Are there words to even describe this ship? Just getting home and in need of sleep... I thought you would like another version of the Explorer, as I am sure there are others on here with their impressions already.... I just can not believe the experience I just had on this ship! From first entering on the beauty hits you, this was the most elegant ship I have sailed on. The theme Explorers of our World was wonderful!
We started out dropping all of our "Stuff" off at our cabin- Lovely! A nice sized balcony, love the rounded corners now on their beds too! Interactive TV,fridge and safe, hair dryer in drawer and Internet right in your room for laptop owners! We were able to get online from our room and send our digital pictures home! you can have this service in your room for $100 a week, For some folks they will say that is too much, but for others that have businesses or family at home it is a way to keep in touch, we loved it....but I am NOT on vacation to be sitting at a computer all day, but when you have 3 or 4 folks in your family that use the 50 cent a minute thingy this is MUCH more economical!
The Bathroom was small but nicely appointed and no more shower curtains! They do have a shower massager now in the showers.
They had a Scavenger hunt type adventure they wanted us to do you needed to find out which explorer invented /used which item such as a compass, sextant,logbook etc, and you found this out by going to different parts of the ship... I will say it takes 3 hours to tour this entire ship.. Get in shape before sailing! It was fun to fill in the blanks and check the ship out!
PUBLIC AREAS: Below are my comments on some of the areas of the ship:
We started at the top with the skylight chapel- Highest place on the sea to be married! it was very nice although I liked the chapel on the Grand Princess a little more, there is a seat lift that makes it handicapped accessible, but you take the steps up to the chapel otherwise, it is off the Viking Crown lounge.
Viking Crown Lounge! WOW what a change! There is a Jazz band, and the walls are holographs of jazz greats! Great view as always, but many different nooks and crannies with different type of setups like the 19th hole, the seats are golf Tees! and what a clock up there! The design flows from section to section!
Down on 13- Yes there is a 13!~ is the Famous Rock Climbing wall- WOW it overlooks the full sized basketball court- I like how they have these sports thingies all together- there is the golf simulator and the inline skate track all together and the links which look very challenging!
Down on 12 you have the shipshape area- but after walking this ship I think you get a cardiovascular workout! they had the latest in equipment, a large aerobics floor and spa treatments here...
What I found to be unbelievable is Club Ocean! WOW I want to be a wittle kid again! the area is shaped like a ship and there is slides and water park squirtys here and there and everything that a little kid would want !!!! They had these little sunchairs that we thought were adorable! There was a little diner for the kids and a GREAT video area! WOW... and all these nooks and crannies for the kids to play in! a lot of Computers for the kids and a little rock climbing wall that had the alphabet where you climb onto! Just a marvelous area! I understand that the Explorers Kids areas is much better then the Voyager's ( I sail on that one in a few weeks so will let you know) Same floor is Johnny rockets! really cute and Really small, I now know why there is a line!
Down on 7 was the Library/computer room- Very nice and elegantly furnished!
Down on 5 was Maharajas a Nightclub/lounge area that has White and Pink elephants at the entrance, this is the beginning/end of the Promenade, general gathering/shopping area- We loved this area! the Promenade is a GREAT area! it was like walking down a street and bar hopping as you shopped!
The connoisseurs club for the cigar set was very nice, with rich woods and that dark rich feel to it, not a place I would be at, but for those whom indulge they will be happy with this layout I am sure! We stopped by the Cafe Promenade that was like a bakery and sandwich coffee shop- open 24 hours- they had a dessert case a sandwich case and they made pizza (Princess and Carnival still have better pizza) they had Veggie, salami and cheese pizza- there was a bar with Cappuccino, espresso, and regular coffee. Next to this was SPRINKLES for those Ice cream addicts! with topping machines! REALLY NEAT! there was the logo store and the general store where you can purchase your liquor,cigarettes ( $17.50per carton $31 for 2 cartons) This store was still stocking and had empty shelves. We loved the Crown and needle pub serving non American beer- Bass? and Guinness on tap! Lovely folks working in there and a great guy who sang and did requests looked like willy nelson.... we would yell out Jimmy buffett and he would instantly do a song! there is a nice fireplace in there (just what you need in the Caribbean) and it is small but had atmosphere! The Weekend Warrior is out there too and this is a sports bar, very Smokey and loud, was the place that many were in, since the yanks and mets were playing. They had hot pretzels and nachos and cheese in there and any type of drink you would want- Bar stools were soccer balls and baseballs etc... a small game room was next door... Guest relations is at the end right before entering the main dining room- Christopher Columbus on this floor, Da Gama is on floor 4, Magellan on floor 3, that is where we were- it is a lovely elegant dining room... dark and rich furnishings. I see that their updated menu seemed to be in place, but I do not see much difference in the menu, our food was fine, large shrimp cocktail, bland lobster bisque, delicious Filet Mignon, and Chocolate souffle for desert, just coming off the Monarch it was the same food and the agents did not get anything different then what we just had on the other ship other then they added Oxtail soup.
Down on 4 is the Palace theater 5 story theatre with surround 3d sound- The show- FAST FORWARD was marvelous! probably the best show I have seen on a RCI ship! the effects were great with the split screen and the voices were great! great choreography and upbeat! For the best view though sit in the center, the sides kind of take something away from the effects I thought. My hubby loves the schooner bar, I think I like the schooner bar that is on the other ships better for it is a bit more mellow but he loved this just the same!
CASINO: I like how they put a bar in the middle of casino, that is a added plus, and the floor with the treasure on it was great! All the men had their pictures taken with the dancing gal mannequins it seemed! Aquarium bar was beautiful, this was very tranquil and they had this section with the labs where there was a learning part about how the waters flow etc.. nice touch for those that like that kind of thing!
Now down to 3.... STUDIO B: Wow how impressive a ice rink on a ship! and the show was wonderful, especially given the size of the ice rink! It was maybe a quarter of what we know from the Olympics so this has to be much harder to do the jumps and twists that they did!Loved this guy who had this big ring that he got inside of and twist and turned all over the ice! and yes there is 2 bars in there too!
There are 35 bars overall on the ship, so you will never Die of thirst! This ice skating was a great touch! Now for one of my favorite areas! the CHAMBER! The Gothic/Medieval High tech disco! this was unreal! it is multi stories and you really feel like your in a castle! Knights in Armour, gargoyles, Torches ablaze with fire... and the seating here is unreal! you swear your back in days of yore! Stained glass windows too!~
CABINS: They have really changed their format here! No more shower curtain on your tushie, Silver and gold tone faucets.... Rounded corner beds.... and more room! plenty of closet and drawer space, a fridge, safe and hair dryer...hook-ups for the computer.... interactive TV..
The Family rooms were wonderful they have a Suite that sleeps 8 with 2 bathrooms and tons of storage and they have the Family Rooms that sleep 6 2 bedrooms 1 bath and soooo roomy! They are up front, have 3 windows, Mom and Dad have their privacy on one side and the kids have theirs on the other in between there is a VERY large area with chair table and sofa.... these are Forward on the ship.
Next to the Family Room is the Cat IF larger oceanview - I took this for my hubby, teenage daughter and myself. and am glad! it is Extremely roomy!
The Royal Suite with the shower with 3 shower heads and immense bathroom area with glass sea throw bowls as the sinks, a Jacuzzi on the deck, Piano in the entrance, dining room, butler area, living room, Bar is unreal! But to be honest a bit overkill, as you would feel you would need to be in there! We much preferred the Owners Suite to it, I liked the warmer feeling and the furnishings and the REAL wide screen TV in the Bedroom! Inside staterooms were very roomy and those whose pocketbooks take them this far will be very happy with their cabins!
The Atrium cabins were not bad at all! they sleep 2 and are very efficient for 2!
SUMMARY: WOW I think I am coming to the end here! Oh I have been told that this and the Voyager are very similar but that the Explorer has added features and I guess they leave the mistakes back on the 1st of a kind huh? And to answer many peoples questions they did come over here in rough Seas and YES a few windows broke and on the side of the ship it has pings in several different places that removed the paint from the stripe.... I was told it was from the storm... they said the crew were sick for 3 days...
In closing, Anyone who loves cruising needs to TRY this form of cruising ... It is so different then anything you have tried before, and it looks to me to be the new WAVE of cruising.... There are so many choices and so many intimate areas to please everyone... If you are bored it has to be you, because Royal Caribbean out did themselves when they came out with this concept! I thought at first a ice rink? Rock climbing wall? roller skating? How strange! but just because it is not "MY" particularly favorite thing to do in life, does not mean it is not what OTHERS may like to do.... they are marketing cruises for those other 75%+ that have NEVER cruised and choose landbased vacations so that they can SEE that Cruising is the way to go! Its amazing what you can do in a day, but I would MUCH prefer a week! I need now to get some sleep! SHHHH I took today off from work!
Check out the photos on our website of this marvelous ship! www.cruiseoutlets.com under Ship photos. Nothing like a Cruise!...