Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by alfredos
- Sail Date: March 2017
- Destination: South Pacific
We had My Time Dining so wandered down to the Dining Room to check it out. We found two Head Waiters attending to people waiting to get in. One was really helpful, and the other was polite, but not about to make any effort on our behalf. Guess which one we dealt with for the rest of the cruise? Food in the MDR was of a consistently high standard all the way through the cruise. I often read people criticising the food in these forums, and it makes me wonder what must they eat at home? Maybe they just like to criticise.
We ordered a Room Service breakfast one morning and ate it on the balcony as the ship sailed into Lautoka. A really nice way to start the day.
The ship is quite large, and the dining options are all at one end, with the entertainment options all at the other end. Be prepared to do some walking. The Royal Promenade, which extends through the middle, is like a shopping mall with pubs, shops, cafes, and lots of stuff being sold in the middle every day. There is lots to do on board, with trivia quizzes, Bingo, art lectures, gemstone lectures, scrap-booking classes and heaps of other stuff. The pools are heated, there are pool and spa options for adults only, you can attempt the rock-climbing wall, or the Flow Rider, or the ice skating. We are a bit past most of those activities, so we contented ourselves with a few rounds of mini-golf.
The entertainment at night was varied, and of reasonable-to-good quality. They definitely put some effort into presenting their entertainment programme. The Cruise Director, Graham Seymour is a very talented, very funny, and very hard working guy. His staff were pretty good too. The Ice Show is definitely not to be missed.
I attended a couple of enrichment lectures on the History of Art. I know nothing about art, so everything was new to me, but very interesting. The presenter knew his stuff and delivered it with authority and a bit of humour.
We did a mixture of excursions; some booked through RCI and some on our own. We got to see some interesting stuff, and didn't experience any problems. The Fijian people on the pier are very keen to sell you a tour, but shop around before you commit. In Suva, we experienced some pretty aggressive sales techniques near the cruise terminal, and had to be a bit rude to get away from these people. We deliberately chose to buy from people who did not try to hard-sell us.
Duty-free prices in Noumea are not as good as Vanuatu, but still cheaper than buying in Aust. Alcohol is about half price, although I was told perfumes and after-shave weren't very cheap at all.
There were a lot of kids on this cruise, of all ages. They were generally well behaved, and I didn't see anything to complain about. I saw three young teens being told politely they couldn't come into the buffet unless they were wearing shirts, so I was pleased to see RCI was enforcing its own policies in that area.
My only criticism of the whole trip was the coffee. There is filter coffee available at several locations on the ship, but we had paid for the beverage package, which included specialty coffees. These come from a well-known American coffee franchise. I found the coffee was extremely weak, which I guess is just my personal taste. Plenty of people don't like their coffee strong. However, it was also very inconsistent and seemed to depend on who was making the coffee at the time. I got double-shot coffee which still seemed quite weak, I got a Macchiato served in a full sized cup and filled with milk, I even had an instance where I ordered two identical coffees and they were different from each other. I'm not sure where the blame lies for this, maybe some more training is required. The staff were great, and helpful, just not consistent.
We had a great time and would be happy to sail on RCI again if we see an itinerary that appeals to us.
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Shower was hot, pressure was good, more storage space in the bathroom.
Balcony was big enough to move around, and big enough for us both to sit and have a meal.
Bed was a little harder than I am accustomed to, but not uncomfortable.
Cabin steward was really great.
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There is fresh cooked food available all along the beach here. Tasty and inexpensive.
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