91 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Pacific Coastal Cruise Reviews

Our primary reason for taking this cruise was to see the ship. At 137,000 tons, this is the largest ship we have ever sailed on and it has some features we have never seen before. We have visited the ports many times so they were not a ... Read More
Our primary reason for taking this cruise was to see the ship. At 137,000 tons, this is the largest ship we have ever sailed on and it has some features we have never seen before. We have visited the ports many times so they were not a factor. We also feel that the entertainment on Royal Caribbean is usually superior to other cruise lines and hoped to see some good shows. If you ever consider taking a cruise out of Seattle and need to fly there, think again. The Seattle airport has to be one of the worst. We flew in the night before the cruise and had the hotel shuttle deliver us back to the airport the next morning to catch the Royal Caribbean bus to the ship. There was absolutely nobody in the airport to give us any directions to the cruise bus. We finally found a group of construction workers and they told us we had to go up several flights, cross a bridge to another part of the airport, walk through the parking garage, go back down to a lower floor and walk about half a mile to the place where the buses were parked. We started walking through the deserted airport and luckily came across a person with a red vest. She turned out to be a representative for Royal Caribbean and told us where to get the bus. The waiting area was outside in a very windy and cold area. We had to wait there for about an hour before the bus finally came to take us to the ship. The ride to the ship takes about 45 minutes and was comfortable. Upon arrival, we were escorted to the check in area and that process went very smoothly. We then boarded the ship and went to an upper deck to wait for the restaurant to open for lunch. Our cabin was ready at 1 o’clock and we then went down to inspect it and unpack our carry-on bags. CABIN We had cabin 8620 on deck 8. It was across the hall from the elevators and the computer room. It was located at the top of a hump in the side of the ship, so we had unobstructed views to the front or back of the ship. It was also a quick elevator ride to the Windjammer restaurant on deck 11 and the main dining room on deck 3. It was a bit of a walk to the other elevators that took us to the show room. I was surprised that a ship this large had only two elevator towers. We often had to wait quite a long time for an elevator. We were very pleased with the location of this cabin. The cabin was clean and comfortable with a king size bed, vanity with many drawers and lots of cabinet space above. The closet was adequate. The night stands were very small with only one drawer. Lamps were mounted on the wall behind the bed and had two lights; one for general lighting and one for reading. There was a small couch and table. The bath had a fully enclosed shower with sliding doors to enclose it. This feature is much better than a shower curtain. Our cabin steward did a very good job. FOOD The main restaurant had fair to good food. The waiters were all excellent. We had My Time diniing and that part of the main restaurant seemed totally disorganized the first night. It got better on later nights. The Windjammer restaurant on deck 11 was usually crowded and the food was usually somewhat tasteless compared to the main restaurant. They also had a problem keeping plates and utensils available. We have had unpleasant experiences at extra restaurants on various ships, so avoided them on this cruise. The prices also seemed quite high as compared to other cruise lines. Chops was $39.00. Giovanni’s was $30, Johnny Rockets was $9.95 and room service was $7.95. This was the first time we saw a charge for room service on any of our 50 cruises. We thought this charge was way out of line. ENTERTAINMENT We usually choose Royal Caribbean for the entertainment. On past cruses, it far exceeded what is offered by other cruise lines. That was NOT true on this cruise. The production shows were ho-hum. One of the two comedians was good. The second one was poor. A magician was excellent. One night there was only a movie in the main showroom. The ship has an ice rink and there was an excellent show there one afternoon. We did not attend any of the bar shows, but noticed large crowds there as we walked past. There seemed to be fewer activities offered than on other cruises. We went to see the Flowrider and Rock Climbing Wall a couple of times. The Flowrider had only three people trying it and we never saw anyone on the wall. The wind and cool temperatures may have affected the use of these facilities. We played miniature golf one night and only one other couple was using the course. SHOPS There is a promenade on deck 5 with a number of large shops. There is also a café that is open 24 hours with coffee and snacks. It is the only place to get coffee in the early morning. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This cruise was a close cruise for a Western Washington resident. Not too many cruises (3) but like the experience. The ship while a little old is in great shape and constantly being cleaned, etc. Wanted to try out interior cabin with a ... Read More
This cruise was a close cruise for a Western Washington resident. Not too many cruises (3) but like the experience. The ship while a little old is in great shape and constantly being cleaned, etc. Wanted to try out interior cabin with a virtual balcony. The virtual balcony really expanded the utility of the interior room. Even though camera was on the opposite side of the ship, it was easy to adjust perspective. Great food in dining room, waiters Nitish and Jeffrey were exceptional. Windjammer was standard buffet food with wide variety, some good and some not so good. We tried to get in front of the line to get selection before other diners had a chance to potentiall leave germs, etc. Shows were standard fare, good dancers, singers, magician and comedian. Cruise director kept things moving, especially the tribute to British Rockers. Don't know how he maintains the high energy level. All of the crew members were pleasant and welcoming. Service was great. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Really enjoyed the soft serve ice cream machine by the pool. Was too windy and cool when in transit but no rain so success for the Pacific Northwest. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We had been on Explorer twice before, both cruises out of Cape Liberty. This was to be our first Pacific cruise. Never having been to Seattle we arrived 3 days early. We toured the city and took in a Mariners game. We made the Hampton ... Read More
We had been on Explorer twice before, both cruises out of Cape Liberty. This was to be our first Pacific cruise. Never having been to Seattle we arrived 3 days early. We toured the city and took in a Mariners game. We made the Hampton Inn on 5th avenue our base of operations. The room was clean and comfortable and breakfast was included each morning. (I love those waffles!) On Friday morning (after breakfast of course) we took the hotel shuttle to the cruise terminal. Check-in went painlessly and before you knew it we were on the ship. From hotel to ship it took us about 45 minutes, the fastest check-in I ever experienced. Seeing that this was our third voyage on Explorer there was no need to explore the ship. So, after going to guest services to have our sea-passes punched and going to the dining room to check out our table, we headed up to the Windjammer for some lunch. After eating our room was ready so we checked that out. We met our room steward and began unpacking as our luggage had been delivered. Soon it was time for muster. Our station was in the Star Lounge. Great, we didn't have to stand on a hot deck! After the drill it was time for sail-away. I finally got to meet most of the people I had been taking to for over a year! I can't remember the names (I've got a lousy memory!) The only ones I remember were Rich and Patti because they lived about 40 miles from us. Knowing that we would see these people again during the week, we said good-bye and went to the room to get ready for dinner. At the dining room we met our tablemates. They were a couple from Delaware, a couple from Australia, and another couple from New York that as it turned out, lived about 15 miles from us! All were great company throughout the week. The next morning we docked in Astoria, Oregon. After breakfast we met our excursion and boarded a bus for Mt. St. Helen. I must say, it was a very impressive tour. Even after close to 40 years after the eruption, the area was still devastated! That was an all-day tour so we went right to dinner when we returned, after our martini that is! After dinner we went to the evening show for a while and then my wife went back to the room while I went to the cigar lounge. That's where I experienced my first disappointment of the cruise. The company there was excellent. I'm a retired police officer and it seems everybody in there was related to the law enforcement field in one way or the other! The trouble is that there was no attendant/waiter in the lounge. That meant that we had to get our own drinks and nobody ever emptied the ashtrays. I know that RCCL is getting rid of the Connoisseur Clubs (which I think is a mistake), but at least wait till they're gone before you abandon them! I have to say that after that night the waiter from the Star Lounge did pop in every so often to take drink orders. The next day was a sea day so we basically relaxed, ate, and drank. That night was the first formal night so we got to dress up for dinner. My wife got all dressed up in formal attire and I put on my tux. Man, did we look good! Even the captain remarked as to how good we looked! The following day we docked in San Francisco. Again, after breakfast we boarded a bus for our next excursion, The Napa Valley Wine Train. The train is made up of a lounge car and a dining car from the golden age of railroading. First we had cocktails and appetizers in the lounge car before moving into the dining car for a delicious lunch. All while traveling past many wineries of the Napa Valley. We got back and had our evening martini, dinner, and my wife to bed, and me to the cigar lounge. The next morning, after breakfast, we walked down towards Fisherman's Wharf. We had been to San Francisco 38 years earlier on our honeymoon. Most of the land we walked on was not there then! A lot had been reclaimed from the bay. We walked around and then headed back to the ship. It was very hot that day. I should mention that the weather for the entire cruise was perfect, except for our return to Seattle. That morning it was raining off and on. The ship left San Francisco about 4:30 pm. As we sailed along the coast whales would surface every once in a while! For dinner that night we went to Chops! Excellent food! The next day was a sea day. Again we spent it relaxing, eating, and drinking. Early that afternoon, we went for a couples massage. If you've never done it, you really should. If I was anymore relaxed after that I would have been liquid! That evening we went to diner at the Chef's Table. The food and wine pairings were so good, but the best part of the evening was our fellow guests at the table! We had such a lively bunch! The following morning we arrived at Victoria Island, British Columbia. Our tour that day took us to Butchart Gardens were we had high tea. The gardens were beautiful even though it really wasn't the ideal time of year to go there. Afterwards we went back to the ship. We had our farewell dinner with our tablemates. After a final nightcap, my wife went off to bed and I went to the cigar lounge and had one last smoke with my new friend Rich. The next morning it was back to Seattle and the real world. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean. We chose Explorer of the Seas because of the pacific coast itenerary. It was just my husband and myself. Our previous cruise had been on the Oasis of the Seas so the Explorer was much ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean. We chose Explorer of the Seas because of the pacific coast itenerary. It was just my husband and myself. Our previous cruise had been on the Oasis of the Seas so the Explorer was much smaller compared to the Oasis. We had priority boarding so check in was a breeze. We had an inside room. It was small but adequate. I was apprehensive about an interior room but it worked out well for two people and since this was a colder weather cruise I don’t think we would have made much use of a balcony. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer and every day and the food was very good and had a great selection. We ate in the main dining room for supper and enjoyed the food there too. We had the late seating. I think we would pick the choose the My Time dining next time. The Royal Promanade seemed much more crowded than on the Oasis. Even though Oasis has a much larger number of people on board there is more space to spread out. The pools and hot tubs looked nice but it was so chilly few people were using them. We used the fitness center twice and found it to be in good condition and had a great view. We really enjoyed trivia in Schooner Bar and the drinks there. First port was Astoria, OR. It is a quaint seaside town. We enjoyed the Maritime museum. I went out shopping and there are a lot of shops selling wares made by local aritisans. There Are also 3 or 4 craft breweries if that is your thing. We then spent two days in San Francisco which we enjoyed this stop the most. Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge was amazing! We booked one excursion through the ship for Muir Woods which is an amazing place. The only downside of this excursion is it stops in Sausalito for a little over an hour on the way back. We would have rather gone back to San Francisco not much in Sausalito to see other than shopping. We booked our own tour to Alcatraz which was very interesting. Our next port was Victoria, B C. This is a very pretty and clean city. We just walked around there and did not take any tours. I was glad we did not take the kids on this cruise because it is definitely more adult oriented and they would not have enjoyed the pool or flow rider do to the colder temps. I would recommend this cruise to adults who would like to see this part of the world. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Last minute cruise from the local port Seattle to Astoria to San Francisco to Victoria Island, got a good discount . This is our third cruise on three different cruise line. We’ve been on Holland and Princess on Alaska and Mexico ... Read More
Last minute cruise from the local port Seattle to Astoria to San Francisco to Victoria Island, got a good discount . This is our third cruise on three different cruise line. We’ve been on Holland and Princess on Alaska and Mexico destinations. PROs: By far the best thing about the cruise was the Great shows, incrideble they have an ice show. Lots of different activities. Rooms are clean and our States Room attendant was pleasant. Johnny Rockets makes great burgers, fries, onion rings and shakes. CONs: ice rink only available twice the whole trip. Food was extremely disappointing; lunch and dinner buffet was subpar, the complimentary cafe has school grade cafeteria cardboard pizza, the speciality steakhouse steaks were obviously frozen steaks. The complimentary dining is average, had a couple decent dishes. Johnny Rockets cost 10 bucks. Complimentary foods are very limited on this cruise. There’s an eight dollar room service fees. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Overall the pacific coastal cruise was lovely and at a good price. First things that could be improved. Avoid cabin 9221 as the ceiling was squeaky. Maintence twice tried to fix, but couldn't locate source of problem. We ... Read More
Overall the pacific coastal cruise was lovely and at a good price. First things that could be improved. Avoid cabin 9221 as the ceiling was squeaky. Maintence twice tried to fix, but couldn't locate source of problem. We stuffed towels between the ceiling and the in room desk/vanity. Didn't fix the issue but helped a bit. When in rough seas you will hear loud intermittent squaks from the ceiling. The rougher the seas the worse it gets. I didn't try the hot tubs as the water was murky (not clear). A clean hot tub should have clear water when the jets are not on. The greeters at the windjammer (buffet) were animated and chanting phrases more in line with a disney cruise..like .how you would talk to your children. ("Wash-ie wash-ie") Nice amentities - the specialty restaurants offered great food amd service. We tried all 3. Izumi had exceptional views and cozy vibe. Chops offered best steaks hands down -- get the filet. Giovanni's offered a great sampling of many treats. The prominade (deck 5) had a lovely snack spot with free coffee, tea. And treats. It was nice to see the ship now offers gluten free and lactose free options...just ask for them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This cruise was offered by a travel agent (he had 1100 customers on board) for a great price! It was a quick getaway that we could drive to the port. I was amazed at how CHEAP RCCL has become. In the cabin no chocolates on pillows, no ... Read More
This cruise was offered by a travel agent (he had 1100 customers on board) for a great price! It was a quick getaway that we could drive to the port. I was amazed at how CHEAP RCCL has become. In the cabin no chocolates on pillows, no pen and tablet on the desk, small scratchy sandpaper towels, no lotion in the bathroom (just shampoo in a dispenser in the shower), on demand movies offered for free by Princess were $12 to view!!! In the dining room we were offered one roll from a tray and never we offered more. A strict accounting was done with the thin, rough pool towels that no one would ever want to steal. On Princess there are towel bins everywhere to help ourselves. When returning to the ship after a day on the beach there are big bins to deposit sandy, salty towels. Entertainment was quite good except we didn't care for the Production Show. Not nearly as good as it should be. Ice Skating show was excellent. Public areas looked fine but the cabins are showing their age. A little touch-up paint could help some. Crew were friendly and helpful. Promenade cafe was the only 24 hour food venue with poor offerings. Their sandwiches had one VERY thin piece of meat and were not worth taking. We were disappointed there was NO parade during our cruise! Nanaimo offered MANY volunteers greeting and offering maps, brochures, and a free shuttle. Victoria was a great walk along the waterfront. Will NOT return to RCCL!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Have traveled with Celebrity (Solstice) and Holland America..First Cruise for awhile and booked with a friend. She cancelled, thank goodness as the inside Cabin was soo small, The cost of this cruise was low priced though, and ... Read More
Have traveled with Celebrity (Solstice) and Holland America..First Cruise for awhile and booked with a friend. She cancelled, thank goodness as the inside Cabin was soo small, The cost of this cruise was low priced though, and through Travel with Alan group. Spoke to some cruisers who paid $199.00 (for two) the same cabin and cruise through Royal Caribbean lines, and another woman who paid 600.00 through Costco. The embarkation was quite easy and friendly people. Then the fire drill outside. I seemed to mix up the directions, as to where the restaurants were. I thought I was in the middle of the ship, and depending where the elevators started, your restaurant could be at the other end of the ship (aft or forward) and then one had to walk outside by the pool to get there. Walk thru the inside to take another elevator! Advice. Dining: 1. If you like buffets, go to the windjammer. (I saw undercooked bacon, and not palatable food, bluntly dogfood) Did not eat in the dining room, as I read previous reviews, not great, other people said it was average and below. Promenade restaurant open all the time. Bread could be alittle fresher, other than that, handy, nice people and manager there! Luckily I chose the package of specialty restaurants. Purchased on ship from Smiling "Raul"! (same waiter in Chops! ) Very reasonably priced too. Save almost half with the packages. One is for 4 nights, another for 3 nights. First was the Italian Giovanni's Restaurant. Excellent food and service. Waiters name was EUTEMIO, even tho they were very busy, he was attentive and helpful! I like separate courses, as in Italy. Caprice Salad, pasta(crepe with warm Mozzarella, spinach with sauce of chunky tomato) then Lamb, nice presentation 3 perfectly cook lamb chops. Desert was to go! Mixture of 5, including panna Cotta! Great presentation on plates being served. No.2: Japanese IZUMI Asian Cuisine, Spider Roll, Seafood cooked on hotplate, Saki and a lovely plate of 3 fried icecream rounds, mango, lime. The server was the best part JOHN CABRERA , always smiling, happy and helpful in suggestions. Also, very nice presentation of plates served. No.3: Chops, best reputation of all I was told. Our server RAUL, was gracious, superior in service, helpfulness, friendly, always smiling. Goat Cheese Salad, Shrimp Cocktail (large, fresh tasting) (friend loved Mushroom soup the sides were fresh asparagus, mashed potatoes, sauteed mushrooms,) and the very tender petite filet mignon . Desert a warm chocolate cake, similar to Chocolate Fondant/lava cake, vanilla ice cream, lace chocolate wafer floating on top. Superb. All plates, a beautiful presentation. A very positive organized restaurant crew. Sometimes saw same waiters in different areas and in different restaurants. As you can see from above, Foodie here writing. Dining ratings refer to Special restaurants! The Mixture of Entertainment and shows were pleasant enough. One complaint, from a DJ (Dizzy's?) who was self absorbed, into the only rap music he was playing. It seemed we totally bothered him with request to change the venue. Very few people were dancing at all. People in Guest Services were helpful and especially our man "Pratik Tamhankar" from India. A happy smiling young man ever soo talkative and helpful He needs to watch the series of Mozart on Netflix, main actor, he sounds just like him! Other girls there said they didnt want to be his girlfriend. The woman that worked in guest services with Pratik were very kind and helpful. Very sympathetic to a small lost boy on board. Nanimo, spent day with friend who lives there. High Tea at the Empress was a delight! Well worth the experience. Raining in Victoria. This is the first time cruising with Royal Caribbean. And it was a N.W. Pacific Cruise with many Northwest People. A mixture of dressed and not appropriately dressed people. I met some very nice, fun people. Not sure I would like to take a cruise for longer length of days on here, and overall it was quite a bargain for what people paid. As one person reported, 3 or more nights hotel in Seattle would cost more than this cruise! A nice adventure to Canada. Travel with Alan company, delivered lovely bottle of Washington State , Domaine Ste MICHELLE, Brut, 2 fluted glasses, on ice and Fruit Plate, upon arrival. Departure, a delicious box of Truffles! Thank you Travel with Alan, Lynnwood, Washington! And thank you to the Crew of Explorer of the seas. (Cabin info: Inside Cabin was soo small, only one chair. A definite ONE person Cabin! (If with a spouse it may be ok) A lighted scene of water with curtain! A friend said she did not have the lighted scene on wall, ha ha. Maybe the location of my cabin? Or a single person cabin? The cabin was clean, attendant Rolando Azucena was kind, polite always asking if I needed anything, which I did not. Except I had to ask someone for Lotion. The cabin is very dated compared to other ships, experienced. I found this on someones review which I thought was a perfect description of the Bath and Shower. "Beam me up Scotty, Star Trek Transporter (round with sliding doors) water pressure fine, slow with hot water. Inside cabins receive nothing but Towels which seemed strange. At times it felt like I was in our past Motorhome bedroom and bath. This was the only cabin available on this cruise when I booked with Travel with Alan group.) Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The wife and I booked this cruise about a year out, long before our son moved up to Tacoma with his girlfriend for a great career last March. Once we told them about our cruise plans her parents and the kids joined us. Embarkation was ... Read More
The wife and I booked this cruise about a year out, long before our son moved up to Tacoma with his girlfriend for a great career last March. Once we told them about our cruise plans her parents and the kids joined us. Embarkation was very easy arriving around 10:30am we were on board by eleven. We toured the ship a bit then down to check on our "first night done right" booking. We had been told that a restaurant would be assigned to our group but it was not.....we booked Chops at 7:15pm. Finding some lunch in windjammer we went on exploring the Explorer. She is in pretty good shape considering her age....all pools and hot tubs worked and were heated well. Our cabins (we all got interiors) were also in good shape, however the beds are quite firm as everyone says.....they were replacing the bed foundations all week. I will say RCI could improve their bedding game here, while the linens are great the beds suck as compared to the new Princess dream beds. We loved the brewed coffee always available down in the cafe all day long and free, Princess makes you pay for it and wait in line. Dinner at Chops was very good, though having eaten there four years ago on the Oasis I can see where quality and/or quantity has gone down. Meals in the dining room were good, not great.....service was good and we tried to get the same table each night but that did not work out. The last night we were put at another area and table which was not very good, issues like being charged full bottle price for glasses of wine. The entertainment was good not great......but we managed to find things to do each night. The casino was not very generous and nobody we spoke with had won on machines. I for one enjoyed the smoking lounge that I hear they are removing soon. Overall it was a great cruise however we'll be using Princess going forward as we're close to elite status there. Debarkation was a breeze we were off the ship by 7:30am carry off. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My daughter, 2 grandsons (20 months and 5 years), and I took a 4 night Royal Caribbean cruise from Sept 17-21 with stops in Nanaimo and Victoria. We stayed in 2 inside cabins, which were next door to each other. I have seen hundreds ... Read More
My daughter, 2 grandsons (20 months and 5 years), and I took a 4 night Royal Caribbean cruise from Sept 17-21 with stops in Nanaimo and Victoria. We stayed in 2 inside cabins, which were next door to each other. I have seen hundreds of commercials where RCI promotes its cruise line as family friendly but RCI did not meet our expectations for the following reasons: a) We did not expect activities for the 20 month old, but there were few activities a 5 year old could do. We wanted to experience the cruise with the children and not offload them to Ocean Adventures, which is a drop off daycare-like activity. The RCL website says there is a "kids aqua park" on the Explorer of the Seas. There was absolutely no "aqua park"--only 5 foot deep pools, a depth that would make our 5 year old uncomfortable. There was nothing a 20 month old could enjoy such as a splash pad or even a hose with running water. The rock wall is limited to kids 6+, which we knew in advance. Why isn’t there a mini-rock wall for smaller kids too? The wave runner was not applicable. The kids have had a better time at a playground at our local park. The arcade was grossly overpriced and almost always empty. $10 bought us about 8 minutes of entertainment. You could buy 1 life on a Mario-type game for $1.50. (That was 2 seconds of my life I’ll never get back.) b) We did not get information about the Ocean Adventure schedules in our staterooms and only stumbled upon them at the front office while exploring the ship. c) The ice show was great and the 5 year old loved it and wanted to go to more shows. The earliest evening show was at 8:30 and he loved the “fast forward” song and dance show but was unable to stay awake until the end. On the second night, we made a big deal about a date with Mommy for the magic show and they arrived early for a front row seat. After my 5 year old made a sound, the magician/comedian made a joke along the lines, “Hey kid, I hear you. We’re in international waters so I could cut you into pieces and throw you overboard and nobody would know.” This threat was hurled at a small sensitive child in the front row who was eager for a magic show and made the mistake of making one short sound. I complained to the activities director who apologized and said he would "talk" to the performer, Leo Ward. Mr. Ward is a seasoned professional who should know better than to make such a treat against a small child even as a joke. The audience did not laugh and the attendees I spoke with thought the incident was horrible. Doesn't RCL contracts with performers provide specifications on content? Are there no consequences for such an outrageous act beyond a "chat" with the activities director? There were also many adult elements to the comedy including sexual innuendo, sexual orientation, and simulated drug use. Needless to say, this awful event ruined the rest of our cruise. d) There was no parade (as advertised) and we could not find the 3D movie theater the RCL sales rep told us about. Movies shown during the day in the large theater were rated pg13. While there was a kids channel on the cabin TV, movie rentals cost $12. Open ice skating was limited to a 2 1/2 hour window during the dinner hour on the last day that also conflicted with the evening show. These were 3 things we were looking forward to because they were something the 5 year old could enjoy. I understand we were on a 4 day cruise, but there should have been some disclosure that these activities would not be included or severely curtailed with our cruise so we could have considered that when making our purchase decision. e) I found a small white pill on the floor of my stateroom that was left by the prior occupant. We looked it up and believe it was a medication for high blood pressure and A-fib. If the 20 month old had accidentally ingested this medication and we could have had a medical emergency without knowing the cause. Apart from the family UN-friendly aspect of the cruise, we felt the dining service was much poorer than our prior cruising experiences where we were always used to “wow” service. We dined in the Sapphire room for 4 evenings and the majority of the time: 1) there was no assistance being seated beyond a point to the table, 2) we were not given a child’s menu on the first night and the kids did not like the food we had to order from the adult menu 3) we were not offered a beverage beyond water, 4) we had to ask for a high chair, and 5) beer was served in an unopened can delivered with an empty glass. Staff was responsive when we made a request, but we found it odd that we had to ask for basics such as a high chair, kids menus, beverages and even open beverages. We dined 3 times in the Windjammer at 3 different times of day and it was always crowded. There were no trays so it was very difficult to manage both kids and multiple plates. There were no clean tables available, so we had to sit at dirty tables and look for staff to clean the table and to provide a high chair. We were offered a beverage only once. One time my plate and beverage were removed from the table while I was picking up a dessert. Overall, it was a frustrating, crowded and noisy experience. What’s up with the shortage of spoons? Silverware wraps in the Windjammer and on the breakfast trays did not have spoons. My daughter’s breakfast tray never included a spoon. She called for 2 spoons and was brought 1. So she called again and asked for 8 spoons and kept a stash in a drawer because her trays never had spoons for yogurt and cereal for the entire cruise. I asked for butter one day and it was never delivered. I also want to mention that there was always at least 2 substitutions of items on my breakfast tray, even when I wrote, “no substitutions please.” I guess there were no blueberry muffins or granola in the pantry. We are experienced cruisers, but it has been several years since our last cruise. We were surprised and disappointed by the number and size of all the upcharges. Room service is free only for a continental (not a hot) breakfast. Otherwise room service costs $8 plus a gratuity. Movies on the TV were $12. Brunch was an upcharge. Lobster was a huge upcharge and there was no lobster or other special food on formal night. If there was a special food event, we missed it. A glass of wine was around $14-15 plus gratuity. A burger joint near the pool area was an upcharge. I would not have minded all the upcharges so much, but the prices felt excessive. We did enjoy the live shows with the exception of the magician/insult comic. The music and dancing were relatively modern and lively. I loved the 3 tenors from Vegas. The shows were at 8:30 and 10:15. The 8:30 show was always very crowded and you needed to be there early to get a good seat. The later show was barely half full with plenty of good seats. It was difficult to get an earlier dining time that did not conflict with going to the early show. We would have preferred an earlier show time option. On the last night, there were 6:30 and 8:30 shows. We had not noticed the schedule change and it would have been helpful if it had been announced by the activity director at the show on the previous night. There were also a number of other small live music venues throughout the ship. The cabins were comfortable and quiet. The pullman bed worked well for the 5 year old and a pack-n-play was provided for the 20 month old. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was a 60th Birthday cruise consisting of 5 women, 3 whom have known each other for 57 years! We were treated to a suite by the birthday girl (can't go wrong there) and while it was a great room and we loved our room steward ... Read More
This was a 60th Birthday cruise consisting of 5 women, 3 whom have known each other for 57 years! We were treated to a suite by the birthday girl (can't go wrong there) and while it was a great room and we loved our room steward Nyomon (spelling?) and the ice show was terrific...everything else was sadly mediocre at best. Boarding was okay, a little confusing... Carnival Cruises from Long Beach were much smoother whether a suite passenger or regular. Our suite was Aft which meant we took the elevator from mid-ship to aft. This in itself was not bad, but the horrible musty smell from the elevator to aft to get to our rooms was horrible and I could only feel sorry for those who were staying in those rooms! Food was mediocre for the most part. The best tasting item in at the buffet at the time we boarded was the butter chicken, which was very tasty. Sadly, I was the only one in the group that selected that dish. The "prime rib" looked good under that light but was not rare and juicy once it was put on the plate. In fact it was like leather and not eaten. We did an upsale restaurant, Chops which was very good with excellent service. Everyone had filet mignon, except for me. I chose the lamb chops and they were amazing! The one show I attended (I don't care for shows for the most part) was the Ice Skating and it was very entertaining and well done. We enjoyed our excursion to Buchert Gardens and we finished with a lovely tea at the Empress Hotel and I highly recommend both! We were fortunate to get the special pricing for Buchert Gardens and the tea at the Empress was well priced if you know the cost of going to a tea of that caliber. My biggest gripe is the drink package and the requirements that go along with them. EVERYONE must purchase if you are sharing a single cabin. For a virtual non-drinker like myself, this was a rip off. I get that they don't want you to "buy" drinks for other's using the package, but when you realize that you paid a fortune each day, and you are limited in the number of drinks per day, you really are not taking any money from their pockets. This is where the ripoff is. As it was, since we were Suite guests, we had access to the Concierge Lounge (very nice...I wish Carnival would do this) and there it appears drinks are included! I had a single drink each day at the concierge lounge when we sat in there to relax. Now my girlfriends were a bunch of lushes and they certainly got their money's worth with the drink package, some more than others, but I rather resented the fact that I too had to have one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Royal Caribbean Explorer I might have originally put this under “you get what you pay for”, but on reflection it’s more complicated. My wife and I have sailed Princess four times and Regent Seven Seas Explorer most recently. ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Explorer I might have originally put this under “you get what you pay for”, but on reflection it’s more complicated. My wife and I have sailed Princess four times and Regent Seven Seas Explorer most recently. That said, we left our last spoiled. A two week all inclusive on one of their newest boats can do that to someone. Yes... we paid for it. But in fairness it was our 25th wedding anniversary and THAT should date us for those younger readers whom may be checking my/our compass. We found an amazing deal via email for a four day three night Seattle to Victoria B.C. on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer mid September (‘18). Basically $200 (x2). You can’t find a hotel in Seattle for two nights for that price. I got the ok from “management” and we booked a month before. Doing the usual specialty restaurant reservations and single excursion to Butchart Gardens. Really, how could it go wrong?. Well, like it sometimes does in the Northwest (we live in Oregon), fall came in all at once. Our record number of ninety degree days dropped to our first rain filled fifty degree week. We took the train to Seattle the night before, and bought umbrellas the day of departure. Getting to the port (pier 91) was painless. Boarding was easy and we were very surprised that we could carry our luggage onboard ourselves. No matter the ship, I just LOVE boarding. Ships are just amazing and mysterious (initially) to me and always inspire a feeling of awe. However once onboard Explorer, I felt a bit more of a feeling of “oh dear”. In a word, old. Though her last referb was 2015, she looks a bit tired. Faded pink pastels and tired carpets. We grabbed a late lunch up at the buffet and I must say - which using Princess as a comparison - was horrible. But again, for what I paid.. ok fine. I felt like I was at a cheap all you can eat American buffet: limp French fries, well done sausage size burgers, pasta pasta pasta and of course all the sweets you can stuff your plate with. For September, the fruit looked more like March - pale and flavorless. Like most chow wagons, the mood was “get and go people... get and go!”. I would be in trouble with “management” at this point if I didn’t mention the awful “stink” the linen napkins all seem to have (to be fair, I don’t smell my napkins much, but full disclosure at this point will make future sailing... um happier). There are “chow” lines on both sides of the dining area as you enter - but - the “different” food is all the way in the back. Go there first. Less crowded and an over all better mix of food. And expect some diversity.. imagine what appears to be a sweet little old lady (85ish?) turning and growling at you as she cuts in and grabs the last piece of ham. Back girl back!. Inspired to look beyond, I decided to round up a couple drinks after lunch and before we sailed. The pool side bar (but not the recently rained on pool) was full. The hot tubs looked like large “tail gater cocktail cups – filled with drink package warriors loudly arguing about upcoming football games. I ponied up to an available spot and ordered two drinks of the day (no idea what they were, but knew they had vodka and allot more of other stuff – per the menu - aka weak cocktail. What came back was two three inch narrow clear plastic cups and a bill for $34. OMG!!!!!. “Where’s your gun?!”. $34 for a combined total of 6oz of liquid?! No, the only thing pointed at my face was a nice kids smile (from Uganda) and a very genuine “thank you sir”. I pointed my invisible gun to my own head and shot a “buyer beware” bullet into my brain. Remember, the server is only the messenger. This may also be another consequence of sailing all inclusive last time... but still, COME ON ROYAL CARIBBEAN.. REALLY??!!. Those that know need no further explanation of why some cruise lines do this.. it (and the casinos) feed the beast. But, you could buy - as was heavily pushed by the bar staff - a $200 drink package. Four days (which really is three since you arrive at 6am on the fourth) to drink as much as you can.. hmmm, maybe the food improves?.. Moving on. The balcony room really wasn’t too bad. Dated yes (no USB ports and old cabinetry etc..) but not bad. Bed was stiff, but linens clean (no napkin stink per management.. sleep was allowed .. The shower is more like a “beam me up Scotty” Star Trek transporter - but the water pressure and volume of nice hot water was amazing. Cabin steward was warm and attentive. Balcony on this class of ship is very old school. Alcove style with half steel wall with a small glass lip in front. If it were sunny (god forbid) we’d never feel it on our balcony until mid morning or afternoon depending on the position of the ship. Neither a positive or a negative, just an observation compared to other ships. Television had a few stations, but nothing to hang out for. Decent over all room storage. The mini fridge was barely below room temp and clearly was part of the original “mini bar” era it was built for. Two power outlets and a small vanity had barely enough room to charge our electronics and still have room for managements hair “tools”. A small hair dryer was provided as well as a small room safe. Management & I like an early gym workout. Here we were not disappointed. Nice space, good equipment. We did not get to use the steam or sauna, but they looked great. Being such a short cruise no spa for “management” was attempted either.. but they looked ok. In an environment like this (unlike the slightly snootier class ships) we have no problem walking through the morning buffet in our workout clothes. In fact, at no time was “dress code” an issue. I would say as long as you had clothes on in the morning, the general meal areas were open to what ever you choose to wear. The specialty restaurants had some breakfast options that had a few more restrictions, but not many. No change here on food quality (general dining -= never did a specialty breakfast other than the kitchen tour brunch), but so be it. If we were bringing young kids along (as we did once on Princess) it would be just fine. We took the galley/brunch tour as well. Again, tour documents say closed toes shoes required, but upon arrival a few had flip flops and were told “no problem” (really!? Why print it?!). Here again, a tad disappointing. We’ve done one on every ship and while the actual galley tour was great, here the food was a total let down. Hard boiled eggs benedict and runny bland “something sauce”. The table was graced with nacho chips and guacamole (but no salsa), sushi (but no soy sauce or ginger/wasabi), charcuterie meats, cheese but just sliced bread, Oh well. Fun company at our table and champagne flowed freely (about $40 each I think). Ok - the MAJOR bummer spoiler alert - the smoking sections are basically wide open and flow everywhere. Up on the pool deck it’s on one side, in the casino it’s on one side. Basically all the smoke wafts freely all over the place. HEY ROYAL CARIBBEAN!! STOP IT!!!. STOP THE POISON!. STOP THE STINK!. Put those that can’t quit in a boxed off area to stink peacefully and get cancer to themselves. Really, they don’t care where they smoke, just that they can. We air lovers however DO care that our air not give us cancer or stink. DO YOU HEAR ME?!. Go ahead smokers.. dig in if you must, but really you shouldn’t. This addiction affects all those around you as well... and second hand smoke is just not fair. And I guess in this case that’s not really enough said.. but that’s for you all to realize and enough for me to have said. No No... move on smokers!. We wish it were warm and dry enough for us to try out the many outdoor activities available on this ship. Flow rider surfing, wall climbing were out of our reach -because of weather-. But when the weather allowed we got in some putting on the golf greens and almost got some shuffle board in. Indoors the video arcade was great (had to pay :( ) but it was a nice option during the rain. The ping pong tables (three) were a great diversion. The casino has lots of options, but as I mentioned you’d better like the STINK and have a change of clothes available afterwards. By accident while waiting to get a table on our first night we stumbled into the ice rink and watched part of the show going on there. AMAZING!. Likewise after dinner that night we stood in the back and watched part of the comedy show in the main theater. But we’re not night folks anymore, so I’ll leave reviews of the night life to those that partook. We watched a great match of dodge ball and heard fun stories of the ping pong tourney. In these areas the ship crew were (and actually have been through out) GREAT!. Asian theme restaurant Izumi was ok. But ala-carte adds up quick. But over all nice food. Did Chops steak house last night on board. GREAT views and really decent food. Service was over the top wonderful. We never had time to try the burger place, though it seemed at least themed nicely. Never got to try the pub fair on deck 5 but heard ok things. On the whole, food for 3800 guests is surely a task. The overall size of your ship will obviously dictate the quality of your food - at least if this cruise showed us anything. And actually, this is one of their smaller ships. AND... AND please understand as a culinary school instructor I realize what makes food “good” is subjective to each individual. I preach only to those who find some common ground in what I’ve laid down here. Some of my best friends find equal happiness in a bag of Doritos and a cheap beer just as equally with a perfectly cooked steak. Neither is better than the other in their eyes. It often revolves around those they share the meal with. I get that, I truly do. And I also am very versed in the economics of large production meals. But the truly best apples are often highest up on the tree. Those that take the challenge to reach those deserve my finest critiques. Little bits: coffee- free if you look for it (deck 5) behind the pay for espresso coffee shop - bring a large insulated cup. Coffee itself is really never been great on any cruise so far. For gods sake don’t pay for it - because they will let you. Water- bring your own bottles... fill at buffet restaurant or in gym. All tips are by default added to your bill...add or not accordingly but look at your tab!. Bring a usb hub or plug bar... there are two (maybe) plugs U.S. . There are a million YouTube videos giving suggestions on “what to bring on a cruise”... many have great ideas and therefore worth checking out. Bringing booze on the cruise.. hmmm, well we’ve done it in the past and I will say there is a comfort knowing you’re not paying $11 for a Dixie cup worth of watered down liquor. A two inch pour of wine for $14 leaves me grumpy. That said, ethically NO, don’t “rob” the cruise line of their margin. They make their money back (after all the other costs of running a ship) on booze and the casino. In most cases you’re allowed to bring one unopened bottle of wine on board. However, if you feel a tad righteous about being ripped off related to your ROI (return on investment) on adult beverages, than I say it’s probably worth the risk. But you must be sneaky and you don’t want to be obvious... just pretend you’re a teenager again and don’t want to get grounded. “ No car for a week!”. The bottom line on a 4 day 3 night Royal Caribbean Explorer cruise from Seattle to Victoria B.C.: A long weekend in a hotel that moves to different locations and feeds you for (in our case) far cheaper than a two night stay in a hotel in Seattle without food or entertainment is by itself a reason to go for it. There is most likely no one reading this that is in a class of folks that wouldn’t consider it in the first place (those guys are over on the Regent or Silver Seas boards). There are issues to be sure, but overall our “long weekend” was great. In and out of Seattle was easy and worth an extra day on either side… so much to do. Would I want to be on this ship for a week or more, sadly probably no. However to be fair, we never got to experience her on a sunny fully functional cruise (meaning all the outdoor amenities were useable). Nor have we ever not been on a warm sunny cruise. If choosing Alaska or a cruise like this, look for the interior reviews. There ARE ships that do it right. There are obviously thousands more critiques on this ship out there. Please Please Please look at least a few more before making a decision one way or the other. Getting off the ship was a piece of cake. As when we boarded, they allowed us to carry off our own luggage allowing for an immediate and crowd free departure, and almost no slowing or questions at customs. Probably because of it being Canada and such a short cruise. We found 13 Coins restaurant (newly built under a Embassy Suites next to the train station and stadium) was (is) open 24/7. GREAT FOOD !..GREAT PRICES!. Just say’n. I love cruising. I take each new cruise (never have done the same ship or cruise twice) as an adventure and an investment. I use this venue as a way to express to myself what I think or thought of it as I went. I hope all that read along found it useful or at least.... Not Boring. Thanks. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
first cruise. wanted a short one to try out our sea legs. for an older ship it's in great condition. lots of art on the walls. easy to navigate. plenty of spaces to sit and chill (library on 7th can be nice although sometimes ... Read More
first cruise. wanted a short one to try out our sea legs. for an older ship it's in great condition. lots of art on the walls. easy to navigate. plenty of spaces to sit and chill (library on 7th can be nice although sometimes it's packed with folks playing games). whoever designed this ship gets a gold star from us! the top deck areas are awesome. there's a walking and jogging track next to the big screen with music. mini golf is fun (albeit very breezy when we played). sitting by the flowrider while the ship departed from Victoria was sweet. food is abundant. buffet is busy for breakfast and lunch but quieter for dinner. check out the back area of the buffet for some interesting choices. tons of options, some I liked better than others. they have a few buffet items sometimes on the promenade near the pub (one afternoon I snagged prime rib and mashed potatoes and gravy). the main dining room is an impressive space. they have small buffets at breakfast and lunch. it's fun to order several starters along with several desserts at dinner. if you have the package beverage cup you can fill up at red drink stations in the promenade and at the buffet. we liked the Dasani sparkling water (plus sprite and Ginger ale). you can get sprite and ginger ale at the bars, too. had a delicious old-fashioned (my new favorite drink) at the schooner bar while the piano lady played. check out dizzy's on the 14th floor (sometimes you can have that almost all to yourself). our interior promenade view room (6305) worked out great. sometimes got a bit humid but we brought a corded fan and sometimes propped the door open a bit. our room steward worked hard on our behalf. getting on and off the ship in seattle was a piece of cake. Victoria was beautiful but I don't think they are doing this trip anymore. in seattle we had dinner at Palisade restaurant (near the port) and stayed at Hilton Homewood suites also near the port (they have a stay and park option). really the only downside to the trip is that on sea day the ship went out into the Pacific Ocean and started rolling side to side (because it was going so slow?) which affected me somewhat but really got to my wife. we had sea bands and were drinking sprite and ginger ale and Dasani sparkling water. for me green apples really helped. my wife still had a good time but definitely struggled with the motion. maybe she's a good candidate for the patch if we go on another cruise. the seas were very calm on our trip which makes me wonder how it would be during a storm. the cruise brochures make it seem like sea sickness isn't a thing (the ships are large and have stabilizers, etc.) but we discovered it is. we parked next to the celebrity solstice in seattle (explorer played tag with it that evening). that was a nice-looking ship and looked about the same size as explorer. in Victoria it was the star princess next door along with the oceania regatta. anyway, aside from the sea sickness would definitely go on another cruise and we have a good opinion about royal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We took this cruise to celebrate Dad’s 90th Birthday. What a blast! Dad had always wanted to take a cruise, but seemed impossible. First Mom never wanted to go. Then he had dialysis. We investigated dialysis at sea, and found it too ... Read More
We took this cruise to celebrate Dad’s 90th Birthday. What a blast! Dad had always wanted to take a cruise, but seemed impossible. First Mom never wanted to go. Then he had dialysis. We investigated dialysis at sea, and found it too expensive, but realized we could take a 3 day cruise between treatments, so that’s what we did. It was still challenging to make it all work. In addition to dialysis, dad has mobility issues and recently started on an oxygen concentrator. He loves to travel, but it isn’t easy! We had 7 people in four cabins, but I’m going to concentrate on how we dealt with dad’s mobility issues, what worked, and what didn’t. I haven’t seen many reviews that cover this in any depth. My sister drove Dad from his home in Idaho the day before, just after his treatment. We all met up at my other sister’s house in Seattle and boarded the ship as a group the following day. Parking wasn’t easy or cheap at the port, but we found the lot and managed to get dad on the shuttle bus. As far as I can tell, the shuttle was not wheelchair accessible, so if you can’t do at least some walking/stairs, this may not be an option for you. I’d call the port and ask. Embarkation went smoothly. RCI has a special check in for mobility impaired. Everyone associated with the port or cruise line noticed our matching t-shirts and made a big fuss about his birthday. He was thrilled! Once on board, we grabbed lunch and then headed to the room. We got rooms 9337 (accessible interior cabin) and 3 “large” balcony cabins across the hall. The accessible cabin was twice the size of a standard cabin and very nicely laid out. It became a default meeting location. I’m glad we got it because his wheelchair (we alternated between his walker and wheelchair) wouldn’t fit through a standard door. IMPORTANT! Speaking of doors: the closer on the accessible cabin was very tight. Dad could not open the door without help, and there was no way to prop it open. Keep this in mind if you need to be able to get in and out of the room without help! The bathroom door would stay in the open or closed position and did not cause any problems. There were call buttons on either side of the bed and lights on the wall within easy reach of the bed. There was enough space that Dad was able to get from his wheelchair or walker to the bed and out without assistance. We noticed an important issue though. Since Dad uses a CPAP and an O2 concentrator, we needed plugs by the bed. The only plugs we could find were on the desk. We addressed this by requesting an extension cord. It was provided promptly by Jaypee, our room steward, who was great throughout the whole trip. However, the cord was barely long enough to reach the right side of the bed. We added a small power strip, which gave him enough plugs and some USB charging ports. It worked, but the cord was laid across the middle of the room, so a longer cord would have been much better! The ship was easy to navigate, even in a wheelchair. There were very few places that dad couldn’t go. At the MDR, our waiter must have been briefed about dad and his birthday because he knew about it before we even mentioned it. Food and service was very good and we ate there every night. We enjoyed the sea day by watching the shows and relaxing. I especially liked the ice spectacular. We saw three shows in the main theatre. The magician on the last night was the best of the three. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We choose RC because it was a great price. Embarkation went smooth. The cabins that look over the board walk are cool except there was a door between cabins and you could hear everything they where doing and talking about. Food in the ... Read More
We choose RC because it was a great price. Embarkation went smooth. The cabins that look over the board walk are cool except there was a door between cabins and you could hear everything they where doing and talking about. Food in the Windjammer was not good. I think I had one good meal all week. Food in the main dinning was really good. They charge for room service now. $8 per order. Other cruise lines don't charge. It was strange they had no formal night on the ship. And the staff was not very interactive. Not that many things to do. Other ships have lots going on like bands playing music with food and dancing. Our room Attendant was great, very nice guy! The rooms are clean and updated. The ice skating show eas really good!! Sit on deck 3 to watch the shows. Hard to see from the balcony seats. I would not Travel RC to Alaska or BC cruise. I will stay with Celebrity and Holland. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
First time and only time on RCI. It was just a complete disappointment. This was a 50th Anniversary cruise for my parents and we had a party of 13 on board. I wish I would have booked us on a different line. The Explorer is a ... Read More
First time and only time on RCI. It was just a complete disappointment. This was a 50th Anniversary cruise for my parents and we had a party of 13 on board. I wish I would have booked us on a different line. The Explorer is a beautiful ship. The Ice Show is great. I enjoyed the Royal Promenade area. It is a shame such a nice ship is wasted on such a terrible experience. My cabin was dirty, smelly and my bed was hard as a rock. I cleaned the cabin myself with hand wipes I brought. My bathroom was disgusting. It literally smelled as if someone had peed all over the walls. I asked for it to be cleaned 3x and finally gave up and cleaned up the urine I found under the seat myself. The food was not great. The Windjammer was just ok. The MDR was good but the service was incredibly slow. We had photos taken one evening and asked them to hold our table. We were told no problem. We got to the MDR and our tables were given away. The coffee in the MDR was cold and not drinkable. I got one decent cup of coffee at 6:30am in the Windjammer. There was no formal night. We like many just went a head and made our own formal night and dressed up. There was no pool side band or anything like that. Nothing very fun or festive. It was just weird. I hated the staff walking around with signs trying to up sell reservations to their specialty restaurants. In conclusion it was just not what I had hoped for. My parents were troopers and said they had a great time so I guess that makes it okay. I am sad my husband took a week off work and wasted his vacation time to sail with them when we could have sailed with someone else. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This 3200 passenger ship should get a design award. Instead of the ordinary round atrium, it has a four deck high Royal Promenade that has the feel of a New Orleans street with a party going on. Shop entrances are along the promenade ... Read More
This 3200 passenger ship should get a design award. Instead of the ordinary round atrium, it has a four deck high Royal Promenade that has the feel of a New Orleans street with a party going on. Shop entrances are along the promenade and bars and a cafe spill out tables and chairs for seating. At various times there was big band dancing (with a most excellent ship's band), reggae, disco, and any number of special parties. Were that not enough, the activities crew, led by Dan Whitney and his sidekick Amy, put together loads of activities. Dan Dan is part stand-up comedian and his "game show" hosting had the audience in stitches. On-board classes and activities also included sushi making and cupcake decorating as well as a galley tour followed by a free flowing champagne brunch. This ship has side by side pools filled with warm salt water and hot tubs on the main pool deck. There were plenty of deck chairs and music and dancing there as well. Just forward of that is a large adults-only solarium with hot tubs, multiple quiet nooks for napping or lounging and its own bar. The spa has sauna and steam rooms and a large hot tub pool. To my delight, unlike other ships I have recently visited, there was no additional charge for daily usage for these facilities. And then there was food. Oh, my. I had 8 p.m. seated dining in the main dining room on Deck 4 and I never had anything less than exceptional service and great food. Breakfast was usually room service and it was always on time, exactly what I ordered, hot if it was supposed to be, and delivered with a smile. Once a day or so I usually cruised through the Windjammer buffet. I thought it was well organized and what food I ate there was quite good. How they manage to maintain this level of quality is beyond me. My cabin was a balcony on deck 7 starboard side aft. My one and only complaint about the ship was that while most ships this size have forward, middle and aft elevators and stairs, this one has only two, one on either end of the Promenade. My cabin was quite far from them and required a lot of walking. Given the many, many features of this ship, though, it seemed like nothing to complain about. I've done this itinerary before and was looking more for a fun cruise than a new travel experience. That said, the ports were well worth seeing again. We started out in Astoria, Oregon, where I did a really excellent Willamette Valley Wine Tour, then we overnighted in San Francisco. Being docked overnight on the San Francisco waterfront, walking distance from Fisherman's Wharf and the Ferry Building, was the thrill of a lifetime! Finally, we spent the day in beautiful Victoria, B. C. before heading back to our departure port of Seattle. I even had good interactions with the Guest Services staff, which is largely unheard of in my experience. I had a couple of questions, one complaint (quickly and easily resolved) and purchased an airport transfer while aboard ship. Everything about this cruise was easy, friendly and I truly felt like a valued guest. Though I did not travel with children, one of my table mates was accompanied by her seven year old grand-daughter. By day three, my dining companion could barely drag her away from the kid's activities for dinner. She loved it and came to dinner every night showing us her projects. I tend to think a staff that works this well has to have excellent leadership and I complement the captain, hotel manager, food services staff, entertainment staff and everyone else aboard this ship for a job well done. Thank you. And, oh, yeah, it has an ice skating rink! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
On day prior to departure. We flew from Minneapolis to SeaTac and tookLink or light rail from SeaTac to downtown Seattle is only $1 For Seniors. There are golf carts from gate to station , call 206-396-5275 and we had informative ... Read More
On day prior to departure. We flew from Minneapolis to SeaTac and tookLink or light rail from SeaTac to downtown Seattle is only $1 For Seniors. There are golf carts from gate to station , call 206-396-5275 and we had informative passengers pointing out sights including both stadiums along the route, It was hot on our Arrival on 9/28. We got off at Westlake Station. Be careful as some of Seattle in transition and under construction. Stayed at LaQuinta, 2224 8th ave, 206-624-6820. had very comfortable bed and shuttle to pier for $10. . It Is within Walking distance To Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens. Call First . closed Due to construction and we couldn't reserve on next day.but was still an awesome sight. We did Happy hour from 4-6 at 5 point Cafe, an Historic dive bar with good burger. I think only take cash. In Astoria, we took tro!lety For $2 to end of riverwalk to see Sealions. The fish canneries and warehouses are being converted. We did Loop as crowded. Other shops had unique items. In San Francisco, at Ferry build at customer service, we bought Clippercard which can be reloaded. For Seniors, It cost $7 one way for ferry to Sausalito which goes past Alcatraz. Some walked or ride bikes across Golden Gate bridge. Once there, you may be able to take shuttle to Muir Woods, ask at Visitors hut. This Card May also used on historic street cars which are moving museum. We went to end of line both way, for Dr rate approximately $1.50. We toured WWII ship near Fisherman's wharf . The Cable car is also $7 so make sure that have sufficient fares loaded when you purchase. The Exployer of the Seas is a beautiful ship and well maintained. The staff was friendly and helpful. We had many menu options in the Sapphire Dining room and our waiter Alport remembered us and our standard requests. He would expedite our meal if we had time constraints. The Ice show was spectacular and a must see. Because of limited seating, using muster stations to assign performances was a success. Trivia, Karoke and Zumba were fun activities. Seeing the Golden Gate bridge from Viking crown lounge was awesome experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
When you go on a cruise, you expect the food to be good. The food in the main dining room and the buffet was horrible. Inedible. My steak the first night was hard on one side (like it had been sitting in a pan for hours). The food was ... Read More
When you go on a cruise, you expect the food to be good. The food in the main dining room and the buffet was horrible. Inedible. My steak the first night was hard on one side (like it had been sitting in a pan for hours). The food was overall flavorless. When eating, I would attempt to find the dishes that could not be screwed up because of how bad the food was. My wife got a rash, and ended up treating with a doctor on the fourth day, I believe. It was in San Francisco. Because of this, and because of the inedible food, we tried to disembark in San Francisco, but were told we would be fined and no refund would be available, even for the half of the trip we hadn't been on yet. I started to get a rash as well on the last couple of days of the trip. Shortly after we were off the boat, all of our rash went away. After complaining and trying to disembark, eventually the head chef called us. They sent two plates of chocolate covered strawberries and offered us one night of dining at Chops. The food at Chops was good. In other words, any food that is not charged for is tasteless or horribly cooked. The ship must not be clean, or the water supply on the ship must be bad or something to cause rash. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The dinner menu is not impressive, had to rely on the standing items several nights. Also very disappointment in the wine selection. All the bars listed a wine on the menu that I was interested in - but it was only available one evening ... Read More
The dinner menu is not impressive, had to rely on the standing items several nights. Also very disappointment in the wine selection. All the bars listed a wine on the menu that I was interested in - but it was only available one evening at one bar and in the dining room. The wine choices for the price of a glass was not aligned. The service overall was good. Condition of the ship was also good. I especially appreciate being able to purchase the specialty coffee card so that I can have a latte every morning. The staff was generally nice, and we made sure to recognize those that did a great job with extra gratuities. I recommend this cruise but think that it would have been better to have more time in Victoria rather than sailing so slowly back to Seattle. Wish more of the RC ships had this cabin in the location that our cabin was in - it was awesome! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The short review is, great cruise, would absolutely recommend it and would even do this trip again. This was a really good way to see some of the Pacific coast, plus it gave 2 days and 1 night in San Francisco - cruising into San ... Read More
The short review is, great cruise, would absolutely recommend it and would even do this trip again. This was a really good way to see some of the Pacific coast, plus it gave 2 days and 1 night in San Francisco - cruising into San Francisco at dawn was stunning. So, we arrived in Seattle a day early and spent the afternoon walking the area, taking in Pike's Place Market and enjoying the sites. The ship itself is a beautiful ship and I found it easy to learn your way around. The ports of Astoria, Oregon and Victoria, Canada were quaint and just beautiful places to visit. We rented a car in Astoria and in Victoria, this was a very cost-effective way to see the area on your own time and leisure. Heading South out of Astoria takes you to Seaside and then a bit further to Cannon Beach - just beautiful areas of rugged shoreline, broad beaches and the mesmerizing surf. The car rental companies were relatively close to the ports and easy to get to with shuttles. Butchart Gardens in Victoria are beyond gorgeous, would love to see this place in the different seasons. In San Francisco we booked a Jail and Sail tour thru Viator, this got us to Alcatraz and then later a sunset cruise in the San Francisco bay, both were outstanding. This particular tour combination was not offered by the cruise line, but Viator was easy and a good price. If doing Alcatraz, via the cruise line or Viator, whoever, book early, Alcatraz sells out and it doesn't disappoint. We did a Sonoma wine country tour through the cruise line and had a very nice day at Cline Cellars and a quick stop for lunch in Sonoma, the excursion was on a comfortable tour bus and we also actually got to see sites in San Francisco like China Town and other spots. Loved having a sea day in the beginning and then near the end of the week, perfect time for relaxing and enjoying the ship. All staff I encountered on the cruise were friendly and cheerful and wanted to please. I found there to be plenty of staff available and attending to your needs in the Windjammer (buffet) dining area, whether it was clearing dishes or offering to bring you something to drink. I also found it easy to get a drink on this ship, the bar staff were ample and ready to wait on you, service on this ship was outstanding on all levels - the room attendant, the bar staff, buffet staff, main dining room staff (I did not go to specialty restaurants). I found all the meals to be delicious, well-prepared and served in a timely fashion. I had read some reviews of people saying the options were not good and that food was like cafeteria food - I don't know what these people eat at home to make them turn their noses up at the food on this ship, because it was absolutely fantastic...some people just like to complain. The shows and entertainment on this ship were top-notch and of good variety, loved the British Invasion and Disco Inferno nights held on the Grand Promenade, like a street dance-party. Good crowd, everyone into it and having a great time, great music and lively. I would not want an interior room with a bowed window overlooking the Grand Promenade, I really think it could be noisy and annoying, but maybe those rooms are really well sound-proofed. The casino was smokey and the slots were really tight. Even if the slots had been loose I would not have spent much time here because of the smoke. I'm sorry, but they simply need to make the casinos on all cruise lines smoke free or put in air-handlers that can turn over the fresh air quickly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We picked this cruise because it left from Seattle, we liked the itinerary and the price was good. We had not been on a Royal Caribbean cruise for many years because we are Princess elite people. But this was very pleasant. My husband ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it left from Seattle, we liked the itinerary and the price was good. We had not been on a Royal Caribbean cruise for many years because we are Princess elite people. But this was very pleasant. My husband has eating problems but the dining room staff were very helpful. We enjoyed the Windjammer Buffet. The selections were excellent. The Ice Skating Revue was outstanding. The first entertainment show was just okay for us. The music was for the younger crowd. The next show was great, beautiful costumes and wonderful singing and dancing. We arranged this tour through a travel agency. We were very unhappy because Military On Board Credit didn't count. It only counts if you make your reservations through the Royal Caribbean Company. This is different than Carnival Cruise Lines. Our embarkation and debarkation was very smooth. We have had troubles in Seattle at Pier 91 before but because there was only one ship there it might have made a difference. We would probably go again - same price, same ship and same trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I've cruised on several other cruise lines, and liked this one the least. Reasons: charging $8 for room service(!) and $20 per day for WiFi; few shops for shopping; some venues, such as trivial pursuits and karaoke, were so crowded ... Read More
I've cruised on several other cruise lines, and liked this one the least. Reasons: charging $8 for room service(!) and $20 per day for WiFi; few shops for shopping; some venues, such as trivial pursuits and karaoke, were so crowded you couldn't get near them; library/card room only had about 8 tables, so we had to hunt for place to play cards in a comfortable place; nightly shows were pretty lame, with exception of terrific ice skating show and comic on last night. PLUSES: excellent food with wonderful service in both the buffet area and dining room, and several places to find food day and night; wonderful stateroom assistant (room cleaned twice daily); great assistance with shore excursions (BUT DON'T BOTHER WITH BEHIND THE SCENE TOUR OF SHIP...cost too high, difficult to understand speakers in departments visited, real bare-bones and frankly boring tour, and did not include promised visit to crew member cabin). All-in-all, will not cruise this line in future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Me & My husband and my husbands brother and his wife did this cruise as a Nice get away close to home (our 33rd cruise their 1st Cruise) this cruise was close to home coming out of Seattle we are in Vancouver WA, We have sailed ... Read More
Me & My husband and my husbands brother and his wife did this cruise as a Nice get away close to home (our 33rd cruise their 1st Cruise) this cruise was close to home coming out of Seattle we are in Vancouver WA, We have sailed with many cruise lines and we really enjoy Royal Caribbean but just coming off in the Last year the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure this Explorer was a Big change some good and some not so good, of course the ship is alot smaller than the last 2 we had been on but it was still a good size we have been on smaller Our Cabin was perfect we always do mid ship low which we like our Room steward Bobby did the best he could with how many rooms he had we have been cruising for many years and when we first started cruising I swear when you woke up and went to breakfast the cabin Ferry was in there and had it spotless if you sat on the bed and left and came back the cabin ferry had been back in and it was spotless Now they have to many cabins to attend when we would go to breakfast and maybe hang out for a while we would come back around noon and our cabin was still not made up it seemed to be he didn't get to ours until about 2pm, each day then turn down at night not really any extras but at least we got clean towels and bed made. Dining our first night Dinner was Awesome....after that it was ok we ate 3 times in the dining room but seemed to be extra slow service so we opted for the windjammer the rest of the time, Room service now has a charge at all times so our Traditional night time cake and milk to the room we did not do better for the waist line anyway but that was always a nice perk, Casino...This is a Huge part of our Cruise so this Casino on the Explorer is TINY I was so sad this is the first ship I have been on that does not have Let it Ride! that's my game so I had to play 3 card poker I did have a great time however that's not my game my husband plays Craps, The Dealers I have to give a Big shout out to Kevin he was the Bomb! excellent fun Guy Fireball!! also the Casino Host Mihaela was Awesome and the Casino manager Chad was Excellent! we had one bad Dealer that was probably the biggest jerk I have ever dealt with and sadly he cost his fellow dealers alot of money while he dealt at the 3 card poker table because of his attitude I always 100% of the time have a bet out for the dealer while I'm playing and also there was other people doing the same thing however while this dealer was on the table that did not happen because he was so rude we did talk this over with the Casino manager so hopefully this problem has been taken care of not just for his staff but for future cruisers, because of the size of this casino it was very hard to get on a table you had to go 45 minutes prior to opening and sit at the empty table otherwise you did not get to play they had a wait list at each table just to be able to play,...the Bar Staff in Casino is Awesome a shout out to Ashley and Winston bit these guys took care of us very well all week long! we met some awesome people while playing and at the end of the week it is sad to say goodbye but at the 3 card poker we all had a great time, me and my husband both earned a free cruise off our playing so hopefully we will see some of these people again Ports: Astoria Oregon we didnt get off the ship because its so close to Home, San Fransisco we had a blast the cruise ship docks right by the warf for easy walking and or the hop on hop off bus, we bought online the 2 day Go Pass for San Fran and we got to do a ton of things since we were there for 2 days, Victoria BC love this city since we have been so many times we took the bus into town Cost $10 pp round trip as many times as you want We have already booked this for next September 2018 they have such great deals its cheaper than going to the cost for 7 nights! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
It was leaving from Seattle during our birthdays. Zuni was a treat! Other food had lots of quantity but too little quality with main dish meat. I let the dining staff know I was allergic to onions, most food was dull. I did get sick ... Read More
It was leaving from Seattle during our birthdays. Zuni was a treat! Other food had lots of quantity but too little quality with main dish meat. I let the dining staff know I was allergic to onions, most food was dull. I did get sick on the final dinner, possibly with the soup. I tasted it and then had to leave the table. We were on RC cruise in Baltic- June 2017, Vision of the Seas. Dinners were delicious accommodate my onion allergies perfectly with no fuss. My husband said quality of the lunch and dinner was too salty not tender nor tasty. Maintenance was lacking, rust spots obvious in many places outside. One of the Hot tubs in Solarium was very hot and did not have all nozzles working. We have had a continuous problem with my status as a Diamond member, first not on my ship card two trips to Anchor staff then guest services still had to go back to get a separate entry key for Diamond Room on 14 th floor. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
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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