Explorer of the Seas
Explorer of the Seas / Royal Caribbean International
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The Crown & Kettle Pub
The Crown & Kettle Pub / Royal Caribbean International
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FlowRider / Royal Caribbean International
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Scuba lessons
Scuba lessons / Royal Caribbean International
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Promenade Stateroom
Promenade Stateroom / Royal Caribbean International
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Explorer of the Seas

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

When it launched in 2000 as the second ship in Royal Caribbean’s Voyager class, Explorer of the Seas was the largest passenger ship in the world. Over the next two decades, the cruise line would debut ever-larger classes of ships and Explorer began to feel somewhat dated. But several refurbishments later — including the long-awaited addition of a pair of Perfect Storm racer waterslides 2023 — and this 3,286-guest ship now features a range of fun activities that make it feel more up-to-date than you might expect. These include an ice-skating rink, FlowRider surf simulator, Rock Climbing Wall, mini golf course, pickleball, musical productions, and live game shows. Explorer of the Seas may not have benefitted from a full pre-pandemic “Amplification” like its sibling Voyager-class ships, Voyager of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, and Navigator of the Seas, but there’s plenty for active couples and families to love.

What We Love

FlowRider: One of the upgrades from its 2015 dry dock, this surf simulator attracts passengers of all ages and surfing levels.

The Perfect Storm: Called Typhoon and Cyclone, these twisting and turning dual racing slides let family members challenge one another to be the first to splash down at the bottom.

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).

Fun Onboard Vibe: Royal Caribbean passengers love a lively cruise, so you’ll always find something going on around the ship, from live music at the main pool by day to energetic after-dark pool parties and theme parties (‘70s disco, anyone?) in the Royal Promenade. Classes abound, too, and include salsa dancing, sushi-making, jewelry-making, paper-folding, and wine tasting.

Johnny Rockets: Yes, it costs a bit extra to dine here for lunch or dinner, but this 1950s-themed diner satisfies cravings for burgers, chili fries, onion rings, and shakes — and it’s a favorite of families and senior cruisers alike.

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, sports and physical challenges 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 an Oasis, Quantum, or Icon-Class Ship: It’s not even a Freedom-class ship. Explorer of the Seas was built way back in 2000 and Royal Caribbean has introduced four new classes of megaships since then. So if you’re a fan of 2022’s Wonder of the Seas or 2021’s Odyssey of the Seas, you may be disappointed that there’s no Ultimate Abyss, Music Hall, RipCord by iFly, Wonderland restaurant. or full-scale Broadway musical to enjoy.