6 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Norwegian Fjords Cruise Reviews

This was our 7th Royal Caribbean cruise, and we chose this Russia and Scandinavia sailing because of both the cruise line and the itinerary. It was also our second sailing on Explorer of the Seas, so we have had prior experience with ... Read More
This was our 7th Royal Caribbean cruise, and we chose this Russia and Scandinavia sailing because of both the cruise line and the itinerary. It was also our second sailing on Explorer of the Seas, so we have had prior experience with RCCL. Our overall impression (which we seemed to share with many fellow guests) was that standards had been allowed to drop by RCCL. Meals in the Sapphire Dining Room were disappointing. The service was fine, but the menu choices were strange and, most importantly, the quality of the food was notably lower than on our six previous cruises. Could it be that RCCL are lowering the standard of the (included) meals and ingredients to encourage guests to upgrade to “added-cost” meal selections or visit their speciality restaurants? Meat quality was poor. The windjammer restaurant seemed to have become even more overcrowded-tables were packed very close together in an attempt we assume to cope with the no of passengers, but this made it hard to get to and from tables. Entertainment. The young cruise director seemed poor, compared with those we had sailed with before. He was lacking their presence. Entertainment. The scheduling of events that were put on during the cruise disappointed us- and was something we were not alone in criticising. Perhaps linked to the cruise director inexperience? Ship’s condition. We gathered that Explorer of the Seas is going in for a refurbishment and dry docking next year. She was showing her age, with paintwork, railings and some furnishings in need of tender care or replacement. Some chairs in the Star Lounge had bare patches on the arm rests; several seats in the theatre needed fixed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The food in the Main Dining Room could be improved. I ordered Prawns and was given a shrimp dish and the shrimp still had the shell on. The entertainment was great, so was the Ice Show. I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The food in the Main Dining Room could be improved. I ordered Prawns and was given a shrimp dish and the shrimp still had the shell on. The entertainment was great, so was the Ice Show. I don't agree with comments made that cruisers we're not happy with the entertainment. The Barricade Boys were off the chart awesome. We certainly enjoyed Perry Grant. Graham the Cruise Director was funny and informative. He can surely pack the Schooner Bar, 10-20 deep. I am so glad that RCL now has the hot milk in thermos instead of having it next to the oatmeal in a huge pot. We were invited to a Top Tier Party as Diamond members and that was very enjoyable. It would be nice if RCL would include more free mixed drinks for Diamond members in their menu. We will be back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We were 1st time Royal Caribbean cruiser’s on this 8 night Norwegian Fjords trip on Explorer of the Seas. We were a little worried having read many reviews of the ship following it’s recent dry dock and having been on nine previous ... Read More
We were 1st time Royal Caribbean cruiser’s on this 8 night Norwegian Fjords trip on Explorer of the Seas. We were a little worried having read many reviews of the ship following it’s recent dry dock and having been on nine previous cruises we are also wise enough to know that people rate things in different ways. We chose to drive and left the North West of England at 4:40am so were very surprised to have a simple and great trip and with just two toilet stops and one coffee stop we arrived in the car park at 9:30am. A short walk and into the terminal and a very smooth embarkation process and a short wait in the lounge and we were one of the first few hundred on board. We had a good chance to explore before it got busy and we had a coffee and sandwich in the café on the promenade. We explored all around the ship and got our bearings of the ship which was very handy and were met with a warm welcome from all the staff we came across. We decided to lunch in the Windjammer so that we would be ready for 1:00pm when we were scheduled to get access to our cabin (6658 Port side balcony cabin about three quarters to the back of the ship) – the doors opened at 1:04pm and we made our way and met our cabin steward who was just finishing his final bits in the corridor – he was a true star and very helpful all the cruse finding my wife a different pillow (she is very fussy about pillows) and keeping the cabin spotless. Sail away was on time and as we were on My Time dining we chose to reserve a table at 8:30pm a time we are happy at eating in the Sapphire Dining Room on deck 5. I sat on our balcony as we sailed down the Solent and into the Channel. We ate in the main dining room all bar one night when as we had eaten late at lunch that day we chose to have a more snack style tea in the Windjammer. I am not one for ‘paid for’ speciality restaurants and we did not venture into any to eat although we paid them all a visit to look. There is nothing at all wrong with the Sapphire Dining Room and we both enjoyed nice meals with very good service. We seemed to get in just two parts of the restaurant and both areas had great waiters who helped make the meal even better. We are not big drinkers and it’s probably a good thing as alcohol is very expensive and really we should not need to be having canned beer at those prices!!! My wife had a few of the daily cocktails at $8.50 a time and I generally stuck to G & T at $7.50 but had a Hendricks one night when they ran out of Tanqueray in a bar and got stung for $11.50 for that one. We enjoyed the various bars even when only people watching but seating could be at a premium as the ship was full and with it being a cool cruise going north to Norway most people spent most time inside. I must say RCI could think about using a ship that has a retractable roof to the pool so that it could be used in cooler weather. Windjammer was ok for breakfast and lunches – a little lacking in variety at breakfast possibly in terms of changes day on day with a lot of repeated items but differing options at lunch. It was always busy but the staff worked well at clearing tables and seating people together with regular announcements that you should vacate when finished to let fellow guests eat. We took in a selection of shows but we found the changes in timings from day to day a little difficult to understand – all shows were what you would expect, nothing bad and nothing outstanding but very much all enjoyable. Ice show however was very good and well worth the wait until the last day.The Cruise Director and staff worked hard and there were regular more ‘man made’ style entertainment offerings in the Promenade that always drew a crowd. We enjoyed all port stops and also the warm weather in Rotterdam in comparison to the cooler weather we encountered further north. First time visitors to Norway and will certainly return, it’s a lovely pace with fantastic views and VERY clean. We did not use any of the ship trips and made our own way without spending silly money. We enjoyed all ports on this trip with Alesund possibly the highlight. Back on board my wife booked for Pilates and twice ended up with a personal trainer as she was in a three trips she was part of three twice and on her own once. Well he certainly worked her hard and she aching after her workout. Disembarkation was first class, we chose to take our own luggage off and literally had breakfast and walked off the ship, no customs issues or waiting in lounges for times to leave and we were in the car before 9am. Would we go again, yes to Norway, would we try RCI again, yes we would, Celebrity remain our favourite as certainly less crowded but we enjoyed this cruise and would try RCI again possibly on a different ship to get a broader view of the company as more of a whole. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our 7th cruise, 2nd with RC. We loved the 14 night Spanish Med cruise on Independence of the Seas last year and booked this cruise on board ship. It was a toss up between Greek Island or Norwegian Fjords, which was husbands ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise, 2nd with RC. We loved the 14 night Spanish Med cruise on Independence of the Seas last year and booked this cruise on board ship. It was a toss up between Greek Island or Norwegian Fjords, which was husbands choice so we went with that. We flew from Glasgow arriving at Southampton approx. 12.30. We were very quickly on the bus and making our way to the port which took at most 30 mins. As we cruised with RC last year we are now classed as 'Gold' members so joined this queue. We quickly had our Sea Passes and headed on board. Decided to see if our cabin was ready and got off lift at deck 8. We were pleased with our cabin which had a new carpet and nice fresh curtain on balcony door. I recalled that last year on the Indy we felt that the carpeting and curtains were badly in need of renewing. We then headed to the Windjammer for lunch and a glass of wine and looked forward to the rest of the cruise. The sail away party on the deck was good fun and lovely sunny day and the formal evening where we met the Captain and Heads of Service was also good with 'free' champagne for all who wished. Following day was Rotterdam and we got of and joined a VERY long queue waiting for the buses to take us into the city centre. If RC had supplied a map we would have seen that it was a very short walk. We enjoyed our few hours and then decided to take a taxi back to the cruise ship. This cost us nearly 20 euros and again we could have walked if we realised how close we were to the centre. Next day was relaxing sea day then it was Olden, Norway. This was lovely and we strolled about for quite some time enjoying the snow covered peaks and lovely fresh air. Think it was at this point my husband started to feel a bit unwell and started coughing. Was aware of some other people coughing in the Windjammer days prior. We had booked excursions in Flam and Stavanger but had to eventually cancel as he felt he couldn't sit on a bus and seriously cough and splutter for several hours. Did get our excursion costs refunded but there was a bit of a debate as we didn't give them 24/48 hours notice???? However a helpful female officer intervened we weren't out of pocket. Only other time I approached the Guest Relations desk the male I spoke with treated me as if I was an idiot. I was querying something on our on board expenses statement and wished I hadn't bothered. Unfortunately due to my husband not feeling 100% we didn't get of at any of the other ports but just relaxed and rested. He eventually went to the ship's Doc who gave him a thorough check up and prescribed antibiotic and nebuliser treatments. We ate most nights in the Sapphire dining room and had the same table for two. Our waiting staff were the lovely Joshika and Noel and we thought the food was excellent. Husband loved the sea food most nights and I tried everything. We had purchased the Premium drinks package before leaving home so we didn't every look at the price of a bottle of wine or fancy cocktail which I enjoyed. Most days we had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer which at times (Most times)was absolutely chaotic. You had to wander about looking (in vain) for a table then take turns to stand in a queue for food. You barely finished your meal when the tannoy was asking you to vacate your table for other guests. No time to relax. They did open the Sapphire for 1 and half hours on one of the sea days. Obviously trying hard to save money but considering what you pay for a cruise this should not be the case. We had a drink before dinner most nights in The Tavern and saw the shows a few nights too. We did enjoy this. We also saw the Ice Show one afternoon and really enjoyed this. Didn't bother going last year and realise what we missed. Only other BIG negative was the heating/air con. This is obviously controlled centrally and even if you turn heating up full it makes not a blind bit of difference. Husband was shivering and cold some days in cabin and we only realised on last few days that there was a heavy duvet under the bed. Should have asked our lovely cabin steward but hubby doesn't like to make a fuss. All in all we were really glad to get back to Southampton just due to how my husband was feeling and also the very stormy weather during some nights and the last day. Though this didn't really bother us too much. Didn't put us off too much as we booked a Greek Isle cruise for next year. Excellent saving on board. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
First time cruise for me and my wife with any cruise line. Had read many reviews before going and was concerned with the negative reviews following the very recent refit. It was a relief that on our cruise we had no significant complaints ... Read More
First time cruise for me and my wife with any cruise line. Had read many reviews before going and was concerned with the negative reviews following the very recent refit. It was a relief that on our cruise we had no significant complaints at all. Embarkation at 11.30am was very quick and easy. Straight up to the Windjammer restaurant for lunch which was welcome after a 4 hour drive to get to Southampton. Cases were outside the room by 1pm. We enjoyed the patriotic sail away party on deck in the sunshine. First stop was a sunny Rotterdam with great views from the waterway leading into Rotterdam. Went to a large indoor market and enjoyed looking around. Walked back later to the ship with a friendly couple who shared their experiences of cruising with us. It was lovely to watch the sun go down over the sea from the Windjammer restaurant. After a smooth crossing of the North Sea, we woke early at 4am to view the first Fjord going into Olden. Had a walk around Olden in the morning followed by an excursion to the Kjendalen glacier in the afternoon. A very entertaining Italian guide on the coach made it fun. We walked closer to the glacier in warm sunshine and were amazed at the avalanches of snow and ice high up the mountainsides, crashing down with a sound like thunder. We enjoyed eating in the Sapphire dining room and found the best way to do things was to just turn up at 5.30pm asking for a table near a window and sitting with anyone. We enjoy meeting complete strangers and sharing dinner. We met some very interesting people and had a lot of fun. Evening entertainment was outstandingly good each evening. Very enjoyable. As others have commented, the ice show was excellent and very colourful. Flam was the second port of call and we took the train which we had pre booked as an excursion. Although it was raining throughout the morning and snowing at the stop at the top, we enjoyed the views. We used the gym 3 times during the cruise. The gym was well equipped with a good view out to sea. Only small criticism was there was only one rowing machine. The changing rooms could do with a spinner to get most of the water out of swimming gear. Most gyms have this. We did not use any of the spa or beauty treatments on offer. Other ports of call were Alesund with wonderful views from the viewing point which we walked up to in the morning. In the afternoon, we enjoyed a tour on a double decker bus with commentary in headphones. Stavanger was the last port. Before we got there the sea was very rough but we didn't get seasick. In Stavanger we spent a couple of hours going around the Petroleum museum which was very interesting. Despite a gale blowing in the North Sea for the return crossing with 20ft waves, we were not seasick at all. The size of the ship is huge and 20ft waves are dwarfed by it so no problem. The room was fine. Plenty of room in our inside cabin and the advantage of being able to take a sleep during the day with no interfering light from outside. For us, a drinks package was not worthwhile. Yes, the drinks are expensive, but if you have the cocktail of the day for $8.5 instead of $14 you can save money. All the different bottles of wine we had were lovely, even the cheapest ones at $36 a bottle. We chose to do the 'Self Assist' departure procedure for which the information given was misleading and confusing until clarification was made. Basically go to breakfast, leave your suitcases in the room and then walk off the ship when you like. All very straightforward in the end. The staff and service was almost faultless. Would we cruise again with Royal Caribbean? Maybe, maybe not. Will be happy to cruise again sometime and perhaps try another cruise company. Absolutely nothing wrong with the quality of this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
First time on Royal Caribbean having previously been on Thomson Dream. What a fab experience. Could not fault the boat or the amazing cruise. Embarkation at Southampton was effortless, parked the car and was immediately assisted getting ... Read More
First time on Royal Caribbean having previously been on Thomson Dream. What a fab experience. Could not fault the boat or the amazing cruise. Embarkation at Southampton was effortless, parked the car and was immediately assisted getting our luggage out of the car and we didn't see it again until we reached our cabin. First impressions count and boy were they good. The central boulevard is fantastic and a great place to mingle with other guests and socialise. Norwegian fjords were fabulous, we loved staying up late at night in Gillespie's bar watching the scenery glide past the windows as we danced the night away. The nights were very short so we got to see some fabulous scenery long after others called it a night. Bit cold on the forward deck as we left port so we got in the habit of toasting departure with a brandy - highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date May 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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