Very much like her sister ships, Voyager, Adventure, Navigator and Mariner, Explorer of the Seas is post-Panamax meaning she is too big to sail through the Panama Canal. Her sheer size, just above that of her sisters means that she dominates the horizon of ports she arrives at.The second in line of five enormous Voyager Class ships, there is a fantastic Passenger-to-space ratio on-board Explorer of the Seas and while you may think that the atmosphere on-board a ship of such size could be claustrophobic, there is plenty of space to absorb the guests and at some times of the day you can feel almost alone. She boasts the same features to appear on all Voyager class cruise ships operated by Royal Caribbean International.
Enjoy an afternoon rock climbing on the outdoor rock wall, or bruise your legs ice- skating on the indoor ice-rink. Deck 12 has a running track and Deck 13 a roller-blading track, if you fancy something a bit less energetic Explorer of the Seas offers a huge two tier spa and treatment centre ‘Vitality at Sea’ (the next RCLI ship name right there?), also, mini golf course, or the opportunity for you to sit back and enjoy a Broadway show.A good place to meet, or bump into other passengers is the Royal Promenade on deck 5, a stroll down this white marble style shopping mall will make you feel like you are on dry land, it stretches nearly three quarters the length of the ship, and worth noting just off the Royal Promenade is the Crown & Kettle pub an English style pub with a very friendly atmosphere.
Dining on-board Explorer of the Seas meets all passenger needs and wants, the three main dining restaurants are plush and grandiose, split over three tiers and named after old-world explorers, Columbus, Da Gama and Magellan. Menus are limited but the food is perfectly prepared and to high standards consistently through the entire cruise.
For more informal places to eat you’ll want to try Jonny Rockets, a signature 50’s style American diner present on many of Royal Caribbean International’s ships, here you can grab a burger, hot dog and some fries whilst tapping your feet to the sounds of the classic Rock n’ Roll tunes. Don’t forget the Windjammer Cafe (another signature RCLI eatery) for a buffet style service approach and the Island Grill towards the stern (deck 11) which offers some very tasty grilled steak, chicken and fish dishes.
Above we mentioned the Crown & Kettle English pub; another great place to visit for a few drinks as is the Viking Crown Lounge with the best vantage point from the ship while enjoying your evening. If you fancy a formal night out the Champagne Bar will appeal to you, dress smart and just head on down to deck 5 (Royal Promenade) for a few glasses of bubbly.
Staterooms on-board Explorer of the Seas are spacious and bright, having been recently refurbished in 2009 fittings and trimmings are neat and tidy with little wear and tear anywhere. Each stateroom comes with a television/ radio and telephone, survival hair dryer and 24 hour room service. Most outside staterooms come with a balcony and as with her sister ships some of Explorer’s internal staterooms come with the curious Promenade views, you’ll find yourself people watching before long!
Explorer of the Seas has on-board an oceanographic and atmospheric laboratory ‘Ocean Lab’. Passengers are able to wander the lab and ask questions to scientisits regarding their studies and experiments. The labs are fully manned at all times by students from Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Miami.
The construction of the Ocean Lab came at $3.5 million (USD) extra cost, covered by RCLI.
During the Ocean Lab conception, Explorer was already under construction, parts of the ship had to be reconstructed, this included hull modifications to fit marine sensors, fibre optic cable then had to be relayed throughout the ship to join the Ocean Lab to the sensors. Since it’s maiden voyage Explorer has been contributing data on the Gulf Stream ever since, this is valuable in calculating the damage caused by global warming.