Explorer of the Seas - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Explorer of the Seas


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 392 out of 500

Accommodation: 142 out of 200

Food: 222 out of 400

Service: 266 out of 400

Entertainment: 74 out of 100

Cruise: 264 out of 400

Overall Score: 1360 out of 2000

Explorer of the Seas Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 137,308

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9161728

Builder: Kvaerner Masa-Yards (Finland)

Original Cost: $500 million

Entered Service: Oct 2000

Registry: The Bahamas

Length (ft/m): 1,020.6/311.1

Beam (ft/m): 155.5/47.4

Draft (ft/m): 28.8/8.8

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (75,600kW)/3 pods (2 azimuthing, 1 fixed)

Passenger Decks: 14

Total Crew: 1,181

Passengers (lower beds): 3,114

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 44.0

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.6

Cabins (total): 1,557

Size Range (sq ft/m): 151.0-1,358.0/14.0-126.1

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 757

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 26

Wheelchair accessibility: Best

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 14

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3

Hot Tubs (on deck): 6

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


This large resort ship will entertain the whole family

Overview. It’s a large, family-friendly ship, the cabin hallways are warm and attractive, with artwork and wavy lines to break up the monotony.

The Ship. Explorer of the Seas is sister to Adventure of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, and Voyager of the Seas. It provides an abundance of facilities and options, yet it has a healthy amount of space per passenger. One neat feature is an outdoors observation deck at the bows (good for photos, if you face aft, with most of the ship behind you).

A four-deck-high Royal Promenade, 394ft (120m) long and the main interior focal point, is the place to hang out or to arrange to meet someone. Two American football fields long, it has two internal lobbies that rise up to 11 decks high. Eateries and shops, and entertainment locations front this street, and interior ‘with-view’ cabins look into it from above. Guest reception and shore excursion counters are located at the aft end of the promenade, as is an ATM machine. Look up: you’ll see a large moving, asteroid-like sculpture (constantly growing and contracting). Entertaining street parades take place here.

Arched across the promenade is a captain’s balcony. A stairway in the center of the promenade connects you to the deck below, where you’ll find Schooner Bar (a piano lounge that’s a feature of all Royal Caribbean International ships) the colorful Casino Royale, and several shops. At times, street entertainers appear, and parades happen.

There is an ice-skating rink (Studio B), with real ice, and seating for up to 900. Slim pillars obstruct clear-view arena stage sight lines, however. If ice-skating in the Caribbean doesn’t appeal (it has actually become extremely popular), perhaps you’d like reading in the two-deck library, open 24 hours a day.

Drinking places include an Aquarium Bar, with 50 tons of glass and water in four large aquariums (no swimming!), a Champagne Bar, Crown & Kettel Pub, a Café Promenade (for Continental breakfast, pizzas, coffee, and desserts), Weekend Warrior (a sports bar), and a Connoisseur Club (for cigars and cognacs). Jazz fans will head for Dizzy’s, an intimate room within the Viking Crown Lounge, or the Schooner Bar piano lounge. Golfers might also enjoy the 19th Hole, a golf bar, as they play the Explorer Links.

Passenger gripes include cabin bath towels and noisy (vacuum) toilets; few quiet places to sit and read - almost everywhere there is intrusive background music (particularly on the pool deck). And if you have a cabin with an interconnecting door to another cabin, be aware that you’ll be able to hear everything your next-door neighbors say and do.

In spring 2015, the ship will undergo an extensive refurbishment, after which it will feature some new dining options, a Flowrider surf simulator, ‘virtual’ balconies for interior cabins, and a 3D cinema. The new dining venues are expected to include: Chops Grille (open for lunch and dinner, this steakhouse features prime steaks, other meats, and grilled seafood items); Giovanni’s Table (open for lunch and dinner, this trattoria features Italian classics served family-style); Izumi Asian Cuisine (open for lunch and dinner, including a sushi bar and sizzling hot-rock cooked items); Chef’s Table (open for dinner only, this private experience is co-hosted by the executive chef and sommelier and features a wine pairing dinner of five courses); Park Café (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this indoor/outdoor deli is for salads, sandwiches, soups, and pastries). All except Park Café incur a cover charge.

Families. Facilities for children and teenagers are good. Aquanauts is for 3-5-year-olds; Explorers (6-8); Voyagers (9-12). Optix is a dedicated area for teenagers, including a daytime club with computers, soda bar, and disco. Challenger’s Arcade has the latest video games. Paint and Clay is an arts and crafts center for younger children. Adjacent to these indoor areas is Adventure Beach, an area for all the family to enjoy.

Accommodation. There are numerous cabin categories, in four major groupings: premium ocean-view suites and cabins, promenade-view (interior-view) cabins, ocean-view cabins, and interior cabins. Many cabins are of a similar size - good for incentives and large groups - and 300 have interconnecting doors - good for families.

Some 138 interior cabins have bay windows look into a central shopping plaza - and into your neighbor’s cabin unless you keep the curtains closed. All cabins except for the Royal Suite and Owner’s Suite have twin beds that convert to a queen-size unit, TV set, radio and telephone, personal safe, vanity unit, minibar, hairdryer, and bathroom.

The largest accommodation includes luxurious Penthouse Suites; occupants have sole access to a concierge club. The grandest is the Royal Suite, on the port side of the ship, and measures 1,146 sq ft (107 sq m). It has a king-size bed in a large bedroom, a living room with an additional queen-size sofa bed, baby grand piano, refrigerator/wet bar, dining table, entertainment center, and large bathroom.

There are similar facilities in the slightly smaller, but still highly desirable Owner’s Suites - all 10 are in the center of the ship, on both port and starboard sides, each measuring 468 sq ft (43 sq m), and four Royal Family Suites, each measuring 574 sq ft (53 sq m). The Royal Family Suites, which have two bedrooms (including one with third/ fourth upper Pullman berths), are at the stern and have fine views over the ship’s wake.

All cabins have a private bathroom with shower enclosure (towels are 100 percent cotton), plus interactive television and pay-per-view movies. Note that cabins with ‘private’ balconies aren’t so private, because the partitions are only partial.

Dining. The huge main dining room is set on three levels, and each is named after an explorer: Columbus, Da Gama, and Magellan. All three have the same menus. Choose one of two seatings, or My Time Dining (eat when you want, during dining room hours), when you book. The place settings, china, and cutlery are of good quality.

Other dining options. Portofino, an upscale Euro-Italian restaurant. It’s open for dinner only, reservations are required, and there’s a cover charge. The food and its presentation are better than the food in the dining room.

Windjammer Café: this is a really large, sprawling venue for buffet-style, self-help breakfast (this tends to be the busiest time of the day), lunch, and light dinners (but not on the last night of the cruise); it’s often difficult to find a table and by the time you do your food could be cold.

The Island Grill (it’s actually a section inside the Windjammer Café), for casual dinner (no reservations needed), with a grill and open kitchen.

Johnny Rockets, a retro 1950s all-day, all-night diner-style eatery, has hamburgers, malt shakes (at extra cost), and jukebox hits, with both indoor and outdoor seating.

Promenade Café: for Continental breakfast, all-day pizzas, and speciality coffees (provided in paper cups).

Sprinkles, located on the Royal Promenade, is for round-the-clock ice cream and yogurt, pastries, and coffee.

Entertainment. The stunning 1,350-seat Palace Showlounge spans five decks, with only a few slim pillars and almost no disruption of sight lines - an example of fine design and shipbuilding.

The ship also carries an array of cabaret acts who regularly travel the cruise ship circuit. Strong cabaret acts perform in the main showlounge, while others perform in the Maharaja’s Lounge, also the venue for adult-only late-night comedy. The best shows are the Ice Spectaculars.

Spa/Fitness. The Vitality at Seas Spa is reasonably large, and measures 15,000 sq ft (1,400 sq m). It includes an aerobics room, fitness center, treatment rooms, and men’s and women’s sauna/steam rooms. Another 10,000 sq ft (930 sq m) of space features a Solarium (with sliding glass-dome roof) to relax in after you’ve exercised.

Aft of the funnel is a 32.8ft (10m) rock-climbing wall, with five climbing tracks. It’s a great buzz being 200ft (60m) above the ocean while the ship is moving. Other sports facilities include a roller-blading track, a dive-and-snorkel shop (equipment rentals available), a full-size basketball court, and a nine-hole, par 26 golf ‘course.’