For anyone new to sailing on Royal Caribbean, Explorer of the Seas definitely stands out above the average cruise ship. The most notable difference is found at the center of the interior of the ship. Standard cruise ships tend to have an atrium or other large open area somewhere near the center. It may run anywhere from a few decks high to all the way up to the top of the ship, sometimes adorned by glass elevators. Explorer of the Seas has two of these many deck high atriums, one each at the front and back stairway/elevator bay areas. These are topped by enormous metal sculptures dangling several decks down from the top. Each of these atriums also has one or two glass elevators on the atrium side as well as regular elevators on the outer side of the hallway where the elevators stop.
What really sets this ship apart from the average cruise ship is what you find in between these two atriums. It’s not just the atriums that rise up wide open for a number of decks, but also the section in between. Both ends have viewing areas where people can sit and watch the activity below. This whole central area is called the centrum. Decks 4 and 5 have public spaces running from atrium to atrium. Deck 5 is called the Royal Promenade. It resembles a city street with shops and a pub and café. Completing the city look, apartments rise high above the street. Or at least it has the appearance of apartment buildings. It’s actually several decks worth of inside cabins with promenade views. The atriums on both ends are open beyond deck 10, which is the top level of promenade view cabins. These make great rooms for people watchers who don’t mind a bit of noise.
Hallways in passenger cabin areas have pictures from different parts of the world. Most deck also have little cases here and there with displays of historical artifacts from the theme style of that deck. From Australia to Asia to Africa, different decks displayed different artworks. Spanish style also graced one deck, and the suite deck had displays from North America – mostly the old west in the USA.
The solarium area and the whirlpool in the gym are done in old Greek or Roman style with columns surrounding the pools. The solarium also has flooring that represents old historic tiles and statues that fit in with the other décor.
There’s lots of artwork throughout the ship. It’s got the required (or so it seems since nearly all cruise ships have them) odd or ugly statues along with all sorts of other artwork displays. There are ship models both of ships from Royal Caribbean’s fleet and of ancient sailing ships.
There’s even a bar called the Schooner Bar decorated in a sailing ship theme.
There are 2 stairways at each atrium area, one on the port and one on the starboard side of the ship. There’s also elevator bays on each side. The stairways each have a different art theme.
A forward stairway has a walkway of stars theme with pictures and paintings either of or done by music or film stars, and some musical instruments. One of the back stairways has a beaches and tides theme, but the artwork there is pretty abstract so you have to read the sign to know the theme.
The deck 4 side entrances to the theater have some wire type metal people sculptures that move a bit with the motion of the ship.
Metal artwork can also be found in other places too like an outside covered area near the ping-pong tables where metal whales and other sea life adorn a curved wall.
Our ocean view cabin was down a short quiet peaceful dead-end hallway on deck 2 that went to just 15 rooms. We didn’t have any of the fancy cases of artifacts that the upper decks had, but there was a painting of one of the moai heads of Easter Island. We were nearly at the end of the hallway so almost nobody ever walked past our room.
They were probably supposed to be flowers or something, but the pattern in the tiles by the bathroom sink in the cabin always looked like a row of horses’ hind ends to me. (And yes, I meant to spell it that way. Plural is horses, possessive is horse’s, and plural possessive is horses’.) I could also see the white bits as the ends of Q-tips though.
Speaking of cabins, this one had something I’ve long thought all cruise ships should have – the sign you put on your door for cabin cleaning or do not disturb is a magnet rather than a paper that hangs on the knob where it can easily fall off or get turned the wrong way. Even older ships that don’t have magnetic cabin walls generally have magnetic doors.
All the restaurants, bars, and lounges each had their own individual décor. The Viking Crown Lounge, which has forward view windows overlooking the pool deck, has glass balls on poles that kind of look like they would be globes, but they’re not. Abstract art I guess, except these were actually pretty where a lot of abstract art just looks weird.