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This was our 11th cruise and our 9th with Royal Caribbean. Overall we loved the cruise - the ship, the food, the itinerary,etc. But we have noticed a penny pinching shift with RCL the last few cruises. Which seems to mean less staff and lots of extra charges. We are booked on another cruise with RCL but will be looking at another line in the future. We've been trying to work out what is different and believe that RCL are focused on first time cruisers in the Australian market, not so much on repeat cruisers. We definitely enjoyed Explorer more than Voyager - who had a LOT more kids on board last Christmas. As for Christmas, don't cruise with Royal if you're expecting big things. It's not a big deal. As for NYE, we didn't even try to brave the crowds in the promenade (which would have been overflowing because it was windy and the deck parties were cancelled). Both embarkation and disembarkation we found to be very easy and efficient. OUr cabin (aft junior suite was lovely (larger than a normal junior suite with a huge balcony). It was always clean. DINING - For some strange reason we were on two seperate tables for dinner (even though I had booked altogether and we have the same surname). Thankfully we were able to get this resolved - but only in the dining room (they were not able to resolve this without us asking people to swap tables). But we have had LOTS of problems with dining bookings over the years so I wasn't totally surprised. Food was okay but it did get a bit repetitive, esp I was ordering from the vegetarian selection. It has been more varied on other cruises. Unfortunately our wait staff (while good waiters) didn't form any kind of relationship with us (like we've had on all previous 10 cruises), which was disappointing. However it did free us up to have dinner at Windjammers a few nights (normally we don't like to leave our dining room waiters). Windjammers, however, has improved greatly for a vegetarian. They even have a vegetarian corner and there is a lot more to choose from. Sometimes finding a table was difficult (but nowhere near as bad as on Voyager last Christmas). We had a few dinners here which we really enjoyed. With different themed nights there seemed to be more variety than in the dining room. ENTERTAINMENT - We went to most shows and enjoyed them.

Wonderful Way to Escape the Christmas Madness

Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by Libbywithnall

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our 11th cruise and our 9th with Royal Caribbean. Overall we loved the cruise - the ship, the food, the itinerary,etc. But we have noticed a penny pinching shift with RCL the last few cruises. Which seems to mean less staff and lots of extra charges. We are booked on another cruise with RCL but will be looking at another line in the future. We've been trying to work out what is different and believe that RCL are focused on first time cruisers in the Australian market, not so much on repeat cruisers.

We definitely enjoyed Explorer more than Voyager - who had a LOT more kids on board last Christmas. As for Christmas, don't cruise with Royal if you're expecting big things. It's not a big deal. As for NYE, we didn't even try to brave the crowds in the promenade (which would have been overflowing because it was windy and the deck parties were cancelled).

Both embarkation and disembarkation we found to be very easy and efficient. OUr cabin (aft junior suite was lovely (larger than a normal junior suite with a huge balcony). It was always clean.

DINING - For some strange reason we were on two seperate tables for dinner (even though I had booked altogether and we have the same surname). Thankfully we were able to get this resolved - but only in the dining room (they were not able to resolve this without us asking people to swap tables). But we have had LOTS of problems with dining bookings over the years so I wasn't totally surprised. Food was okay but it did get a bit repetitive, esp I was ordering from the vegetarian selection. It has been more varied on other cruises. Unfortunately our wait staff (while good waiters) didn't form any kind of relationship with us (like we've had on all previous 10 cruises), which was disappointing. However it did free us up to have dinner at Windjammers a few nights (normally we don't like to leave our dining room waiters).

Windjammers, however, has improved greatly for a vegetarian. They even have a vegetarian corner and there is a lot more to choose from. Sometimes finding a table was difficult (but nowhere near as bad as on Voyager last Christmas). We had a few dinners here which we really enjoyed. With different themed nights there seemed to be more variety than in the dining room.

ENTERTAINMENT - We went to most shows and enjoyed them.
Libbywithnall’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Ages 16+
Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin 1394
We had an aft facing junior suite on deck 10, which was amazing. We have a roof over our balcony so it was very protected from the sun and from other cruisers (we overlooked ALL the balconies below us). Being an aft balcony the cabins are a lot longer than normal junior suites, though a little narrower - which means the walk in closet, isn't really walk in - which is a small price to pay for such a big room. Would be great if sharing with kids (ours had their own virtual balcony room).
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