Explorer of the Seas
When it launched in 2000, Royal Caribbean International’s 3,114-passenger Explorer of the Seas was the largest passenger ship in the world. Despite refurbishments that increased tonnage, Explorer of the Seas is now far from the largest at sea. The refits have added the exhilarating activities Royal Caribbean has been introducing on its ships (ice-skating rink, surfing simulator), though, so it feels more modern than you would expect. After 14 years in the Caribbean, Explorer of the Seas relocated to the other side of the globe to sail in Australia, the South Pacific, and Alaska starting in 2015.
What We Love
FlowRider: One of the upgrades from its 2015 dry dock, this surf simulator attracts passengers of all ages and surfing levels.
3-D Movie Theater: Royal Caribbean has a partnership with DreamWorks, and the studio's animated films are shown in 3-D in the onboard movie theater. The experience is thrilling, whether you have kids in tow or not.
Best Known For
Traditional Royal Promenade: This is at the heart of Explorer of the Seas’ 15 decks and is flush with activity: Shops, bars, and places to snack line the rambling corridor (it's longer than a football field).
Amazing Amenities: Beyond the 10 pools and whirlpools, Explorer of the Seas provides a chance to climb walls (literally), ice-skate, play basketball or minigolf, watch concerts and 3-D movies, or work on keeping the waistline in check at the gym and jogging track.
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Who It's Best For
Active Families of All Ages: The "something-for-everyone" promise is kept on this ship. There are games and discos for the young, lounges and lectures for the not-so-young, rock-climbing and ice-skating for the active, and the Vitality Spa and adults-only Solarium for the pampered.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's Not a Convenient Ship: Once a staple for the New York crowd with cruises to Bermuda and the Caribbean, Explorer of the Seas is now far from its former home in Bayonne, New Jersey, docking in the U.S. only in summer — and only in Seattle and Alaska.
Nancy Dunn is a Vancouver-based travel writer and a contributor to ShermansCruise.com.
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Explorer of the Seas at a Glance
- Line: Royal Caribbean
- Class: Voyager
- Number of Passengers: 3114
- Ship Size: Mega
- Launch Date: 2000
- Refurbish Date: 2015