The ship is in desperate need of refurbishment. Many of the common areas showed excessive wear and tear. Many of the exercise machines in the spa had minor problems, were missing parts or showed excessive wear.
The push to buy premium dining packages was relentless, to the point of being obnoxious.
The high speed internet onboard was very slow most days, not much faster than 2G cell service.
We enjoyed all the sea days...I think there were six in all. Food was not as good as Celebrity cruises but if you didn't like a dish you could always order something else. In fact they often suggested that. Luckily there is an adult swim lounge area. We loved the promenade. The library was in a poor location - sort of the middle of a pathway and above a game playing area so noisy. We loved watching the people on the Flowrider. There is always something to do on this ship. The acts were not big productions but rather comedians, hypnotists, singers. The ice show was outstanding. spectacular in fact. Certain muster stations went on certain days so that worked out well.
Ports of call were excellent. Evening dining room choices were very limited although service was excellent. Dress code in dining room very poorly enforced with many people dressing casually wearing jeans, tennis shoes and t-shirts. Formal dining evenings were also severely lacking in proper attire. Ship smelled badly in some of the hallways and also outside decks. Must have had some plumbing issues. The wood rails in certain areas of the ship, were severely worn needing sanding and varnishing and also some rust.
For starters, our Suite was upgraded automatically by Royal Caribbean (Owner's Suite), and it was a very nice surprise. We love cruising out of Sydney, and always plan on a few extra days in the city. This cruise was 12 nights, with 2 stops in Fiji, Vanuatu, Mystery Island, Isle of Pines, and Noumea. The beaches on Mystery Island and the Isle of Pines were absolutely beautiful.
The Explorer is still a very nice ship, despite it's age. The food in the Dining Room and Windjammer Buffet was very good...pretty consistent with the other ships in the fleet. Chops Grill was outstanding, and our waiter, Alfredo, made it a great experience. Our Suite Concierge, Elizabeth Wong, was the best we have ever experienced. Wonderfully engaging, pleasant, and knowledgeable. In addition, the bar service provided in the Lounge by Jose and Eka was excellent.
Both embarking and disembarking were a breeze. Finally, our agent, Patricia Opera, was once again outstanding in every way. Patti has helped us select and plan cruises for several years, and we use her services exclusively. We would highly recommend her to all cruisers...new and experienced.
Total Passengers: 3114
Total Crew: 1181
Crew to Passenger Ratio: 2.64
Built: Nov 1999
Refurbished: 4 yrs ago
Number of Decks: 15
Total Cabins: 1557
Cabin Categories: 25
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Take small Aussie bank notes to use on the islands in the South Pacific. They all are happy to receive $5 and $10 aussie notes - not coins. You only need US$ for onboard the ship. Everything bought on the ship goes on your Sea Pass and you either settle that account with US$ or your credit card.
If having breakfast at the Windjammer buffet, don't miss the personalised omelette station.
Don't go the ship needs to be taken out service we spent seven thousands for crappy ship