Posts tagged explorer
2017 Year of the Explorer of the Seas

So that's it! I have now disembarked from Explorer of the Seas for the final time this year. It is amazing to believe that this ship has been my home for almost 2.5 months this year. This makes it one of the longest places I have lived since 2015. 

A few stats

  • Number of nights on board - 74
  • Captains - 2 (Rick ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ, Kjetil ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด)
  • Cruise Directors - 3 (Graham ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง , Dan ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ  & Topi ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ )
  • Activity Managers - 3 (Katy ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง, ๐Ÿ˜ข my notes are not complete here)
  • Cruise Director Staff - 10 (as I disembarked today Silvia ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ, Jacob ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, Heart ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ, Kristine ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ, Michael ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ, but special shout outs to Paul ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ , Bel ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ who where there for the first crossing and are now somewhere else in the Royal Caribbean fleet).
  • Distance travelled - approximately 21,000 nautical miles (38,000kms)
  • Countries Visited - 6 (Australia ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ, Fiji ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ, New Caledonia ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡จ, Vanuatu ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡บ, USA ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, Canada ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ)
  • Ports - 16 (Sydney ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ, Mystery Island ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡บ, Port Vila ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡บ, Isle of Pines ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡จ, Noumea ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡จ, Mare ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡จ, Lifou ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡จ, Suva ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ, Lautoka ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ, Lahaina ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, Kailua Bay ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, Waikiki ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, Seattle ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, Astoria ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, San Francisco ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, Victoria ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ)
  • Progressive Trivia wins - 1 (What a great team it was too).
  • Crown and Anchor Levels - 3 (was Gold when I first boarded her, levelled to Emerald after disembarking skipping Platinum, and my last crossing got me to Diamond plus).
  • I feel like I need to mention so many other staff from bar and wait staff, to casino, my stateroom attendants, to the exceptional guest service officers, Crown and Anchor Loyalty and Concierge. If I start doing all names, this post will exceed my bandwidth limit for the month. But they all (you all if you are reading) have made cruising an absolute pleasure. Thank You.

It was sad to disembark this morning (disembarking is a post to itself). The Explorer of the Seas is the ship that really kickstarted this adventure I am on, and so she and her staff will always be a sentimental favourite.

Thank you to all staff onboard Explorer of the Seas. Hope to see you back on board, or at least on another ship.

Voyager of the Seas - an alternate universe.

Q&A

Over on Facebook Julia asked (and Sylvia echoed) "Is explorer much different to voyager?"

I started to write a little and it turned into a little more, so I thought it would be a great blog post. So Julia, Sylvia and any others interested here's what I found.

Voyager of the Seas feels like how I imagine it would feel to enter an alternate universe; the same but different. 

The cone is absent from  Explorer.  Giving the top bar patrons a clear view of the screen.

The cone is absent from Explorer. Giving the top bar patrons a clear view of the screen.

There are some physical differences.

The inverted sunlight cone on the lido deck has been removed from  Explorer so you can see the screen from the top pool bar.  

The Crown and Anchor desk on Voyager has been moved from forward on deck 2 to the deck 7 Library.  Which sucks! You are trying to have a conversation with the loyalty ambassador and you are surrounded by guests reading and playing cards.  Apparently they want to move it on Explorer too, because people canโ€™t find it.  Itโ€™s not that difficult to find, and now all Crown and Anchor conversations can be heard by all, rather than a quiet conversation in the front of the ship.  

There are also subtle differences, like the names of venues - the following spring to mind (VY - EX)

  • Pig and Whistle - The Crown and Castle
  • La Scala Theater - The Palace Theater
  • High Notes - Dizzy's

But then there are bigger differences eg the layouts of various venues (in brackets my preferred layout)

  • Schooner Bar (EX)
  • Promenade Cafe (EX)
  • Star Lounge (VY)
  • High Notes/Dizzy's. (EX)
  • Casino Royale (EX)
  • Windjammer (VY)

Other venues may be different too but these were the ones that stood out to me. One of the things that I loved on Voyager was the deck lighting. A nice yellow light, softer and warmer than the white on board Explorer. This definitely gave Voyager a more romantic vibe on deck. Well it would have been if it wasn't for the presence of drunk hooligans.  

No cone here

No cone here

I should point out that I have spent more than 2 months on the Explorer this year, so this feels like home. I have grown use to her routine, the staff, the food etc. So even though Voyager is the same class, run by the same company, there are some operational differences that make the two ships very different. Both ships are configured for the other markets they serve when they aren't sailing out of Sydney, Voyager for the Asian market and Explorer the American. 

These little difference include things like the way blackjack is dealt, trivia is sometimes in High Notes (a terrible location for trivia), the morning dance lesson is on the Promenade on Voyager, the sports court on Explorer. The time of events was different, sometimes as little as 15 minutes, but enough to make me take a second look at the Cruise Compass. Speaking of which, I can now skim the Cruise Compass on the Explorer as I know what I am looking for, Voyager's Cruise Compass required a deeper analysis, not only because times were different, but the wording and structure of events was different. 

All of these things were just a little discombobulating. In the end I prefer Explorer, is it because it is the better ship? better run? Unlikely, it's probably because of my familiarity, with the crew and the ship. 

But even on this cruise I am now on (Explorer) things are a little different as there have been some staff changes which have mixed things up.

Ultimately I think that most people wouldn't notice these differences as much as I have, however I have spoken to some other guests who have sailed on both, and they preferred Explorer too, but could't quite put their finger on why. Maybe it's that bloody cone on the lido deck. 

Cruise 11 - Explorer of the Seas 11 Night South Pacific Cruise

11 nights for my 11th cruise, I am just glad it doesn't have 11 ports.

This trip's itinerary is:
 (1 ๐ŸŒŠ = 1 sea day)

  • Sydney ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ
  • ๐ŸŒŠ๐ŸŒŠ
  • Lifou Island ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡จ
  • Port Vila ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡บ
  • Mystery Island ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡บ
  • Noumea ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡จ
  • ๐ŸŒŠ๐ŸŒŠ
  • Sydney ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ

I am looking forward to Port Vila, I get to do some scuba diving. Finally.

ย 

Explorer of the Seas
A beautiful morning in Neutral Bay. ย 

A beautiful morning in Neutral Bay. ย 

I woke up this morning, way too earlyactually,  to greet Explorer of the Seas as she sailed past on her way to Circular Quay. I have a soft spot in my heart for this ship, mainly because I have spent just over 2 months on board this year.

Here she is. ย ย 

Here she is. ย ย 

Today I will board her for the final time this year. We will be heading to New Caledonia and Vanuatu on this cruise. It includes a new port for me, ๐Ÿ˜€. Port Vila. 

One thing Iโ€™m looking forward to on this cruise is catching up with the cruise director, Topi, who I met in the Serenade of the Seas earlier this year. I also get to catch up with the his staff, one more sail away party with; Heart, Kristine, Silvia, Jacob and Michael. Some very excellent people who make cruising so awesome. 

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Thereโ€™s only one cruise ship larger that comes to Sydney, and thatโ€™s next. ย