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My spouse and I chose this cruise to visit Seattle, Alaska and Canada for the first time. Embarkation was fine; transportation at Pier 91 is easy and accessible. I believe we went at a busy time so it probably took about 30 mins to an hour to get checked in and on board. The ship is very large and offers a variety of establishments to enjoy anything you heart desires. I like the Promenade and the shops and cafe it offered, but I didn't like the flash sales that would start off at a certain time and offer cheap quality items (reminded me of Black Friday lines & sales). We cruised with Carnival two times before and wanted to try Royal Caribbean. While Royal does offer a lot of activities and shows, I felt that Carnival was more of a fun cruise (although we spent more time in ports and on our excursions and were a little tired for the late-night activities). Unlike Carnival, Royal did not offer ice cream 24 hours (it was actually yogurt and a lot of the times the machine was down or closed; didn't try the pizza). The cabin was very nice and a large balcony, and the room steward was very nice and attentive. We did not get a towel animal every night, but not sure if this is normal, or since we didn't unfold the towels he kept the previous animal thinking we really wanted to keep it another day. We attended the ice show which was fantastic, the newlywed game is always funny, and one of the other entertainment shows (similar to Dancing with the Stars) was nice. I felt the staff in the MDR for dinner was excellent (we did My Time dining just about the same time every night with the same wait staff), but the service for lunch and dinner was just ok (in fact breakfast seemed to be more stale and rushed). The ports were great and all of our excursions were excellent. We always book our own excursions outside of the cruise line, as there is more offered and at a lower price, and we've had had no issues. In fact, one of the excursions similar to what we were on was actually cancelled by the cruise line (possibly by another ship, Celebrity Soltice), so I was glad we booked on our own. Tracy Arm Fjord was nice as the captain placed the boat as close as he could to the glacier and then slowly turned the boat 360 degrees slowly so everyone could get a view. Disembarkation was fine as well, and fast, maybe only about 10 mins. I would go again, as I feel we didn't see enough of the ports, and there were other excursions we would've also liked to have gone on, but I would like to try either another Royal Caribbean ship or another cruise line altogether for a different route & experience.

Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise Review Aug 2016

Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by A.P.

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2016
  • Destination: Alaska
My spouse and I chose this cruise to visit Seattle, Alaska and Canada for the first time. Embarkation was fine; transportation at Pier 91 is easy and accessible. I believe we went at a busy time so it probably took about 30 mins to an hour to get checked in and on board. The ship is very large and offers a variety of establishments to enjoy anything you heart desires. I like the Promenade and the shops and cafe it offered, but I didn't like the flash sales that would start off at a certain time and offer cheap quality items (reminded me of Black Friday lines & sales). We cruised with Carnival two times before and wanted to try Royal Caribbean. While Royal does offer a lot of activities and shows, I felt that Carnival was more of a fun cruise (although we spent more time in ports and on our excursions and were a little tired for the late-night activities). Unlike Carnival, Royal did not offer ice cream 24 hours (it was actually yogurt and a lot of the times the machine was down or closed; didn't try the pizza). The cabin was very nice and a large balcony, and the room steward was very nice and attentive. We did not get a towel animal every night, but not sure if this is normal, or since we didn't unfold the towels he kept the previous animal thinking we really wanted to keep it another day. We attended the ice show which was fantastic, the newlywed game is always funny, and one of the other entertainment shows (similar to Dancing with the Stars) was nice. I felt the staff in the MDR for dinner was excellent (we did My Time dining just about the same time every night with the same wait staff), but the service for lunch and dinner was just ok (in fact breakfast seemed to be more stale and rushed). The ports were great and all of our excursions were excellent. We always book our own excursions outside of the cruise line, as there is more offered and at a lower price, and we've had had no issues. In fact, one of the excursions similar to what we were on was actually cancelled by the cruise line (possibly by another ship, Celebrity Soltice), so I was glad we booked on our own. Tracy Arm Fjord was nice as the captain placed the boat as close as he could to the glacier and then slowly turned the boat 360 degrees slowly so everyone could get a view. Disembarkation was fine as well, and fast, maybe only about 10 mins.

I would go again, as I feel we didn't see enough of the ports, and there were other excursions we would've also liked to have gone on, but I would like to try either another Royal Caribbean ship or another cruise line altogether for a different route & experience.
A.P.’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9392
Great cabin with a large bed, and a very large balcony (had two lounge chairs and two regular chairs, with a table between each of them).
  Explorer of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Helicopter Tour
    We did the dog sledding and glacier landing tour and it was excellent. We didn't get to see or pet the puppies, but I didn't see them so it may have been too late in the season and they may have been moved already (the rest of the camp was going to have to move out in a couple weeks themselves b/c of ice). It was okay because we were cold and wet from the rain, but still had a great time. Definitely bring a cup or straw like we did to takes the pure glacier water. Coastal Helicopters was great!
    View All 125 Helicopter Tour Reviews
  • Seattle
    Visited Seattle on our own both a couple days before the cruise & the day we disembarked. First day before the cruise we visited Mount Rainier, and the second day we visited the Space Needle and Rode the Ducks. On Disembarkation day we visited the EMP Museum, Chihuly Garden & Glass, and did a harbor tour (we had a red-eye flight that night).
    View All 838 Seattle Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Seattle Cruise Port Review
  • Yukon Van Tour
    Our guide Renee was so knowledgeable since she was a local and stopped at a lot of places for pictures (as well as taking pics of us!). She was also great with time management getting us through the Canadian checkpoint before the rest of the tour buses and charter buses as there was an hour+ wait the week prior. Also, Emerald lake is BEAUTIFUL! Would highly recommend this tour!!
    View All 126 Yukon Van Tour Reviews
  • Double Decker Bus Tour
    This was a nice way to see a lot of sites. Where we obtained our tickets (we pre-purchased through Groupon) was a busy stop and had a hard time finding seats on the bus. Also, the schedule seems to get behind as the day went on, so the pick-up times were always off by at least 10-15mins. However, one of the drivers said he had an extra 5mins and did stop at a picture point stop to let us get off for a quick pic and get back on (as it was not really a place you would want to stay for 30mins for the next bus to come).
    View All 34 Double Decker Bus Tour Reviews