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Explorer Of The Seas 

 

Explorer Of The Seas seen berthed at the Rotterdam cruise terminal at the 27th of may of 2015.

In 1998, Royal Caribbean International launched the largest cruiseship in the world, dwarfing the 109,000-ton Grand Princess of Princess Cruises. Where normally the tonnage difference was maybe a few thousand, now, the new largest ship in the world measured more then 137.000 tons, adding almost 30.000 tons to Grand Princess. Her name was Voyager Of The Seas and the class, originally named the Eagle Class, was re-named to her as Voyager Class. Within it, five ships were built and because of changes in the design throughout the building process, three of them would gain the title of the worlds largest cruiseship that had ever been built. This, untill Cunard Line spoiled Royal Caribbean's party when they introduced Queen Mary 2 that pushed the scale up to 148.000 in 2003. Voyager Of The Seas was followed within her class by Explorer Of The Seas, Adventure Of The Seas, Navigator Of The Seas and Mariner Of The Seas.

So Explorer Of The Seas was the second ship in the Voyager Class and she measured 137.308 tons when she was introduced, making her the largest passengership ever built untill then because Voyager Of The Seas was 'just' 137.276 tons. She has a lenght of 311,12 meters, a width of 38,60 meters and her draught is 8,30 meters. The ship is driven by three pods, powered by six Wärtsilä-designed 12-cylinder diesel engines giving her a speed of 23,7 knots. Her passenger capacity is 3844, although based on double occupancy the number given is 3114. Also, a total number of 1176 crewmembers is aboard. The ship has 15 decks in total and when introduced flew the flag of Liberia, homeported in Monrovia. Shortly afterwards, in november of 2001, the ship was reflagged to the Bahamas, being homeported in Nassau ever after.

The ship was built as yardnumber 1345 at the Kvaerner-Masa Yards at Turku, Finland. Here, she floated out of her building dock at the 4th of november 1999 and she was delivered to the company at the 29th of september of the year 2000. It was not only the largest passengership that had ever been built, she was also the largest floating museum with 4100 pieces of art aboard. Aboard, the usual features for a Royal Caribbean cruiseliner are there too, like an ice-skating rink, a rock-climbing wall about 200 feet above sealevel, the interiour Royal Promenade with shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities, a full-court basketball, the Johnny Rockets Restaurant, a 1350-seat theater, a golf course and golf simulator, one of the largest casinos afloat and of course a 15.000 square-feet fitness and health center.

Deep in the belly of he ship and not always known to her passengers above, the ship also is the host for a true fully-equiped atmospheric and oceanographic laboratory where scientists of the Rosenstiel School of Atmospheric Science monitor the seas and skies while she crosses the worlds oceans. The school is a part of the University Of Miami and so RCI contributes to the knowledge we have of the least explored part of the world. Now you also know where the name Explorer Of The Seas steps in, she truly is one. The initiative, dubbed the Ocean Lab project came after a conversaton between the Dean of the Rosenstiel School and the then President of RCI Jack Williams about the difficulties oceanographic researchers have exploring the oceans, Williams asked or the Dean, Dr. Otis Brown, had ever considered a laboratory aboard a cruiseship. After six months of dialogue, RCI was officially appraoched about the idea by the Rosenstiel School. The laboratory now makes it possible to monitor the ocean in the same region for a long time, because the ship mostly sails the same Caribbean itinerary, something that is way too expensive to do on such a regular basis in another form. Next up, because also the passengers are able to visit the laboratory, the students also have to interact with them to tell about what they are doing and this is also seen as a large benefit. At the moment, almost 100.000 people have visited the Lab and also this is unique in science. It helps creating awareness about the seas and also helps RCI because with it, they can show that they are truly dedicated to the oceans they sail on. Of course, there is no oter facility in the world equal to this.

At the second of october 2000, the ship left Helsinki in Finland for New York where she was named at the 21st of october by Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the 'Female Athlete Of The 21st Century'. From New York, she then sailed for Miami to start her cruises in the Caribbean, departing Miami for the first time at the 28th of that month. Explorer Of The Seas kept sailing the region, untill she was also seen in more northern waters sailing from New Jersey from 2012 onwards. In the spring of 2015, she began sailing in northern Europe and the Mediterranean from Southampton and she will be based in Sydney, Australia from november of 2015 onwards, sailing the southern summerseason from there. 

On the 16th of february of 2008, Explorer Of The Seas was on a nine-day cruise from Bayonne, New Jersey to the Caribbean when she recieved a mayday call from a 39-foot sailingyaught southeast of North Carolina. The ship was the Tumbleweed and it had been drifting for 11 days after a mechanical breakdown of her engines and sails. The three-men crew was rescued by the RCI ship and brought over to Puerto Rico.

A more chilling interlude came at the 5th of may 2010, when the ship had to turn the pods because one of her own crewmembers, a 26-year old bartender, was reported to be jumped overboard. Although the crew of Explorer Of The Seas searched for him, he was never found again. Another incident came at the 14th of september of 2012, when the ship was moored in Bermuda together with the Norwegian Cruise Line ship Norwegian Star.  The high winds pushed the NCL ship against the stern of the RCI one, but luckily, none of the ships was damaged significantly. Finally, in january of 2014, an outbreak of norovirus made 564 passengers and 47 cewmembers sick and the cruise was ended early because of it.

In march and april of 2015, Explorer Of The Seas recieved an overhaul in Cádiz, Spain and she lost her inline skating rink for a flowrider surfing simulator. Also, three new restaurants were added, as well as 80 virtual balcony staterooms and 24 panoramic staterooms. A new outdoor moviescreen was added at the pooldeck, that itself was totally refitted. Furthermore, the ship was refurbished and she came out with a new tonnage-measurement of 138.194. Afterwards, she started her sailings from Southampton so Europeans can meet her totally freshed up.

 

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