Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by DragMaster63
- Sail Date: March 2017
- Destination: South Pacific
Cleanliness of the ship was quite good, and I was impressed that almost everyday I observed staff "deep cleaning" some part of the ship. Getting behind sconces, on top of window ledges, underneath fixtures and in cavities and such. The carpets seemed to cop a caning on the last day as the seas were a bit rougher than we had experienced prior on this cruise. I can't fault the crew on this as the initial mess was cleaned and sanitised (as best as they could without bring out the steam cleaner)and with 3500 it would be hard to keep up.
Our cabin was "petite" and there was no where to put out bags once we were unpacked, so they just sat there taking up space. This was the first ship I have been on where the bed ran athwartships (side to side). All other ships, civil and military, I have been on the beds ran fore and aft. I am not sure if it made any difference or not as we did not encounter any considerable seas, I thought it curious though. Our cabin attendant was good, non-intrusive and friendly. He was very responsive to requests for extra towels, washers etc. Cabin fixtures were adequate, although some small repairs needed to be done, and the décor was looking a bit tired. The cabin fridge did not seem to work too well, but talking to other folks, there seemed to be a trend with the fridges. Maybe you need to book a suite to get a good fridge. Generally though, we did not spend many non sleeping hours in the cabin so it did not really matter too much. The towel animals were always nice to come home to.
Due to our late booking we ended up with an 8:30pm dinner sitting, but once we adjusted our eating habits, it was fine. One couple on our table found it much too late and decided to dine elsewhere at an earlier time. All our other dinner partners were also late bookers, so that was a good point to begin conversation.
The food at dinner was outstanding, our waiter could not bring us enough food. We always had a good choice of the evenings offerings, because after we were all served with our food (be it starters, mains or dessert), our waiter would place a different selection in the middle of the table for us all to try. If someone was torn between two dishes, our waiter would get both for them.
Breakfast at the buffet on level 3 in the Sapphire Restaurant was ok, but nothing compared to the ala carte breakfast on Level 4, where we had all but one breakfast.
Lunch in the Sapphire was a good experience as well. As with dinner, the food was impeccable.
We did not eat in the Windjammer (buffet), as that type of dining does not appeal to us.
We also ate at Chops and Giovanni's specialty restaurants, and may I say, what a wonderful experience they both were. If you ever go on this ship, you should at least give one of them a go, maybe on the first night where they do a "first night done right" in any one of the specialty restaurants for half price. Well worth it.
We tried out all the bars and our favourite was Dizzy's on deck 14. It has a great outlook, nice and quiet and the drinks superb. The staff were very attentive and friendly. So much so that we began pre dinner drinks there every afternoon at 3pm sharp. Two of the bars did not have an ice blender/mixer (the R bar and the Tavern), so could not make certain cocktails, however, the service was always good in all the bars and the drinks were cold. Sometimes you would have to play musical chairs to get a decent seat, but that sort of goes without saying.
We found the activities and entertainment quite lacking. The ship has the wave rider, pools, mini golf and sports courts, but on a rainy day they ain't much good. It seemed that if you weren't into trivia, "Enrichment" presentations, dancing, bingo or Art Auctions, then you were forgotten about. We entertained ourselves during the days, with coffee on the Promenade talking to many folks who shared out tables, catching some sun, observing people on the wave rider and just embracing doing nothing. The evening shows were nothing to rave about with the exception of two. A musical impressionist who was outstanding (but for the life of me I cannot remember his name), and a comedian on the last night. The production shows were an embarrassment. Flat and off key singing, miss timing on the dancing. But the costume changes were quick.
Most of the service on board was good, although we periodically came across a crew member who was very abrupt, rude to a point, seemed like they did not want to be there and we were ruining their day (not always the same person either), and we spoke to quite a few people who had similar experiences.
Although there were some disappointing aspects on this cruise, it was our first on Royal Caribbean, and we will give them another go on another ship, to see how they fare.
We mainly did our own thing in the ports as I thought the excursions through the ship were very much overpriced for what you got. For example $120.00 US to go snorkelling per person, was a bit exorbitant.
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