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.
Tue Apr 12 Sydney, Australia 9:00pm
Wed Apr 13 At Sea
Thu Apr 14 At Sea
Fri Apr 15 Wellington, New Zealand 3:00pm 10:00pm
Sat Apr 16 Picton, New Zealand 8:00am 6:00pm
Sun Apr 17 At Sea
Mon Apr 18 Dunedin (Port Chalmers), New Zealand 7:00am 5:00pm
Tue Apr 19 Dusky Sound, New Zealand (Cruising) 9:00am 10:00am
Tue Apr 19 Doubtful Sound, New Zealand (Cruising) Noon 1:00pm
Tue Apr 19 Milford Sound, New Zealand (Cruising) 4:30pm 5:30pm
Wed Apr 20 At Sea
Thu Apr 21 At Sea
Fri Apr 22 Melbourne, Australia 8:00am 7:00pm
Sat Apr 23 At Sea
Sun Apr 24 Adelaide, Australia 8:00am 7:00pm
Mon Apr 25 At Sea
Tue Apr 26 At Sea
Wed Apr 27 At Sea
Thu Apr 28 Perth (Fremantle), Australia 6:00am

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 Built 2000
Last Refurbished 2010
Tonnage 138,000 tons
Registry Bahamas
Length 1,020 feet
Beam 158 feet
Passenger Capacity 3,835
Crew Size 1,185
Total Inside Cabins 618
Total Outside Cabins 939
Cabins & Suites w/ verandas 757
Suites 119
Maximum Occupancy per room 8
Age Restrictions One person must be 21 or older
Dinner Seatings 2
Seating Assignments 
in Main Dining Room
Dining Hours 6:00 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
Dining Room Dress Code Dining
Tipping Recommended? Yes
Tipping Guidelines Royal 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 Currency US Dollar
Services & Amenities
Bars/Lounges 12
Beauty Salon/Barber Shop Yes
Casino Yes
Chapel Yes
Disco/Dancing Yes
Elevators 4
Hot Tub 6
Cell Phone Service Yes
Internet Center Yes
Wireless Internet Access Yes
Note: Available in certain areas
Laundry/Dry Cleaning Yes
Library Yes
Movie Theatre Yes
Outdoor Movie Screen No
Onboard Weddings Yes
Self Serve Laundromats No
Shops Yes
Showroom Yes
Spa Yes
Video Arcade Yes
Fitness & Sports Facilities
Basketball Court Yes
Fitness Center Yes
Golf Driving Net No
Golf Simulator Yes
Ice Skating Rink Yes
Jogging Track Yes
Mini-Golf Course Yes
Rock Climbing Wall Yes
Swimming Pool 3
Note: 1 Heated
Tennis Court No
Water Slide No
Water Sports Platform No
Cabin Features & Amenities
24-Hour Room Service Yes
Hair Dryer Yes
Safe Yes
Telephone Yes
Television Yes
Kids Facilities
Babysitting Yes
Children’s Playroom Yes
Kiddie Pool Yes
Supervised Youth Program Yes
Teen Center Yes
Special Needs & Requests
Adjoining Cabins
     (private connecting doors)
Kosher Meals Yes
Single Occupancy Cabins No
Single Share Program No
Wheelchair-Accessible Cabins 26


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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