December 2000 My husband, my son and I started our cruise vacation a day early through the RCI day prior program. This made boarding a snap as we checked in and received our boarding passes at the hotel, Hyatt Regency of Miami the night before we boarded. At noon the day of embarking a bus picked us up at the hotel and took us to the pier where we simply walked aboard and started our cruise vacation on sailing # 6 of The Explorer of the Seas.
RCI's Explorer of the Seas is absolutely beautiful. The artwork throughout the ship is stunning. Everywhere you look there is something interesting and new to look at. Views overlooking the Promenade on Deck 5 are breath taking. We enjoyed the fish aquarium displays at the Aquarium Bar.
We took advantage of the tours of the Oceanography and Atmospheric labs. It is interesting to see what the scientists are doing on board. A science lesson worth taking in. "Hands on" science labs, including a miniature iceberg are set up on Deck 4 near the Aquarium Bar. We also enjoyed the window where we could see the bridge and the many instruments needed to navigate the ship.
We especially enjoyed the activities aboard. This included miniature golf, the rock climbing wall, full size basketball court, Ping-Pong tables, shuffleboard, in-line skating, ice skating, foos ball, and of course swimming and Jacuzzis. These were all free. The Adventure Arcade included air hockey and many other arcade type games, which you did have to pay for. We especially tip our hats to the staff of these activities. The Ship Shape staff and the Youth Staff were very friendly and helpful. We even learned to juggle at poolside one afternoon!
We found the food to be good as well. The gala buffet was indeed a sight to behold even though we were too full to take advantage of it. The Promenade Cafe was open 24 hours a day for sandwiches, pizza, or other snacks. Johnny Rockets Diner was a great place to have a sandwich, a bowl of delicious chili, and some fantastic onion rings at no cost, but drinks and malts were charged to your cruise card here. Our son used the Coke Card Program, which was handy. We purchased the program at one of the bars on board and they simply put a coke sticker on his card so he just showed it when he wanted a coke. After a day or two, the waiters knew he had the card and never even asked him to show it. I thought it was nice that if he joined us for a drink in Dizzy's Jazz Bar or any of the other bars they even fixed his Sprite up with oranges and cherries. A nice extra touch that wasn't necessary but it made him feel special.
The entertainment was outstanding. Ken Rush is the cruise director and did an excellent job. The shows were full of energy, color and passion. We were amazed at the ice show and what they could do on such a small area. The welcome and farewell shows, which featured the Royal Caribbean dancers, were especially enjoyable. Another added feature on the Explorer was the Krooz Komics. What a hoot! They appear all over the ship and always received laughs. The Promenade was a central hub for entertainment. Soft music in the Champagne Lounge, a guitar playing in the Crown and Kettle Pub or special musical appearances by Daniel and Stacy were exceptional. There was talent all over the ship.
Two special theme nights were Toga Night and Country and Western Night.
Our room was an inside stateroom. The three of us were comfortable. Our luggage fit under the bed. There was plenty of closet space and drawer space for us all. Our cabin had a hair dryer, mini-fridge and safe in it as well. The bathroom was nicer than those were on the Majesty and Enchantment. Nicer showers.
Some information that is interesting is that of the 3,120 passengers on board, 2,100 of them were repeat passengers of RCI. I guess that says a lot for RCI.
Disembarking was a snap with the new terminal. When our color was called we went to the correct carousal and waited as the luggage came to us. We then simply walked about 30 feet to the Airline Counter and checked in. All of this was under a roof so we never had to hurry to escape the burning sun or rain.
All in all we loved our cruise on the Explorer and will definitely cruise with RCI again!