This was my first cruise, and I went with my 3 year old daughter,and it was her first ever holiday.
We really enjoyed our time on the explorer.
We flew to Sydney from Adelaide and as soon as we got to the dock, we had friendly staff take our luggage and direct us where to go, despite the fact we were an hour early, it only took like half an hour to get on board, which was surprising due to the mass amount of people waiting.
I found that all the staff were so friendly and welcoming, and for the whole duration of the cruise they all made a big fuss of my daughter every time they saw her, she loved all the attention. She had 2 favourite crew members, who were always in front of the windjammer during meal times.
The first day we went and explorered a little, and was so pleased with all the amenities on board.
We mostly ate in the windjammer, which I really enjoyed, and my daughter did too,the food was always tasty and they had a few things that were always there and was a fair bit of repetition with food, but always had a couple of new different things. My daughter is very fussy so the specialty restaurants were not ideal for us.
We did dine at the main dining room twice, which was great, the food was amazing, and the staff were so friendly. But I didn't like how long we had to wait, it took at least an hour between entree and main one night, and my daughter doesn't have that kind of patience, and because it felt like a fancy environment I felt uncomfortable when my daughter would get impatient and bored, so I preferred the windjammer. (She didn't eat her meals both nights we went to the MDR)
We went to johnny rockets for lunch one day, and I loved it, the staff were great, and was funny seeing them do a dance mid meal. My daughter didn't eat her food, just had a milkshake (which was yum!!)
I usually don't like burgers, but mine was amazing, I loved it. And the cheesy fries were so good, didn't look nice but they were very yum.
I didn't put my daughter in kids club, I signed her up for it on the first day, but didn't end up using it, I wanted to enjoy our holiday together.
We went to most of the shows (mainly didn't go to the comedy ones) most I liked and a few were a bit meh, but it all depends on taste.
My favourite show was "fast forward"
We also went to the ice show. I absolutely loved it, as did my daughter, it was very impressive west they could do on such a small bit of ice, on a moving ship!
We spent a lot of time on deck 12 at the bar (I don't drink, but was a nice spot) also as a smoker I was able to smoke there.
Was very relaxing to just sit and watch everyone on the pool deck, and soak up some sun in a uncrowded spot.
We attempted to go in the pool once, but it didn't go well, as I used the ladder whilst holding my daughter and once we were in I realised it was too deep and I couldn't touch the bottom, so pretty much felt I was going to drown as I couldn't hold my daughter and tread water, was pretty scary trying to get out (a friend told me later that there was a shallow end, but the ladder was in the middle, so that's only how I could get in)
So we made the most of port days and went swimming there.
We were in a South Pacific cruise and went to isle of pines, Vila, mystery island and noumea.
I loved mystery island, it was my favourite, as it was beautiful weather, the locals were friendly and the water was great. I also liked isle of pines as it was breathtaking beautiful, but very very hot. We enjoyed swimming in the crystal clear water.
I did not like Vila at all, it was very scary and daunting, especially having a small child with me, we had locals hounding us for a ride and wouldn't take no for an answer and would follow us. I did not like it at all, so I only spent like half an hour there, I got my daughters hair braided, looked at some of the market abs went back to the comfort of the ship.
Noumea I didn't really do anything as the friends I had gone with didn't have enough money to pay for a tour, and I didn't want to go alone. So went for a walk and looked in a couple of shops, then headed back to the ship, I feel I really missed out on seeing the beauty of noumea, if I was to go again I would definitely do a tour.
My favourite part of the whole cruise was definitely the people, the crew and guests were so friendly (only had 2 encounters of rude guests towards me) my daughter is usually very shy, as am I, but everyone would make a big fuss of her, and talk to her,that by the end of the cruise she had grown so much social confidence, and her speech had improved too.
I chatted to quite a few people, and met some interesting people.
I think if I was to cruise again, what I would do differently is, choose better travel companions....
Most likely would go just my daughter and I and hopefully convince my partner/her dad to join us, but very unlikely lol.
Also another part I enjoyed was, I actually lost weight on board, I think it was eating regular meals (and not binge eating) and walking so much (I walked so much that my brand new shoes soles were all torn up by the time we got home!)
I would sail Royal Caribbean again for sure. But also curious at what other cruise lines have to offer for kids, not just the kids club, as I'm pretty sure if I was to cruise again I wouldn't use the kids club again.
I tried to go to the spa and see if they would do a little pedicure for my daughter, just something fun we could do together, but they said they couldn't accept anyone under 16 due to liability or something. So would have been good if they had kid activities on board,merit hour having to use the kids club.
Our room was an inside cabin, I was told that they were very small, but I found it to be perfect size, I was able to unpack both of our suitcases and put everything away, and still had storage space left.
I found the space to be plenty for the two of us, we weren't in there much any way.
Our stateroom attendant was great. I didn't officially meet him, but ocassioonslky when I'd be walking Down the hall he would call out to me (by my name) and say hello to me. I assume he was my stateroom attendant or that's just weird lol.
My daughter absolutely loved the towel animals. She would claim them as hers and walk around with them until they became undone
I loved mystery island,mkr was beautiful, the weather was perfect and the water was amazing.
I didn't get to see much as I didn't like the locals hounding us, and following us, was very uncomfortable and ended uo going back to the ship after not very long
I didn't see much if noumea, so I can't say too much but next time I will take a tour for sure
Isle of pines was beautiful, the water is amazingly crystal clear.
We swam for like 2.5 hours, got severely burnt cos it was very hot, but it was kinda worth it