We went on the 2nd sailing of Explorer 2. Collection at the airport went smoothly, we were given some information to read on the coach. The check in at the port was quick and easy. Was slightly disappointed that we were not given a map of the ship but there were screens and pictures around the ship that you could look to find your way around. The ship isn't perfect despite the recent refurb but its also not brand new and I think that is something people need to remember. It has been refurbished not ripped out and started again. So there were cosmetic things that were not in tip top shape. Was this a problem for us? No. There are some great features to it, the 19th Hole with its quirky buggies and golf simulators. Flutes where you can press the button and get more prosecco. The Squid & Anchor for quizzes, game shows, karaoke and Indigo where the nightclub is.
Cabin - we had a balcony cabin on deck 9. It was really spacious. The wardrobes had plenty of hanging space and hangers. Then there were several drawers and shelves as well as the vanity table with drawers. The bathroom was decent as well and shower larger that other ships i've been on. Only negative the toilet wasn't working properly. We tried to ring Reception but our phone wasn't working either. Both were resolved fairly quickly after speaking with our Cabin Steward although the toilet did break 3 times that first day. We had a kettle & cups with tea bags etc which we were really pleased with. We were located near the stairs Aft (at the back of the ship) convenienty located just above Squid & Anchor and Latitude 53 and slightly below the Market Place.
Dining - This for me was the most disappointing for me. We ate in all the free restaurants. I personally didn't feel there was as many options that we have had on previous cruises and wasn't very excited by the options given. We loved Nonna's which does fab pastas. Its worth noting that in the evening you get little breads and a small salad and slightly different choices on the pizza and the toppings for pasta. Definately worth trying in the day and evening. The Market Place has pretty much the same food as the Latitude restaurant. We enjoyed some meals in Vista which is the lower part of Latitude restaurant & has a bit of a Italian feel. We did not pay for any of the Speciaility Restaurants so I cannot comment on them. A nice touch was afternoon tea 3 - 5 that did sandwiches and scones. Food came out pretty quick and was well presented. The food at the Snack Shack and Beach Cove were about the same most days with a small varience. I really enjoyed the chocolate brownies. An added bonus was they had pre-packed salads and sandwiches and cookies. So if you wanted to take someting to your room for a snack later you could. The Coffee Port was set out really nice but I didn't use as I don't drink coffee and you had to pay extra for everything. We did go the the late night snack up in the Market Place most nights.
Lovely cabin. Great wardrobe space. Bathroom nice with decent sized shower. Bit shabby in the bathroom but clean. Apart from the Toilet not working properly on the first day and the phone it was a great cabin. Good place to be right near stairs and lift. Was a bit juddery when getting into dock on a few of the mornings.