Way back in April, we had been looking at New Zealand cruises for the end of the year. I asked my sister if she was interested and she had just booked a Pacific Cruise with Royal Caribbean, so we decided it would be fun to cruise with my sister and brother in law - and it was.
We caught the ferry to Circular Quay and rounding the Opera House from Garden Island we saw the first sight of the ship.
Boarding was quick and easy. Once on board, and with first drink in hand we had our first of many encounters with Guest Relations - not impressed! But I'm not going to whinge to you about the poor guest relations and other issues we had - I've done that to Royal Caribbean!
The first cocktail I had was a mojito , and it was really sweet and looked weird – everything was blended, not enjoyable at all. I did have another one later in the cruise, and it was the same, even though I asked not to have a frozen one.
We had a walk around the ship and had drinks at a few different bars. That was interesting. The only thing that spoilt it was the number of unsupervised children running around.
Some of the other drinks/cocktails I had during the cruise were interesting.
...and the Brandy Alexander's from the Cocktail 'R' Bar most evenings as a night cap.
About half way through the cruise I discovered the Three Citrus Spritz - orange liqueur, red grapefruit, lemon, Cointreau and finished with prosecco - again from the R Bar - it became my pre-dinner drink.
My cocktail during the day was a Californian Cooler or a Toblerone (yummy Baileys)
The ship is quite spectacular and geared towards families and young people. There is a rock climbing wall, basket ball / activity court, video arcade, ....
... flow rider - which was fun to watch, ...
... mini golf, which were going to play, however, each time we went to play there were people waiting.
Like all cruise ships there are a variety of pools and spas. There are displays and art work that were interesting. This motor bike was in the main thorough fare.
This was in one of the bars...
The main thorough fare.
The R Bar.
A few evenings there were festivities or events in the main thorough fare.
On Sea days there were movies around the pool. We would have liked to see the new Star Trek movie again, but it's only screening was while we were scheduled to have dinner, and being the first night we thought we should have dinner with our new dinner companions. Sadly, RC mucked up the dining arrangements, so instead of being with my sister and her friends, we were with random couples who had also been placed incorrectly. So we could have skipped dinner in the dining room and watched the movie.
I was impressed with the art work around the ship.
This was in the main thorough fare.
My sister took so many photos on stairs around the ship, and I must say that was a good idea. I will remember that for our next cruise.
One of the specialist restaurants and the Schooner Bar.
The entrance to the Palace Theatre.
... and looking up.
The Star Lounge, where I went to Trivia games.
The last night there was a Christmas Parade.
It's the little things.... booking this cruise on the website was OK. However, the website tended to go around in circles, as did the Celebrity website – the 'sister' company. First impressions are important, and our first impressions of Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas were not that good. Staff were great, but little things like Guest Relations, first not listening to the problem, and second not fixing the problem first time, or in many cases second time! Food first day on board in the Windjammer Cafe was not that good, we thought maybe it was because it was the first day and they were feeding so many people, but the food didn't change much until half through the cruise, for a day or two, then it went back to mediocre. The fridge in our cabin barely worked. Guest Relations said that was normal!! Sorry Royal Caribbean, not good enough.
This was our first time on Royal Caribbean, and we will give it another go, maybe not on Explorer. Compared to other cruises, Celebrity is still our favourite.
Next time I'll show you the room and talk about the food.