We chose our Cruise on Explorer of the Seas primarily because it fitted our criteria of being on a Cruise departing Sydney to Celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary, which ended up being the day of departure on the 15th of January 2019, it was a first time Cruise for my wife and I, and overall as an experience we had a great time, there were a few things about the whole experience that were a little disappointing which i will detail later in the review.
Firstly the good things about tihe Cruise were the Staff who were very friendly, courteous, and helpful, a standout was our room attendent who had to contend with our comings and goings at all times without any help from us letting him know with placing a "Make up my room" sign on the door which we only discovered late in the Cruise ! He was always cheerful and friendly, the Cabin itself was excellent, clean, and tastefully furnished, the ship itself was amazing, the promenade on Deck 5 was like a shopping strip with shops and bars, as for the activities, it took my wife a long time to convince me about the merits of going on a cruise, i just had this pre conceived idea that i would be bored, there were so many activities, from Trivia, to concerts, and shows, we were never bored on the ship.
There were a few things about the cruise that were disappointing, firstly communication with Royal Carribean in Sydney was poor, i called the number provided for the Sydney office, it was an International Call centre, i wanted to surprise my wife for the Anniversary, they had an Anniversay package with Champagne and Chocolates, but the package also included gaudy decorations which i did not want, I was happy to purchase without, however as calling was useless as the person i spoke to did not quite understand I was happy to purchase but wanted to buy without the pillow cases that said "I Love you" and the hanging decorations, he was unable to help me make the purchase without the decorations, an email i sent elicited a response that i was unable to purchase the package without the decorations, i ending up taking two bottles of Champagne on board which you are allowed to do, as well as Chocolate dipped strawberries purchased from a shop near home, communication pre cruise was poor. Secondly for us the Cruise had too many people on it, getting a place in or around the pool was a game in itself, very difficult, dinning we found to be slow, on a couple of occasions it took 2 hours, thirdly as i am usually an independent traveller who researches everything about destinations pre trip, when researching our stop to Noumea, i became very interested in the Maritime Museum which had an exhibit about La Perouse, however when reading further I discovered that the only day of the week that the Museum was not open was Monday, the day we were in Noumea, might i suggest to Cruise companies that it is not a good idea to be in Noumea on Monday's as many Museums and Markets are closed, on our trip it might have been better to have the first stop at Noumea and the last Stop at Isle of Pines, that way we get to see all attractions in Noumea, and finish with the Isle of Pines which was unbelievably good. Another annoying aspect of the ship was the "Art Auction " which is just basically over rated artworks that are based on established popular styles of art, they are by no means masterpieces which they are made out to be, and the hard sell was hard to take as well, we went to the inroductory to the Art Auction on the first night because they offered free champagne, every night we came back to our room there was advertising about the Art Auction, Hard Sell was a very negative feeling i have about the Cruise experience, from advertising about imploring us to win another Cruise by getting between 4000 and 10,000 points in the Casino, to the Vitality Spa where a free beauty consultation led to an uncomfortable hard sell experience for my wife. Also bear in mind that the shore excursions offered on Royal Caribbean are way over priced, as you can purchase the same or similar excursions with tour operators for much cheaper, for example the Tchu Tchu train on Noumea when purchased through Royal Carribean is about $69AUD, from the New Caledonia Tourist website it states the cost at 2200 F which is about $29AUD
With the long list of disappointments listed it may look like we did not enjoy the cruise, nothing could be further from the truth, the Cruise was great and it will always be a great memory of how we celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary.
Stunningly beautiful clear waters and beach, a major highlight of the Cruise.
Another amazing place for snorkling, a highlight was an Air Vanuatu flight landing on the grassy runway adjacent to the beach.
2 hour Noumea city by foot. Very informative, guide was friendly but the tour seemed a little rushed.View All 50 City Tour Reviews