September 29, 2023

Ocean Exploration Ship (60266) Review

In summer 2020, the LEGO® Group released an ocean exploration sub-theme in the City line. The sets feature a collaboration with National Geographic. The goal of this Explore the World initiative is to inspire children to dream up solutions to the world’s conservation problems through play. Not long ago, I reviewed the Ocean Exploration Base from this collection. Sadly, it did not thrill me. Let us see if the Ocean Exploration Ship (60266) fares any better.

NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here to learn more) and provide my honest opinion.


  • NAME: Ocean Exploration Ship
  • SET #: 60266
  • THEME: City
  • COST: $179.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 745
  • OF INTEREST: 1 Great White Shark and 1 Ray
  • RELEASE DATE: August 24, 2020 (in Canada)
Ocean Exploration Ship (60266)


  • VALUE: 46% (Horrendously expensive bricks and build-time.)
  • BUILD: 80% (Nice design, but it has major Minifigure scale issues.)
  • MINIFIGURES: 93% (Great character designs, lots of accessories, amazing brick-to-fig ratio.)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 90% (AFOLs might not love this set, but kids will.)
On board the Ocean Exploration Ship (60266).


VALUE: 46%

This is the most expensive set in the ocean exploration sub-theme. It costs $179.99 in Canada. Additionally, the kit contains a mere 745 pieces. Therefore, the cost-per-brick is $0.24. By comparison, my average cost-per-brick is $0.14. Sadly, the Ocean Exploration Ship scores poorly in this category, earning 47%. Ouch. Even compared to other City theme sets, this boat is expensive. City tends to be an expensive theme. My average cost-per-brick for these sets is $0.17. No matter how you slice it, the Ocean Exploration Ship is not a good value. In this case, you are paying a lot for large specialty pieces, I think. The ship’s hull is not a standard LEGO® piece. Additionally, the set contains a huge shark that is also not standard LEGO®-fare.

The Ocean Exploration Ship (60266) comes with a shark large enough to eat a Minifigure.

In terms of build time, I assembled the set in one hour and 57 minutes (117 minutes total). At full price, the cost-per-minute of build time is $1.54. Double ouch. Comparatively, my average cost-per-minute is $0.83. The Ocean Exploration Ship earns 44% in this category. Averaging this score with the value-per-brick grade gives an overall value rating of 46%.

BUILD: 80%

The Ocean Exploration Ship consists mostly of its namesake. However, there are several small builds that go with it. For example, you assemble the wreck of a sunken pirate ship. The wreck provides simple underwater scenery for the divers, shark, ray, and diving cage. Additionally, the deck features a trap door with some golden 1×2 tiles hidden inside. I also like the pirate skulls on the sides, despite the fact they are stickers.

The Ocean Exploration Ship (60266) comes with a sunken ship wreck build.

Like many other large City theme sets, this one contains a token helicopter. Similarly, the helicopter is lack luster. I do not understand the need to include so many helicopters in this theme. This one does not feature anything overly special or interesting. However, it is more brick-built that others because the landing struts are not one solid piece.

The Ocean Exploration Ship (60266) comes with a small helicopter and landing pad on deck.

Of the small builds in this set, the sub is certainly a highlight.

Of all the small builds, the submarine is the best. I love this design. It looks great and fits a Minifigure perfectly. Additionally, the robotic arms on the front are poseable. I have the small submersible from this theme as well, though I have not built it. However, based on the images, the sub in this set is a much better design. This little build is certainly a highlight of the set.

The main build is the Ocean Exploration Ship. The hull of the boat consists of two watertight pieces attached back to back. City collectors will recognize the hull pieces from older sets like the Deep-Sea Exploration Vessel (60095). It is an interesting use of an existing piece. However, it leaves the center of the boat open to the water. Interestingly, that is not an issue. The ship design incorporates the gap well. A mobile crane moves along the gap, allowing the diving cage or submarine to enter the water through that point. Additionally, the crane can lift the submarine out of a storage compartment in the forward section of the ship. A helipad covers the compartment otherwise.

Ocean Exploration Ship (60266) Submarine

The ships interior has some scale issues…

The aft section of the ship contains the boat’s interior. The bottom level features a lab and dining area. Crew quarters are above it, however there are no doors or access points for minifigs to use. You place Minifigures inside by removing the upper level in modular style. Disappointingly, the crew quarters are so shallow that a Minifigure cannot stand up in them and can only lie down. Above that, you find the ship’s bridge. Again, Minifigures cannot stand in this area, they can only sit. You access the area through two latches on the roof. At least here, Minifigures also get doors to enter.

The ship has detailed interiors. However, the structures are not Minifigure scale. The ship looks great from the outside, but the proportions look off when you place Minifigures on it. I also do not like that Minifigures cannot stand on two of the three floors inside the ship. There is a lot to like about the ship’s design, but the scale issue is not something I can get past. Nor is the useless helicopter. However, the other small builds compliment the overall set well. Therefore, for once, I can say that this set is not trying to be too many different things. I rate the build at 8/10 (80%).


The Ocean Exploration Ship comes with eight Minifigures. Five of them are crewmen, and three are divers. Obviously, all the divers come with diving gear. Two have the new diving helmets with separate oxygen tanks, and one features a re-colored space piece with the helmet and tanks all in one. I was a little disappointed that none of the divers come with an extra hairpiece to wear when they are not in gear.

Otherwise, the characters come complete with all the standard parts. Additionally, they all have front and back torso printing. However, only two have double-sided faces. Also, six of the eight have leg printing. Finally, three of the characters are female and five are male. In addition to decent character designs, the set also has loads of accessories. There is an amazing shark, a ray, a small boat, five printed computer console bricks, two cups, two oxygen tanks, a wrench, a camera, three megaphone pieces, three life vests, and two pairs of flippers. Overall, I rate the Minifigure design at 92%.

The Ocean Exploration Ship (60266) comes with a good number of figurines.

As stated earlier, the Ocean Exploration Ship comes with eight Minifigures. However, you also get a ray and a shark. In particular, the shark is worth further elaboration. This is not the standard design you get in most sets. In fact, it is not even the awesome new hammerhead design launched in this ocean exploration sub-theme. This is a huge great white that can swallow a Minifigure whole. It is not the first time the LEGO® Group offered this type of shark. However, it is the first time in years that collectors can get it. I am beyond excited to get this figurine.

Since the shark and ray represent playable characters, I will include them in the brick-to-fig ratio. Therefore, you get 10 characters with the Ocean Exploration Ship. In a kit containing 745 pieces, the brick-to-fig ratio is 75-to-1. Comparatively, my average ratio is 145:1. There is no doubt that for a set this size, the number of figurines is excellent. I rate the ratio score at 94%. Averaging this with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 93%.

Ocean Exploration Ship (60266) great white shark.


I like this set. Additionally, I am a fan of the science-related exploration themes. Currently, I do not have a water scene in my LEGO® city. However, this set would look good if I did. With that said, I think it is a bit big for many LEGO® room displays. You need a significant waterfront to accommodate this. In my experience, most people maximize space for buildings in their city displays. The expanse of unbuildable space needed for water to accommodate this ship is quite large. I do not know of many AFOLs who are willing to give up that much real-estate, but maybe I am wrong. In any case, I rate the AFOL score at 4/5 (80%). I enjoy this set, but I have no where to display it. It does not fit in my city, and I would rather give shelf space to more detailed, expert level builds.

Ocean Exploration Ship (60266) diving cage.

The Ocean Exploration Ship really shines in terms of play potential. What I would not have done for a set like this as a kid. I love playing in water with my toys when I was young. The bath, a swimming pool, the water hole down the street, puddles in the spring, wherever. This strong point about this ship for kids is that it floats. I tested it on a wavy day at the lake, and it held its own. With that said, I do not recommend playing in a lake or pond. Pieces might fall off and get lost. However, summertime in the backyard swimming pool provides awesome opportunities. I think the Ocean Exploration Ship is hours of fun. I rate the entertainment for KFOLs at 100%. Averaging this with the AFOL score gives an overall entertainment rating of 90%.

The Ocean Exploration Ship (60266) actually floats.


The Ocean Exploration Ship (60266) comes with a great Minifigure assortment and an awesome, big shark. Additionally, the set offers a lot of play potential for kids. I love that the boat floats, has great interiors, a diving cage, and a cute submarine. If your kids like to play in water, this is a sure hit. However, AFOLs might not like it as much. It is big and hard to display, especially given the much nicer expert sets on the market. Additionally, the value it terrible. You are paying a lot for large, specialty pieces. In terms of fun for kids, I do not think you can wrong. However, this is not really a worthwhile AFOL purchase. You can get the shark on Bricklink for much less if that is your goal. What are your thoughts? Comment below or reach out on social media.

Until next time,


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