1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our second Royal Carribean cruise. We first sailed on the Ovation of the Seas so I was interested to see the differences between the two ships. We loved both. The Explorer was a great ship - although a little old, it has been well ... Read More
This was our second Royal Carribean cruise. We first sailed on the Ovation of the Seas so I was interested to see the differences between the two ships. We loved both. The Explorer was a great ship - although a little old, it has been well maintained and the crew are busy night and day with cleaning and maintenance to keep her shipshape. We had the unfortunate luck of bad weather and two ports were canceled, however: 1. There was plenty to do onboard so never had the opportunity to get bored and 2. The captain was able to secure an unscheduled port in Vanuatu to make up for the cancellations which we all appreciated. The service from the crew was excellent, they were only too happy to accommodate any requests and on some occasions went beyond the call of duty by anticipating our needs by providing us with extra meals, searching Windjammer buffet for favourite items and providing us with general information about the day to day occurrences on board. Food in Windjammer and Main Dining Room was plentiful and there was always enough variety to suit everyone’s tastes. We did however miss the variety of included dining options/venues that were on Ovation but not on Explorer. The Entertainment was the only part of the cruise that I found to be of inconsistent quality. The ice show was great, the onboard singers and dancers were great, however some of the guest shows were not as polished and professional as they should have been. Cruise Director Graham is very funny and was seen around the ship talking to guests and helping out in Windjammer. (For those that are over 18, his 11pm comedy show is a must). We had 2 kids with us (9 & 15) - the 15 year old found friends quickly and was constantly occupied with the activities including the Flow Rider, Rock Climbing, Ice Skating. The 9 year old loved these activities as well as kids club which was fantastic when we wanted to head to the adults only solarium for a swim or to sit by the pool, or spend time with friends in the bar or at a show in the evenings. Overall a very enjoyable cruise, with the option of lots to do, or doing nothing but lazing if that’s your choice. We are booked again for the Christmas cruise and can’t wait! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
Cruising as part of an extended family and friends group of 9 in 5 cabins. Age range 82 to 17 :-) Arrived in Sydney for a couple of days ahead of the cruise. Stayed at Sir Stamford just off Circular Quay. Easy access to rail transport, ... Read More
Cruising as part of an extended family and friends group of 9 in 5 cabins. Age range 82 to 17 :-) Arrived in Sydney for a couple of days ahead of the cruise. Stayed at Sir Stamford just off Circular Quay. Easy access to rail transport, Amazing people there. Embarkation went very smoothly, although we had a 'suggested' boarding time we arrived at 11am ish and were on the ship in 20 minutes. Mum and my elderly stepdad were ushered via elevators into the OPT and very well looked after during embarkation. Cruised from Sydney to Lifou, Mystery Island, Port Vila & Noumea before returning to Sydney. Two cabins mid ship balconies, one a large inside and two aft balconies. The pastel pink on deck 7 was initially disturbing but we quickly got used to it. Cabins pretty much what we expected, not being able to open the balcony divider was annoying but not a deal breaker. Had 7388 and 7390. Thank you to our cabin Stewards Dwi and Dion! Kids were in 7390, had a balcony likely 6 times bigger than the mid ship balconies, two sun loungers, two chairs and a decent table. DH and I had 7388, I cried and thanked God when I saw the size of our balcony and the furniture! Two sun loungers, two laid back deck chairs and two standard chairs, a low table and a big table. Fully covered by deck 8. There is a view out the side of the ship and a massive view out the back. There is some obstruction with the superstructure of the ship, but when relaxing on the deck we hardly noticed it. Yes, we spent a lot of time out there. Size of balcony I would estimate is 8 times that of a standard balcony. Did First Night Done Right in Chops, fab. Also did the Mystery Dinner Theatre, I figured who the killer was, yay! Service was up to RCI WOW standards. Sent a bag to the laundry for a standard wash & fold, they got a stain out that I have been trying to remove for months! Food the usual subjective issue, I enjoyed it, smaller portions but I saw this as a good thing. We played Shuffleboard on deck 4 and lots of staff said hello and chatted with us as they went past. Even got to speak with the Captain, twice! Really nice, genuine guy. Ports, Lifou, climbed the hill to the Church, lovely. Mystery Island, oi vey! Amazing, please can I stay there a few days? Port Vila, loved the locals, taxi drivers are hit and miss, we had two lovely drivers to town and back to port but I did hear some negative stories. Made purchases at the market on the wharf. Noumea, was there on a Sunday and pretty much everything closed after 2pm, do a tour or stay on board. Already looking for another trip, qualifiers cabin 7388 and Mystery Island! Happy to email pictures of the cabins and balcony. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
1st cruise , thought it would be nice to see what a cruise was like, when sister said she was going alone, i decided to go with her,glad i did totally enjoyed the experience.All the activities on board were great fun, the food amazing.My ... Read More
1st cruise , thought it would be nice to see what a cruise was like, when sister said she was going alone, i decided to go with her,glad i did totally enjoyed the experience.All the activities on board were great fun, the food amazing.My dining experience I could not fault from the service to the food. Thank you to all the staff for making my 1st cruise amazing experience Some staff members stand out more than overs but overall I had amazing time..I meet a lot of very nice people. I would recommend a cruise with your company to all my friends and family, if I had any, complaint, it would be sometimes it hard to understand some of the announcements on board, and disembarking was a touch confusing.Other than those two things I totally had a wonderful time, looking forward to my next cruise on one of your ships, Friends have told me about other cruise companies and Royal Caribbean sounded the best. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
The cruise started early when a number of us got together from the cruise critic site and had pre-sailing drinks and dinner at Watson's Bay Hotel. This got us all in the mode for a good cruise, and meant we knew people before the trip even ... Read More
The cruise started early when a number of us got together from the cruise critic site and had pre-sailing drinks and dinner at Watson's Bay Hotel. This got us all in the mode for a good cruise, and meant we knew people before the trip even started. The trip always starts with the boarding process. As there were no Customs requirements this went very smoothly. We arrived early-ish to drop the bags off, expecting to stroll around the Rocks for a while, but the staff encouraged us to board. One thing we found on the whole trip was the staff and volunteers at all the ports (Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Wollongong) were very helpful and friendly - thanks.We were on-board within 15 mins. We spent the first part of the day exploring and waiting for the cabins to be serviced, and spent time checking out all the facilities and organising dining options. Unfortunately the Guest Services staff were a little less than helpful with the Aussie language being a bit of a barrier, so just needed to be patient and explain things. The most important item first - food. We ate in the MDR, Windjammer and Chops Grille primarily, with numerous stops at the Cafe promenade for Coffee and snacks. The food quality was very good, with Chops Grille high on the recommendation list for quality and service. The MDR food was also of a high standard, with only a couple of disappointments throughout the trip with the description not entirely accurate as to what arrived. The staff at our table (Raluca and Igusti) were fantastic, and the company was great as well. Windjammer offered many options, and there was plenty available. A downside here was that the Windjammer closed between 4 pm and 6 pm for cleaning - for those of us at a late dining time this was annoying as a late afternoon snack was missed, also it closed at 9 pm which meant no late night snacks except at Cafe Promenade. Breakfast was the biggest issue with patience again being key, but sometimes the egg and bacon were a little dried out. Tip here is go for the omelettes. The selections at Cafe Promenade were limited at times, and could have had more Gluten or Sugar free options. The entertainment was not quite as good as had been in the past, although it was reasonable. The Ice Skating show was a highlight, and new entertainers arrived for a Motown show which was the highlight of the stage entertainment. There were several individuals and bands playing afternoon and evening, so there was normally something to listen to, and they were all quite good. As per normal there were all the standard bingo and quiz activities which were hit and miss, but learning to speak Italian with hand gestures was fun, thanks Guido (no that really is his name). Again there were plenty of options if you needed them. The service provided by all the staff in the bars, dining rooms and room areas was of a high standard with good enthusiasm demonstrated by many. This was something we have always experienced, and this trip was no different. There are many to thank, but Henry in the room and Constantine and Leneath in the bar areas were very helpful. The gym was quite good, but the Spa people were a little pushing, but the hard sell for activities, the restaurant and the Spa are things we learn to tune out and not bother us. The crew were very proactive with the handwash at all the dining locations, and most people abided by it, even greeting the young lasses at Windjammers with a good natured 'washy washy' as they entered. The one downside was the queues experienced during peak times in the bars and dining areas. this was expected, but a handful of passengers thought that patience was for everyone else, not for them, and would push in etc. Also a number of the passengers were downright rude to the staff, expecting them to be at their beck and call, and that they were the staffs priority over other guests. RCI does need to have additional staff at these times though; the passengers know when things will get busy, surely the company is aware of that to? We did not do any organised shore excursions, as this was more of a relaxing time for us, but the port staff and volunteers at each stop were fantastic. Quick to help, and with the right answers to the right questions, this was a definite bonus. The trip was over too quickly, and the disembarkation was a little chaotic with only one disembarkation point creating a bottleneck on the way off the ship even though the times were staggered (as normal). Now something that was hard to quantify, but it seemed to a number of us that some of the perks, like free room service, later hours at the Windjammer, upping costs at Johnny Rockets, etc. are starting to erode the overall quality of the experience. Not sure if we are getting too fussy, but we enjoy RCI because of the level of service, and those little things that make cruising fun. Hopefully they don't go too far. Overall we hand a good time. The ship is in good knick, and the food was pretty good. The entertainment was not quite as good as we had experienced, but was overall still alright. But as usual the friendliness of the staff was a high point. Oh, and for those that asked, the golf ball machine is still up on deck 12 aft. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Nice and easy cruise for person with knee and foot problems. No tenders to get on and off at Ports of Call. Overall, the cruise was great value. Staff were very obliging. The Explorer of the Seas is a beautiful cruise ship and quite easy ... Read More
Nice and easy cruise for person with knee and foot problems. No tenders to get on and off at Ports of Call. Overall, the cruise was great value. Staff were very obliging. The Explorer of the Seas is a beautiful cruise ship and quite easy to navigate. It was kept in very clean condition both inside and out. As it is very long, this makes for a lot of walking. My only criticism is the American dollar used on board and when you convert back to Australian dollars, there is quite a dollar difference. Also in my opinion, the spirit drinks were expensive. We had our meals mainly in the Windjammer and were more than happy with the food on offer. The only problem was with finding a seat at Breakfast time. The Ports of Call were great to visit. Loved watching both entering the various Harbours and departing later in the day. Would sail again with Royal Caribbean for sure. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
I have never really wanted to do a cruise, but finally caved in to my partners wishes. Picked this cruise purely due to the fact the ship docked at Wollongong on my 60th birthday. I have never been so glad to be wrong. I enjoyed every ... Read More
I have never really wanted to do a cruise, but finally caved in to my partners wishes. Picked this cruise purely due to the fact the ship docked at Wollongong on my 60th birthday. I have never been so glad to be wrong. I enjoyed every minute of the cruise on the Explorer of the seas. The staff were friendly and professional at all times. Especially the 2 dining room wait staff, Aakash and Devi. We also won the jackpot with our table companions. All were very friendly and great fun. Amazingly one of them also had her birthday on the same day. The food was terrific as well. The shows were fun, especially the ice skating show, we were mesmerised by the skill and beauty of the spectacular. I cannot fault the service we received,and would recommend Royal Caribbean to anyone. Can't wait for the next cruise, i have become a convert. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our second time on Explorer of the Seas, in a word it was just fantastic getting onboard was reasonably quick and straight forward, once onboard we made our way to The Windjammer Buffet, which had a great choice of food to choose ... Read More
This was our second time on Explorer of the Seas, in a word it was just fantastic getting onboard was reasonably quick and straight forward, once onboard we made our way to The Windjammer Buffet, which had a great choice of food to choose from, with pasta, roast meats, salads, just too much to name. Our cabin was an inside cabin but it had a window that overlooked the Royal Promanade, which was great for watching the shows and of course the people wondering and shopping!!! I would say the only drawback to our cabin was it had an adjoining room and we could hear our neighbours sometimes and their light shining through the gaps around the door, a little grip, but if your a light sleeper it might be a issue although it does depend on your neighbours!!!! But a perfect cabin for a family needing two cabins. The ship crew/staff were just perfect nothing was too much trouble, they went above and beyond the call of duty, they were pleasant polite and curtesy, and they all work very hard. As for entertainment the shows were stunning The Ice show was spectacular especially when you consider your on a ship. There was a good choice of activities although laying by the pool was a good one as well There was a good choice of trips to choose from, although some people chose to do their own thing. We would go on this ship again she is totally faultless as are her crew/staff. Read Less
Sail Date: March 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I picked this cruise so I would be on holiday for my birthday. This was a family trip with my partner and parents coming along. We flew into Sydney the day before the cruise and had plenty of time in the morning of the cruise to wander ... Read More
I picked this cruise so I would be on holiday for my birthday. This was a family trip with my partner and parents coming along. We flew into Sydney the day before the cruise and had plenty of time in the morning of the cruise to wander around the city and do some last minute shopping. I arrived at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at around 2pm and there were hardly any queues. There was no queue to check in and I received my Sea Pass straight away. The queues for passport checks were quick and next thing I knew, I was on the ship and ready to explore! The ship is quite large and is the biggest cruise ship I've ever been on (my previous cruise was on the Enchantment of the Seas and I thought that was huge!). It was fairly easy to find my way around after a while. If you always thought cruises were for oldies, think again. This cruise had quite a diverse crowd with young adults through to the more mature cruisers. There was a pole dancing group on this cruise! I stayed in cabin 8300, a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony. I highly recommend getting a balcony cabin, it was so relaxing just sitting on the balcony staring out at the ocean. It also feels incredibly stable on the balcony and I could hardly feel any motion. If you tend to get seasick, definitely get a cabin the middle of the ship. My parents had a cabin at the back of the ship and it was incredibly rocky. The staff were all amazing from our cabin steward to the waiters in the main dining room. Everyone is super polite and extremely helpful. The cruise director was very entertaining and his late night comedy show was hilarious and well worth staying up for! Despite having over 3,700 guests on board, it never felt crowded on the ship. The Royal Promenade would get busy but you can easily walk around without any issues. There was usually a queue at the coffee shop but you never had to wait too long. There were times when it was difficult to get a table at the Windjammer, no matter what time you went. I would go for lunch at around 3pm and it was still incredibly crowded! I suspect a lot of people would grab an early lunch then come back again for a second helping. Breakfast at the buffet was also crazy busy, it was much easier going to the main dining room on sea days. There were plenty of activities to do during the sea days. The weather wasn't the best during this cruise so the pool was out. The gym was ok with quite a few treadmills. The weights machines were quite old but they had free weights and benches. It got busy in the gym early in the morning but it was pretty empty in the afternoons. The running track is very short - 9 laps make up 1 mile (so about 177m per lap). Lots of people use the walking track but a LOT of people just stand in the way, taking selfies and chatting with friends. The ship is huge, can you not have a conversation somewhere else?? The theatre shows were fantastic and were very professional. They had singers, dancers, an orchestra and comedy shows. The ice skating show was great - definitely catch this show if you're on a ship with the skating rink. They did open up the rink for skating sessions but the sea was quite rough so I didn't want to attempt it. They had movies on every night above the pool but it was so windy every night that I didn't even attempt to go out on the pool deck. The only disappointment? Not being able to dock at Noumea. Unfortunately a Category 3 cyclone decided to form in the South Pacific and it was heading straight for New Caledonia. The captain made the decision to get the hell outta there so we ended up with 5 sea days over a 7 day cruise. Safety first I guess! The sea was a bit rough on the day we skipped Noumea to the point where the pools were emptied. The whirlpools were all operational though. The only place we did stop at was Lifou. The tender process took a while and I didn't get off the ship until around 2pm. They have a ticket system where you line up to get a ticket which determines what time you can leave the ship to go on a tender. They can fit 120 people on each tender and I still ended up with ticket number 26 which left in the afternoon. There didn't appear to be much to do here except swim/snorkel and spend time at the beach. A lot of people got their hair braided at the market. I just wandered around the island, visited the church at the top of the cliff and took some photos. In summary, it was a great cruise! I would definitely do it again. The only other thing I want to mention is that I picked a cruise in March because I figured there would be minimal kids as the school year had just started so figured parents wouldn't pull their kids out of school for a holiday. I was wrong. There are PLENTY of parents who happily take their kids along on a cruise when the school year has just started. There were quite a few kids running up and down stairs, playing soccer down hallways, screaming on top of their lungs at trivia events etc. Read Less
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.2
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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