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Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,092 Reviews

Rest & Relaxation at its Best

Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by webbkerr

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2019
  • Destination: the Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Junior Suite Accessible

This was sold as a Holiday cruise - with New Year's celebrated on the ship. We booked a Junior Suite and were not disappointed! It was comfortable and roomy (and the bathtub and walk-in closet weren't bad either!). This was my first Caribbean sailing - but not my first RCL cruise.

I was told the ship and amentities would be more crowded than what I was used to - and that there would be a more family vibe. I didn't find crowds to be that bad - we're up early for breakfast so the Windjammer at 7:00 - 7:30am was perfect. Not too crowded at all and seats could be found all over the place! The family vibe was definately there. Not a fan of a lot of kids, but it was okay as they were mostly behaved (even though some took to running up and down the hallways late at night...).

Most disappointing was the food in the Main Dining Room. No special dinner for New Year's Eve. Food choices were okay, but not exceptional. All menus were red meat heavy (and I am not a vegetarian by any means!). Appetizers had more imagination and were quite good.

We had dinner at Chops one night. My filet mignon was cooked to perfection! My husband rated his steak as just okay. The menu indicated that sides were shareable, but some were not. I think if a couple shares three sides, that would be ample (we shared only two). Desert was just okay - we got the same selection as in the Main Dining Room.

RCL staff were wonderful in every area - they all worked really hard to ensure every guest had the most memorable vacation - and we did!

Yes, some of the entertainment was cheezy, but there were a lot families, so we went with the flow and had an enjoyable time. Headliners were wonderful and we were quite pleased with all the performers. We wish there were more matinee movies on the sea days.

Excursions booked through RCL were great, although really research your tours as we found that the decriptions provided by RCL were not always clear. For example, we booked a UTV ride in Aruba that went in part to the Natural Pool, but no where in the brochure did it tell us we could go swimming so no one on our tour packed a bathing suit or towel.

Labadee was a great stop, but unfortunately, the beach lounger we booked was on Adrenaline Beach - which we found as unswimable due to the rocky bottom. Luckily we brought swim shoes, but the ocean floor was painful at times. There was so much to do that we didn't get to, so I hope we'll be able to go back and try the zipline! We opted for Jet Skiing this trip and it was so much fun!

One thing if you go ashore, do pack some US $. The Haitians work on the island, and it's nice to tip them for the great service they provide (like showing you to your beach cabana and/or lounger).

New Year's on the ship was fun! We got party hats, tiara's and noise-makers at our MDR table. The Promenade, as expected, was packed. I had read about reserving tables for a fee and must say, it would have been a waste of $ to do so - it was much more fun walking amongst the crowd! It was a real party atmosphere. Added bonus - we got to watch the fireworks in Aruba from our balcony!

We have very fond memories of our trip. The weather was amazing and RCL staff were fantastic! A perfect way to spend our anniversary!


webbkerr's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Onboard Experience
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Junior Suite Accessible

We opted for the Junior Suite this cruise and as I mentioned, we were not disappointed. It was spacious and roomy. Loved the bigger shower - and the walk-in closet! Balcony was huge! It was perfect. And we've been spoiled, so we will book this Suite again. To top it off, our room attendant, Igede, was awesome!


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Jetskiing

AMAZING! The tour was 1-hour+. My first time on a jet-ski! We watched a short 10-minute video at the beginning, but more was learned from listening to our guide - he was fantastic (and I wish I remembered his name!). Be prepared - at one point the locals come up to the group to sell their wares.

View All 73 Jetskiing Reviews
Arikok National Park

We went on an UTV tour that also included the Natural Pool. While the brochure doesn't tell you, you can go swimming, so be prepared with a bathing suite and towel! I've been to Aruba more than 15 times, this was my first UTV tour - I thought I had seen it all, but nope! Our tour was listed as 3 1/2 hours, but it was closer to 5 hours! Best money on a tour spent!

View All 22 Arikok National Park Reviews
Bonaire

We pulled in on New Year's Day, so not many stores open. We took a walk around town, bought salt from the Bonaire Salt Shop (add this store to your shopping list!). Next time, we'll water taxi over to the island and go snokeling.

Island Tour

We did the Discover Curacao tour which included the Caves (great tour!), the Distillery (yum!) and the Museurm (very enriching). We opted for the 8:30 tour so we would have plenty of time to explore the Fort area on our own...it was perfect!

View All 224 Island Tour Reviews

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webbkerr
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