2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Having travelled a few months ago to Tasmania and enjoying myself decided on another cruise on Explorer, what a terrible cruise, Kids allowed to run a muck. I have never seen soo many snotty nosed crying uncontrollable kids. I came on this ... Read More
Having travelled a few months ago to Tasmania and enjoying myself decided on another cruise on Explorer, what a terrible cruise, Kids allowed to run a muck. I have never seen soo many snotty nosed crying uncontrollable kids. I came on this cruise to enjoy myself and some down time not to put up with children whos parents cant be bothered looking after them properly. The smoking on deck 7 near the Explorer bar was just awful creeping up to deck 8, the smell of pot on the Oasis deck that had been smuggled on board by a group as well as crew members smoking on deck also the amount of Adults allowed to drink in the spas and crew serving them. Where was the Security? fights beaking out on the ship.The disgusting Pantry floor and windows, went in for breakfast usual time 6.30am and floor was filthy from night before this continued all the way through the cruise so I ate in my room. What is up with the tender boats? sending back empty tender boats being told not to get on them when people are waiting to go back to ship. "Note to photo staff" when someone tells you four times they dont want the full photo package listen to them, very pushy. Why is the food not served at the proper temperature? COLD FOOD. I did not appreciate my cabin steward coming into my room whilst I was at breakfast, EARLY, to clean it at least wait till I put up the CLEAN MY ROOM SIGN. Watch the dogs on Isle of Pines they bite! and there are a few not so nice characters watching your possessions keep an eye out, as well as some not so welcome signs. I DO NOT recommend this ship for elderly passengers unless you enjoy unruly kids and second rate service save your money go elsewhere. I wont be cruising with P&O again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We just returned from an 8 day cruise on the P&O Australia Pacific Explorer to New Caledonia for 8 nights from Sydney in May 2018. Unfortunately we had so so weather, ending with a stomach churching bigger than forecast 6m slop from a ... Read More
We just returned from an 8 day cruise on the P&O Australia Pacific Explorer to New Caledonia for 8 nights from Sydney in May 2018. Unfortunately we had so so weather, ending with a stomach churching bigger than forecast 6m slop from a low off the NSW coast that delayed our arrival into Sydney and made sleep difficult. This was our 5th cruise in 4 years having sailed on Carnival Spirit, Sun Princess (twice) and the Dawn Princess, and we wanted to see what P&O was like in Australia given the party reputation and there was a great special on when we wanted to travel, and we would earn points with Princess. Overall, the standard of service was similar, the average age, younger, there were more physical and youth activities available. The ship had a more Aussie feel, and entertainment content was more Australian. The included food value seems to be lower than Princess, with the option to pay for more expensive food options – eg Prawns or steak. This possibly leads to lower fares. The Pacific Explorer is the refitted Dawn Princess, and having sailed on the ship before and its sister ship, the Sun Princess, we were very familiar with the ship layout. The refit appears to have focussed on the lounge areas, bars, dining rooms and youth plus the addition of the P&O Edge attractions and water slides. Apparently there was also some new engineering updates made. The lounge areas and dining rooms have been nicely updated in Australian contemporary styles, with a variety of new chairs and lounges in the bars. Every window alcove is now a chair or lounging area with cushions. Compared to Princess ships, we no longer felt we were in an American hotel. It felt Aussie. There were very few structural changes, so there are a few odd things such as where the rotating doors have been removed in the Blue room, but it now has a stage as well as a dance floor. However we were disappointed to find that the library had become a youth lounge. We did note that The Marquee, the main performance venue, had not had a refit. The upholstery on some of the chairs is becoming worn. We managed to get an Oceanview room, which appeared to be about the same size as internal cabins we’ve had on this class of ship. Clearly most of the cabins remain the same as before the refit. Unfortunately we ended up with a cabin very forward, which made for interesting rides during the bit sloppy sea. The video system is not play on demand as on the Sun Princess, but the content is mostly Australian which was a pleasant change. The dining experience was quite different, with no set dining tables that we could discern. The best option would be book all dinners shortly after boarding, as we found many venues booked up, or only had share tables available. The food was good quality and well cooked in general, although prawn fans will have to pay for the privilege – we had King Prawns in the The Pantry on the last lunch only. The lack of set tables means it is harder to get to know dining companions and serving staff, so more like the Princess Anytime dining experience. This is probably more the expectation of modern cruisers. In The Waterfront we were surprised to find only 3 starters, 3 main course dishes + 3 dishes that could be either entre or main course included in the fare that changed daily. There were a number of other options which could be purchased. In Alferedo’s there is a longer set menu with an Italian theme with a dessert cart, and the Dragon Lady has a modern Asian menu, although all desserts are western which was a bit of clash. None of the main restaurants are going to server more expensive dishes such as steaks or prawns. You need to pay for this at one of the other venues, and we didn’t go to them. The Pantry on deck 14 has had a bit of a refit, with a new colour scheme and what look like plants on the tables (but closer inspection shows them to be plastic). There are number of themed food stations pus salad and soup bar. This means most food is served to patrons, avoiding issues of a buffet, however adding communication issues with staff! Some of the staff just don’t understand how to dish up some of the food in a reasonable way. The food was ok quality for this style of service. The cakes varied between good and bizarre. For some reason they were unable to make decent donuts. As usual it is impossible to make a decent cuppa using the non-boiling water provided. All the bars also server espresso coffees but you pay per drink, same as for alcohol and soft drinks. The Espresso coffee was acceptable. Watch out if you get a cake at Charlie’s Bar on desk 5 – they charge for those! We didn’t use room service – you pay extra for it compared to the free service on Princess. On Princess Cruises we seen 3 different passenger group profiles. IN all, there is a leaning to more mature passengers. We’ve seen a broader age range of a 2 night cruise from Brisbane to Sydney, a generally more mature age range on a winter South Pacific cruise where we , in our mid 50s, were amongst the youngest, but both cruises were mostly from Australia/NZ, and a much wider agen range and broader nationality range on a NZ cruise. On this late Autumn non school holiday P& O cruise there was a much broader range, with about 20 young families, a few young adults, but still significant number of retirement age. There also was a wider ethnic profile. We didn’t witness any stupid behaviour, although we didn’t attend most of the late night parties. The standard of entertainment was very high, possibly higher than on Princess, and the shows were Australian produced, so more accessible. Of the 2 production shows we saw, only 1 had a live band. The volume for all production shows was very high and constant, which I don’t think is necessary. Rather than having 2 signers and 8 dancers, the group had 2 signers who could dance a bit, 2 dancers who could sing, and 6 dancers. Other entertainment were a magician, and the Cover Girls, the ship band, who also played jazz in the Blues Room, and some other soloists and duos. The crew were similarly capable to Princess ships, with stewards and dining staff being generally capable and friendly. We didn’t make use of the youth and children’s services so can’t comment. We didn’t make use of P&O Edge & water slides so can’t comment. We didn’t use the Casino either, but we did note that it has much more tables and machines than on the same class Princess ship. Generally boarding, tender and disembarkation procedures were similar to Princess. At check in you are able to link your ship board account with a credit card, something you can do pre-check in online with Princess. Tours were similar, perhaps with some higher activity options than princess. We were able to book online prior to cruise. There is an online wifi accessed application making the daily schedule available on your mobile device. Changes prior to and during the cruise were well communicated. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We were offed a good deal from the last cruise on the Jewel. I recommend taking the free booze cruise its well worth it. The ship is big and very clean there was plenty to do the staff on the entertainment side were very pleasant and ... Read More
We were offed a good deal from the last cruise on the Jewel. I recommend taking the free booze cruise its well worth it. The ship is big and very clean there was plenty to do the staff on the entertainment side were very pleasant and friendly. The guys doing the photos were also on the top of thier game. As for the food it was top notch especially Shell and Bones. We met some great people on board but thats what its all about meeting new friends. The entertainment was also brilliant especially in the black circus the adult show was outstanding and top grade. Our favorite is the bingo which we played daily. We even booked our next cruise onboard. Our room was a room with a window and very large one at that, the staff who looked after us were always there to help and made sure our room was as good as any 5 star hotel. I recommend tis ship anyday. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Pacific Explorer was very familiar as been on it previously as Dawn Princess, some changes made to appeal to younger patrons with two slides, water area for kids and usual P&O activities ( that need to pay extra to enjoy). The ... Read More
Pacific Explorer was very familiar as been on it previously as Dawn Princess, some changes made to appeal to younger patrons with two slides, water area for kids and usual P&O activities ( that need to pay extra to enjoy). The entertainment crew were excellent. Joanne was cruise director and Rory deputy ( had them in the past on other ships), new staff on entertainment crew but they were all very good. We went in a group of 6 ( 3 couples ) and are all seasoned cruisers, and all impressed overall with P&O - they have improved so much since a few years ago. I think the only crap ship now is the Pacific Dawn - even staff new of this. Off course it wasn't perfect and as some have said the restaurant food is a bit hit and miss and the Pantry can give out cold food, and we had two bad steaks at the Waterfront. But with 4 places to eat at no extra cost you cannot really complain, most of the time the food is quite good and service is pretty good ( Pantry is so busy at breakfast and lunch, but that is similar on Princess and Royal Caribbean). Entertainment at the theatre ( come early or miss out - a bit like Princess - chairs looked like original from when ship was made) was very good and even the magician was good ( Jack Black) as he combined comedy into the act. We were lucky we were put in a larger cabin ( disabled - unused), but other couple had a broom closet. Bathroom had some mould under shower on floor. Most laundries had one or two broken down washers or driers, you need to look early to get your washing done - purchase coin tokens at reception $3. Bring your own washing detergent. We just hang clothes up to dry in room - crank up heat as you leave room in the morning and dry when you come back at night. Overall the price was great for what you get, you can pay a lot more for Princess, Royal Caribbean or Celebrity and now Carnival also is more expensive and get a bit more but P&O go to places others do not go and very hard to beat the value. Ports Noumea - OK if first time , but most seasoned cruisers have had enough of this port. We just walked around and went to the Museum ( cost us $3 for over 60y each, but need to take New Caledonia money) - it was much better than we expected and large inside, some signs in English - beware is closed in middle of the day. Had good wak around area again up to the church, around the bay area etc and a few coffees. Lifou - Walked up to the old church to the right about 1km max. and looked around just to warm up for swimming. Large turtle in the water at the beach, lots of snorkelling around it and then usual swimming and fish spotting. Port Vila - Water taxi into town ( still $5 each - hard to negotiate prices in the morning), then walk around and off the duty free grog shop - prices still cheaper than ship BUT ship prices have dropped dramatically - it is now only about $1 cheaper on most drinks on the island ( however can buy 2 litre Jim Beans and 1.75 Jack Daniels that are not on the ship, which makes it so much more a bargain). Island duty free delivers to ship so no need to carry around. We then went across to Irikiri Island now that it is open again after cyclone - It is now $20 to get onto island and you now only get $10 back for spending but drinks are very expensive - food not too bad, used to get $20 back for food. But can used the facilities on island for free - we went snorkelling. Lovely just to walk around island and take pictures. Mystery Island - Island is getting more and more huts and more and more islanders trying to hire out equipment and tours etc. Their were blue bottles in the water ( first time seen on island in 10 visits) and lots of people got stung, lots of vinegar dispersed by P&O first aid ( one of our group was stung and had large sting marks on her shoulder). BUT the fish were fantastic, most fish we have ever seen and coral was great also. It would have been worth the sting. Isle of Pines - went for a long walk to the end of the beach ( near whalf) and then along the bay, then up to the old prison again. Lovely island pictures taken as usual, didn't bother going swimming as nothing could be like Mystery Island and been around Sacret Rock many times. Other couple with us went swimming after lunch and said it was OK but not like yesterday. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
It was good value for the money. The overall service was good. There was not much variety entertainment in the bars. There were 4 good shows. The others were somewhat poor and cheap. The talent quest was good and entertaining. The ... Read More
It was good value for the money. The overall service was good. There was not much variety entertainment in the bars. There were 4 good shows. The others were somewhat poor and cheap. The talent quest was good and entertaining. The Circus was good but I don't think it was good enough to have to pay $15 extra. I refuse to pay $20 for a Sauna. The ship was good for family and the young people. Would not recommend it for pensioners as it was very noisy and no dancing for older generation. It was cheap entertainment as there seemed to be a lot of Trivia in the Explorer Hotel. There was one Place the Sanctuary where it was quiet. But it was very hard to get a deck chair as it was popular with people who did not like the noise. I hated the piano player as he sang out of tune and no variety. I suspect that he might have just got a free cruise. I would not pay him any money. The guitar player was good also the Blue Room entertainment was good. Restaurants The food in the Waterfront was terrible they served what looked and tasted like tinned Spagetti. The service was excellent they tried hard to make me happy. The menu did not suit me. greasy deep fried and basic desserts. The only good meal at the Waterfront was omelette for breakfast this was nice and hot. Angelos this was good for one night. dessert was Tiramisu which was the best dessert on the ship. The next night we had Spagetti Bolognese this looked like tinned Spagetti or else cooked spaghetti with commercial tomato sauce through it with 2 tasteless meatballs the worst meal ever. The service on the second night was very slow even though I told the waiter we needed to be out early. I overheard several people complaining how slow the service was. I did have to ask to have my food served hot. I expect better meals in a Italian Restaurant. The The Dragon Lady and that was good on both nights. My top recommendation. The pantry had a good selection but mostly lukewarm and you had to walk around with your plate trying to get a seat. The tables were not cleared fast enough so you had to eat with dirty plates on the tables a lot of the times. Fish and chips were hot and good. They had Paela with Mussels and that seemed to be popular. I did not have any so I can not comment on the taste.I did enjoy the Indian dishes but sometimes lukewarm. The salads were good. Desserts I did not like cakes all tasted similar. The cabin was very squashy and I knocked my ankles a few times trying to get into bed but to be fair we did get the Cruise at a special price so we did not expect too much. We did get value for money. Cabin Stewards where exceptional. I loved Mystery Island and The Isle of Pines where we took a bus onshore for $20 plus $4 extra to see a cave. This was very good value and we had 30 minutes bonus all up 2.5 hours We had to stand in line for 45 minutes to get back on board. Not sure why it took so long as they other 5 ports did not have much waiting time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Do yourself a favour and do not book this cruise ship if you are thinking about it. This was my 3rd cruise. We travelled as a large group of 15 and we’re all so disappointed. I’ll start with the positives - our room steward Yuyus ... Read More
Do yourself a favour and do not book this cruise ship if you are thinking about it. This was my 3rd cruise. We travelled as a large group of 15 and we’re all so disappointed. I’ll start with the positives - our room steward Yuyus was fantastic. He Went above and beyond any request we made. The cabin itself is old and dated but it did the job. The restaurants NOT included in the fare price are delicious - we paid for a pizza at 400 gradi or a burger at Luke’s grill every day. They made nice soup. THATS IT for the positives. Now for the negatives - The food that IS included in the fare especially at the pantry was horrible to say the least. It was always just cold -warm. Never hot. I’m 5 months pregnant so it really concerned me, especially when they didn’t know if the Hollandaise sauce contained raw egg!? (Turns out it was pre packaged). Some of the bar staff in the pantry and deck 12 pool were so so rude. I had an unlimited refreshments package (everything except alcohol included). They tried to charge me $2 to heat up each bottle of milk for my 1year old daughter even though milk is free! There are no microwaves available to passengers on the ship so I didn’t have any other choice! Then I was questioned as to why I got 2 bottles of water 40 minutes apart - I explained that the water is not kept in the fridge, it was sat on the bar bench in 30 degree heat and I’m pregnant... they didn’t care and made me feel like I was trying to rort my drinks package! They had wet paint on the main deck flooring and had re varnished the stair hand railings mid cruise - didn’t make any sense as to why they’d do it mid cruise? Most nights they’d just put on a movie for entertainment, not much excitement on deck like other cruises I’ve been on. Laundry facilities were broken down half the time and detergent, softener and token dispensers don’t work - remember to take your own detergent! Entertainment shows were ok, but bingo is sooo expensive! Ping pong tables and bats are falling apart. The kids water park water is not heated and on one of the highest decks. It was so windy my 3.5 year old couldn’t really enjoy it. The only heated pool was the spas and the adults only oasis pool - young kids were freezing as the pool water was ridiculously cold! Overall, if I could give this a 1/2 star rating I would. Honestly, don’t waste your money! I wish I’d taken into account more the other reviewers comments and spent my money elsewhere! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Embarkation We got to the port very early so I cant complain that we had to wait a while, even so, once the ball got rolling it was smooth and seamless. The Ship My previous cruise was on the sister ship Sun Princess so the layout ... Read More
Embarkation We got to the port very early so I cant complain that we had to wait a while, even so, once the ball got rolling it was smooth and seamless. The Ship My previous cruise was on the sister ship Sun Princess so the layout was very familiar and I had no trouble in finding my way around. The public areas were spacious and well appointed most of the time but certainly peak times at any location and it does get cramped most notably "The Pantry" and both of the show lounges. Its an older ship and even after the recent upgrades there are signs of wear but not enough to cause any concern. There are a lot of dining options to pay extra for and some of these are located in the worst places, one of them on level 8 which prevents you from accessing past the restaurant on that level, instead you need to go up or down a floor to get past which can be a pain. Dining Let me start by saying that I went on the cruise with very low food expectations and ended up finding it satisfactory, you simply cant compare P&O food to other cruise lines without also considering the price you paid for the cruise. There are a lot of options to spend more and seemingly a lot of limited repetitive choices to help sway the cruise cards towards those options. I didn't visit any of the "pay extra" venues but there were many times in the free venues where I struggled to find a meal option that I was looking forward to or really enjoyed. There were some dishes that I did enjoy but often there would be elements to the meal that were just not right, the dry crumbed turkey fillet which would have been great with a gravy or sauce or the Lebanese chicken skewer with "homus" which would have been great if only the homus didn't have the consistency of soup or the canolli that had a great filling but was left too long before serving and lost it's crunch . I got the impression that its a new menu, they were constantly asking what we thought of our meals or if there were any problems and to be fair they were happy to try to please or offer another meal if we hadn't eaten much. I found Dragon Lady to be the pick of the free venues. A word of advice with either Angelo's or Dragon Lady, book the day before or you may not get in, the Waterfront, we never bothered to book and never had a problem getting in. Entertainment / Activities I'm not interested in the cabaret style shows so didn't bother too much to watch them but the comedy magic act (Jack Black) and the 2 comedians (Garry Who and Jarred Fell) all put on very entertaining shows. Service Again, consider how much you paid for the cruise and adjust your expectations accordingly, I cant say I had bad service at any time but definitely some stood out much more than others, the girl serving coffee on level 5 who was quite possibly the friendliest cruise staff I have ever encountered and our room stewards Daniel and Vincent were as good as any cabin staff we have had on any cruise line. On the other end of the scale though there were some who didn't do any more than they had to. Ports Our itinerary included 4 ports, Santo, Pentacost, Vila and Lifou on 4 consecutive days, Pentacost being the only port we hadn't visited previously was a real thrill to see and the locals quite literally risk their lives to entertain us with their land diving, it is hard to see it as anything other than pure madness combined with pure bravery and definitely something you wont see elsewhere Kids club My 2 kids almost 13 and almost 14 used to love kids club but for some reason they have developed a thing where they think they will have more fun without it, while I am sure they are wrong with that thinking I cant make much comment on it as they didn't go beyond the initial signing in. Overall P&O offer a very competitive option tailored to the Australian market and they are good at it. Compare them to other cruiselines and you will find a lot of little extras missing but as a general rule no other cruiseline is as cheap and no other cruiseline understands how to entertain Aussies quite as well as P&O do, To be completely honest, if they were not cheaper there is no way I would choose them but like all cruiselines you need to consider the entire package. they are cheap, visit some unique ports, have a younger more energetic crowd and they know how to entertain their audience, their service, food options and luxury touches fall way short of all other cruiselines servicing Australia and if the above reasons are not enough to make up your mind its kind of good too have the "limited luxuries" so you will appreciate them more when you go on the more up market cruiselines next time Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
It was my first time on a cruise I went with a group of family.We embarked at the OS Terminal At Circular Quay and it felt like a cattle muster but went relatively smoothly the staff herding us like cattle were very rude and gruff I think ... Read More
It was my first time on a cruise I went with a group of family.We embarked at the OS Terminal At Circular Quay and it felt like a cattle muster but went relatively smoothly the staff herding us like cattle were very rude and gruff I think they had their customer service and friendliness surgically removed not a good look if you were from overseas. .Once on board the crew were very friendly and helpful. Cabin was clean and comfortable.The food in the Pantry was just ok nothing special and it got very crowded with people wondering about trying to find seats it was no different then going to the local RSL.The coffee was horrible.I paid for a coffee thinking it would be a bit better than the machine coffee found it was just as bad.I had water for most of the trip.I am not a drinker so the cocktails and wine did not appeal to me.The staff working in the pantry did not seem to be as happy as other staff. We had dinner in the Italian restaraunt and found it to be just ok nothing special.The waterfront restaurant was the same nothing out of the ordinary but ok. There are lots of little bars tucked away around the ship and if you drink alcohol you can get service anywhere although in some places it seemed people were waiting a long time for their drinks.Luckily there was a water container on each bar. The flying fox and walk the plank had to be paid for which if you had kids or liked that sort of thing could get quite expensive..The pools are really crowded with lots of kids but that’s ok cause that’s what kids like.The adults only part gets very crowded and noisy.I went to deck seven which did not seemed to be as crowded and was ok.There was not much else that interested me I went to trivia a couple of times but you can only do so much trivia.When my companions went to do what they wanted I just wandered around There is not much signage telling you where things were so I just wandered aimlessly.Most days there was only one toilet working in the women’s toilets and there didn’t seem to many around so I would go back to the cabin.Im sure there are toilets dotted around the ship but they are hard to find well I couldn’t find them.They are not really clearly marked. The weather was lovely and seas calm.We called in to Moreton Island and I must say it was really boring.It was a Saturday and we expected that there might be some small markets on but there was nothing.It was ok if you wanted to go snorkelling to a helicopter ride or anything like that but really the only activity if you were older was to have a coffee or drink and look at the ship you had just got off.We just went for a walk and stayed about 1/2 hour and went back on board.I would have thought that with cruise ships doing regular stops to Moreton Island they would make an effort with music or something.Doesnt make you want to go there again.As in any tourist destination it was very expensive as well. Would I go again....probably not.However nearly everyone I spoke to all said the same thing that while PO were ok Royal Carribean was much better .While I didn’t have a horrible time I think if I hadn’t gone with the people I did go with I think it would have been a different story. All in all it was just an ok experience nothing to write home about.I might look into Royal carribean. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Our cabin was clean and there was a short wait for our luggage to be delivered to the room but we had no concerns. Good times pamphlet was easy to read with lots of interesting activities to ... Read More
Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Our cabin was clean and there was a short wait for our luggage to be delivered to the room but we had no concerns. Good times pamphlet was easy to read with lots of interesting activities to do. Waterfront restaurant had good food and was easy to get into with and without a reservation. The Pavlova dessert was AMAZING. Highly recommended even for the $9 price tag. Seven / Let's Misbehave / Rock shows were awesome - very talented entertainment staff always great shows. just magnificent. I love walking along the promenade deck except when portions are roped off and you have to detour back inside the ship to continue the lap and when you have to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke (that definitely ruins the experience of walking around the ship and enjoying the seas air and views). Breakfast is always the worst meal of the day on cruises but breakfast under this new Pantry layout was DISGUSTING. The hot food (bacon, eggs, etc) were always cold and waiting in line for toast made it even colder. It is really difficult to get seats in The Pantry and the food is getting even colder by the time you find a seat. if you stay away from hot food and lines even the cold breakfast foods like yogurt and fruit were inedible. The Pantry is so chaotic - people walking every which way and people walking through the food area when they are leaving. no hand washing was enforced and broken soap dispensers was ignored by the staff. The staff were very slow in cleaning the tables in The Pantry which led to less tables being available and it was difficult to get a staff members attention is you wanted them to come clean a table for you. This was also noticeable around the ship as large stacks to used plates and cups were seen every including in elevators and under stairs. It may be a cruise ship and staff are there to pick up a lot of items but people can be sucks pigs leaving their leftovers everywhere. The Pantry at Lunch was not much better - too chaotic and too difficult to get seating for terrible tasting food. i recommend avoiding The Pantry at all costs. The opening times of the Pantry was awful. if you wanted a snack outside of The Pantry opening times there was nothing available unless you were willing to pay extra money. No sweets on offer between lunch and dinner times except the $5 a scoop ice cream. also the Pantry only offered Apple & Orange Juice with breakfast after than you could not get any drinks other than tea and coffee in the Pantry. No staff available to ask about getting other drinks with lunch?? the watersides were fun but lots of rules and issues about earrings. we took off our big earrings and went on the slides twice but then suddenly they changed their minds and we could not slide with any earrings in even small sleepers that were not going to come undone. make up your minds. many children were unsupervised as well and very pushy when trying to get past you on the stairs up to the slides. 18+ area was nice except for a couple of very loud annoying drunk women cackling away for 4 days and people hogging the hot tubs for many hours & not sharing. getting drinks was a slow process sometimes especially if you wanted to ask the bar tender any questions who would answer 1 then serve somebody else. Mock tails were never mentioned on any menus and had to be asked for specifically and then the bar tender would walk away to serve someone else without waiting for our order. Swim towels available in the rooms was much more helpful than other ships where you have to search for towels yourself and then walk back to the pool you want to use. Spa services are so expensive! $39 for an eye brow wax and then they try to sell you a special brand of face toner and cleanser for $60 each. what a rip off. Dinner at the Dragon Lady was excellent. Dinner at Angelo's was lovely, though the portion sizes were a bit small. getting drinks around the ship were sometimes a but confusing, the menus all said Pepsi / Pepsi max drinks but when you asked for Pepsi the staff looked at you blankly and said they had Coke / Diet Coke. also for non coffee drinkers it's difficult to get a non coffee drink. the menu only offered coffee flavored drinks and when a Iced Chocolate was asked for the staff would still make an Iced Chocolate Mocha even though they promised a non coffee Iced Chocolate. they even seemed confused when asked for a simple hot milk drink. entertainment activities was mostly fun though the paper flower making class was a bit ridiculous. the teacher did not explain / show the steps very well and when you asked for help or for her to repeat the steps she was slow at acknowledging us. learning the steps for the Gatsby flash mob was fun but when the time came for us to do the dance in the Atrium it was far too crowded and not enough space for the steps we were taught including Charleston kicks. it became very claustrophobic on the dance floor. we were promised confetti at the end of the dance which did not occur. The photo department...terrible photos and terrible prices! we are all dressed up in Gatsby outfits but the photographer cut off our fingers and outfits and was bamboozled when we had our own poses already chosen. all they want you to do is stand in the same spot every time and then they don't really check if you have closed eyes. the new digital kiosk system can make finding your photos easier but each staff member trained differently or incorrectly gives you different information. e.g. 1 staff member said you can only order digital copies from the kiosk and physical copies you had to find yourself in the many boxes of mixed photo graphs where another said you could order digital and physical copies from the kiosk (but after i had already spent 30 mins or more searching through the multiple piles of mixed photos for any photos of my group). shore excursions... we went to Moreton Island and we booked the snorkeling tour and the feeding the Dolphins tour. we were told to get a tender at least 90 mins before our tour time to make sure we didn't miss the tours but then we were so early for the tour that we were waiting for an hour for our tour to start. we were also not given enough information and were not told to dress in our swimmers before hand. once in the wet suit snorkeling was a beautiful experience. highly recommend. afterwards we had to wait for our next tour. so had a late lunch and a beach swim but still ended up waiting for many hours before the Feeding the Dolphins tour started at 5pm. the tour size was enormous! at least 100 - 200 people. we then had to wait another 90 mins while a buffet was served (which we could not eat as we had had lunch not long ago) & a dolphin presentation was held, before we even saw a dolphin. then we were joined by another 100 people from the island who wanted to feed dolphins before were were allowed to line up and grab our fish to feed to the dolphin. once in the water it was a very quick few seconds where the dolphin snatched the fish from your fingers a photo was taken and you were pushed back onto the shore where P&O staff were waiting to rush you on-board a boat to tender you back to the ship. lots on long waiting time for a very quick experience and then being rushed back onto the ship. shopping on-board ship is the usual clothing and jewelry - it's fine as long as you fit into small/medium sizes, anything bigger than a large is not catered for. it's all very expensive even when 50% off. i do enjoy cruising but there are a lot of little things that made my Pacific Explorer Experience not perfect. 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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Our accommodation was in a Mini suite which enabled us to take advantage of priority embarkation and disembarkation. It also provided us with priority tendering. Having sailed on this ship as Dawn Princess it was good to be able to make ... Read More
Our accommodation was in a Mini suite which enabled us to take advantage of priority embarkation and disembarkation. It also provided us with priority tendering. Having sailed on this ship as Dawn Princess it was good to be able to make a comparison between the décor of the two versions. The Ship. 345Pts / 500pts The ship has undergone significant modification in most public rooms and dinning rooms, mainly in the mid ship areas. I liked the modernisation of the interior décor it is bright and refreshing and suits the P&O product. The ships condition in general was quite good considering age of the vessel. The ship looked clean throughout public rooms and exterior deck space. The outdoor areas have had two water-slides added and and a children’s water area where the sports court used to be under the funnel area. Also added are facilities such as zip lines, trampolines as part of the Edge program. Deck chairs are large wicker style and have good cushioning situated around the pool areas including the oasis adult area at the aft of the ship. The down side of these deck chairs they are not very practical for watching the outdoor big movie screen. Deck chairs on the promenade deck are old deck chairs from the pool area and gone are the wooden chairs from Dawn Princess but probably not an issue as very few guest took advantage use of promenade deck. The interior has had some changes but does not effect the traffic flow still some bottlenecks at show time. One thing that does not work are the seats that have been placed in the bay windows in some public areas as they are hard to get into and unless you have a large group they are impracticable as you disturb guests who are already sitting at the normal chairs and tables. The Marque Theatre (Princess Theatre) has had no refit to seating and is looking old. The Black Circus (Vista Lounge) has had some change but remains the same. The décor /furnishings/ artwork has been tastefully changed and works well with the P&O product. Overall the ship still works well in the current market. Accommodation 135pts / 200pts While not having access to all accommodation types it appears the has not been any refit to any of the staterooms. You would expect that there might have been some changes especial y the suites and mini suites but this is not he case and they are showing their age and require some maintenance. The in room facilities are very sparse with the TV on loop programs and no complete TV guide available. Of course it is expected that you don't spend time in your room but if you do pay extra for a balcony it is nice to have some facilities. Beds definitely require replacing. Bathroom in the Mini suite is quite a good size with separate shower, bathtub and toilet and there is a separate lounge area to the bedroom. Cuisine 190pts / 400pts The dining venues have been modified to the P&O stable of restaurants and are very well set out. All diner venues are any time dining type arrangements and bookings in advance can be made. The Waterfront on deck 5 is decorated in what I would call upmarket club dining room with more table of 2 and 4 seats but some large tables set-up for larger groups. There are no table cloths in here. Menus are basic – Breakfast same each day with limited choice with cereal not an option and watered down juices. Lunch available on sea days also limited and does not change. Diner menu does change daily but also limited choice but you can get additional items at a cost. There was no tea or coffee offered at lunch or dinner. On deck 6 you have Angelo's (Italian) and Dragon Lady (Asian) themed. These dining rooms are also very tastefully decorated and the menus do have a better choice and do change throughout the cruise but not daily. Food in theses venues are include in your fare and I found it to be slightly better quality than the Waterfront. I did find having the tiramusu served in Angelo's from an ice cream scoop a little strange and reflected a no love approach to most of the meals served. The pay extra locations Shell and Bone located on deck 14 in a curtained off area of the pantry did not have a great variety of choices however the food was a better quality. It is supposed to be an upmarket area but as part of the pantry we had other guests just cutting through. From time to time and the table at the back of the area backed onto seating in the pantry which meant no privacy. At Luke’s (Grill) did not see any value for the additional cost of a burger and I sometimes wonder if the Chef's that lend their name to these dining venues consider the damage to their brand. The Pantry is the informal / buffet area with several eating choices Asian, Italian, Seafood, Roasts, Mexican with a sweets/ desert bar. Salad is available as a self serve but at the meal stations you are served by crew but you can go back as many times as you want. The jury is still out with this one as to the advantages but it could help with cleanliness (transmission of germs) and costs to the line. The quality of the food was good but it appeared to be good of the cheaper cuts available on the market as for the tea and coffee I think we can move onto the next category. Service 190pts / 400pts Dining room service is a bit hit and miss and sometimes felt rushed but having no set diner sittings can have this effect as there is a requirement to get the guests in and out. This does work well if you want to get to the show. The process of getting to your table was good and most case they knew were the table was and there was follow up from senior staff as to enjoyment of the meal and wait staff were courteous. Bar service was varied and I felt that after day two when the drinks package had been purchased that the service appears to be slow up but it could be imagination. More guests were going to the bar to get a drink rather than waiting to be served. Room service was unpredictable sometimes the rooms would be made early and sometimes later unfortunately I am a bit of creature of habit and like some uniformity and would try to help by leaving the make up my room card on the door but did not seemed to work. I know the stewards work extremely hard and their cabin areas seem to get bigger all the time. I see this as an issue across all cruise lines. Open deck I did not experience any service in these areas so can't comment. Entertainment 70pts / 100pts The standard suite of entertainment was available trivia etc. what you expect on a cruise. Shows on board were well rehearse and delivered to a good standard although some of the costumes are looking are bit tired. Main guest artist were good and delivered a good performance. Some of the internal artists were a little off key but when performing every night it can be a little hard work. The Cruise Experience 235pts / 400pts The activities on board were what is normally expected across most family cruise market lines and are well tried and tested and most guests enjoy without being over the top. The crew were professional and polite and as usual wore many hats (dancers running trivia). There appears enough entertainment so that most guest could do what they like without missing an activity. While there is a big screen on deck movie s or sports presentations are very difficult to view due to the placement of deck-lounges and their size and the internal TV programs very poor running on loops and at early time of the day. Overall the product appeals to younger singles and families and will always have a market. For first time cruises the product is good and you will have a good time. Older couples should avoid school holiday times and the fringe weeks around these times for a more enjoyable time. Overall score 1165pts / 2000pts Three out of five star rating Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We wanted to see the renovated Pacific Explorer but with the negative reviews, were not sure what our experience would be like. However no worries at all, such a great 3 night Easter cruise we didn't want to get off. Embarkation was ... Read More
We wanted to see the renovated Pacific Explorer but with the negative reviews, were not sure what our experience would be like. However no worries at all, such a great 3 night Easter cruise we didn't want to get off. Embarkation was quickest ever, we arrived at our allocated time of 1.30 pm and were onboard swiftly. Absolutely love the way the ship has been renovated, so stylish, modern and fabulous furniture. Even although our cabin was not renovated it was lovely, the furnishings and design of good quality, well maintained and spotlessly clean. It was the smallest cabin and bathroom we have had on a cruise ship, but that was not important as we spent our time out and about, not in the cabin. We really liked the choice of venues for meals, as you have Angelos, Dragon Lady and the Waterfront to choose from. The Pantry was amazing also but was quite busy for breakfast so we had breakfast in The Waterfront which had a great menu, served really quickly. The Easter displays and themeing throughout the ship was amazing also the Easter Sunday activities were well organised on Pool Deck for the children. Another compliment for P&O is their production shows, the best we have ever seen at sea. There was so much to pack into this 3 night cruise, two great production shows which we really enjoyed, loads of Comedy events at different ti es and venues, a White Party that we didn't get to, the Gatsby Night when everyone on board dresses up in Gatsby clothes and accessories and the main Atrium is themed Gatsby style with matching music. We will go on another cruise on the Pacific Explorer and have a totally different opinion of P&O after being on board. Shame this Easter cruise is not available on Explorer for 2019, we would already be booked!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Just returned from our short cruise. It was very enjoyable and relaxing. We have cruise before on the carnival legend but this was our first time on P & O. We booked interior cabin which was very nice and had everything we wanted. The ... Read More
Just returned from our short cruise. It was very enjoyable and relaxing. We have cruise before on the carnival legend but this was our first time on P & O. We booked interior cabin which was very nice and had everything we wanted. The cabin steward took great care of cleaning the room everyday including night turn down. Dining was adequate we really enjoyed The Pantry, which is the name of their buffet. Especially the Indian and Mexican food stand. For dinner we tried both the Dragon Lady - asian and Angelos - Italian. Both restaurants were very nice. Also ate at Waterfront - the main dining restaurant for lunch on of the day. Food was disappointing. Only a short cruise so there was plenty of activities to keep us entertained. The comedy and night shows were very entertaining. Our 6 yr old really enjoyed the kids club and pools/watersldes. It was great sunny weather but we managed to find lounge chairs to enjoy. Overall a great cruise and highly recommend to anyone considering especially first time cruisers. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Travelled to Tasmania, Port Arthur. WARNING! if you have mobility issues or are overweight Port Arthur is not for you! Dont listen to the wingers this is a great ship. Food and entertainment were very good ate mainly in the Pantry, up to ... Read More
Travelled to Tasmania, Port Arthur. WARNING! if you have mobility issues or are overweight Port Arthur is not for you! Dont listen to the wingers this is a great ship. Food and entertainment were very good ate mainly in the Pantry, up to date movies in your cabin, the Sanctuary was good to go and hide and soo peaceful. Adults only area was good a little small, my only complaint was there is a designated smoking area, however it did not stop some smokers from leaving the area to take photos around you and therefore you were subject to smoke, very disrespectful. Cabin stewards are always the best, reception staff very good in fact did not have an issue with anything on the ship unlike Pacific Eden which should be sunk and used as an artificial reef although I think even the fish would be too scared to go on board. I only have good tings to say about this ship.I have done 7 cruises, 5 with P&O and booked this ship for next year. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
My wife has always wanted to go on a cruise and I was never fussed so 4 nights, if we didn't like it, was doable. First mistake was doing everything online before we left as they had no records of our input at embarkation. Second ... Read More
My wife has always wanted to go on a cruise and I was never fussed so 4 nights, if we didn't like it, was doable. First mistake was doing everything online before we left as they had no records of our input at embarkation. Second mistake was pre-booking the special packages. When we arrived in our cabin everything was there, cheese and biscuits and red wine for Day 2, chilled bubbles and strawberry's in chocolate for Day 3 of the trip. We didn't get our pre-ordered water but 12 1.5 ltr bottles was delivered that night and was far too much. Plus it was as cheap to purchase the packages on the ship. Third mistake going to have a meal at the Pantry - it was like a zoo, image a busy food court and then double the amount of people, that was the Pantry and tainted our view of it. Then went and booked evening meals away from the zoo. The trouble was that the times they provided for dining clashed with the show times. Eating - The Waterfront was ok, Dragon Lady provided small portions and Shell & Bones was ok but disappointing as I expected more, particularly as we were paying. We purchased burgers at Luke's and they were really good. However, on the last night we had the degustation meal at A Taste of Salt and wow what an awesome meal but it cost $125 per person (limited to 14) and provided 8 different glasses of wine, seven courses over 4 hours, and everyone sat around talking, the art of conversation is not dead. I think that if you did this on Day 1 it would ruin the food outlets for the rest of the trip. The price of drinks was ok throughout and cheaper than I thought it would be, a beer and a wine costing $15.50, cocktails $12. I used the gym which was like any hotel gym but with a nicer outlook and all the equipment was working. The adult pool area was small but provided an escape from kids, but all the sunbeds quickly filled up. The lifts were very slow and didn't help when the kids pressed every button. We took the Northern Explorer trip at Moreton Island and that was informative and well done. Now the cruise overall was ideal for kids and family groups with continuous entertainment and was just like my memories of visiting the Butlin's holiday camps. Like all good campsites there was something for everyone. Would I go again? Unlikely, unless I was with a group, or with family. Hi-de-Hi everyone! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We have just returned from a 4 day Morton Island Cruise. We were 2 couples aged in our late 50"s early 60"s. We have previousley cruised with Celebrity cruises, Royal Carribien( our usual cruise line), MSC and our very ... Read More
We have just returned from a 4 day Morton Island Cruise. We were 2 couples aged in our late 50"s early 60"s. We have previousley cruised with Celebrity cruises, Royal Carribien( our usual cruise line), MSC and our very first cruise was on the old Pacific Sun many years ago. We have not cruised witrh P & O since our 1st cruise and after reading many bad reviews did not think we would cruise with P&O again. After seeing a very good price on a Morton Island cruise we thought we would bite the bullet and try the Pacific Explorer. How bad coud it be? Well we were proven wrong, we had a great time on the Pacific explorer and loved the ship. ENBARKATION was quick and easy very friendly staff at White Bay. Pacific Explorer is a beautful ship with lots of great places to relax and have a drink. Lovely decor. DEMOGRAPHICS on the ship was mainly the 30 - 50 age group. ( about 60%) 20-30 year old ( 20%) and over 50 (20%) - We were defiantly on of the oldies on this cruise :-) CROWD BEHAVIOUR - what a great crowd - everyone was friendly and saw no bad behaviour. ENTERTAINMENT: This is where P&O has the edge on the other ships I have been on. The Gatsby Night, the White Night and the Farewell Party were all so much fun. Everybody dancing and singing with the entertainment staff. All enjoying themselves together. The Blue room is a nice place for pre dinner drink - Jazz and blues type of venue. It then turns ito the over 18's Disco at 11.30 pm. This is where you really notice how many young people were on board. All having a great time. Went to 3 shows - Seven - Rock of Ages - Love Riot (fee applies) All were great - Love Riot is very different, at first it is kind of weird but stick with it because it ends up a really good show. During the day they had the usual Cruise activities - Trivia, Bingo, Dancing Lessons etc. CABINS- They have not been refurbished and are only small. But were always kept clean and the beds were very comfortable. That's all I need on a ship. As usual our cabin Stewardess was great. STAFF: Always friendly. No complaints. Never had problems getting a drink. FOOD: Unlike a few review I have read I LOVED the Pantry. The food was very good and so much variety. It is so much more hygienic to be served by the staff than to have all the passengers handeling all the tongs etc. We ate at the Waterfront - Dragon Lady - Angelo's - all good We also ate at Shell and Bones - Had the lobster. It was not like the traditional Lobster Mornay you would get at a restaurant. The lobster was mashed up and mixed with other ingrediance before being put back ito the shell so you didn't get those nice big chunks of lobster meat. It was very tasty but I must admit I was a bit disapointed. GYM: Great Gym with all the usual equipment. Never had problems getting a machine. CHILDREN: Not sure how many childred were on board but only really saw them in the main pool area. Saw no children running up and down stairs etc. P&O have a seperate Gatsby Party and White Party for the kids about 7pm. TENDERING: Was quick and easy - no problems. MORTON ISLAND: I have spent a week on Morton Island previosley so did not go on any excursions. I have never done ship tours on any cruises. I find them way overpriced and prefer to organise my own tours. Morton Island is beautiful. We just walked to the wrecks along the beach. One of our group swam out to the wreck but the rest of us just had a swim. If you are a strong swimmer and have your own snorkle you are able to just swim to the wrecks without taking a tour. Just be aware the currents can be very strong. Overall we really enjoyed this cruise. You will not get a 5 star room or 5 star fine dinning. If that is what you are after maybe Crystal Cruises, Silversea’s or Cunard Line are better suited. The reason I gave the cruise 5 stars is because it delivers what it promises. P & O does not pretend to be a luxury line. What you will get is value for money, great staff, great food and great entertainment. After this I will defiantly be cruising with P & O again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
You can tell this used to be a Princess ship - it is a step above the usual P&O Australia standard and a lot larger than the rest of the fleet. We were in Oceanview cabin 9198 close to the lifts and stairs towards the back of the ship ... Read More
You can tell this used to be a Princess ship - it is a step above the usual P&O Australia standard and a lot larger than the rest of the fleet. We were in Oceanview cabin 9198 close to the lifts and stairs towards the back of the ship but good exercise walking to the dining venues. Usually the only difference between the oceanview and inside cabins is the window, but not on this ship. The inside cabins are about two-thirds the size and quite cramped for space. All the common areas were well furnished and well maintained. Plenty of space to read in comfort or chat to fellow passengers. The promenade on deck 6 is a bit strange as you have to open and close two doors at the back of the ship to go completely around, and on a lot of days the crew were doing maintenance so you couldn't do a circuit anyway. A lot of passengers had the (expensive) beverage packages. On the last night the guy next to us at dinner came in with a can of VB and had that plus two bourbon & cokes before entree. He left holding his third, complaining that the duck didn't taste like duck - I guess it tasted like bourbon & coke! There were a lot of people towards the end of the cruise determined to get their "money's worth", unfortunately. We booked the restaurants for the whole cruise when we first got on board, by lining up at Dragon Lady. Bottles of wine with dinner started at about $27 with no 15% add-on gratuity - good Australian and NZ wine and quality Italian wine at Angelo's.. The Waterfront restaurant served very good quality food and we ate there for breakfast, lunch and some dinners. The Pantry at lunch time was too crowded for our liking and the Waterfront was much more civilised. The "free" (i.e., price included) Dragon Lady restaurant was very friendly with one excellent menu the first week and a second equally excellent one for the last 5 days. There was a similar change in menu at the "free" Angelo's Italian restaurant, which was also exceptionally good. Shell & Bones was a bitter disappointment and $30 for two half "tiger prawn size" Lobster Mornays with no sides included was a waste of money - afterwards we went down to the Waterfront for entree and dessert! We were later told we should have brought in our "sides" from the adjacent Pantry. We went to the 'Taste of Salt' 7 course menu with matching wines for $99 each but it was a bit "ho-hum". The service was good but it wasn't the food I would have chosen from the Salt Restaurant on other P&O ships, and the quantity was disappointing. The best dinner we had on the ship was the "Love Riot" cabaret 5 course dinner - well cooked, good quantity and ending with a "WOW" factor dessert. It was $29 for dinner and show or $10 for just the show - next time we'd pay the $29 for the dinner and give the show a miss. The show was good - lots of talented acrobatic people - but not as good as the dinner. The 'Rock Anthem of the Ages' show was not to our liking for either singing or dancing and why they needed to blind everyone with strobe lights was beyond me. We thought the best entertainment on the ship was the Phillippino crew band 'Soundblasters'. We liked the afternoon Trivia with its strange questions, especially when it was run by "Dora the Irish Explorer". We liked the fact that P&O didn't skimp on easy listening live background music during the day - very pleasant. We missed Isle of Pines due to the cyclone but headed up the west coast of New Caledonia to avoid it - good thinking! In Port Vila we found a duty free shop half way down on the other sided of the road which was cheaper than the famous "yellow" shop. Mystery Island has become more commercialised since our last visit and the ocean current on the other side of the island is still very strong. The tender boats were in excellent condition and the first we have encountered with an open top deck - great idea. Duty free alcohol bought on board or on shore is distributed on the morning you arrive back in home Port, which is annoying as you have already got rid of your bags the night before. Also annoying is that you have to line up twice - once in Angelo's for ship bought alcohol and then in Dragon Lady for alcohol bought off ship. Of course the ship has a "pre Vila" 10% off alcohol sale which brought the price down, but not quite (but nearly) as good as in Port Vila if you are going into town anyway and you don't take into account the $5 bus ride. We have previously been on the Jewel and the Pearl and had decided not to go P&O Australia again until friends recommended the Pacific Explorer. We would have no hesitation in booking another holiday on this ship and while we were on board we booked the Aria for a cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We stayed in cabin 11181 which was on the starboard side. The main pool deck was on the next level above and the kids club areas were immediately above the cabin. In addition, the floor on deck 12 was steel with a painted non-slip surface, ... Read More
We stayed in cabin 11181 which was on the starboard side. The main pool deck was on the next level above and the kids club areas were immediately above the cabin. In addition, the floor on deck 12 was steel with a painted non-slip surface, but no decking material or sound deadening. As a result, the large numbers of kids running around, from 6 in the morning, created a lot of noise in this cabin. I imagine all the outside cabins In this row, and possibly the whole deck, might suffer from the same problem. The cabin attendants were very good and friendly. The cabin was compact, but the balcony gave it a more spacious feeling. This is only the second Cruise I have done, the first being a Cruise out of Hong Kong on the Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas in an interior cabin. The voyager cabin felt much more spacious and with a bigger bathroom and more wardrobe space. This was definitely a low end cruise and it was priced accordingly. As a result, I had very low expectations about the food and I wasn’t disappointed. The Waterfront restaurant was really quite bad for the evening meal. Breakfasts were good there, however and the breakfast buffet at the Pantry was also good. There seemed to be a lot of entertainment on offer, but we only availed ourselves of the movies at the cinema, which was enormous. The movies were very good, recent releases. On balance, I would cruise on P&O and the Pacific Explorer again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
a quick 4 night getaway on Pacific Explorer. This is my third time on this ship, and actually like the interior. The cruise was out of White Bay as there was a bigger ship in the OSPT in Circular Quay. Our cabin was a mini suite, and ... Read More
a quick 4 night getaway on Pacific Explorer. This is my third time on this ship, and actually like the interior. The cruise was out of White Bay as there was a bigger ship in the OSPT in Circular Quay. Our cabin was a mini suite, and quite tastefully furnished. The beds were comfy and the pillows are actually fine (previously the pillows had been a contention on other P&O ships). The weird thing about the mini suite is the setup of the bathroom. The shower and bath are in one area, and through the door is the toilet and sink. This means that you can't get out of the bath and brush your teeth without having to go next door to the single sink. Our cabin stewards were friendly and gave us a lot of attention. Although they didn't introduce themselves till the second night. The room was serviced twice per day. The balcony is a bit small for a mini suite, not in length but in depth. Food was actually not bad at all. We went to a taste of salt (excellent and well worth the $99 per person cover charge). We also tried Dragon Lady and Angelo's as well as Shell and Bones. The disappointing thing is that if you actually want a decent meal, you have to pay for it. No drama if it's reasonably priced. Angelo's was the star of the free meal selection. The pasta was warm and tasted excellent. The secret bar is the Bonded Store, and I can highly recommend you find this small out of the way place, it's by the blue room. Blink and you'll miss it, as it's hidden around a corner. The "nightclub" which is situated in the Blue Room after about 11:30pm was always full. I've seen this either empty or over capacity on different cruises. I guess it depends on the itinerary and if the drink packages are in operation. In Moreton Island, we took the Quad bike tour. Enjoyed this very brief excursion, and maybe P&O might consider doing a longer version, as we just drove around in the sand around a made course. Fun to drive, but not really exciting views. Overall not a bad cruise, better than other P&O cruises I've been on before. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
It was our wedding anniversary so we thought a short cruise would be a good way to celebrate. We had been on a P&O cruise before and so had high hopes about eveerything. Sadly we were very disappointed this time. Embarkation was ... Read More
It was our wedding anniversary so we thought a short cruise would be a good way to celebrate. We had been on a P&O cruise before and so had high hopes about eveerything. Sadly we were very disappointed this time. Embarkation was pretty easy. No problems there. On board the ship there was a very unpleasant smell in some areas, like sewerage. Our room was small but ok as we only needed to sleep there. The bed was quite comfortable and the feather pillows really good. The air conditioning in the room was also good. The thing we were most disappointed with was the food and some service. We did not like having to line up for service in The Pantry, particularly when the staff behind the counter did not or could not understand what you asked for meaning you had to ask several times. The food in almost every instance from The Pantry was really tasteless. I couldn't honestly make a comment about how delicious any hot food or dessert was with the exception of porridge with yogurt and the french toast. Everything else was bland and boring. We ate at Angelo's, the Dragon Lady and the Waterfront. These restaurants proved to be better. The biggest disappointment of all was the Shell and Bones seafood restaurant inside the pantry. That should have rung a bell but we thought there would be different chefs to those in The Pantry. Unfortunately I don't think that was the case. We ordered a hot Seafood Extravaganza anticipating something out of the ordinary, but no, it was very disappointing and to make matters worse, it was a paying restaurant. My husband, a keen fisherman and very good cook of seafood, said it was the worst seafood meal he had ever had. The (American) lobster was tough, the tiny (and I mean tiny) fried scallops balls and prawns in breadcrumbs were cooked in old oil it seems as they were very dark brown and overcooked, the salt and pepper squid had no salt or pepper and a little bit rubbery, the 3 octopii were the size of 10cent pieces. No oysters, no mussels and not even a few chips. We were so disappointed. The staff overall on the ship were very friendly and courteous and helpful. No complaints there. The lifts at the end of the 3 nights were starting to break down making moving between decks time consuming and difficult for those who couldn't manage the stairs. We also experienced two toilet facilities where the toilets weren't flushing. A real bugbear was how inconsiderate some people were with monopolising the popular deckchairs. People would put towels or bags on them early and disappear leaving an empty but monopolised chair for long portions of the day. With limited seating in popular areas some sort of time limit on chairs should be worked out. The entertainment was quite good, especially the rock band revival show and the trivia nights. Overall it was nice to be on the water relaxing but my husband and I would not go on this particular ship again as it definitely didn't measure up. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Just got back from a 4 day cruise on the Explorer. I am gluten free and had advised P&O at time of booking. Food was very limited, in fact the Pantry could only offer me, steam rice, nachos and for desert a small packet of biscuits ... Read More
Just got back from a 4 day cruise on the Explorer. I am gluten free and had advised P&O at time of booking. Food was very limited, in fact the Pantry could only offer me, steam rice, nachos and for desert a small packet of biscuits (similar to that you get on a plane). The quality of food was disgusting in the Pantry and there was often a smell of sewerage at the entrance. The restaurants were slightly better in quality (but not much), with only 1 option for gluten free for each course. Sauces tasted watered down and in some cases, tasted like it was poured from a bottle or can. The only decent restaurant was the Dragon Lady, but unfortunately we could only get in on one night, all other nights was fully booked. My daughters wifi only worked occasionally and after a day of no wifi we were told it drops out and you have to log back in again. Would have been good to have been told this at time of purchase. As mentioned sewerage smells were around the ship at various times and locations and there were big wind blowers down the hallways (assume to get rid of the smells). The only good thing about the cruise were the stage productions and getting off at the end. We had booked another cruise later this year with P&O, but have cancelled this due to this really awful experience. Will never cruise with P&O again, I guess you get what you pay for. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
After our last cruise we decided that the older children (24 & 19) should experience cruising. We picked the 4 day Moreton Island cruise for them to try. It was our first time on the Pacific Explorer and we totally enjoyed it. We did ... Read More
After our last cruise we decided that the older children (24 & 19) should experience cruising. We picked the 4 day Moreton Island cruise for them to try. It was our first time on the Pacific Explorer and we totally enjoyed it. We did experience a blocked toilet on the first morning however one call and we had plumbers there within 5 mins to fix it and we didn't have any further trouble with it. The four of us shared a quad balcony. The room was reasonable but wouldn't want to be in it for a longer cruise. The bathroom was very small with only a tiny area to stand in. Not good when trying to get changed. The facilities on the ship are good and lots of entertainment to choose from. We dined at Angelo's one night and the meal was fantastic. Highly recommend it. The Pantry food was quite good considering it is made for as many people as it is. There are a lot of shore tours to choose from and you need to book them through P&O as there is nothing available to book directly on the island. We did the ATV quad bikes which everyone thoroughly enjoyed, and the sea scooter snorkeling the wrecks which the two children enjoyed but the older two not so much for fear of crashing into the wrecks and being hurt. We purchased tickets ($10 each) for the evening show called 'Love Riot' as I had read good and bad reviews of it. Okay definitely not my cup of tea in fact even the younger two thought it was bizarre. No story line to it, just acrobatics, nudity and dancing. Would not waste my money to see it again. All in all another great cruise with P&O. Everyone enjoyed it. Would i do this trip again YES Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
My son's 6 years old, I wanted to test his 'sea legs' on a mini cruise and Pacific Explorer was right time right place to fit in with school hols. Embarkation was amazingly straight forward from White Bay Cruise Terminal, ... Read More
My son's 6 years old, I wanted to test his 'sea legs' on a mini cruise and Pacific Explorer was right time right place to fit in with school hols. Embarkation was amazingly straight forward from White Bay Cruise Terminal, although there is no car parking anywhere nearby which is a bit annoying given the acres of space in the adjacent area. Rooms - Our 'Stateroom' was clean, tidy and kept that way by Donny and Joseph during our trip, thank you very much guys (in case you're reading this). Food - The main food area is 'The Pantry' which is essentially a food court as you'd find in major cities. There were eight different choices for Lunch and Dinner including Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Roast, fish and chips etc, all of which were quite satisfactory. Breakfast choices were cerial, yoghurt, fruit and full english with an abundance of surprisingly good bacon. There was also a good salad and fruit bar, a reasonable selection of bread, self service tea and coffee and a bar with Barista made coffee (not included in price). If you're in a largish group don't expect to be seated together at busy times. The pantry also offers sandwiches, rolls and wraps during the arvo which were very good quality. Also included in the fare is Dragon Lady (Chinese) and Angelo's (Italian), Dragon Lady decor is a fantastic subdued black with exceptionally well thought out lighting, food is what you'd expect from any Chinese restaurant in the world - Chinese. We didn't eat in Angelo's but we were told it was good. Next up is 'Lukes' and 400 Gradi , Luke's is an alfresco 'grill' overlooking the pool area designed by Luke Mangan, a limited menu but very good quality, try the Korean Chicken Burger with pickles, absolutely fantastic. 400 Gradi was exceptionally good, a fantastic selection of good quality Italian Prosciutto and Salami, traditional Italian style pizza and possibly and the best Semi Freddo in the Southern Hemisphere, seriously, it really was that good. Neither restaurants are included in the fare but the cost is modest, starter, pizza, two desserts, three glasses of wine and four mocktails set me back $40, 'Lukes' was similarly inexpensive and the staff in both could have come directly from a top City restaurant, very, very good at what they do (to the point of going to another of the ships bars to get me a particluar wine). There are other restaurants but we didn't get time to go to them. Entertainment - Every evening a programme is supplied detailing the next days events of which there is about 50 or so between the hours of 7am and midnight, too much to go into here but something for all age groups. The main deck has two pools, two hot tubs a well stocked and efficiently staffed bar, a MASSIVE movie screen and lots and lots and lots of noise, the PA system pumps music, trivia, exercise routines and movie soundtracks relentlessly from early to late, fortunately it's a good quality sound system. Kids - There are two main clubs, 6 and under and 7-11 year old's, (apparently something for teenagers as well) both are very well staffed (I guesstimated 1 supervisor per 6 or 7 kids). The club has secure buzz entry and kids under 8 are not allowed to leave unless a parent is there. Adults - The ship has an adults only retreat, conveniently located adjacent to the kids club. It has three hot tubs, a pool, plenty of loungers a very well stocked bar and is situated at the back of the ship with open views of the ocean. I didn't experience any of the other adult attractions as I was travelling with a 6 year old. Passengers - It would be difficult not to have regular chats with other passengers given the close proximity dictated by the limited space, I struck up countless friendships with people of all age groups all of whom were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Crew - 850 crew to 2500 passengers, all are clearly very well trained, seemed happy doing what they were doing and always keen to assist in any way they could, I can't over emphasize the consistently positive attitude I encountered with the staff and crew, absolutely amazing team, if you're a P&O boss you need to give these guys a pay rise, all of them. Finally, having read some of the other negative reviews it should be pointed out that this ship is very family oriented, if you struggle being in a 'captive environment' surrounded by kids and/ or enjoy your privacy and solitude then this particular cruise ship probably isn't for you. Have a fun cruise. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We begun our cruise by the check-in staff very awkwardly telling us that there is an issue with our room at that we need to see a particular crew member once onboard. She kept apologising and was told that she was not allowed to tell us ... Read More
We begun our cruise by the check-in staff very awkwardly telling us that there is an issue with our room at that we need to see a particular crew member once onboard. She kept apologising and was told that she was not allowed to tell us what the issue was. After boarding we found that a family had requested our room so that they were all together, and P&O wanted us to move but weren't going to give us anything for the move or inconvenience of moving away from friends - making us in turn feel bad for not moving for this family. We then moved onto the 'Pantry' which was all but a zoo where they slopped sometimes unrecognisable food onto a plate and handed it back over the glass to you. We thought we may have better luck at the Waterfront restaurant that night so tried to book a table for 9 and was told we may be separated as they didn't have tables to accomodate this many. When we arrived to dinner, tables were magically pushed together so we could all sit together. Food was very average with some in the group unable to eat beef as they weren't even asked how they would like their steak cooked. This theme of terrible food was carried on the next three days and the icing on the cake was in the Waterfront restaurant for lunch. With limited options we ordered a creme brûlée cheesecake for dessert which came out looking less than appetising and when turned over revealed there were mould spots on the base on all four cheesecakes that were ordered. After this ordeal we opted not to return to the waterfront and decided to eat at the grazing yards at the pantry or buy pizza. The rooms are extremely small, with minimal room to put suitcases. I'm glad that I am not tall as my knees would have touched the door when sitting on the toilet. The grotty slimy shower curtin made me feel dirt every time I went into the shower. The decor in the rooms doesn't look like it has been updated since the ship was built in '97. The beds were very uncomfortable and not good for someone who has a bad back. Entertainment wise the comedy acts were fairly good except for comedians swearing and talking about inappropriate things in front of children. I was very very frustrated that every time I walked into a R18+ act that I had to have my ID to prove my age. This proof should be attached to the cruise card as it is with other cruise lines. Overall, if I wasn't with the people I was with it would have been an awful three days. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Travelling with a 14 year old and hoped all the extras activities would be great on the refurbish ship. Firstly the virtual video is not accurate. Refurbished external yes but certainly not cabins. We were in 10204 balcony bed was ... Read More
Travelling with a 14 year old and hoped all the extras activities would be great on the refurbish ship. Firstly the virtual video is not accurate. Refurbished external yes but certainly not cabins. We were in 10204 balcony bed was saggy, carpets old very tight space. I had a wheely walker and had to fold up to take in side. Meals in Waterfront were not much different to home meals, water fish main like soup, meatloaf as a example. Dessert nothing to write home about. Angeles not really Italian and Dragon Lady best but very small meals. They advertise anytime dinning but everywhere has to be booked. Do this as soon as on board. The biggest rip of is the extra activities. Zip line walk plank. Segway obstical coarse What a Joke. 15 meters on side of deck going around a few top hats (same as used on round works). My grandson and his father paid for the Gold Edge pass. Unlimited use of activities. The Edge centre was only open each day for a short time. Only able to do 2 activities each day. Plus different ones available each day. It cost the same for a 8 day cruise as a 13 night cruise. No complaints about staff except shortage of but others worked very hard as usual. No drink service in Pantry, line up. Pantry food cheaply made, scarcity of meat. Fish and chips best. Salad small but ok Will we go again. NEVER. Back to princess or Holland America. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We booked this cruise as it was our only option for the dates we needed and I booked while it was on sale. We have sailed celebrity, P&O and Princess previously with Celebrity being our favourite. We were not sure what to expect ... Read More
We booked this cruise as it was our only option for the dates we needed and I booked while it was on sale. We have sailed celebrity, P&O and Princess previously with Celebrity being our favourite. We were not sure what to expect as I have not been a real P&O fan in the past, however we enjoyed this trip. The good The public areas on the ship have been done beautifully. The deck and outside areas are all well maintained. The Pacific explorer is an older ship which is obvious, but it has a certain charm, I love that deck 7 has a walk around deck, nothing better than a few daily laps around the ship. Overall the staff are very friendly and helpful Love riot, loved it, a bit rude, a bit silly (fun silly), a bit naughty and very entertaining and fun. Feature shows, a bit of a mixed bag, we enjoyed most of them and absolutely loved the Cinderella Panto on the last night, a mix of pure professionalism from the professional cast and absolute hilarity from the non professionals from the crew! The cruise director played the fairy god mother and belted out an amazing tune. Best disembarkation we have ever experienced, quick, no crowds and ahead of schedule. Quick and easy embarking and rooms ready on boarding. F&B staff parade at the Gatsby party excellent. Room kept lovely & clean and nothing was too much trouble for the room stewards. I asked for a top sheet and it was no problem and a few other small things were dealt with quickly. One of the waiters in the Explorer hotel greeted my husband by his first name from the first time he ordered a drink. We took early tenders at each port and encountered virtually no wait times. The not always great (some could be considered first world problems only) Lots of waiting around to order drinks, not many waiters roaming to take orders and often long lines at the bars. A few staff in the Pantry who if you asked them what something was they just pointed to the menu on the counter, I am pretty sure they could not speak English which made things a bit confused at times. I wish they would clean the windows in the Pantry, its a small thing but they were so dirty you had to squint to see out of them, kinda ruined the ambiance. People holding several spots in the theatre for their friends who wanted to slip in at the last minute or even after the show started like they were VIPs Lounges in the shade were all "claimed" before 7.30am with books and hats and people not showing back up until a few hours later and then disappearing again for hours. Staff dont appear to do anything about this. Its a personal hate of mine and not just encountered on cruise ships, but I wish they would do something about this, it is ridiculous. The adults only area is very hot with very little shade. The Food Overall great! we tried all the paid and free options. Taste of salt, just do it! Love riot dinner, it was ok I enjoyed it but they have some interesting dishes, like pate, which a lot of people would not enjoy. Lukes, it was ok, I really prefer a cruise where food from the pool grill is included. Pizza, nice and worth trying Shell and bones, lobster Mornay yummmmmm and the dessert was my favourite of the whole cruise.We went twice. Ate once in the waterfront, service good, food good, I heard a few complaints about the Waterfront but we had an ok experience. Dragon Lady good and free Angelo's, loved the gnocchi, had it twice. Pantry, we only had breakfasts and lunch here, oh and we did cruise past for dessert on occasion. I was so pleasantly surprised by the food. Every day they had a different themed selection of desserts, they tasted and looked fabulous. A good selection of food which varied each day. Balcony Cabin Bed was a bit uncomfortable...too hard mattress. Very small cabins and the bathroom is tiny. Ample storage. Furnishings dated as they were not updated with the makeover. It served it's purpose and apart from size, which wasn't really a problem for us no real complaints. Stewards were helpful and friendly. Overall I felt you could really see the effort that P&O has put into the Pacific explorer in all aspects. They hit the mark in a lot of areas and missed it in a few. I would cruise on Pacific Explorer again if the price and itinerary were right, in fact we have a 4 day booked in Feb. If you are only use to other top end cruise lines you may feel it falls a bit short in some aspects, but overall it was a surprisingly good cruise and I think they provide a good product for their market. Loved all the ports. A cruise to the Islands is more about relaxation than exploration and we snorkeled and swam at each port. Noumea - Did a non cruise tour to Escapade Island for snorkelling and a seafood buffet. (Brought a beer and a small coke in Noumea and it cost $19, yikes). Lifou - Jinek Bay booked through the ship, wonderful snorkelling - take a pool noodle and flippers if you are not a great swimmer. Mare - A bit of a hairy bus ride to the beach (which must be pre-purchased before you get off the ship and costs from memory $20 return), but nothing else to do on the island and the beach is beautiful with good snorkelling off the main beach and lots of locals selling food and drink. In comparison to Noumea we brought a beer, a fresh coconut drink and a serving of amazing fresh made hot chips for $15. Isle of Pines, stunning! We snorkeled around "The Rock", ate the biggest chicken sandwich I have ever seen and then did a last minute tour with locals which showed off a lot of the pretty spots around the island, the old jail and the well maintained convict cemetery. The shaded areas at all of the beaches get quite full, so if you want to be assured of a nice comfortable shaded spot take an early tender to arrive at the beach as early as possible before the main crowd. Read Less
Pacific Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.3
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.3
Family 4.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.1
Service 4.5 3.9
Value For Money 4.0 3.4

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