115 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Senior Cruise Reviews

Explorer is headed for a much needed face lift in April 2020, so one cannot judge the ship by its current condition - this class of ship is our favorite, big enough to have all the amenities but not overly huge like the Oasis class. ... Read More
Explorer is headed for a much needed face lift in April 2020, so one cannot judge the ship by its current condition - this class of ship is our favorite, big enough to have all the amenities but not overly huge like the Oasis class. Sub par weather for first three days dampened the beginning of the cruise but the ABC islands are lovely and we enjoyed good weather for final week. Entertainment was spotty - we still love the live orchestra and the ship dancers were very good, ice show was above average and one of the acts (Barricade Boys) was great. Horrible "comedians" and less than average singer in Schooner Bar. Meals were very good in main dining and the waiters we had were excellent - I thought choices and quality in Windjammer were very good as well. Be aware Port of Miami is very busy when multiple ships are in port, allow enough time for airport transfers and such. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Very nice ship. Excellent food in the buffet. Lots of variety. We had an inside room for 3 of us, including a 15-year-old teenager. Room was spacious enough for the 3 of us. Room was always very clean. I found the entertainment to be ... Read More
Very nice ship. Excellent food in the buffet. Lots of variety. We had an inside room for 3 of us, including a 15-year-old teenager. Room was spacious enough for the 3 of us. Room was always very clean. I found the entertainment to be lacking compared to entertainment on Carnival. We are not into art auctions, diamond shopping, or bingo. We don't consider those to be fun activities. There were a number of activities on the promenade deck, which made it almost impossible to get to the cafe to get a snack, coffee, or tea. Also even when arriving at the Star Lounge 20 minutes early, we were not able to get a seat for certain shows. We enjoyed all the ports of call. However, we found that Bonaire did not offer a lot of excursion options. We went swimming and snorkeling on our own. For the most part, the staff were friendly and helpful. We will take another Royal Caribbean cruise but probably on a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This is my 30th RCCL cruise, of the fifty over 35 years and I am at the Diamond + level. I selected this cruise via a "discounted" Casino Royale cruise certificate. My main focus will be on the casino. Explorer of the Seas has ... Read More
This is my 30th RCCL cruise, of the fifty over 35 years and I am at the Diamond + level. I selected this cruise via a "discounted" Casino Royale cruise certificate. My main focus will be on the casino. Explorer of the Seas has one baccarat table, two three card poker tables, two Ultimate Texas Hold'em tables, several blackjack tables, two roulette tables and on ten seat poker table. Minimum bets start at $10. The slot machines are a mixture of MANY old style slot machines, and "Asian" themed slots and a few video poker machines. The Explorer of the Seas is scheduled to be renovated in the early 2020, before it sails to European ports. THE CASINO NEEDS A TOTAL OVERHAUL. The casino staff were cordial, bar and waiters were prompt in providing beverages to the passengers playing in the Casino Royale. Now on to the rest of the review: Embarkment was at Terminal F, in Miami, FL, and if you ever sailed through RCCL's new Terminal A in Miami, FL, you thought you were back in the dark ages. It takes less than 15 minutes to go through check in and security in Terminal A and get onto the ship. Terminal F had lines for Security to check you passport and cruise documents, then it was up to the second floor to get into another line for you to check in, have them take you picture and get you sign and sail card. Then to another line to finally get on the ship, it took approximate 45 minutes. First day Windjammer Buffet: Crowded, but that was to be expected, standard buffet food, good but not great. Stateroom: Interior room, 7305 which had a window to view the promenade which was the open area in the center of the ship that had the guest services, shops and bars. Nice room, my stateroom steward, Anant was very friendly and attentive, he fulfilled my several requests promptly. Main Dining Room: It appears the RCCL fleet has standardized its memus, as the Sunday menu, was exactly that same as on the Oasis OTS in December and Allure OTS in November 2019. Food was good, and service was prompt and courteous. As this was a casino cruise, I did not do any shore excursions or see any shows. The ship overall, was in good shape, but you could see that it needed to be refurbished, In the Diamond Club, the chairs were somewhat worn, as well as other seating throughout the ship. Pools: There is a Solarium pool and whirlpools for adults only which was nice, The main pools, split on the port and starboard side had plenty of lounges for sun bathing. The smoke area was adequate for the dwindling number of smokers. Drinks are very expensive, so if you tend to over indulge on the adult beverages, the pre cruise discounted beverage package if you buy it only is about $55 + the 18% tips, so if you drink 5 alcoholic drinks per day, its a push, more than 5 per day it might be worth the purchase. I did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants, however, for what I heard at the Diamond Club passengers, the quality has done down hill. Overall it was a good cruise, not a great cruise, compared to the quality of the food and services on the mega ships. The problem is that every time you experience an exceptional cruise, that sets the standard for the next cruise, to be either met or exceeded. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I sail to snorkel. Ship looked okay but going into drydock 3/2020 for 7 weeks. Embarkation process sucked. Captain blamed it on CBP. 77 b to b held up 4000 new cruisers. Sounds fishy...lolol. Three + hours to board. No one inside had a ... Read More
I sail to snorkel. Ship looked okay but going into drydock 3/2020 for 7 weeks. Embarkation process sucked. Captain blamed it on CBP. 77 b to b held up 4000 new cruisers. Sounds fishy...lolol. Three + hours to board. No one inside had a clue except our FB group. We had a guy held up. He was one of the b to b held up and posted throughout the process. Most meals I could finish. I'm not a foodie. Terrible entrees in MDR. I refuse to pay for Specialty Dining. I was on same route same week on Explorer 2018 and thought MDR food was great. The Quest was great. Performance show was great. I avoided tanning because I burn easily. My Stewart was outstanding. On top of everything. 10's. Dining Room waiter Henry and Kaif were excellent. Labadee looked like an RCI tourist trap. Nice place to stretch legs... Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This review isn't so much about the ship. More about the way Royal Caribbean went about showing how little they care about their British customers. We found out a few days before leaving that this trip was going to be cut short by ... Read More
This review isn't so much about the ship. More about the way Royal Caribbean went about showing how little they care about their British customers. We found out a few days before leaving that this trip was going to be cut short by 3 days, supposedly because of bad weather. A strange excuse because when you book a cruise, you are told that these ships are so large that they can handle any weather situation. That coupled with the fact that I am aware the Explorer has had rudder problems in the past, made most of us suspicious that the weather was really to blame for the itinerary change. However , having decided to the the cruise anyway despite Royals poor compensation package ( only $16 per person port fees refunded for replacing four ports with one - who are they kidding ? ) we expected that they would perhaps go the extra bit and put on a good cruise for us. Sadly not !. Considering this was an 11 night trip with only one stop, they could have done much better to keep us entertained on the many sea days The entertainment was very poor. Perhaps this was because the headliner acts that were meant to be on board didn't actually turn up due to the change of ports. Suffice to say that apart from the Beatles tribute band, the rest of the headliners were grim. More suited to a Butlins holiday camp As for the on board entertainment team, this was the worst I have ever came across. The cruise director , Mike ( even after 11 days cruising I still don't know his surname ) didn't interact with passengers at all. He even stood behind the podium during the love and marriage show he hosted. Clearly not a people person. For a ship full of Brits, why didn't they choose a more suitable cruise director such as Hello Clo, Joff Eaton or Luke Arrowsmith. Compared to them, this guy was a disgrace. His activities manager wasn't much better. The majority of activities were trivia. OK if it is hosted by someone who can talk english or someone who is remotely interested. When we questioned the guys lack of motivation or interest during the Battle of the sexes quiz, his reply was that he didn't care what we thought as his contract was up at the end of the cruise. And as many of their quiz questions were so way out, it completely took the fun out of it. We saw people winning a quiz with as little as 6 correct out of 20. As for night time entertainment, can someone please tell Royal that a ship full of people mostly over 50 aren't really interested in a Rock Britannia street party at 10:45pm. We had a promenade room. When I looked out and saw only a handful of people standing watching below, I felt quite embarrassed for the staff having to jump about in costumes to 1970's rock tunes, especially the old Italian guy who clearly was extremely uncomfortable and out of place. Two days before reaching Miami, the casino took away the European Roulette table. When I asked why he said they were getting ready for the US market. I replied that it was two days before we reached Miami and asked why they couldn't wait & remove it then. His response was this " You don't complain when we pick up your luggage from your stateroom ". I responded that I wasn't complaining. I was merely asking a simple question but didn't expect such a stupid & condescending answer. Needless to say I didn't go back to the casino. So to summarise, I don't believe Royal covered themselves in glory on this one and have now probably lost a great deal of UK customers. However when you see the reduction in the number of cruises leaving from the UK next year and going forward, I don't think they really care. not exactly in summary, Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because of transatlantic Miami destination with four stops in Caribbean islands. One week before departure we were informed that the cruise would depart 3 days later than planned because of storm weather at its ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of transatlantic Miami destination with four stops in Caribbean islands. One week before departure we were informed that the cruise would depart 3 days later than planned because of storm weather at its position then. Three of the island stops were thus canceled. We had the opportunity to cancel and be reimbursed of change our travel plans to Southampton from Barcelona (nears airport to our home). We were also informed that our cabin would not be a "guaranteed junior suite" but a balcony cabin at same price. Several phone calls resulted in our obtaining what we paid for with written reservation : a junior suite 7692 We were not reimbursed for cancelations of two prepaid hotel reservations , one night in Barcelona (before flight to Gatwick) and one in Southampton. This added extra unexpected expenses. The ship was in excellent condition and cleanliness. The restaurant gave excellent service and a wide choice on the menu. One minus there : price of wines + gratuities !!!! Entertainment on the long seaways was not entirely to our taste. But we give high marks to the ice-dance show, the Beatles imitators and the magician/pickpocket. Passengers were 95% Senior Brits. Disembarkation was extraordinarily well organised. And fast !! Within one hour after waiting in dining room, we were in line at the airport for car-rental. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Having had a brilliant cruise on Navigator last year, we booked to do the same itinerary with friends from Scotland. Our 19th cruise - and 8th with R.C. but what a huge disappointment - so much has changed. The admin staff were ... Read More
Having had a brilliant cruise on Navigator last year, we booked to do the same itinerary with friends from Scotland. Our 19th cruise - and 8th with R.C. but what a huge disappointment - so much has changed. The admin staff were 'polite' to the point of rudeness. The ship was tired and dull - downright grubby in places. Mirrors in dining room had a film of grease over them. No real sparkle to this ship. It may be going in for refit - but there was no excuse for poor cleaning. All the luxury elements were missing, no flowers on dining room table - in fact no diners!! Our complete section had empty tables around us - the food was tepid, insipid and uninspiring. Waiting staff were excellent - doing their best under the circumstances. The head chef spent more time apologising to guests than he did in the kitchen. Conclusion - they were trying to get you to spend more in the speciality dining ! Forget the windjammer - crammed to capacity due to guests not using dining room. Our jnr suite - excellent space - but we had to ask for the floor to be cleaned in the second week - no sign of a hoover and carpet getting thicker every day. Glass tables in bars were grubby. Drinks waiters friendly - but then they were getting regular tips to remember us. The changed the itinerary dropping Genoa before we even sailed - due to overcrowding - did they not book their slot over a year ago?? the replacement port was skipped due to the non-appearing Hurricane. Lisbon was skipped - and they substituted it with an overnight stay in Le Havre. Of all the ports they could have gone to why this ferry port with nothing of interest?? They did not even lay on shuttle buses to get to town. Over 3,000 people on board, many old and challenged - the queue for the port bus was over one hour long. the 25 minute walk - was more like 40 mins. They did manage however to book coaches for an overpriced trip into Paris. They even took coaches to Rouen for a trip - WHY French health official had declared the place an health issue due to huge chemical fire. Toxic soot on everything, questions over air quality and a ban on eating fruit and veg grown there and the milk had to be thrown away - yet RC thought it would be a great idea to take people to visit it. How desperate for profit was that. Very poor entertainment Cleary they are floundering in the expanding cruise market and have lost their edge. Our worst cruise out of 19 others !! Very poor value for money and disappointing to say the least -- Royal Caribbean dont even bother responding to correspondence outlining issues. Staff refused to provide a letter for insurance company stating port missed and the reason. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We sailed from Southampton and because we are Elite status on Celebrity, we are Diamond on Royal. This meant that we had priority boarding. We were soon on the ship, but had to go to the Windjammer for lunch as our room was not yet ready. ... Read More
We sailed from Southampton and because we are Elite status on Celebrity, we are Diamond on Royal. This meant that we had priority boarding. We were soon on the ship, but had to go to the Windjammer for lunch as our room was not yet ready. I missed the welcome drink that we are given on embarkation by Celebrity. The room was ready just after 1.15. We were in 7314, which was starboard side. I was delighted to see that there was no lifeboat blocking our view. We unpacked our trolley bags and it was already obvious that storage space was going to be tight, no overhead locker as we have been used to on the Celebrity S class ships. Our main cases had not turned up by the time we went to Muster. We went in good time, so that we could get a seat. Not so on Royal, you queue up on an outside deck like school children waiting to go into class. The Captain made an announcement at the end of the proceedings and had to be prompted by someone as to which ship he was on. In fact we were led away as he was part way through his announcement. Really? As 5 pm was not far away, we went up on to deck 11 for Sail Away, which was delayed, so we enquired as to the whereabouts of the Diamond Lounge, so we could avail ourselves of the free drinks. These were constantly filled up and this remained so throughout the cruise. In fact we were one week into the cruise before we realised that we could ask for bottled water during Diamond hours. A fantastic perk for me as I use it to boil for my early morning cup of tea. We had booked Anytime dining and I had pre arranged 7 pm as our dining time. We were able to use our 3 free drinks loaded on to our card in the dining room until 20.30. A fantastic perk. We were seated at the same table every night except the first, as I am Dairy Intolerant, so this makes it easier for the waiter. Handy really looked after at table 321A. After our meal we found a seat in the Starlight Lounge, where we would spend 2 hours listening to Perry Grant. This was the one and only time that we were able to get a seat, as many passengers were still in the Theatre. We listened to him playing for 2 hours, but then I was weary of him asking guests the same questions, Do you have walk in wardrobes, do you have Formica in your kitchen, what colour is it etc.etc. We returned to our cabin to find that our cases had at last been delivered, but we left the unpacking until the next morning. I could certainly have done with the delivery being before the guaranteed 8 pm. We ate breakfasts in the Sapphire dining room on Deck 4 as it was waiter service. On the first morning we asked to be seated in the Diamond area. I was so pleased that we did this, as someone from our Roll Call group was also seated with us. We ‘hit it off’ and came across each other multiple times. We saw each other at the Meet & Mingle, where I was lucky enough to win the second raffle prize, which was a drinks container. Our new friend asked the CD why the ship was overbooked; they had been asked to give up their cabin by Royal, but as they had come over from Spain for the cruise and had an actual cabin, Royal told them they were OK to travel. Apparently there were 500 less guests than the previous week, which had still been the school holidays, where families had shared cabins. This week, most travellers were couples, and Royal had booked too many Guarantee cabins and I suspect not many guests had requested Royal Up ( we were still being sent e mails just one week before the cruise inviting us to apply). One feature of this cruise was the number of Alpha calls, ambulances met the ship at every port, even when the cruise ended someone fell down the escalators and had to be taken to hospital. We enjoyed the evening entertainment. The Barricade Boys, and Beatles Celebration were outstanding. The Starlight Lounge was overfull every night, so I was pleased that Perry Grant was invited to perform in 2 shows on stage, We also saw 2 Ice shows, one especially for Diamond members and Seasons which was performed for all guests. On the final evening the Guest Choir performed at 9 am in the Star Lounge. We just managed to get there on time, which was a good job, as my husband and our new friends had spent every Sea day rehearsing in Dizzy’s at lunch time. We were lucky with the weather, even the Bay if Biscay was calm and too soon we were back in Southampton. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We are a married couple in early 60's. We booked this because we prefer Royal Caribbean for it's informal yet not too rowdy atmosphere. The cruise ticked all the boxes. There were over 900 kids running around which noised ... Read More
We are a married couple in early 60's. We booked this because we prefer Royal Caribbean for it's informal yet not too rowdy atmosphere. The cruise ticked all the boxes. There were over 900 kids running around which noised things up a bit but what do you expect when you book a cruise during the school holidays. Big shout out to Hello Clo, the best cruise director RC have in my opinion. She was always visible about the ship and such a cheery person We did notice a few slight issues. First is the lack of bar staff and waiters, particularly in the Schooner bar. Poor guys there were run off their feet. Again I noticed that the numbers attending the main dining room seem to be getting ever lower and the Windjammer is always mobbed. Is anyone at RC seeing this ? Perhaps it is time to convert the 3 MDR floors to a buffet and put the MDR on deck 11 - only a suggestion. We are Diamond plus members and as such have access to the Diamond and Concierge lounges. If RC are going to provide these lounges for 24 hour access, can they please ensure the coffee machine is always stocked. We regularly went up for a late night coffee only to find out the kitchen was closed and told if we wanted coffee to go downstairs to the Promenade cafe. Sort of defeats the purpose of having 24 hour lounges. Also, with regard to the music guy Perry singing in the Schooner bar at night. It was always mobbed right into the corridor and you simply couldn't move or get past. While upstairs, the much larger Star lounge was empty. Again I ask, is anyone at RC paying attention to things like this ? And we know people don't do trivia for the prizes. But to give out the same prize ( yellow highlighters ) again and again got a bit boring. Surely it wouldn't cost too much to give out the odd cap, T-shirt, pen, key ring, etc Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Mostly went on this cruise for the wonderful ports we stopped in. Embarkation and leaving the ship were quick and easy. The ship was fine. The average age of the ship was very old (older than i thought and I expected the crowd to be ... Read More
Mostly went on this cruise for the wonderful ports we stopped in. Embarkation and leaving the ship were quick and easy. The ship was fine. The average age of the ship was very old (older than i thought and I expected the crowd to be old). This was fine for us as we are not the type to stay out late partying - but almost nobody showed up to parties or events. The shows were also tailored for the older crowd. The ship was our biggest so we expected entertainment to be awesome - the lead male and female singers were great but there was only one comedian the entire trip and we were unimpressed with the entertainment overall. There is not a ton to do on the ship - basketball and ping pong are outside and the wind makes them almost impossible. If you are not doing trivia, at a bar, or playing bingo, there is alot of time for hot tubs. The adults only section of pool and hot tubs were the biggest I've seen and we loved them - but they did not have access to watch the movie if you are excited about that. There were also a variety of lectures prior to the port stops. Dining was fine - very comparable to other cruise ships and companies. The service, however, was EXCELLENT. The best dining room service we have had in about 6/7 cruises. We did not try any specialty dining for the first time. Ports were great - some very small towns such as Oslo had little to do but were enjoyable. Russia did not disappoint - be sure to book excursions before hand in order to get off the ship. HOWEVER, the cruises sometimes imply or otherwise make it seem as if you can only get off the ship if you have an excursion booked through them directly. This is NOT the case. While the Royal Caribbean cruises had more time (about an hour before and a bit after) in Russia, we completed our full two day tour. I recommend SPB for small groups - the cruise had large buses with up to 45 people. Many places such as the Hermitage and Peterhof are packed and it is very disorganized in the museums so having a small group with SPB of only about 15 made things MUCH easier. Highly recommend the Ice Bar in Helskini - there are several (such as Stockholm) but Helsinki is far superior with a large indoor facility. Love the trip - once in a lifetime. PS there are not a ton of kids on this trip - we loved it. however, if we had kids there was not alot for them to do and not enough kids to get anything done Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise primarily because of its itinerary which included one or two extra ports of call and fewer cruising days. Departing from Southampton was another bonus. We hadn’t cruised with Royal Caribbean before and Explorer ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because of its itinerary which included one or two extra ports of call and fewer cruising days. Departing from Southampton was another bonus. We hadn’t cruised with Royal Caribbean before and Explorer was the largest vessel we’d ever chosen so we were slightly concerned we might find it overcrowded, noisy and too glitzy. Nothing could have been further from the truth as we had a very positive experience. Yes it was a busy ship but it was possible to find quiet areas to relax if you needed to. Service in the dining rooms was brisk, attentive and highly efficient with a consistent range of good food. The number and good standard of entertainment and enrichment activities was another pleasing feature. Compared to other cruises we’d been on, we were also impressed with the organised way disembarkation at ports was arranged as, apart from one occasion, movement of passengers on and off the boat seemed logical, speedy and well planned. Finally we have nothing but praise for all members of staff who were unfailingly happy, professional and willing to please. Explorer wasn’t the most modern of ships and a few areas did look a bit care-worn (notably the French-style cafe) but overall we had a remarkably enjoyable time and would happily choose Royal Caribbean again for another holiday. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Reviews for Med – royal Caribbean cruise june 2019 We sailed on a 14 day med cruise on Explorer OTS, chosen primarily because of the itinerary and it being mid-June. This was our 8th cruise but only our second cruise with Royal ... Read More
Reviews for Med – royal Caribbean cruise june 2019 We sailed on a 14 day med cruise on Explorer OTS, chosen primarily because of the itinerary and it being mid-June. This was our 8th cruise but only our second cruise with Royal Caribbean and I have to admit I was somewhat concerned about how much I would enjoy the ship, especially considering the spate of very negative reviews that have been written. Well in a nutshell my husband and I had a fantastic cruise and enjoyed almost all aspects of our 14 days, however in fairness I have to say that we are not overly critical people and enjoy a laidback cruise and on occasion the solitude of our cabin. So many reviews have commented that the ship is overdue for a refurbishment and not in a good stare of repair; well apart from the odd bit of rust on our balcony we had absolutely no complaints. Our cabin (8568) was well appointed, clean, had masses of storage space and the bed was very comfortable, and the public areas were fine. Then again we do not spend our holiday looking for negatives to complain about we just get on and enjoy ourselves. Embarkation was efficient and timely. We arrived in Southampton slightly earlier than boarding and after waiting perhaps 15 minutes we were on our way up the walkway, in the lift to the upper deck and sipping our first cocktail. (our traditional Aperol Spritz ) The windjammer buffet was a very pleasant surprise. Even that first lunchtime we were easily able to find a table and the choice and standard of the food was exceptional. The design seemed far more spacious than other ships we have been on and I never felt crowded. Perhaps my biggest compliment belongs to the MDR administration. When I booked I was not able to secure any time dinning and had to book fixed dinning. Unhappy with this option I contacted the Maître D on the first day requested a change and on the following day there was a note in my cabin saying they had amended my reservation to ATD. I really didn’t expect such efficient prompt action. My second compliment goes to the tender disembarkation organisation in Ville Franche. Royal Caribbean do not allocate tender tickets but it was organised in a very timely manner and we were ashore to meet out tour guide ahead of time. We ate every evening in the Sapphire dining room and enjoyed every meal. We liked sitting with strangers and having very different conversations each night. Service was perfectly acceptable for A La Carte service which I don’t expect to resemble the in/out speed of self service. We had planned to utilise our OBC by going to the speciality restaurants but food quality was so good I spent it on an amazing but ridiculously priced spa treatment instead,. Entertainment in the theatre was good but perhaps not excellent. While the professional acts were good I did not enjoy the royal Caribbean players. In my opinion the worst feature was the overly amplified sound system, making the whole show just a noise!! Perhaps the sound system was deliberately loud to mask the poor quality of the performers. Other evening entertainment venues did tend to get very crowded and was the only times I was aware that we were sailing fully booked. As iv said this cruise was chosen for the itinerary and we enjoyed every port. I don’t use ships tours preferring to organise my own small group private tours with local companies and all were excellent. I made contact with fellow passengers via CC and Facebook and a total of 8 couples did 5 tours of 4 couples each. It was an added bonus making such lovely friends. When reading my individual port reviews, you may realise I am not too keen on ships tours, but that’s my personal opinion. Small niggles – our cabin steward never bothered to introduce himself, disembarking at Southampton was a tad confused and I wasn’t keen on the structure of our balcony which was sheltered and prevented me sunbathing. All in all an excellent cruise, a fantastic holiday, some lovely friends and I won’t hesitate to book royal Caribbean again. Ports of Call Gibraltar Caught a white minivan outside port and had 2 hour tour of rock, tunnels, caves, views and monkeys for £30 pp. - Very enjoyable. The minibus was able to climb higher up the rock than the bigger tour buses and so minimised walking. Shop prices are in sterling or Euros but beware of the offered exchange rate. Excellent duty free prices - particularly alcohol, tobacco and cigarettes. Villefranche Had organised two private tours of 4 couples each with Riviera Premium Tours. Company had excellent reviews and ours tours lived up to expectations. Our 6 hour tour included Nice ( Flower market was amazing) Monaco, Monte Carlo, drove the grand prix circuit and the mountain village of Eze. A really good tour, professional and well organised and very reasonably priced La Spezia Florence and Pisa – small private tour of 4 couples with Florence Connections. We left early and beat the crowds, it included a long drive but was well worth it. Sergio our guide was excellent and our tour included a professional guide for 3 hours in Florence. Once again we were able to access the centre of Florence which the big coaches were not able to thus saving us a 20 minute walk each way. I was a little concerned about the distance we were motoring in case we were late returning to the ship but as Sergio explained all tours follow the same road back to port so any hold up would be experienced by all coaches. We were back on board at exactly our requested time and over an hour before the ships tours that only toured Florence. Both Pisa and Florence were amazing and I can highly recommend them. Rome – Civitaveccia We have actually stayed in Rome twice before so chose to stay in port. Wandered the town and found a ‘rustic’ café on the beach and ate pasta and bar b q prawns while sipping a local red wine. Life was good Naples We toured with AP Tours, a company I had used before and once again they were very professional, and gave great service. This time we toured Pompeii, a vineyard and ate a locally produced 5 course lunch while sampling the various wines. Highly suggest hiring a professional guide in Pompeii to appreciate the magnificent city. Two years ago I went on their Amalfi Coast tour which again was excellent. Can highly recommend either tour with this excellent company. Seville – Cadiz This was probably the best tour that we did. We did a 3 ½ hour food tour with Bertram from Cadiz Food Tours. We had a walking tour of the town which was so pretty and touched on the history, visited the fish market – amazing and then visited 3 different authentic tapas bars to sample both their food and wine. What an amazing tour, the food was unbelievable ( not everything was to my taste – do say if you are non-fish eater or vegetarian) but I was literally blown away by the quantity, the quality and the choice of food offered. For the price it was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Be careful when going into ports with Royal Caribbean they try and charge you for shuttle service. Ours was $9 per person to go to the edge of city centre. When we got off the ship, the local taxis charge 2.50 euros. The bar prices are ... Read More
Be careful when going into ports with Royal Caribbean they try and charge you for shuttle service. Ours was $9 per person to go to the edge of city centre. When we got off the ship, the local taxis charge 2.50 euros. The bar prices are also so high and sometimes the packages are not worth it. Also Do you research on the ports before you go. 3 of our ports were rubbish, nothing to do and just a normal town, might as well of stopped at home. Also one of the days the entire island was closed. Nothing was open. Yet they still try and push for an excursion to visit the old town where the main shopping centre is open, but the shops inside it weren’t. The entertainment team singers. (Chris & Vanessa) were superb, the best I’ve ever heard on any stage. WOW. The dancers were a little messy, but redeemed by the ballroom couple. The headliner guest acts were awful. The Frankie valli tribute sounded like Orville the Duck. He was also very weak and on occasion out of tune. The take that tribute were not bad. But let down badley by the guy playing Gary Barlow. He was not good. Cringe worthy. The food in the windjammer was excellent. The cabin steward was also excellent. The cruise director (Graeme) was so funny, made the cruise. Just wished he would walk around the ship more. The TV and stations needs looking at. Need to offer more choice. Also some areas around the ship are very cold. I would suggest for everyone to take a cardigan or ask the ship to make it less cold. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Hmmn. The good - Great service by the crew who work hard to keep us all happy. Good food overall in the main restaruant, though I think Carnival do a far better job at the bistro. Chops Grill was fantastic at breakfast. No passnegrs ... Read More
Hmmn. The good - Great service by the crew who work hard to keep us all happy. Good food overall in the main restaruant, though I think Carnival do a far better job at the bistro. Chops Grill was fantastic at breakfast. No passnegrs were to be seen at Johnny Rockets. Those who went reported back on bad food. The pools were great.. This is one thing RC have all over Carnival. The pools are bigger, cleaner and the life guards ensure the kids are behaving well at all times. The not so good - The ship is looking increasingly old and tired. Quite a few rust spots on her. The cabins are worse than a 2 star hotel. The crew works hard to keep her clean, mind you. The lifts were particuarly slow and not well programmed. The evening shows were better than expected. The ice rink shows were fantastic. While the crew works hard to reinforce the message of "wash your hands," for some, the message will never get through. Time and time again we saw quite a few other passengers disregard good hygene standards, particuarly at the bistro. e.g picking up food with their bare hands instead of using the tongs. Sure enough, there was an outbreak of cold and flu on the cruise. The whole process of disembarking for shore excersions was average at best. At The first port) Penang, it took over an hour to get us off the ship once the ship was cleared. That had a negative flow on affect for the shore excersion which was cut short. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I am on board this ship attending a genealogy conference. Thank goodness I AM attending a conference because the overall options for things to do on this ship are terrible. Everything is aimed at young families - the ones where the parents ... Read More
I am on board this ship attending a genealogy conference. Thank goodness I AM attending a conference because the overall options for things to do on this ship are terrible. Everything is aimed at young families - the ones where the parents traipse off and have a good time but leave their brats to run amok and annoy fellow guests. Then there is the food - the Windjammer is terrible, all food is well overcooked and what is not eaten is served up the next day in a variety of stir fry's and casserole-type dishes. The Sapphire Dining Room is just as bad. The only decent meals are to be had in the speciality restaurants which leads me to think they make the general food so bad you will naturally take up the specialities! It would also appear that the shore excursion staff are not kept informed about any changes to excursions until the very last minute and are not able to get the message out to its passengers. For one excursion I was booked on, I was complaining about the change of date at such late notice (the evening before) when several other passengers advised they had had 4 date changes to the same excursion. Was also booked on the Tour of the Ship only to be told while waiting for the tour to commence that it would not be happening because we were sailing through the Torres Straits and no one is allowed to enter the bridge or engine room on this day. HELLO why was the day available for the booking in the first place when the organisers would have known we would be travelling through those Straits on that day. Arrived in Darwin to be told our collected tour group (who had to meet at the fore theatre room on Deck 3 had to walk up to Deck 4, across to the aft elevators and go down to Deck 1. We get down there having had to wait many minutes for elevators (they only take so many people) to be told, no you are exiting from Deck 4. Up we go again to find we have to disembark down the steepest, wet, gangway I have every seen. Our group consisted of many elderly persons with mobility problems including a totally blind woman with a stick. Surely this is a health and safety risk just waiting for a passenger to have a fall and sue the pants off of Royal Caribbean. I have done several cruises with their sister company Celebrity and the difference between the two is staggering. Royal Caribbean - Explorer of the Seas - no longer supplies fresh water jugs to your cabin; no longer gives you that little chocolate on your bed making you feel special; instead of two cabin stewards there is only one very overworked steward; the conference room in the fore of the ship has only 1 toilet for up to a hundred people. Then there is the state of the elevators, one of which kept breaking down - to be honest it was the one you could rely on because it wasn't working with the others continually whizzing past your floor or staying on each deck for around 4 or 5 minutes minimum. Much quicker to take the stairs but not suitable for the elderly or those with mobility problems. I could go on but then I'd only be seen as a whinger - along with at least half of the passengers on this cruise. My advice - pay the extra and go with Celebrity or its ilk. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Booked this cruise because I wanted to see the South Pacific but was somewhat disappointed. Stops in Fiji were not very good. Vanuatu was much nicer especially if you like to snorkel. Lifou, New Caledonia was also very good for ... Read More
Booked this cruise because I wanted to see the South Pacific but was somewhat disappointed. Stops in Fiji were not very good. Vanuatu was much nicer especially if you like to snorkel. Lifou, New Caledonia was also very good for snorkeling. We had to skip Noumea, New Caledonia due to high winds. I was told it is common for some ports of call to be canceled on South Pacific cruises. Passengers were mostly Australians and many we met had taken this cruise in the past. Dinners in the main dining room was overall not as good as other cruises we have been on but the classic items were available every night. Breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer was also not as good as other cruises. Entertainment was poor so we skipped the nightly shows. We did not take any ship excursions as they were overpriced and I don't care for all the waiting and lines one must deal with when on a ship excursion. Dinner and cabin service was very good, better than what we experienced on other cruises. This cruise is good if you wish to spend much time snorkeling or laying on the beach but I'm no longer interested in either so I would not take this cruise again. First port of call was Newcastle where we did a lot of walking. We decided to tour Newcastle on our own. We were not allowed to walk from the ship but there was a free shuttle bus which dropped us off at Queens Wharf in front of the Six Degrees restaurant. We wanted to see Fort Scratchley and the Christ Church Cathedral and at the advise of a tourist guide at the shuttle stop, we walked to Fort Scratchley than to the Cathedral. It is much easier to walk to the Cathedral from Fort Scratchley direction since the road from Queens Wharf to the Cathedral is very steep. On the way from the Fort to the Cathedral we passed the salt water pool and Newcastle Beach which was having a surf meet. Newcastle Beach looked much nicer than Nobbys or Horshoe beach. After the Cathedral we waked down the very steep hill where there is a long row of stores across from the Wharf. Our next stop was supposed to be Noumea, New Caledonia but our itinerary was revised due to cyclone Oma. After 3 sail days we reached Lautoka, Fiji. Cost $9 USD for round trip shuttle ride which dropped us off in front of Jacks clothing store. We would have walked from the ship to town but it was very hot and humid that day. Lautoka is not a very nice town and I would not go there again. Next stop was Suva, Fiji. There were tours offered on the pier and we decided to take a 4 hour group tour to a village and waterfalls which cost 95 Australian dollars for 2 persons. The van held about 18 persons and was air conditioned and comfortable. There was a warrior dance show at the village. The waterfall was down a steep, slippery, muddy trail and there was only 45 minutes total time available for those whom wanted to swim in the falls pool. Our tour guide was great but because of several people in the group and the lack of time management, our tour arrived at the pier 1.5 hours later than it should have. Next stop was Port Vila, Vanuatu. We decided to take a private taxi tour and paid 150 Australian dollars for 3 hour tour to The Reef Vanuatu Zoological and Blue Lagoon. At the Reef Zoological you can see baby and older turtles, fruit bats, parrots and other animals. There is a 17 Australian dollar per person entry fee but I feel it was worth it. Next stop was the Blue Lagoon where you can spend your time swimming. There is an entry fee of 4 Australian dollars per person. Was very crowded due to all the other cruise ship passengers. We were next driven to Port Villa to shop than back to the ship. Next stop was Mystery Island which is only good for snorkeling. Didn't stay on shore long. Next stop was Lifou, New Caledonia. We walked up to Notre Dame church which provided a great view than walked to Church of St Francis Xavier than back to the ship. Last stop was supposed to be Noumea, New Caledonia but the wind was too strong so our ship headed back to Sydney. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Excellent Cruise, Very nice ship with plenty to do on board. Tropical Cyclone Oma was in the vicinity so the order of ports was changed. Only one port missed in the end (Noumea) which was due to high winds at the port. Captain and staff ... Read More
Excellent Cruise, Very nice ship with plenty to do on board. Tropical Cyclone Oma was in the vicinity so the order of ports was changed. Only one port missed in the end (Noumea) which was due to high winds at the port. Captain and staff did really well to accommodate the changes in itinerary and to keep the ship safe. Food on board was a very good standard, There was a special on the ultimate drinks package (Buy one/get on at half price which dropped the cost down to $US53 pp. With cocktails between 10 and 14 dollars and wine up to $13 by the glass, with coffees, juices, soft drink and bottled water included this proved to be good value. Canadian singer songwriter Jon MacAuley was a very popular entertainer in the pub on most nights. High level of interaction with the various groups on board. Wide selection of music and requests We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and will start looking for our next one with RCL Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The ship was fabulously decorated and the staff and crew went way above to create a memorable experience. The atmosphere with most of the passengers dressing up was certainly festive. Lots decorated the cabins and the cabin doors. Food ... Read More
The ship was fabulously decorated and the staff and crew went way above to create a memorable experience. The atmosphere with most of the passengers dressing up was certainly festive. Lots decorated the cabins and the cabin doors. Food delicious. Cafe Promenade needs updating. One negative experience was the massively expensive Lunch at La Meridian on Isle of Pines was terrible and the excursions manager said no one had ever complained before and it was their most popular excursion. Don’t fall for it, the food was disgusting. They said they would let head office know. There were lots of extra activities for the kids (1700 onboard) but a little limited for adults. Shows were great. Because of the number of children the adults pool was not crowded, with plenty of deck chairs available. The screen in the theatre and the projector desperately needs updating. Although the ship was full the staff handled the numbers very well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We did a day sampler on Explorer and thought we would go longer to give it a try. We were in Grande suite Deck 10 cabin 1548, the bath is too deep to get into for a shower if you have mobility issues. The cabin is underneath Solarium/ ... Read More
We did a day sampler on Explorer and thought we would go longer to give it a try. We were in Grande suite Deck 10 cabin 1548, the bath is too deep to get into for a shower if you have mobility issues. The cabin is underneath Solarium/ Spa area we could hear trolleys of towels? being moved, but it wasn't annoying. We are very close to lifts but restaurants were at other end of ship unfortunately. We were able to go to concierge Lounge, but no toilet facility's are near by unless you go to deck 11 next to Choppes Grille. I found the Victoria Secrets spray more expensive than Radiance of the seas and personnel in shop were snobs and didn't want to help unless you were buying expensive perfume. Food in MTD was lovely and proportioned, Choppes Grill was good and Giovannis was just beautiful. We would go on Explorer again, but be a bit more careful when choosing a room. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I have never boadered a ship as quickly as this one, from arriving at Circular Quay, to actually boading the ship took no more than twenty minutes thanks to everone involved from the luggage handlers to the immigration staff, they made it ... Read More
I have never boadered a ship as quickly as this one, from arriving at Circular Quay, to actually boading the ship took no more than twenty minutes thanks to everone involved from the luggage handlers to the immigration staff, they made it so simple. So much to do in eleven days so I just relaxed each day and let the younger generation enjoy all the activities available. The crew, as always were magnificent, so helpful and always there for you to help in any way. Wonderful service in the dining rooms and such a good selection of food to choose from. The Windjammer also had so many different dishes to choose from with the swwets to die for. Our cabin steward Tom was rearly seen but did an excelent job cleaning and tidying our cabin, THANKS TOM. It is no wonder that I love Royal Caribbean, it is soooo good to sail on their ships. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Moderate luxury in junior suite Paying constantly for extras such as onshore cruises where more extras such as snorkeling. Can’t access an iron. Friendly staff. Food average to ok. Junior suite was spacious and clean but needs ... Read More
Moderate luxury in junior suite Paying constantly for extras such as onshore cruises where more extras such as snorkeling. Can’t access an iron. Friendly staff. Food average to ok. Junior suite was spacious and clean but needs maintenance. Very expensive internet. Good entertainment. I didn’t like hints near the end to tip in addition to pre paid gratuity. Also to leave good reviews. We paid extra for three restaurants but hardly worth it. Prawns in one restaurant we’re watery and I couldn’t eat them but replaced at no cost with a Caesar salad and a friendly apology. The mystery night ( cost extra) was great. Long life milk only made coffee and tea unpalatable even when paying extra in cafes. Generally fellow cruisers flappy and no hint of trouble but again it was November and few young people onboard this cruise. Overall we had a good holiday but will try another line next time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The cruise was good with the exception of embarkation which was of Stone Age level. Despite being diamond+ level it took us nearly 90 minutes to get from quayside to boarding. On recent cruises on the Ovation it took roughly 15 minutes due ... Read More
The cruise was good with the exception of embarkation which was of Stone Age level. Despite being diamond+ level it took us nearly 90 minutes to get from quayside to boarding. On recent cruises on the Ovation it took roughly 15 minutes due to having most of the paperwork , photographs etc. entered on computer at home. There was no staggering of arriving guests so everybody seemed to arrive at once causing long queues. The ship was good as was the food in MDR and Windjammer with the waiters all excellent. The officers could learn a lot from the keenness of the Filipino , Indonesian etc. staff. The specialty restaurants were also good, especially Izumi with Davidjake. Entertainment was average and daytime activities poor. The diamond lounge was over-crowded at night and the Concierge lounge dowdy, with no sea views. Getting off at each island created large lines. It seems that the usual ticket systems have been abandoned. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I wanted my husband and I to take an Alaskan cruise with a visit to Victoria, Canada (we are big Anglophile's) and was considering Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean. R. C. had the only itinerary that visited Victoria ... Read More
I wanted my husband and I to take an Alaskan cruise with a visit to Victoria, Canada (we are big Anglophile's) and was considering Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean. R. C. had the only itinerary that visited Victoria during AM hours! We booked a Spacious Balcony cabin right behind the elevators (which turned out to be a blessing more than a problem). We were on the right (port) side of the ship and enjoyed watching the mountains, waterfalls and coastline from the balcony. We really lucked out with the weather - it was beautiful. The bed felt too firm for us, but we both slept really well. The room steward was excellent-no complaint. The cabin: Last June, I went on a cruise with my daughter from Southampton, UK, to Amsterdam & Brussels aboard Cunard's Queen Victoria cruise ship. To my surprise, Royal Caribbean's cabin was nicer, larger, better laid out, and with a larger and better equipped shower. There were cabinets and drawers aplenty, so that when I stowed away my toiletries, etc., the room was completely uncluttered. There was also a much better mirrored dressing table with good lighting that was not on the Cunard ship. It was very comfortable for us. The food: After reading online complaints, I wasn't expecting much. I prefer quality to quantity, so we only ate at the Windjammer buffet three times (1 breakfast, 1 lunch, and 1 dinner). The dinner buffet was a big disappointment in that other than the usual hamburger, hot dog, and pizza offerings, the only entree available that we could find was "bangers" (sausage) and a Tandoori fish. My husb. tried the bangers and only ate 1/2 of it-and he eats everything. I tried the Tandoori fish and did not care for it at all, so we more salad (which was always good and fresh) and whatever else we could find. Best thing on the buffet in my opinion was the hot dessert with custard sauce (bread & butter pudding, apple & rhubarb cobbler, etc.) offered every night. The dining room menu had good selections and we thought the food overall was pretty good. A few things we had were just OK, but most of it was really good. Better than the food on my Cunard cruise (maybe due to my American tastes). Also surprised that there was a small buffet also offered in the dining room for breakfast and lunch! This was a great plus - you could navigate the buffet and sit in much more comfort in the dining room while also ordering something special from the menu. Also of note: there was also a very good sugar free dessert option every night. The excursions were great - Juneau -Mendenhall Glacier & Rainforest, Skagway-White Pass Railroad (luxury car!) and Victoria - O Canada city tour Entertainment: While on board, enjoyed the ice show with professional ice skaters, an interesting and humorous lecture from a Canadian Mounted Police, a lecture on Alaskan animals, and a comedy show combined with the ship's orchestra and a singer. Would have enjoyed watching a movie in the theater, but they were only shown poolside (too cold at night for me). Some of the entertainment could be viewed on the TV in the cabin - we enjoyed watching the Love & Marriage game with married couples from the guests on the ship. Biggest drawback: The two hour wait (partially in the sun) in a DisneyWorld type back and forth between chained off rows lines. It was brutal. I got sunburned. And then immediately after onboard, there was the emergency drill on outside deck, in single file lines shoulder-to-shoulder - I was 1st in my line in the sun again waiting for all the stragglers who didn't want to participate, etc. which led to the sunburn. On Cunard, this was held in the theater (sitting). Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I have done 4 cruises before including one with RCI but this was my partners first. Due to her work we were restricted to a cruise in the school holidays. The ship was full lots of kids as expected. We found the ship managed well with ... Read More
I have done 4 cruises before including one with RCI but this was my partners first. Due to her work we were restricted to a cruise in the school holidays. The ship was full lots of kids as expected. We found the ship managed well with the numbers and although there where a few annoying things like kids pressing all the buttons on the lifts to slow them down it was an enjoyable cruise. My partner came away with positive view sio we hope to included cruises in future holidays but not to the South Pacific. Having been 3 times that is more than enough, we avoided the ship excursions and did our own esp in Noumea where they are much cheaper to obtain in the shore side terminal. Food and drink was good, love the coffee package and Giovannis table.As we haven't been drinking much lately so we didn't have a drinks package. My only gripe being the exorbitant wine prices, nothing new here but when a $AUD15 bottle of wine costs $US77, its really too much of a mark up. The Ice show was great as was the cruise director Graham. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The staff on Royal Caribbean are unbelievable. Their service makes your holiday exceptional. Great ship but needs better entertainment. Food is excellent. This is my second time of this ship and I would go again. Embarkation and ... Read More
The staff on Royal Caribbean are unbelievable. Their service makes your holiday exceptional. Great ship but needs better entertainment. Food is excellent. This is my second time of this ship and I would go again. Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze, no waiting. We met some wonderful people who will become life long friends. Our cabin was great, first time we have booked a Balcony cabin not sure that I would do this again as we hardly went on the balcony. Entertainment was ordinary, magician and comedian not great. TV is crap, there is only US shows mainly news on every chanel. I think there should be a free movie Chanel. We only went on one shore excursion to Port Arthur, which ran smoothly. Travel time to and from was too long and we did not get much time at Port Arthur, I would suggest if this is on the itinerary then the ship needs to dock at Port Arthur. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.3
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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