Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas pass each other in Sydney Harbour.

As two of the largest vessels sailing in local waters, it’s no surprise both Voyager of the Seas and its twin sister Explorer of the Seas – two of four ships Royal Caribbean bring to Australian shores each year – have a legion of fans.

But like most twins, each one has a few little differences which require significant effort in order to identify and separate the two.

While the two mega ships look similar in a lot of ways, there are in fact some interesting and diverse differences between the two. In many ways they are subtle and largely cosmetic but can also make a big difference to the kind of cruise holiday you have.

The Dreamworks Experience

Puss in Boots mingles with the kids
Dreamworks characters including Puss in Boots will greet guests on Voyager of the Seas.

A common mistake Royal Caribbean travellers can make is automatically presuming that the line’s partnership with Dreamworks applies to every ship in the fleet. Not so. Extremely popular on Voyager of the Seas, however Royal Caribbean hasn’t rolled out the popular family entertainment option to its sister ship Explorer of the Seas.

Reasons aren’t clear as to why the line chose to go down this path however the cost of licensing is understood to be a key factor – it costs US$4 million per year, per ship for the rights to bring the delightful characters such as Shrek, Puss In Boots, Kung Fu Panda and others to guests. Also, the generally older passenger mix attracted to Explorer‘s annual sailings in Alaska is thought to be part of the reason.

A loo with a view

Offered on the Lido Deck, Voyager boasts one of the most unique Men’s bathrooms on the planet. The facility allows gentlemen the chance to take care of their Number One’s while overlooking the ocean. The unique urinal is often a topic of discussion on the ship with many a lady cruiser known for sneaking in to take a photo of the unique arrangements.

A poolside shower

Explorer of the Seas' pool deck features only misters, not showers.
Explorer of the Seas’ pool deck features only misters, not showers.

Many guests who enjoy taking a quick shower prior to or immediately after exiting the pool may be disappointed to learn Explorer of the Seas only offers a light misting booth, while its sister Voyager of the Seas offers full scale showers.

This is particularly handy if you find the chemicals they use in the pools and hot tubs harsh on your skin or eyes.

Virtual Balconies

An Inside Stateroom with Virtual Balcony on Voyager of the Seas.
An Inside Stateroom with Virtual Balcony on Voyager of the Seas.

Quickly moving away from being a novelty to the norm on the Royal Caribbean fleet, the Virtual Balcony is something you will only find sparingly on Explorer of the Seas.

If you’re keen on experiencing some of the latest in cabin technology without paying the premium to sail on the much newer Ovation of the Seas, instead Voyager of the Seas offers a significantly higher number of virtual balcony staterooms than sister Explorer. By virtue of the higher supply, this means they can often be slightly cheaper on Voyager.

Shopping opportunities

The Royal Promenade on Explorer of the Seas features dining and retail outlets.
Explorer of the Seas’ Royal Promenade offers a variety of shops for your shopping needs.

If you like to spend some of your time at sea shopping, you will be more likely to find higher end brand names onboard Voyager of the Seas.

The ship, which when not in Australia spends its time in Asia, offers brands & products more suited to Asian tastes than the line’s core American clientele. Think Coach handbags instead of Royal Caribbean T-Shirts, while Explorer of the Seas offers a more traditional shopping experience with a greater emphasis on souvenir items as opposed to high-end shopping.

Have you cruised on both ships? Which did you prefer? Tell us below in the comments.

1 COMMENT

  1. You left out the glass pyramid on the pool deck and you can see it as a sky light in the promenade which marks the Center of the ship.

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