This is my 30th RCCL cruise, of the fifty over 35 years and I am at the Diamond + level. I selected this cruise via a "discounted" Casino Royale cruise certificate. My main focus will be on the casino. Explorer of the Seas has one baccarat table, two three card poker tables, two Ultimate Texas Hold'em tables, several blackjack tables, two roulette tables and on ten seat poker table. Minimum bets start at $10. The slot machines are a mixture of MANY old style slot machines, and "Asian" themed slots and a few video poker machines. The Explorer of the Seas is scheduled to be renovated in the early 2020, before it sails to European ports. THE CASINO NEEDS A TOTAL OVERHAUL.
The casino staff were cordial, bar and waiters were prompt in providing beverages to the passengers playing in the Casino Royale.
Now on to the rest of the review:
Embarkment was at Terminal F, in Miami, FL, and if you ever sailed through RCCL's new Terminal A in Miami, FL, you thought you were back in the dark ages. It takes less than 15 minutes to go through check in and security in Terminal A and get onto the ship. Terminal F had lines for Security to check you passport and cruise documents, then it was up to the second floor to get into another line for you to check in, have them take you picture and get you sign and sail card. Then to another line to finally get on the ship, it took approximate 45 minutes.
First day Windjammer Buffet: Crowded, but that was to be expected, standard buffet food, good but not great.
Stateroom: Interior room, 7305 which had a window to view the promenade which was the open area in the center of the ship that had the guest services, shops and bars. Nice room, my stateroom steward, Anant was very friendly and attentive, he fulfilled my several requests promptly.
Main Dining Room: It appears the RCCL fleet has standardized its memus, as the Sunday menu, was exactly that same as on the Oasis OTS in December and Allure OTS in November 2019. Food was good, and service was prompt and courteous.
As this was a casino cruise, I did not do any shore excursions or see any shows.
The ship overall, was in good shape, but you could see that it needed to be refurbished, In the Diamond Club, the chairs were somewhat worn, as well as other seating throughout the ship.
Pools: There is a Solarium pool and whirlpools for adults only which was nice, The main pools, split on the port and starboard side had plenty of lounges for sun bathing. The smoke area was adequate for the dwindling number of smokers.
Drinks are very expensive, so if you tend to over indulge on the adult beverages, the pre cruise discounted beverage package if you buy it only is about $55 + the 18% tips, so if you drink 5 alcoholic drinks per day, its a push, more than 5 per day it might be worth the purchase. I did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants, however, for what I heard at the Diamond Club passengers, the quality has done down hill.
Overall it was a good cruise, not a great cruise, compared to the quality of the food and services on the mega ships. The problem is that every time you experience an exceptional cruise, that sets the standard for the next cruise, to be either met or exceeded.
nice sized interior cabin with a promenade view of the shops, excellent stateroom steward. As I was solo, there was sufficient room of one's "stuff"
Long time to embark on the ship, and the debarkment took about an hour beyond the "scheduled" exit time due to passengers trying to get off the ship prior to their scheduled time. The would start and start the debarkment process several times.
Nice beach and island, several passengers who went on the island mentioned that there was some "garbage" on the beach area.
stayed on the ship, which sailed for five days 01/05 to 01/10/2020. The only two islands visits were to Nassau and Labadee in that order.
The Explorer of the Seas did NOT stop on Bonaire on this five day cruise.