Explorer of the Seas Review
In 2000, Explorer of the Seas was the second of five Voyager-class ships to be introduced. Like sister ships, Explorer will also be upgraded to receive more features in 2014, including an outdoor movie screen poolside, an updated wine bar, casual Park Café,
Italian specialty restaurant, digital signage, lounges for elite past passengers, and a new nursery.
A truly impressive building program introduced one of these gigantic Voyager-class ships per year over a five-year period. With their rock-climbing walls, ice-skating rinks, in-line skating tracks, miniature golf, and multiple dining venues, they are destinations in their own right. Sports enthusiasts will be thrilled with nonstop daytime action.
The unusual horizontal, multiple-deck promenade-atriums on Voyager-class vessels can stage some of the pageantry for which Royal Caribbean is noted. Fringed with boutiques, bars, and even coffee shops, the mall-like expanses set the stage for evening parades and events, as well as spots to simply kick back for some people-watching.
Other public rooms are equally dramatic. Though it's considered to be three separate dining rooms, the triple-deck height of the single space is stunning. These ships not only carry a lot of people, but carry them well. Space is abundant, and crowding is seldom an issue.
Big, bigger, biggest! In the early 1990s, Royal Caribbean launched Sovereign-class ships, the first of the modern megacruise liners, which continue to be the all-around favorite of passengers who enjoy traditional cruising ambience with a touch of daring and whimsy. Plunging into the 21st century, each ship in the current fleet carries more passengers than the entire Royal Caribbean fleet of the 1970s, and has amenities—such as new surfing pools—that were unheard of in the past.
All Royal Caribbean ships are topped by the company's signature Viking Crown Lounge, a place to watch the seascape by day and dance at night. Expansive multideck atriums and promenades, as well as the generous use of brass and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, give each vessel a sense of spaciousness and style. The action is nonstop in casinos and dance clubs after dark, while daytime hours are filled with poolside games and traditional cruise activities. Port talks tend to lean heavily on shopping recommendations and the sale of shore excursions.
What You Should Know
- Royal Promenade may elicit the biggest "Wow!" on board when a parade is center stage
- Professional ice-skating performances are staged twice during each cruise
- Equipment to participate in sports activities is provided at no additional charge
- With the exception of the gym and some fitness classes, nearly everything else on board carries a price tag
- Although there is no charge to attend, you must get tickets for the ice-skating shows
- Smokers may be frustrated to find that smoking is prohibited in cabins and in most indoor areas
- Crew Members 1,185
- Entered Service 2000
- Gross Tons 142,000
- Length 1,020 Feet
- Number of Cabins 1,557
- Passenger Capacity 3,114 (3,835 max)
- Width 158 feet