3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We took this cruise as it fell at a time we could both get time of work and get three days away. The cruise was not the first that we had been on, as a previous experience was had on the Carnival Spirit. I was a little hesitant at first ... Read More
We took this cruise as it fell at a time we could both get time of work and get three days away. The cruise was not the first that we had been on, as a previous experience was had on the Carnival Spirit. I was a little hesitant at first as I had read a large amount of negative press and ratings about this ship. Not sure why that was the case because our experience was sensational. The ship had just been dry docked for an extensive period and had had a complete overhaul to all public and common areas. The ship was very well presented and looked brand new. The cabins did not receive much upgrade during this period so they were a little tired looking but this was only due to the tremendous quality of the rest of the ship. We were booked into the dining rooms of the three restaurants on board for each dinner. These were just divine and the service was excellent. I would recommend doing this before you board. We had breakfast and lunch in the Pantry Buffet and the quality of the food was excellent. Our room stewards knew our name from the first moment we met and always greeted us with it each day. They serviced our cabins meticulously each and every day. I was so impressed with their manner and work ethic that we provided the two of them with a detailed commendation as part of the staff reward program. We had cruised once before on Carnival Spirit and were also very happy with that experience. I would cruise on the Pacific Explorer again tomorrow if I could get time off work. No doubt we will board this ship again in the future. Well done P and O and the Pacific Explorer. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Good deal on a 4 night cruise to Moreton Island for a balcony cabin, usually out of reach of our budget. We have cruised both in Australia and the South Pacific and also overseas. We have cruised on 4 star American ships and 3 star ... Read More
Good deal on a 4 night cruise to Moreton Island for a balcony cabin, usually out of reach of our budget. We have cruised both in Australia and the South Pacific and also overseas. We have cruised on 4 star American ships and 3 star English ships and they offer so much more than P&O Australia, whose ships are also 3 star, in our opinion. After the dreaded trek to White Bay, embarkation was very swift and we found our cabin, on the 9th floor aft, to be a good size, with a compact bathroom, and the balcony which, although on the small size, had two adjustable deck chairs and a small wonky table. This balcony became our Sanctuary/Oasis. After meeting our cabin attendants, we decided to go to the The Pantry while we waited for our bags to arrive. Every one of the 2 000 or so other passengers had also decided to do this and it was then that we found that a LOT of children had taken a week off school. Hundreds of children, mostly under the age of 12. The noise was incredible. This was the second time we have cruised with P&O during school term and exactly the same thing had happened: a ship full of children we had assumed would be at school. What the ships would be like in actual school holidays we can't imagine. BTW we do have (adult) kids ourselves. A few opinions/observations: No sewage smells were evident on deck 9, or in any public areas, with the exception of a toilet out on deck 14. We had a day of rain squalls and a couple of sections of The Pantry had to be cordoned off due to water coming down from the ceiling onto tables and chairs. Overall, the ship's public areas looked very smart. The exception was The Marquee's leather chairs which all had areas where the leather had worn away. The windows in a lot of areas would benefit from a scrub. The materials used in the majority of the furniture were better (darker) coloured than on the refurbished Pacific Eden, where The Pantry chairs and tables were putrid. The cabins did not appear to have been refurbished at all, but ours was clean. The beds were narrow and fairly firm. The quilts were of a good weight, not too thin, not too thick. We did find the switches on the bed lamps were very dicky. If you like a medium to firm pillow, perhaps take your own: the pillows are good quality feather pillows but so soft they have no substance. The Pillow Concierge, when we requested a firmer pillow, returned with a larger pillow, but it too was full of lightweight feathers. Every day The Pantry staff battled valiantly to clean up the tables left in disarray after groups left dirty dishes, cups, etc piled up on tables. There did not appear to be enough staff to keep up with the flow of passengers chowing down. The food was hit and miss, but we were always able to find enough variety. Overall, the servers behind the counters were cheerful in what is a tiring job. Angelo's and Dragon Lady were fine: the portions are small but tasty, and the staff were pleasant in both. The Waterfront Restaurant was not enjoyable: the waiter was surly and the after dinner coffee was a farce. One of us requested coffee, "decaffinated, if it was available please". We were told it was, by Mr Surly, who returned some time later with a small jug of milk, a cup and saucer and a pot of what we thought was decaffinated coffee. Nope, it was a pot of plain old hot water. He poured the hot water into the cup, then gave me an unopened Nescafe sachet of Decaffinated coffee and walked away. The sight of people lying around on pillows in all the windows down both sides of Deck 7 in particular gave the entire area a down at heel look. The people sitting on the tables and chairs directly in front of these large picture windows were unable to look out at the view of the ocean; all they could see were the thonged feet, legs, bodies of the people sprawled in the 'window seats' above them. The Production shows and the Love Riot were all very enjoyable. Liar Liar was good, as was the Sherlock Holmes skit but one member of the crew, present in both activities, was crude, not funny, knowing there were children in the audience he should have toned down his behaviour. Tendering was well done, not too long to wait, considering there were so many passengers. Forget about swimming in either of the two main pools, unless you can get in before 6am or after 7pm. The entire time the pools were filled with screaming, jumping children. The Oasis pool is very small and it was packed with people trying to escape the hordes of children. The 'pool' in the Sanctuary is only 18 inches high according to the sign, so it is good for dipping your feet in. BTW the Sanctuary area has lovely comfortable day beds and was an adults only area when the ship was owned by Princess; not any more, kids and their parents soon discover it and soon enough the screaming, crying etc takes over. Disembarkation was very well organised. We realise that we are not P&O's target market. Would we go on another P&O cruise, knowing this? If a great deal for a balcony cabin came up again, on a shortish cruise, then we would think about it; we mainly cruise for the destinations, not the ships, and we know for sure now that no matter what time of the year they sail, P&O ships will be full of children, and people who like to PARTY. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Happy to say we enjoyed our first cruise, Chose a short 4 day cruise--- just in case ! Everything ran like a well oiled machine, staff helpful and friendly, we found everyone helpful. Embarkation was simple and instructions clear. ... Read More
Happy to say we enjoyed our first cruise, Chose a short 4 day cruise--- just in case ! Everything ran like a well oiled machine, staff helpful and friendly, we found everyone helpful. Embarkation was simple and instructions clear. Disembarkation was rather rushed and staff a lot less friendly. The Explorer is very glam and lot's of beautiful areas to relax or party. The Oasis adult area was a welcome region as the pool was always full of children. Our cabin was small but comfortable. Entertainment was not 5 star but fun. Food was good, we ate in the Pantry for breakfast and lunch and dined in the restaurants in the evenings. Again food not 5 star but all good. I found the "free" restaurants just served up- market pantry food eg Angelo's sold cannaloni (same a pantry served at lunch, Hake in Waterfront was just ground fish and flour ---- grilled fish was in Pantry same day (????)-------Even though meals not 5 star in the restaurants, I still enjoyed dressing up and being served rather than a food court atmosphere. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was to be our last cruise of the pacific islands.Had traveled on this ship when it was the dawn princess. I found that the dining room were redecorated and split into 3 areas.I preferred it the way it was before. Dress rules were not ... Read More
This was to be our last cruise of the pacific islands.Had traveled on this ship when it was the dawn princess. I found that the dining room were redecorated and split into 3 areas.I preferred it the way it was before. Dress rules were not enforced at night. Often there were guest in shorts singlet tops and flip flops.There was no simulcast of the production shows.The theatre only holds about 600 people.There was no security or pool staff to supervise the use of the pool.The meals at the Pantry were often the same each day. Cold Cuts of meat were never provided for Lunch. The offering from Luke Mangans was the same each day (Boring) for which you had to pay extra for.This also was the case at the Waterfront Restaurant, A Steak there cost $17 and it was of poor quality. You need to avoid this!!! To summarise P&O need to upgrade the quality of there food and beverage to compete with other ships. This Ship is really low budget. It might suit some but not me. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I was really apprehensive about this cruise after having many problems and two unpleasant interactions with P&O phone staff trying to book it. Note to P&O: people trying to book a holiday are not paying debts and calling customers ... Read More
I was really apprehensive about this cruise after having many problems and two unpleasant interactions with P&O phone staff trying to book it. Note to P&O: people trying to book a holiday are not paying debts and calling customers "Sir/Ma'am" when the tone of voice is rude and disinterested is not polite. I nearly cancelled all plans more than once but it was the only time my partner could get off work so we bit the bullet! ...... Then, there were all the complaints everywhere about the poo ship to add to the anxiety AND boarding was pushed back more than three hours so the ship could be disinfected after an outbreak of norovirus .... But, just back, no illness and didn't even notice any smell anywhere on the ship & I'm super sensitive to smells! Quite a few of the public area toilets were closed for maintenance at various times during the cruise but we tried not to use them anyway as asked in the muster - there was much less risk involved with our own ensuite. Overall impressions of the ship were actually good. Public areas of the ship are modern and comfortable. Balcony cabin 9167 was small but comfortable for a couple and in a good position between fore & aft lifts midship so really stable. The ensuite was small so we usually had to leave the door open to be able to sit on the loo not sideways. Not only did having a quiet place to sit outside make the balcony worth every cent but being able to open the door any time day or night was a huge advantage over past stuffy cabins and meant we could control the temperature in our cabin. The air conditioning seemed erratic to say the least. We avoided The Pantry (The Pig Pen) after giving it a go for all three meal times. Kids running around, very noisy & people piling their plates & tables high with obscene amounts of food which, unbelievably, they either kept shovelling in or walked away & left so much behind! Such gluttony and waste really was enough to turn stomachs. Absolutely the worst thing though was the widespread drunkenness even before we'd even left Sydney. People with alcohol packages boasting about making the most of it! P&O could run a cruise just for drunkards and not inflict those individuals on other people OR do away with drinks packages altogether - why don't the responsible service of alcohol laws apply at sea? As far as the ship itself goes - it's big but there isn't that much more to do than on the smaller ships like The Jewel - and a person can only do one thing at a time. We had to miss two shows we really wanted to see because they were on at the same time as other shows. Had we known the Love Riot show would actually be on three (3) times during our cruise, we would have scheduled differently - however it is a brilliant x-rated flying fruit fly like performance - with lots of swearing and a bit of nudity - which was very entertaining. None of the music onboard this cruise appealed to us - unlike previous cruises where we've found several favourites, this cruise's bands/musicians were all very same-ish. The very annoying and strange setup closing off deck 8 in the middle of the ship (top level of the atrium) for 400 Gradi meaning everyone - even those wanting to go to this extra fee pizza restaurant - being forced to detour up or down a deck to get to it. If this restaurant can't be put into a dead end like the other restaurants, Explorer need to, at the very least, maintain a thoroughfare on one side to have entry to the restaurant from both fore and aft. 400 Gradi was never ever busy during our cruise, so reducing it's footprint a bit won't hurt anyway. We didn't enjoy the food here and found the menu very pretentious (good pizza does not need flowery words or Italian writing - even to someone who understands it). Service was half baked - we were ignored for ages, then several staff would bombard us (water? drinks? clearing away, asking if everything okay) then we'd go back to being ignored for a long period again - in a cycle that ran 4 times during dinner. My partner was ready to kill for a beer several times. A far less formal pizza place for late night snacks (as on Jewel) works better than this pretentious 'silver service' pizzeria in my opinion. Foodwise, we felt The Waterfront (included dining) was the standout, but the new no tablecloths look really lets the side down. Best thing about The Waterfront is that it seems to intimidate the bogans - which is great for everyone else. The Waterfront food was fantastic - every bit as good as, if not better than, the extra fee restaurants - with its changing menus and some really outstanding dishes! I don't know why P&O bother with so many 'extra fee' restaurants then only has the majority of those open at the same times as the included dining options so that all venues are subsequently half empty. Why not stagger meal times so there is less of a rush at meal times? Why not have food service 24/7 instead? Such rigid meal times are odd these days - particularly now that morning tea, afternoon tea and supper has sadly been phased out on P&O. The High tea (not Hi, as in daily journal!) was only available - for extra fee - on sea days (at Angelo's) and only Luke's - another extra fee venue - was open 'late' but even that closed well before midnight. Luke's has a very limited menu but we enjoyed the good quality food here. A few suggestions for P&O: not everyone cruising is a heavy drinker. Decent coffee & tea stations being available 24/7 would be appreciated by many passengers. I was disappointed in The Pantry on Explorer shutting down at 9pm (the same time as most of the restaurants) - it would have been nice to get a cup of tea before bed but alas, no......... Why not make Charlie's a proper cafe, instead of yet another bar, and have a dedicated cafe for those who don't want alcohol? There are so many bars onboard already. At least one venue needs to stay open 24/7 to cater for all the night owls who aren't drinkers and who crave something to eat in the more than nine hours between when the restaurants close after dinner and open for breakfast. Just as well, I took a few snacks aboard and thought to buy some in the shop on the ship. The removal of the Library means there are now people scattered all over the ship reading - and shushing others - plus people playing board games/cards everywhere, including in the Pantry, (despite being asked not too in the daily newsletter - leading to our belief many foreign tourists in particular were not able to read/understand English - which also raises questions about the plumbing briefing btw). Doesn't this happening tell P&O that not everyone has A) likes electronic reading or B) wants extreme sports? Many people (not only elderly!) go on cruises wanting to either just sit, or read, quietly. The Library used to provide a sanctuary for people to escape hustle & bustle and no, the pathetic book trolley doesn't cut any mustard with anyone I spoke to on this cruise or on my last one on the Jewel. P&O say the Library wasn't popular enough to keep - so what's with the bloody great gyms with thousands of dollars worth of machinery which take up a huge area of a deck - and apart from a few early morning workouts - are always empty? The Spa also takes up a large area & again, it was mainly empty. The sun loungers on deck were always full as were all the smaller conversation areas, so much so there simply wasn't anywhere to sit in the public areas (thank goodness for that balcony cabin). The days of deck chairs on anything other than the pool deck seem to be gone too. On previous cruises, I've always enjoyed one of the quieter side decks undercover to the pool deck partly due to not wanting to bake myself in the sun. The cabin stewards were all brilliant and amazing - not just our own lovely Ferdinand & Adrian - but all we passed in the corridors, were flat out but always cheery, always obliging and friendly. The wait staff, on the other hand, were mostly very sullen except for the very rare individual - what's going on? Bar staff were the same - clearly disenchanted. Cleaners most definitely grumpy. Most polite enough but neither friendly nor helpful. Many spoke only rudimentary English and it was really noticeable how many avoided eye contact. This is markedly different to previous P&O cruises so what has changed? Why aren't the crew happy and why doesn't P&O Australia do an Australian staff recruitment drive? Not only does all the service personnel being other nationalities seem to bring out the truly ugly side of many Australians (who were observed to either treat the crew like servants or alternately, patronise them) but a stint on a cruise ship - perhaps as a gap year - would do a lot of Aussie youngsters the world of good in learning the service/hospitality industry. As anyone who has ever worked in these industries knows, they are hard work but they also teach people how not to behave to service personnel. Explorer is a big ship but the kids on this cruise were everywhere and it wasn't even school holidays. Kids, unsupervised, running between decks playing games with the lifts caused a lot if frustration. We met a young boy on crutches one night who was distraught because he couldn't take the stairs but couldn't get a lift due to a bunch of kids tying up the lifts. Not the kids faults to a degree but where were their parents? It was also annoying to have some parents bring their children into the adults only Oasis area - such a small area and easily avoided but some parents plainly think everyone thinks their kids are okay as exceptions to the rules. In fact, if P&O, by concentrating on the action packed water slides, Edge activities, etc etc attracts the bogan and kid market so heavily, that's the last P&O cruise I'll bother with. The Jewel remains my favourite of the P&O ships, because big isn't always better, but overall, it feels like P&O have forgotten their customers are the reason for their existence. Many practices seem to have been put in place for the ease of the employees, not the passengers, most particularly everything shutting down the afternoon before disembarking - which, on this occasion, meant not an 8 day cruise at all with the delayed boarding and the early cut off of everything aboard. For me, P&O has lost a lot of ground in recent years so we will be trying the other cruise lines for future cruises. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
My in laws took the entire family 11 in total (2 seniors, 4 adults, 5 children aged 6-13) on this cruise as a birthday celebration. Embarkation was delayed for several hours to allow for extra cleaning. Once we started to line up to ... Read More
My in laws took the entire family 11 in total (2 seniors, 4 adults, 5 children aged 6-13) on this cruise as a birthday celebration. Embarkation was delayed for several hours to allow for extra cleaning. Once we started to line up to board the ship, the process was seamless and we were on-board within about 45 minutes. Our cabin was easy to find and bags were delivered not long after we arrived at our cabin. The benefit of this was we left Sydney Harbour at dusk and were able to capture some magical views of the harbour bridge, opera house and harbour as we departed. Ship The public areas were very well maintained and were constantly being cleaned. These had recently been refurbished. We had no issue with "drunks" (as mentioned in another review) from those who had the "all you can drink" option. Cabin Whilst slightly cramped for 4 (bunk beds for kids above single beds for adults) the cabins were spotlessly cleaned upon arrival and this high level of attention was maintained by the diligent room attendants throughout the entire cruise. The beds were very comfortable with a good selection of pillows. There was plenty of room for storage of suitcases once cloths were unpacked and stored in draws. The a/c was very efficient and could be adjusted as required. The bathroom while small was more than adequate and had good water pressure. We had no issues with the vacuum toilet system throughout the cruise and suspect previous "issues" were caused by people trying to flush stuff they shouldn't. Clear instructions were provided. Dining The children loved the options available from The Pantry which offered a good selection of dishes in a food court style environment. It was "hectic" at times but a table could usually be found and cleared upon request. The adults preferred the more sedate Waterfront, Dragon Lady (Asian) and Angelo's (Italian) restaurants for their menu/table service type offerings. The menus were changed and offered good selections. We purchased the soft drink packages for all children and they made the most of them. 3 or more soft drinks per day made them worthwhile. Anything less and you are better to just buy as you go (all soft drinks came from original 375ml cans). We didn't purchase the alcohol package - don't drink enough to justify them. Alcohol prices were no different for New Zealand bar prices. Tap water was perfectly fine to drink. Guests were encouraged to wash /sanitize their hands before all meals in common areas with wash/hand sanitation stations being present. There was no attendant on duty to enforce this (which mother-in-law said happened on other cruises) Entertainment & Activities The predominantly English & South African Entertainment crew had a "Hi-De-Hi" type vibe going on which was quite fitting for the roles they were undertaking. The provided very entertaining quiz’s, bingo, games sessions for all ages. Main pool was well frequented, as were the water slides (not overly scary apparently). We were always able to find a loungers/couch areas for our group to sit in. The forward adults only pool area appeared to be hardly used through the entire cruise and appeared to be the perfect place to relax (alas I never got in there) The evening shows, each lasting approx 40 minutes, were preformed at a very high standard and were thoroughly enjoyed. One of the female adults had a treatment at the Spa and rated the experience. The Flying Fox/Segway/Mechanical Bull/Climbing Wall/Walk the Plank activities could be brought as a package. There were only offered at limited times. Only paying for what you were interested in doing appeared the better alternative. There were always spaces available for the things our children wanted to do. Kids clubs were offered for various age bands. Ours decided not to attend, but it talking to the parents of those whose children who did go said they enjoyed them. Kids clubs were open to 1am, yes 1am! Service Room attendants - utterly brilliant! Wait staff - always pleasant, but appeared somewhat subservient at times, which was a shame as once they were engaged with always had an interesting story to tell. Bar Staff - great for adults, seemed to ignored children at times looking for soft drinks. Ports & Excursions Two ports required disembarkation by tender. The first day we waited an hour to get off, but still had plenty of time on the beach. We sorted ourselves on the second day, got on the first tender, and had a beach pretty much to ourselves for the first hour or so. The two beach based excursions were taken on amazing beaches with crystal clear water and good safe snorkelling at each. Snorkels & flippers could be hired on board (must be done before first day excursion but were quite pricey @$30-$40 per person. On one of the beaches you could hire snorkelling equipment for the day for $5 at it was in reasonable condition. We took our own gear. Noumea was nothing to rave about. It was Sunday and most shops were closed, the "noddy train" tour was informative and gave a good tour of the island for 1.5 hours. Best (open) shop was the French patisserie - it could have been anywhere in France! Tips 1) book your shore excursions early (even before you embark). We missed out on a desired snorkelling trip as we tried to book it to late (ie once on board after 1 day) 2) get to the evening shows early. With children, the 7pm show was our preference, and the 550 seat theatre was usually full 15 minutes before show time (there were 2,000 on board). 3) a cabin with at least a port hole would be a must I'd recommend. They are a good size and it was great to be able to have a nosey out the window. The internal cabins had little appeal. Disembarkation Slightly odd to have to put your suitcase out by 8pm the evening before disembarkation the next day at 10am (meant you had to keep some extra clothes/toiletries out. For a family holiday of 11 it was a great option. There was plenty for everyone to do if they wanted to and cost per head the numbers stack up. Would I go on a cruise again?, yip, I would Would I do that exact cruise again, Yip, I would. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Sure the ship is old despite a recent refurbishment, but for the most part the cruise was awesome. Our cabin (2 adults and 2 kids on bunks) was cramped and dated - but who is going to spend more than 8 hrs locked in a cabin apart from ... Read More
Sure the ship is old despite a recent refurbishment, but for the most part the cruise was awesome. Our cabin (2 adults and 2 kids on bunks) was cramped and dated - but who is going to spend more than 8 hrs locked in a cabin apart from sick and anti-social types? The free food at The Pantry was more than adequate - about the same standard as a Westfield food court. Lunch on some days had fantastic roast lamb and veggies - as good as you'll get at an Australian pub. Luke's Food had the best burgers I have ever had - and for $5 a pop it was great value. I recommend buying the alcohol drinks package if you are a keen drinker. I easily drank more than the $700 extra I paid. There is no limit if you have that little red sticker on your cruise card... just keep drinking! The bar and room staff are sensational. Mostly Filipinos and Indians. Wonderful, wonderful people. Ladies, be VERY WARY of booking beauty treatment at the Elemis at Sea spa. My missus (along with many other women on board) was ripped off. Literally highway robbery and very, very misleading and dodgy. I was enraged to see an engineering officer physically and verbally abuse a small Filipino deck cleaner in full view of passengers. If you are visiting Port Vila be aware that bus and taxi drivers are aggressive and very much in your face at the disembarkation point. Very scary for the elderly and small children. Having said that, Port Vila is an interesting cultural experience. Noumea is visited on a Sunday and EVERYTHING is closed on shore (apart from a few stores in the Asian quarter and a few cafes at Lemon Bay). The highlight of on-board activities was the morning Cruise Director's trivia with Zoltina J and Rory. A great pair of characters. Assistant Cruise Director Rory (from Hull in Yorkshire) is a laugh a minute. Very funny and a humble, approachable guy. BEST: Drinks package, Lifou, Luke's burgers, bar and room staff, and Rory from 'ull. WORST: The thieving rip-off at Elemis at Sea. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Was worried about going PO after reading some comments but cannot understand why folk do not like the line we had a wonderful time food fantastic staff wonderful entertainment wonderful cannot wait to do again. Embarkation to all ports ran ... Read More
Was worried about going PO after reading some comments but cannot understand why folk do not like the line we had a wonderful time food fantastic staff wonderful entertainment wonderful cannot wait to do again. Embarkation to all ports ran smoothly and the service on board and cabin crews we wonderful. We are seniors who went at school holiday time but the kids on board were well controlled and never caused us any problems. The entertainment staff were out of this world and so friendly when even not on duty not full of their own importance but very down to earth. Really loved the whole trip. We were very lucky to even meet some of the bridge crew and they were delightful very happy to talk to you and answer questions. Some folk sit there like stuffed dummies and complain about everything but a holiday is what you put into it yourself as well as staff trying to please you. We had some illness on board but the staff responded to it fantastically and it did not spread so thank you to all the staff for their quick response. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Having previously experienced two other cruise lines and most importantly P + O's parent company carnival, this cruise was disappointing to the extreme. Ways in which this cruise was lacking: Very old ship that was renovated ... Read More
Having previously experienced two other cruise lines and most importantly P + O's parent company carnival, this cruise was disappointing to the extreme. Ways in which this cruise was lacking: Very old ship that was renovated being advertised as a 'new addition'. I only picked this cruise because I thought it was a new ship - wrong. It's a 20 year old ship that got renovated. Terrible toilet system. Vacuum toilets that doesn't flush if your poop isn't directly in the hole. Poop smell that wafts through the entire ship and cabins. The other reviews cover the poocific explorer extensively so I won't go into too much detail. Lets just say if your butt doesn't have a missile guidance system you're going to have a bad time. Terrible shows. Compared to shows on the other cruises the performances were dull and bland. The pacific performers only know how to lip sync and dance. Each show they put on is just a playlist with no plot. Some performances were canceled. Other's were only scheduled to happen once a night - 500 people auditorium with 2k people on board, not very good planning. Added on to the fact that there were no other activities in the evening apart from live music around the ship. Terrible food. The buffet closes at 9pm. At least on carnival you get a pizza stand that stays open all night long. Nothing here. You get a free soft serve machine on carnival. Here you get new zealand natural which you have to pay for every scoop. Their premium restaurant shell and bones is a joke and tastes awful. Nothing they fry ever comes out crunchy. They're just greasy and soggy. I ordered a papaya and pineapple fruit plate. The waiter came out with the plate went 'enjoy your papaya'. The plate had rockmelon and pineapple on it. The waiter then acted ultra confused when we said this wasn't papaya. Terrible room cleaning and state. Cost cutting everywhere. We had a empty tissue box space in the bathroom for days until we asked why... They told us it's now protocol to no longer give tissues unless you specifically request then. Our first set of sheets had yellow stains on them, when we asked them to change the sheets they asked us if tomorrow as okay... By the way religiously check your bill at the end of the journey. We had onboard credit and then spent more money than that. Eg Had $100 onboard credit. Spent 130. They charged our credit card 60 bucks so that if we had just left the ship we would've had 30 bucks onboard credit for no reason... Unlike other companies that give you photo packages... like Celebrity gives you ALL your photos for $300... P + O just sells it to you by the 1. 30 bucks each. Lets not forget their 'life studio'. Where they take your pictures for 20 minutes with no make up and minimal props then try to charge you 300 bucks for a negative or a cheap $6000 family photo package. TLDR: Don't pick this cruise line if you have any other choice. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
First of all I wanted to put it out there that after reading some ridiculous reviews from previous passengers I was sceptical about having chosen the Pacific Explorer. I booked for my Partner and I that are both white collar workers with ... Read More
First of all I wanted to put it out there that after reading some ridiculous reviews from previous passengers I was sceptical about having chosen the Pacific Explorer. I booked for my Partner and I that are both white collar workers with well-respected jobs and our 4 children. I had previously sailed 2 years before on the Pacific Aria and only had it to compare to but was again impressed with almost everything. I have laughed at many of the bad reviews now and don't know what people expect from 20 year old ships at less than $200 a night. Some people complaining about the weather, food and rooms are seemingly delusional. I worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years and the food was as good as all the 4 star establishments. The ship itself was 20 years old which was information available to the public on the P&O site. The public areas were refurbished very well like the Aria and only the cabins were the original decor from 1997. The decor in the restaurants, bars and pool areas was tasteful and well designed. There was plenty of seating in the public areas such as decks and bars. The cabin (9124), although a little dated (fitting for the 90s when it was built) was clean, neat and comfortable. The towels were replaced twice a day and the beds refreshed as needed. Towel animals and chocolates were put in the room nearly every night. The air-conditioning was able to be controlled and the shower pressure was great. No problem with the hot water and the bar fridge was great to store the cans we took on board plus unfinished white wine from dinner! The dining was by far the best experience- and I say that being someone who is a great cook and is used to quality food. The Pantry has a big selection of food outlets offering daily changes to the menus and fresh food for lunch and dinner. The Waterfront restaurant was the A la-carte dining choice with several changes to the menu while on-board and daily cuisine specials. Great for brekky, lunch and dinner if you want more formality. We dined 3 times at the asian fusion Dragon Lady and I cannot fault anything there. A truly unique and delicious dining experience! The Italian restaurant Angelo's was also fantastic for free and has lovely food and hilarious staff. My bottle of red wine was served standing in a high heel shoe and the kids loved the giant pepper grinder! We had 6 people on the ship and all 6 loved the food, including my fussy self! The entertainment was of a high quality and very well put together. On the second night at sea the weather was a bit rough and one show was cancelled for the staff safety but they put it on in their own time before we disembarked so no-one missed out! Some of the most interesting shows I have ever seen before and suits a wide range of tastes. Service in every area was remarkable! The room stewards, F&B staff and cleaners were all polite, well-trained and carried out their jobs efficiently. We didn't go on any shore excursions as it was a bit costly for the 6 of us but the ports we stopped at were all fun and gorgeous. Noumea seems a little desolate and boring but all you need to do is jump on the bus and you find some lovely small beaches to spend the day at. We travelled with 4 kids aged 7,11, 14 and 16 and they can't wait to go on another cruise. They loved the food choices and felt like royalty at the service. I would definitely go again and will be looking at another cruise for the adults when we get married!!! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was my first cruise, and it was fantastic, could not fault anything at all, . the 1st night we dined in the Dragon Lady and it was very nice, next night was at Angelos (Italian ) again very nice, the rest of the cruise we dined in ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and it was fantastic, could not fault anything at all, . the 1st night we dined in the Dragon Lady and it was very nice, next night was at Angelos (Italian ) again very nice, the rest of the cruise we dined in the Water front restaurant , and this was lovely, a 3 course meal every night and food was very well presented, and tasted great, The waiters were very friendly and helpful, most nights we had Franky as our waiter, and he was lovely, we went to Charlies for coffee and sometimes cake, each day and that was a lovely place to sit and relax and enjoy a nice coffee and the cakes were really yummy, the crew there were very friendly and went out of their way to make our time relaxing and enjoyable, The entertainment was fantastic, we went to the show each night and shows were great some night and absolutely spectacular other nights, there were plenty of bars around the ship, I spent a lot of time in the ocean bar on deck 7 at nights listening to piano melodies with Nicholas Gentile, a very talented young man with a beautifull voice, plenty of comfortable seating, or you could sit up or lie down in the window seats, and just relax with the music or with a book, went to several of the trivia events, and played bingo, that was really good, the guys doing the bingo made it so much fun, there was a over 18 section to relax in the pool and hot tubs, we went there most days and it was very relaxing, we had the refreshment drinks package, which we purchased before sailing, this was great, we got all the bottled water we needed, mocktails which were really yummy, and juices, and lots of coffee, had caramel lattee's every day which we could get at any of the resturants or bars, had breakfast at the waterfront some days the rest of the time at the pantry, which had something for everyone . would definatly recommend P&O to anyone Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Short 3 day cruise with a group of ladies. We had read many negative reviews so we weren't expecting much but were pleasantly surprised. The renovations of the previous Dawn princess are just beautiful! Very tastefully decorated ... Read More
Short 3 day cruise with a group of ladies. We had read many negative reviews so we weren't expecting much but were pleasantly surprised. The renovations of the previous Dawn princess are just beautiful! Very tastefully decorated throughout all public areas including around the pools. Whilst the cabin was small it had a balcony and was maintained very well. Our cabin stewards were wonderful and nothing was a problem for them. Overall the food was excellent. We dined in the Waterfront, Angelos and a Taste of Salt (degustation) which was an extra cost. As it was a Food and Wine Cruise Luke Mangan was onboard and cooked and served our first course in Salt which was lovely! There were several cooking demonstrations from various celebrity chefs which were a lot of fun. The Pantry Buffet was excellent and the food was delicious! We only had time to attend one show at night which was great and the music around the ship was very entertaining. The Pacific Explorer staff were all extremely helpful and always happy and smiling and interacting with guests. Activites throughout the day were many and varied. We were also lucky with the weather which was beautiful for the 3 days! Only a couple of things were disappointing: not enough deck chairs, particularly in the adults only areas, I think this is due to the addition of the waterworks section which has taken away a lot of the seating areas. Also, I hate to mention it, but the plumbing is still a problem. The first two days were fine but by the third day the sewerage smell was permeating both indoor and outdoor areas. Such a shame because apart from there we couldn't really fault the Explorer an will be happy to try another short trip in the future. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I was travelling solo in a balcony cabin. Booking in via their web site & 4 phone calls to P & O took me 5 hours, 2 of the 4 people I spoke to over the phone told me they have a lot of problems with their web site. With hindsight ... Read More
I was travelling solo in a balcony cabin. Booking in via their web site & 4 phone calls to P & O took me 5 hours, 2 of the 4 people I spoke to over the phone told me they have a lot of problems with their web site. With hindsight I should have taken this as an omen early on & not booked with P & O at all. At check-in at the cruise terminal I was confronted by a loud aggressive male who aggressively snatched a small 330ml bottle of water out of my hand - apparently P & O are paranoid about passengers bringing their own liquid anything on board because P & O have the mindset that you wouldn't buy their overpriced liquids if you were allowed to bring your own on board - they are so paranoid that they have a luggage/bag scan that picks up liquids. In my trolley case I had a 'happy trip' gift wrapped 6 pack of lager so you can imagine what happened next, same aggressive white blokey demanded 'open the case!' (no 'please', no sense of humour, got deep psychological problems this bloke), the lager in it's pretty gift bag was confiscated & a female at a nearby desk who I felt sorry for, gave me a receipt to pick up package on morning of disembarkation from Charlie's Bar. I then proceeded to board & made my way to my cabin on deck 10. The cabin was quite pleasant, enough movable hangers for one person in double wardrobe, queen size bed, desk & chair, a bit of room to walk about, 2 chairs & table on balcony, bathroom very small but ok except usual crappy toiletries but I always bring my own (cruelty-free, natural & vegan) & wouldn't use their stuff. When I booked partly on-line I included a note under 'special requests' where I said "I am a vegan, I presume I can get some vegan food in one of the ships eateries, if not please let me know & I'll bring my own food" (I said this a bit tongue in cheek really) & there was a letter for me on the desk from one of the chefs who wrote under the heading (unbelievably) "Vegetarian", anyone who knows anything would know of course that there is a big difference between vegan & vegetarian, not just food but whopping difference in lifestyle. I never bothered contacting this chef who I think would probably be clueless & whom I wouldn't trust. I ate once or twice a day just in the Pantry because there you can serve yourself at the salad & fruit counters, I had same food every meal (cucumber slices, tomato slices or wedges, corn or peas, onion, lettuce and melon). It looked like at the hot food counter there were no separate containers of boiled potatoes, cauli, broccoli or any green veggies. In the Pantry dining area it was interesting watching the young female staff table-clearers who work efficiently & diligently who I imagine get wages & some would be sending most of those wages back to their families in their home country. I had a brief conversation with a couple of these young women. You could only get orange juice in the morning which was free, then they took the dispenser away, if you wanted orange juice any other time you had to pay. There were many instances where staff had their hand out for you to pay for something where you would think it would be free & included in cruise price. Entertainment & Activities: I did a couple of craft activities, origami & making a paper flower demonstrated by Tarryn in the Explorer Bar, the craft papers were free & I think all participants (25-35 of us) enjoyed the 50min workshops. The only entertainment I saw was The Tap Pack, 4 male tap dancers on stage who were quite good & pleasant in that they weren't lewd or crude in any of the spoken part of their act. I wanted to go swimming in one of the pools, where either side there is 2 hot tubs, the pool had a sign up "elderly (meaning over 55 which I am) people not allowed in the pool" then the standard safety cop out crap - how ridiculous this is, Dawn Fraser ("our Dawn") would not be allowed in a P & O pool because of their obsession with pettiness. I encountered another aggressive rude male - at the reception desk when I settled my $8 (I bought one Heineken lager) a/c, male said to me "$9" (no 'please'), I said to him "I was told it is $8" then he said "don't you want to give $1 to save the children?", I said "no thank you, I already give to save the children separately', I think the point is, apart from the aggressive attitude, passengers should be asked (politely) if they want to donate $1 or whatever $$amount & not have that money automatically added to their a/c without their knowledge, I think this beggars the question, is anything else being added to passengers a/c they didn't authorise. The gym is another issue, when I visited the gym there was no-one in charge just 6 or 7 males on the cycles. On the day of disembarking the system seemed to fall apart & people weren't disembarking in the order allotted to them, a bit of a free for all from deck 7 (quite a number of us sat around & didn't join the crush & dash & waited for the rush to ease off which of course it eventually did). There was no library on board. That morning I'd collected my confiscated gift wrapped 6 pack, P & O only alienate passengers with this & other pettinesses. After disembarking, it was good to see that the taxi system was organised & I was was very pleasantly surprised to find my taxi driver a female driver, very smartly dressed & very good driver, very pleasant. I was glad to be home Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
You can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig. This boat is seriously old and the plumbing system shows that. The entire boat smells like, well___like poo, its really evident in hallways, decks and specifically towards the bow. ... Read More
You can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig. This boat is seriously old and the plumbing system shows that. The entire boat smells like, well___like poo, its really evident in hallways, decks and specifically towards the bow. Staff were hit and miss, some were lovely others just rude. Food very average, cold, dry and mass produced. Booked a few of the "signature" restaurants and they really failed to impress, service was cold and uninterested and food was very much the same. Nothing to do on this boat unless your keen on drinking, many bars with quite expensive drinks. Seems like a real lack of activity unless you want spend money, I was hoping for at least a library but alas their was nothing. Organised party nights were a little lame, and again designed to get you to there over priced bars. Sorry big fail 'poo'cific explorer and p and o. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
The Pacific Explorer was remodelled (well only the public areas) and re-launched mid 2017. My 8 day cruise was in September 2017. In a previous life it was the Dawn Princess I was travelling solo and had a balcony cabin (11155) on deck ... Read More
The Pacific Explorer was remodelled (well only the public areas) and re-launched mid 2017. My 8 day cruise was in September 2017. In a previous life it was the Dawn Princess I was travelling solo and had a balcony cabin (11155) on deck 11 – almost midship. It was very comfortable for one, maybe a little tight as a twin. The balcony was very private, but at only 1.1m wide, not a great deal of room there. The desk was by the balcony door and had a built in hair dryer – very old fashioned and low in power. There was the US powerpoint at the desk, but across the room behind the TV was another with Australian and Asia/Europe points. My computer cord only just reached so maybe a short extension lead could be handy for computer use and charging. I had an armchair and a stool which was stored under the desk. The bathroom was good – I asked for and received real soap as I do not like the liquid variety. The shampoo basic, but I would suggest bringing a conditioner. There was no body lotion supplied. One morning I was unable to turn on the water in the shower, but that was fixed within a couple of hours. However, on deck 11 I saw a few people changing cabins due to plumbing problems and in parts many of the corridors had a damp musty smell. The wardrobe had plenty of hangers – the type that one can remove properly without having to re-hook onto the connection on the rails. There was a very small safe, with very easy to use instructions. My cabin stewards were great and the next day’s program was usually delivered by 7.30 at night. Dining options: the “Pantry” which has replaced the buffet on most ships. This is set out more like a food court with the following sections: soups and sandwiches; salads; roasts; fish and chips; Asian; Mexican; Indian; Mediterranean and deserts. At lunch time the dessert section has a different themed display daily, and worthy of a photo - try to resist the selections presented. There are also three “free” main restaurants – Dragon Lady (Asian); Waterfront (traditional) and Angelos (Italian). And four “pay for” ones complete the choices – 400 Gradi - pizza; Lukes - hamburger; Shell & Bones – seafood, with three meat and twl vegetable options – sides extra; and Salt –degustation – no prices listed – just charges will apply. The main dining room, The Waterfront, is not as traditional as most ships’ main dining room nor as elegant. It is more like a large hotel bistro, with some tables twos and fours, but others were long bench tables and some high up with bar stools. Here there are also extra main meals available on the menu for a fee, ranging from $A17 to $A25. I ordered a bottle of Hardy’s Shiraz cabernet - @ $27 the cheapest on board and it was very pleasant. Prices and choices vary all over the ship. The meal serves were on the small side, which is good, but the vegetables negligible however on occasion when I asked for green vegetables, they were available. The cheese plate had one piece of cheese! The only other restaurant I tried was the Dragon Lady – Pan Asian Restaurant – bookings really necessary. The wine list there was different again – the cheapest red was $A6 more than from the Waterfront restaurant. For my dinner, I ordered Vietnamese spring rolls, rose dumplings and coconut sticky rice with mango. The spring rolls were very roughly rolled, the “rose” dumplings had the dough wrapped around (to form a rose bud) a solid core of tasteless mince, couldn’t finish it; and the “sticky rice” was just normal rice pudding, with a little shredded coconut and a little mango puree. All in all, an extremely disappointing meal – will not return. Meal times on board here are a lot shorter than on any other ship and there is no provision for afternoon tea – unless you want to pay for “high tea” at 2.30. At night all is cleared away by 9pm – again a couple of the “pay for” venues are open. The prices are not listed on the daily program – just “charges apply”. On port days, only The Pantry is open for lunch – no other choice. Extras: While the cruise itself – twin share of course, not single as I was – was inexpensive, all the “add ons” certainly are. The cheapest glass of wine I saw (and prices vary all over the ship – they are not constant) was $8.50 – most around $14. There is only one alcoholic drinks package and that is $89 per day! The bottled water in the cabin (1.5lt) is the cheapest brand – Frantelle – and that is $4.95 per bottle. Coffee prices were about standard to what is charged in Australia. SPA: Overnight there was a leaflet offering Spa treatment “bargains” with items ranging from a super detox – 50 minutes for $198; anti aging facial - 60 minutes $229 or ocean massage 100 minutes - $323. Down the bottom of the page in very, very small, fine print was “5% auto gratuity will be added”. On the general price list, the cheapest “treatment” was Ionithermie revitalising leg therapy @ $A99 for 40 minutes; many treatment were for 50 minutes with prices ranging from $A149 to $A198; 60 minutes from $A206 to $A229 and so on with the most expensive single “treatment” being $A331 for 100 minutes. Of course there were many “add ons” and “upgrades” listed. These prices are much higher than on any other ship I have been on. Internet: I chose the top priced “Platinum Voyage” unlimited option – a first day “special” at $A89 and found it mostly quite fast and it was nice not having to worry about the time logged on. There were many “daily” choices, but those could add up to the same cost or more. Theme nights: On the 8 day cruise there were four. The first was “Cocktail” and the room stewards were advising people that they would only be allowed into the Pantry (buffet area) in casual clothes. This was not the case as many people came to the Waterfront Restaurant in very daggy clothes. We also had ‘Back to School”; “Bianco” (white) and finally “Gatsby”. Again some people dressed up, many did not. Library: or lack of! I was pleased that I had bought some books (travel trash) with me because despite P&O Sydney advising me that there was a library, there is no library on board. I was told that they usually have the book swap on some of the sea days and as I had some to exchange, I didn’t have to pay anything – otherwise I think it was $A3 per book. Shows: Love Riot – venue Black Circus– tickets $A10 rated R18 held in The Black Circus: We were all offered a complimentary cocktail each – apple vodka or cranberry vodka. There was a set of “glasses” under each seat, which at first I thought were maybe 3D but seemed to have a series of dots on the lenses, and when the spotlights were on, a heart shape formed around the light – very clever. The show started at 7.30. The costumes were good, some of the dialogue very course, the acts OK but nothing special. There was one man running around nude with a balloon penis attached at the front. There was a 15 minute interval at 8.15 and the second half seemed as if it was going to be similar to the first so I left before it finished. The Marquee (theatre) – Murray Raine’s “Follies Fantastique” – a burlesque marionette show, and it was one of the best I have seen. The first marionette did a strip tease, the second was an old hag on a cruise ship, and the next act was short with a French clown and a balloon. The next act had a passenger involved (don’t sit in the front row!) operating one of the marionettes which progressively fell apart, and the final act was brilliant, it was a trapeze act with the puppet doing all sorts of things on a trapeze bar, even swinging from his nose. It was all thoroughly enjoyable. There were many “free” seminars, naturally designed to tempt you into spending money, but this happens on all ships. We called into three ports – Noumea, Mare and Isle of Pines and I have posted a separate port review on each. Duty free alcohol was not available on the last night of the cruise as on most ships, but had to be collected between 5.30am and 8.30am on day of disembarkation from one of the restaurants. This went smoothly as there were three collection desks and all packages were sorted by decks, which made them easy to locate. As the ship was due to dock at White Bay on return, early (7.30) or late (8.30) transfers to the Airport and Central Station were offered. I chose the Central Station one which was $A15 and not the $A13 as listed in the brochure. The airport one was very well priced but I cannot remember the exact pricing. Disembarkation was very smooth and a little earlier than scheduled. The transfer time from White Bay terminal to Central Station about 15 -20 minutes depending on traffic. Plenty of options for families – at a price for access to the Edge activities; also great for late night party players with drink packages and/or unlimited bank accounts! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
First time sailing P&O, having sailed 15 other cruises with Disney, RCL and Princess. We previously sailed on the same ship when it was Dawn Princess. We were curious to try the Pantry as an alternative to traditional buffet style ... Read More
First time sailing P&O, having sailed 15 other cruises with Disney, RCL and Princess. We previously sailed on the same ship when it was Dawn Princess. We were curious to try the Pantry as an alternative to traditional buffet style dining, and it really doesn't work well. It is usually necessary to queue at multiple stations to build a meal. For example, burgers were available at one stall but fries had to be obtained separately from the fish n’ chip stall. There is no self service, and it feels awkward describing to the server which items you want, and in which quantities, and unless we requested them to add more their basic serving portions were quite small. Over the years we have observed food standards onboard cruises to be in decline, and this was no exception. Overall, it was the worst food experience we have had while cruising. The main dining menus were lacklustre, and the Pantry food was on a par with a basic canteen. We were concerned by reading previous reviews about the general state of the Explorer, especially the odours and toilet malfunctions. There was definitely an unpleasant odour when we boarded, especially around midship, but nothing worse than we have experienced on other cruises and this did not persist throughout the cruise. We had no issues with our bathroom in room 9212, the toilet worked fine and we had plenty of hot water in the shower. The room had plenty of storage space for 2 guests, and was kept perfectly tidy by the tireless dedication of the stateroom attendants. The aircon seemed to have no effect at night, and even on the lowest setting the room was usually too hot for comfort. The aircon fan noise was on constantly at night making it difficult to sleep. The bed itself, whilst not the worst we’ve experienced, did contribute to back ache in the mornings. The stateroom TV does carry several news channels and some sport, which is often lacking on cruise ships, and was much welcomed. Service in bars was generally below average. The bar tenders prioritised making drinks to meet the orders given to the roaming serving staff, and would therefore ignore people stood waiting at the bar. The problem was that it was sometimes difficult to catch a server, especially during busy events such as when one of the themed parties was on. During the Gatsby evening for example, there were only two servers in a packed bar, and it took over 35 minutes to get a drink. We suspect this lack of service was related to the large number of people using the drinks package, to restrict the amount of ‘free’ alcohol served. Since we were paying for drinks as we went along this poor service was particularly frustrating. The caveat to this was the casino bar. As a rule we have found the casino bars onboard ships tend to have the most attentive staff, who will typically remember your name from the moment you order your first drink, and the Explorer casino maintained that high standard. We would therefore head to the casino bar whenever service elsewhere was lacking. The overall experience of our cruise was that it was an average holiday with nothing special being offered. We preferred the food and service as it was before the Dawn Princess was rebadged, and the food quality and Pantry experience means we will be unlikely to sail with P&O again. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Must have been a moment of weakness and stupidity! Rooms are stingy and like a small shoe box. Food and restaurants . . . . . . like shops in a 2nd rate suburban Mall. Staff not bad, but some are not people persons. We would never go ... Read More
Must have been a moment of weakness and stupidity! Rooms are stingy and like a small shoe box. Food and restaurants . . . . . . like shops in a 2nd rate suburban Mall. Staff not bad, but some are not people persons. We would never go P& O ever again. They are mean, and seemingly inexperienced. We hated the " restaurants included in Fare ". You must book and to get a table for our party of ten, was not permitted. They split us up every time. The meals? Yes well, we always left feeling we could eat a horse and chase the rider. There is no buffet available. Everything speaks of cost cutting measures. Food in what they call The Pantry, was always cold and the lines to receive their very small portions, were long and slow moving. The coffee was weak and never hot enough. I bought a drinks package to include water, soft drinks, coffee and mocktails. I was refused a "Bloody Mary MOCKTAIL i.e. minus the Vodka. I just wanted tomato juice with a dash of Tabasco. I was refused . . . . . The Barman claiming RSA issues. What!!!!! I wanted a mocktail !!!!!! Not a cocktail!!!! How can a barman be so stupid!! It became an issue and finally, he slammed down a bottle of Tabasco in front of me and told me to add it to anything I wanted! Treatment like that further lessened my already low opinion of P&O Australia. But, never again. Many people we chatted with were complaining and we found ourselves recommending Royal Caribbean to them. We certainly won't even look at P& O ever again. It was an unpleasant experience for the entire 10 in our party. Live and learn, but sadly it was costly. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
The stench of sewer was with us the whole cruise. From previous reviews I have now seen this seems to be an ongoing problem. I cant see how they are getting away with continuing to operate. Toilets in rooms blocked. Majority of public ... Read More
The stench of sewer was with us the whole cruise. From previous reviews I have now seen this seems to be an ongoing problem. I cant see how they are getting away with continuing to operate. Toilets in rooms blocked. Majority of public area toilets out of order at least once a day. Food average unless you had a meal that you paid for. 30% of the Pantry is partitioned each night so that it can be turned into a seafood restaurant...........yep you guessed it, you have to pay. Not much room left for the other people to sit. Entertainment was well put together, but there were some shows that you had to pay for, first time I have ever seen that on a cruise. Most on board staff were good to deal with, butt there was a percentage of rude and abrupt staff. 5th and last cruise with P & O. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Took my mother on a 10 day Barrier Reef Cruise (her 1st cruise).Everything went well, a smooth embarkation, The ship looked great, interior décor well done in the public areas, except for we were welcomed with a strong stench of raw ... Read More
Took my mother on a 10 day Barrier Reef Cruise (her 1st cruise).Everything went well, a smooth embarkation, The ship looked great, interior décor well done in the public areas, except for we were welcomed with a strong stench of raw sewerage which lasted the whole cruise , The rooms are very small and have extremely small balconies, seems it was only the public areas that was refurbished,with Explorer being a new addition to the P&O fleet, thought she would have been refurbished throughout, the carpet in our room & upholstery on chair was very soiled, but the room was clean, The food in The Pantry was disgusting, most hot foods being cold when you receive it or by time you get back to table. Desserts were uneatable, and didn't even have ice-cream on offer. Food in other restaurants was ok, if you could get in, or willing to pay for meals in other restaurants. Service on board was good, entertainment was great, especially Grant Gallea, should have a bigger dance floor for those wanting to participate in dance classes, a lot left due to lack of space . Had a fantastic time, on our shore excursion days, except for the schamozzle that happened at Cairns (have done 8 cruises and have never experienced this before) ,Cigarette smoke was smelt right through ship especially deck 7,and even on smelt on balcony at times, not to good for those people that are sensitive to cigarette smoke. Despite these problems, overall both had a great time. Did book a 10 night South Pacific cruise on board the Explorer, at same time as this, for February with husband, wondering how that will go. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We did the P&O Explorer Barrier Reef Discovery 10-night trip 30th August to 9th September. It was our first ever cruise, we’ve never done one before. Departing Sydney, stopping at Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas and Brisbane ... Read More
We did the P&O Explorer Barrier Reef Discovery 10-night trip 30th August to 9th September. It was our first ever cruise, we’ve never done one before. Departing Sydney, stopping at Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas and Brisbane before returning to Sydney. We chose this cruise because it was close to home (we’re from New Zealand) and the dates fitted in with our work commitments. We booked back in late January through our travel agent, our deal included the premium drinks package. We don’t drink alcohol but thought it would be worth it for the espresso coffees and soft drinks. We chose a mini-suite to give us our own balcony and a bit more room. We chose room 10079, as it was mid-ship and fairly close to the foreward lifts. I was a bit apprehensive before we left as there seemed to be a lot of talk on social media about problems with the sewage system on the ship. However I decided to ignore that and make up our own mind once we got on board – plus there was much excitement and anticipation as embarkation day drew closer as it was something we’d never done before. We flew to Sydney the day before, and stayed at the Intercontinental in Macquarie Street (recommended by our travel agent). We had a 12th floor room with a view over the harbour and bridge, so we saw the Pacific Explorer arrive just as daylight appeared. It was a magnificent sight and added to the excitement. The hotel was very close to Circular Quay so we walked with our luggage and arrived at the Overseas Passenger Terminal on embarkation day at 10.30am. With a mini-suite we had priority boarding and could board any time from 11am to 3pm. We dropped off our bags at the bag drop off easily enough. Embarkation was a bit chaotic, as it was not clear which line was for priority passengers. Once we’d checked in we had to wait for a while in the large seating area, then we went through security and before we knew it we were onboard. We went straight to our cabin. We were really pleased with it. It was very roomy and there was a separate small lounge area with access to the bedroom through an archway. The bathroom had two entrances, from the main cabin entrance a door led into the toilet and handbasin then there was a wooden louvered door which led into the marble shower and spa bath area. The shower was full sized with a glass door. The toiletries were Moh brand. There was liquid soap on the handbasin, liquid body wash and shampoo/conditioner in the shower. Plus we had four little tubes of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion as well. There was no cake of soap, I’m not sure if they had them available or not, I had brought some from the hotel with me. We had plenty of thick white towels. There was a little dressing room/storage area which meant we could hang our clothes and store the suitcases out of the way. We had a table and two chairs and two footstools on the balcony, which ran the width of our cabin. While the cabin had not been refurbished, it was very clean and tidy, and the bed and pillows were very comfortable. Our cabin stewards Edward and Jinky were very nice and friendly. The public areas of the ship had all been refurbished and were very swanky. There were lots of cafés and bars all over the place. There were also lots of different seating areas, so you could sit somewhere one day and somewhere else the next, and feel like you were in a completely different area. We tried several of the restaurants: The Pantry; Angelo’s; The Waterfront and Lukes. We used The Waterfront for both breakfasts and dinners some days, and The Pantry for all three meals over the ten day period. We dined at Angelo’s three times (it was only open for dinner). The only food we paid extra for was a burger from Luke’s on the pool deck ($5.00 for a nice burger). We didn’t see the need to pay extra for Shell and Bones or A Taste of Salt – we were very happy with the food and service at the other venues. The serving staff at The Pantry were very friendly, as were the waiting staff at Angelo’s and The Waterfront. We thought the food was very good at all venues. Lots of variety in The Pantry. The only thing we found with The Pantry is that on sea days it can get very crowded, but since it’s open long hours you can time it so that you get there when there’s not many others. There is always lots of things to do on the ship on the “at sea” days. We did a digital photography session with Ollie from the photo shop. That was very good. He also did a GoPro session later in the cruise, that was so good that we bought one later that day. It turned out to be a very good price, we’re really pleased with it. We did a couple of the trivia quizzes – they were a lot of fun plus we won one of them and got free coffee and cake! We also joined a group for Pictionary that was fun. We borrowed a couple of books from the library and they also had packs of cards for loan. Regarding the premium drinks package: it was completely wasted on us as we don’t drink alcohol. Being first timers we were a bit green and would not make the same mistake again. We had thought that we would be able to use the package for our espresso coffees, but they were excluded. I’m not sure exactly what the package cost us as it was part of the deal, but if we bought it prior to the trip it would have been $79 per person per day…that adds up to $1580 for both of us. I realise that the package deal price would be less than $79/day, but it would still be far more than we could drink in soft drink per day. However, we will be sure to look into “deals” more next time. Let me state that we had NO ISSUES at all with our toilet. A couple of the cubicles in the public areas were out of order, and once or twice we got a whiff of sewage, but only once or twice. I think one of the problems is people putting stuff down the toilets that block it – there are very clear signs saying that only toilet paper from the ship is to be used in the toilet. We were told one person dropped a hand towel into the toilet and tried to flush it – well guess what, it blocked the whole system. We chose to do no shore tours. There was enough on the ship to keep us busy (or not, the whole idea of the cruise was for us to relax). In fact we didn’t even enter the casino once, though we had thought we’d have a flutter at some stage. We simply didn’t get around to it. On the port days there was hardly anyone around on the ship, it was great. We only took in one show (“Rave On”, with the talented Jeremy Stanford singing some great Buddy Holly numbers). There were several others that we thought about going to, but we found we enjoyed relaxing in the evening after dinner in our room or out on our balcony. It was lovely sitting outside as the sun went down and the sky darkened. We were blessed with wonderful weather apart from the last day when it was very windy and quite rough. Disembarking was a breeze. We had breakfast in The Waterfront, then disembarked around 8.30am (we had priority “any time” disembarkation). Our bags, which we had left outside our door the previous night, were easily retrievable from the lineup of other priority bags in the terminal. So for our first cruise we were pretty happy with everything. We found ten days just the right length of time. We will probably go on another cruise in the next couple of years. Would happily consider P&O again. It will be a matter of booking a cruise which suits our timing and our wallets. We definitely would look for a deal that doesn’t include an alcohol package – it’s just not worth it for us personally. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our very first cruise as most of our holidays are camping holidays. This was a 10 day cruise along the Queensland coast. We were told you will either love it or hate and we absolutely loved it. Getting on and of the ship was ... Read More
This was our very first cruise as most of our holidays are camping holidays. This was a 10 day cruise along the Queensland coast. We were told you will either love it or hate and we absolutely loved it. Getting on and of the ship was relatively easy and did not take much time at all. The ship is well laid out but it does take a few days to work out where everything is. Our cabin was an interior cabin and perhaps on the small side for some. There was just enough room to walk around the double bed, but the bed was very comfortable. Never spent much time in our room except to sleep. Plenty of storage to put your clothes away. Toilet and shower worked as they should and had no problems. Room stewarts were great and always very friendly. Rooms were cleaned twice a day and fresh towels everyday if you desired. We only dined in the restaurants that were included in the cruise package. The Pantry had lots of variety and all hot food was served up for you and you could have as much or as little as you wanted. Some food stations did alter their menu from day to day but lunch and dinner were basically the same. And no the food was not kept in there for the next 6 to 8 hours. When lunch time was over it was all packed away replaced by cakes or pastries and brought out again at dinner time. Great variety of desserts every day. The Waterfront restaurant had a great breakfast, lunch and dinner menu which was changed halfway the cruise. Did enjoy the breakfast much better here then the pantry, just because of the personal service. The Asian Dragon Lady and Italian Angelos were a great destination for dinner, giving you a 3 course dinner. We did dine more often at Angelos only because our friends preferred it but both have great menus which also changed halfway the cruise. Staff in all the restaurants were absolutely terrific. I am no foodie but enjoyed all the meals thoroughly. I am a very big eater and left all the restaurants satisfied. Did not do many of the shore tours as we were lucky enough a few years ago to visit Cairns and Port Douglas and did all the tourist things then. Only did barramundi fishing at Port Douglas which wasn't long enough but hey it never is when I go out fishing.All tours seemed well organised with tenders or bus transfers. Disembarkation obviously did take a little longer when tenders were required but the overall process was pretty much pain free. People doing shore tours got first preference to disembark but that is only natural because of tome constraints. Plenty of on board activities from trivia to musical shows, comedy and the like. Had to pay a small fee for the Love Riot show which was well worth it. Was never found wanting for anything to do. Information was left in your cabin for the next day activities? The entertainment staff were terrific, very approachable and very funny. If I didn't mentioned it before, the wait staff especially in Angelos were great and we left like we were old mates. Overall we had a great time. Travelled with three other couples and we all enjoyed ourselves thouroughly. Would definitely cruise again. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
So nice to see such happy staff on a P&O again! They have embarkation & disembarkation down to a fine art. Had received a text to say delayed departure & come an hour later than scheduled & basically just walked ... Read More
So nice to see such happy staff on a P&O again! They have embarkation & disembarkation down to a fine art. Had received a text to say delayed departure & come an hour later than scheduled & basically just walked through. The refurb of the public areas looks great (was on the Dawn Princess last year). The cabins are looking very shabby though. Smell of sewerage at various points in the ship & noticed it first at the dock in Sydney before boarding. Not good. Dining room layout is much improved and the new Pantry means that most food is served rather than passengers handling it. A much-needed improvement! Food itself was good to very good, but nothing outstanding. Toast was appalling! Tasted like gluten free bread! Service in all areas was excellent! Only one port, Mooloolabah - a tender port & boy, some problems here! Average wait to get off was 30-45 minutes. Some waited more than an hour. Getting back on was even worse & a long queue snaked around the dock with no seating or shade. Definitely need to improve in this department. Would liked to have known about the 18+ entertainment, as it looked fun, but was sold out quickly (had to pay). Had no idea about it until that day & too late then. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We took a 4 day trip on Pacific Explorer from Sydney to Mooloolaba, departure was put back 6 hours till 10pm to refill freshwater ( that was not true the ship had plumbing problems ) We attempted to have a shower and NO HOTWATER and only ... Read More
We took a 4 day trip on Pacific Explorer from Sydney to Mooloolaba, departure was put back 6 hours till 10pm to refill freshwater ( that was not true the ship had plumbing problems ) We attempted to have a shower and NO HOTWATER and only cold air in room. After being given the run around for hours we were re located at 1.30am. For 4 days the ship had a sewerage stench through out , smelly , smelly , smelly , most toilets were out of order. The food in the Pantry was fresh but very average , very little variety. In general the food in your cruise package was horrible but the food you had to pay extra for was very nice. The waterfront restaurant was by far the worse , we had a very bland entrée followed by a main course we had to send back followed by a poor dessert. However on the last night we used a gift voucher we were given to the seafood restaurant and it was very good.The cabins are old and very tired , the room stewards did a good job but staff in Pantry were useless. Lack of entertainment and what was available was very average. Why is the Blue Room so cold ??? We tried it a couple of times and had to leave because it was so cold in there. In general everything about our 4 day cruise was disappointing including the sugar syrup cocktails .....just not up to standard like everything on this cruise. No more P & O Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
As soon as we came round the corner of the Quay all we could smell was sewage, as soon as we got on the ship it was worse. What is that smell ? Awwww Poooo.It's making me feel sick . Room was ok , bed was actually comfy. Pantry ... Read More
As soon as we came round the corner of the Quay all we could smell was sewage, as soon as we got on the ship it was worse. What is that smell ? Awwww Poooo.It's making me feel sick . Room was ok , bed was actually comfy. Pantry was ok if you arrived early or later ,had to push for a table. Food was average,ok for kids. Waterfront resturant was ok ,no big deal, the Italian restaurant was rather nice, Dragon Lady was different ,kids didn't like. Day trip, had a long wait . Public toilets were always blocked, our toilet blocked, shower was cold. Entertainment was good. Staff were excellent. Kids came back all sick, they had been in pool & spas, have to question the pools hygiene. Entertainment was a bit late in the evening. Day trips were expensive. Spa was expensive for a massage but staff were wonderful. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We have been on the ship 35 days sailing to Hawaii and back, when it was still running under Dawn Princess. When we heard P&O took over and renovated the ship we were curious and booked the 4 night cruise out of Sydney. Checkin ... Read More
We have been on the ship 35 days sailing to Hawaii and back, when it was still running under Dawn Princess. When we heard P&O took over and renovated the ship we were curious and booked the 4 night cruise out of Sydney. Checkin was fast and easy. The ship was supposed to leave at 16.00 but was delayed till 22.00. It didn't disturb anybody because it was a Cruise with only one port anyway and Entertainment was on already since lunch time. Just stepping onto the ship we noticed a very strong sewage smell, but being in the Harbour we thought they are cleaning out the waste. How wrong we were !!!!!! The sewage smell was through the whole Cruise inside and outside. At one stage we were sitting at the Sanctuary when the odour issue was so strong that we nearly vomited. We complained to reception but they just said, there is nothing wrong and you are the only people who complained. We have spoken to other Passengers and they noticed the smell as well. The Ship was nicely renovated in the public rooms...Modern look.... Very handy was the seating area in the windows. They had cushions and a nice mattress to sit or lay on. Loved it !!! The area was very popular, so be early if you don't want to miss out. Restaurants were great and we liked the Dragon Lady and Angelo`s Restaurant very much. Great decor. Food was very good and the Pantry was amazing too. We cruised in Winter and outside temperatures were very cold, unfortunately so was the A/C on the ship... it was so cold that we couldn't warm up at all. Thick Jackets or jumpers were our daily wear. The pool area had nice lounge chairs and we were very impressed from the Adults only area Also the Sanctuary was great. I believe it is also Adults only. The Edge: as always at a cost with P&O Zip line, walk the Plank, rock climbing, special movies.......... Its a nice ship but the sewage smell turned us off.. Otherwise we could give it 4 Stars... Read Less
Pacific Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise