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Explorer Dream Cabins

3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
63 Reviews
Louise Goldsbury
Cruise Critic Contributor
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3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins
63 Reviews

A total of 928 cabins, suites and villas are spread over seven decks (decks 4 to 11). All cabins were upgraded In the 2019 refurbishment with comfortable Dream Beds (the line's signature bed with quality linens), attractive wall murals and new TVs, carpet, furniture and soft furnishings. The faux wood wardrobes, some of which do not open and close properly, and TV units were not changed.

Aside from the wardrobes, cabin storage includes drawers, shelves, hooks, a desk with drawer, bedside tables and enough space under the bed to store at least four suitcases. The new flat-screen TVs range in size from 32 to 65 inches with news, movies and information channels broadcast on a loop (not on demand). All accommodation includes a safe, a decent hairdryer, kettle (teabags, coffee and combined creamer sachets are provided), bathrobes, slippers and two complimentary 600ml bottles of water replenished daily. Cabins have international power points that require a CE adapter (a certified grounded adapter for UK, US, Hong Kong and China), as well as four USB outlets, including two located bedside. Internet, which is remarkably fast, is available at a cost (except in The Palace where it's free) in all cabins and throughout the ship.

Bathrooms are sizeable with good storage, a separate toilet with door and a shower recess with glass door. There are plenty of towels, hand towels and face washers, replaced daily if required. Toiletries are from the Crystal Life brand (Crystal Cruises is a sister company) and include hand and body wash dispensers and small bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. A toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste is supplied for each guest. Kids' toiletry sets are also provided. Guests can request complimentary shaving kits, cotton pads, cotton buds, shower caps, sewing kits and combs.

All categories of cabins can accommodate up to four people (except for interior cabins, which accommodate three) on sofa beds or Pullmans. There are more than 100 sets of interconnecting cabins, which are mostly balcony cabins on decks 9 to 11, but only two accessible cabins, being interior cabins on Deck 11.

The Palace, a "ship within a ship" complex, has 42 suites divided into four categories: Palace Suites, Palace Deluxe Suites, Palace Penthouses and Palace Villas. The 22 Palace Deluxe Suites were created by joining two former balcony cabins together. This accommodation is more spacious, ornately decorated and equipped with enhanced amenities.

Some of The Palace suites have retained their wood-panelled walls and features from when the ship sailed as SuperStar Virgo, while most have been re-created by joining two cabins together. All have a Nespresso coffee machine and kettle, Frette bathrobes and slippers and 600 to 1000 thread-count bed linens depending on the category. Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body lotion) are by Italian fashion brand ETRO, while there is an array of Dream Cruises' branded items including shaving cream/razor, comb, dental kit and nail file. There are also bathroom scales and an umbrella.

All suites have privileges such as a dedicated 24-hour concierge service, free Wi-Fi, complimentary welcome onboard minibar set-up on the first day of the cruise together with snacks, meals in the dedicated restaurant, premium beverage package, daily afternoon tea, a captain's gala cocktail party, an on-deck barbecue dinner, priority show bookings and reserved seating in the Zodiac Theatre. The Palace guests also have access to a private pool, sundeck and cabanas; access to a private bar, lounge and casino; use of the day spa, sauna, vitality pool and fitness classes; complimentary shore excursions and discounts on the ship's regular excursions; and complimentary dining on seven occasions in four of the specialty restaurants.

Interior: Inside cabins do not have windows, making them completely dark unless the light is switched on. They are perfect for passengers who don't want to spend too much time in the cabin or too much money. There are around 300 of these cheaper cabins on decks 4 to 11 (except for deck 7 which has no accommodation). Measuring 12 to 21 sq. m, the largest are bigger than the ocean-view and balcony cabins, and these have a queen and a sofa bed. The smaller have twin beds and a Pullman (a bed installed on the wall, above one of the twin beds, which can be opened up at night). Each cabin can accommodate up to three people; the third person has either a single sofa bed or the Pullman. All newly refurbished, they have attractive floral wallpaper on one feature wall, 32-inch flat-screen TVs, USB outlets and power points located either near the cushioned bedhead or above the bedside table. The larger of these cabins have a small shelf, below a mirror, that can double as a desk. Only interior cabins on Deck 8 have mini fridges, which are empty. 

Ocean view: About 200 of these cabins are located on decks four to 11, ranging in size from 13 to 20 sq. m. Each has a picture window that lets in the light and the view. The cabins have the same amenities as the interiors and only those on Deck 8 have mini fridges. They offer queen and single-bed options, with single sofa beds and Pullmans for the third and fourth passengers. 

Balcony: More than 320 of these cabins are located on decks 9 to 11, ranging in size from 18 to 20 sq. m. The beds can be configured as either a queen or two singles, plus there is a double sofa bed to fold out for extra guests. They have good wardrobe space and drawers, as well as a few hooks outside the bathroom door for hanging bathrobes and other clothes. The sitting area has a small table, a stool and desk located under a mirror, and a 42-inch flat screen TV.  The balcony has two chairs and a table. While smoking is not allowed inside the cabin, it is allowed on the balcony, although not all balconies seem to have ashtrays. Heavy curtains block out the daylight. Each balcony cabin has an empty mini-fridge, kettle and tea and coffee-making set. The bathroom is spacious enough and has a good make-up mirror.

Palace Suites: These 11 suites, located on decks 9 and 10, retain the same layout and design as when they were created 20 years ago on Superstar Virgo. Measuring 22 sq. m, they can accommodate four people in the king bed (which can be curtained off) and a double sofa bed in the living room. Some suites have a mirrored ceiling above the bed, as well as mirrored walls, and an Asian mural or painting of a Roman or Greek goddess behind the bed. Others replace the mirrored ceiling with a design created by fluted silk material. The living room is furnished with a sofa, armchairs and a dining table with four chairs and 55-inch flat-screen TV. The original wood-panelling has been retained, along with the marble bathroom and its corner spa bath, and Roman-style torch wall lights. All suites have balconies with cane furniture.

Palace Deluxe Suites:  These 22 suites on decks 10 and 11 are light and airy with a cream colour scheme and curved timber work. With an area ranging from 37 to 44 sq. m, these suites were created by joining two former balcony cabins, which entailed taking out walls. Where the Palace Suites are traditional, these are modern, even down to the mural of a god who is depicted talking on a blue telephone – albeit a 1950s-style phone, not a mobile. Accommodating up to four people, the bedroom has a king-size bed positioned to take advantage of the ocean views and is curtained off from a living area that has a two-person sofa bed, an armchair, desk, tea-coffee nook and bar area and a 55-inch flat screen TV. The balcony, originally two balconies, is literally twice the size as the other suites.

Palace Penthouses: There are seven penthouses -- five are located at the bow of deck 10 and two at the stern, overlooking the ship's wake, on deck 9. Those located at the bow can be windy when passengers are out on the balcony; they are also quite a long walk from The Palace facilities such as the restaurant and pool. Penthouse accommodation has a traditional design, having retained the wood-panelled features in the living room (including a polished timber column) and wardrobes in the bedroom. The 65-inch flat-screen TV is a nod to the modern era. Bathrooms have corner spa baths, marble walls, gold-plated or brass taps, weighing scales and two timber-framed windows, rather than one large window. Those at the bow have a separate door, with a porthole, that leads into a small vestibule, which then opens out onto the balcony. This feature prevents the strong bow winds from gushing into the living area.

Palace Villas: The two villas are the most prestigious accommodations on the ship. Located at the stern of Deck 11 (one on the portside and the other on the starboard), measuring 85 sq. m, these are some of the largest suites at sea. Much of the space is taken up by the deck, which sports a Jacuzzi, cane lounge setting and sun lounges. The view over the stern and wake is amazing. The decor is modern although there's a Greek/Roman theme expressed in a mural behind the king bed and in the light fittings. The living room is contemporary, with two double sofas, armchairs, a 65-inch flat-screen TV and desk, while the attached dining area has a contrasting traditional look with an ornately carved mock fireplace. Palace Villas are the only suite category offering personalised butler service. Extras include complimentary laundry and dry-cleaning (this is paid for in all other suites), welcome Champagne, fruit basket, truffle tray and a complimentary mini-bar for the entire cruise (other suites provide initial bar set-up only).

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