Another cruise itinerary, prices and details for a new booking on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas...A year ago...a recipe...

Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas is a larger capacity ship with cabins for 3835 passengers than yesterday's posted Celebrity Solstice's  at 2850.  We prefer smaller ships but its not always possible to find both the preferred size, itinerary and dates.  The ship's size is near the bottom of the list of our criteria.
Here's is the total price (for two) we paid for an upgraded cabin category not shown on the various cabin categories as listed prices below.  Vacations to Go, as well as other cruise agencies tend to list the lowest priced cabin in a category to attract passengers, later fine tuning the price to include specific preferences

Cruise (includes port charges)  $4,283.00
Government Taxes*       431.20
Pre-Paid Gratuities        384.00
Pre Paid Gratuities      -384.00

Total Sale                         US  $ 4,714.20
Overall, we saved approximately US $500 , EU $367.57, off the lowest posted price for this cruise, comparable to the savings on yesterday's posted cruise on the Celebrity Solstice.

16 nights departing April 12, 2016 on
Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas

Cheapest Inside$1,380
Cheapest Oceanview$1,800
Cheapest Balcony$2,145
Cheapest Suite$3,052
No brochure rates were provided by Royal Caribbean. The prices shown are US dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. They include port charges but do not include airfare or (where applicable) airport or government taxes or fees.
Important Note: Visas are required for this itinerary.
TueApr12Sydney, Australia9:00pm
WedApr13At Sea
ThuApr14At Sea
FriApr15Wellington, New Zealand3:00pm10:00pm
SatApr16Picton, New Zealand8:00am6:00pm
SunApr17At Sea
MonApr18Dunedin (Port Chalmers), New Zealand7:00am5:00pm
TueApr19Dusky Sound, New Zealand (Cruising)9:00am10:00am
TueApr19Doubtful Sound, New Zealand (Cruising)Noon1:00pm
TueApr19Milford Sound, New Zealand (Cruising)4:30pm5:30pm
WedApr20At Sea
ThuApr21At Sea
FriApr22Melbourne, Australia8:00am7:00pm
SatApr23At Sea
SunApr24Adelaide, Australia8:00am7:00pm
MonApr25At Sea
TueApr26At Sea
WedApr27At Sea
ThuApr28Perth (Fremantle), Australia6:00am


With these two new cruises booked along with the cruise we'll be taking from Hawaii to Australia on May 24, 2015 plus, the two upcoming cruises over the next several months, we now have a total of five booked cruises over a period of less than two years.

Although this may seem self indulgent, we've made a point of choosing affordable vacation rentals to ensure we're always able to incorporate cruising into our itinerary and stay within the strict constraints of our budget.

Sure, at times, we're tempted to step outside the confines of the budget and "go for it!"  But, we don't... knowing full well that doing so simply results in forcing ourselves to further tighten our belts in the future, sacrificing some of the comforts that bring us such pleasure...good food, great surroundings, amazing views.

Each rental we choose, each cruise we book, every meal we eat, each necessary flight we take all draw from the bottom line.  There's no room or reason to push ourselves to a point of stress and worry for added luxury. 

This particular ship is rated a 4.5 stars due to it's age, built in 2000, refurbished in 2010 which will again be refurbished again in 2015 and completed one year prior to our sailing on May 24, 2016.  We'll be anxious to see if it's rating increases after the renovations.  In any case, we have found that we favor some of the older ships with their "Hollywood" flair.


(If interested in booking a cruise with Anna Urban at Vacations to Go,
please click the above blue link for her email address. We are not affiliated with VTG
other than as a customer).

Explorer of the Seas

Ship Rating: 
The 138,000-ton Explorer of the Seas is loaded with recreational amenities: an ice-skating rink, in-line skating track, rock-climbing wall, television studio and full-size, open-air basketball court. The Royal Promenade, which runs through the center of the ship, is longer than a football field and wide enough to accommodate three lanes of traffic. Here you'll find restaurants, shops, entertainment and street performers. The basketball court converts to a volleyball court, and there's also a golf simulator, nine-hole miniature golf course and jogging track. Adventure Beach, just for families, has its own pool. Spots for socializing include a champagne bar, cigar club, sports bar, jazz club, dance club and a cocktail lounge at the top of the ship. Hungry? There's a casual grill, ice-cream parlor, the Windjammer Cafe and Johnny Rocket's, modeled after an authentic 1950s diner (complete with jukebox). Portofino, an intimate reservations-only restaurant serving Italian fare, complements three main dining rooms.
 Ship Statistics 
Year Built2000
Last Refurbished2010
Tonnage138,000 tons
Length1,020 feet
Beam158 feet
Passenger Capacity3,835
Crew Size1,185
Total Inside Cabins618
Total Outside Cabins939
Cabins & Suites w/ verandas757
Maximum Occupancy per room8
Age RestrictionsOne person must be 21 or older
Dinner Seatings2
Seating Assignments 
in Main Dining Room
Dining Hours6:00 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
Dining Room Dress CodeDining
Tipping Recommended?Yes
Tipping GuidelinesRoyal Caribbean will automatically add a $12.00 USD gratuity ($14.25 USD for Suite guests) to each guest’s onboard SeaPass® account on a daily basis. 15% tip included on beverage orders.
Onboard CurrencyUS Dollar
Services & Amenities
Beauty Salon/Barber ShopYes
Hot Tub6
Cell Phone ServiceYes
Internet CenterYes
Wireless Internet AccessYes
Note: Available in certain areas
Laundry/Dry CleaningYes
Movie TheatreYes
Outdoor Movie ScreenNo
Onboard WeddingsYes
Self Serve LaundromatsNo
Video ArcadeYes
Fitness & Sports Facilities
Basketball CourtYes
Fitness CenterYes
Golf Driving NetNo
Golf SimulatorYes
Ice Skating RinkYes
Jogging TrackYes
Mini-Golf CourseYes
Rock Climbing WallYes
Swimming Pool3
Note: 1 Heated
Tennis CourtNo
Water SlideNo
Water Sports PlatformNo
Cabin Features & Amenities
24-Hour Room ServiceYes
Hair DryerYes
Kids Facilities
Children's PlayroomYes
Kiddie PoolYes
Supervised Youth ProgramYes
Teen CenterYes
Special Needs & Requests
Adjoining Cabins
     (private connecting doors)
Kosher MealsYes
Single Occupancy CabinsNo
Single Share ProgramNo
Wheelchair-Accessible Cabins26


Then again, there's a certain degree of "safari luck" which allows us to rent superior properties at reasonable negotiated prices when we find vacation rentals that appear more expensive and out of our reach.

In the next few days, we'll be sharing a few more of these; two more booked vacation homes in the South Pacific that we've yet to mention, that literally make us jump for joy.  Keep an eye out over the next few days. 

The cruise described here today is a long way off, 21 months to be exact.  We booked these two cruises early when we noticed online that some of their better cabins were fast being booked. 

Please scroll to the right to see the full deck plan.  We've chosen a cabin on this level at the "bump out" area for enhanced viewing. As always, we checked the itinerary to ensure we will be on the better side of the ship for viewing as we sail past land.  Note the deck plan indicates the location of cabins after the renovations are complete on 4/24/2015, one year before we sail.

Explorer of the Seas Deck 8 (starts 4-24-15)

Royal Family Suite with Balcony
Category FS
Two bedrooms with two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, measuring 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long (one room with third and fourth Pullman beds), two bathrooms (one with shower, one with bathtub), living area with double sofa bed, private balcony, and concierge service. Stateroom can accommodate up to 8 guests. (561 sq. ft., balcony 246 sq. ft.)
Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
Category D1
Category D2
Two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, measuring 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long, private balcony, sitting area and a private bathroom. Rates vary from deck to deck. (179 sq. ft., balcony 52 sq. ft.)
Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
Category E1
Category E2
Category E3
Two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, measuring 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long, private balcony sitting area with sofa and a private bathroom. Rates vary from deck to deck. (164 sq. ft., balcony 51 sq. ft.)
Family Ocean View Stateroom
Category FO
Two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, measuring 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long, additional bunk beds in separate area, separate sitting area with sofa bed, and a private bathroom with shower. Stateroom can accommodate up to 6 guests. (265 sq. ft.)
Large Ocean View Stateroom
Category F
Two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, measuring 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long, sitting area with sofa, vanity area and a private bathroom. (178 sq. ft.)
Promenade Stateroom
Category PR
Bowed windows with a view of the Royal Promenade, two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, measuring 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long, sitting area with sofa, vanity area, and a private bathroom. (160 sq. ft.)
Interior Stateroom
Category K
Category M
Two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, measuring 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long, sitting area, vanity area, and a private bathroom. (150 sq. ft.)

Stateroom with sofa bed.
Stateroom has third Pullman bed available.
Stateroom has third and fourth Pullman bed available.
Connecting staterooms.
Indicates accessible staterooms.
Stateroom with sofa bed and third Pullman bed available.
Stateroom has four additional Pullman beds available.
 Deck 8 (starts 4-24-15)

Another important factor we must mention is the "bill" we'll receive on the last night of any cruise which includes charges for: WiFi (no refunds for unused data), beverages if not included in a pre-purchased beverage package, gratuities if not included in original cost such as for our personal cabin steward, favorite bartender or a special server in a restaurant, specialty restaurants, spa services and any purchases made in any of the ship's shops all of which offer overpriced merchandise. 

We always ensure that we have plenty of toiletries to last throughout the cruise.  The cost of a tube of toothpaste, razors or a bottle of Tylenol can be outrageous.  All charges are charged to the credit card kept on file which are charged periodically to the card.  One must ascertain that they have plenty of "room" on their card or another credit card on hand as these expenses add up quickly. 

There are expensive ATMs aboard ship and a bank where one can exchange currency.  But, the fees for these services may be higher than expected.  We don't gamble on ships or otherwise, although we've seen many passengers
hovering at an ATM when their gambling isn't going well. Casinos on ships are less likely than land casinos to produce winners.

Checking on daily cruise updates has always been a "Tom task" when I'm busy updating the spreadsheets with our ongoing expenses and related tasks.  Besides, he enjoys doing it where I have little interest in watching the status of cruises until it actually applies to us. It's through Tom's diligent research that we've been able to secure great pricing and cabins.

At the moment, all of our cruises and vacation homes are booked with required deposits paid.  Today, after writing here and a trip to the little local market to have our skilled butcher cut meat for us, I'll start logging our latest bookings  that have been wrapped up over the past several days.

Please check back tomorrow and Thursday for two very exciting updates to our itinerary with many photos.  In the interim, we revel in the excitement of these two cruises, one highlighted today and the other in yesterday's post.

Stay tuned.

Photo from one year ago today, July 8, 2013:

We posted our favorite low carb, sugar free coleslaw recipe and how we've had to cut the cabbage by hand when we can't ever find bagged shredded cabbage and carrots.  For the recipe and detail from that day, please click here.


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