Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas has called Southampton home this year after undergoing a huge multi-million pound refurbishment. Launched in 2000 and accommodating over three-thousand passengers, Explorer now has new-ship features like virtual balcony staterooms and a surf simulator.
I was excited to experience the changes firsthand, as well as sneaking a peak at the luxurious Royal Suite and dining options available onboard.
The Royal Promenade is a staple on many of Royal’s ships (the Esplanade on Quantum Class). It’s a dazzling walkway stretching down the spine of the ship and connects all the public areas be it above or below.
Featuring a French café, fashion district and more, the dynamic atmosphere around here is enveloping. I had been onboard for mere moments yet was fully in cruise-mode (do I have to get off?!).
Amongst the stylish boutiques and bars is the ‘Crown & Kettle‘, a charming English themed pub that already proved to be a hit with guests.
I really liked the dramatic design of ‘R Bar‘ with it’s plush purple chairs and quirky patterns. This would certainly be one of my stop-off’s for a cocktail during a day at sea.
Left: Entrance to the Star Lounge. Right: The glitzy Las Vegas-like lift area.
After exploring the public areas of the Promenade, I had a taste of life at sea for those of you not sparing any expense.
Greeted with a piano, private bar and open plan living area, the Royal Suite is everything you’d expect and more!
One of my favourite features was the jacuzzi/bath on the private balcony. Picture this: a setting sun, the French Riviera coastline, and a glass of bubbles at hand. Bliss!
There’s also an elegant bedroom, walk-in wardrobe and huge marble bathroom (with mirrored ceiling) to pamper yourself in.
Snapping out of dream land, there’s still a great variety of comfortable, well-equipped staterooms for those with a budget in mind. From ‘panoramic oceanview‘ to a ‘balcony stateroom’, the options are impressive!
Explorer really lives up to it’s name in many of these rooms as you can see the world from the comfort of your own lounger, bed or armchair.
The idea of waking up to panoramic views of a striking cityscape like Lisbon is surely worth every penny – right?!
As mentioned, many of the ship’s accommodation has been given a stylish makeover. Here’s a look at one of the virtual balcony’s in a windowless interior stateroom…
It’s a really clever way to bring the outside-in, and gives guests something else to enjoy over their morning cup of tea or coffee.
I also had chance to explore an accessibility stateroom on Deck 13 (number: 1814) for those requiring the extra space. It was generously proportioned and included a large open shower.
The ship was due to set sail for sixteen nights around Mediterranean, so the outdoor pool and bar area (below) is sure to be a real hotspot in the days to follow.
There is also a more secluded pool for adults and indoor one in the gym.
Johnny Rockets, a family-friendly American Diner with juicy burgers and tempting milkshakes.
From rock climbing and table tennis tournaments to mini golf and surfing, there’s plenty of activities to enjoy on Explorer for the young and young-at-heart.
The Flowrider is one of Royal Caribbean’s biggest assets. If you’re not attempting to boogie board the raging torrent, you’ll likely find yourself cheering on your fellow shipmates or staff (who make it look so easy)!
I’ve always found Royal Caribbean to be excellent at offering something for all ages and lifestyles.
If you’re not the adventurous type or like some quiet downtime, the onboard spa is extensive and includes a hair salon and private treatment rooms.
Following an afternoon of thrills, spills or relaxing, there’s a wonderful variety of restaurants to choose from, including of course the Windjammer Marketplace buffet.
I dined at Giovanni’s Table, an exquisite Italian restaurant on Deck 5.
To start, I tucked into a summery salad with tomato and cheese balls, accompanied by a warm bread basket.
For my main course I opted for the spinach and ricotta cannelloni with added bolognese sauce. The steaming crêpes were oozing with soft cheese – it was so good I almost forgot to leave room for dessert!
Creamy coffee cake with a dark chocolate crisp – Giovanni’s Table.
My first time onboard Explorer went so quickly! I was really impressed and would of happily stayed onboard for sixteen nights.
The onboard facilities and refreshed design has a familiar feel to that of Independence of the Seas – a favourite amongst many Brits.
If you’ve yet to cruise on the ship (or with Royal Caribbean), feel free to ask any questions that I may be able to answer from my tour.
Take a look at my Explorer ship video below:
I’m really pleased to see over 60,000 of you have also viewed my recent Anthem of the Seas one (click here for blog and video).
Many thanks to Royal Caribbean for inviting me onboard for this ship tour! All opinions are my own.