Expert Aboard: World Explorer Ship Review

April 23, 2024 • Kevin Marshall
Get aboard with an AdventureSmith expert as he showcases his top spaces and cabins on the 172-guest World Explorer. Plus, read ratings from our other travelers who’ve been aboard. 

My time aboard the World Explorer was active and packed with a spirit of adventure and exploration. With the right conditions at play, this ship is fast, with a cruising speed of 16 knots. Crossing the Drake Passage on my Antarctica cruise, we averaged an impressive 14 knots.

This ship has the ability to get you to your destination quickly, all the while providing a high level of comfort and stability and modern yet simple design. Read on for my full World Explorer ship review, or navigate quickly to the topic of this ship that you’re most curious about.

IN THIS POST World Explorer Review:
A Review of My Cabin
World Explorer Cabin Comparison
My Review of the Meals
Health & Wellness Aboard
My Favorite Spaces
More Photos & Comments
More World Explorer Reviews & Ratings

 A Review of My Cabin – Veranda Suite

I was in Veranda Suite 524 and it was comfortable, quiet and in a great location to get to other decks. It was very spacious, with plenty of room for storage underneath the bed along with two closets and counter space. I was able to control my cabin temperature with ease using the thermostat, which worked very well. The blackout curtains were wonderful for sleeping at night and great for polar trips that experience peak daylight hours.

The room configuration was very functional for my time on board, with the bed area separate from a nice lounge area with couch and desk with chair, which led directly out to a walk-out balcony. Having the balcony was a great feature, as I would often step outside in the morning with coffee and gauge the temperature while enjoying the views.

Staying on Deck 5 was ideal, as I was centrally located with quick access to lounges both above and below me. Going down one deck to the restaurant/lounge area and auditorium was easy. Going up a few decks to the observation lounge and outdoor Deck 7 was great for quickly spotting marine and bird life, and to enjoy some festivities after dinner.

A nice touch in the cabin is the infotainment TV system, where we could track our location, view the daily itinerary and watch the auditorium presentations. When crossing the Drake Passage or in rough sea conditions, this can be especially helpful since the auditorium where presentations are held is located towards the bow of the ship where more movement can be felt.

World Explorer Cabin Comparisons

I was initially drawn to this ship due to its unique feature of every cabin having a balcony. However, it is important to distinguish that not all cabins have a walk-out balcony but rather a Juliet, or French balcony. The Juliet/French balconies are essentially full windows that have a switch to slide the top portion of the window down halfway. You can rest your head and relax your arms on the top of the window once it’s down. There are pros and cons to this style, one pro being the benefit of more interior cabin space. The biggest con is your room can get chilly in polar climes with the window open.

But I found, as with most expeditions, I wasn’t spending a lot of time in my room or on my balcony, but instead enjoying the decks and common spaces on the ship. And of course, maximizing my time off the ship.

Some cabin selection tips for World Explorer:

  • Deck 5 cabins, mid ship, are ideal since you have access to both hallways/elevators to get to the restaurant/lounge/auditorium on Deck 4, or the upper decks.
  • All cabins have balconies; however, the Infinity Suites (circled below) have French-style Juliet balconies. This gives you more interior space to enjoy. Most guests I spoke with that had walk-out balconies used them sparingly.
Infinity Suites with French-style Juliet balconies
  • Triple cabins are a great option for a family of three (parents plus teenage child for example).
  • Each Owner’s Suite bathroom has two (his & her) sinks.
  • The walk-out balconies in the Owner’s Suites, Deluxe Suites and Superior Suites are larger than the Veranda’s, at 110 square feet, versus 55 square feet.
  • The Owner’s, Deluxe and Superior Suite walk-out balconies have access from two areas within: from the sitting room and the bedroom.
  • I highly recommend Deluxe Suites (534 & 535) since they are both in a great location on Deck 5 and are large square-footage wise (comparable to the Owner’s Suite) with some of the same features (large bath, double balcony access).


See the deck plan, more images and the full list of itineraries aboard this ship

My Review of the Dining & Meals

With an open seating policy at meals, it was great to connect with passengers from all over the world. I was impressed by the fact that our expedition guides would also dine with us, as it made our time together that much more memorable, and you get to really learn more about their passion for exploration.

My favorite dishes aboard were the vegetarian omelet and fresh smoothies for breakfast, and a Moroccan couscous dish for lunch. Dinner was unique in that half the menu options changed each night, while the other half stayed the same. I enjoyed trying many new things, but returning to some favorite classics as well.

Many fellow passengers commented on how good the food was, and I was also impressed. However, snacks or food items were very limited each day. There would be a small plate of pastries in the morning and some pastries/cookies in the afternoon during the “tea time.” It would have been nice to have snack options available during the day, or maybe have items available for purchase in the gift shop. The dining room’s large view windows were also a bonus, and it was not at all uncommon for us to see whale activity or seabirds flying by while sitting down to eat.

The Health & Wellness Focus

It was great to be on board a ship with a focus on health and wellness, and I took advantage of this on my trip. You can choose many options, which include the spa, sauna, pool/jacuzzi, top deck track for walking/running, the gym and salon. My visits often included a brisk walk on the top deck track, which also offers up some stunning views. Twelve laps around the track equates to one mile, and many fellow passengers were clocking a few each day. But I never saw anyone use the pool and it honestly didn’t look too inviting in the polar environment.

I also opted for a few morning sessions in the gym, which had treadmills and dumbbells for use. The gym was frequently used when we were at sea or in between excursions. It was available on a first come, first served basis, and was quite popular with my fellow guests.

Health and wellness even extended to the food, with smoothies offered every morning and well-labeled gluten-free and vegetarian menu options.


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Favorite Outdoor Spaces & Common Areas

The outdoor deck spaces on board were numerous, both at the bow and stern, with various chairs and loungers for use. The many observation areas aboard the World Explorer offered outstanding views for spotting wildlife and enjoying 360-degree views. These areas of the ship were certainly well thought out.

I often found myself outside on Deck 7, along with many other fellow passengers. The guides on board would typically be in this observation area to help answer questions, spot wildlife and entertain us with stories and facts. This deck was also home to an outdoor patio/bar area next to the Jacuzzi and pool, and an indoor lounge that was among my favorite places to be on the ship. I also loved the deep-set windows on Deck 4’s interior spaces; these were quite comfortable perches for the closest views and I even stored my camera on them if sitting by a window at meals.

At the stern of Deck 5, my camera was able to capture the remarkable variety of sea birds that would often be following us. The bow on Deck 5 offered a huge wrap-around heated bench seat, a real treat when capturing wildlife or enjoying the scenery if the weather conditions were less than ideal.

We were offered tours of the Bridge and I really enjoyed viewing this space and seeing the modern technology and how it has come so far since the early days of polar exploration. It was surreal to see all we had and imagine Shackleton navigating this same environment.

Despite my trip being close to full capacity (167 guests out of the 172 capacity), it never felt that way and many times on the outside decks, I did not see anyone else, which lent to the spaciousness factor on board. The ability to offload guests for shore excursions on both sides of the ship also lent an uncrowded feeling and efficiency to the entire trip’s operations.


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For more photos from the Antarctic peninsula cruise view my Facebook album on AdventureSmith Explorations’ Facebook page.

Read more Antarctica cruise reviews or Arctic cruise reviews, comment with your own World Explorer reviews or see what other trips and ships I’ve reviewed on my crew bio page.

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