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Second time on this ship, 9 years apart, this time with kids. A different experience. The Explorer is still one of favorite ships, although she is by no means the smallest, she still offers the best of both worlds- the feeling of being at sea with a range of activities available. Nice mix of passenger ages. Embrakation was a nightmare- rumor that porters were on a slow down and certainly appeared to be true. The luggage was waiting outside while they sat around doing nothing. Our family lugged our own luggage and were glad we did- others we talked to received theirs very late. Unfortunately this also caused debarkation to be a nightmare as nobody seemed to trust personnel to move their luggage getting off the ship. Rather than motivating me to support their union, it made me hope the RCI will look into other options in the future once their contract is up. Onwards to the ship. We still love Explorer of the seas and her crew. We would have preferred a band that regularly played ballroom dance music.... but the musicians were talented. Service was very good overall, staff friendly. Michelle the ice skater (dark hair) was very sweet to my daughter and Yin (cleaned restrooms) was sweet as well. Best show is the ice skating program, hands down. This ship is a great value for 6 yo plus crowd. Daughter loved ice skating and rock wall. Lacked options for children under 3 years- if paying full fare (and it was more expensive to book 1 room than 2 separate), I would expect more entertainment for the younger crowd... at least a nursery. The explorer is in good repair and still has a respectable amount of entertainment options if you are at least six years old. Do not worry about reviews saying she is in poor repair... the worst is faded life boats but to me that in no way impacts the experience. The explorer may be a nice compromise between a mega ship and a bare basics cruise ship. The only question mark was when our entire party was moved to a table in the corner to make room for a larger family on the second night, the families sat at three separate tables that didn't communicate even after being placed adjacent. After asking for our table back, we were given it on the third night- but on the second it was very awkward to be asked after the family had already taken our table. The family could have swapped their best table with us to achieve the same effect- so I believe it was more an issue of not liking the original assigned table. Had we been seated there the first night it wouldn't have mattered to us, but seemed rude to be moved into the corner. Our tablemates from a different family were also confused by the table swap. It seemed like a poor way to handle the situation- honestly wonder if the family took it upon themselves to move verses the staff making that decision. When we were moved back we didn't get our old waiters, so very confusing overall. While I liked all of the waiters this was a bit of negative aspect. For thanksgiving they decorated the promenade and slowly Christmas decorations took over. It was a nice way to celebrate the holiday versus the traditional expectations. Although we love Holland (2 star cruisers), this trip was enough to make us reconsider them as our primary line. For reference- experienced cruisers have sailed with RCI, Holland, NCL, and carnival.

The Turkey Trip

Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by williamsk

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2014
  • Destination: Bahamas
Second time on this ship, 9 years apart, this time with kids. A different experience. The Explorer is still one of favorite ships, although she is by no means the smallest, she still offers the best of both worlds- the feeling of being at sea with a range of activities available. Nice mix of passenger ages.
Embrakation was a nightmare- rumor that porters were on a slow down and certainly appeared to be true. The luggage was waiting outside while they sat around doing nothing. Our family lugged our own luggage and were glad we did- others we talked to received theirs very late. Unfortunately this also caused debarkation to be a nightmare as nobody seemed to trust personnel to move their luggage getting off the ship. Rather than motivating me to support their union, it made me hope the RCI will look into other options in the future once their contract is up.
Onwards to the ship. We still love Explorer of the seas and her crew. We would have preferred a band that regularly played ballroom dance music.... but the musicians were talented. Service was very good overall, staff friendly. Michelle the ice skater (dark hair) was very sweet to my daughter and Yin (cleaned restrooms) was sweet as well. Best show is the ice skating program, hands down. This ship is a great value for 6 yo plus crowd. Daughter loved ice skating and rock wall. Lacked options for children under 3 years- if paying full fare (and it was more expensive to book 1 room than 2 separate), I would expect more entertainment for the younger crowd... at least a nursery.
The explorer is in good repair and still has a respectable amount of entertainment options if you are at least six years old. Do not worry about reviews saying she is in poor repair... the worst is faded life boats but to me that in no way impacts the experience. The explorer may be a nice compromise between a mega ship and a bare basics cruise ship. The only question mark was when our entire party was moved to a table in the corner to make room for a larger family on the second night, the families sat at three separate tables that didn't communicate even after being placed adjacent. After asking for our table back, we were given it on the third night- but on the second it was very awkward to be asked after the family had already taken our table. The family could have swapped their best table with us to achieve the same effect- so I believe it was more an issue of not liking the original assigned table. Had we been seated there the first night it wouldn't have mattered to us, but seemed rude to be moved into the corner. Our tablemates from a different family were also confused by the table swap. It seemed like a poor way to handle the situation- honestly wonder if the family took it upon themselves to move verses the staff making that decision. When we were moved back we didn't get our old waiters, so very confusing overall. While I liked all of the waiters this was a bit of negative aspect. For thanksgiving they decorated the promenade and slowly Christmas decorations took over. It was a nice way to celebrate the holiday versus the traditional expectations. Although we love Holland (2 star cruisers), this trip was enough to make us reconsider them as our primary line. For reference- experienced cruisers have sailed with RCI, Holland, NCL, and carnival.
williamsk’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin 6674
Not sure why this is rated a D1 other than to charge more money for the connecting staterooms. Fairly quiet, although a trip to get to some parts of the ship. Closet door had broken hardware or maybe 6676?, issues with toilet but were called in by stateroom attendant before we could call. Some wear in room- light stains on couch in one of the rooms. Room attendant was efficient and made towel animals everyday after the first night, which my daughter appreciated. If I had it to do over again, I'd book an aft balcony and one inside- baby needed a pack and play and we could have fit easily in a 3 birth cabin, the second cabin was just because it was cheaper than booking everyone in the same room.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews