9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Have cruised a lot on several of the big lines and this was our second cruise with RC. Having read the other reviews this is our take. We traveled with our 24 year old son (he loves a free holiday!) and had a sea view cabin 2584 with 3 ... Read More
Have cruised a lot on several of the big lines and this was our second cruise with RC. Having read the other reviews this is our take. We traveled with our 24 year old son (he loves a free holiday!) and had a sea view cabin 2584 with 3 single beds one being a bunk! We had such a laugh taking it in turns to stop on the top and getting up and down the ladder! I'm 57 wife 51 so you can imagine the fun!!! Loads of room for the three of us and whilst the room was a little dated how much time time do you spend in the room!? Shower was more than ample for a six foot bloke and was kept impeccable by our room attendant. I have read that some people think the ship was tatty but you would really have to look hard to find wear and tear and during the two weeks there was always work going to paint etc and we also got a new mattress each during the two weeks as did the whole ship. Again it had no bearing on my overall holiday I found the ship to be excellent and exactly what we wanted. We eat each morning and lunch if on board in the windjammer and found it excellent. Great choice of everything with separate stations for various things every day. With 3000 people on board it is always going to be busy but we never found it hard to get a table and the staff where always around to clear or get you a drink. I have to say I had some of the tastiest food on a ship and the burgers at lunch are 5 star! I eat my own weight in burgers in the two weeks!! Dinner was taken each night in the the main dining room, we had intended to go to specialty restaurants a couple of nights but we really didn't need to as again the food and service was excellent. We eat second sitting and had two great waiters and the manager was also great fun. Varied menu each night and if you cant find something you liked there was also a great selection of old faves to choose from. As we remembered from our first RC cruise 10 years ago overall everything was top draw. Entertainment I wont spoil other than to say really enjoyed it. Didn't go every-night but had laughs with comics sang along to the Beatles and enjoyed the dancing. Would say you have to spend a night in Schooners with the ever so camp Perry and his shiny suits! Again a great mix in a great theater. Ports Gibraltar: Been before and love it. Go see the monkeys and enjoy England in the sun! Cartagena: Great little un spoilt Spanish town with fab buildings and little shops, if you love history the Roman ruins are spectacular. Barcelona: Two days to explore, do the red route on the hop on bus but leave time to eat some amazing food. The food market on La Rambla is a must! walk round looking at all the amazing meat and sea food then jump on a seat at one of the many food stalls and watch as you food is cooked! Had some amazing giant red prawns!!! Malaga: My new fave Spanish city! Flown in many times cant believe I never stayed here! Large cosmopolitan and very Spanish! Great shops, great back streets, great little Tapas restaurants and a lovely beach right next to the ship! Nothing to not like! Parma: Again been before, had a beach day then walk around the town, very pleasant. Valencia: 10 minute shuttle brings you to the centre of the old town, lots of squares and churches to find, what I call a proper Spanish city! Cadiz: Again very Spanish see above. Lisbon: Lots to see and on a food theme! find the TimeOut food market near the main square and eat!!! get there about 11.30 by 12.15 it was packed with locals, custard tarts to die for! And what a cruise in and out down the coast under the bridge! Getting on and off was a breeze we got there 12.30 on board 1.15 off in 10 minutes, Yes it was busy getting off and getting a taxi but no drama. Overall I would give a score of 9 out of 10. I really enjoyed it and after writing this review I will be looking for the next cruise! Andrew Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We are a married couple in early 60's. We booked this because we prefer Royal Caribbean for it's informal yet not too rowdy atmosphere. The cruise ticked all the boxes. There were over 900 kids running around which noised ... Read More
We are a married couple in early 60's. We booked this because we prefer Royal Caribbean for it's informal yet not too rowdy atmosphere. The cruise ticked all the boxes. There were over 900 kids running around which noised things up a bit but what do you expect when you book a cruise during the school holidays. Big shout out to Hello Clo, the best cruise director RC have in my opinion. She was always visible about the ship and such a cheery person We did notice a few slight issues. First is the lack of bar staff and waiters, particularly in the Schooner bar. Poor guys there were run off their feet. Again I noticed that the numbers attending the main dining room seem to be getting ever lower and the Windjammer is always mobbed. Is anyone at RC seeing this ? Perhaps it is time to convert the 3 MDR floors to a buffet and put the MDR on deck 11 - only a suggestion. We are Diamond plus members and as such have access to the Diamond and Concierge lounges. If RC are going to provide these lounges for 24 hour access, can they please ensure the coffee machine is always stocked. We regularly went up for a late night coffee only to find out the kitchen was closed and told if we wanted coffee to go downstairs to the Promenade cafe. Sort of defeats the purpose of having 24 hour lounges. Also, with regard to the music guy Perry singing in the Schooner bar at night. It was always mobbed right into the corridor and you simply couldn't move or get past. While upstairs, the much larger Star lounge was empty. Again I ask, is anyone at RC paying attention to things like this ? And we know people don't do trivia for the prizes. But to give out the same prize ( yellow highlighters ) again and again got a bit boring. Surely it wouldn't cost too much to give out the odd cap, T-shirt, pen, key ring, etc Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I really wanted to leave a review here to offer my thoughts on this ship after reading some of the negative reviews. Prior to going on the trip, I had seen lots of reviews giving really harsh opinions of the ship looking really tired or ... Read More
I really wanted to leave a review here to offer my thoughts on this ship after reading some of the negative reviews. Prior to going on the trip, I had seen lots of reviews giving really harsh opinions of the ship looking really tired or of the food being awful or the service slow etc... Honestly, I have no idea if these people were sailing on this ship or if there is one with a similar name that they are getting mixed up with?! Or alternatively what sort of expectations these people have created for themselves! We chose the cruise based on the itinerary and the deal that Royal Caribbean were offering at the time (drinks package and onboard spend). We boarded relatively swiftly and soon discovered that this was both a mammoth ship and quite a magnificent city on water! We've cruised with Royal before and also NCL and Princess. I'd say the ship was somewhat of a hybrid of the two. Overall the ship was looking great and flowed really well - only on the odd occasion did we really feel that the ship was busy, which was at a couple of times in the buffet, particularly in the buffet for breakfast when the port call was shorter. All of the areas of the ship were smart, clean and in good repair - the promenade, whilst not to everyone's taste it seems was a hive of activity all the way through the cruise. The food was imaginative and plentiful to say the least - we ate really well... I'd say not quite as well presented or of quite the quality on offer by princess, but then this was price reflective also. My only criticism would be that they could offer some stronger and more imaginative vegetarian and vegan offerings - meat eaters definitely got a better deal here, but there were still lots of options and alternatives. The only significant let down was Jonny Rockets really. I really think Royal Caribbean should make this a complimentary eating spot. Every other line we've been on has an outdoor burger grill that is complimentary and whist the offering is marginally better, it really felt like we'd thrown $9.95 per person away, as the burgers in the buffet, just one deck down were almost the same, as were the fries etc. The absence of a burger bar on the pool deck compared to the other lines was noticeable on fine sea days, which seems a shame and a bit of a cash cow - I really wouldn't bother and I doubt we'll bother again. Jonny Rockets was notably quiet whenever we looked in... maybe people are catching on? The stateroom was smart and pretty sizeable. We had an inside and parents had a balcony - both were nice. Beds were comfy and decent storage space for a 2 week cruise. The shower gel was nice and the sheets and towels always clean, fresh and had a nice feel to them. The activity and options for things to do were quite simply never ending, there was always a plethora of activities and things on offer to do. The entertainment was variable. We saw some BRILLIANT shows and entertainers and some entertainment which seemed below par, unfortunately the Royal Caribbean post cruise survey didn't really give the opportunity to differentiate. As other have said, the ice show is brilliant! GO AND SEE IT!!! Shows in the theatre varied a lot... We had a bit of a random singer spell during the two weeks, where we had like three solo singer nights in a row and by the third, we seemed to be suffering singer fatigue! The Royal Caribbean production shows were usual cruise fayre really... singers and dancers singing and dancing to music that is no longer in copyright etc etc... they were so so, but ok to pass an evening with. The promenade parties were a lot of fun, the 80's one and the 70's one were really well polished, well attended and lots of atmosphere - Rock Britannia, seemed a bit flat - but still a good laugh. Be nice if it was a few decibels louder to really rock the ship. One entertainer that deserves an extra special mention was Perry Grant... oh my goodness, this guy was the most entertaining guy I have ever seen on a cruise ship anywhere... he rightfully gets rave reviews again and again - I won't say too much, but if he is still on when you sail - spend some time with his show in the schooner bar, you will laugh, sing and make friends! The service was consistently brilliant. Super polite, fast, efficient etc. One of the things that I really liked was that the staff always said how much Royal Caribbean had looked after them - this is a really big deal to me and it would influence me to holiday with them again. In terms of the ports of call, they are pretty personal, so I won't review them, but we chose the Baltic's and thoroughly enjoyed them! Explorer is a remarkable ship with a remarkable crew - I would definitely recommend it! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our 7th Royal Caribbean cruise, and we chose this Russia and Scandinavia sailing because of both the cruise line and the itinerary. It was also our second sailing on Explorer of the Seas, so we have had prior experience with ... Read More
This was our 7th Royal Caribbean cruise, and we chose this Russia and Scandinavia sailing because of both the cruise line and the itinerary. It was also our second sailing on Explorer of the Seas, so we have had prior experience with RCCL. Our overall impression (which we seemed to share with many fellow guests) was that standards had been allowed to drop by RCCL. Meals in the Sapphire Dining Room were disappointing. The service was fine, but the menu choices were strange and, most importantly, the quality of the food was notably lower than on our six previous cruises. Could it be that RCCL are lowering the standard of the (included) meals and ingredients to encourage guests to upgrade to “added-cost” meal selections or visit their speciality restaurants? Meat quality was poor. The windjammer restaurant seemed to have become even more overcrowded-tables were packed very close together in an attempt we assume to cope with the no of passengers, but this made it hard to get to and from tables. Entertainment. The young cruise director seemed poor, compared with those we had sailed with before. He was lacking their presence. Entertainment. The scheduling of events that were put on during the cruise disappointed us- and was something we were not alone in criticising. Perhaps linked to the cruise director inexperience? Ship’s condition. We gathered that Explorer of the Seas is going in for a refurbishment and dry docking next year. She was showing her age, with paintwork, railings and some furnishings in need of tender care or replacement. Some chairs in the Star Lounge had bare patches on the arm rests; several seats in the theatre needed fixed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We wanted a cruise with interesting destinations and the Baltic/Russia itinerary was perfect as the ports themselves were mostly significant and interesting which meant that there was no need to book an expensive tour. We visited all the ... Read More
We wanted a cruise with interesting destinations and the Baltic/Russia itinerary was perfect as the ports themselves were mostly significant and interesting which meant that there was no need to book an expensive tour. We visited all the major capital cities. The ship was a mind boggling experience for the first couple of days. The sheer size of it ( although today that would not be a large ship). Dining....The Sapphire dining rooms provided a very pleasant experience. We chose My Time Dining. The service from all staff was excellent.. Menu choices were varied and the quality superb most of the time although desserts could have been a little more imaginative and were not always tasty. Windjammer...again there was a mind numbing array of choice and all tasty. The views from all parts good and ample seating even when busy. There was never any queuing other than if you wanted something freshly prepared. We have a few criticisms...no fruit juices were available unless you had a drinks package, only squashes/cordials. There was not enough choice of healthy/vegetarian type dishes, interesting salads etc. Maybe instead of the unhealthy sweeteners offered, you could offer honey/ healthy sweeteners. The music on the piped system was terrible, intrusive, often loud and screechy, not at all suited to dining or the older ages of most of the clientele. We agreed with the head waiter that as he was unable to change the music he would turn it down, but we still had to complain when this was not done. Entertainment.....some of the evening shows were superb, some okay, the seating was excellent. As for the entertainment around the ship, Perry Grant was the best thing RC had, so entertaining, funny, original, he was a great success all round. Activities.... Daytime activities could be much improved. Often there were several things on at 10 am but obviously I could not do them all! Why oh why does the table tennis have to be on the outside deck? If you've never played it in the wind, here is your chance! Ridiculous. You cannot please everyone with daytime activities, but we felt there were too many simple, childlike attempts at quizzes, games etc and not enough exciting activities where one could learn something or see a demonstration, ice carving or something. All in all, they obviously cater for the 'masses' and not the more discerning traveller. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My husband and I sailed on Explorer of the Seas on 23 June 2019 on a 14 Night Baltic Cruise as part of his birthday celebrations and I booked the cruise a year in advance. He has always wanted to see Russia and this cruise gave us the ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Explorer of the Seas on 23 June 2019 on a 14 Night Baltic Cruise as part of his birthday celebrations and I booked the cruise a year in advance. He has always wanted to see Russia and this cruise gave us the opportunity to spend 2 days in St Petersburg, visit lots of other ports and sail from Southampton so no need for flights. We did have a long drive from our home in Scotland but broke up the journey on the way down, staying with family near Chester. Southampton Pre-Cruise - Stayed at the Premier Inn which I booked online a few months in advance. Parking available but very limited and payable extra. Booked dinner that evening at White Star Tavern which was excellent. - Parked car at ABP Parking. Again, booked in advance and was able to use a discount code when I emailed them direct to get 10% off. Couldn't believe how easy this was. Basically, we drove to the terminal, spotted the ship, were directed to a car park directly adjacent to the terminal, parked up, took out our cases with their labels attached and locked the car. We keep the keys and the cases were taken from us by porters. We just walked over to check in with our hand luggage and were on the ship within half an hour. We had an advised check-in time of 2.30pm but arrived at 12pm and were onboard by 12.30pm. Cabin - we had been assigned inside cabin 6229. I had put in a low bid on RCI's Royal Up scheme for a Promenade and a Balcony but was unsuccessful. The ship was full so no upgrades were available. We've previously had inside cabins which have been perfectly adequate although we did enjoy a balcony on a Marella cruise in the Med. However, RCI wanted an additional £1600 for the balcony cabin at the time of booking which I felt wasn't value for money. I hadn't considered an Ocean View cabin. With hindsight, I would probably look at this again as we missed seeing daylight and would have liked to have the ability to relax in our cabin in the evening and still enjoy a view. The cabin had everything we required - safe, fridge, double wardrobe and 4 shelves inside plus shelves at the dressing table and either side of the bed. There was a small couch but no table which would have been good for eating breakfast on the few days when we ordered breakfast in the room (Continental is free/ Cooked has a charge of $7.95 per room). There are tea/coffee making facilities. TV is limited, mainly RCI channels promoting their products, couple of sports and news channels and a Film of the Day channel. Explorer of the Seas is due to go for a refit next year and will benefit from new carpets/upholstery and a fresh lick of paint which it does need. However, the standard of service and attention from the staff more than makes up for this. We ate in the Windjammer at breakfast and lunchtimes (if we weren't in port) and the choice of food is fantastic. Fresh omelettes and eggs cooked to order. You could eat your way around the world. Staff are very attentive and we ordered our drinks when we sat down. We were on the ultimate drinks package and ordered whatever we wanted from the drinks menu. If there's a cocktail they haven't listed they'll make it for you if you describe it. We ate in the Main Dining Room which is called Sapphire in the evening and also had a 5 night Speciality Restaurant dining package which I had bought through the Cruise Planner. The first night was booked in advance and I booked the remaining nights as soon as I boarded the ship to make sure we had the reservations we wanted. The speciality restaurants are as follows; Giovanni's Table - We were disappointed with this. Nothing to do with the staff. The restaurant is situated on deck 3 and feels like it was added as an afterthought, no windows and almost feels like dining in a basement. Also, I had linguine vongole which appeared on the MDR menu a few nights later. Meant to be 'speciality'. Izumi - We're not very familiar with Japanese cuisine and enjoyed the experience. The staff were great at recommending dishes which fit within the budget allowed. We had 2 starters, 2 main courses on hot stones and dessert and only had to add $2.00 to the bill. The view from Izumi is stunning as it is situated on the top deck opposite the Sky Lounge. Chop's Grille - Our favourite. We ate here 3 times. Feels like a speciality restaurant should feel. Amazing view with floor to wall windows on deck 11. Ate every course offered on the first visit and realised this was just too much for us so got it right on the next visits. We stuck to the steaks but did see a couple having the small seafood tower which looked HUGE and delicious. Supplement for that but would be lovely for a special treat and especially if you like seafood. MDR - We always requested a table for 2 and never a problem. We were on My Time Dining and tend to eat later so usually arrived at 8.30pm which was never an issue. We requested a specific table on several occasions and were always accommodated. Food choices were great and we could always find something we liked. We aren't vegetarian and don't suffer allergies/intolerances so not sure what this would be like although the staff always asked this question in advance. There is no midnight buffet but the Promenade Café seems to be open all night (the latest we went to bed one night was 3am and it was still open) and serves pizza, sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee. Entertainment - Can't really comment on this too much as we didn't go to many of the shows/activities. We have previously been on Allure where the shows are of an extremely high standard so the offering on Explorer didn't seem as spectacular. We did go to the Silent Disco on the 2 occasions it was held and we found it hilarious. We also went to the Russian Folk Dancing show which was held in the Palace Theatre on the overnight stop at St Petersburg. Really enjoyed this and well attended. There was a singer playing most nights in the Crown & Kettle Pub on the Promenade and there was a singer called Perry playing in the Schooner Bar who proved to be extremely popular. He was like Liberace meets Judy Garland. There are discos every night in Dizzy's in the sky Lounge which start about 10pm (apart from one night when all the adults had to clear out for a teen zone!). Sky Lounge - This was our favourite bar, especially in the evening when we returned from the port and wanted a drink before getting changed for dinner. We watched most of the sailaways from here as the view is fantastic and the staff are so attentive. In reality, it was too windy to spend too much time on deck and the ship would have benefitted from a cover over the pool areas for this type of cruise. It wouldn't be an issue in the Med or Caribbean but the Baltic is quite windy, especially on Sea Days. The solarium is open to the elements and there were occasions were the Jacuzzi had to be closed. There were some people who lay on sunbeds but they were wrapped in blankets and fully clothed! We actually had better weather than I expected but it was still to windy to sit on deck in the evening. PORTS VISITED - Our main reason for selecting this cruise was St Petersburg but the other ports proved to be equally as interesting. All the times I've given are the time we were allowed ashore. OSLO 1100 - 1630 Docked next to Akershus Fortress. No need for a shuttle bus. Can walk directly into town. We walked to the Opera House where you can walk inside and on the roof for free. We then went to the Tourist Info Centre in the main train station (one of the nicest stations I have ever seen) and bought tram tickets from there for Tram 12 to Vigeland Sculpture Park. Returned by tram to Mathallen which is a foodhall where we had a fresh seafood meal. Drink is VERY expensive but that's Nordic countries for you. Returned in time for a quick look at the big souvenir shop at the terminal before boarding. COPENHAGEN 1030 - 1630 Docked at Quay Oceankaj C331 which is potentially walkable but would take about 45 mins. We had booked a free walking tour with Sandemann's which started at 11am so we took the shuttle bus and tickets for this can be bought at guest services and charged to your account ($20 per person). Our walking tour was 3 hours and took us from City Hall through the mediaeval parts of the city down to the harbour. At the end, you tip the guide. Thoroughly recommend this. We had time for a drink in a bar overlooking the canal. 2 beers cost about £20 but you're in vibrant Copenhagen in the sunshine. HELSINKI 100 - 1700 What a surprise! Clean, cosmopolitan and friendly. We docked at Hernesaari which is a small peninsula which is being developed with new homes, restaurants. It is walkable into town but, due to time constraints and wanting to see as much as possible within the time constraints, we took the Hop On Hop Off Shuttle Bus. This was again charged to our account ($20 each) and makes 4 stops in the city. We saw the Old Market Hall which has reindeer, smoked salmon, prawns so don't eat too much for breakfast, Uspenke Cathedral, Rock Church (3 euros to go inside) and could have got off at the Sibelius sculpture but ran out of time as we had booked a sauna at the Loyly Sauna. This was amazing a very Finnish thing to do. We had a choice of saunas (traditional smoke and standard), birch twigs, terraces to enjoy a drink while looking over the bay and a dip in the Baltic and you HAVE to wear a costume which appealed to our conservative British customs. If you fancy this, book it in advance as it was fully booked when we arrived. You get a locker, towel, napkin and 2 hours in the sauna for 19 euros. Short walk from there back to the ship. ST PETERSBURG Stunning and overwhelming experience. Docked about 20-30 mins outside the city centre. 6 cruise ships all berthed in the same dock. We had booked an independent tour with SPB Tours and are delighted that we did. They were professional and their attention to detail was outstanding. We benefitted from the fact that we were a small party of 14 with our own mini bus and driver and were able to bypass the huge crowds which were everywhere. It was VERY busy. I don't think I've seen so many tourists in all my life. RCI try to encourage you to book their tours but, if you do, you're first off the ship so have to be up extremely early and you'll be on a big bus with about 40-50 people. We completed a form on the first day of our cruise informing them we had an independent tour arranged. We were given a time slot to meet in the MDR at 8.15. There were hundreds of people there and we were all taken off in groups to go through passport control. This takes about 45 mins to clear (much quicker on the 2nd day) and our guide was there to meet us when we got into the terminal. They wait until the whole group is there (as everyone had different time slots). We did the 2 Day Deluxe Tour and got a discount for being part of the Cruise Critic Roll. I paid everything in advance online and gave tips in US dollars to the driver and guide at the end of the tour. We visited the following; Metro Hermitage Church of Spilled Blood Yusopov Palace St Isaac's Cathedral St Peter and St Paul Fortress Peterhof Palace and Gardens Boat trip on Neva Lunches were included on both days (one was 4 course and the other was 5 course so you won't be hungry!) and we were taken to a souvenir shop. It was expensive but you can't wander about yourself so if you want a souvenir you buy it there or at the shops in the terminal (the ship did sell Russian gifts too). TALLINN 0700 - 1600 Easy 15 minute walk into town although there are shuttle buses available. We had booked the KGB Museum which is located in Hotel Viru at 11am. It's 2 rooms at the top of the hotel but gives a fascinating insight into life in Estonia in the Soviet era. Views from the top are pretty special too. Again, book in advance if you want to do this as it was sold out on the day. Spent the afternoon walking around the old town which is beautiful. Quaint houses, cobbled streets, viewpoints looking over the town. We went to a bar called Porgu where they serve Estonian beers and local food. Prices for everything are much more reasonable here. Also had cake and coffee in Cafe Maisasmokk which is the oldest cafe in Tallinn. Lots of souvenir shops so good place to stock up on reasonably priced local items. STOCKHOLM 0800 - 1430 Docked at Stadsgarden. It was pouring when we arrived which wasn't great but still have to go ashore for a look. There were shuttle buses and Hop On Hop Off which we didn't organise and we heard there were lots of delays due to the weather. We walked to Gamla Stan which was about half an hour. Very touristy in Gamla Stan. but nice to see the Changing of the Guard at the Palace at 12.15. We passed the Parliament Buildings and noticed they do free tours in English on the hour. We went for a meal in Tradition which had traditional Swedish food and was busy, always a good sign. The sailaway from Stockholm is the most spectacular I have ever seen and shouldn't be missed. It takes 5 hours so you can enjoy it from the Sky Lounge/restaurants on the upper decks. SKAGEN 0900 - 1630 Small town whose population doubles when a cruise ship arrives (on top of which there was a music festival so it was buzzing). Weather was extremely windy so probably not seeing it at its best but pretty houses and nice shops. Walkable into town although we bought shuttle bus and regular bus tickets in the Tourist Info at the dock (directly opposite the ship gangway). Went to Grenen where the Baltic meets the North Sea. This was fantastic. Get the sandworm otherwise it's a bit of a trek. We had amazing fish and chips in Skagen Fiskerestaurant where the floor is covered in sand (booked in advance online) STAVANGER 0900 - 1630 Docked in the centre of town so easy walk in. This was the only port where I had pre-booked a RCI Shore Excursion which was subsequently cancelled due to lack of interest (they credit your onboard account, not your credit card). However, we had booked the Petroleum Museum which we could see from the ship and just walked to! Cost of tour was almost £80 for us both (included a trip to the 3 Swords Statue) but entry to the museum was 120 Krone each (about £24). Spent 2 hours here. If we'd gone to other museums in Stavanger, entry would have been half price. Very pretty old town. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Mostly went on this cruise for the wonderful ports we stopped in. Embarkation and leaving the ship were quick and easy. The ship was fine. The average age of the ship was very old (older than i thought and I expected the crowd to be ... Read More
Mostly went on this cruise for the wonderful ports we stopped in. Embarkation and leaving the ship were quick and easy. The ship was fine. The average age of the ship was very old (older than i thought and I expected the crowd to be old). This was fine for us as we are not the type to stay out late partying - but almost nobody showed up to parties or events. The shows were also tailored for the older crowd. The ship was our biggest so we expected entertainment to be awesome - the lead male and female singers were great but there was only one comedian the entire trip and we were unimpressed with the entertainment overall. There is not a ton to do on the ship - basketball and ping pong are outside and the wind makes them almost impossible. If you are not doing trivia, at a bar, or playing bingo, there is alot of time for hot tubs. The adults only section of pool and hot tubs were the biggest I've seen and we loved them - but they did not have access to watch the movie if you are excited about that. There were also a variety of lectures prior to the port stops. Dining was fine - very comparable to other cruise ships and companies. The service, however, was EXCELLENT. The best dining room service we have had in about 6/7 cruises. We did not try any specialty dining for the first time. Ports were great - some very small towns such as Oslo had little to do but were enjoyable. Russia did not disappoint - be sure to book excursions before hand in order to get off the ship. HOWEVER, the cruises sometimes imply or otherwise make it seem as if you can only get off the ship if you have an excursion booked through them directly. This is NOT the case. While the Royal Caribbean cruises had more time (about an hour before and a bit after) in Russia, we completed our full two day tour. I recommend SPB for small groups - the cruise had large buses with up to 45 people. Many places such as the Hermitage and Peterhof are packed and it is very disorganized in the museums so having a small group with SPB of only about 15 made things MUCH easier. Highly recommend the Ice Bar in Helskini - there are several (such as Stockholm) but Helsinki is far superior with a large indoor facility. Love the trip - once in a lifetime. PS there are not a ton of kids on this trip - we loved it. however, if we had kids there was not alot for them to do and not enough kids to get anything done Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise primarily because of its itinerary which included one or two extra ports of call and fewer cruising days. Departing from Southampton was another bonus. We hadn’t cruised with Royal Caribbean before and Explorer ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because of its itinerary which included one or two extra ports of call and fewer cruising days. Departing from Southampton was another bonus. We hadn’t cruised with Royal Caribbean before and Explorer was the largest vessel we’d ever chosen so we were slightly concerned we might find it overcrowded, noisy and too glitzy. Nothing could have been further from the truth as we had a very positive experience. Yes it was a busy ship but it was possible to find quiet areas to relax if you needed to. Service in the dining rooms was brisk, attentive and highly efficient with a consistent range of good food. The number and good standard of entertainment and enrichment activities was another pleasing feature. Compared to other cruises we’d been on, we were also impressed with the organised way disembarkation at ports was arranged as, apart from one occasion, movement of passengers on and off the boat seemed logical, speedy and well planned. Finally we have nothing but praise for all members of staff who were unfailingly happy, professional and willing to please. Explorer wasn’t the most modern of ships and a few areas did look a bit care-worn (notably the French-style cafe) but overall we had a remarkably enjoyable time and would happily choose Royal Caribbean again for another holiday. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We had the most amazing cruise ever to Scadinavia on Explorer! I read the negative reviews on Explorer beforehand and they had me concerned. I really shouldn't have worried at all as the ship is in great condition for her age. Yes, ... Read More
We had the most amazing cruise ever to Scadinavia on Explorer! I read the negative reviews on Explorer beforehand and they had me concerned. I really shouldn't have worried at all as the ship is in great condition for her age. Yes, there was some paint chipping and condensation on the windows but you are much more particular than us if that's going to affect your vacation at all. The ship was clean, the staff (especially our stateroom attendant) was so friendly, the food in both the MDR and Windjammer was delicious and the entertainment was great (especially the skating show). We really couldnt find any fault at all with the ship. When we had an issue with our bathroom it was fixed in 15 minutes. We went to a lot of the game shows and sports events and had a fantastic time. We won 10 medals! Never had an issue finding a seat in the theater or star lounge. Even on busy sea days we always found a seat in the Windjammer and it was great that they opened the chops grille to give more seating for breakfast. We chose this cruise for the incredible itinerary and it didnt disappoint . Embarkation was very easy, we were on the ship in about 20 minutes. At most ports the ship docked within walking distance of the main areas . We did Oslo (go to Vigeland statue park), Copenhagen, Talinn Stockholm (dont miss the Vasa museum) on our own and found the cities easy to navigate from the ship. For helsinki we did a royal Caribbean excursion to a really fun ice bar which was great! For St Petersburg we used SPB tours which did the same itinerary as royal but was cheaper and had a smaller group In stavanger we climbed pulpit rock. Incredible views but an incredibly difficult hike dont underestimate it! Overall this was the cruise of a lifetime on a wonderful ship. Highly recommend a cruise on Explorer! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because my adult children particularly wanted to visit St Petersburg. Despite reading some negative reviews about the state of the ship before we went, we found it to be fine: immaculately clean, decor was smart, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because my adult children particularly wanted to visit St Petersburg. Despite reading some negative reviews about the state of the ship before we went, we found it to be fine: immaculately clean, decor was smart, everything was well-maintained. We were in an aft balcony cabin with my son in the overhead bed and found it comfortable and sufficiently spacious, with a particularly large balcony. Entertainment was not always to our taste and we were disappointed that there wasn't a west end musical production of the type we've seen on Royal Caribbean in the past. But some of the acts they had around the lounge areas were excellent, we particularly enjoyed the reggae band and the classical guitarist. We do a lot of quizzes and got to know several of the cruise director's team who were lovely. We were a bit disappointed that RC are still rolling out the same Murder Mystery dining show, having already done this twice we didn't want to pay to see the same scenario played out yet again. Ports of call were efficient, even St Petersburg seemed pretty well organised and we quickly got ashore everywhere we went. The one thing which really let this cruise down was the food. Two of our party of 5 are vegetarian, which is not uncommon in the UK. We had told RC about this in advance even though according to their website vegetarian food is always available and does not have to be notified to them. We tend to go separate ways during the day so one thing we really enjoy is a proper sit-down meal in the MDR in the evening where we can all catch up. We have sailed with RC in the past and in the past there have always been at least 2 veggie options available in the MDR every night, one on the main menu and one under "classics". Unfortunately, they've dropped the vegetarian dish from the "classics" selection and on 4 of the 14 nights there was NO vegetarian main course on the menu: on 1 night there was nothing at all, on the other 3 the only options contained parmesan cheese which for legal reasons is always made with animal rennet. We complained to the Head Waiter, Guest Services (who referred us back to the Head Waiter) and directly to RC via their website (who sent us an email saying they were sorry we were disappointed but made no effort to address the issue). The Head Waiter tried his best but told us that the menus are set from a central point in Florida and the ship's chef cannot alter them. He did offer us a list of vegetarian options from which we could choose the day before, but what we got didn't always match what we'd ordered and in any case who knows how hungry they're going to be a day in advance on a cruise? A couple of times we did cave in and go to the buffet instead, where we found plenty of other vegetarians who had already given up on the MDR. There was more choice there, but it wasn't ideal as the veggie dishes were often placed in front of others containing meat or fish so prone to cross contamination with people dropping meat into them, and too few serving utensils were set out so people would use the same for both dishes (I did ask for new utensils when the latter happened but shouldn't have to do this). Oh, and having informed everyone possible about your dietary requirements don't expect this to be passed on to Shore Excursions. Apparently they are completely separate (don't RC have computers)? On the first day of our St Petersburg excursions we were served up with a plate of potatoes as our main course. Dining has always been one of the most enjoyable aspects of cruising for us, but on this cruise we felt very much like second-class citizens. According to 2018 figures from Waitrose, 12.5% of people in the UK are now fully vegetarian or vegan with a further 21% claiming to be flexitarian, where a largely vegetable-based diet is supplemented occasionally with meat. So on a ship sailing from Southampton where the majority of guests are from the UK there will be a significant number of people on board who are exclusively or largely vegetarian and an even higher number of groups or couples which include at least one vegetarian in their party. Sort your vegetarian options out RC or you risk losing a lot of repeat business! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise due to the locations and our previous experience of Royal Caribbean. Our embarkation was good only taking about 15 mins to check in, clear security and step aboard the ship. The ship has benefitted from some ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the locations and our previous experience of Royal Caribbean. Our embarkation was good only taking about 15 mins to check in, clear security and step aboard the ship. The ship has benefitted from some recent refurbishment but areas are looking a little tired and in need of some minor maintenance. Dining was reasonably good with the quality in the Windjammer buffet of a decent standard although a little repetitive after a few days. The main dining room we used on Deck 3 was again of decent standard although the standard of service was a little mixed. The best waiter by a mile was Dody who I could not fault. We sampled most of the bars on the ship and found the R bar to be slightly quieter than the others. Christine was excellent offering quality cocktails and suggestions of drinks to try. The Promenade café was ok for coffee and snacks but finding a seat was a bit of a lottery as was seating in most of the bars. The entertainment was a huge disappointment with the quality of the performers poor apart from a few. The ships orchestra and ice dance troop however were very good. The only way to sum up the entertainment director was he was a complete waste of space. The ship in general was ok but I think it will find it hard to compete with the newer ships that are now on offer. The Captain was very good at putting people to sleep with his daily midday announcements. St Petersburg was a highlight and we used Alla Tours for our excursions for two days who were excellent and cheaper than the options the ship could offer. Overall we enjoyed our cruise but I think this was due to the fact we met some good friends whilst on board (thanks to them and the Key Lime Pie episode !!!!!!) Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Drinks were so expensive,small bottle of stella $7.75.glass wine $9.cheapest bottle wine $35 .small bottle water $2.Ship was to crowded,no seats at bar with entertainment unless you get there 1 1/2 hours before & same for the shows but ... Read More
Drinks were so expensive,small bottle of stella $7.75.glass wine $9.cheapest bottle wine $35 .small bottle water $2.Ship was to crowded,no seats at bar with entertainment unless you get there 1 1/2 hours before & same for the shows but the ships own shows were very poor ,people were walking out & the entertainment director was very unprofessional and never looked smart.The shows with guest performers were very good.{Photos taken by ships photograghers were $20.The tours are estortionate, just to go on trip too Rome was $369 Each.Meals in main resturant were ok but mainly only warm.One couple we met complained & were asked to come back the next night & it was excelant then following night cold plates again.The duty free shops were ajoke my perfume channel was $109 for 50ml yet i can buy that in uk £50.We have done 10 cruises before 1 with royal carabbean & p&o,Princess .Norwegean .thomson & never had complained before so sorry royal carabbean that will be our last with you.Service from the staff was excelant & our cabin attendant was great,we asked him about water & he told us he could bring us 6 wine glasses of water each day but if he bought it in bottles the ship would charge us $ 2 per bottle. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Embarkation seemed to be going very smoothly and we were given our sail passes and made our way to the ship. At the gangway we checked the passes only to discover they had the words ‘Diamond Plus’ on them, we were unsure what this ... Read More
Embarkation seemed to be going very smoothly and we were given our sail passes and made our way to the ship. At the gangway we checked the passes only to discover they had the words ‘Diamond Plus’ on them, we were unsure what this meant so on closer inspection discovered that the sail passes were in different names to ours and had the wrong cabin number on them but our photographs had been imposed onto the cards. We had to go back to the Embarkation desk and start the process all over again which took a very long time as the error had to be corrected and then new cards issued to us. We were told by the staff at the Embarkation desk that the error was Royal Caribbean’s and that out names had been allocated to the wrong cabin. On the first evening when an ‘Adults Only’ show was advertised for the Palace Theatre we were horrified to see that quite a few very young children had been permitted entry and they proceeded to scream throughout some of the performance that ruined the show. We had been ‘Upgraded’ by Royal Caribbean prior to departure which was very nice except that when we went out on the balcony on the first evening we were overwhelmed by thick black smoke coming from somewhere above the cabin (at first we thought there was a fire). On closer inspection the next morning we saw that the smoke had been coming from some vents that were above the cabin. This continued every evening and made it impossible for us to benefit from the balcony without being overcome by the smoke – very upsetting. There was a disgusting odour which seemed to be sewage on the 4th deck Starboard side every day 9near the gents toilets). Some days it was so disgusting it was unbearable to stand on the deck. We paid for and visited Chops Grille on 21st June at 8pm, the first 2 courses seemed to go OK but by 9.30pm we had still not received our main course and suddenly a second tray of bread was delivered to our table even though we had not finished the first and our wine glasses were being topped up even though we had not requested this. Both of our steaks were ordered ‘Medium Rare’ but when they were finally served one had been cooked for far longer than the other as there was no pink inside the steak (the maitre d' agreed with us), our mushrooms and asparagus were cold. The only thing cooked correctly were the fries – a very disappointing evening. I appreciate we are probably not the slimmest of passengers – more an average size, but the bath towels supplied in the cabins are ridiculously small and was impossible to wrap the towels round us after showering Evening entertainment has been the worse we have ever experienced, ‘Cheap and Cheerful’ comes to mind. It was impossible for us to find 2 seats together in any of the bars most nights so we spent every evening wondering the ship wondering what to do. We do not expect to go on a cruise together and have to sit separately in a bar (not acceptable at all). We would find it very difficult travel with Royal Caribbean again and I’m afraid we will find it impossible to recommend you to anyone. We have now emailed Royal Caribbean 10 times about our complaints only to receive 'Bog Standard' replies that say they will respond within 3 days - it's been 3 and half weeks SO RUDE to ignore your customers Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Reviews for Med – royal Caribbean cruise june 2019 We sailed on a 14 day med cruise on Explorer OTS, chosen primarily because of the itinerary and it being mid-June. This was our 8th cruise but only our second cruise with Royal ... Read More
Reviews for Med – royal Caribbean cruise june 2019 We sailed on a 14 day med cruise on Explorer OTS, chosen primarily because of the itinerary and it being mid-June. This was our 8th cruise but only our second cruise with Royal Caribbean and I have to admit I was somewhat concerned about how much I would enjoy the ship, especially considering the spate of very negative reviews that have been written. Well in a nutshell my husband and I had a fantastic cruise and enjoyed almost all aspects of our 14 days, however in fairness I have to say that we are not overly critical people and enjoy a laidback cruise and on occasion the solitude of our cabin. So many reviews have commented that the ship is overdue for a refurbishment and not in a good stare of repair; well apart from the odd bit of rust on our balcony we had absolutely no complaints. Our cabin (8568) was well appointed, clean, had masses of storage space and the bed was very comfortable, and the public areas were fine. Then again we do not spend our holiday looking for negatives to complain about we just get on and enjoy ourselves. Embarkation was efficient and timely. We arrived in Southampton slightly earlier than boarding and after waiting perhaps 15 minutes we were on our way up the walkway, in the lift to the upper deck and sipping our first cocktail. (our traditional Aperol Spritz ) The windjammer buffet was a very pleasant surprise. Even that first lunchtime we were easily able to find a table and the choice and standard of the food was exceptional. The design seemed far more spacious than other ships we have been on and I never felt crowded. Perhaps my biggest compliment belongs to the MDR administration. When I booked I was not able to secure any time dinning and had to book fixed dinning. Unhappy with this option I contacted the Maître D on the first day requested a change and on the following day there was a note in my cabin saying they had amended my reservation to ATD. I really didn’t expect such efficient prompt action. My second compliment goes to the tender disembarkation organisation in Ville Franche. Royal Caribbean do not allocate tender tickets but it was organised in a very timely manner and we were ashore to meet out tour guide ahead of time. We ate every evening in the Sapphire dining room and enjoyed every meal. We liked sitting with strangers and having very different conversations each night. Service was perfectly acceptable for A La Carte service which I don’t expect to resemble the in/out speed of self service. We had planned to utilise our OBC by going to the speciality restaurants but food quality was so good I spent it on an amazing but ridiculously priced spa treatment instead,. Entertainment in the theatre was good but perhaps not excellent. While the professional acts were good I did not enjoy the royal Caribbean players. In my opinion the worst feature was the overly amplified sound system, making the whole show just a noise!! Perhaps the sound system was deliberately loud to mask the poor quality of the performers. Other evening entertainment venues did tend to get very crowded and was the only times I was aware that we were sailing fully booked. As iv said this cruise was chosen for the itinerary and we enjoyed every port. I don’t use ships tours preferring to organise my own small group private tours with local companies and all were excellent. I made contact with fellow passengers via CC and Facebook and a total of 8 couples did 5 tours of 4 couples each. It was an added bonus making such lovely friends. When reading my individual port reviews, you may realise I am not too keen on ships tours, but that’s my personal opinion. Small niggles – our cabin steward never bothered to introduce himself, disembarking at Southampton was a tad confused and I wasn’t keen on the structure of our balcony which was sheltered and prevented me sunbathing. All in all an excellent cruise, a fantastic holiday, some lovely friends and I won’t hesitate to book royal Caribbean again. Ports of Call Gibraltar Caught a white minivan outside port and had 2 hour tour of rock, tunnels, caves, views and monkeys for £30 pp. - Very enjoyable. The minibus was able to climb higher up the rock than the bigger tour buses and so minimised walking. Shop prices are in sterling or Euros but beware of the offered exchange rate. Excellent duty free prices - particularly alcohol, tobacco and cigarettes. Villefranche Had organised two private tours of 4 couples each with Riviera Premium Tours. Company had excellent reviews and ours tours lived up to expectations. Our 6 hour tour included Nice ( Flower market was amazing) Monaco, Monte Carlo, drove the grand prix circuit and the mountain village of Eze. A really good tour, professional and well organised and very reasonably priced La Spezia Florence and Pisa – small private tour of 4 couples with Florence Connections. We left early and beat the crowds, it included a long drive but was well worth it. Sergio our guide was excellent and our tour included a professional guide for 3 hours in Florence. Once again we were able to access the centre of Florence which the big coaches were not able to thus saving us a 20 minute walk each way. I was a little concerned about the distance we were motoring in case we were late returning to the ship but as Sergio explained all tours follow the same road back to port so any hold up would be experienced by all coaches. We were back on board at exactly our requested time and over an hour before the ships tours that only toured Florence. Both Pisa and Florence were amazing and I can highly recommend them. Rome – Civitaveccia We have actually stayed in Rome twice before so chose to stay in port. Wandered the town and found a ‘rustic’ café on the beach and ate pasta and bar b q prawns while sipping a local red wine. Life was good Naples We toured with AP Tours, a company I had used before and once again they were very professional, and gave great service. This time we toured Pompeii, a vineyard and ate a locally produced 5 course lunch while sampling the various wines. Highly suggest hiring a professional guide in Pompeii to appreciate the magnificent city. Two years ago I went on their Amalfi Coast tour which again was excellent. Can highly recommend either tour with this excellent company. Seville – Cadiz This was probably the best tour that we did. We did a 3 ½ hour food tour with Bertram from Cadiz Food Tours. We had a walking tour of the town which was so pretty and touched on the history, visited the fish market – amazing and then visited 3 different authentic tapas bars to sample both their food and wine. What an amazing tour, the food was unbelievable ( not everything was to my taste – do say if you are non-fish eater or vegetarian) but I was literally blown away by the quantity, the quality and the choice of food offered. For the price it was outstanding. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and the reputation of RC ships. Our 2nd cruise ever and first 1 was on Celebrity Equinox. The itinerary was not a disappointment- however- the ship was a great disappointment. The social spaces were ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and the reputation of RC ships. Our 2nd cruise ever and first 1 was on Celebrity Equinox. The itinerary was not a disappointment- however- the ship was a great disappointment. The social spaces were all dark and dingy. The ship seemed to be overflowing with people, hard to find a space to escape the crowds. The entertainment was just adequate. Not of a high standard although the Ice Show which had a theme was very good. The food- average. The best night we had was at Izumi. Giovanni average. The Windjammer was like a canteen. And the Saphire lunch and dinner was almost same food as the Windjammer. The cabin was lovely, spacious however there seemed to be a permanent odour of some sort. The staff seemed in the main to be pre occupied. Not all happy though they tried hard. We are going to go on Quantum of the Seas in January - this was booked before this cruise and I am really hoping for a better experience Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked this cruise to meet with friends with whom we had a lovely time and met some other very nice people. There were also some very rude people on board but that seems to be the case these days. The cabin was adequate and the cabin ... Read More
We booked this cruise to meet with friends with whom we had a lovely time and met some other very nice people. There were also some very rude people on board but that seems to be the case these days. The cabin was adequate and the cabin steward did a good job and dealt with our needs. Service in the main dining room was a little slow at times, especially at breakfast, however the food was acceptable. Unfortunately we were unable to attend the shows as the timing could not be fitted around our dining time (Mytime). We did however manage to see the ice show which was fabulous. We didn't do any cruise excursions we had visited most of the ports previously. Not sure if we would use RCL again we much prefer Celebrity or P & O as was disappointed with the Ship a little sad in places. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Wife picked the cruise to celebrate our 25th, because we did Alaska last year and loved the scenery. We expected to see more of the same and we were not disappointed. Norway was gorgeous, even with some showers and cooler weather. ... Read More
Wife picked the cruise to celebrate our 25th, because we did Alaska last year and loved the scenery. We expected to see more of the same and we were not disappointed. Norway was gorgeous, even with some showers and cooler weather. Spent first two nights in London at Hilton Tower Bridge, then used a private transfer with twelve transfers which was very reasonable against the cost of large group transfers. Embarkation in Southampton was a breeze - wish Florida ports could be that efficient. We arrived around noon and were on board within 20 minutes. The ship was fine considering her age. For all the complaints, I saw a lot more passengers that need work more than the ship did. We did the safety drill at 4:30 and were shortly on our way out of the port. We had MTD and being accustomed to getting a nice table for 2 with a view on our last 3 cruises, we were surprised to find the tables for two all on the inside areas of the restaurant. Our assigned table was right by a serving station and since there were hardly anyone there yet, I asked for a change - we were moved over one table. Service was extremely slow and turned out it was the assistant waiters first cruise and she actually gave us the best dining room service all week. When we left, I requested a change for the rest of the week, and was told, not a problem. Next night, we arrived we were taken to the same table by the serving station - now I know why people drink more on a cruise. We went to the casino the first night - it was the cashier's first cruise too and kept apologizing when we wanted to break down some large bills and after when we collected our winnings - yep, we both won on the slots and was the first cruise we came out ahead from the casino. Tried to get a drink at the Schooner bar on the way to the show, but was very over crowded and seemed that way for the rest of the cruise. Entertainment at the show was terrible - this is me being polite. Was actually the worst first night entertainment that we ever experienced. The comedian was hardly funny, the singers and dancers were so-so, the cruise director boring. I am not overly picky, and neither is my wife, but I have to say this set a tone for the cruise with regards to entertainment. My wife and I are in our 50's but we felt like it was geared towards thIte more senior of senior citizens demographics. Says a lot when we enjoyed the screening of Bohemian Rhapsody one night more than the entertainment shows. That being said, when it came to the Ice Show - it was spectacular. We saw it on the last sea day and the seas were a little rough and for those skaters to perform the way they did it was amazing. Also it seemed like they kept the best comedian until the going away show - he was skilful, funny and engaged at least 70% of the audience. I have to say the CD was probably one of the worst we have had - I think he has spent too long on the ship and is maybe coming the end of his run. Had running inside jokes with his activities director on what they called the morning show. He was not engaging when we occasionally ran into him by ourselves, however as soon as their were 10 or more people around he changed. He absolutely ruined the street parties by his screeching - apparently someone once told him, he could sing....he can;t. The port/shopping excursion manager should be sent off to another ship that isn't part of Royal's family. I hope someone sends a tape of her presentation on that first sea day to corporate. She came across totally disinterested in everything but herself. It was plain horrible. Then I got to hear her lovely voice again as we sailed into Geiranger - it was like nails on the chalkboard. "I want to have everyone look to the left - there is a farm, Norwegian's build farms along their fjords" was one of her highlights. Bar staff were hit and miss - in Windjammer - bad, in Casino, Pool Bar great. Rest of staff were very polite and wanting to help with anything. This is what I expected from Royal Caribbean. Our cabin was an aft cabin on deck 7 - it was fine even with the obstruction of the structure on the back of the ship. Nice to still be able to sit out on the balcony and enjoy a glass of wine in the evenings. Our cabin steward Neville was fantastic and kept everything tip top. His excellent service was highlighted by the fact he was not feeling well and we had a substitute to cover for him - she barely got the bed made and threw two towels in the bathroom. With our experiences in the dining room disappointing, we ate a lot at Windjammer - what can I say, it is buffet food, but they try. One section always served what was being featured on the main menu, so we could still try it without suffering from the slowness of the wait staff. We did do breakfast one day in the main dining room and it was fine, but that is where the Windjammer actually excelled. The ports we visited were great - always did our own tours and not the ships. Loved Geiranger, Olden, Molde, Alesund and Stavanger. Bergen was okay and maybe the rain put me off, but it seemed to be like any other big city. Debarkation was a little chaotic - instead of self assist this time, as we scheduled a pick up around 8:30, we decided to go out as normal.. When our number was called to leave the ship, our bags didn't show up for another 30 minutes - had a crush of people wandering around looking for bags where our number was set up , but they seemed to be putting the bags anywhere. Apparently the number 24 comes after the number 32 for the employees pulling the bags off the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The food in the Main Dining Room could be improved. I ordered Prawns and was given a shrimp dish and the shrimp still had the shell on. The entertainment was great, so was the Ice Show. I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The food in the Main Dining Room could be improved. I ordered Prawns and was given a shrimp dish and the shrimp still had the shell on. The entertainment was great, so was the Ice Show. I don't agree with comments made that cruisers we're not happy with the entertainment. The Barricade Boys were off the chart awesome. We certainly enjoyed Perry Grant. Graham the Cruise Director was funny and informative. He can surely pack the Schooner Bar, 10-20 deep. I am so glad that RCL now has the hot milk in thermos instead of having it next to the oatmeal in a huge pot. We were invited to a Top Tier Party as Diamond members and that was very enjoyable. It would be nice if RCL would include more free mixed drinks for Diamond members in their menu. We will be back. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Been our first cruise our travel agent recomended it we really enjoyed it the cabin was lovely spacious and our cabin attendant came around twice a day all the staff were lovely and couldnt do enough for you we ate in the sapphire dining ... Read More
Been our first cruise our travel agent recomended it we really enjoyed it the cabin was lovely spacious and our cabin attendant came around twice a day all the staff were lovely and couldnt do enough for you we ate in the sapphire dining room on deck 3 food was very good menu had a good choice of meals we sat on same table everynight apart from the night we went to chops grille wich was nice but thought it was just as good as the restaurant we were served by the same two waiters Prastika and Jayvee who were lovely entertainment was ok managed to see two films we wanted to see overall cant really fault anything staff work very hard and nothing was ever too much for them we purchased the drinks package wich i would recomend the waiters always made sure you had a drink sun bathinv without having to keep getting up for drinks was fab very relaxing Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary; we'd never been to ports of call. The staff was friendly and attentive, always ready to help. Our Main Dining Room staff was excellent, from the Head Waiter to our personal waitstaff. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary; we'd never been to ports of call. The staff was friendly and attentive, always ready to help. Our Main Dining Room staff was excellent, from the Head Waiter to our personal waitstaff. Most of the musical entertainment was very good. The comedians were just okay...maybe it's because we missed some things since we're not British (the accent, colloquialisms, etc.). Perry in the Schooner was funny, but it was the same show every night. Further, the timing of some shows conflicted with both MDR times. The nights when there was only one performance, you'd either arrive late or have to leave early. The ship was refurbished a few years ago, and needs an update again. Some areas of the ship are showing wear and tear. Then, the food. There were some highlights, like the osso buco one night in the Main Dining Room. The buffet has a huge variety, but the food was just average. The set-up for the drinks is congested. We went to Chops Grille one night, and it was good. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Just got back from our first ever cruise and I dont think I could go back to a "normal" holiday. Absolutely amazing! Ship was amazing and staff were so attentive. Bars got very full at night and not enough seats but that's ... Read More
Just got back from our first ever cruise and I dont think I could go back to a "normal" holiday. Absolutely amazing! Ship was amazing and staff were so attentive. Bars got very full at night and not enough seats but that's the only thing I can honestly moan about. Entertainment was excellent and the cocktails!!! We only ate in the main areas so cant comment except Johnny rockets which for the price is a must! Absolutely amazing holiday and highly recommend! Excellent cruise for kids. My daughter loved it (6) Son is 2 so no kids club for him but staff were very accommodating and entertaining. My kids left feeling like royalty! So many different cocktails to choose from. Would definitely recommend buying the deluxe package. We were hesitant but ended up saving a lot of money. Photos were good and a reasonable price! Just waiting for ours to be delivered. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Just got back today from a 10 night cruise on Explorer of the Seas . Where do I start , I have been a loyal RCI customer for the last 6-7 years and the previous cruises and ships I could not rare highly enough but this ship is a ... Read More
Just got back today from a 10 night cruise on Explorer of the Seas . Where do I start , I have been a loyal RCI customer for the last 6-7 years and the previous cruises and ships I could not rare highly enough but this ship is a nightmare. Food luke warm in the windjammer every time I went in there ,even when it just opened. Lunch the same most days not much choice . Tables not cleared very quickly seemed to be a lack of staff compared to previous ships. Lack of any seating in the evening over the whole ship was a pain . General service in the bars and eating areas excluding the main dinning room very poor ,plates and glasses not cleared from tables for up to 30 minutes on several occasions. After 9pm only one place to get any food ,small cafe on the promenade not big enough to cater for a full ship. Ship is looking very tired inside and out and in need of a make over. Will not cruise with RCI again in the near future which is a shame as I have always enjoyed my cruises with them,I just don't feel like you are getting the service anymore that you did previously and that makes it not good value for the money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
It was nice to be back on Explorer after many years. Embarkation was very quick and i was on board before 11 am. I know Explorer is due an upgrade soon but it didn't worry me at all. The crew were amazing always smiling and kind they ... Read More
It was nice to be back on Explorer after many years. Embarkation was very quick and i was on board before 11 am. I know Explorer is due an upgrade soon but it didn't worry me at all. The crew were amazing always smiling and kind they really made my cruise. I enjoyed the food and didn't feel the need to eat in any other restaurants other than the main dining room and the windjammer. I have to say i was very tempted i have to say to eat in Chops though. My cabin was 6441 an inside which was ideal for me i was well looked after by the kind steward looking after my room. Entertainment was good in the Promenade and the Schooner bar, i didn't see any other entertainment. I was told by many people i met how good the shows were and the ice skating show. I didn't do any shore excursions but as normal just did what i wanted when we arrived in the ports. Shore excursions seemed busy but i never spoke to anyone that had booked any so i cannot comment. I am very lucky to be back on Explorer in September and October and i cannot wait. As i said the crew made my cruise for me and i hope to meet up with some of them again Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Love Royal Carribean and have travelled with them a couple of times. We travelled with 2 other couples who have never cruised before. Arrival at port and onto boat was very quick. As soon as we got on the ship our friends were amazed. ... Read More
Love Royal Carribean and have travelled with them a couple of times. We travelled with 2 other couples who have never cruised before. Arrival at port and onto boat was very quick. As soon as we got on the ship our friends were amazed. We had a full drinks package and all premium drinks and cocktails included and we definately made rhe most of it. Food was unbelievable as always and thought i was going to have to be rolled off when we arrived home. We picked the Canaries as we thought the weather would have been good at this time but a bit dissapointing (obviously nothing could have been done about that). Arrival at all ports was easy to get off abd back on. The only port that disappointed was Gran Canaria we arrived at port and nothing was opened so couldnt really do much. The only disappointment we had with the ship was the entertainment. We sold it to our friends as top class (as it had been kn previosly ships). I have never been on a cruise were the theatre shows were so poor that people were walking out. Take that tribute band had the place rocking and the Frankie vali and 4 seasons tribute were great but 2 nights out of 10 isnt enough. To put a cruise director on as a main act and a movie which was then shown outside was a joke. The entertainment was more like i would expect to see on a budget holiday not a cruise and a number of people commented on this. All in all however we had a great time and would definately return to Royal Carribean but not on the Explorer of the Seas. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Be careful when going into ports with Royal Caribbean they try and charge you for shuttle service. Ours was $9 per person to go to the edge of city centre. When we got off the ship, the local taxis charge 2.50 euros. The bar prices are ... Read More
Be careful when going into ports with Royal Caribbean they try and charge you for shuttle service. Ours was $9 per person to go to the edge of city centre. When we got off the ship, the local taxis charge 2.50 euros. The bar prices are also so high and sometimes the packages are not worth it. Also Do you research on the ports before you go. 3 of our ports were rubbish, nothing to do and just a normal town, might as well of stopped at home. Also one of the days the entire island was closed. Nothing was open. Yet they still try and push for an excursion to visit the old town where the main shopping centre is open, but the shops inside it weren’t. The entertainment team singers. (Chris & Vanessa) were superb, the best I’ve ever heard on any stage. WOW. The dancers were a little messy, but redeemed by the ballroom couple. The headliner guest acts were awful. The Frankie valli tribute sounded like Orville the Duck. He was also very weak and on occasion out of tune. The take that tribute were not bad. But let down badley by the guy playing Gary Barlow. He was not good. Cringe worthy. The food in the windjammer was excellent. The cabin steward was also excellent. The cruise director (Graeme) was so funny, made the cruise. Just wished he would walk around the ship more. The TV and stations needs looking at. Need to offer more choice. Also some areas around the ship are very cold. I would suggest for everyone to take a cardigan or ask the ship to make it less cold. Read Less
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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