551 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Family Cruise Reviews

Very nice ship. Excellent food in the buffet. Lots of variety. We had an inside room for 3 of us, including a 15-year-old teenager. Room was spacious enough for the 3 of us. Room was always very clean. I found the entertainment to be ... Read More
Very nice ship. Excellent food in the buffet. Lots of variety. We had an inside room for 3 of us, including a 15-year-old teenager. Room was spacious enough for the 3 of us. Room was always very clean. I found the entertainment to be lacking compared to entertainment on Carnival. We are not into art auctions, diamond shopping, or bingo. We don't consider those to be fun activities. There were a number of activities on the promenade deck, which made it almost impossible to get to the cafe to get a snack, coffee, or tea. Also even when arriving at the Star Lounge 20 minutes early, we were not able to get a seat for certain shows. We enjoyed all the ports of call. However, we found that Bonaire did not offer a lot of excursion options. We went swimming and snorkeling on our own. For the most part, the staff were friendly and helpful. We will take another Royal Caribbean cruise but probably on a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I wanted to cruise the ABC islands without flying to San Juan, Seen this 9 night cruise from Port of Miami at a good rate. The only thing cruising from Port of Miami is it is so busy 8 ships in when we left and returned. This was our 11th ... Read More
I wanted to cruise the ABC islands without flying to San Juan, Seen this 9 night cruise from Port of Miami at a good rate. The only thing cruising from Port of Miami is it is so busy 8 ships in when we left and returned. This was our 11th cruise, so not new to cruising. The ship is old and has only one more cruise, as of now, before it goes in dry dock for refurbishing. The crew was excellent, food choice was great and good. In the main dinning room the servers and head waiter seen after my 10 year great grandson was tired of steak, they fixed him chicken fingers and fries!! The crew member in the Windjammer was so helpful in finding use seating for 6, when we first boarded. Bon remembered my name every time he seen me. My grandson and his wife enjoyed their evenings at the various places to party at night.We thoroughly enjoyed the theater productions. Our last cruise was on Carnival and they are still geared toward a young party crowd. Royal is my favorite, balcony cabins are larger, food and service in much better. Breakfast in the Windjammer or Main dinning room was always fresh and their breakfast fruit smoothies were delicious. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I know the Explorer is going in for dry dock, and some areas really need it. This did not affect out cruises. EXCEPT for the elevator situation. 4 out of the 6 forward elevators were out of service. Having a forward cabin and a ... Read More
I know the Explorer is going in for dry dock, and some areas really need it. This did not affect out cruises. EXCEPT for the elevator situation. 4 out of the 6 forward elevators were out of service. Having a forward cabin and a mobility scooter this caused us major difficulties. Especially when trying to get to the conference center. People were getting on whether they were going up or down, just to get on. Walking to the central elevators were a long haul, particularly with small children, when you had to walk back forward after reaching your floor. To me this was unacceptable. Guest services could not or would not give us any information. This made Disembarkation a major nightmare. They needed traffic control and shut down the elevators completely because of crowds Another major disappointment was the Photo center. Computers to order pictures were down most of the week. I bought the photo package and we had 5:30 seating. They didn't even start until 5:15 for photos. We wanted photos before dinner because a 3 and 5 y.o. are messy eaters. They rushed us and eyes are closed and were off center. They wanted weird poses. like knees up to look like we were walking up the fake Titanic back drop. Waving to the camera. I never got my pictures printed even though the manager promised they would be as they were in my cart. You couldn't check out The kids club was great, the food decent, Johnny Rockets was overpriced and meh. The ports were great and excursions fun. We made our own fun and had a great time. despite these issue Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
First of all let's start by saying that I booked a deluxe balcony suit and spend over $18,000 on a 9 day cruise for my family. To start off, the cruise didn't even include transportation from the Miami airport to the dock. That ... Read More
First of all let's start by saying that I booked a deluxe balcony suit and spend over $18,000 on a 9 day cruise for my family. To start off, the cruise didn't even include transportation from the Miami airport to the dock. That was an additional charge. Once we boarded we couldn't even go on to our private balcony because it was covered in exhaust soot from the boats exhaust. The bed was hard as a rock and the couch had no cushions. once the balcony was washed and we were able to go out on it the next day, but it was nothing but a spectacle of peeling paint and rust. On a daily basis the deck would be covered in falling paint chips. Not to mention the private balcony, was overlooked by the cruise ship dining room. Not very private. Everything on the cruise ship seemed to nickel-and-dime you to death. You can't even get a Coke without buying it. The ice cream machine on the pool deck was constantly broken. They charge for pool towels as they have to be signed in and signed out and if your kids forget to sign them back in you get charged $25. at the excursions desk, nobody there seemed to have gone any the excursions or able to give any details as to what they're actually like. If that's your department you should at least know what you're selling. The casino was stained and smelled of old cigarette and cigar smell. On a plus note, Our dining room staff attendant we're amazing. And our room attendant was also equally is amazing. For the most part, I would give the staff a 5-star rating, and the boat a one-star. I later found out the boat was due to go into dry dock in the next few weeks and get a huge revamp however this was withheld at the time of booking otherwise I would not have booked a trip for my family or paid such a fee for a boat that was in complete disarray and in need of a major overhaul. A huge disappointment was there Private Island in Haiti, they allow local vendors. At this point they were so abrasive and aggressive, my small children were completely terrified. Also there's very few activities on their private island you can do without an additional cost and ridiculously high fees. Even on the jet ski excursion, they take you to an area where the vendors come up in bombard you with trying to sell local trinkets. I am beyond disappointed with Royal Caribbean's policies. I was not expecting an all-inclusive, but for the amount of money spent I would have expected basic amenities to be included. As for my kids, the kids clubs were of inappropriate age groupings, And lack supervision ... as I witnessed two different fights break out (at one point I had to intervene in order to end the conflict) and no security there to help in the teenage club which included my 12 and 13 year olds alongside 17 year olds. The entertainment for my nine-year-old consisted of one room with a few games in it. the basketball court was a complete chaotic mess as kids were trying to play soccer along other kids trying to play basketball. The ice rink was complete embarrassment and not even worth time. The pools started getting closed up by 9 pm. One evening they even kicked the parents out of the hot tubs by 10. all being said, I highly doubt I will ever return to a Royal Caribbean Cruise line ever again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
As a Crown and Anchor Platinum member...the overall experience was horrible. The food was average at best. The biggest issue I had was that the service was just not even close to what Ive experienced on an RC cruise before. The employees ... Read More
As a Crown and Anchor Platinum member...the overall experience was horrible. The food was average at best. The biggest issue I had was that the service was just not even close to what Ive experienced on an RC cruise before. The employees just seemed like they were there to just get a paycheck. I called customer service to discuss my issues as a customer and I felt like they were dismissive and not interested in trying to help make things better. The employees spoke english but their accents were SO heavy you couldn't understand a word they said. We had 830pm dining room seating and didnt leave the table before 11 most nights and that was because the food never came out and when it came out it tasted average at best. The best tasting food on the cruise was at the Promenade. (the pizza) We went to Johnny Rockets and the service was so poor and the servers we couldn't understand the english they spoke because of their heavy accents. The service at the pool was non existent and the bars were overcrowded because of that. The Wifi for the first 3 days was intermittent at BEST. The internet manager spoke English but again couldn't understand what he was saying because of his thick accent. The photographers we had the same issue with. The 800 number is useless and I feel like an unvalued customer. Sorry RC Im going to start cruising elsewhere! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
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
Cabins need a refurb. Public areas ok. Entertainment was hit and miss. Ventriloquist was excellent a really funny show. Take that experience were good. Not sure about the headliners, didn't enjoy any of their shows. Drinks prices ... Read More
Cabins need a refurb. Public areas ok. Entertainment was hit and miss. Ventriloquist was excellent a really funny show. Take that experience were good. Not sure about the headliners, didn't enjoy any of their shows. Drinks prices high. Charged for shuttle buses we waited for over an hour for one and in the end paid for a taxi back to the ship, other cruise lines provide these free of charge. Customer service terrible. Some staff rude. The guy who greeted you at the Windjammer always had a smile and was great with the kids. The food overall wasnt on par with other cruise lines and didnt think the Italian specialist restaurant was worth the additional surcharge. Facilities onboard for kids are the best we've experienced at sea, Ie. flow rider, rock climbing, ice skating, arcade, sports court. Probably wouldn't book again on this ship but would give RCL another go. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We travelled with our 6 month old baby girl and I have to say apart from our cabin steward the staff were extremely accommodating, especially the head waiter in the dining room I can’t remember his name he was from Bali I think his name ... Read More
We travelled with our 6 month old baby girl and I have to say apart from our cabin steward the staff were extremely accommodating, especially the head waiter in the dining room I can’t remember his name he was from Bali I think his name was Suyanto or something similar. I’m gluten free so he also looked after me well and offered to make me something different if I didn’t fancy anything on the menu. The gluten free selection on board is weak compared to other cruise lines especially in the wind jammer very repetitive and boring especially deserts for gluten free. My husband who isn’t gluten free said the food was quite bland from his perspective especially the restaurant, and we did hear a lot of people complaining about the wait in the dining room at breakfast time 45mins plus wait for food though we never experienced this. Guest services were very rude probably the worst and most unhelpful I have experienced in 15plus cruises and need lessons in customer service. I was served once by the supervisor again didn’t catch her name she had long hair of Asian origin Philippines I think and she barely said two words didn’t greet me, barely looked up etc very rude indeed goodness knows how she made it to supervisor!! We went to the ice show which was so professional and amazing the theatre shows were only ok although we saw the confusionist he was very good and the promenade parties are always fun. Our cabin was small and very tired and the ship is showing it’s age our cabin and bathroom need a complete overhaul very dated plug broken, chipped furniture etc. If your travelling with a baby don’t be worried they couldn’t do enough for us in the dining room from accommodating the pushchair to making purées. One tip we thought about taking a stroller but in the end took our bugaboo and so glad we did. Our daughter was so much more comfortable being fully reclined etc and it wasn’t a problem for us getting on and off the ship or in and out of the cabin. Yes it took up more room but we would rather she was more comfortable so we will do the same when we go in cunard next month. Overall we chose this cruise because of price and we were restricted on dates but wouldn’t chose this ship or the itinerary again. Vigo we have done many times we just got off and had a walk around sat and had a coffee etc , gijon again we just caught the courtesy bus into town and had a walk around but it isn’t a very nice place in our opinion so not sure why they stop there. It’s ok but wouldn’t want a return visit and in le harve we walked into town which took about 20 mins as the queue for shuttle was very very long but actually was pleasantly surprised and we found the shopping quite good. Overall would we cruise RCI again probably if the price was right but on a more modern ship and better itinerary and hopefully better food. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We stayed overnight in a hotel in Southampton then got a taxi to the city terminal for 11am. As D+ loyalty we got priority security and check in and were on the ship within 20 minutes. We called into the Diamond Lounge for snacks and ... Read More
We stayed overnight in a hotel in Southampton then got a taxi to the city terminal for 11am. As D+ loyalty we got priority security and check in and were on the ship within 20 minutes. We called into the Diamond Lounge for snacks and a hot drink as windjammer wasn't open. Our balcony cabin was ready by 1pm and 30 minutes later our cases turned up so we unpacked and went for lunch. We used our D+ BOGO and went to Chops Grill first night and Giovanni's the second night. The other 4 nights we went to MTD and our waiters Russel and Bradey were excellent. Pre-dinner most nights we went to the Concierge Lounge where the service was excellent. We visited 3 ports. Vigo- Spain.Nice port 10 minutes walk up a hill got us to a long pedestrian street of shops including Zara and Mango. Gijon-Spain.This was a 20 minutes free shuttle ride into town.There was a nice promenade plus a long street of shops including Zara and Mango Le-Havre-France.There was a massive queue for the €5 return shuttle with estimated 45 minutes wait. We got a taxi instead to the docks shopping centre for only €8 which took around 10 minutes. We enjoyed our cruise and the ship looked in excellent condition. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have cruised with several lines, but found Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas the best for food.The choice in the buffet is vast. Embarkation was swift & easy, as was disembarkation.Going from Southampton is ideal, so ... Read More
We have cruised with several lines, but found Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas the best for food.The choice in the buffet is vast. Embarkation was swift & easy, as was disembarkation.Going from Southampton is ideal, so much better than having to fly to a port. Entertained by Perry Grant most nights. A very talented pianist, singer & comedian offering great fun with the audience's participation. All other entertainment was good, especially the Ice Show which should not be missed The only disappointment was missing 2 ports & spending 2 days in Le Havre instead! We also found the prices of drinks quite high. The cabin was comfortable as were all on board facilities. A good choice of shore excursions, but again pricey. Very good service in all areas. A little 'tired' in some areas, but due for a refit in 2020. We certainly recommend Royal Caribbean & will definitely cruise with them in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We are loyal to Royal Caribbean, we have always enjoyed cruises with them. Now we have a baby in tow, it made all the more sense to go with a holiday that we know what to expect and really enjoy. Useful baby-related tips: - we ate ... Read More
We are loyal to Royal Caribbean, we have always enjoyed cruises with them. Now we have a baby in tow, it made all the more sense to go with a holiday that we know what to expect and really enjoy. Useful baby-related tips: - we ate in the main dining room every night. Our baby - then aged 10 months - ate small pieces of food from our plates and we got extra portions of vegetables (the wait staff suggested this) so he was very happy. - there isn’t a baby splash zone on Explorer, but if you go to Adventure Ocean you can borrow a paddling pool (free of charge) and place it on the deck beside your sun lounger. Pool staff filled it up with lukewarm water. - on Explorer there isn’t a Royal Tots Nursery as such, instead they turned one of the conference rooms into a playroom with soft mats, musical toys, a chute, a see-saw, books etc. They had 1 designated activity time every day at 10am, apart from that the playroom was open for babies/toddlers (accompanied by their parents) 10am-10pm. - we used the buggy a lot but it was also handy to have the baby carrier eg for muster stations on the first day and for visiting hilly / cobbled ports such as Lisbon. The staff couldn’t have done more for us. Perhaps it was because there weren’t loads of children on this ship that we got extra special attention everywhere we went. Or perhaps it was because our baby is a very smiley baby and people can’t help but smile at him! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have just returned from a 13 day cruise from Southampton to Spain, Lisbon, France. Travelled in 2 cabins, myself and my husband in one and our 2 teenage boys in the other. The embarkation and disembarkation was a dream. We parked at ... Read More
We have just returned from a 13 day cruise from Southampton to Spain, Lisbon, France. Travelled in 2 cabins, myself and my husband in one and our 2 teenage boys in the other. The embarkation and disembarkation was a dream. We parked at the port, left the cases by the car and they were delivered to our cabin a couple of hours later. We drove from Manchester and were sat in the bar at 12.30pm enjoying our holiday without any airports. I would recommend carrying off your own luggage if you can - the luggage collection area was manic. In terms of the ship itself, I was a bit concerned about some of the negative reviews but we all loved it. OK there may be room for improvement in some areas but honestly if I didn't know the ship was being refurbished next year I wouldn't have noticed. It is in good condition and there are plenty of nice bars and good sun decks. Overall I thought there was a great atmosphere and a great mix of people onboard. Cabins were basic but fine and the cabin stewards worked super hard and cabin was always spotless - could not fault it. Plus the beds were very comfy - have never slept so well in my life! The dining was good. We did buffet for breakfast and lunch and the selections were vast and always delicious. The MDR was also good and we had 2 great waitors taking care of us. The food wasn't always amazing but honestly can't complain when they are serving that many people with that many food choices. Some nights the food was outstanding. We dined in Izumi which was truly amazing, so much so that we went twice. Definately worth the cost. Also Giovannis table was nice and a pleasant change from the MDR. Bars were great. Perry Grant in the Schooners bar literally made our holiday - he was hilarious and he packed the place out every night - fantastic. We had the drinks pacakge which was expensive at £41 per day each but was worth it when we worked out what we would have spent. The service in the bars was great and was never without a drink. Entertainment was a bit average but it is a personal choice of course and we were happy to watch Perry everynight (or the guitar player in Crown and Kettle). The ice show was good but some of the others not so good. The ports varied from great to poor but we expected that before we went and we had good weather which helped. The pool decks were good - generally very busy in areas but there were a couple of quieter spots where a sunbed could always be found. Loved the music and general atmosphere around the pools.Drinks flowing too and lots of waitors around. The teenaged boys enjoyed their holiday as the cruise allowed them more freedom than a typical holiday so they spent a lot of time with their friends and in the arcade. Some of the newer ships perhaps have more fancy entertainment but they enjoyed it. Overall we had a great holiday - the ship is great and the staff were excellent without exception. We would definately travel with RCI again (have only previously taken a P&O cruise which had a more "stuffy" atmosphere which didn't suit us as well). Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have sailed several times with the royal carribean and normally I love my cruise - however the last cruise I had in August, will sadly probably be the last cruise I choose with Royal Carribean - the staff as always were perfect and ... Read More
We have sailed several times with the royal carribean and normally I love my cruise - however the last cruise I had in August, will sadly probably be the last cruise I choose with Royal Carribean - the staff as always were perfect and could not do enough to make our holiday special - however we had an unbelievable number of teens on our cruise who congregated each evening in level 8 - my floor - particularly near the lift area - so I was constantly feeling intimidated each time I used the lift - so much so that I opted to use the stairs - I had teens running up and down corridors late at night and once it was as late as 3.30 am - I did ring security on several occasions and in all fairness they came and solved the problem ...on that night - but it would be exactly the same on every night - annoyingly even on the last night they woke me at 1am - and as I was leaving the ship just after 7am to drive hundreds of miles I wasn’t happy at all - there was no monitoring of the corridors at all - I understand the shop is due for a refurb - which had I known I would probably have booked another ship as it looked tatty and needing paintwork in several places The food as always was incredible plenty of choice and fantastic On our return I did email customer services re our noisy holiday and was told I should have rang reception - which I did - no other help whatsoever - they didn’t seem interested whatsoever that I had saved all year for a holiday to be disturbed every single night and reluctant to use the lifts I personally will prob not ever be booking with RC again - not just because it was simply too noisy (I do have four children if my own so I am not anti children) but also the attitude I had from customer services Sadly it falls far short of the holiday I saved hard for - I love cruise ships so i’ll prob try another company next year Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Just returned from Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas Northern Europe and Russia cruise. THIS IS A FULL REVIEW. Explorer is 20 years old and smaller but otherwise identical layout to Freedom and Independence of the Seas, ... Read More
Just returned from Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas Northern Europe and Russia cruise. THIS IS A FULL REVIEW. Explorer is 20 years old and smaller but otherwise identical layout to Freedom and Independence of the Seas, sharing the same (but smaller) Deck 5 central shopping mall idea, Schooners Bar, triple-floor Sapphire Dining Rooms, Windjammer buffet, ice rink, FlowRider and Dizzys/Sky Bar etc. The August cruise from Southampton to Northern Europe was perfectly pleasant. Oslo, Copenhagen, Tallin, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Skagen (Denmark) and Stavanger (Norway) and the weather was kind, but lazing in the sun on the main deck was possible on one day out of 14, although I spotted several people, probably from Newcastle on Tyne, out there in their bikinis in Force 8 winds! This is an easy cruise to access all the cities visited. All ports were quayside docking and all within easy walking distance of the city centres (Helsinki and Stockholm a couple of miles away but with cheap public transport from the quayside). Don’t fall for the cruise-line’s nonsense of buying their organised trips or paying an extortionate $40 for their own local shuttles - every city had cheap (typically $3 per trip or $10 for a 24 hour ticket covering all busses, trams, water taxis and metros) and regular public transport always right from the quayside. We organised our own tours through local operators, but in cities like Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Tallinn you can walk everywhere. In every case, local tours were 50% cheaper than the cruise line’s official tour, and usually better. In Skagen we just walked but a friend rented a car for $35 for the day and visited everything there was to see - more than any of the organised tours. In Stavanger we booked a 3 hour fjord cruise with Rödne Tours from a booth right next to the cruise terminal for $40 each when we arrived, but I’d recommend pre-booking in case there’s more than one cruise ship in port. In St Petersburg we booked a 2 day tour with TJ Tours just 5 days before arriving and had a great experience with our own guide and a comfortable Mercedes minibus, all meals and water included, visiting more locations and for longer than the best available cruise-line tour for half the price ($250 each). You must book with an official Russian tour operator to get your necessary temporary Russian visa - you can’t visit St. Petersburg unaccompanied (well, not officially) but it’s as simple as booking online with a tour operator such as TJTours, SPB or Alla Tours. We found many fellow Americans were scared stiff of Russia, thinking the “Reds” might not like them. Well, that’s simply not the case. They are lovely! The guests on this cruise were 60-70% British. Some Americans and Australians for whom this was usually one half of their European cruising (the other half being a Mediterranean cruise, but not always with RCI). The Brits were a mix of classes, lots of blue collar families but nice, friendly and honest in the way Brits usually are. A couple of dozen feral kids under 10 running around, living in the elevators with no parents or ship security enforcing some manners. A public keel hauling of the worst offender would soon restore discipline (this is a joke, btw). . The negatives on this trip were all on board the ship. Having cruised with Royal Caribbean several times a few years ago, these are the noticeable differences – a general decline in standards whilst RCI try even harder to screw every last penny out of their guests: - Sapphire Dining Room - food still ok but menus not quite as varied as before and some dishes simply not up to scratch. Service definitely slower and poorer than we’ve experienced on any other cruise or cruiseline. One night we waited 30 minutes for our order to be taken. Another couple next to us waited 90 minutes for their main course. Lots of complaints heard about this. The dining rooms seem to have more tables crammed in and they’ve dispensed with the nightly “Showtime” singalong by the waiters. Coffee and liqueurs used to be offered automatically, now you have to ask. No chocolate mints anymore. MyTime Dining is a shambles. Dress codes are not enforced at all - families in tee shirts and shorts - even on Formal Night. This is not what I pay my cruise bucks for. If diners want to dress in shorts, send them to the Windjammer. There IS a choice! Hey, Royal Caribbean - stop this race to the bottom and restore some semblance of style to your ships. - Bars. There seem to be fewer waiters going round taking orders. Best bar for cocktails is still Schooner. Dizzy’s on the 14th floor has a good atmosphere (but the air con is always too cold). Some evenings it’s taken over by a “silent” disco, which actually means drunken guests singing the chorus of two different songs out of tune at the top of their voices. Silent it is not! Why on earth they can’t hold this in one of the disco clubs is beyond me. Drink prices noticeably up. $6-10 for a beer, ordinary branded spirits $10-15 and wine at $11-16 a glass. Cocktails typically $12 and up. - On board sales bargains - e.g. watches and jewellery. Quality and variety on offer is poor and prices are the same as high street. The rest of the goods on offer was tourist tat, overpriced by 50% compared to identical tourist tat in each port. On board bargains used to be one of the joys of cruising. It isn’t any longer. Art and overpriced jewellery auctions did zero business. I never understand how they make money, but this cruise full of savvy Brits wasn’t going to part them from their money. - Windjammer Buffet. A glorious spectacle of excess. Food quality is awfully variable, from awful to variable yet never excellent. If you want to watch fat people getting even fatter, pushing and vying to see who can pile their plates highest and yet still leave enough waste food to feed New York’s entire homeless community, then this is the best free entertainment venue on the entire ship! The number of electric buggies plus the constant feeding frenzy was like that scene out of Wally...... Not offendin’ anyone, just sayin’.... - Theatre Entertainment. The in house ‘orchestra’ is a great bunch of talented musicians tied to performing holiday camp-standard routines. The in-house song and dance reviews were nothing special, in fact highly avoidable. A couple of guest bands were excellent, though - a Beatles tribute band and The Wild Boys in particular were very good. A visiting West End singer, magician and a hypnotist who were all pretty mundane. I fell asleep during the hypnotist act. No idea why. - Round the Ship entertainment. There’s a talented solo guitarist playing a repertoire of 30 almost recognisable pop hits in a vaguely classical style. He looks tired and bored, but go and ask him to play something decent, like Tarrega or Rodriguez, and he perks up! The House Band is OK, best when they are doing live karaoke. Lead vocalist loves herself but the drummer is the better singer. The reggae band are very good. There’s a very camp Liberace clone who knows his downmarket audience to a Tee! Straight from Phoenix Nights! Truly awful....unless you like that kind of thing. - The usual selection of half hour games and quizzes, presented in a generally lacklustre way, always in a hurry, formulaic and rushed. Too few staff? - Casino. Never more than 1/4 full. The Brits obviously don’t gamble. The ship did nothing to entice them in, so each night it was the same 50 American faces playing the slots and a handful of tables. At least half the croupiers looked dead or asleep. They could have jumped ship for two weeks and no one would have noticed. A missed opportunity. - Cruise Director. Every other Cruise Director we’ve had has been the life and soul of the ship - always about, saying hello, geeing people up. Not this one. Known as “Hello Clo”. Been in the business 27 years, apparently. Never saw her round the ship saying hello to passengers, never saw her on the gangplank, only on-stage introducing the acts. Something missing here. - Photographs. Still expensive but with many more photographers and backdrops. The old style of printing out thousands of photos on paper for you to peruse has been replaced with a dreadful touch screen system. The staff said it was more popular but I doubt it. - State Room Stewards. Great, as ever. These people work the hardest on the ship and deserve the biggest tips. - On Sea Days the ship was heaving with people because it was too cold out on deck. 3,500 bored passengers wandering round inside an already crowded ship, all looking for something to do. You would think the Entertainment staff would make a bit more effort and lay on extra entertainments when it’s too increment to go outside, but no. Nada. Nothing. This, above all else, was the weakest element of the cruise. The Ship. 20 years old and looking its age. It had a refit in 2015 but there are a lot of defects. Lifts out of action, PA systems on their last legs, cutlery in the dining rooms old and knackered, large viewing windows which had gone opaque, furniture a bit tatty. Lots of maintenance engineers fixing things discretely. Many staff just seem to be tired, going through the motions. Even the Captain’s daily announcement was delivered in a flat, monotonic voice. The only time he sounded enthused was in Stockholm, probably his home town. I heard that Explorer of the Seas is due another refit to take away some public areas and add more cabins, so this ship is likely to get even more crowded. I hope the staff-guest ratio increases but somehow I doubt it. Would I cruise with Explorer of the Seas again? No. Has my opinion of a Royal Caribbean been tarnished? Yes. Cruise destinations. 9/10 Ship. 5/10 Entertainment. 4/10 Dining. 6/10 Steward. 10/10. Value for Money. 7/10 Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise as it was the Right time of year school holidays and going to Northern Europe with st Petersburg on the itenary we were disappointed in that my two girls couldn’t attend the children’s club because they were 10 ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was the Right time of year school holidays and going to Northern Europe with st Petersburg on the itenary we were disappointed in that my two girls couldn’t attend the children’s club because they were 10 & 12 and would have had to go to separate clubs because of their ages they didn’t want to go alone & there was no leeway with this they also had to stop using the pools after the first week as they came out with terrible skin rashes all of our party did I reported it to customer services they said it was because someone had been sick in the pool so had to be drained and stronger chemicals put in !! There was another mum complaining at the same time and families around the pool were not using them for the same reason! My family and I were absolutely fuming that there was an extortionate fee for the shuttle busses there was 4 adults and 4 children only in Helsinki did they not charge for the children I can’t believe that RC did not receive most of this money as why did we have to pay directly to RC We were all very disappointed with the entertainment nothing for the children no pool party’s games on deck we had good weather most of the cruise so there was no reason for this The food was ok very samey but nice we only ate in the windjammer as we had 4 fussy children so it was great for them to just try things We only did the Russia trip preferring to do our own trips the guide was very knowledgeable but it was a bit manic as in on off the coach and they took us to a very expensive tourist gift shop but we were allowed to use the toilets The ship itself was looking a bit warn out and tired its due a refit I believe Most of the staff were really nice but they fussed around the alcohol drinkers more In short we won’t be travelling with RC again Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because it was cheaper than Disney and had basically the same itinerary. I had never been on Royal Caribbean before but I had been told that they were a little below Disney but above Princess, Norwegian and Costa. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was cheaper than Disney and had basically the same itinerary. I had never been on Royal Caribbean before but I had been told that they were a little below Disney but above Princess, Norwegian and Costa. Embarkation process-Very smooth and fast. Best ever. Cabin- Was quiet and traditional with normal restroom set up(no thanks Norwegian Epic). However the shower was backed up (gross) and the door lock stopped working twice a week apart. Also third bed is a bunk bed not a sofa bed so of course I had to hit my head a few times. Food-Overall, the food qualify was a little below average but the selection was pretty good.The desserts were terrible with little selection. This is the first cruise where they didn't provide unsweetened ice tea and water. Sugar free drinks were gross. Also the ice cream machines provided ice milk not ice cream. Entertainment- The daily shows were average. They were showing previews of a magician/escape artist so I thought he would so some of those tricks in his show. However he only did card tricks on an overhead. The channels on the tv were not very entertaining. Not a lot of movies and a lot of the times the TV signal was bad. A lot of the video games in the arcade did not work. Classes/lectures-Did not have enough lectures or hobby classes. They had classes on how to play casino games, however. I would have appreciated more history classes on places we were going to or classes on how to make things or towel animals or things like that. Excursions-For the most part the excursions were as advertised. The excursion I went on in Copenhagen of the Christianborg Palace and Tivoli Gardens does not tell you you will only have an hour there. My son loves to ride amusement park rides so it was a little disappointing. I wish they would tell you the time spent at each location as it would make a difference. Outdoor activities on ship-Have rock wall and wave rider activity. My son loved the rock wall. The basketball court is also used as a soccer pitch at the same time. Not a good idea. I got hit in the head with a soccer ball. Could organize separate times for each activity to avoid possible law suits. Disembarkation-We left early taking our own luggage. I am not sure if I would take Royal Caribbean again. I would definitely not take the same ship again as it is old and not well maintained. The food might tip the scales as to me not taking them again. If I can get the same thing or better for less why wouldn't I? Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Have cruised a lot on several of the big lines and this was our second cruise with RC. Having read the other reviews this is our take. We traveled with our 24 year old son (he loves a free holiday!) and had a sea view cabin 2584 with 3 ... Read More
Have cruised a lot on several of the big lines and this was our second cruise with RC. Having read the other reviews this is our take. We traveled with our 24 year old son (he loves a free holiday!) and had a sea view cabin 2584 with 3 single beds one being a bunk! We had such a laugh taking it in turns to stop on the top and getting up and down the ladder! I'm 57 wife 51 so you can imagine the fun!!! Loads of room for the three of us and whilst the room was a little dated how much time time do you spend in the room!? Shower was more than ample for a six foot bloke and was kept impeccable by our room attendant. I have read that some people think the ship was tatty but you would really have to look hard to find wear and tear and during the two weeks there was always work going to paint etc and we also got a new mattress each during the two weeks as did the whole ship. Again it had no bearing on my overall holiday I found the ship to be excellent and exactly what we wanted. We eat each morning and lunch if on board in the windjammer and found it excellent. Great choice of everything with separate stations for various things every day. With 3000 people on board it is always going to be busy but we never found it hard to get a table and the staff where always around to clear or get you a drink. I have to say I had some of the tastiest food on a ship and the burgers at lunch are 5 star! I eat my own weight in burgers in the two weeks!! Dinner was taken each night in the the main dining room, we had intended to go to specialty restaurants a couple of nights but we really didn't need to as again the food and service was excellent. We eat second sitting and had two great waiters and the manager was also great fun. Varied menu each night and if you cant find something you liked there was also a great selection of old faves to choose from. As we remembered from our first RC cruise 10 years ago overall everything was top draw. Entertainment I wont spoil other than to say really enjoyed it. Didn't go every-night but had laughs with comics sang along to the Beatles and enjoyed the dancing. Would say you have to spend a night in Schooners with the ever so camp Perry and his shiny suits! Again a great mix in a great theater. Ports Gibraltar: Been before and love it. Go see the monkeys and enjoy England in the sun! Cartagena: Great little un spoilt Spanish town with fab buildings and little shops, if you love history the Roman ruins are spectacular. Barcelona: Two days to explore, do the red route on the hop on bus but leave time to eat some amazing food. The food market on La Rambla is a must! walk round looking at all the amazing meat and sea food then jump on a seat at one of the many food stalls and watch as you food is cooked! Had some amazing giant red prawns!!! Malaga: My new fave Spanish city! Flown in many times cant believe I never stayed here! Large cosmopolitan and very Spanish! Great shops, great back streets, great little Tapas restaurants and a lovely beach right next to the ship! Nothing to not like! Parma: Again been before, had a beach day then walk around the town, very pleasant. Valencia: 10 minute shuttle brings you to the centre of the old town, lots of squares and churches to find, what I call a proper Spanish city! Cadiz: Again very Spanish see above. Lisbon: Lots to see and on a food theme! find the TimeOut food market near the main square and eat!!! get there about 11.30 by 12.15 it was packed with locals, custard tarts to die for! And what a cruise in and out down the coast under the bridge! Getting on and off was a breeze we got there 12.30 on board 1.15 off in 10 minutes, Yes it was busy getting off and getting a taxi but no drama. Overall I would give a score of 9 out of 10. I really enjoyed it and after writing this review I will be looking for the next cruise! Andrew Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise due to the locations and our previous experience of Royal Caribbean. Our embarkation was good only taking about 15 mins to check in, clear security and step aboard the ship. The ship has benefitted from some ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the locations and our previous experience of Royal Caribbean. Our embarkation was good only taking about 15 mins to check in, clear security and step aboard the ship. The ship has benefitted from some recent refurbishment but areas are looking a little tired and in need of some minor maintenance. Dining was reasonably good with the quality in the Windjammer buffet of a decent standard although a little repetitive after a few days. The main dining room we used on Deck 3 was again of decent standard although the standard of service was a little mixed. The best waiter by a mile was Dody who I could not fault. We sampled most of the bars on the ship and found the R bar to be slightly quieter than the others. Christine was excellent offering quality cocktails and suggestions of drinks to try. The Promenade café was ok for coffee and snacks but finding a seat was a bit of a lottery as was seating in most of the bars. The entertainment was a huge disappointment with the quality of the performers poor apart from a few. The ships orchestra and ice dance troop however were very good. The only way to sum up the entertainment director was he was a complete waste of space. The ship in general was ok but I think it will find it hard to compete with the newer ships that are now on offer. The Captain was very good at putting people to sleep with his daily midday announcements. St Petersburg was a highlight and we used Alla Tours for our excursions for two days who were excellent and cheaper than the options the ship could offer. Overall we enjoyed our cruise but I think this was due to the fact we met some good friends whilst on board (thanks to them and the Key Lime Pie episode !!!!!!) Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We wanted a cruise with interesting destinations and the Baltic/Russia itinerary was perfect as the ports themselves were mostly significant and interesting which meant that there was no need to book an expensive tour. We visited all the ... Read More
We wanted a cruise with interesting destinations and the Baltic/Russia itinerary was perfect as the ports themselves were mostly significant and interesting which meant that there was no need to book an expensive tour. We visited all the major capital cities. The ship was a mind boggling experience for the first couple of days. The sheer size of it ( although today that would not be a large ship). Dining....The Sapphire dining rooms provided a very pleasant experience. We chose My Time Dining. The service from all staff was excellent.. Menu choices were varied and the quality superb most of the time although desserts could have been a little more imaginative and were not always tasty. Windjammer...again there was a mind numbing array of choice and all tasty. The views from all parts good and ample seating even when busy. There was never any queuing other than if you wanted something freshly prepared. We have a few criticisms...no fruit juices were available unless you had a drinks package, only squashes/cordials. There was not enough choice of healthy/vegetarian type dishes, interesting salads etc. Maybe instead of the unhealthy sweeteners offered, you could offer honey/ healthy sweeteners. The music on the piped system was terrible, intrusive, often loud and screechy, not at all suited to dining or the older ages of most of the clientele. We agreed with the head waiter that as he was unable to change the music he would turn it down, but we still had to complain when this was not done. Entertainment.....some of the evening shows were superb, some okay, the seating was excellent. As for the entertainment around the ship, Perry Grant was the best thing RC had, so entertaining, funny, original, he was a great success all round. Activities.... Daytime activities could be much improved. Often there were several things on at 10 am but obviously I could not do them all! Why oh why does the table tennis have to be on the outside deck? If you've never played it in the wind, here is your chance! Ridiculous. You cannot please everyone with daytime activities, but we felt there were too many simple, childlike attempts at quizzes, games etc and not enough exciting activities where one could learn something or see a demonstration, ice carving or something. All in all, they obviously cater for the 'masses' and not the more discerning traveller. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
No problem with the ship, cabin spacious and clean, food was very good. We had the premium drinks package but initially felt as though staff reluctant to serve your drinks particularly in the dining room but this was remedied over the ... Read More
No problem with the ship, cabin spacious and clean, food was very good. We had the premium drinks package but initially felt as though staff reluctant to serve your drinks particularly in the dining room but this was remedied over the cruise although shiraz was not included in a premium package but staff keen to sell you a bottle!. Dining room table allocated was poorly situated resulting in waiters squashing past and catching you with trays but after pointing this out we were moved to share a table which we didn't mind. Main dining room let down by serving tea and coffee in the evening in chunky mugs...not acceptable in a formal dining room. Windjammer buffet dated and canteen like but the food was varied and palatable Entertainment was good but not brilliant, not a patch on Norwegian cruise line the pianist was very repetitive after hearing him a couple of times. On board photos poor not proffesional standard. The main let down was the ports at Lanzarote (Arracefe) and Tennerife (Santa Cruz) as they are not attractive or interesting areas And the good places like Madeira were only half day stops docking late morning/early afternoon which left little time to take in the sights. Our cabin boy and dining room staff were good but felt overall that there was not enough staff and you were not getting that personal service as experienced on other cruises.staff didn't seem to know the basic info and contradicted each other when asking for advice. Read Less
Sail Date May 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
Hmmn. The good - Great service by the crew who work hard to keep us all happy. Good food overall in the main restaruant, though I think Carnival do a far better job at the bistro. Chops Grill was fantastic at breakfast. No passnegrs ... Read More
Hmmn. The good - Great service by the crew who work hard to keep us all happy. Good food overall in the main restaruant, though I think Carnival do a far better job at the bistro. Chops Grill was fantastic at breakfast. No passnegrs were to be seen at Johnny Rockets. Those who went reported back on bad food. The pools were great.. This is one thing RC have all over Carnival. The pools are bigger, cleaner and the life guards ensure the kids are behaving well at all times. The not so good - The ship is looking increasingly old and tired. Quite a few rust spots on her. The cabins are worse than a 2 star hotel. The crew works hard to keep her clean, mind you. The lifts were particuarly slow and not well programmed. The evening shows were better than expected. The ice rink shows were fantastic. While the crew works hard to reinforce the message of "wash your hands," for some, the message will never get through. Time and time again we saw quite a few other passengers disregard good hygene standards, particuarly at the bistro. e.g picking up food with their bare hands instead of using the tongs. Sure enough, there was an outbreak of cold and flu on the cruise. The whole process of disembarking for shore excersions was average at best. At The first port) Penang, it took over an hour to get us off the ship once the ship was cleared. That had a negative flow on affect for the shore excersion which was cut short. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We are Diamond+. 45 cruises in 3 years. Why do ships make rules, but don't enforce them, e.g. dining rooms - men wearing shorts t-shirts and thongs, not good enough! Junior cruisers without adult supervision up to 1am? ... Read More
We are Diamond+. 45 cruises in 3 years. Why do ships make rules, but don't enforce them, e.g. dining rooms - men wearing shorts t-shirts and thongs, not good enough! Junior cruisers without adult supervision up to 1am? Yikes, disaster. No ticketing for tenders and ice shows - you have to be kidding, a recipe for disaster. Children playing games on the dance floor, whilst people trying to dance. Dangerous! If a family is 'put off' for unsociable behaviour, RCI should announce it, no names etc, but let people know there are consequences for bad behaviour. Children seated at front of theatre and playing up, and going onto the stage during live performances.?? Dining room food, very good, service excellent. The staff onboard work very hard, extremely hard. Some customers should pull their head in. The Ice show is great, seen it many times. The theatre/production shows have been running for too long, they are ok for first timers, but new routines songs headliners should be brought on. I can even guess the comedians next jokes... Events e.g. trivia karaoke band art auctions game shows, should start and finish as per the daily compass, with a 15 minute break to allow people to move in/out comfortably. We want RCI to be successful, the above is intended to help them be better. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Chose this cruise for location and activities on board. All expectations were met and cannot fault the staff or food. Will be sailing with Royal Caribbean again. Highly recommend the drinks package. Was a great opportunity to try new ... Read More
Chose this cruise for location and activities on board. All expectations were met and cannot fault the staff or food. Will be sailing with Royal Caribbean again. Highly recommend the drinks package. Was a great opportunity to try new drinks without the fear of a huge bill. Was made to feel, Nothing was to much trouble, from all staff, regardless of the hour. Range of things to do though out the days and nights. Plenty of places to just relax. Specialty restaurants well worth the cost. Bar staff remembered our names and drinks and always with a smile. All waiters could not be more friendly and helpfull and again, always with a smile. Beds super comfortable and the room cleaned regularly. Several towl animals were left in our cabin to our delight over the 9 day cruise. We have already booked another cruise with Royal Caribbean and we can’t wait. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Family first time cruisers, was a bit overwhelming to begin with with the boat at max capacity and all were excited. Settled in well with a good mix of age groups, food in windjammers was great with variety each day, i found the dining ... Read More
Family first time cruisers, was a bit overwhelming to begin with with the boat at max capacity and all were excited. Settled in well with a good mix of age groups, food in windjammers was great with variety each day, i found the dining room food a little bland and generic. Izumi was amazing the chef's signature sushi rolls to die for! We had deluxe beverage packages which were definitely worth it with bar staff service top quality spirits such a grey goose vodka and the limit for beverages was $14 USD which meant you could have any beverage including the top cocktails. Noumea was a sham, shops are closed on Sundays so you have to pay for a tour or return to the boat (nothing open to self guide around the city) I'm sure this is done on purpose purely to promote tourism. Mystery Island and Isle of Pines were magnificent and definitely worth it, the aqua water and snorkelling is not to be missed! We packed a couple of snorkel sets and did our own thing. Overall excellent cruise - now to get back down to precruise weight :) Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.3
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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