After eight consecutive seasons as a dedicated ‘New York ship’,Royal Caribbean International stalwart, Explorer of the Seas is being deployed for a season of cruises originating in Port Canaveral, Florida, over the winter of 2014/15.
The 140,000 ton Voyager class megaship is the only one of the five ship class not to be sent to Europe since her completion. Owners Royal Caribbean international have instead largely ran her on nine night spring and summer Caribbean cruises from their New Jersey base at Cape Liberty, augmented by five night Bermuda cruises in the summer, and on a series of longer, twelve night ‘Deep Caribbean’ itineraries through the winter seasons. In this role, the Explorer of the Seas has become a popular and familiar staple on the North American cruise circuit.
Eight cruises to the Caribbean and the Bahamas have been announced for the ship from Port Canaveral so far. These commence on November 15th, following her fourteen night repositioning cruise from New Jersey to Florida, via the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. The itineraries are as follows:
Nine night Southern Caribbean: Two departures to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao in the Southern Caribbean. Sails on November 15th and December 4th, 2014.
Five night Caribbean and Bahamas: Three departures to Cozumel and Nassau. Sailing on November 24th, November 29th and January 4th, 2015.
Five night Bahamas cruise: This one off cruise visits Nassau and Royal Caribbean’s private island at Coco Cay. Sails December 18th.
Four night Christmas cruise: Another one off, arriving at Royal Caribbean’s private island of Labadee, Haiti, for Christmas Day. Sails on December 23rd.
Eight night Eastern Caribbean cruise: Ports visited include Labadee, St. Croix, St. Maarten, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sails on December 27th.
The redeployment of Explorer of the Seas from Cape Liberty to Port Canaveral will give Royal Caribbean a three ship presence in the Florida port, along with ‘short cruise’ ship Enchantment of the Seas, and the larger Freedom of the Seas.
For UK passengers, these cruises are ideal combinations with a stay in Walt Disney World, or even with a beach holiday in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Clearwater or Tampa. A Port Canaveral departure means convenient flights from the UK into Orlando, and also offers the scope to visit such attractions as the space centre at Cape Canaveral, with its huge display of rocketry, space capsules and lunar memorabilia.
This is a good selection of cruises from a European perspective, as it cuts out the often cold and stormy first day or so encountered in winter time sailings from New York. Definitely worth taking a look at next winter.