The newest cruise ship of Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas (now the world's 3rd largest liner) sailed past the newly-refurbished Explorer as she made her way out of Southampton Docks.
The Explorer is Royal Caribbean's latest ship to emerge from a $300 million fleet-wide revitalization. In February 2014, Navigator of the Seas went through the same refurbishment programme.
The 15-year-old Explorer of the Seas has had 86 new cabins added, thus increasing guest capacity from 3,114 to 3,288. 81 inside rooms have had virtual balconies installed - TV screens, floor-to-ceiling, that display a live image of the view outside.
24 of the new cabins are “panoramic ocean view” and occupy a new section of superstructure that has been added to Deck 12. This space used to be the forward extension of Explorer's running track and surrounds Vitality at Sea Spa.
Symphony, the 3-deck-high main dining room on board the ship, has been re-fitted with black and white chairs. One of the levels is reserved for MyTime dining, but no plans have yet been announced to introduce Dynamic Dining, that debuted in 2014 on Quantum of the Seas.
Other changes include new table tops for the Windjammer Marketplace. The Chops Grille steakhouse has replaced Portofino restaurant located on Deck 11. The port side of Viking Crown Lounge already accommodates the Izumi Japanese sushi restaurant.
The upper level of Chamber nightclub, situated on Deck 4, has been converted into Giovanni's Table, seating 62. The Champagne Bar (Deck 5) has changed its name into the R Bar, and the Aquarium Bar is called The Tavern, chosen to be a sports bar.
Outside, Explorer of the Seas has been added a FlowRider surf simulator, as well as a 220-sq.foot cinema screen above the midship swimming pool.
Explorer will offer cruises from Southampton throughout the summer, sailing to the Mediterranean, Canaries and Norway. In October, the ship heads to Australia for a season before taking up Alaska residence for summer 2016.