1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We had previously cruised with Explorer several times and hoped it would still be good. Unfortunately due to the high decibel noise of the (background) music at the venues daytime and evenings while waiting for a game show or trivia to ... Read More
We had previously cruised with Explorer several times and hoped it would still be good. Unfortunately due to the high decibel noise of the (background) music at the venues daytime and evenings while waiting for a game show or trivia to commence the sound was painful. This also continued at the same level for the singers and dancers shows Several people were unhappy and I spoke to the Cruise Director about it but was ignored. I also asked the sound engineer to turn it down a little and he said his instructions were to be loud as it encouraged people to join in. Unfortunately it just meant that after 10 minutes with my fingers in my ears I could not take any more and had to leave One Theatre show was actually offensive and I do not know how anyone can think that the background of a dirty padded cell with a bed and a woman tied to it being interfered with by several 'doctors' is at all funny Avoid the slumber show it stinks Other shows I had seen previously which was lucky as I could not take the much higher decibel level this cruise The cabin staff were great even when one was off ill the other did an excellent job. Tendering was hit and miss calling us down to join the queue when there was no tender there or in site meant we were an hour standing on the stairs instead of waiting in the lounges Dining was 'different' We always use the dining rooms but twice had to leave as there was nothing on the menu which we could eat and had a good meal in the pantry. The menu shows strange mixes of ingredients so instead of a fish or meat dish you would find evidence of the other item mixed in Unfortunately the one evening we both had the roast lamb it was awful, strings of grissle and fat and no meat whatsoever. Sadly after 8 or 9 cruises with P&O Australia I do not think I can risk my hearing again and will continue with the other companies instead Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Exceeded expections: The choice of restaurants, quality of food and service was outstanding. The entertainment, shows and bands were exceptional - thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were wonderful, particularly our cabin stewards. ... Read More
Exceeded expections: The choice of restaurants, quality of food and service was outstanding. The entertainment, shows and bands were exceptional - thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were wonderful, particularly our cabin stewards. The ship has been updated and decor is very tasteful. The fitness centre was well equipped with a great outlook The spa was excellent The shore excursions were extremely well organised with very little waiting time for the tenders One third of our time was absolutely terrible - sleeping! The Queen/Double bed, unlike the fabulous Princess Cruise Line mattresses, were two ancient, rock hard, collapsed 'canoes' shoved together with a ridge down the middle. By day 3 I had severe pain down my leg and spent the rest of the cruise sleeping across the bottom of the two beds as it as the only part that had any support at all. Absolutely disgusted with the bed and will never ever travel on P&O again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Have cruised before on Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria and wasn’t disappointed So disappointed this time around Meals average No dress code in Restaurants and children in adults only area Great Gatsby party was such a let ... Read More
Have cruised before on Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria and wasn’t disappointed So disappointed this time around Meals average No dress code in Restaurants and children in adults only area Great Gatsby party was such a let down people dressed up waiting for the party to start just hanging around stairs etc The band played wrong era music rock and Beatles Then when they did the Charleston it was by record Back to school was fun Shows were hit and miss Cabins are ok plenty of space balcony was big enough for two but needs the refurbishment Two many costly extras that are free on other cruise line Edge a waste of money and Soda drinks packages use cans to fill the glass which was often warm or flat Our cruise was a great price so I wasn’t expecting too much but unfortunately I was disappointed with the food choices in the restaurants and didn’t match was on the menu to on the plate Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
As a family we have cruised on 3 previous occasions. The 1st time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Eden', the 2nd time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Aria', the 3rd time was on Carnival Cruise Lines 'Carnival ... Read More
As a family we have cruised on 3 previous occasions. The 1st time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Eden', the 2nd time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Aria', the 3rd time was on Carnival Cruise Lines 'Carnival Spirit', and finally this time on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Explorer'. The cruise-liner I'm reviewing today (P&O Cruises 'Pacific Explorer') is by far the most outdated ship we have traveled on to-date. It was previously known as P&O Dawn Princess and was supposedly refurbished in 2017, but most of the common areas feel worn down and dated. Apart from the extremely small rooms and dilapidated common areas, it features eight restaurants (including the all-day eating area known as 'The Pantry'), four swimming pools, five spas, seven lounges and bars, and two places to look after children. See the cabin review below for further details. For entertainment it also has a water slide, a zip-line, a 'walk-the-plank', and you can do the 'Titanic experience', as well as things like a rock-climbing wall. Whilst the ship itself feels out-dated, the service from the staff was second to none - they could not bend over far enough to help make the cruise an enjoyable one, which is good, because without them I'd be rating the experience as 1 out of 5 stars.... with the staff I can give it a solid 3 out of 5 stars..... I'd still rate Carnival Cruise Lines 'Carnival Spirit' as the best in its class out of the 4 ships I've been on. The review is apples for apples - we have chosen a Balcony cabin on all 4 cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We travelled on the Dawn Princess ,Pacific Explorer a few Times before she became the Explorer . We had to have a look what she was like after the Refurbishing in 2017 ! Dining Rooms lost their Charm . Waterfront looks like a Container ... Read More
We travelled on the Dawn Princess ,Pacific Explorer a few Times before she became the Explorer . We had to have a look what she was like after the Refurbishing in 2017 ! Dining Rooms lost their Charm . Waterfront looks like a Container Dining Room , with Food to match . Items on the Menu , when they came to the Table could not be Identified as the Item you ordered . Garden fresh Vegetables was a term used on the Menu ,yet on most Dishes we ordered they could not be found on the Plate . After alternating between Dragon Lady and Waterfront for 3 Days ,we gave the Dining Rooms a miss ,and went to the Pantry where you could see what you where eating ! Most Upgrades in the Public Areas were ok .Some were obvious Money generating changes , we did not use .We could not Comment on them . Food in the Pantry was fine . The best Idea was that Passengers could not serve themselves .What happened after the Food got to the Table is a different Story . Cleanliness in the Dining Room and Pantry left a lot to be desired . It is either Lack of Staff or inadequate Training causing these Problems . Entertainment in the Marquee Was excellent !Cruise Director and her Programm to entertain Guests very good . Except for Love Riot ,deserves to be Kiel hauled !! Embarkation went Fine , Disembarkation not so .Could have been because Tent Disembarkation set up . The Ship and Cabin were fine , Shower Cubicle a bit Tired ,Floor does look a bit worn ! Service was excellent , Except for lack of Staff during Rush Hour at Pantry ! Tender Services a little shoddy ,but you can always blame the Wind. We will not go with P&O again ! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I have recently been on the Pacific Explorer from 18/10/18- 3/11/18 and I agree with Micheal Graham review of this cruise journey of 16 nights. I was also on this same ship last year when it was the Dawn Princess and I noticed quite a few ... Read More
I have recently been on the Pacific Explorer from 18/10/18- 3/11/18 and I agree with Micheal Graham review of this cruise journey of 16 nights. I was also on this same ship last year when it was the Dawn Princess and I noticed quite a few changes since it changed to P&O. I have travelled with different P & O ships, Princess and Carnvial for last 10 years and I found this time that the cruise ship was lacking in several areas and I am not someone that usually writes reviews but felt a need to this time. I agree with the size of the staterooms as we were on deck 10 with an inside cabin with all the balcony suites surrounding us. I was on board Pacific Aria earlier in the year that is a smaller P&O ship and our interior room was on a lower deck and it was larger than Pacific Explorer that is a bigger ship. We called our room the closet as a joke. In the waterfront restaurant on two occasions they forgot two items that I had ordered as well as one night our party of 4 was served a cold main meal but we didn't complain as we didnt want to get the staff member attending to our table in trouble but we were not impressed. Also in waterfront restaurant there was not a lot of choice in menus and same menus repeated over several days. Not enough seating in lounge areas for the passengers. Repetition of same movies and documentaries on televisions in our rooms and not enough entertainment on top deck and repetition of same songs. Showroom shows were ok but I have been to better on previous cruises. The 10th deck launderette had washing machine out of order and only 3 for whole deck and when it was put back in the steward told me it still had a leak and had to be taken away again to be looked at. The public areas looking very tired and need to be updated, painted or replaced. The marquee especially had broken seats and several of the tray table openings on the arm rests were broken and the red seats reminded of the old mecca movie theaters and they were uncomfortable as well. I decided to take the plunge and have a massage on the ship even though I knew it was ridiculously expensive at $170.00 and this was the discount! but then when I was there I got conned into having the hot stones at $20 a pop for my back and feet so add another $40 onto that at $220.00. At the beginning and end of massage I was continually trying to be sold products or services that I didn't want and I didn't appreciate the hard sell either on my holidays. I know it was of my own doing but never again. I also didn't appreciate that every time you went anywhere near the Elemis Spa or on your way to the pantry for food that you were greeted at the lifts by the spa staff trying to do the hard sell and con people into buying expensive Elemis products or services trying to con them into buying off the shelf orthotics etc. I overheard a staff member telling a passenger that had custom orthotics by a podiarist at home, that the ships orthotics were better! So in summary I didn't like the hard sell of the spa and their promotions that suck people in and then sell them things they didn't want. There were a lot of hidden costs that you had to pay for including ice cream from kiosk on deck that I was already aware of but on other ships it is included and we were charged a surcharge for booking a specialty restaurant of $10 just to name a few. The coffee in the pantry was average at best so if you wanted a cappuccino it was at a cost in the pantry and it was quite weak as well. After speaking with quite a few passengers, we were all disappointed that our cruise due to unfavourable weather and swell conditions and safety of passengers could not land on Norfolk Island. After speaking with some passengers they picked this cruise due to the shore tour of Norfolk island in particular and some passengers were meeting friends on shore who lived there. People who booked shore tours not with P&O lost their money on the shore tours booked privately. I don't have a problem with not landing at a shore destination due to weather and safety conditions but when a ship promotes a shore destination that they hardly ever get to due to weather conditions and lack of quality wharf to land tender boats on from what I have read on internet and heard from other passengers, then they should not advertise that location as a shore destination but rather scenic cruising as this is what we did when we couldn't land there. As our cruise was called ' the mutiny on the bounty' cruise it was a destination that was part of the history of this story so it is a destination that you can't really cut out of the itinerary. The tender service was a bit chaotic at times. It took over 1 hour to get to the Tongan island on the smaller tender boats due to the wharf size there but they could have advertised that this was the case the day before so we were aware of the wait period. When we docked at Noumea I heard that they had problems with the gangway so everyone was crowded in the stair wells and lift areas and stressed trying to get off the ship so they didn't miss their shore tours and one passenger was even in tears. It was cold and hot respectively in different parts of the ship so you didn't know whether to take a jacket when visiting different areas of the ship. Our room thermostat stayed the same temperature it felt like no matter where you situated the thermostat dial in the room. The internet connection wasn't great and granted were were on satellite in middle of the ocean but for what they charge you for internet on the ship and the amount of times you are actually connected is very limited. Overall I still enjoyed my sixteen night holiday that included our bonus drinks package included as part of our deal when booking this holiday so that was a big savings but still quite disappointed in a number of areas with this ship. I have the say the crew were wonderful and I could not fault them in their attentiveness towards us throughout the cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
we choose this cruise for the destination to New caledonia, it was our first time cruising. some points we found about this trip; getting on and off the boat was good no drama. our cabin was horrible we got upgrade which was more ... Read More
we choose this cruise for the destination to New caledonia, it was our first time cruising. some points we found about this trip; getting on and off the boat was good no drama. our cabin was horrible we got upgrade which was more like a down grade 3 adults in single bunkbeds when it was supposed to be a double/queen and a single. food was pretty average. entertainment was the highlight of the ship. service was great when ordering drinks. weather was poor at the time with tours. also we were to have $300 worth of credit and only recieved $150 untill we had to chase that up and our cards werent linked up so it made it difficult. most of the stuff on the boat is over priced. the boat was amazing after the refurb but i wouldnt be booking another cruise anytime soon after this one please double check everything Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
The refurbishment (with the exception of the Marque which was VERY tired) was good. Our cabin stewards were very helpful and happy. Communications however were woeful including the daily newspaper, (nobody including the local bus ... Read More
The refurbishment (with the exception of the Marque which was VERY tired) was good. Our cabin stewards were very helpful and happy. Communications however were woeful including the daily newspaper, (nobody including the local bus driver knew that there was a festival parade and a wonderful fireworks display in Cairns while we were there. Many of the crew were very hard to understand as their English was not good and this included a number of public anouncements. The hygiene policeing in the dining areas was nonexistant. Having just comleted a cruise witl the Royal Caribean where you were not allowed into a dining area without "washy washy" we were a bit worried. Most of the cruise and ship was ok but we left with a feeling that improvements were required sooner than later This ship could be good value for money but management need to work on comms and hygeine before these things cause some major problems Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Pacific Explorer Voyage X839 - (13-21/08/18) In general, the cruising was well organised until the disembarkation, which was chaotic. The embarkation was fine, no issues, the luggage was delivered outside my cabin. There was a little ... Read More
Pacific Explorer Voyage X839 - (13-21/08/18) In general, the cruising was well organised until the disembarkation, which was chaotic. The embarkation was fine, no issues, the luggage was delivered outside my cabin. There was a little party on the main deck arranged by the crew just to keep passengers in the mood of an holiday. The port of calls were Noumea, Lifou and Mare in New Caledonia, they were all fine. About the restaurants, they were all OK which comprises of 3 main a la carte restaurants and the buffet area. About the duty free, not much of a saving buying on board, better deals in bottle shops ashore. Entertainment on board were not that spectacular but fine for that particular cruise. Smooth sailing throughout except on the last day a little bumpy with strong headwind caused an 8 hours delay on arrival causing chaos at the reception desk for interstate and international passengers. There was an information sheet which every passenger should have read in relation to the disembarkation in: - Groups / Tag / Meeting Venue / Meeting Time. Most passengers were actually waiting at the gangway and some did the right thing waiting to their respective meeting venues. I was in the Airport Grey 3 group 1 - Explorer Hotel and as soon as the all clear given the ship staff mentioned to a few groups to leave the ship together, that's same time. The issue was that passengers who were not meant to be at the gangway wanted to leave first blocking those who had priorities even though the Luggage Tags were supposed to be check. Now the terminal hangar was crowded even though their luggage were not ready to collect as yet. I left my luggage the night before outside my cabin, had priority to disembark at early stage to catch my Airport Transfer Group and my luggage did not arrive at collection area until the last pallet, that was a wait for more than ONE hour. In conclusion, staff should ensure that no one should be at the gangway and all passengers have to wait at their respective meeting venue, leaving the ship in an orderly manner as per their meeting time and the “Luggage Tags” are checked at the gangway by security staffs accordingly. 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
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
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
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
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
2 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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was a new years eve cruise with a group of 8. (2 Parents & 6 adult children). We all had Suites and these were in fairly good condition with a little dated décor. Suite 10070. The TV in the bedroom is smaller than by computer ... Read More
This was a new years eve cruise with a group of 8. (2 Parents & 6 adult children). We all had Suites and these were in fairly good condition with a little dated décor. Suite 10070. The TV in the bedroom is smaller than by computer screen. Great room attendants but the balcony furniture was old and covered in paint spots. The ship has been re-furbished but the rooms are still as per the Dawn Princess days. The main dining room - The Waterfront is not an open plan layout and hard to gain waiters attention. Lots of tables in dead end corners and fake walls. On the first night 45 minutes to get a drink. We ended up going to the bar getting our own drinks. This was the theme throughout the whole Waterfront dining experience. We ate at Angelos 2 nights and Dragon Lady 2 nights. Much better service from both food and bar staff. We missed a R 18+ show 1 night as our children aged from 20 to 24 had to have photo ID. THey were holding alcholic drinks along with their seaa passes. Not good enough. Had to go to the room, get photo ID - mainly passports to gain access. Then the area was full and we were denied access. All of the bars on board had swipe accesa that display photos whith purchases but the secuirty is so anal that had to have this ID. We are now in 2018 and they need to updated thos old and dated system new technology. THe lido deck pool area was good with new furniture and the bars on level 7, The ExpLorer and Ocean bar were very nice areas. Entertainment was very good with sail away party, formal night, back to school night, white party night and Gatsby Night. Most of the ship participated in these dress up events. The lifts were so slow and have been programmed from anither decade. Much quicker to use the stairs, The glass lifts only go from level 5 to level 8. Entertainment was usual sing and dancing shows. The Maqruee was full evey night however, the late show was 9:00 pm and we could only get seating at 7:30 so we had to rush our food to make any shows. The late shows should be around 10:00 to esethe rush. On party nights there needs to be more bar staff. Queuing 3-4 deep at the bars with only 2-3 bar staff was frustating for all. P & O needs to schedule the staffing levels for the number of people attending. The photogtapher are very annoying. If the pricing was realistic more photos would be purchased. Royal Carribean has a package pricing were you can get all your photos for $299.00 Much bettre than $30+ for a small photo. This would reduce the wasted prints that are thrown away. Very environmentally unfriendly. Overal a good party crusie but more staff required. The P & O phrase of all you need is your sea pass and we take care ofthe rest is rubbish. My children had to have Photo ID with them all the time - they need to have scanners available for the security staff. The drink package is value for money in my opinion. Beer prices $7-$8.50 - Cocktails $12.00 with wine & champagne $8 -$11 per glass. 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
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
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
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
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
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

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