168 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Cruise Reviews

I saw this cruise on TV Cruise 1st channel and booked for the transatlantic voyage to the Caribbean. The fact that it was due to visit Islands that I had previously been to in my teens when I was a young seafarer sailing on cargo ships, ... Read More
I saw this cruise on TV Cruise 1st channel and booked for the transatlantic voyage to the Caribbean. The fact that it was due to visit Islands that I had previously been to in my teens when I was a young seafarer sailing on cargo ships, before everything went in containers, it was to be a nostalgic voyage as well as my first cruise. Needless to say myself and travel partner arrived at Manchester coach station on the 5th Nov 2019 and found we were the only ones there waiting for a coach to Southampton. We where both extremely worried as no place was open to phone and find out what had happened. Maybe you will call us stupid but I don't use emails very much and that is the reason for us showing up on the wrong day. Cruise 1st had sent one email to tell me about the cancellation and rescheduling of the itinerary. I was asked if I wished to cancel and I would have but my travel buddy was all set to go on holiday and travel across the ocean for the 1st time so I couldn't say no. I don't believe the weather and passenger comfort had anything to do with the changes as when we did eventually sail from Southampton the weather was very bad and lots of passengers including my partner were seasick. The ship rarely went above 18/19 knots so could have gone faster and had enough time to visit the missing islands. Also having to pay for internet access , soft drinks and (special) coffee in a drinks package and even bottled water from the cabin steward is a bit much. It's not as though this Cruise Line is struggling. I was given some paltry compensation but it never made up for missing out on visiting 4 Caribbean Islands. I did have a lot more to say about this ship and the company who run it but as I am the only other person who seems to have reviewed this bad experience maybe it is best to just forget it and promise myself to never bother with Royal Caribbean and their very old ship again. Just another thing ! I always expected to be served lobster at some time whilst on a cruise. If it was served I definitely missed it or maybe it was meant to be served on the day about 1000 people on board had sea sickness . So much for passenger comfort. I really do have to say a really big THANK YOU to the service staff especially the cabin stewards who work so hard to clean and make up so many cabins each day and to all the staff I had personal interactions with 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
The ship was nice, people were great. Dining room dinner menu disappointed and we ate in the windjammer most nights. When we did eat in the dining room, it was good. The ship was on the small side, but it doesn't need to be bigger ... Read More
The ship was nice, people were great. Dining room dinner menu disappointed and we ate in the windjammer most nights. When we did eat in the dining room, it was good. The ship was on the small side, but it doesn't need to be bigger with ports so close together and one cruise day. First port, Hamburg Germany on a Sunday. All stores are closed on Sundays, forget shopping. Are you serious Royal? My wife and I are more than upset. Only thing you can do is walk empty streets. Second port, Rotterdam, plenty of time, but nothing special. Third port, Amsterdam, somewhere around 6 hours, not enough time to really look around and enjoy the place! France, the last, promised 28 hours to visit the city. Came into port 2 hours late, shuttle stopped on the way to Paris even though no one wanted to. They changed the pickup spot and a passenger had to go get the others like us to find the bus! From drop off to pick up, we were given 21 hours that includes sleeping! This was the port we really were looking forward to and we feel we got screwed! Thanks Royal, you really did a crap job! Another disappointment, I really look forward to the T-Shirt sale and they didn't have one on this cruise. Seriously, bad schedule! We save our valuable time off to spend one good time a year and this was awful! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We are C&A members, and we've sailed with RC over 10 times. So by no means we are "rookies". Granted this was a charter cruise, but we expected the service to be RC quality. Boy were we wrong. There is an extreme lack ... Read More
We are C&A members, and we've sailed with RC over 10 times. So by no means we are "rookies". Granted this was a charter cruise, but we expected the service to be RC quality. Boy were we wrong. There is an extreme lack of personnel in the general public area. Starting with the Windjammer, the food was mediocre at its best. There were no personnel going around tables to offer drinks from the bar. With the drinking package, one is given a refillable cup, which RC expects one to carry it at all times. That cup has a chip on the bottom, and it allows the person (in theory) to get their drinks from a Coca Cola machine. Well, the problem is that none of the machines were working properly. If one was lucky enough to find a machine that actually dispensed the drinks, it usually was out of most of the drinks, or didn't have ice, or in the middle of the refill would just show a message on the screen saying the machine was out of whatever drink you were serving yourself. As for the midnight snack at the Windjammer, they only serve cold hot dogs and greasy hamburgers that looked like they had been made 3 days ago. Only a small section of the Windjammer would be open at a time, so the lines were absurd. As for the main dining hall, I was not allowed to enter because I had arrived 30 minutes after the dinning time had begun. I had no idea the dinning hall was totally strict with the hours. When we did make it on time, the food was mediocre. How can you mess up a T-bone? It even tasted weird! The cabin was ok, it was an inside cabin with a huge screen that showed the outside of the ship like if we had a balcony. What a waste of resources! The darn thing didn't always work, and honestly, I could have done without the screen. As for the itinerary, I understand it was a charter cruise. But we were in port less than 5 hours. That meant that most of the shore excursions were cancelled without giving alternatives. Read Less
Sail Date October 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 have sailed several times with the royal carribean and normally I love my cruise - however the last cruise I had in August, will sadly probably be the last cruise I choose with Royal Carribean - the staff as always were perfect and ... Read More
We have sailed several times with the royal carribean and normally I love my cruise - however the last cruise I had in August, will sadly probably be the last cruise I choose with Royal Carribean - the staff as always were perfect and could not do enough to make our holiday special - however we had an unbelievable number of teens on our cruise who congregated each evening in level 8 - my floor - particularly near the lift area - so I was constantly feeling intimidated each time I used the lift - so much so that I opted to use the stairs - I had teens running up and down corridors late at night and once it was as late as 3.30 am - I did ring security on several occasions and in all fairness they came and solved the problem ...on that night - but it would be exactly the same on every night - annoyingly even on the last night they woke me at 1am - and as I was leaving the ship just after 7am to drive hundreds of miles I wasn’t happy at all - there was no monitoring of the corridors at all - I understand the shop is due for a refurb - which had I known I would probably have booked another ship as it looked tatty and needing paintwork in several places The food as always was incredible plenty of choice and fantastic On our return I did email customer services re our noisy holiday and was told I should have rang reception - which I did - no other help whatsoever - they didn’t seem interested whatsoever that I had saved all year for a holiday to be disturbed every single night and reluctant to use the lifts I personally will prob not ever be booking with RC again - not just because it was simply too noisy (I do have four children if my own so I am not anti children) but also the attitude I had from customer services Sadly it falls far short of the holiday I saved hard for - I love cruise ships so i’ll prob try another company next year Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise as it was the Right time of year school holidays and going to Northern Europe with st Petersburg on the itenary we were disappointed in that my two girls couldn’t attend the children’s club because they were 10 ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was the Right time of year school holidays and going to Northern Europe with st Petersburg on the itenary we were disappointed in that my two girls couldn’t attend the children’s club because they were 10 & 12 and would have had to go to separate clubs because of their ages they didn’t want to go alone & there was no leeway with this they also had to stop using the pools after the first week as they came out with terrible skin rashes all of our party did I reported it to customer services they said it was because someone had been sick in the pool so had to be drained and stronger chemicals put in !! There was another mum complaining at the same time and families around the pool were not using them for the same reason! My family and I were absolutely fuming that there was an extortionate fee for the shuttle busses there was 4 adults and 4 children only in Helsinki did they not charge for the children I can’t believe that RC did not receive most of this money as why did we have to pay directly to RC We were all very disappointed with the entertainment nothing for the children no pool party’s games on deck we had good weather most of the cruise so there was no reason for this The food was ok very samey but nice we only ate in the windjammer as we had 4 fussy children so it was great for them to just try things We only did the Russia trip preferring to do our own trips the guide was very knowledgeable but it was a bit manic as in on off the coach and they took us to a very expensive tourist gift shop but we were allowed to use the toilets The ship itself was looking a bit warn out and tired its due a refit I believe Most of the staff were really nice but they fussed around the alcohol drinkers more In short we won’t be travelling with RC again Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Just returned from Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas Northern Europe and Russia cruise. THIS IS A FULL REVIEW. Explorer is 20 years old and smaller but otherwise identical layout to Freedom and Independence of the Seas, ... Read More
Just returned from Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas Northern Europe and Russia cruise. THIS IS A FULL REVIEW. Explorer is 20 years old and smaller but otherwise identical layout to Freedom and Independence of the Seas, sharing the same (but smaller) Deck 5 central shopping mall idea, Schooners Bar, triple-floor Sapphire Dining Rooms, Windjammer buffet, ice rink, FlowRider and Dizzys/Sky Bar etc. The August cruise from Southampton to Northern Europe was perfectly pleasant. Oslo, Copenhagen, Tallin, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Skagen (Denmark) and Stavanger (Norway) and the weather was kind, but lazing in the sun on the main deck was possible on one day out of 14, although I spotted several people, probably from Newcastle on Tyne, out there in their bikinis in Force 8 winds! This is an easy cruise to access all the cities visited. All ports were quayside docking and all within easy walking distance of the city centres (Helsinki and Stockholm a couple of miles away but with cheap public transport from the quayside). Don’t fall for the cruise-line’s nonsense of buying their organised trips or paying an extortionate $40 for their own local shuttles - every city had cheap (typically $3 per trip or $10 for a 24 hour ticket covering all busses, trams, water taxis and metros) and regular public transport always right from the quayside. We organised our own tours through local operators, but in cities like Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Tallinn you can walk everywhere. In every case, local tours were 50% cheaper than the cruise line’s official tour, and usually better. In Skagen we just walked but a friend rented a car for $35 for the day and visited everything there was to see - more than any of the organised tours. In Stavanger we booked a 3 hour fjord cruise with Rödne Tours from a booth right next to the cruise terminal for $40 each when we arrived, but I’d recommend pre-booking in case there’s more than one cruise ship in port. In St Petersburg we booked a 2 day tour with TJ Tours just 5 days before arriving and had a great experience with our own guide and a comfortable Mercedes minibus, all meals and water included, visiting more locations and for longer than the best available cruise-line tour for half the price ($250 each). You must book with an official Russian tour operator to get your necessary temporary Russian visa - you can’t visit St. Petersburg unaccompanied (well, not officially) but it’s as simple as booking online with a tour operator such as TJTours, SPB or Alla Tours. We found many fellow Americans were scared stiff of Russia, thinking the “Reds” might not like them. Well, that’s simply not the case. They are lovely! The guests on this cruise were 60-70% British. Some Americans and Australians for whom this was usually one half of their European cruising (the other half being a Mediterranean cruise, but not always with RCI). The Brits were a mix of classes, lots of blue collar families but nice, friendly and honest in the way Brits usually are. A couple of dozen feral kids under 10 running around, living in the elevators with no parents or ship security enforcing some manners. A public keel hauling of the worst offender would soon restore discipline (this is a joke, btw). . The negatives on this trip were all on board the ship. Having cruised with Royal Caribbean several times a few years ago, these are the noticeable differences – a general decline in standards whilst RCI try even harder to screw every last penny out of their guests: - Sapphire Dining Room - food still ok but menus not quite as varied as before and some dishes simply not up to scratch. Service definitely slower and poorer than we’ve experienced on any other cruise or cruiseline. One night we waited 30 minutes for our order to be taken. Another couple next to us waited 90 minutes for their main course. Lots of complaints heard about this. The dining rooms seem to have more tables crammed in and they’ve dispensed with the nightly “Showtime” singalong by the waiters. Coffee and liqueurs used to be offered automatically, now you have to ask. No chocolate mints anymore. MyTime Dining is a shambles. Dress codes are not enforced at all - families in tee shirts and shorts - even on Formal Night. This is not what I pay my cruise bucks for. If diners want to dress in shorts, send them to the Windjammer. There IS a choice! Hey, Royal Caribbean - stop this race to the bottom and restore some semblance of style to your ships. - Bars. There seem to be fewer waiters going round taking orders. Best bar for cocktails is still Schooner. Dizzy’s on the 14th floor has a good atmosphere (but the air con is always too cold). Some evenings it’s taken over by a “silent” disco, which actually means drunken guests singing the chorus of two different songs out of tune at the top of their voices. Silent it is not! Why on earth they can’t hold this in one of the disco clubs is beyond me. Drink prices noticeably up. $6-10 for a beer, ordinary branded spirits $10-15 and wine at $11-16 a glass. Cocktails typically $12 and up. - On board sales bargains - e.g. watches and jewellery. Quality and variety on offer is poor and prices are the same as high street. The rest of the goods on offer was tourist tat, overpriced by 50% compared to identical tourist tat in each port. On board bargains used to be one of the joys of cruising. It isn’t any longer. Art and overpriced jewellery auctions did zero business. I never understand how they make money, but this cruise full of savvy Brits wasn’t going to part them from their money. - Windjammer Buffet. A glorious spectacle of excess. Food quality is awfully variable, from awful to variable yet never excellent. If you want to watch fat people getting even fatter, pushing and vying to see who can pile their plates highest and yet still leave enough waste food to feed New York’s entire homeless community, then this is the best free entertainment venue on the entire ship! The number of electric buggies plus the constant feeding frenzy was like that scene out of Wally...... Not offendin’ anyone, just sayin’.... - Theatre Entertainment. The in house ‘orchestra’ is a great bunch of talented musicians tied to performing holiday camp-standard routines. The in-house song and dance reviews were nothing special, in fact highly avoidable. A couple of guest bands were excellent, though - a Beatles tribute band and The Wild Boys in particular were very good. A visiting West End singer, magician and a hypnotist who were all pretty mundane. I fell asleep during the hypnotist act. No idea why. - Round the Ship entertainment. There’s a talented solo guitarist playing a repertoire of 30 almost recognisable pop hits in a vaguely classical style. He looks tired and bored, but go and ask him to play something decent, like Tarrega or Rodriguez, and he perks up! The House Band is OK, best when they are doing live karaoke. Lead vocalist loves herself but the drummer is the better singer. The reggae band are very good. There’s a very camp Liberace clone who knows his downmarket audience to a Tee! Straight from Phoenix Nights! Truly awful....unless you like that kind of thing. - The usual selection of half hour games and quizzes, presented in a generally lacklustre way, always in a hurry, formulaic and rushed. Too few staff? - Casino. Never more than 1/4 full. The Brits obviously don’t gamble. The ship did nothing to entice them in, so each night it was the same 50 American faces playing the slots and a handful of tables. At least half the croupiers looked dead or asleep. They could have jumped ship for two weeks and no one would have noticed. A missed opportunity. - Cruise Director. Every other Cruise Director we’ve had has been the life and soul of the ship - always about, saying hello, geeing people up. Not this one. Known as “Hello Clo”. Been in the business 27 years, apparently. Never saw her round the ship saying hello to passengers, never saw her on the gangplank, only on-stage introducing the acts. Something missing here. - Photographs. Still expensive but with many more photographers and backdrops. The old style of printing out thousands of photos on paper for you to peruse has been replaced with a dreadful touch screen system. The staff said it was more popular but I doubt it. - State Room Stewards. Great, as ever. These people work the hardest on the ship and deserve the biggest tips. - On Sea Days the ship was heaving with people because it was too cold out on deck. 3,500 bored passengers wandering round inside an already crowded ship, all looking for something to do. You would think the Entertainment staff would make a bit more effort and lay on extra entertainments when it’s too increment to go outside, but no. Nada. Nothing. This, above all else, was the weakest element of the cruise. The Ship. 20 years old and looking its age. It had a refit in 2015 but there are a lot of defects. Lifts out of action, PA systems on their last legs, cutlery in the dining rooms old and knackered, large viewing windows which had gone opaque, furniture a bit tatty. Lots of maintenance engineers fixing things discretely. Many staff just seem to be tired, going through the motions. Even the Captain’s daily announcement was delivered in a flat, monotonic voice. The only time he sounded enthused was in Stockholm, probably his home town. I heard that Explorer of the Seas is due another refit to take away some public areas and add more cabins, so this ship is likely to get even more crowded. I hope the staff-guest ratio increases but somehow I doubt it. Would I cruise with Explorer of the Seas again? No. Has my opinion of a Royal Caribbean been tarnished? Yes. Cruise destinations. 9/10 Ship. 5/10 Entertainment. 4/10 Dining. 6/10 Steward. 10/10. Value for Money. 7/10 Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Embarkation seemed to be going very smoothly and we were given our sail passes and made our way to the ship. At the gangway we checked the passes only to discover they had the words ‘Diamond Plus’ on them, we were unsure what this ... Read More
Embarkation seemed to be going very smoothly and we were given our sail passes and made our way to the ship. At the gangway we checked the passes only to discover they had the words ‘Diamond Plus’ on them, we were unsure what this meant so on closer inspection discovered that the sail passes were in different names to ours and had the wrong cabin number on them but our photographs had been imposed onto the cards. We had to go back to the Embarkation desk and start the process all over again which took a very long time as the error had to be corrected and then new cards issued to us. We were told by the staff at the Embarkation desk that the error was Royal Caribbean’s and that out names had been allocated to the wrong cabin. On the first evening when an ‘Adults Only’ show was advertised for the Palace Theatre we were horrified to see that quite a few very young children had been permitted entry and they proceeded to scream throughout some of the performance that ruined the show. We had been ‘Upgraded’ by Royal Caribbean prior to departure which was very nice except that when we went out on the balcony on the first evening we were overwhelmed by thick black smoke coming from somewhere above the cabin (at first we thought there was a fire). On closer inspection the next morning we saw that the smoke had been coming from some vents that were above the cabin. This continued every evening and made it impossible for us to benefit from the balcony without being overcome by the smoke – very upsetting. There was a disgusting odour which seemed to be sewage on the 4th deck Starboard side every day 9near the gents toilets). Some days it was so disgusting it was unbearable to stand on the deck. We paid for and visited Chops Grille on 21st June at 8pm, the first 2 courses seemed to go OK but by 9.30pm we had still not received our main course and suddenly a second tray of bread was delivered to our table even though we had not finished the first and our wine glasses were being topped up even though we had not requested this. Both of our steaks were ordered ‘Medium Rare’ but when they were finally served one had been cooked for far longer than the other as there was no pink inside the steak (the maitre d' agreed with us), our mushrooms and asparagus were cold. The only thing cooked correctly were the fries – a very disappointing evening. I appreciate we are probably not the slimmest of passengers – more an average size, but the bath towels supplied in the cabins are ridiculously small and was impossible to wrap the towels round us after showering Evening entertainment has been the worse we have ever experienced, ‘Cheap and Cheerful’ comes to mind. It was impossible for us to find 2 seats together in any of the bars most nights so we spent every evening wondering the ship wondering what to do. We do not expect to go on a cruise together and have to sit separately in a bar (not acceptable at all). We would find it very difficult travel with Royal Caribbean again and I’m afraid we will find it impossible to recommend you to anyone. We have now emailed Royal Caribbean 10 times about our complaints only to receive 'Bog Standard' replies that say they will respond within 3 days - it's been 3 and half weeks SO RUDE to ignore your customers Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Drinks were so expensive,small bottle of stella $7.75.glass wine $9.cheapest bottle wine $35 .small bottle water $2.Ship was to crowded,no seats at bar with entertainment unless you get there 1 1/2 hours before & same for the shows but ... Read More
Drinks were so expensive,small bottle of stella $7.75.glass wine $9.cheapest bottle wine $35 .small bottle water $2.Ship was to crowded,no seats at bar with entertainment unless you get there 1 1/2 hours before & same for the shows but the ships own shows were very poor ,people were walking out & the entertainment director was very unprofessional and never looked smart.The shows with guest performers were very good.{Photos taken by ships photograghers were $20.The tours are estortionate, just to go on trip too Rome was $369 Each.Meals in main resturant were ok but mainly only warm.One couple we met complained & were asked to come back the next night & it was excelant then following night cold plates again.The duty free shops were ajoke my perfume channel was $109 for 50ml yet i can buy that in uk £50.We have done 10 cruises before 1 with royal carabbean & p&o,Princess .Norwegean .thomson & never had complained before so sorry royal carabbean that will be our last with you.Service from the staff was excelant & our cabin attendant was great,we asked him about water & he told us he could bring us 6 wine glasses of water each day but if he bought it in bottles the ship would charge us $ 2 per bottle. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and the reputation of RC ships. Our 2nd cruise ever and first 1 was on Celebrity Equinox. The itinerary was not a disappointment- however- the ship was a great disappointment. The social spaces were ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and the reputation of RC ships. Our 2nd cruise ever and first 1 was on Celebrity Equinox. The itinerary was not a disappointment- however- the ship was a great disappointment. The social spaces were all dark and dingy. The ship seemed to be overflowing with people, hard to find a space to escape the crowds. The entertainment was just adequate. Not of a high standard although the Ice Show which had a theme was very good. The food- average. The best night we had was at Izumi. Giovanni average. The Windjammer was like a canteen. And the Saphire lunch and dinner was almost same food as the Windjammer. The cabin was lovely, spacious however there seemed to be a permanent odour of some sort. The staff seemed in the main to be pre occupied. Not all happy though they tried hard. We are going to go on Quantum of the Seas in January - this was booked before this cruise and I am really hoping for a better experience Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My wife and I chose this Canaries cruise with Royal Caribbean for my birthday, having cruised with them 11 times previously, but I'm sorry to say this may well be our last. Please don't take me wrong, neither of us are snobs ... Read More
My wife and I chose this Canaries cruise with Royal Caribbean for my birthday, having cruised with them 11 times previously, but I'm sorry to say this may well be our last. Please don't take me wrong, neither of us are snobs or whingers, and I've never had a bad word for R.C, but this cruise has left us both a little cold. Embarcation: Long standing queues, no usual welcoming tipple. Stateroom: No coffee, No tea, 2 tiny long life milk tubs, no spare loo roll despite asking, which ran out on day 3 and had to use the box of tissues, sticky cabin floor and stained carpets, Fridge totally inoperative, and the stateroom felt tired and abused - stayed in better 2* hotels!...... oh, and the bottle of bubbly my missus had preordered and paid for NEVER arrived, although we got a spa discount instead, which ended up costing us more money AND the 'hard sell' of 'Buy these products we've used on you for an extra hundred and something dollars' only to be subjected to the 'face like chewing a wasp' when we declined. The room Steward was a friendly guy though, trying his best through adversity, and an obviously too heavy workload. At this stage, we went down and requested the $29 dollar per day tips removed from our cruise account..... everything seems now to be geared around tipping, even though we mainly used Speciality Restaurants (and paid extra), and the Windjammer self service, (we only used the main restaurant twice) and every time we had a drink there was already a service charge added to the bill! I'll always tip for over and above service, but this was cr*p! although we did tip our Steward in cash at the end as we usually do. The poor staff are obsessed with feedback.... even the photographer who expected me to get up and pose for a paid photo HALF WAY THROUGH MY DINNER! Main Restaurant: Food OK, although only word to describe it would be 'rushed' so used only twice. Speciality Restaurants: Hey! a good word at last I hear you cry! Both Chops Grille, and Giovanni's excellent, both food and staff Johnny Rocket's : 10 minute wait in outside part with no staff show, so finally went inside and ordered...... only 4 other people present, so no rush then! Shows: Ice show a spectacular triumph, greatly talented performers. Disembarcation: Self carry-off was a farce at 6am......... no staff present, and queue where you like standing for 20 minutes, even in front of lifts, gangways and stairs.... very safe I'm sure -NOT! Saving grace..... met some lovely people. Sorry to say this may well be our last R.C Cruise, the downhill slide is now very 'In Your Face' , and with all the expected extras, Cruise Lines not paying their staff a living wage and declining staff levels, the sad fact is I bet we're not the only ones. Rant over! bet you didn't guess I'm a bit disillusioned! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Just got back today from a 10 night cruise on Explorer of the Seas . Where do I start , I have been a loyal RCI customer for the last 6-7 years and the previous cruises and ships I could not rare highly enough but this ship is a ... Read More
Just got back today from a 10 night cruise on Explorer of the Seas . Where do I start , I have been a loyal RCI customer for the last 6-7 years and the previous cruises and ships I could not rare highly enough but this ship is a nightmare. Food luke warm in the windjammer every time I went in there ,even when it just opened. Lunch the same most days not much choice . Tables not cleared very quickly seemed to be a lack of staff compared to previous ships. Lack of any seating in the evening over the whole ship was a pain . General service in the bars and eating areas excluding the main dinning room very poor ,plates and glasses not cleared from tables for up to 30 minutes on several occasions. After 9pm only one place to get any food ,small cafe on the promenade not big enough to cater for a full ship. Ship is looking very tired inside and out and in need of a make over. Will not cruise with RCI again in the near future which is a shame as I have always enjoyed my cruises with them,I just don't feel like you are getting the service anymore that you did previously and that makes it not good value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We picked this cruise based an assumed canary good weather Weather better in UK The ship rather tired and probably the worst quality ship we have been on out of 5 travelled Be reluctant to use RCI again unless it’s a newer ... Read More
We picked this cruise based an assumed canary good weather Weather better in UK The ship rather tired and probably the worst quality ship we have been on out of 5 travelled Be reluctant to use RCI again unless it’s a newer ship However staff as on all cruises fantastic Entertaining professional shows better than NCL apart from the ones laid on by the RCI guys which were quite awful equally as bad as NCL Food generally good and you can get some thing you like We had deluxe drinks package which as the measures were very small you would need 2 at a time so that the alcohol could be tasted but you are not allowed to do that unlike NCL The ship passengers were largely retired or nearing retirement unlike NCL Ports of call strange as went to Gran Canaria on Sunday and it was all shut Why did RCI land on Sunday!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Explorer of the Seas is showing its age now, with many areas looking tired and in need of renovating. Was almost the worst cruise we have been on, only saved from this by having good food and wonderful dining room staff. The buffet ... Read More
Explorer of the Seas is showing its age now, with many areas looking tired and in need of renovating. Was almost the worst cruise we have been on, only saved from this by having good food and wonderful dining room staff. The buffet area seemed more crowded than on ships of a similar size, and at sometimes it was a problem to find a table. The choice of food however was up to RCI’s usual standards. The main dining room experience was good, with a varied menu each night as well as the standard dishes available every night. One of our party was vegetarian and there were at least two main courses available each night. Additionally, our waiter produced the following nights menu to look at, and if the veggie options didn’t appeal, he arranged for an off-menu dish to be prepared for the following night, an excellent service which we have only had before on Celebrity cruises. We were well looked after by our waiters Benjaman and Rovie. we went to the main dining room for breakfast once to avoid the crush oft he Windjammer, and was surprised to see how chaotic it was. Diners were getting their meals 15 minutes after their partners on the same table, teas and coffees were ordered, never to appear. Where this cruise failed miserably was with the entertainment programme. The ships singers and dancers only appeared in three shows during the three-week cruise, when normally this form of entertainment would appear at least twice per week. Other acts in the evening included a juggler who could only juggle with three clubs and an Australian comedian whose act consisted on identifying non-Australians in the audience and then insulting them, explaining because we are friends, he could?? There were two good acts, a musical impersonator and a Liberace style pianist. Daytime entertainment consisted of trivia quizzes and bingo. Poolside entertainment only appeared in the third week, and there were no sail-away parties. There was a very good ice show, but access was limited on a rota basis. This was without doubt the worst entertainment we have had on any cruise and certainly not up to RCI’s usual level. Possibly because it was a re-positioning cruise RCI were doing things on the cheap, as people we had met who had sailed on Explorer earlier in the season said it was much better then. The biggest disappointment of the cruise was the failure to make the two stops at the Great Barrier Reef, due to weather conditions restricting tender use apparently, although certainly on the second stop at Cairns most people said on previous cruise’s they had used tenders in worst weather. No attempt was made to stop and the Captain was in a rush to get out to sea and open the casinos and shops, obviously people spending on board was more important than waiting to see if the weather moderated. In both cases the ship was out to sea before the announcements were made. As a compensation the Cruise Director offered free access to the films on the interactive TV for the two days it would take to sail to Darwin, but that day the interactive TV stopped working only to miraculously start again the day we docked at Darwin – nice offer RCI. The reason given for not using the tenders was Health and Safety, and yet at Darwin the angle of the boarding ramps almost necessitated ropes and climbing boots and health and Safety did not seem to be an issue Another issue with RCI was that at Brisbane, (and at Cairns had we stopped), because the ports are a distance from the centres, shuttle buses would be needed to get there, for which RCI levied a $25 dollar fee, unless you were on an RCI excursion. Other cruise lines in this situation provide a free shuttle from/to the port. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean and it will be our last. On a number of occasions we raised our concerns with the management of the ship. Concerns raised include stains on towels ( which looked like blood on one ... Read More
This was our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean and it will be our last. On a number of occasions we raised our concerns with the management of the ship. Concerns raised include stains on towels ( which looked like blood on one occasion and mascara on another) on the first occasion I rang the Hotel director, whose number was in the cabin, re the towel issue to be informed that someone would be down with clean towels , ( I am still waiting) and the to be asked how I got his number, the card din the cabin disappeared that evening. The next night we had the issue of what looked like mascara stains, this time I went to the guest services desk. The towels were replace and we had a visit from the deck supervisor. On the first sea day between Sydney and Brisbane, when the weather was poor. There is insufficient break away areas for the number of passengers that were on the ship. The promenade area was parked like sardines and some bright spark then decided to run the morning Zumba class in that area. We were on My Time dining, for the first seven days of the cruise, all 4 of us thought the food was poor and the service was shoddy. After the mid cruise questionnaire, where we raised the issue of service, quality of food, things did improve drastically. There appears to be a significant number of middle managers/supervisors standing around in the dining room doing little while the waiters and assistant waiters are running around Unfortunately due to the swell two ports, that were tender ports were missed. But the at Darwin, you had to be a mountain climber to get on and off the ship due to the extreme angle of the gang ways. I requested to see the health and safety officer plus a copy of the risk assessments for the gang planks at Darwin in at least 4 occasions, I have still not received anything despite being informed by 4 staff that someone will be in touch and it being logged - still waiting! The cabin was good, for an accessible cabin but it was showing its age. Bed linen was rather thin. Entertainment- the dancers/singers were good and delivered 3 strong performances as did the ice skaters. We didn’t attend the other shows. We thought the range of activities on offer through the sea days were weak. Given our experience on this ship, with a management team who on the face of it, say yes but then totally ignore passengers comments. We will never cruise Royal Caribbean again Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are Diamond Plus RCI cruisers. Have always enjoyed our RCI cruises. I must say that this was the Most Disorganized cruise we have ever taken. It seemed that one department had no idea what another department was doing. We had ... Read More
We are Diamond Plus RCI cruisers. Have always enjoyed our RCI cruises. I must say that this was the Most Disorganized cruise we have ever taken. It seemed that one department had no idea what another department was doing. We had great waiters in main Dining Room, we were on My Time, deck 3. The evening menus seemed to be same menu day after day. We truly missed the Chef's Suggestion of the Day that we used to have. The breakfast menu on deck 3 was the same everyday. We just walked over to center of Dining Room for buffet. The Royal Caribbean Dancers and Sinhers were a highlight for our entertainment. The rest of the entertainment was a major disappointment and that's probably why the Palace Theater was hardly more than half full regardless if it were early or late show. First RCI ship we have been on where entire crew (all departments) were not represented at Closing Show. We were sad to see that it was only cruise director/activity director staff and Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers. I realize that this Review sounds like I am a complainer but I really am not. I spoke with countless other passengers to see if I was off base. Most that I spoke with felt as I did I found. To be honest with you, if this was my first RCI experience I would not be cruising on RCI again. As it is we have four more RCI cruises booked at this time with another on Explorer of the Seas on November 4th. If we didn't already have plane and hotel reservations already paid for I would cancel the cruise on the Explorer. I am praying that there will be a different management crew on that cruise and things will change for the better. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary. We hadn’t been on Royal for a few years and didn’t expect that it would be so changed. It has or it’s just that we are spoiled from our other non royal cruises. The staff didn’t ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary. We hadn’t been on Royal for a few years and didn’t expect that it would be so changed. It has or it’s just that we are spoiled from our other non royal cruises. The staff didn’t care. For instance it took two full hours to disembark. No staff to direct passengers while waiting or offer suggestions as to where to stand. We were the first group scheduled and we were self assist. It appeared that they were discharging their tour groups first so there we were along with another 1000 or so people waiting two hours. And then the announcer actually told the following group to report while we were still there. Total chaos and rude staff. Elevators ran inconsistently or not at all. They were also out of service for much of the trip. We were sitting in the shade poolside for several hours when a representative said”hey guys we have to move you”. Really? They had decided to set up a poolside buffet and told 40 people to move. Poor planning. And very rude to top it off. There are too many choices to use vacation time and money but this is a no brainer. We won’t be back. They won’t miss us and we won’t miss them. Read Less
Sail Date March 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
We have been on a number of Royal Carribean cruises and wanted to experience the bigger ship. We were very disappointed with a number of issues. The food in the main diningroom (dinner) was mediocre compared to previous cruises. The buffet ... Read More
We have been on a number of Royal Carribean cruises and wanted to experience the bigger ship. We were very disappointed with a number of issues. The food in the main diningroom (dinner) was mediocre compared to previous cruises. The buffet food in the Windjammer however was very good. The entertainment in the theatre was very good for five of the ten evenings. The other evenings consisted of entertainment by the ship’s dance company (mediocre) or the screening of two movies, both of which had run on the high street recently. The cruise director was extremely full of himself and considered himself to be one of the main performers. This was very different from the previous RCL cruises that we had been on. The ship is in serious need of a revamp. One just has to look at the state of some of the dining seats in the Windjammer to realise this. Music in the bars, lounges was virtually non-existent with the exception of the Schooner where the pianist who usually performed from 9pm was very good. Overall, we were left with a feeling of being ripped off. A bottle of Australian shiraz at the table cost more than four times what exactly the same bottle costs at Dan Murpheys! We will probably not be cruising on Royal Carribean again despite this having been our sixth cruise with them. I left this same review on their website upon our return to Sydney ather the 18th December 2018 but to date have not received any response Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was a 21 night cruise from Seattle to Sydney Australia. Our previous cruises were all on Princess so this was our first experience with RC. The ship was in excellent condition and the staff was friendly with great emphasis on washing ... Read More
This was a 21 night cruise from Seattle to Sydney Australia. Our previous cruises were all on Princess so this was our first experience with RC. The ship was in excellent condition and the staff was friendly with great emphasis on washing your hands. However, the food was not good. In 21 days we ate at every outlet and struggled to find a "good" meal. Speciality dining was the only option that approached "average". We were in a Jr. Suite 9270. The suite was roomy with a really nice walk-in closet. Our steward was fabulous. The entertainment and production was very poor. We sailed on a 13 day Princess Cruise from Sydney a week after this cruise and the difference was significant. The quality of Princess food was significantly better and the quality of entertainment was light years ahead of RC. One last comment.......RC was reasonably priced for cruise but everywhere we turned RC had its hand out wanting more. We will not waste our money on another RC cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
First, let me say, I loved the itinerary for this cruise - 21 nights across the Pacific from Seattle to Sydney. Embarkation (and disembarkation) went very smoothly, though we were surprised there was no welcome aboard glass of champagne. ... Read More
First, let me say, I loved the itinerary for this cruise - 21 nights across the Pacific from Seattle to Sydney. Embarkation (and disembarkation) went very smoothly, though we were surprised there was no welcome aboard glass of champagne. This was a minor change from the previous cruises we'd taken on Celebrity (a sister company), but was just the beginning of a slew of disappointments in the quality of Royal Caribbean as it compared to Celebrity. My biggest complaint was the quality of food in the main dining room. Steaks were low quality and very tough. Selection was low quality and, most surprising, did not improve on formal nights. They were literally offering higher quality food selection at the buffet! The result of this however, was that the huge dining room was virtually empty while the buffet was packed with long lines and full tables. Secondly, was the unabashed up-sell! Even the dining room menu had choices that you needed to pay extra for! Apparently, if you wanted decent food, you had to pony up another $30-$50. Breakfast in the dining room had an option on the menu for the fresh-squeezed orange juice, but that would cost you an additional $5. We looked at menus from the signature menu and even they offered up-sell selections!! That's just plain tacky. Next was the sick-boat-syndrome. Every one of our party of 5 had upper respiratory illness throughout the entire 3 week period. It never abated until we got off the boat. Yet my husband and one of our friends, who suffered the most severe symptoms, had to pay exorbitant medical fees and wait for long lines to get treatment. The long lines and loud chorus of coughing throughout the boat was enough proof that this entire boat was suffering the same symptoms. The design of the ship itself left much to be desired. There was no outdoor dining section. In fact there was little emphasis on offering outside views. There were few window seats in the lower level lounges and even those just looked out on the lifeboats. There was one upper-level lounge that had a wide array of windows, but that looked out at the pool rather than out to sea. There were a lot of little lounge areas that looked into the atrium, but who wants to look at that when you're out at sea? The shows also didn't live up to the quality of those we had experienced on our Celebrity cruises with the only exception being the ice show. That was actually quite extraordinary! The one area they excelled at over Celebrity was the more active offerings for younger travelers - the FlowRider, climbing wall, miniature golf - and the larger children's activity center. Personally, I would never take another Royal Caribbean cruise. As an after thought - I forgot to include a review of the enrichment activities. On a cruise this long with SO MANY sea nights, they were unprepared for the number of people wanting to participate in the activities. There were literally fights between people trying to get into watercolor and jewelry classes and the lounges used for trivia were way too small to accommodate the crowds. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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
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 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
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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