We chose this cruise primarily because of its itinerary which included one or two extra ports of call and fewer cruising days. Departing from Southampton was another bonus.
We hadn’t cruised with Royal Caribbean before and Explorer was the largest vessel we’d ever chosen so we were slightly concerned we might find it overcrowded, noisy and too glitzy. Nothing could have been further from the truth as we had a very positive experience. Yes it was a busy ship but it was possible to find quiet areas to relax if you needed to. Service in the dining rooms was brisk, attentive and highly efficient with a consistent range of good food. The number and good standard of entertainment and enrichment activities was another pleasing feature. Compared to other cruises we’d been on, we were also impressed with the organised way disembarkation at ports was arranged as, apart from one occasion, movement of passengers on and off the boat seemed logical, speedy and well planned. Finally we have nothing but praise for all members of staff who were unfailingly happy, professional and willing to please.
Explorer wasn’t the most modern of ships and a few areas did look a bit care-worn (notably the French-style cafe) but overall we had a remarkably enjoyable time and would happily choose Royal Caribbean again for another holiday.
Our cabin was very clean though some of the fixtures and fittings were a bit dated and the armrests on the sofa were slightly worn in places. The door seal on the patio doors was faulty so that in very windy weather there was a definite if slight draught. Luckily, we like fresh air, it wasn’t cold so we didn’t bother reporting it. Considering our cabin was virtually next to a lift access point it was remarkably quiet and we slept well. Initially, the pillows were a bit hard but a helpful steward quickly found some softer ones which were really luxurious. The shower seemed tiny though we soon got used to it and it worked efficiently.
The only snag we experienced was an occasional faint smell of sewage when we sat out on the balcony. This seemed to be drifting up from a lower deck and got worse as the voyage progressed. In the final couple of days it was so bad we reported it to Customer Services who promised to investigate but we never found out if it had been fixed.
Excellent. This tour was organised by the cruise ship and involved a trip to some of the notable sights around Skagen. Our guide was informative and helpful. We liked everything but especially the trip to the drifting sand dune and the coast where the North Sea and Baltic meet. A stop-off at a local hotel for coffee and a Danish pastry was a real treat as the staff were so welcoming and friendly. A really memorable day.