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After booking our cruise in September I read some reviews that were a little unfavourable. (unfriendly crew, long waits at bars, not enough deck chairs, ordinary food etc) So I was unsure what we were in for when we embarked. Wow from the moment we embarked I was impressed. The crew were fantastic, so friendly and helpful. From our cabin steward Nilesh, who appeared and introduced himself to us the moment we got to our cabin, to our main dining room waiter John, assistant waiter Pradeep and our drinks waiter Ash. My glass never got to be empty! We were a group of varied ages, my husband and I, our adult daughter and her boyfriend, my three teenagers ranging in age from 19-14 and our youngest who is 3. All of us had the best holiday ever! There was something for everyone on board this beautiful ship. The cruise director was awesome and hilarious. Some of the shows were fantastic, others were good, but all were entertaining. The ice show was fantastic, and despite having read where people missed out, we found it easy to get to. Each muster station had their own specific performance time, and when everyone from that group were in, they would open it to everyone, so I am pretty sure we could of gone again had we been that way inclined. The key here is to find out when your designated time is and attend then. Embarkation was a breeze, even with a freaking out and screaming toddler. They fast tracked us so we could get settled easily. Even leaving taking her photo for the sea pass until she was happier then next day. Tendering was easy. We got to all of the islands in the first few tenders. They let you know what time to collect your tickets and we got there, and found the process easy. We could then come and go from the islands as we pleased. The crew were all fantastic. So friendly, especially the welcoming committe outside the Windjammer each meal that we went there. The food was varied and fresh. Main dining room was excellent and our waiter assisted us all in choosing the best dishes from the menu. He even surprised us with little extras on the table each night (so much so we had difficulty finding room for it all). Most of us had drink packages and I think we definitely got our monies worth! One tip though, cocktails were nicer at the bars inside the ship like Dizzy's and the Tavern. At the Pool bar they tend to mass produce and they are nice but not as good. My three year old loved kids club and that gave us time to unwind and relax, and do some adulting. :-) Activities for her age group were educational, fun and entertaining. Ports were good, wish I had been to some of the port information sessions though, because we didnt do any organised tours so did wish we had k nown a little more, before leaving the ship. Despite the ship being at full capacity, and being school holidays, it never felt crowded! I never ever had an issue finding a lounge or deck chair, even on the pool deck. And when I felt the need to be alone and gaze out at the ocean, I found plenty of places where I could sit alone. Waiting times for the attractions such at rock wall climbing and flow rider were not long. And never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a drink at any of the bars. All up we all agree that we had an amazing time and are already starting to plan our next cruise with Royal Caribbean. I think the family even wants the same ship! Disembarking was easy, so well organised, they called us by our luggage tag number and we walked off, collected our bags and were in a bus to the airport all within 45 minutes. I would highly recommend this ship to anyone thinking of cruising.

The Best Holiday Ever!

Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by Coyote10

21 people found this helpful
Trip Details
After booking our cruise in September I read some reviews that were a little unfavourable. (unfriendly crew, long waits at bars, not enough deck chairs, ordinary food etc) So I was unsure what we were in for when we embarked.

Wow from the moment we embarked I was impressed. The crew were fantastic, so friendly and helpful. From our cabin steward Nilesh, who appeared and introduced himself to us the moment we got to our cabin, to our main dining room waiter John, assistant waiter Pradeep and our drinks waiter Ash. My glass never got to be empty!

We were a group of varied ages, my husband and I, our adult daughter and her boyfriend, my three teenagers ranging in age from 19-14 and our youngest who is 3. All of us had the best holiday ever! There was something for everyone on board this beautiful ship.

The cruise director was awesome and hilarious. Some of the shows were fantastic, others were good, but all were entertaining. The ice show was fantastic, and despite having read where people missed out, we found it easy to get to. Each muster station had their own specific performance time, and when everyone from that group were in, they would open it to everyone, so I am pretty sure we could of gone again had we been that way inclined. The key here is to find out when your designated time is and attend then.

Embarkation was a breeze, even with a freaking out and screaming toddler. They fast tracked us so we could get settled easily. Even leaving taking her photo for the sea pass until she was happier then next day.

Tendering was easy. We got to all of the islands in the first few tenders. They let you know what time to collect your tickets and we got there, and found the process easy. We could then come and go from the islands as we pleased.

The crew were all fantastic. So friendly, especially the welcoming committe outside the Windjammer each meal that we went there. The food was varied and fresh. Main dining room was excellent and our waiter assisted us all in choosing the best dishes from the menu. He even surprised us with little extras on the table each night (so much so we had difficulty finding room for it all).

Most of us had drink packages and I think we definitely got our monies worth! One tip though, cocktails were nicer at the bars inside the ship like Dizzy's and the Tavern. At the Pool bar they tend to mass produce and they are nice but not as good.

My three year old loved kids club and that gave us time to unwind and relax, and do some adulting. :-) Activities for her age group were educational, fun and entertaining.

Ports were good, wish I had been to some of the port information sessions though, because we didnt do any organised tours so did wish we had k nown a little more, before leaving the ship.

Despite the ship being at full capacity, and being school holidays, it never felt crowded! I never ever had an issue finding a lounge or deck chair, even on the pool deck. And when I felt the need to be alone and gaze out at the ocean, I found plenty of places where I could sit alone. Waiting times for the attractions such at rock wall climbing and flow rider were not long. And never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a drink at any of the bars.

All up we all agree that we had an amazing time and are already starting to plan our next cruise with Royal Caribbean. I think the family even wants the same ship!

Disembarking was easy, so well organised, they called us by our luggage tag number and we walked off, collected our bags and were in a bus to the airport all within 45 minutes.

I would highly recommend this ship to anyone thinking of cruising.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 3264
We had an interconnecting state room, on deck 3 with our teenagers on the other side of the door. The port hole window was huge. The room was comfortable and functional. It could perhaps do with a refresh as it looked a little dated, but certainly was clean and comfortable.
We had our bed made up together, which was huge! And comfy. The girls had two king single beds, and the 14 year old had one of the top bunks pulled down.
As I wasnt comfortable with my three year old sleeping on a top bunk, our steward supplied us with a fold out bed which he made up and put away for us each day.
We had plenty of storage.
It was kept clean by our steward and roomy enough for our toddler to play with her toys.
Our older daughter and her boyfriend had one of the newer rooms on the other side of the ice rink. Their room was a little bigger and fresher. The cabinetry was slightly more practical and modern.
  Explorer of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Auckland
    A beautiful harbour to sail into.
    Plan your day in advance. We wandered aimlessly for a bit.
    The skytower was worth going to. $28 to ride up in a glass fronted, glad bottom elevator for sweeping 360 degree views of the city.
    After that we caught a ferry across to Devonport, a sleepy beachside area with an old world feel. Just 15 minutes on the ferry from the ship. Had the yummiest fish and chips and ice cream there. Nice change from the hustle and bustle of the city
    View All 384 Auckland Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Kayaking
    Tenders to get off the ship here again and the bay is beautiful.
    Not a lot to see here. We went straight off on our kayaking adventure which was really worth while. We got to attempt to kayak through a waterfall which resulted in many laughs and not much success for any of the group. Tour operator was friendly and informative.
    After our kayak we got on one of the free buses to Paihaia which was a sweet little touristy town. There was a market on in the main street and we all bought locally made souvineers.
    Here you could book boat trips out to the hole in the rock, helicopter rides etc. Very pretty but not a lot there. Nice to visit, but got quite busy with all the cruisers.
    The Maori cultural centre looked good but at $0 each we hadn't budgeted for it so gave it a miss.
    View All 3 Kayaking Reviews
  • Isle of Pines (New Caledonia)
    Such a beautiful and idyllic place...until 4000 people get off a cruise ship.
    Unfortunately many of our fellow cruisers do not respect the environment they enjoy, leaving trash every where. Kudos to the Explorer team who sent crew over with rubbish bags who walked the area picking up what was left behind.
    The snorkeling here was amazing around the little rock that sits in the bay. But again I was saddened by the destruction by fellow snorkellers.....please please please, if you visit here and snorkle, learn how to swim without having to put your feet down every few minutes. seeing so many people trampling through and destroying the coral was heart breaking. they were reef walker shoes or flippers to protect their feet and think that makes it ok to walk over the beautiful corals. You can see it dying and being destroyed. Not to mention that walking through it all stirs up the bottom making visibility bad.
    Snorkelling here really was gorgeous, so many fish, octopus, and we even found Nemo, numerous times.

    In hindsight I wish we had gone in one of the cars they had there for a small fee, and gone to visit the village. It is only 6 km away and I believe would of been worth trip.
    Glass bottom boats fill up fast so get over there quick. We kept missing out then gave up.
    A few market stalls there, with goods for sale. More expensive and commercial than at Mystery Island. We bought coconuts off local boys who were taking advantage of the tourists. We also bought gorgeous lobsters that were bbq right in front of us. There are various people selling locally made food. My kids had some kind of fritters but I stuck to coconut and lobster.
    View All 247 Isle of Pines (New Caledonia) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Mystery Island
    We got over on the 2nd tender. It is really beautiful. As we cruised up to the Island it was picturesque and we were excited to get off the boat.
    It is what you expect of a tropical Island. Nobody lives here so they all come across in boats to sell their wares. Probably the most authentic souvineers of the trip and cheapest too.
    Markets, local tour operators and gorgeous clear beaches are what you will find here, along with an overgrown airstrip and a few thatched stalls. Toilets were fun.....long drop, with woven palm front walls! Go before leaving the boat then keep your legs crossed!
    We snorkled and swam and enjoyed the beverages bought over by the crew of the explorer.
    Enjoyed our day here immensely, my advice is walk away and find somewhere more secluded as 4000 people on a beach is not fun. We found our own little piece of paradise and snorkled away.

    We also purchased for $15 a snorkeling "turtle safari". My advice here would be to be careful. 20 people crowded onto a small dingy along with 3 tour operators, and quite big waves was quite the experience. They dont check or care how experienced people are and quite a few people freaked out. The water was deep, we were out in the middle of nowhere and I seriously doubt they knew how many people they had on board. I would recommend doing one of the Royal Caribbean tours here or just enjoy the beach.
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  • City Tour
    While we enjoyed our tour, we didnt actually get the tour we had booked, so be careful of independant operators.
    We had a tour around the city, which appears to be run down and a lot of hotels closing down. First stop was the market in the town square, some great stalls but you have to look hard to find souvineers that are authentic and not commercially made. Great views up at the canon guns, although the drive up in a bus was a little hairy. Got some great photos up there.
    The aquarium is old and small if compared to sea world or underwater world, but very nice inside. Great variety of fish, sea horses, turtles etc.
    We visited a french patisserie which was delicious and then we were dropped off back at the cruise terminal where there were markets happening.
    We headed back to the ship early and enjoyed having it almost all to ourselves. I noted a lot of cruisers who had been there previously opted to stay on the boat, as I will probably do next cruise too. Great to see once but wouldnt rush back. Or next time would take a tour to Amadee Island.
    View All 48 City Tour Reviews
  • Noumea Aquarium
    Looks dingy and small from the outside but when you get in there is plenty to see. Clean tanks and a great variety of fish.
    Seahorses, Jelly fish, sea turtles, sharks etc
    View All 21 Noumea Aquarium Reviews
  • Sydney (Australia)
    We stayed over night in a hotel prior to our cruise. Spent our morning at Darling Harbour, and taking a ferry ride around to Circular Quay, were we first glimpsed our beautiful ship!

    The Opera house is worth a look.
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  • Tauranga
    My advice here would be, if you are not booking a tour through the ship, book your tours or hire cars well in advance!!! Like before you leave!
    I tried to book a car while at sea but it fell through and I didnt know until we got to shore because of our limited internet.
    There is a huge crowd of people on the port trying to buy up tours or rent cars and many missed out! We missed out due to allowing people to push in front. Grrr.
    However we did end up having a lovely day. We hiked around the base of Mt Maunagnui. You can choose to walk around the base or up to the top. Well worth the walk. It is such a pretty area. We had a quiet day, but a good one. Some nice shops in the mainstreet. Hot pools at the base of the mountain that many visited.
    Make sure you are on deck before the ship ports, it is well worth it for the view as you head through the channel.
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