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Explorer of the Seas is showing its age now, with many areas looking tired and in need of renovating. Was almost the worst cruise we have been on, only saved from this by having good food and wonderful dining room staff. The buffet area seemed more crowded than on ships of a similar size, and at sometimes it was a problem to find a table. The choice of food however was up to RCI’s usual standards. The main dining room experience was good, with a varied menu each night as well as the standard dishes available every night. One of our party was vegetarian and there were at least two main courses available each night. Additionally, our waiter produced the following nights menu to look at, and if the veggie options didn’t appeal, he arranged for an off-menu dish to be prepared for the following night, an excellent service which we have only had before on Celebrity cruises. We were well looked after by our waiters Benjaman and Rovie. we went to the main dining room for breakfast once to avoid the crush oft he Windjammer, and was surprised to see how chaotic it was. Diners were getting their meals 15 minutes after their partners on the same table, teas and coffees were ordered, never to appear. Where this cruise failed miserably was with the entertainment programme. The ships singers and dancers only appeared in three shows during the three-week cruise, when normally this form of entertainment would appear at least twice per week. Other acts in the evening included a juggler who could only juggle with three clubs and an Australian comedian whose act consisted on identifying non-Australians in the audience and then insulting them, explaining because we are friends, he could?? There were two good acts, a musical impersonator and a Liberace style pianist. Daytime entertainment consisted of trivia quizzes and bingo. Poolside entertainment only appeared in the third week, and there were no sail-away parties. There was a very good ice show, but access was limited on a rota basis. This was without doubt the worst entertainment we have had on any cruise and certainly not up to RCI’s usual level. Possibly because it was a re-positioning cruise RCI were doing things on the cheap, as people we had met who had sailed on Explorer earlier in the season said it was much better then. The biggest disappointment of the cruise was the failure to make the two stops at the Great Barrier Reef, due to weather conditions restricting tender use apparently, although certainly on the second stop at Cairns most people said on previous cruise’s they had used tenders in worst weather. No attempt was made to stop and the Captain was in a rush to get out to sea and open the casinos and shops, obviously people spending on board was more important than waiting to see if the weather moderated. In both cases the ship was out to sea before the announcements were made. As a compensation the Cruise Director offered free access to the films on the interactive TV for the two days it would take to sail to Darwin, but that day the interactive TV stopped working only to miraculously start again the day we docked at Darwin – nice offer RCI. The reason given for not using the tenders was Health and Safety, and yet at Darwin the angle of the boarding ramps almost necessitated ropes and climbing boots and health and Safety did not seem to be an issue Another issue with RCI was that at Brisbane, (and at Cairns had we stopped), because the ports are a distance from the centres, shuttle buses would be needed to get there, for which RCI levied a $25 dollar fee, unless you were on an RCI excursion. Other cruise lines in this situation provide a free shuttle from/to the port.

Disappointing

Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by AnCar

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Explorer of the Seas is showing its age now, with many areas looking tired and in need of renovating.

Was almost the worst cruise we have been on, only saved from this by having good food and wonderful dining room staff.

The buffet area seemed more crowded than on ships of a similar size, and at sometimes it was a problem to find a table. The choice of food however was up to RCI’s usual standards.

The main dining room experience was good, with a varied menu each night as well as the standard dishes available every night. One of our party was vegetarian and there were at least two main courses available each night. Additionally, our waiter produced the following nights menu to look at, and if the veggie options didn’t appeal, he arranged for an off-menu dish to be prepared for the following night, an excellent service which we have only had before on Celebrity cruises. We were well looked after by our waiters Benjaman and Rovie.

we went to the main dining room for breakfast once to avoid the crush oft he Windjammer, and was surprised to see how chaotic it was. Diners were getting their meals 15 minutes after their partners on the same table, teas and coffees were ordered, never to appear.

Where this cruise failed miserably was with the entertainment programme. The ships singers and dancers only appeared in three shows during the three-week cruise, when normally this form of entertainment would appear at least twice per week. Other acts in the evening included a juggler who could only juggle with three clubs and an Australian comedian whose act consisted on identifying non-Australians in the audience and then insulting them, explaining because we are friends, he could?? There were two good acts, a musical impersonator and a Liberace style pianist. Daytime entertainment consisted of trivia quizzes and bingo. Poolside entertainment only appeared in the third week, and there were no sail-away parties. There was a very good ice show, but access was limited on a rota basis. This was without doubt the worst entertainment we have had on any cruise and certainly not up to RCI’s usual level. Possibly because it was a re-positioning cruise RCI were doing things on the cheap, as people we had met who had sailed on Explorer earlier in the season said it was much better then.

The biggest disappointment of the cruise was the failure to make the two stops at the Great Barrier Reef, due to weather conditions restricting tender use apparently, although certainly on the second stop at Cairns most people said on previous cruise’s they had used tenders in worst weather. No attempt was made to stop and the Captain was in a rush to get out to sea and open the casinos and shops, obviously people spending on board was more important than waiting to see if the weather moderated. In both cases the ship was out to sea before the announcements were made. As a compensation the Cruise Director offered free access to the films on the interactive TV for the two days it would take to sail to Darwin, but that day the interactive TV stopped working only to miraculously start again the day we docked at Darwin – nice offer RCI. The reason given for not using the tenders was Health and Safety, and yet at Darwin the angle of the boarding ramps almost necessitated ropes and climbing boots and health and Safety did not seem to be an issue

Another issue with RCI was that at Brisbane, (and at Cairns had we stopped), because the ports are a distance from the centres, shuttle buses would be needed to get there, for which RCI levied a $25 dollar fee, unless you were on an RCI excursion. Other cruise lines in this situation provide a free shuttle from/to the port.
AnCar’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Spacious Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 6B 7522
The cabin was excellent, plenty of room and more than adequate storage space, and was well maintained by the cabin steward, although it is worth noting that RCI only have one steward per cabin whereas they used to have two.
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews