Main Dining Room Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean, Sapphire on Explorer

Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas has called Southampton home this year after undergoing a huge multi-million pound refurbishment. I was invited onboard this revitalised ship to see the new-ship features like virtual balcony staterooms, luxurious Royal Suite and surf simulator.

Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean ship, Southampton City Cruise

The Royal Promenade is a staple for Royal Caribbean (renamed the Esplanade on Quantum Class), a dazzling walkway stretching down the spine of the ship and connecting all the public areas.

Promenade deck onboard Explorer, Royal CaribbeanCafe on Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean promenadeCafe promenade food, Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean sandwichesFashion district on Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean, Promenade Deck

Amongst the stylish boutiques and bars is the ‘Crown & Kettle‘, a charming English themed pub that already proved to be a hit with guests.

Crown & Kettle pub, Explorer of the SeasCrown & Kettle pub, Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

I really liked the dramatic design of ‘R Bar‘ with its plush purple chairs and quirky patterns, this would certainly be one of my stop-off’s for a pre-dinner tipple.

R Bar, Explorer of the Seas refurb, Royal CaribbeanStar Lounge and Lift Area, Explorer of the Seas

Left: Entrance to the Star Lounge. Right: The glitzy Las Vegas-like lift area.

Explorer of the Seas Royal Promenade, Royal Caribbean

After exploring the public areas of the Promenade, I had a taste of life at sea for those of you not sparing any expense – the Royal Suite! Greeted with a piano, private bar and open plan living area, the Royal Suite is everything you’d expect and more.

Royal Suite on Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Voyager Class Royal Suite, Southampton

One of my favourite features was the jacuzzi/bath on the private balcony which I can only imagine being the perfect spot to enjoy a sail away.

Explorer of the Seas Royal Suite BalconyRoyal Suite Bedroom, Royal Caribbean

There’s an elegant bedroom, walk-in wardrobe and huge marble bathroom (with mirrored ceiling) to pamper yourself in.

Royal Suite Bathroom, Explorer of the Seas

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!

Panoramic View Stateroom, Explorer of the Seas new rooms

Explorer really lives up to its name in many of these rooms as you can see the world from the comfort of your own lounger, bed or armchair. As mentioned, many of the ship’s accommodation has been given a stylish makeover, below is one of the virtual balcony’s in a windowless interior stateroom…

Vitrual Balcony Explorer of the Seas, 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.

Accessibility Stateroom on Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Accessibility Stateroom bathroom, Rock climbing wall

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.

Pool deck on Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Johnny Rockets Explorer of the Seas

Johnny Rockets, a family-friendly American Diner with juicy burgers and tempting milkshakes.

Mini Golf on Explorer of the Seas

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 where you can attempt to boogie board or surf the raging torrent or cheer on your fellow shipmates.

Flowrider on Explorer of the SeasFlowrider on Explorer of the Seas

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 downtime, the onboard spa is extensive and includes a hair salon and private treatment rooms.

Spa on Explorer of the SeasSpa onboard Explorer of the Seas

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.

Giovanni's Table, Royal Caribbean Italian, SaladGiovanni's Table Explorer of the SeasGiovanni's on Explorer of the Seas

For my main course I opted for the spinach and ricotta cannelloni with added bolognese sauce. The steaming crêpes were oozing with soft cheese – so good I almost forgot to leave room for dessert!

Main course in Giovanni's Table, Explorer of the Seas, Spinach and ricotta Giovanni's Table, Dessert, Royal Caribbean, Explorer of the Seas

Creamy coffee cake with a dark chocolate crisp – Giovanni’s Table

The onboard facilities and refreshed design has a familiar feel to that of Independence of the Seas – a favourite amongst many Brits.

Royal Promenade Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Take a look at my Explorer ship video below:

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