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Sancho_proudfoot

Just off the Explorer, July 21, 2019, Southampton, Spanish Med, 14 nights

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Landed back ashore in Southampton this morning after 14 nights on the Explorer.

 

First off, let's quash a few nasty rumours which may be making guests due aboard in the next few months worry about their choice of cruise:

1. "She's a rust bucket!".  Nay, nay and thrice nay. There are a few tiny rust spots here and there, like the inch-square patch on our balcony where the upright stanchion met the deck. Unlike some, l didn't go hunting it out, but nowhere did I notice any significant areas of rust.

 

2."all the sun loungers are the old blue and white plastic type, and most are unusably broken".  Nope, they aren't. There are hundreds, if not thousands of smart new grey mesh loungers everywhere. Some of the older ones have been retained, but only a few, and the best quality of the old variety.

 

3."Windows everywhere are dirty and/or cracked and/or misted as the seals have failed". Again, no. The only one l noticed (again, l wasn't actively seeking faults) was one of the 42 panes in Dizzy's Lounge, which was badly stained. A couple of the splayed panes at the front of the Solarium were a bit dirty, but as it is impossible to look through them anyway, it's irrelevant.

 

4. "Ship is LONG overdue the upcoming refit".  Meh, slightly true. A few areas, like the seating in the Star Lounge, are showing signs of wear. We did see literrally hundreds of new matresses coming aboard, with containers full of old ones being driven away at the next port.

 

The food was good in the MDR, Chops and Johnny Rockets ( the only places we actually ate meals). Snacks from Promenade cafe and Windjammer were fine. Twice we found service in the MDR a bit slow, but otherwise good.

 

Cruise director Clo and her staff particularly were great. Her team of Marvin, Neil, Angelina and Collette were marvellous.

 

Headliner acts were either very good (Mick Miller, that ventriloquist who enraged Simon Cowell on BGT, and Beatles Connection) or outstanding (East Coast Boys).

 

All sports facilities and all pools and whirlpools were open and in use. Pools and whirlpools were closed for a few hours, in rotation, for thorough cleaning.

 

Staff were everywhere, cleaning, tidying, varnishing painting.

 

In summary, yes, this ship will certainly benefit from the upcoming amp BUT there is nothing onboard to give any sensible cruiser joining her in the next few months any cause for concern whatsoever.

 

Enjoy your cruise on the Explorer - all 5 of us did!

 

 

 

 

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Would you mind if I added your sailing date to your thread title? It can help with those doing searches.

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Just now, Host Clarea said:

Would you mind if I added your sailing date to your thread title? It can help with those doing searches.

 

Of course you can Bob, we sailed 21July - 14 nights Spanish Mediterranean cruise.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Sancho_proudfoot said:

Landed back ashore in Southampton this morning after 14 nights on the Explorer.

 

First off, let's quash a few nasty rumours which may be making guests due aboard in the next few months worry about their choice of cruise:

1. "She's a rust bucket!".  Nay, nay and thrice nay. There are a few tiny rust spots here and there, like the inch-square patch on our balcony where the upright stanchion met the deck. Unlike some, l didn't go hunting it out, but nowhere did I notice any significant areas of rust.

 

2."all the sun loungers are the old blue and white plastic type, and most are unusably broken".  Nope, they aren't. There are hundreds, if not thousands of smart new grey mesh loungers everywhere. Some of the older ones have been retained, but only a few, and the best quality of the old variety.

 

3."Windows everywhere are dirty and/or cracked and/or misted as the seals have failed". Again, no. The only one l noticed (again, l wasn't actively seeking faults) was one of the 42 panes in Dizzy's Lounge, which was badly stained. A couple of the splayed panes at the front of the Solarium were a bit dirty, but as it is impossible to look through them anyway, it's irrelevant.

 

4. "Ship is LONG overdue the upcoming refit".  Meh, slightly true. A few areas, like the seating in the Star Lounge, are showing signs of wear. We did see literrally hundreds of new matresses coming aboard, with containers full of old ones being driven away at the next port.

 

The food was good in the MDR, Chops and Johnny Rockets ( the only places we actually ate meals). Snacks from Promenade cafe and Windjammer were fine. Twice we found service in the MDR a bit slow, but otherwise good.

 

Cruise director Clo and her staff particularly were great. Her team of Marvin, Neil, Angelina and Collette were marvellous.

 

Headliner acts were either very good (Mick Miller, that ventriloquist who enraged Simon Cowell on BGT, and Beatles Connection) or outstanding (East Coast Boys).

 

All sports facilities and all pools and whirlpools were open and in use. Pools and whirlpools were closed for a few hours, in rotation, for thorough cleaning.

 

Staff were everywhere, cleaning, tidying, varnishing painting.

 

In summary, yes, this ship will certainly benefit from the upcoming amp BUT there is nothing onboard to give any sensible cruiser joining her in the next few months any cause for concern whatsoever.

 

Enjoy your cruise on the Explorer - all 5 of us did!

 

 

 

 

Thank you for your report.

We are on in October so we are happy to read your feedback and pleased you all had a great time.

Regards Graham.

Edited by grapau27

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Good to hear! We are going in October.  Could I ask if you noticed the onboard prices for chops  and Giovannis? Am wondering how the price compares to booking in advance. Thanks.

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Thanks for the review. We are on Explorer for New Year’s and it was great to read your positive review. 

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40 minutes ago, Lpppsp said:

Good to hear! We are going in October.  Could I ask if you noticed the onboard prices for chops  and Giovannis? Am wondering how the price compares to booking in advance. Thanks.

On Independence in May out of Southampton and Giovanni's was $32pp

We used our D+ BOGO and got $32  for 2 total for night 1 and for night 2.

It was very quiet so we got $32 total for night 3 too.

 

 

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Just now, Lpppsp said:

Good to hear! We are going in October.  Could I ask if you noticed the onboard prices for chops  and Giovannis? Am wondering how the price compares to booking in advance. Thanks.

 

We only ate the once, in Chops. It was $39 per head, although they were offering a "3 speciality meals for the price of 2" deal, so you could have had Chops, Giovanni's and Izumi for $78, or $26 each.

 

The filet mignon is as sumptuous as ever.

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21 minutes ago, grapau27 said:

On Independence in May out of Southampton and Giovanni's was $32pp

We used our D+ BOGO and got $32  for 2 total for night 1 and for night 2.

It was very quiet so we got $32 total for night 3 too.

 

 

 

8 minutes ago, Sancho_proudfoot said:

 

We only ate the once, in Chops. It was $39 per head, although they were offering a "3 speciality meals for the price of 2" deal, so you could have had Chops, Giovanni's and Izumi for $78, or $26 each.

 

The filet mignon is as sumptuous as ever.

Thank you both! Seems like prices are similar to cruise planner, so will leave it until we are onboard ... 75 days and counting:) 

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7 minutes ago, Lpppsp said:

 

Thank you both! Seems like prices are similar to cruise planner, so will leave it until we are onboard ... 75 days and counting:) 

Your welcome.

Usually out of Southampton the speciality restaurants are quiet so make sure to ask for discounts.

Graham.

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Just now, grapau27 said:

Your welcome.

Usually out of Southampton the speciality restaurants are quiet so make sure to ask for discounts.

Graham.

 

We were in Chops on Thursday last week, and it was so busy they were turning away walk-ins, asking them to book a day and/or time.

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19 minutes ago, Sancho_proudfoot said:

 

We were in Chops on Thursday last week, and it was so busy they were turning away walk-ins, asking them to book a day and/or time.

We always use Giovanni's.

We are on Explorer early October.

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How were the clubs like Dizzys and the 60s club (can’t think of the name)?  We love live music on our cruises and hope for some fun in the clubs!

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7 hours ago, kcbookworm said:

How were the clubs like Dizzys and the 60s club (can’t think of the name)?  We love live music on our cruises and hope for some fun in the clubs!

 

There is plenty of live music aboard; Dizzys has jazz early evening and turns into a nightclub at 10pm. We didnt go, so cant comment.

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We were on the same ship and cruise, it was our first ever cruise and we had no issues at all with the boat, facilities or staff! Food was fantastic (we only used the complementary restaurants), the entertainment was great as was the activities especially the flow rider which I ended up using every day bar one I think!

 

 

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Thanks so much for your review.  We are on the 9/21/19 sailing and are counting down the days.  Explorer of the Seas was the very first Royal Caribbean ship we sailed on back in 2004.  

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I was on her in June and I agree with everything you posted. The ship was incredible. There was a frosted pane in the windjammer but it wasn’t a big deal. I imagine it would be difficult to change such a large pane of glass until dry dock. 

 

I thought the staff were the best we had on a cruise ship. 

 

I only cruise every 2/3 years (mainly because I like cruising but prefer land vacations) but after the Explorer experience I booked the Anthem for next year.  

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Thanks for your pointers. I just booked a cruise on the Explorer today actually and I just realized that the ship is well overdue for an upgrade. But, given that I usually cruise Carnival, and just got off of an aging MSC ship, it looks like a dated Explorer still beats out my usual selection 😉 So, I am very excited to be making my return to RCI after a 4 year hiatus

 

 

Quick question, on sea days, did you find the pools to be full/busy? We have four sea days, and I am worried about not having any space to get into the pool, or having any available chairs on the open decks. Are other places like the sports deck and Flowrider busy as well?

 

Any general tips/tricks you have for the Explorer? 🙂

 

Thanks in advance for your reply!

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5 hours ago, OceansOfTravels said:

Thanks for your pointers. I just booked a cruise on the Explorer today actually and I just realized that the ship is well overdue for an upgrade. But, given that I usually cruise Carnival, and just got off of an aging MSC ship, it looks like a dated Explorer still beats out my usual selection 😉 So, I am very excited to be making my return to RCI after a 4 year hiatus

 

 

Quick question, on sea days, did you find the pools to be full/busy? We have four sea days, and I am worried about not having any space to get into the pool, or having any available chairs on the open decks. Are other places like the sports deck and Flowrider busy as well?

 

Any general tips/tricks you have for the Explorer? 🙂

 

Thanks in advance for your reply!

 

If the weather is good, the pools will be busy. The solarium pool is slightly quieter.

 

While there are plenty of sunloungers available, the perennial problem of chair hogs persists. On going to the gym early (6.30 am) we saw chairs already with towels on them. Three hours later those chairs remain unoccupied.  Higher decks will have space. The photo l posted above shows the pool deck on a typical sea day afternoon.

 

The sports deck was quite busy too, but organised games like volleyball, basketball and soccer were well arranged.

 

The flowrider wasn't that busy.  They run a system whereby you can have three wipeouts and then must come off the rider. You can of course rejoin the line to go again. Never saw more than 5 waiting.

 

Since we were last on the ship in 2011, they have added two soft drink dispenser machines by the cafe on the promenade, which eases lines at the bars.

 

The Tavern bar seemed quieter than some others.

 

The printing on seapass cards seems a bit iffy. Much of the wording rubbed off and security got a bit sniffy as they couldn't read the sail date when reboarding the ship.

 

 

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Here's a YouTube video, filmed in early July. Although the cameraman walks a bit fast, it does give a good overview of the ship and it's condition. Rust bucket? Pah! ( and no, l didn't take this)

 

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thanks for the updated review...it has been awhile since I was on EoS..but will be on her on december for 9 nights ....sounds like there is  broad entertainment available as well that we are into 

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, sisocialworker said:

thanks for the updated review...it has been awhile since I was on EoS..but will be on her on december for 9 nights ....sounds like there is  broad entertainment available as well that we are into 

 

We had as headliners:

 

A comedian

A ventriloquist

An impressionist/singer

A comedy juggler

A 'Jersey Boys' tribute band

A 'Beatles' tribute band

Another comedian

A virtuoso violinist

 

In addition to the usual production shows, the Love & Marriage show and so on.

 

Both comedians did additional late night shows; the Beatles act did a matinee at 2pm the next day.

 

There was an entertainer in the Schooner bar who was there every night. He was hugely popular. I didn't know him before, but he is seemingly a cruise ship stalwart, Perry Grant by name. He also did a late night theater show. Entertaining, but not really my cup of tea.

 

The CD's staff were excellent. Neil from Brazil always added interesting twists to the games and trivia he ran, and Marvin was simply hilarious, mainly due to his personality.

 

(Of course, it is possible that none of the staff, nor any of the headliners will still be aboard come December. I am however pleased that the headliner standard is good)

 

 

Edited by Sancho_proudfoot

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12 hours ago, Sancho_proudfoot said:

 

 

The printing on seapass cards seems a bit iffy. Much of the wording rubbed off and security got a bit sniffy as they couldn't read the sail date when reboarding the ship.

 

Yes this was the only time I encountered a grumpy staff member. My seapass was just about readable but I got a telling off for its condition. It still scanned fine but I didn’t want scolding again so I went straight to get it changed.

 

Guest services said it’s because of sunscreen. I am very fair skinned so never went outside without plenty of protection.

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29 minutes ago, LoisGriffin1 said:

Yes this was the only time I encountered a grumpy staff member. My seapass was just about readable but I got a telling off for its condition. It still scanned fine but I didn’t want scolding again so I went straight to get it changed.

 

Guest services said it’s because of sunscreen. I am very fair skinned so never went outside without plenty of protection.

 Yes, the bar code on the back scanned ok, but the sail date had vanished, and the quay side security didn't like not being certain l was actually on that cruise (and not trying to sneak onboard from some previous cruise, lol)

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