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Explorer of the Seas Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1997 reviews
7 Awards
Explorer of the Seas
Explorer of the Seas Dining
Explorer of the Seas Cabins
Explorer of the Seas Activity/Entertainment
See all photos
Editor Rating
4.5
Very Good
Aleney de Winter
Cruise Critic Contributor

The second of five in the revolutionary Voyager-class series that started with Voyager of the Seas in 1999, Explorer of the Seas follows the floating resort concept, with a wealth of entertainment, facilities and activities that will appeal to every age group.

Some Explorer of the Seas’ most exciting attractions are an ice-skating rink/concert venue/TV studio, spa/solarium complex, a shopping/dining/entertainment boulevard, 3D movie theater, and outdoor movie screen. A fitness center, outdoor jogging track and outdoor youth area with a rock-climbing wall, full-court basketball, nine-hole miniature golf and brand new FlowRider Surf Simulator offer active cruisers of all ages, from children to seniors, something to enjoy.

The Explorer of the Seas’ Deck Plan Allows for Easy Passenger Flow

Designing a huge cruise ship is never easy, but Explorer of the Seas’ deck plans are an improved version of Royal Caribbean’s older ships. The majority of cabins are located on stateroom-only decks, which allows for quiet nights. The decks that could be more problematic for light sleepers are decks 2, 3 and 6, as they are located below, above or adjacent to loud public spaces that get foot traffic until the wee small hours. Those, and a few aft cabins with obstructed views are the only rooms to avoid on Explorer of the Seas.

A clever layout feature of Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas is that restaurants are not all packed into one or two decks but spread out over multiple levels. This keeps crowds at peak times at a minimum – though Explorer of the Seas has a capacity of 4,290 passengers, so expect to share space with a lot of people. 16 elevators help keep a nice flow of guests as well.

The Royal Promenade is the heart of Explorer of the Seas. You feel like you are in an upscale mall as you walk this longer-than-a-football-field and wider-than-three-lanes-of-traffic boulevard anchored by two atria that are marvels of marble and colossal sculpture. Diversions on the promenade include shops selling everything from ship's logo items, to cheap accessories and designer merchandise.

Despite all the Explorer of the Seas onboard activities, the ship has been out-sized and out-classed by the line's Freedom-class and Oasis-class ships. Still, it has plenty of solid selling points. Just note that while Royal Caribbean announced big changes to the ship in 2019, the Explorer of the Seas refurbishment was finally cancelled, meaning the ship is showing some age.

Royal Caribbean COVID-19 Rules

For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Adventure of the Seas, please refer to Royal Caribbean's Health and Safety protocols. You can also use Cruise Critic's guide to health requirements on the world’s major cruise lines as we know them.

Pros

A wealth of facilities, activities and entertainment for every generation

Cons

The high passenger capacity means queuing is inevitable

Bottom Line

With a broad range of activities, Explorer has something for everyone, from active cruisers to families

About

Passengers : 3,284
Crew : 1,185
Passenger to Crew : 2.77:1
Launched : 2000
Shore Excursions : 607

Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

What’s Included on Explorer of the Seas (and What’s Not)

Costs Included With Your Cruise Fare:

  • Meals in the three main dining rooms and Windjammer Marketplace, as well as at Cafe Promenade; continental breakfast room service
  • Main theater shows
  • Most activities and events, except as noted below or in the daily schedule
  • Use of the ice-skating rink
  • Use of the fitness center, but not most classes
  • Use of the sports center, water slides, Flowrider surf simulator, Explorer Dunes mini-golf course and rock-climbing wall
  • Daily Adventure Ocean children’s programs.

Not included with your cruise fare:

Costs Not Included With Your Cruise Fare

· Daily gratuities (amounts vary depending on cabin category)
· Auto-gratuities of 18 percent applied to salon, spa and beverage purchases, as well as most specialty dining reservations
· Drinks excluding water, tea (including iced tea), coffee and selected juices from the Windjammer Marketplace buffet
· Room Service (flat rate) except for continental breakfast
· Most specialty dining
· Most fitness classes and all treatments and services in the spa and salon
· Sessions in the Escape Room
· Activities like bingo, arts and crafts, arcade games, alcohol tastings and shopping events
· Casino play
· Late-night activities in the Adventure Ocean kids’ club
· Shore excursions
· Internet access; Explorer of the Seas Wi-Fi can be accessed by purchasing an internet package
· Photos and artwork

Fellow Passengers

Royal Caribbean typically appeals to couples and singles in their 30s to 50s as well as families of all ages. The median age is in the low 40s on seven-night cruises and in the 30s on three-and four-night cruises. Passengers 50 to 55 and older tend to dominate 10-night and longer cruises. Royal Caribbean attracts passengers that are looking for an affordable, active vacation.

Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Dress Code

Daytime: During the day, dress is casual.

Evening: Evenings are either casual, smart casual or formal. On casual nights, suggested attire is sports shirts and slacks for men and sundresses or pants for women. On smart casual evenings, ideally men should don jacket and tie and women dresses and or pantsuits. On formal nights on Explorer of the Seas, men can opt for a tuxedo, though a simple sports coat and tie is becoming the norm, while women should wear cocktail dresses or gowns.

Not permitted: Shorts are not allowed at dinner, regardless of the venue (with the sole exception of the buffet).

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Royal Caribbean.

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Find an Explorer of the Seas Cruise from $196

More about Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas

Where does Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas sail from?

Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas departs from Miami, Rome, Civitavecchia, and Venice

How much does it cost to go on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas?

Cruises on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas start from $196 per person.

Is Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas a good ship to cruise on?

Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas won 7 awards over the years, including Best for Embarkation and Best for Fitness & Recreation in 2019.
Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Cruiser Reviews

Still a great RC experience, but this ship has needs.

The Explorer of the Seas is a beautiful ship. We loved the coziness of it. Embarkation was a cluster and many waited a long time! Lack of staff was part of the issue.Read More
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Csummers12

2-5 Cruises

Age 40s

Mid-Sized Ship with some Positives...and some Challenges

Here’s my review of our cruise on Explorer. We sailed from Miami (Terminal G) from July 3-9. Fast facts: • We stayed in an Owner’s Suite (cabin 1292 on Deck 10).Read More
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HighTaxLowTax

6-10 Cruises

Age 60s

So happy to return to cruising

We enjoyed the food in Giovanni's, but the lack of staff was very apparent here. Our waiter brought us the wrong order on each course. Our dinner at Chops was much better.Read More
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RobinKS

10+ Cruises

Age 50s

Staff and supply shortages on an 80% Passenger load

First time I have felt taken advantage of by RCL. Cruising the Explorer is not like cruising on the other ships.Read More
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ThelmLou

10+ Cruises

Age 50s

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