April 2016 - Explorer of the Seas to South Pacific
First let's preface this review with, if you're on a long cruise what can you really complain about. So let's begin
The Explorer of the Seas is an okay ship. Last year we did an Atlantic crossing on the Allure and the two ships don't compare. The crew as always on a Royal cruise were great. The cabin was as usual. I purchased the soft drink package, there were 5 soft drink machines throughout the ship, and at any given time, only one or two were working. The food was just okay. Actually the best meal of the day was lunch at the Sapphire dining room. The nightly entertainment was a real highlight. But now for the stops. Noumea, New Caledonia is a charming little city. I recommend the tchou tchou train tour, its only 2 hours, and takes you through the whole area. The next stop was Mystery Island, a cruise ship stop. Online its says no one lives there because it is taboo. Islanders come over to Mystery Island to work the ships, then leave the island. Crushed coral beaches, so wear shoes. Beware of jelly fish in the ocean as many cruisers were stung. In reality, I think it gets its name because it's a mystery that the ship stops there. Next up is Vila, Vanuatu. This is a perfect example of third world island. The walk from the ship to the city center is about three miles. And I have to mention the first half mile is on a two lane dirt road with vendors on both sides and taxis and vans trying to make it a three lane dirt road. Dangerous at best. Prices for things on the island go up when the ships arrive. One shop actually changed the price on a bag of local coffee as I was paying, so I gave it back. After a relaxing day at sea we pulled into Suva Fiji for an overnight stay. Suva is a dangerous place. 3 crewmembers got mugged the first night and had to be sent home to recuperate. One of our table mates was warned to be back on the ship before dark by a local. Did take a tour to a spice farm which was great. My advice, take tours and see city center by daylight only. After Fiji it was 7 days of sailing then to Honolulu, then on to Maui for an overnight. Nothing bad can be said about Hawaii. then 5 days sailing to Seattle. All in all it was an extremely okay experience.