Explorer of the Seas: Australia's new biggest hotelExplorer of the Seas at Fremantle. Photo: Royal Caribbean International / Facebook

Explorer of the Seas: Australia's new biggest hotel

Heather McNeill

Imagine being so immersed in your holiday that you need a floor mat in your hotel’s lift to remind you what day it is.

That’s the experience 3300 guests are about to embark on after boarding Australia’s newest and biggest cruise ship in Fremantle on Friday.

Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas is three times the size of the Titanic and dwarfs most other cruise liners operating in Australia.

The $1 billion ship will now call Australia home operating cruises around the country, New Zealand and the tropical islands of the South Pacific from its base in Sydney.

Royal Caribbean Cruises regional commercial director Adam Armstrong said the cruise ship was the first of three relocating to Australia to meet a growing demand for cruises.

“She’s the biggest ship to ever call Australia home… (and) with little over 1600 cabins she’s the biggest hotel in Australia, albeit a floating one,” he said.

“If you put her on her side, she’d be 62 metres taller than the Central Park Tower and four times higher than Perth Bell Tower.”

The sheer size of the ship makes it a destination in itself, with eight restaurants, 15 bars, three swimming pools and a theatre among its many attractions.

Explorer of the Seas is the twin of Voyager of the Seas, but is slightly larger, taking the record from Voyager as the largest cruise ship to be based here.

For the young (and young at heart), the newly renovated ship also features a wave-rider, rock-climbing wall, mini golf, a basketball court and an arcade that would rival any Timezone.

The 311-metre, 15-storey monster also has a shopping precinct that runs the length of the ship making its guests question whether they are indeed still on a ship.

Newly revitalised Explorer of the Seas in Southampton for the summer season. Interior view of the ship. Photo: SuppliedThe lavish interior of Explorer of the Seas includes a shopping area extending the full length of the ship. Photo: Supplied

Its one-day stop in Fremantle is estimated to have netted the local economy $2.5 million due to 3000 crew and guests disembarking and spending up big on hotels, taxis, dining and shopping.

After it departs Fremantle, Explorer of the Seas will stop in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and New Zealand during its 16-day cruise, with the average guest age estimated to be in their 50s.

One Perth couple, Sue and Vic Evans, were among the many excited guests lining up to board the ship.

Cruises hold a special place in their heart after the couple originally met on a ship in the 1970s.

“We met on the P&O Canberra in the 1970s, he was a steward and I was a guest in the bar – I didn’t like him at first but then he sort of grew on me,” Ms Evans joked.

“Whenever he was in port I’d see him and then we eventually married in 1975.”

Voyager of the Seas in Brisbane. Photo: Royal Caribbean International / Facebook Explorer of the Seas’ twin, Voyager of the Seas. Photo: Royal Caribbean International / Facebook

The Explorer of the Seas cruise will be the third for the couple in the past 18 months.

The 16-day holiday will set the couple and its other guests back between $100 to $500 a day inclusive of meals and most of the activities and entertainment on board.

Explorer of the Seas will join fellow floating giant Voyager on Sydney Harbour on November 28.

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