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Explorer of the Seas Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1997 reviews
7 Awards

First post COVID cruise, 2 years in the making

Review for Explorer of the Seas to the Southern Caribbean
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drewmn11
6-10 Cruises • Age 30s

Rating by category

Cabin
Family
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment

Additional details

Sail Date: May 2022
Cabin: Ocean View Balcony

This cruise was two years in the making. It was our sixth cruise and sixth Royal ship. We booked this in May 2020 for June 2021 when prices bottomed out. Itinerary was originally: Labadee, DR, Anitgua, and St. Lucia (I think, it has been a while) on Independence. We booked this cruise because the price was phenomenal for an 8-day, and new ports of call. Of course, this was cancelled, and we lifted and shifted to May 2022. Itinerary was quickly changed, and Antigua and St. Lucia dropped for Curacao and Aruba. Not bad, still ok. Next change dropped Labadee and DR for Bonaire. Ok ABC's we can deal with it.....still new ports. A month before the cruise we lost B and added Grand Cayman. 3 ports on an 8-day cruise not the best, but again, locked in early COVID pricing so cannot complain too much.

Embarkment and the boarding process was jam packed. It is amazing how many folks did not upload anything prior to boarding. It is still a line, but amazing to see folks shuffling through documents at the counter. Speaking of line, remember your 12:00 check-in time you reserved like 45 days prior? It is meaningless. We showed up around 11:50 to a line that spanned the terminal, to the parking garage, and inside. Sure we boarded in about 45 minutes, but I highly doubt anyone will cringe if you arrive an hour earlier. We went straight to the Windjammer for lunch and did not need to wait long until rooms were ready. Sea Passes are on the door number and they say the rooms are ready by 2pm, but there were areas ready earlier. We had three suitcases and the last delivered right before 5:30 dinner. Not hateful.

We Royal Up'd from Oceanview to Balcony. Our first balcony. Really enjoyed the perks of the balcony. Portside deck 7, middle of the ship. Downfall to the last-minute change is this room had an adjoining door to the next room. We could hear every cough, hack, and TV show through this door. Other wall was soundproof (or no guests in the room). Another issue is all of our daily information must have went to the old assigned room as we saw nothing about our C&A perks or a printed Compass. I really like keeping the Compasses and of course knowing the onboard perks tied to our passes.

Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony

We Royal Up'd from Oceanview to Balcony. Our first balcony. Really enjoyed the perks of the balcony. Portside deck 7, middle of the ship. Downfall to the last-minute change is this room had an adjoining door to the next room. We could hear every cough, hack, and TV show through this door. Other wall was soundproof (or no guests in the room). I think the room size is comparable to other standard rooms.

Our attendant was super. Made up our room twice and still performed towel animals daily. Quickly learned our routine and names. Very wonderful.

Port Reviews

Aruba

De Palm Island Snorkel excursion through Royal. Great deal in 2021 worth it, IMO. Buffet food was average but better than nothing. Beer was free. Crowd did not seem too hateful but try to arrive early to make sure you can get chairs and shade. Snorkeling offered plenty of fish to see. Beach was rocky though. There was another beach with flamingos but our wristbands did not allow us to access this area.

Curacao

$8/person taxi ride to Mambo Beach. Very popular with what seemed like limited chairs. We arrived early enough to get a cabana for comfort and shade. It was packed later in the afternoon and folks missed out on chairs. They had a full service bar and grill with typically food. They did have 'local cuisine' but was not bold enough to try. Beer was $5/8oz bottle or $5/12oz Sol. Beach was nice and calm but protected by rock. 15-20 minute taxi ride from port and you drive over the bridge in town offering wonderful views.

Entry fee was $3.50/person and I think they wanted $35+ for chairs and umbrella. We reserved the cabana for $27.

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