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Second of five in the Voyager-class Series, Explorer of the Seas adopted a resort concept brimmed with facilities, activities and entertainment. After a major 2014 refit, amenities now include a skating rink, concert venue, TV studio, spa and solarium complex, a shopping boulevard, 3D movie theatre, outdoor movie screen, wedding chapel and florist, a fitness centre, 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. Dress code during the day is mostly casual, but during formal nights, cocktail dresses and suits or tuxedos are required. Royal Caribbean passengers are charged gratuities of $13.50 per person, per day ($16.50 for suite guests) and can be prepaid or added on a daily basis to the passenger’s account.

Accommodation

With numerous categories, cabins are basically divided into four major groupings: premium ocean-view suites and cabins, promenade-view (interior-view) cabins, ocean-view cabins, and interior cabins. The 138 interior cabins have bay windows looking into the Promenade. Most cabins have twin beds that convert to a queen-size unit, TV, radio and telephone, safe, vanity unit, mini-bar, hair dryer, and bathroom. The 107 square metre Penthouse Suites have a king-size bed, a living room with an additional queen-size sofa bed, baby grand piano, refrigerator/wet bar, dining table, entertainment centre, and large bathroom. Suite passengers are also the only ones who can access the concierge club.

Food

The main dining room is a three-level hall, with each level named after an explorer: Columbus, Da Gama and Magellan. Similar to all Royal Caribbean cruises, the dining hall offers two seatings – My Time Dining or pre-set meal times at 6pm or 8.30pm. Cafe Promenade is a 24-hour cafe located in the shopping district, Royal Promenade. It features pastries, tea and coffee in the morning and sandwiches at night. Windjammer Marketplace, Explorer of the Sea’s buffet restaurant, is open for breakfast from 6.30am to 11am, lunch from 11.30am to 3pm, and dinner from 6.30pm to 9pm. For a fee, guests can try Giovanni’s Table, a classic Italian family feast-style restaurant. They can also indulge in Royal Caribbean’s signature Chops Grille, or have a traditional Japanese meal at Izumi.

Activities

ShipShape Center and Day Spa, operated by Steiner, has 14 multi-purpose treatment rooms, a hair salon and at least 100 treatments – from the usual massages and facials, to unique Ionithermie algae detox, medispa treatments, teeth whitening and acupuncture. The 1,3500 square-metre ShipShape Vitality Fitness centre – one of the largest at sea, boasts an ocean view and a good range of cardio and strength machines. Fitness classes like tai chi, spinning and yoga are available at $12 a class. The fitness centre also has an indoor thalassotherapy pool and men’s and women’s locker rooms with a steam room and a sauna. For outdoor recreation, guests are spoiled for choice. The Country Club houses a basketball court, mini-golf, a 61 metre high rock-climbing wall, and golf simulator. Passengers can go ice skating at Studio B, have a jog around the track on deck 12, or book diving or snorkeling classes at the Seatrek Dive and Snorkel Shop.

Families

Explorer of the Seas is known for its massive 1,500 square metre kids and family area. This includes playrooms, a video arcade and a teen nightclub (Optix) with a dance floor, DJ booth and soda bar. Children are enrolled in an Adventure Ocean Program with activities appropriate to their age group. During sea days, the program is available from 9am to noon, 2-5pm and 7-10pm. A group babysitting program, called the Late-night Party Zone, is available from 10pm to 2am. It comes with a fee of US$7 per hour, per child.

Verdict

A relaxed family-style ship with lots on entertainment and dining choices available.

– Cruise Passenger 

– Cruise Critic 

– Berlitz

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