This cruise was suggested to us by our local Tui store so we went ahead keeping an open mind. We didn't realise this was the inaugural sailing of the Explorer, and were pleasantly surprised at the generous promotional gifts waiting for us in our cabin. Embarkation was easy and the systems employed throughout the cruise proved efficient. We had mixed feeling about the increased balcony space at the expense of stateroom floor-space. The hammock and lounger were useful.... but so would have been the space in the room: you can't have everything so it was what it was. Our room attendants were superb - always friendly and helpful and a credit to the ship. It would be remiss not to mention the first morning's confusion, but suffice to say, from then on, everything on the ship appeared to run smoothly. We chose to eat in the dining room and one has to say the food was superb. My only criticism was that although wine and beer were available with the meal, spirts were not. On the subject of wine, the quality of the wine on tap in the Market Place was awful. Not only could I not drink either red or white, I saw countless glasses of unfinished wine on tables left by others doubtless of the same opinion.
The theatre and entertainment by contrast, were fabulous (no other word for it). The dancers were so professional and "together", they could have been on the West End stage. The musicians were equally as good (as well as those throughout the ship). The theatre was as good as I have ever been in: the seats were well placed. with lit-up tables and efficient waiter service. The captain was ever present and approachable: we managed a bridge tour where we enjoyed his hospitality and shared some of his experiences. A big thank you the crew who made or cruise as enjoyable as it was
The room suffered by having been reduced to accommodate the enlarged balcony, although we did make use of the hammock and lounger. The shaver socket in the bathroom was useful and not always present on other lines. The bathroom was clean and the shower well drained. The wall mounted soap dispenser a good idea. We had sufficient storage space but an overbed cupboard would have been useful. Our bed was comfortable and the curtains heavy enough to shut out the light when we not wanted first in the morning.