Explorer of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International

Ship information

Explorer of the Seas

About Explorer of the Seas

The second of five in the revolutionary Voyager-class series that started with 

Voyager of the Seas

 in 1999, Explorer of the Seas follows the floating resort concept, with a wealth of entertainment, facilities and activities that will appeal to every age group.

Some Explorer of the Seas’ most exciting attractions include the retrofitted Perfect Storm duo of water slides (Cyclone and Typhoon), each with three stories of twists and turns. There's also an ice-skating rink/concert venue/TV studio, spa/solarium complex, a shopping/dining/entertainment boulevard, 3D movie theater, and outdoor movie screen. A fitness center, outdoor jogging track and outdoor youth area with a rock-climbing wall, full-court basketball, nine-hole miniature golf and brand new FlowRider Surf Simulator offer active cruisers of all ages, from children to seniors, something to enjoy.

The Explorer of the Seas’ Deck Plan Allows for Easy Passenger Flow

Designing a huge cruise ship is never easy, but Explorer of the Seas’ deck plans are an improved version of Royal Caribbean’s older ships. The majority of cabins are located on stateroom-only decks, which allows for quiet nights. The decks that could be more problematic for light sleepers are decks 2, 3 and 6, as they are located below, above or adjacent to loud public spaces that get foot traffic until the wee small hours. Those, and a few aft cabins with obstructed views are the only rooms to avoid on Explorer of the Seas.

A clever layout feature of Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas is that restaurants are not all packed into one or two decks but spread out over multiple levels. This keeps crowds at peak times at a minimum -- though Explorer of the Seas has a capacity of 4,290 passengers, so expect to share space with a lot of people. 16 elevators help keep a nice flow of guests as well.

The Royal Promenade is the heart of Explorer of the Seas. You feel like you are in an upscale mall as you walk this longer-than-a-football-field and wider-than-three-lanes-of-traffic boulevard anchored by two atria that are marvels of marble and colossal sculpture. Diversions on the promenade include shops selling everything from ship's logo items, to cheap accessories and designer merchandise.

Despite all the Explorer of the Seas onboard activities, the ship has been out-sized and out-classed by the line's Freedom-class and Oasis-class ships. Still, it has plenty of solid selling points. Just note that while Royal Caribbean announced big changes to the ship in 2019, the Explorer of the Seas refurbishment was finally cancelled, meaning the ship is showing some age.

Royal Caribbean COVID-19 Rules

For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Adventure of the Seas, please refer to

Royal Caribbean's Health and Safety protocols

. You can also use

Cruise Critic's guide to health requirements

on the world’s major cruise lines as we know them.

Cabins

Explorer of the Seas has 41 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

10 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

10 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

10 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

10 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

10 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

10 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

10 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

10 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

10 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

10 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

11 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

11 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

11 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

11 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

11 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

11 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

11 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

11 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

11 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

11 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

11 Outside types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Suite Cabins

8 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

8 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

8 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

8 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

8 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

8 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

8 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

8 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

14 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

Where do you even begin? It can be very hard to find time to relax on Explorer of the Seas -- even on sea days -- because of the head-spinning array of activities that run from dawn to dusk and beyond! The ship's entertainment staff offer an intriguing blend of activities, and everyone, from the most traditional passenger to the completely contemporary traveller, will find something to do.

Theater and Shows on Explorer of the Seas

The Palace, the main show lounge, is the place to see Broadway-style revues and headline acts. The four-deck-high, 1,350-seat theater has an opera-house ambience and excellent sightlines.

Throughout the day and night, there's often some type of performance along the Promenade, such as a parade or performances by comedians or musicians. Not to be missed is "Spirits of the Seasons" -- the ship's incredible ice skating spectacular in Studio B, complete with falling "snow." Or if you'd rather pull on the skates and show off some moves of your own, there are regular public sessions.

Daily Things to Do on Explorer of the Seas

During the day, you'll find plenty of traditional cruise activities, such as bingo, ballroom dance lessons, towel folding demonstrations, art auctions, bridge pairing, arts and crafts workshops, films and seminars (on everything from healthy eating to acupuncture to facial rejuvenation). More athletic activities include rock climbing wall competitions, table tennis tournaments, boogie boarding sessions and the Men's International Belly Flop competition.

Nightlife on Explorer of the Seas

The Casino Royale beckons with a Vegas/rock 'n' roll theme and 300 slots, 10 blackjack tables, three Caribbean Stud tables, three roulette wheels and a craps table.

The Dancin' Under the Stars Deck Party is an evening of dancing, food and socialising with a DJ and all-star band by the pool. While indoors you can mix it up with karaoke at The Tavern, or the late-night fun of the Rock Britannia Street Party or '70s Disco on the Royal Promenade.

Other options include chilling in '60s cool of R Bar; live entertainment at the Crown & Kettle Pub; late evening sing-alongs round the piano at the Tavern; quiet drinks in the nautical inspired Schooner Bar; live music and dancing at Star Lounge; secluded Connoisseur Club; jazzy vibes in Viking Crown; The Diamond Club for the exclusive use of Diamond-level (and up) members of RCI's Crown and Anchor Society; and late-night parties with a DJ in Dizzy's.

Explorer of the Seas Bars and Lounges

With a huge selection of lounges and clubs of varying intimacy and style, Explorer of the Seas has a venue to appeal to every passenger.

**Schooner Bar (Deck 4): **Royal Caribbean's signature piano bar is a nautically themed space and the spot for cocktails, live music and trivia games.

The Tavern (Deck 4): This lively sports bar is fitted with large screens showing live sport, including NFL games, football, hockey and major sporting events.

Crown & Kettle (Deck 5): One of the most popular and eventful venues on Explorer, the Crown & Kettle resembles an old-fashioned English country pub and serves a variety of imported beers and ales.

Star Lounge (Deck 5): Star Lounge is a 350-person capacity show lounge with a dance floor and its own full-service bar. It is an entertainment hub and the place for activities that include art auctions, karaoke, bingo and game shows.

**R-Bar (Deck 5): **Royal Caribbean's signature cocktail bar (formerly the Champagne Bar) is an elegant bar with a sixties vibe; it's the place to go for classic handcrafted cocktails prepared by the ship's resident mixologist.

**Concierge Club (Deck 9): **This exclusive lounge and bar with concierge service offers hors d'oeuvres, petit fours and complimentary self-service drinks to passengers staying in Grand Suite-level rooms and higher, as well as Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club Crown & Anchor members.

Pool Bar (Deck 11): The Pool Bar serves beverages throughout the day alongside the main pool area.

**The Solarium Bar (Deck 11): **This bar is for passengers visiting the adults-only Solarium pool.

Sky Bar (Deck 12): The alfresco Sky Bar is a second bar area servicing the pool and sun deck areas.

Viking Crown (Deck 14): The spacious Viking Crown Lounge is an indoor observation lounge, which offers incredible vistas over the ocean by day and cocktails and music by night.

Pools and Hot Tubs on Explorer of the Seas

The ship's main pool area features two adjacent pools, two jumbo-size and two regular whirlpools, and stadium lounge seating. One interesting note: One of the pools and a whirlpool have hydraulic lifts for the disabled. The solarium pool is an adults-only area with a retractable glass roof making it possible to enjoy the pool and two whirlpools rain, hail or shine.

FlowRider, Rock Climbing Wall and Other Things to Do On Explorer of the Seas

Explorer of the Seas boasts the line's Perfect Storm duo of water slides (Cyclone and Typhoon), each with three stories of twists and turns.
A huge area (aft) is dedicated to the pursuit of athleticism. There is, of course, the rock climbing wall rising 200 feet above the sea (instruction is available), along with a golf simulator (for an extra fee), full-court basketball/volleyball, a Flow Rider Surf Simulator and miniature golf. The ship also offers a handful of ice skating opportunities on sea days at Studio B.

If you feel like running off a few of the calories from your buffet breakfast, there's a jogging track that loops around the sports deck (five times around equals a mile). The track is split in half, with one half for joggers and the other half for walkers so you can go at a pace to suit your fitness.

The rock climbing wall soars 75 feet above deck with different tracks for various experience levels. Or get your game on at the full-size sports court for basketball, volleyball, tennis and even cricket for Australian and British passengers. If you prefer a slower pace, the nine-hole miniature golf course might be more your thing.

The most exciting addition to Explorer's outdoor line-up is the FlowRider Surf Simulator. Passengers can try stand-up surfing or opt for body boarding in the wave-shaped pool. Sessions are very popular so get in early or book a private lesson for a small surcharge.

Sun Decks on Explorer of the Seas

There are two levels of sundecks and an abundance of adjustable loungers and deck chairs, though the area above and around the pool can be crowded. If you're after a little privacy, try the lounge areas at the bow or stern.

Explorer of the Seas Services and Wi-Fi

The shore excursion desk is located alongside guest services on Deck 5, and both offer friendly and efficient service.

The ship has been updated with the latest technology features, including shipwide WiFi and Digital Wayfinders to help passengers navigate around the ship. Stock up on those need-it-now accessories at the Focus Photo Gallery, where you'll also find a "print on demand" onboard photo service.

Cruisers can also make use of a well-stocked library on Deck 7, 24 hours a day; and the Skylight Chapel (at the highest point on the ship, on Deck 15) is a place for quite reflection.

Dining

Explorer of the Seas dining options include a somewhat bland buffet, the renowned Chops Grille steakhouse, Japanese and Italian restaurants, a solid main dining room with a varied international menu, and a Johnny Rockets. There is no Starbucks on Explorer of the Seas.

While you can spend the entire cruise eating yourself silly in the complimentary dining areas, book into one or all of the specialty restaurants during your cruise for quality food and service that is worth every cent of the premium.

Explorer of the Seas Free Dining

Royal Caribbean doesn't pretend to be a gourmet-dining cruise line, but one can eat very well without forking out a cent. There is a good selection of healthy and vegetarian options across all the complimentary establishments and the service, as per the rest of this ship, is friendly, lively, and generous. Included in the cruise fare are the following Explorer of the Seas restaurants:

Sapphire Dining Room (Decks 3, 4 & 5): The three-level formal Sapphire Dining Room on Explorer of the Seas is one of the most stunning in moderately priced lines: a magnificent space linked by a grand staircase, dramatic fluted gold-leaf columns, golden velvet curtains and a ceiling dome with gold bursts, stars and fibre optics.

The a la carte cuisine is generally well prepared, if not particularly innovative. The Explorer of the Seas menu includes healthy fare, vegetarian dishes, options for food intolerances and a standard in-case-nothing-else-appeals selection of entrees (a choice of pasta with marinara sauce, salmon, chicken breast and Black Angus top sirloin). Service by the international staff is attentive and friendly.

Breakfast and lunch are open seating, though you shouldn't take that to mean that you can always snare a quiet little table for two. The ship's best-kept secret may be that lunch in the Explorer of the Seas’ main dining room is one of the better meals onboard. A salad bar is staffed by chefs who create incredible salads to order with provisions (vegetables, meats and cheeses) that are fresher and more varied than in the Windjammer buffet, and the heaping plate of veggies can easily stand alone as a full meal.

Explorer offers Royal Caribbean's flexible My Time Dining program at dinnertime. Passengers can choose between assigned early or late dining with pre-determined tablemates, or opt for flexible dining, in which you pick a preferred mealtime, but can change your reservations on a daily basis. (Note: Those opting for My Time Dining will need to pre-pay gratuities.)

The main dining room opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

**Cafe Promenade (Deck 5): **The 24-hour 

Cafe Promenade

on Explorer of the Seas’ Royal Promenade features light fare at all times (pastries in the morning and sandwiches at night) as well as serve yourself tea and coffee facilities. 

The Windjammer Marketplace (Deck 11): Explorer of the Seas' Windjammer buffet restaurant features mediocre, steam-table cuisine. Kudos must be given, however, to the egg station at breakfast (where you can request a variety of prepared-to-order dishes) and the carving station at lunch. A new gluten-free corner is another thoughtful touch for those with dietary limitations. The 

Windjammer Marketplace

 is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is a good option for those nights when flexibility is required.

Room service: There is a complimentary Continental breakfast menu, with items like toast, pastries, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice. 

Explorer of the Seas Specialty Restaurants and Other Fee Dining Options

Explorer of the Seas food is overall good, but a la carte and prix fixe options are generally better than free restaurants. The ship has been fitted with three specialty dining restaurants, along with the already popular Johnny Rockets, giving cruising gastronomes an excellent selection of cooked-to-order cuisine.

Chops Grille (Deck 11); prix fixe: Royal Caribbean's signature steakhouse features A-grade premium cuts cooked to order, plus fresh seafood including lobster, fish and jumbo shrimp. Standout menu items include the carpaccio of rare charred beef with Parmesan, shaved asparagus and a truffle mustard dressing; pan-roasted jumbo scallops; incredible dry-aged steaks cooked how you like it; and decadent grilled Maine lobster. Service and cuisine are excellent, if a little slow, so be prepared for a long dinner. Reservations are recommended though the first night of any cruise tends to be slow, so walk-ins are accepted. Explorer of the Seas’

Chops Grille

 opens for dinner only. 

Giovanni's Table (Deck 4); prix fixe: Feast family-style on classic Italian fare. The Tuscan-style trattoria offers rustic dishes with contemporary flair. Antipasti platters and enormous servings of pasta make it ideal for sharing, but stand-alone appetizers and mains are also excellent. Be sure to save a little room for the dessert trolley, stacked with classic Italian cannoli, tiramisu and more. 

Giovanni's

 is open for lunch and dinner.

Chef’s Table (Deck 11); prix fixe: Located adjacent to Windjammer, Chef’s Table is the cherry on top of Explorer of the Seas’ dining. With just a handful of seats available per night and a formal dress code, the experience blends gourmet cuisine (think: filet mignon with truffle potato puree and bordelaise sauce; salted caramel gelato, and lobster salad) with wines from around the globe.

Johnny Rockets (Deck 12); prix fixe: At this 1950s-style dining venue enjoy impromptu wait staff song-and-dance performances with your burgers and onion rings. Explorer of the Seas’

Johnny Rockets

 opens from before lunchtime until around midnight; there's a cover charge to eat Johnny Rockets food. (No matter how much you order, the fee is still the same, and iced tea, milkshakes and draft beer are a la carte.) If you don't like to wait in line, aim to arrive just after it opens, or after the lunchtime rush.

Izumi (Deck 14); a la carte: This is a welcome option for fans of traditional Japanese. In addition to sushi, sashimi and ramen, Izumi on Explorer of the Seas also does hot-rock cooking (where you cook your meat and fish on a hot stone at the table) for something interactive and fun. 

Izumi

 is open for lunch and dinner, a la carte menu prices apply.

Room Service; prix fixe: All regular room service items (sandwiches, salads, desserts) incur a fee per order (not per item). The general room service menu features dishes like chicken fettucine alfredo, grilled salmon, chicken wings or a personal pizza.

There's also a Ben & Jerry's ice cream (also at a cost), which operate from before lunchtime to the wee small hours of the morning.