It has been on my bucket list for years to sail thru the Suez Canal and my husband and I decided to book on Explorer of the Seas sailing from Barcelona.
Embarkation was fairly swift and our balcony cabin was excellent. It was kept very clean & tidy by our Cabin Steward (Jose).
We opted for My Time Dining and had no problems booking our desired time for dinner in the dining room. We alternated between the dining room one night and the buffet the next.
Food in both was excellent and an amazing variety in the Windjammer at the buffet.
Service in both was first class.
It was my husband's "special" birthday whilst we were on the cruise, so that particular evening, we dined at Giovanni's Italian Restaurant. Again, the food was excellent, but the service we received from Dante, our Waiter was amazing. He was so friendly - nothing was too much trouble for him and he certainly helped us have a memorable night. A lovely dessert in the form of a birthday cake was delivered to the table for hubby's b/day.
We didn't have any problems finding seats at the bars for drinks or in the shows (as advised by some people in previous reviews).
The only disgruntles I would like to point out are:
1. There were not enough activities during the day to partake in apart from sports or bingo.
2. It would have been preferable for more movies to be shown during the day/evening. When the few were shown, the quality of the picture on the screen was dreadful - very dark and difficult to make out the picture etc.
3. With the ship going thru the Suez Canal, it would have been the perfect opportunity for the ships company to have lectures on this landmark giving passengers an overview of its history. Also a commentary whilst passing thru sections of the canal would have been helpful. Even a pamphlet delivered to cabins wouldn't have gone astray.
4. Most other cruise companies give passengers a printed log of their entire cruise on the last day - but unfortunately, this was not forthcoming from Royal Caribbean.
In regards to ports of call, Chania, Crete was lovely with an interesting market.
Due to the problems in Israel, the shipping company decided not dock at Ashdod. This was disappointing, however, understandable.
Decided not to go to Petra, due to a leg injury, so hired a private driver who took us around Aquaba. Drove to the border and showed us the city in depth. Well worth a visit.
Apart from the few points above, it was an enjoyable and interesting cruise.
Excellent balcony cabin on Deck 8. Close to lifts but never noisy. Lovely balcony with table and chairs. Bathroom, only fitted with shower which was great as did not have to climb in and out of bath. Couldn't fault our cabin.