We just returned last night from a wonderful week on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas. We had a wonderful time, on a wonderful ship, with wonderful people! I will begin with a general review of the ship & it’s services and then continue with a review of what we did each day.
This was a Family Reunion Cruise. In addition to my husband Steve, our daughter Katie & myself we had along my sister’s family of four, my brother & his son and my mother who celebrated her 75th birthday year by treating our family to this unforgettable vacation. Our “kids” were ages 15, 20, 22 & 24.
The ship is beautiful. She was definitely the most impressive ship in any port. Although she is 5 years old & due for dry dock in September she was beautifully maintained. The carpets in the public areas were perfect and we only saw small signs of wear in a few spots in the cabins. To be quite honest, if I hadn’t been looking for them because of previous reviews on Cruise Critic, I would have probably never noticed any of them. My husband sells glass to window companies, so he noticed a few window “IG” units that had failed & will probably be replaced in dry dock. There is artwork throughout the ship that is museum quality. I particularly liked the various sculptures found throughout the ship. We enjoyed the Promenade area and only a few times found it to be overly crowded. The Solarium area was my favorite “pool spot”. It was relaxing to sit in the solarium and watch the waves go by! My other favorite “relaxing” public area was The Viking Crown Lounge. Even though we are not big drinkers by any means we loved the views and the piano music. My husband & I were able to sneak away and found total relaxation there. I had a Bahama Mama & felt totally decadent! The elevators were crowded and slow when there were big events like shows, mealtimes, and after tenders returned from port, so at those times we learned to take the stairs. After those meals I needed the exercise! Otherwise the elevators were fine.
Staterooms were very nice. We particularly enjoyed our balcony stateroom #7284. The room looked small when we first entered, but once we unpacked we found there to be plenty of cubbyholes and closet space for everything. We almost didn’t use our over-the-door shoe holder, because we didn’t feel we needed the room. However, we did put it up and found it made a great place to stash little things, which really helped with “clutter control”! The balcony held 2 chairs and a small table. We had breakfast on the balcony on 4 mornings. It was really hard to go back to reality after that! I will be spoiled for life because of that!
The recreational facilities on the ship were superb. The rock-climbing wall was used heavily by several members of my family and they said it was a very good wall. My 24-year-old nephew is a climbing enthusiast (he even built his own wall at home) & he enjoyed it very much. The exercise equipment room and the beautiful spa area impressed me. While using the treadmills you are looking over the ocean. Beautiful! The pools were nice & large. I saw some evidence of chair hogging, but we were always able to find a chair when we wanted one.
My husband & I went to every production show. My favorite shows were the Coasters and Mirage and the Ice Show and… oh well, I guess they were all my favorites! We did not get to “The Quest” as we were exhausted from a long excursion. However, I know we plan to go to it on our next cruise!
The food….all I can say is that anyone who says that their dining experience was anything less than excellent much be used to a much better everyday dining experience than I am! What a treat! Our wait staff in the dining room (our waiter Rana & his assistant Fernando) were attentive to our every need. What a let down to go to Burger King on our way home. I waited for someone to come place my napkin in my lap but finally gave up because my french fries were getting cold! My 22-year-old daughter told the HeadWaiter the first night that Rana was excellent and every night after that she was given every dessert on the menu! She was embarrassed, but we all enjoyed it because we all got to sample a little bit. We enjoyed every meal. We almost always ordered more than one appetizer & several times the guys in our group each had two entrees. My favorites were the Shrimp, Prime Rib & the Bananas Foster . I always went with Rana’s recommendation & he never steered me wrong. I was a bit disappointed in the steak one night (not the every day steak – I knew better!) and the lobster was not as sweet as I’ve had in the past. However, I still had three tails so It wasn’t that bad! The food in the Windjammer was very good and the service also excellent. We never did go to Johnny Rockets, but my husband couldn’t pass a soft serve ice cream without getting a cone. My daughter won a free dinner for two at Portofino's at our Meet & Mingle Party so she took her 15-year-old cousin. They were very pampered and spoiled there.
I would never hesitate to return to this ship. The only aggravating part of this trip was embarkment & disembarkment. However, I don't believe those were RCI’s fault. More about that later.
Brilliance of the Seas ~ September 1, 2018 ~ Trans-Atlantic Amsterdam to Tampa!
My Bucket List Cruises:
Mediterranean - Booked! 10/07/17
European River Cruise
Northeast/Canada Fall Colors
Hawaii - again!
Big Red Boat 06/93 (Bahamas)~ Explorer of the Seas 06/05 (Western Caribbean) ~ Jewel of the Seas 04/06 (Eastern Caribbean) ~ Monarch of the Seas 12/06 (Baja Mexico) ~ Monarch of the Seas 04/07 (Baja Mexico) ~ Golden Princess 01/08 (Mexican Riviera) ~ Explorer of the Seas 04/08 (Eastern Caribbean) ~ Caribbean Princess 05/09 (Southern Caribbean) ~ Radiance of the Seas 09/09 (Cabo San Lucas) ~ Mariner of the Seas 05/10 (Mexican Riviera) ~ Carnival Spirit 07/10 (Alaska) ~ NCL Pride of America 05/11 (Hawaii)~ Allure of the Seas 04/13 (Eastern Caribbean) ~ Jewel of the Seas B2B 05/14 (Southern Caribbean) ~ Oasis of the Seas 05/15 (Western Caribbean) ~ Jewel of the Seas 10/15 (Panama Canal) ~ Harmony of the Seas 10/16 (Transatlantic)
Oasis of the Seas 2015 Pictorial Review
Jewel of the Seas Southern Caribbean B2B 2014 Pictorial Review
Allure of the Seas 2013 Pictorial Review!
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