Fantastic Baltic Cruise!

Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review to Europe - Northern Europe

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 13

Overall rating:

4.2 out of 5
Explorer of the Seas

14 Night Scandinavia & Russia (Southampton Roundtrip)

Sail date: August 04, 2019

Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Cabin type: Balcony

Traveled as: Large Group

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

Beautiful itinerary. Ship due an update. Royal Caribbean service great as usual. “Hello Clo” fantastic cruise director.

Embarkation

4 out of 5
Smooth and quick as usual, but electronic embarkation process wasn’t working so had to wear a wristband until on the ship for photo and no photo on SeaPass card- which wasn’t such a bad thing!

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
One of the best buffets at sea- but busy and crowded. Great selection of sugar free and gluten free etc as well as the unhealthy treats! Sit down is a calmer and more refined experience and choice was good, but as usual with mass catering the stuff that should be fresher (like pasta) was a bit average and bland.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
Great selection as usual with RC

Entertainment

4 out of 5
The quality of entertainers on smaller ships does suffer slightly but the Cruise Director (Hello Clo) was a consummate professional. Graffiti Classics and Wild Boys were fabulous.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
The trade off for travellers seeing the world in luxurious surroundings with amazing service is that lots of the service personnel are from poorer economies and are being worked hard (too hard, in my opinion) and subsidise what I feel should be a higher wage with tips and gratuities. I’d prefer my cruise with staff with a lessened workload where the disparity between the economic circumstances of the staff and the cruisers is not as great. This is a problem with all cruise lines who go overseas to harvest cheap labour on labour-intensive roles. Pay them more, work them less, charge cruisers if necessary.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
Explorer is looking a bit tired in staterooms and public areas and although a beautiful ship, it’s in need of a refurb. This won’t be a problem for first time cruises with little to compare it to, I wouldn’t imagine.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
We had room 7358- spacious balcony. The room and balcony were lovely.

Ship tip

Lovely ship, great cruise line for families.

Ports of call

Oslo, Norway

4 out of 5
Walkable from port. Peace Museum is right by the port and fascinating. Locals use an app to use electric scooters and they are everywhere and great fun- download! Oslo is clean, stylish and expensive.

Copenhagen, Denmark

4 out of 5
Copenhagen is expensive, clean and stylish. Port shuttle required and both ways RC provided expensive shuttle buses that required A LOT of queuing time. This port was far away (20 minute shuttle trip) to Copenhagen. Copenhagen was fantastic, however. Great museums for kids (try Guineas Book of Records Museum) and very vibrant.

Tallinn, Estonia

5 out of 5
Unlike anywhere you’ve ever been! Medieval. A bit like Shrek-world. Castles and medieval buildings abide. The market square was alive and vibrant. Walkable from port- about twenty minutes. Great surprise.

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

5 out of 5
You need a visa or pre-booked excursion. Customs people were intimidating. St Petersburg is FASCINATING. Beautiful buildings and lots of history. Chance in a lifetime.

Helsinki, Finland

4 out of 5
Local shuttle- about a twenty minute journey into town. Cathedral in the cave was fantastic.

Stockholm, Sweden

5 out of 5
We made our own way to Skansen which is amazing for all. Open air museum with traditional Scandinavian buildings and farms, entertainment and lots of animals. Huge place- even an aquarium. Amazing day spent here. We spent a little time in Stockholm Old Town (Gamla Stan) which was gorgeous but very very busy in August.

Skagen, Denmark

3 out of 5
Small little fishing village. Quaint and beautiful. 20 minute walk from port.

Stavanger, Norway

5 out of 5
Incredible. Right next to port. Viking Experience Museum was terrific. Lots of museums and if you go to one, others are discounted. Great vibrant beautiful town.

Disembarkation

3 out of 5
Quick but always too early and with other very grumpy cruisers.
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