Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage

Contributor Level: Third Mate

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

Not what we expected.....

Sail Date: May 27, 2016

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Large Group

Room Type: Balcony

WHERE do I start? We traveled in a group of 13 people who came in on various flights on different days.  Two in our group decided to fly in and out on cruise days and booked flights with RCCL.  Disastrous!  The flight was late and the ship almost sailed without 6 of their passengers; 2 of which were in our  group.  Ship personal advised  that the ship would sail with or without them at 4pm resulting in extremely stressful moments. Finally, they arrived but with no bags...bags arrived 2 days later in Juneau! Our friends where shaken up to say the least.  No clothes, no food, nothing.. RCCL gave them a little bag with toothpaste and toothbrush... on the 2nd day.  Clothing vouchers where to come from the airline which was difficult to contact.  Our friends just bought what they could.  No underwear, socks or personal type clothing onboard for purchase. IT WAS SOOO STRESSFUL for all involved.

DINING: We were suppose to have a diner table for 13.  Somehow it was for 11. We asked the maître d to add the two extra chairs to our enormous table and he said he could not do that. After two nights of eating separately, our waitress accommodated the two chairs and had us all sit together...stress...again!

Our dining room experience, other than the seating, was wonderful.  Our waitress (Geraldine), her helpers (Imade 1) and the Bar runner (Imade 2) where FANTASTIC!  Food was good!  Windjamer (buffet) was ok.  Suitable for it's purpose...but found it to be closed at times when we needed to eat.

CAFE PROMANADE is open 24-7..thank goodness...but needs more seating as its the only place to eat when everything else is closed...so MOST passengers are there or have to "take out" when there is no room.

Next to the cabins... we had an outside balcony on the 9th deck (9292). Balcony was smaller than I expected but worth getting. Room steward (Clayton) was excellent! Rooms were clean and large.

CHOPS GRILL murder mystery dinner experience was ok.  The meal served was EXCELLENT!!!! The performance was ok. The actors did not have microphones so if you are sitting in the back, you miss a lot of the dialogue.

PHOTOGRAPHY- Disappointed - the backdrops were all geared for "island" photos...not one backdrop had a mountain, snowcaps, Alaskan view... they had tropical sunsets, palm trees, beaches. I hardly took any photos.... sooo disappointing! Did like the automated photo center!

ENTERTAINMENT -  AWFUL.  First of all, the Cruise Director (Graham Seymour) was basically the entertainment.. he sang, was the comedian, danced, performed, hosted..you name it (also, can behave inappropriately from time to time). There were 4 excellent professional singers on board and we hardly saw them. There was 1 excellent professional comedian on board and he had only 2 shows, which was FANTASTIC (Kivi Rogers).  The Cruise Director was selling a personal DVD and CD of himself after "his" late night show. I have cruised many  times and the Cruise Director "directs" his team to cover events and the performers perform and the actors act... This guy was actually lip syncing to a series of British tunes in the promenade dressed up in a British flag..awful!  There were parades in the promenade that where not conducive to the crowd... clown like characters...performers where out of sync...laughing at themselves when they messed up the choreography...child like shows that did not fit the Alaska experience and the COST of this trip. And if you didn't get a front seat, you pretty much missed it...  my advice is to get up high and watch from above.

ICE SKATING show was very nice and worth going to.  Get in line early and if you are in a group, expect not to be together for the show.  Its based on your Munster station code.

SHORE EXCURSIONS where amazing... Helicopter/Glacier tour; White pass Train Tour; Zip lining ... PORTS of CALL where amazing.. EZ on and off ship to shore experience.

THE EXPLORER OF THE SEAS was not prepared for the ALASKA experience  passengers where expecting.  This ship was still in Australia mode.... warm summary type of vacation. Rock climbing is only opened on sunny days "non wet" days...Flow Ryder (wave machine) closed most of the time because we're in ALASKA.  We did play a very cold and wet game of Dodge Ball..which was fun. We played shuffle board...cold but fun.  Jogging/walks in the morning was lovely but FREEZING. Decided to take my walks INDOORS.

GYM was awesome. STEAM room and saunas where nice and clean.  SPA was lovely however We booked 3 massages... 2 Swiss and 1 Deep tissue.  All three left us all bruised and sore. I ALWAYS book spa massages on all my cruises and never had this happen before. 


Cruise in General: Not happy

Disappointed especially with the cost of flying across the country (Florida); staying in Seattle before and after cruise and the cost of the cruise.

Sad to say but I don't think I would recommend RCCL for Alaska.


Our group age range = 21 though 60.  (13 people)


Cabin / Stateroom
lovely large accommodations.
balcony not as large as I anticipated for an ALASKA cruise.
Only 3 people can comfortably stand on the balcony.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
on and off the ship was as expected. no issues.
Ship Quality
THE ship IS beautiful AND CLEAN. Plenty of OUTDOOR pool seating IF you were on a CARIBBEAN cruise. NOT for ALASKA where it is FREEZING
Destinations and Excursions
PORTS of call where beautiful and fun. Juneau, Skagway and Victoria.
EXCURSIONS (white pass railroad; Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter, Zip Lining Grizzly Falls...GREAT)
NOT ENOUGH TIME in VICTORIA. Shipped left at 5PM... Makes no sense... we are literally 1 hour away from Seattle. We sat at sea for hours ... more ONBOARD horrid entertainment.
Onboard Activities
"not" geared for Alaska.
Rock climbing is only opened on sunny days "non wet" days...
Flow Ryder (wave machine) closed most of the time because we're in ALASKA!
AWFUL. Shows were performed with mostly the cruise director. The 1 show we saw that had the 4 singers in it was lovely. The comedian headliner was FANTASTIC. The last night, instead of spending more time in VICTORIA we had to see the LAST show which consisted of the Cruise director singing song after song... awful!
Service and Staff
SERVICE is fantastic. Our crew was extremely friendly, on their toes, immediately learned our names and our likes and dislikes...
Food and Dining
FOOD was ok. RCCL is not known for their spectacular food.
Seattle, Washington
LOVED Seattle. COME in 2 days before or after cruise to enjoy this wonderful city!!!
Cruise Inside Passage, Alaska
Balcony is a must! Days are LONG so watching from you cabin while in bed is GLORIOUS
Juneau, Alaska
SO MUCH FUN.. try to book shore excursions early so you can visit pubs and shops... ENOUGH time for two excursions too... MENDENHALL glacier is a MUST by Helicopter.
Skagway, Alaska
SO MUCH FUN... White Pass Railroad is great. Bring snacks. Water is provided. Bathrooms on board in each car. Disembark in town..no need to go back to ship.
Cruise Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska
Unable to enter Tracy Arm.. we went to DORES which was spectacular.
Victoria, British Columbia
LOVED IT. We got a private Limo Service off the ship. Booked in advance. Took us all over Victoria ... Gardens, Castle. CRUISE needs to stay longer in this port! No reason to leave early since it is SOOO close to Seattle.


Front elevators are usually easiest to get..
Main elevators are always a WAIT.
Arrive early for ICE SKATING Show..
Sleep with your curtains and sliding doors open...lovely.
tip you room steward and waiters extra,,,they are the hardest working people on the ship
look out for graham Seymour...

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