Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review to Europe - Northern Europe

Contributor Level: Second Mate

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

5 out of 5

Just Right, a nice blend

Sail Date: May 26, 2015

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

This cruise is 'just right' in that you get the cosmopolitan flavor of Rotterdam and Stavanger, and also get to see four very dfferent fjord regions of Norway. The sail-away from Southampton is interesting as you can clearly see the Spinnaker Tower of Portsmouth, and castles on the mainland and Isle of Wight. I'd recommend the excursion to The Hague & Delft Factory the next day, as you will still see lots of Rotterdam en route. If you'd like, due to the docking local, you can easily walk to Rotterdam or take the little shuttle bus. Next stop at Olden is wonderful if you take the Lake Loen cruise. Being there in late May allows you to hear the thundering of the avalanches that will cascade off of the snow capped mountains. Tons of photo ops. In the p.m., take an hour stroll to the tiny village and two cozy churches. Next stop is Flam, and of course the train to the mountain top. Early June is not too late for SNOW! Crazy cool to partake in a mini blizzard, then as the train rolls down to Voss you are back to verdant valleys. The planned luncheon is great, and the town quite walkable. The scenic bus trip back to the boat will leave you breathless at the incredibly steep switchbacks, and wonderful waterfalls. Next stop at Alesund has a very enjoyable and historic downtown, and the view atop Mt. Aksla is incredible. The Viking village which concludes one such excursion is kind of funky. You'll see lots of local families there, and see many of the old homes and sailing vessels from previous lives. Final port of Stavanger is a pretty big commercial city with the opportunity to take in a sailing to Lysefjord. The boat turns around at Pulpit Rock and you see the Billy Goats perched on the steep rock cliffs before you make the waffle stop. Don't worry about sitting inside the cabin, there's lots of roaming room outside also when the photo op appears. The usual cruise ship ups and downs on the Explorer of the Seas; crowded Windjammer café, and delightful one act 'lite' entertainment shows at night that are 50 minutes long. Above average cheer of the crew, they are always happy! Worst two things on the boat, elevators that need to be re-programmed and slot machines that are older and quite hungry. As rated, this is a 4.5 star ship that has had better days but is still quite trendy. For the price and itinerary you can't beat this cruise.

Service and Staff
Ship Quality
Food and Dining
Largest burgers you'll ever see for $6 at Johnny Rockets. Izumi sushi is okay until somebody starts cooking on the hot rocks. Then the whole place really stinks up. My favorite was Giovasnni's Table, must try the lamb chops!!
If you see the psychic show, you'll never forget it.
Destinations and Excursions
Cabin / Stateroom
Southampton (London), England
Do a 90 minute walking tour before the boat leaves, it's incredible and you can't get lost.
Kristiansand, Norway
This cruise went to Rotterdam, many travel brochures have this error!
Olden, Norway
Do take the lake Loen cruise. Pray for still waters then the reflections of the mountains are truly divine!
Flaam, Norway
Yup, do the train. Right side is probably better; some windows open or slide for good pix.
Alesund, Norway
Mid size town, explore the city and overlook. Skip the Viking Museum.
Stavanger, Norway
The high powered boat whisks you to the Lysefjord, then of course more waffles in a tent. It is a good trip though.


I think for the slight upcharges, the dinner meals are truly like fine restaurants.

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