We love cruising and for us it is more about the ship, than the ports visited. So in saying that the cabin is important, regardless of how much time one spends in the cabin. This cruise we spent a little more time in the cabin, especially when we wanted a little peace and quiet - not a lot of spaces on the ship provide that, not even the library.
The Explorer of the Seas is a Voyager Class ship - I have no idea what that means :) - and can accommodate just over 3100 passengers and with 1018 crew. It has 15 decks and 15 pools/spas/whirlpools.
We chose a balcony cabin on deck 6, as this was the deck my sister and her friends were on. The cabin was similar layout to other cruise ships we have been on. The bed was so comfortable.
Can't say the same for Jonnie's bed. The lounge was made into a double bed for Jonnie, and it was so hard. We were surprised that the bed was not converted back into a lounge during the day, as on the Solstice, but we made do.
Each morning we would turn on the TV to check the location maps, and then the news channel. There were a number of channels, mostly repeating the same shows over and over. None as bad as the one channel that repeated the same one episode of Person of Interest over and over and over ... Guest Relations said they would look into it ... We didn't watch a lot of TV, but it was good in the mornings, when we were getting changed for dinner, and in the evening when in bed.
We did like the towel art.
We like to order room service on port days, mainly because the main food dining area is usually packed with people in a hurry to disembark. We have found it more relaxing, and that is what cruising should be, to have breakfast on the balcony - overlooking the port we are visiting. We are never in a hurry to disembark. We only had room service once, for breakfast on our first port day in Vila. It was such a disappointment. It was difficult to get a breakfast room service menu - Guest Relations were arranging it - guess they still are!! We got a menu from my sister's room so put the order in. It arrived on time and had the most wonderful fruit platter. Sadly no milk arrived for our cereal or tea. Room Service hung up on us twice after waiting 20 and 10 minutes respectively. Guest Relations were quite abrupt saying they will organise it. Never did. I spoke with a young girl outside the door who was collecting the dishes left outside from other room service deliveries. She didn't understand much English, but understood that we needed milk and another tea cup and more teas, as now 70 minutes had gone by and our tea was cold. She arrived back 10 minutes later with all we needed. We never ordered room service again. The room service menu was very limited.
Food was wonderful in the Sapphire Dining Room each evening, and the staff were the best we have come across. The staff on the ship were all wonderful - except Guest Relations.
However, we were disappointed with the food on the Explorer overall. The first breakfast in the Windjammer Marketplace was Eggs Benedict, mostly under cooked, even the egg and the Hollandaise Sauce was unrecognizable. I did try it again a few days later, and it was much the same.
The scrambled eggs were very tasty, so breakfast each day was scrambled eggs, potato gems (which they called hash browns), one pancake and breakfast syrup. Seating was limited and finding somewhere to eat was difficult unless one went to breakfast about 10am. We only found a window seat twice the whole cruise.
Lunch was hit and miss. The Cafe on deck five had pastries, sweets and sandwiches each day, so if the Windjammer didn't have anything agreeable I could get a sandwich from the cafe, or just fruit and cheese from the Windjammer. We rarely found a seat in the Windjammer at lunch, so often ate either on the pool deck, if we had found a seat or table (which once found we didn't leave) or in our cabin.
The Windjammer Marketplace closed completely twice a day, so the cafe was the only place to get a snack. Speaking of the cafe...I love my tea, but the cafe was limited in the choice of teas, so I ordered an English Breakfast tea with 'little milk' I couldn't drink it - it had so MUCH milk. I made a regular tea 'with little milk'. Big difference.
The activities on board were also limited - unless one wanted the flow rider, rock climbing, or ice skating - to bingo, trivia and napkin folding, which we did the one time it was offered. We also did the origami box making.
Cruising is what one makes of it. We enjoyed holidaying with my sister and her friends, and we did have a good time. Would we do it again? Yes we would, on a different cruise line. On Royal Caribbean maybe. On Explorer of the Seas, maybe not. We will see what comes up.