars which was hard with kids. Could have done with something or somewhere quieter to sit for families. Great if your kid free though, lots of bars, music playing, disco and casino. Pool was very clean and tidy. They changed the water regularly in the pools. We knew the policy on potty trained kids which did cause us a bit of an issue but we found this out a few months before we left so endured our youngest was trained before we left. All they did was paddle their feet anyhow. Passengers on board were varied in age but everyone was great and freindly, we met some great people. Yes there were a lot of older people but we found these to be the nicest who always had tone for you. Staff were great, everyone had time for us, always friendly and were great with our two boys, especially washy washy. For us we had a great family holiday. We loved the ship, found it clean, with lots to do and will certainly return to cruise to RCI. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I would always say that people generally will only review if they haven't had a good experience and I therefore am going to defy the negative critics and give a positive review of our experiences on the Explorer of the Seas in June ... Read More
I would always say that people generally will only review if they haven't had a good experience and I therefore am going to defy the negative critics and give a positive review of our experiences on the Explorer of the Seas in June 2015. I would say that we chose RC to be on a family friendly Ship, which was the case with our family holiday, we travelled with our 5 & 10 year old children and they also had a great time, kids club was fantastic and the loved their time in the club and there is a reasonable amount of activities to keep the kids entertained with Ice skating, Rock climbing etc etc. There were a fair few slightly older guests on board the ship more than I had thought there would be, perhaps Cunard cruising might have been more their cup of tea and they did tend to be the worst culprits for hogging sun beds in two locations and for some reason they always wanted to be right next to the pools that they never used but to be fair most families with young children got their heads around getting up and reserving sun beds nice and early! That said there was only a problem on cruise days reply as lots of people go out for the days while in port! We upgraded our Al Inclusive Package to Premium Package which was excellent and we also treated ourselves to Fine Dining in the Italian and Chops Grill, they were excellent but so to was the Sapphire Dining Experience was also superb with My time Dining, no queues for a table and the best waiting service I have experienced for a while, we were treated like royalty by our waiting Team, who gave us the ability to feed the kids early and then enjoy a more leisurely meal while they played in Kids Club, but we did mix it up a fair bit with kids eating with us on the three formal nights plus others! The Wine on offer on our package was superb, but equally the wine offered on the package below was equally nice too! Food was fantastic and reasonably varied with some nice Indian dishes as an alternative to eating steaks, seafood etc. Getting on at Southampton was superb on the boat within 35mins and boom you are on holiday, Our destinations were superb can't really grumble about anything really. The staff are really friendly and attentive, we never really had a problem finding a seat in a bar but beware if you time it badly the Show lovers come out at 10pm so if you arrive at a bar at 10.05pm, there might be a slight wait and you might have to stand for 10mins! Room cleanliness was superb, Room Steward was very friendly and helpful we had a Oceanview Stateroom so as a family of four it was a bit tight but for all of you worrying it's going to be cramped don't panic as it's bearable as you spend so little time.in the room, you are only sleeping in the room at night, but if you can afford two cabins with an adjoining door then go for it as we did that previously but we gambled this time and if paid off :) If you are a couple with kids, try to use the kids club to give yourselves time together as its a really nice plus point to be able to enjoy one another's company and there are lots of bars to try out together or walks around the deck whatever takes your fancy :) I hope my honest review might set some people concerns at rest, we had an amazing holiday and met many other people who were also enjoying theirselves both young alike! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
To start with the positive,embarkment and disembarkment excellent,no delays,very well managed,our promenade cabin great space and well maintained by our attendant,food was of a very good standard in main restaurant,service was ... Read More
To start with the positive,embarkment and disembarkment excellent,no delays,very well managed,our promenade cabin great space and well maintained by our attendant,food was of a very good standard in main restaurant,service was excellent,booking our table before sailing was a huge advantage with mytime dining,enjoyed the shows in theatre espcially the ventriloquist and violinist,all the staff worked very hard as usual and were very pleasant at all times.Now the negatives,overcrowding,not good enough that we had to sit on stairs at the price we paid,drink prices outrageous,had to go for a drinks package which was the cheapest option but still expensive,entertainment in the promenade had in my view health and safety issues,it was impossible to move up or down an area which i considered a lovely area to stroll after an evening meal however not on this cruise,no shop stocking normal everyday toiletries,shops with a lot of overpriced stock,the resident band horizon left a lot to be desired,did not play suitable dance music for the age bracket of the audience,on every night .no variety,a definate lack of music at pool,the large screen what a joke ,you couldnt even see it just supplied background noise,we didnt do tours but i object to having to pay for shuttle buses,the one to agadir was a joke,a complete ripoff and led us to believe that we would be dropped in middle,left at taxi rank and a taxi was required to get to markets,some people got money back but we didnt when we complained, our major problem was being left at heathrow 8 hours before departure of our flight,what a disgace and spoiled an otherwise enjoyable holiday,was in contact with airsupport but got no satisfactory explanation,was supposed to be free flights which might explain it Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Let me also state by saying that we do not make a habit of writing reviews, however in this case we felt as if we should make our feelings known. These are our true and honest thoughts. We have done over 15 cruises so are not newbies. ... Read More
Let me also state by saying that we do not make a habit of writing reviews, however in this case we felt as if we should make our feelings known. These are our true and honest thoughts. We have done over 15 cruises so are not newbies. We embarked the Explorer of the Seas at Southampton for our 12 night trip to the Canary Islands. We had a balcony cabin on deck 6 - this proved to be very quite and no problems arose. When we purchased the cruise we were given a select drinks package, which as I am not allowed to drink was really of no use, however once on board we had it changed to the Royal Replenish package. The first real thing that we noticed was that the food in the MDR was over the 12 nights somewhat limited. Several of the same things appeared every night and I am not talking about the classic section. No real steak or lobster unless you paid extra. These items used to be on the menu all the time. However what was on offer was cooked and presented very well. The Windjammer was a real turn off, the same food every day. 4 types of potatoes and no vegatables (well one lot) that was cooked. You could have raw carrots, broccoli, cauliflower etc. All the deserts were the same, called something different the next day. Even the rolls and sandwiches in the Promande Café were always the same. On to the entertainment most of the outside entertainers were pretty good apart from Darren Day, he should stick to singing. The in house singers and dancers however were a different matter - they put on 3 shows and if you hadn't of known you would haver said that they just repeated one show 3 times, they were almost identical. Same era 30's, 40's music no get up and go at all. No real special customs or scenery. As I have mobility issues we did a number of the ships excursions, these were all organised very well. They were however all very expensive compared to what could have been obtained if we were more able. On the whole we were satisfied. There were a number of very good quizzes and of course bingo that one could take part in. But there were no really good lectures on the places we visited. or anything else for that matter. Usual Captains Q & A session. Shopping on board as usual was a joke, expensive shops selling expensive tat. More and more watches. But you can't buy a bar of chocolate or a packet of sweets. The only sweets available were those in the mini bar which cost $3.75 approx. £2.25 - they cost 89p in the shops normally. The shop assistances appeared to be very bored all the time. The price we paid for the cruise was probably the highest we have ever paid, but what we got back has not gone up to match, the cut backs are becoming very obvious. The gap between what was on offer 2/3 years ago and what you get now has widened quite considerably. Oil is cheap at the moment so we should be getting more, but we are not. However one thing has not decreased and that is the service we received from the staff, all of them that we had dealings with without exception were excellent and in same cases went further than they had to. If RCCI continue to increase their prices, which they probably will if the oil prices start to go up, but decrease what is on offer than perhaps my husband and I will be sailing with someone different next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We booked the cruise (2 adjoining Cabins 8610 and 8612) almost as soon as the itinerary was released to Iglu who we regularly use as our booking agents. We understood that early booking gives the best choice of cabins and the best ... Read More
We booked the cruise (2 adjoining Cabins 8610 and 8612) almost as soon as the itinerary was released to Iglu who we regularly use as our booking agents. We understood that early booking gives the best choice of cabins and the best prices/offers. We insisted that we must have two adjoining cabins with balconies so that we could open the divider between the cabins, a feature we have used successfully in the past. Upon entry to our cabins we found a steel section between the balconies, no divider to open. At this stage although a disappointment we were obviously unable to do anything to remedy the situation. Having arranged MyTime dining, I was advised that some weeks before the cruise I would be able to reserve the dining arrangements for our party of four for the entire cruise on-line via RC’s website. I managed to reserve for the 1st night but the system would not let me reserve for any of the following nights. I repeated this exercise unsuccessfully until the last few weeks approaching the start of the cruise. I decided to contact RC by telephone to try and complete the dining arrangements. I spoke to a guy who apologised and advised the on-line My Time dining reservations system was not working. I gave him all our reservation information as requested and he assured me that the information was now set up and nothing else would be required. Within minutes of arriving in our cabins I decided to telephone the Dining Room reservations section to ensure our previously arranged dining plan had been acted upon. The person I spoke to had no knowledge of the earlier conversation/arrangements that I had agreed on-shore but having advised him of our dining requests we had no further issues. Daytime Dining: We gave up attempting breakfast in the Windjammer after one try. We didn’t expect the inconvenience of having to walk around the seating area endlessly with tray in hands trying to find an empty table for our party. Many of the 4 person tables were occupied by 1 or 2 people only. This situation was remedied somewhat when we transferred to the Self-Service Breakfast in Deck 3’s dining room. This we did for the remainder of the cruise. This entire debacle in the Windjammer was repeated during lunchtime, but we decided to live with the inconvenience as we didn’t want the service provided in the alternative restaurants. Sun-Deck: The other male member of our party is a keen walker so he was up on the Sun Deck walking the “circuit” very early. When the weather was good (on most mornings) he observed the majority of sun-loungers already covered by “reserved” towels. Some of these loungers would remain unused (but reserved) throughout the day, although feeble attempts were made to deter this practice. There was no space available for any additional sunbeds. The walking/jogging circuit was marked “5 laps = one mile” and although this seemed on the short side, we were advised by chance on the penultimate day of the cruise that after the recent ship upgrade the circuit had been shortened and now 8 laps was equal to 1 mile. (Why wasn’t the info changed when the circuit was shortened ?) The sun loungers often well-encroached the circuit thus causing obstructions for the users. Entertainment: The resident entertainers we found to be very poor, it was perhaps good to complement them with Guest Artists. Bars, Lounges (Evenings) : On our previous RC cruise we had found a comfortable area on one of the top decks at the rear of the boat with seating space, good waiter service and live entertainment throughout every evening. On this recent cruise noting all the lower deck bars/lounges full to overflowing we decided to venture up to the equivalent on the Explorer which was Dizzy’s. Here on most visits we managed to find a table/seats for our party. The downside was NO live entertainment, not even background music, just background conversation until around 11-00 pm when a DJ who was less entertaining than a cardboard cut out would appear, stand totally silent (like he didn’t want to be there) and play the most inappropriate music for the seated audience. The bar service which on the Independence was excellent, was almost totally non-existent in all of the drinking areas and on many occasions drinks could only be obtained by going to the bar oneself. Sometimes the behind the bar area was not even manned. The entertainment/quiz shows provided by the resident entertainment staff always seemed very hurried with little audience interaction and again provided by people who appeared didn’t really want to be there. Drinks Package: We were not offered a free “Drinks Package” when we made our initial booking but were advised we could purchase on-board. Upon consideration,we agreed that, as moderate drinkers, we could not justify purchasing drinks packages at around $50 dollars per person per day. The drinks prices on-board are considerably high. We talked to many people during the cruise who had been offered a “Free” drinks package when their booking was made and felt this to be very unfair when compared to our circumstances and would suggest that early booking provides little or no advantage and probably disadvantage. We were also very disappointed in having to pay an 8% extra tax amount when cruising within Spanish waters and would suggest this could be absorbed by RC. As can be noted from the comments above we were very disappointed with the cruise in its entirety and would not recommend RC to any interested parties based on our cruise. You will note lots of areas/activities/aspects of the cruise I have purposely not mentioned, they were generally ok but at a lower standard than our previous RC cruise. The issues seem to be: Not enough bars/entertainment areas Not enough staff in all areas Too many passengers Concentrating on money making at all costs Lower standards Re-think of the Photograph area where there is much wasted space which could be used to ease overcrowding in other areas. We will think very carefully before deciding on our next cruise holiday. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I had been on Royal Carribean before and loved it, I had raved about my previous cruise (independence of the Sea), and so was looking forward to this much needed break... On arrival there was no wheelchairs available, despite my ... Read More
I had been on Royal Carribean before and loved it, I had raved about my previous cruise (independence of the Sea), and so was looking forward to this much needed break... On arrival there was no wheelchairs available, despite my informing them months ahead I would need assistance, I had to walk to the lounge, to then wait an hour for a wheelchair. The room was ok (inside room) but not at big as other cruises I've been on including indie... Firstly the kettle boiled over and over as it was faulty and didn't switch off, then the safe didn't work and the door to the fridge was broken. That evening we went to the Sapphire, I had taken my morphine and needed to eat by a specific time, almost 80 minutes later we still had no starter, to be then told by another guest they had run out of food and he was told to go to the Windjammer, on asking the head waiter this he ran out the room. I asked if I could have my main course, and explained the morphine situation and he said he would get it straight away. 10 minutes later still no food. I gave up.. The food was repetitive and often just warm. Another guest put pictures on Royal Carribean website of the state of the ship and the company took them down off their website in 2 minutes. The pool had bird poo in, the whirlpools had yellow scum on them and when I reported it, the following day it was still the same. The toilets often did not flush in the public areas. The Windjammer Cafe was such a let down, after day 5 I got fed up of the same food over and over again...it was also Luke warm. However most of the staff were helpful, if you don't include the incident where they tried to give me food for my friend who is gluten free and highly allergic. After waiting 45 minutes for a packet of biscuits for her, I was given a dessert that I was told was gluten free on further questioning and checking, I was asked what would happen if she ate it, I explained and they then took it away and said she best not have it. One day I waited 25 minutes for 2 whole tomatoes for her, only to give up when no one returned. The outdoor cinema was a joke, the first films shown had no sound, and when they did show a film you would be able to listen to it for 2 minutes then the bar music came on, and so on and so forth. When we asked about it we were told to go down to deck 3 and sort it out with them... The entertainment was very poor. We had 3 days of continuous knocking in our bedroom, they said it was fixed but it still continued on day 4, apparently we were under the pool on deck 10 and it was the air trapped in the water pipes. On the last night at 1am, I was met with a loud argument, shouting etc just by my room from staff, I had to ring to ask them to stop. I found on the day before the cruise ended they had had 1,140 complaints, which is basically 2/3 off the ship as almost all were couples travelling. I was told the chef was so bad that he had been taken off the ship and had been given the job of serving staff on a ship in dry dock, and half the crew had walked off before setting sail, and that the cruise was going to be cancelled 5 days to departure, but they did not do this as they would loose to much money and I was informed that the guests can just put up with it. On disembarkation it took an hour to get assistance for a wheelchair, I could go on but it would take a long time. Positives Great staff, you cannot fault how hard they tried to help you. They should be proud of themselves and not Royal Caribbean. I was offered £115 towards a future cruise for compensation. what an insult.... Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Check-in was ok, we had a little bit of a wait but not bad. Our Seapass card which serves as the room key did not work, we had to try 5 times before they got it right. Apparently a lot of people had the same issue. They eventually came ... Read More
Check-in was ok, we had a little bit of a wait but not bad. Our Seapass card which serves as the room key did not work, we had to try 5 times before they got it right. Apparently a lot of people had the same issue. They eventually came around to each room and did something electronically then they worked. We wasted a lot of time going back and forth and the lines kept growing for the same reason. Our cabin attendant Mardi was great! Our first few nights at the main dining room Sapphire was dreadful! Our waiter had no idea what he was doing, got our meals wrong, we had to send things back. Helen the person in charge of the dining room, changed our table for the rest of the cruise. Vener was wonderful! He had all the meals correct, and he even made paper origomi animals for us each evening. The entertainment was wonderful. The Royal Caribbean singers and dancers are bar none. We did not like the juggler, or the one women show with Andrew Lloyd Weber music. Several people walked out on that one. Our remote for the tv did not work, so we had to have that replaced. We did have new chairs and table on the balcony which was nice. One day after our shore excursion we came back to the ship and there was a 1 1/2 hour wait to get back on board. This did not go over well with any of us. I will say our table mates were wonderful, and I loved the ports of call. Vigo Spain actually gave us a very moving send off. They had the ship's name spelled out on the dock with balloons and about 18-20 people playing bag pipes, drums, etc. I actually cried it was so moving. Then there were 6 sail boats in formation beside our ship for a while. That was magnificent to see and hear. We didn't pack a tux or gown this time, and that was all we saw. We know for next time, it was prim and proper! The staff did remember our anniversary and sang to us with a piece of cake and candle. I liked the food in the Windjammer a lot, but it was difficult to find seats to sit down and eat at. So at times we had to share a table with people we didn't know. One of the biggest disappointments was there is no longer lobster tail served one night during the cruise. You have to pay for it, and I don't think that's right. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Myself, my husband, my mum and step dad were on board the first cruise after the dry dock refurb cruising around the Canary islands. The day we boarded it was my mum and step dads wedding day, they married in Southampton in the morning.. ... Read More
Myself, my husband, my mum and step dad were on board the first cruise after the dry dock refurb cruising around the Canary islands. The day we boarded it was my mum and step dads wedding day, they married in Southampton in the morning.. so it was their honeymoon and our holiday too. We all cruised together before last year on a 14 night Med cruise on the Adventure of the seas.. and have one cruise previous to that with Princess. We were all given the select drinks package as part of our cruise. I know this cruise has had some bad reviews.. and yes we did have some problems but i am going to try not to make them the highlight of my review because we did have an amazing holiday despite some issues. The ship refurb: It has undergone a pretty impressive refurb.. by adding 3 new restaurants, flow rider, new cabins, new bars, carpets, freshly painted etc.. But there are some bad point too.. -They have taken away a lot of seating in bars/lounges around the ship making it really hard to get a seat in the evenings for drinking and socialising.. Some evenings we felt like the only place we could get a seat and a drink was in the casino in front of a slot machine.. and I smelled like an 80 ciggy a day smoker when i came out.. - They have taken away the youth pool area and replaced it with.. well nothing! Embarking: The check in process was simple and quick. All of the port staff were fun and friendly and made you feel very welcome. We had decided that my hubby was going to upgrade his drinks package to the premium package as he drinks a lot of cocktails and spirits. This was done very quickly and easily in the departure lounge before we even got on the ship. We were told cabins were ready straight away so we went straight there and found that our seapass cards wouldn't open the door. We then had to queue at guest services for around 35 minutes.. we were given new cards and sent on our way.. low and behold they still didn't work! There was no way i was going to queue again so we managed to catch the head of house keeping in the corridor, he let us in and said he would have the cards re programmed within half an hour.. well this was 2pm.. at 7pm we still couldn't come in and out of our cabin freely despite calls to guest services and our room attendant having a moan too! Finally as we left for dinner it was working. Our cabin (7320): Our cabin with balcony was on deck 7 and it was lovely. It has been refitted with a new flat screen TV, new chairs, sofa, carpets, shower fittings and lovely new balcony furniture which made enjoying the outside more pleasant. The beds were very comfortable and huge too :) there is plenty of storage space and even though the bathroom is small there is plenty of storage around the mirror. Our stateroom attendant Rosita was amazing and she attended to our every need including ice everyday in the room. She couldn't have done more for us. I have 3 complaints about the cabin: - They have filled the mini bar with so many drinks and snacks that there is now no room for the evian water that they want to sell to us.. So there was 4 huge bottles of Evian on the dressing table leaving no room for anything else.. It was never taken away and i heard word around the ship that some people put it in the cupboard and then were replaced and charged for them.. That really needs to be addressed. - Our safe was closed and locked on arrival so could not be used.. it took them 48 hours to come and sort this out which was rather annoying as we felt we couldn't leave any valuables behind. - Because the carpet is so new there are big clumps of carpet fibre coming off when you walk around on it.. it was everywhere.. it was going all over our clothes too.. our poor stateroom attendant was having a nightmare hoovering it. Dining/food/windjammer etc: Windjammer - This was absolutely packed on the first morning for breakfast. They have extended the time to 11am for breakfast and unless you get down there at 8am you are guaranteed to queue and hunt for a seat. Also the food wasnt particularly warm. But i was impressed with the range of food this time.. they seemed to change it more often, also the desserts were amazing. There were definitely not as many waiters on hand to help with drinks though. Main dining room - We ate in here most mornings for breakfast because the Jammer was so busy. The food was always hot and the waiters worked hard to serve quickly. THE GOOD BIT: Our seating was 8.30pm and we had requested a table of 4 but had been put on a dingy table of 8 over in the corner so i queued for about 45 mins when we boarded to ask to be moved (along with 100s of others lol).. We have nothing against sitting with people we just fancied our own company this cruise. We had a table on deck 4 and our two waiters Saudi and Anastasia were lovely and the banter we had with them made the evenings good fun. The food was always of a high standard and there is always plenty of it (as we always order lots haha).. we always asked for a big plate of vegetables on the table, and most of us would have 2 starters or desserts.. and by the end of the cruise it was the done thing to have a steak "on the side" of whatever you were having.. Some of the desserts are delicious.. my favourites being the chocolate bread and butter pudding and the Jaffa cake dessert. We had a fabulous bar man dedicated to our area called Earl (nicknamed Mr motivator) and he was on the ball 100% often our drinks were waiting for us as we came in. THE BAD BIT: Our first night was absolutely horrendous! Bearing in mind this was my mums wedding day too i felt awful for her! We arrived at 8.30pm at our table.. met our waiters and then the head waiter disappeared off with our order.. lets just say we didn't see him again for over an hour! We were given glass of water after glass of water followed by rolls... We asked the maitre d' what was happening and he then disappeared too.. at 9.45pm finally our first course arrived.. cold... I have no idea what was going on behind the scenes but i am putting it down to teething problems after a 45 day break! At 10.40pm we received our main course.. cold... and by 11.50pm we had finished.. Oh and i forgot to mention we didn't get a drink until 10pm either.. only water! Other guests were going mad.. and were even banging on tables which i think is pretty rude but everyone was hungry and no one was being told anything. I think it was pretty common across the ship as i heard that chops grill had issues too. But i can very very happily say that the rest of the cruise was perfect in the dining room!! Giovanni's: We ate in here one lunch time ($15 each). The staff were very attentive and the restaurant is very nice but since its kind of been shoved where Jesters night club used to be its a bit dark in there. I think we should have gone for chops since it has a great view. My starter and dessert were both delicious but the lasagne was not particularly pleasant.. i think i must have had my whole monthly salt allowance in one dish.. My hubby had the veal meatballs which i tried and i should have definitely had them.. We didn't try any of the other new restaurants. Entertainment: I will start by saying i really couldn't take to the entertainments manager Mike and his side kick Tanya.. they had no chemistry together at all and i think they are a very bad match! Last year on the Adventure of the seas we had Rob and Jamie and they were excellent. The shows in the evenings (with the exception of 2 shows) were pretty laughable and repeated too! There was 3 shows we had seen before from last year, there was a juggler for the end of the cruise show who was awful.. it was positively cringe worthy! Last year we had some fantastic shows and sometimes even two a night.. well this year they even didn't bother with a show and shoved their usual "Mr & Mrs" game show in instead.. I don't know if it was the fault of the entertainments manager or budget cuts but we were really disappointed. The only show i will say is worth seeing was the ice show which is spectacular considering they are on a boat and the ice rink is not huge :) We were blown away! There were many activities going on around the boat which we didn't take part in but the cruise compass was always full of them. There were a few films showing on deck in the day time on the new monster screen. One amazing place for evening entertainment though is the "star lounge" where they have a new Rock band called "Horizon" from Toronto.. the bar was full every night and they are fantastic.. definitely pay them a visit.. There was some other live music going on around the boat too if you could get a seat! Ports of call: Last year we had information on every port in with our cruise compass.. well this year it was pretty pathetic.. there was very little at all. Often the ports put on free shuttle buses but of course RCI don't want to tell you that as they want you to use their pathetic $12 each shuttle buses! We never do the RCI shore excursions.. we always do our own thing at ports. Madeira: Very nice.. went on the cable car (walking distance) Unfortunately had to queue for over an hour to get back on the boat though! Tenerife: Free shuttle bus available: Port was a bit boring but we found a tram and went for a ride and found a science museum which was cool. Gran Canaria: 10 min walk to the beach :) day sizzling in the sun. Lanzarote: Free shuttle bus available. We used to live there so we didn't leave the boat. Vigo: Great port, no shuttle buses needed.. shopping right there. Facilities: I used the gym and spa almost every day. The equipment is very high spec and most are new too. No induction needed just help yourself. Clean fresh towels and cold water supplied. There is no better view from a treadmill :) The steam room, jacuzzi and changing rooms are all great. Hand over your seapass for a locker key. Flow rider: Usually pretty quiet but i think that is because we only had about 20 kids on the whole boat.. there was a queue on the last day (mainly middle aged men lol) but it looked fun and i can see it being very popular with the kids. Top deck and pools: There are two pools and 3 hot tubs in the main area which are always busy and full of children. But there are plenty of sun beds around and despite others moaning we never had an issue getting one. The adult solarium area has one pool and two hot tubs and is much quieter than the main area with more comfortable sunbeds but they are hard to come by. We didn't see much of the captain around the boat apart from the very last day at the show. Last year we saw and heard loads from our captain and he even did a question and answer session in the theatre.. maybe he was keeping a low head due to the moaners? Leaving the ship: Our last morning was a pain to be honest.. first we received our bill and it had been converted into pounds even though we asked for it to be in dollars as we always do! We went to guest services and were basically spoke to like children.. one of the guys working there was so rude we were shocked.. he was also moaning about the queue too.. well surely that is your job? We were being told we had to put a new credit card on file which i refused to do.. in the end it was sorted after standing there for 30 minutes! Not a good end to the cruise.. and then to top it off our luggage was broken when we collected it on the dock! Some of the other bad bits: - The boat didn't feel as clean as our previous cruise.. there was a lot of dust on tables and table bases in bars which were never cleaned.. drink stains on tables.. dirty public toilets etc. The main ladies bathroom on deck 4 was flooded 3 or 4 times. - The freestyle machines were not stocked properly for the first 2 days.. i complained to guest services and i was told because they were new to the boat that they weren't sure how often they were going to need to be restocked.. err they had been on there during your whole Caribbean season? lol! But after that they were working fine. - Bar staff just seemed to be so over worked and stressed that they seemed very grumpy..apart from a few. - We were charged for drinks we had never heard of in bars we had never been in a few times.. and also charged for a few drinks that were on our package.. we went to guest services and were looked at like criminals... i felt like i was lying when i wasn't lol! All in all our cruise was good but lets face it we all seek out the bad bits.. to be honest the worst bit of the cruise was listening to everyone moaning.. almost everyone we sat with or met were moaning about something and it was getting quite tiresome.. We still had a great holiday despite the issues and i have contacted RCI about them and i am waiting for a reply. I am hoping things have improved after the first cruise and will continue to. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Upon arrival at the cruise terminal, we were greeted by a security officer with a bad attitude, so a great start! Once through security and into the check in area;the computer systems crashed and we had to wait for the systems to be ... Read More
Upon arrival at the cruise terminal, we were greeted by a security officer with a bad attitude, so a great start! Once through security and into the check in area;the computer systems crashed and we had to wait for the systems to be re-booted. This was the longest check in we have ever had at Southampton. We were stood at the desk for approximately 30mins (at least). Once on board we headed for our cabin. The cabin was full of dust and the toilet bowl black. There were no sign of our usual welcome letter, bath robe or glasses for our soft drinks package. We headed up to deck 11 to check out pool area, to be greeted by filthy decks, dirty pools, hanging wires near the hot tub and all metal filings over the floor! I reported all this to guest relations to get a "we are very sorry this has happened" the food onboard the ship is barely warm. This includes the main restaurant and the windjammer cafe. Breakfast yesterday in the windjammer was apawling; there was no bacon, no beans and everything was labeled incorrectly. When I asked where the bacon was the crew member pointed to an area on the counter with empty servers. I told him that there was nothing In there and his reply was "well I'm sure they will bring out more" again breakfast was just warm. The soft drinks vending machines..when they actually have soda in them are dispensing warm and flat drinks. This has been reported 3 times over the last 2 days and still not working! This is our 8th cruise with royal caribbean and my 13th cruise-it's by far the worst ship I have ever been on! Let's hope things get better! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
After having taken two cruises with P & O, the first being a short break "taster" on the Ventura and the second aboard the lovely Oceana to the wonderful Norwegian Fjords, we decided to broaden our experiences and so we ... Read More
After having taken two cruises with P & O, the first being a short break "taster" on the Ventura and the second aboard the lovely Oceana to the wonderful Norwegian Fjords, we decided to broaden our experiences and so we booked with Royal Caribbean. We were fortunate to get a good deal including drinks package bottled beers cold drinks (but not bottled water) wine up to 9 dollars per glass and 'mocktails' (scrummy non alcoholic cocktails), gratuities inclusive and 100 dollars on board spend. The latter came in handy when I found myself needing the services of the medical team on the second day of cruise - an injection to settle the tummy cost 45.50 dollars but money well spent as I was fine thereafter even when the seas became a little more expressive crossing the Bay of Biscay. The entire check-in process at Southampton is straight forward and efficient and we were aboard within the hour and our holiday commenced. On our previous cruises we had been able to gain a balcony cabin in the deal but on this occasion finances dictated and we booked an inside cabin. Although I did miss being able to readily see the outside world, cabin 8221 met all our needs. As with all cabins the bathrooms are limited on space but manageable; the shower on the Explorer has a sliding screen not those awful plastic surrounds, flannels are provided as well as the usual towels which are a little thin but they do the job. Toiletries provided are just soap and a shower gel dispenser. The shower head is detachable which made it easier for the hair washing. Hairdryer is provided and there was a kettle with milk, sugar and tea replenished each day. No coffee sachets. Beds were very comfortable and on request we were given additional pillows and coat-hangers (I always take too many clothes!). There is sufficient storage although no long drawers and the cases will easily store away under the beds. We had the two beds joined to become a double which does make the space either side of the bed limited - be careful you don't catch your legs on the end surrounds. Entertainment - the usual programme of events. A must see is the professional and spectacular Ice Show, there is no charge for this, however the Royal Caribbean Entertainment Team were very disappointing. I am sure they work very hard but their capabilities are limited and not particularly proficient (in my opinion) although they did improve as the days went on with the exception of one of the male solo singers; it may have been a case of only just coming together as a Team or perhaps my expectations lessened as the days moved on. There were visiting Acts, the best being a Comedian. In the other bar and lounge areas there was musical entertainment but the same every evening i.e. Dance music with Horizon Band, a lady playing the piano (not particularly well received) and music in the pub. On the Oceana the P & O Team performed in the Theatre and there were visiting Acts performing in the Cabaret Lounge at a differing time so you basically had two good Shows per night plus general musical entertainment elsewhere on board. There was the usual daytime activities. I therefore give the tick to P & O for Entertainment. I cannot fault the food. We booked any-time dining although we also treated ourselves to the speciality restaurants and in all the food could not be faulted. Even the self service restaurant Windjammer provided a tasty and plentiful variety. The beef is brought in from the States and is excellent. Overall I would give the tick to R.C. for food. We heard some of our fellow Cruisers say that the service at Bars was slow although this was not our experience but then we are not big drinkers; I understand our trip was full to its capacity. The library is very poor. Coffee outlets limited - you could only obtain hot drinks from the Windjammer self-service restaurant on Deck 11, an outlet close to the pool areas and at the Cafe Promenade on Deck 5 help yourself, and the only speciality outlet being again at the Cafe Promenade Starbucks. No coffee or tea in the Bar areas. As relaxing seating areas were limited around the Ship when you did find a place to sit you were usually in an area not easily accessible for hot drinks. The staff we encountered around the Ship in all areas were welcoming, efficient, well turned out and always had a ready smile. I cannot praise them highly enough. R.C. get the tick in this respect. Our itinerary was the Canary Islands taking in Madeira, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and our last stop being Vigo Spain. We did take organised excursions in the latter three Countries; we considered these were reasonably priced. The outbound arrangements were very well organised but on return all coaches arrived to the Terminal at virtually the same time and there were extremely lengthy queues to get back on board. Be aware that there isn't always a free shuttle bus to take you from the Terminal into the town of each Country and it can be a bit of a trek i.e. both Madeira, Tenerife and Lanzarote a good walk into the town. The whole process of disembarkation at the end of cruise took 10 minutes, and was a very simple process. All in all we enjoyed our R.C. experience but our return will be dependent on itinerary and what deals we can obtain at the time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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