3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Chose this cruise as Fiji, Mystery Island & Mare were destinations not previously been to. Whilst the weather cant be controlled by P&O the destinations & experiences are controllable. Upon arrival in Suva on a Sunday the ... Read More
Chose this cruise as Fiji, Mystery Island & Mare were destinations not previously been to. Whilst the weather cant be controlled by P&O the destinations & experiences are controllable. Upon arrival in Suva on a Sunday the tour guide on the bus informed us that on Sundays most attractions are closed but at the end of the tour would take us to the only establishment open on a Sunday being the local souvenir establishment. It doesn't make sense that P&O would schedule a cruise to arrive at a major destination in Fiji on a Sunday when venues are closed. Would have thought adjusting the sailing schedule by 1 day to arrive on a Monday is a simple solution to this disappointment. All other aspects of the cruise were amazing, cabin staff were outstanding as was the entertainment with special mention to Joanna & Rory from the entertainment team & food on offer was excellent. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I booked this as a quick cheap getaway for a few days and it was pretty inexpensive. Embarkation and disembarkation were super easy, probably because customs wasn't involved. The condition of the ship was better than expected as ... Read More
I booked this as a quick cheap getaway for a few days and it was pretty inexpensive. Embarkation and disembarkation were super easy, probably because customs wasn't involved. The condition of the ship was better than expected as I had read reviews that it had seen better days but it was very nice and no obvious signs of wear and tear and certainly better than some ships we have been on. Lots of areas to lounge around including window seats but these were popular with the teens and 20 somethings, plenty of other sitting areas including lots of sun lounges on decks. I booked an interior cabin which is something I haven't done previously but as it was quite cheap and only for 3 nights I thought why not. The cabin was 10214 and located aft and at the end of the corridor, this I booked deliberately so no passing traffic and away from lifts and family rooms etc. The room was as expected small but clean and tidy and in good condition, just dark I wouldn't book an interior again because of the size and darkness and for the sake of a little more in price, I need light and fresh air. Overall the cabin was certainly acceptable. The shower was compact as they mostly are and we managed to squeeze in although if you were on the larger size it would be a tight squeeze. The water temp was lukewarm at best after about 3pm, so if you wanted a shower before dinner then it was a cold one. The bed was difficult to get in and out of due to the lack of room on either side and the mattress springs gave us some free acupuncture until I requested and received a mattress topper, which alleviated the issue somewhat. A clock of some sort would have been good as to tell the time in the morning as it was so dark it could have been 3 am or 11 am- this I didn't like and we missed breakfast in the restaurant because we overslept. We had cabin 10214 which is the last cabin , so no passing traffic which is perfect. I chose this cabin due to its location and not the deck above (11) as that was directly under the gym, then again maybe noise from the gym goers might have woken me earlier. No choccies at night and I had to remind the steward to bring us our pre-ordered water but all in all, pretty good. Food- well this was a downer for a range of reasons. We prefer to eat all our meals in the restaurants BUT they were all booked out. We attempted to eat in the Asian and Italian (included in fare) restaurants but were told by staff that they were booked out for the whole cruise. When we pointed out that they were actually empty, we were told that they have been prebooked and passengers hadn't shown up yet but they couldn't give the tables away incase they did. We found out from other staff that this is an ongoing issue, especially with short cruises. We ate in the main restaurant one night and the food looked good but was cold and this was an ongoing issue with all food on this ship, whether it was in a restaurant or the buffet, it was always cold. Restaurant staff seem uninterested and confused and the whole dining experience is unorganized and understaffed. Maybe trying to cut costs with less staff?? The main restaurant the "Waterfront" is disappointing serving cold food that should be hot and getting a drink proved to be a challenge. Some of the meals on the menu are included in your fare but the "better" ones are at a cost. This goes for Breakfast Lunch and Dinner menus, which was a bit of a surprise. Dining in the Specialty restaurants (if you can get in) is at the marked price on the menus, not a "cover charge" as they do on other cruise lines, so this can add up to be quiet a bill if you're not careful. Buffet food was served by staff at stations which is a good idea to prevent the spread of germs (BTW no one washed their hands entering the area, nor were they directed to, as on Princess). Food in the buffet was of a good variety and impressive but COLD. The design of the buffet doesn't really work as the flow of diners is impeded by queues of diners at each station, so doesn't work very well. There is also a coffee station for barista coffee which also formed a long queue which snaked its way across the path of those trying to get to a food station. Staff in the "Pantry" seemed uninterested and slow to pick up plates and don't offer to get you a coffee, juice etc at your table as they do on other cruise lines. Getting something to eat is the downfall of this ship, its disorganized, cold and mostly at extra cost. Iceream, burgers pizza etc is all extra which was a surprise as it has always been included on other cruises we have done. Entertainment- This was a Comedy Cruise which wasn't the reason we booked but an added bonus. Shows were excellent but as the venues are small it was hard to get a seat with a lot of passengers sitting on the floor. Shows were 18+ but kids were still "allowed" in with some being young children under 10etc which I don't think is acceptable and seemed to throw a few of the comedians off as they "censored" their jokes as to not offend. Staff do not police the 18+ rule. Pools- pools are clean and well maintained as are the hot tubs, not too crowded but it was June and a little cool outside. It was impossible to find deck staff for a towel or blanket and there are no towel/blanket stations to help yourself. Bars- all very good, some staff better than others. Love the Oasis Bar at the rear of ship. Very crowded on sailing out of the harbour but that's to be expected but hardly anyone there at other times. Shhhh don't tell anyone. Their programme of events isn't very informative or inclusive of all events and nor does their on-board app work. They have information screens but these either don't work or aren't up to date, so finding out what's on or where is difficult, even for a seasoned cruiser. first timers would struggle. Would I sail on Pacific Explorer again?- Maybe but would book a balcony especially on a longer cruise. Lessons learnt from this cruise- 1. P&O fares are cheaper but with all the extras you have to pay for it works out the same if not dearer than other cruise lines 2. Demographic is made up of families and middle-aged couples with a few older passengers and groups of "cellabrators"- 30th/40th/50ths, bucks/hens groups etc 3. Don't book inside cabins- not worth the saving of a few dollars 4. Pre-book restaurants otherwise, you can't get in. Maybe P&O need to look at how they manage this better. 5. Book aft staterooms - less traffic and away from family rooms with easy access to lifts and outside. 6. No kettle/ Tea/coffee facility in cabin 7. Not included in fare eateries such as burgers,pizza, icecream on pool deck or anywhere. 8. Some entertainment shows are an extra fee 9. Be prepared for a bigger stateroom account due to extras having to be paid for such as shows and food. 10. Theme nights are only just a small event and hardly mentioned or attended. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We picked this for a cheapie weekend away, and to check out Pacific Explorer having traveled on Carnival Spirit twice for a total of 17 nights and RCI Voyager OTS for 9 nights. We have always had balconies and will continue to book them ... Read More
We picked this for a cheapie weekend away, and to check out Pacific Explorer having traveled on Carnival Spirit twice for a total of 17 nights and RCI Voyager OTS for 9 nights. We have always had balconies and will continue to book them for longer cruises but as this was a shortie we decided to check out an ocean view stateroom instead. Lots of groups on board celebrating milestone birthdays, bucks, hens etc. Not many children evident, possibly due to being a 3 nighter. This was a Comedy Cruise, however we found most of the comedy to be pretty disappointing. Just the luck fo the draw on this I would say. Embarkation took about 25 minutes, no complaints. However, White Bay v.s Circular Quay is really a pain, particularly on the return as we were heading straight to work. Sailing away under the Harbour Bridge however is fantastic. Muster held indoors and seemed pretty well done. Indoors means you are more comfortable, can hear and so are more likely to pay attention. Our room # 8234 had a lovely big picture window but was certainly smaller than any we have previously been in and the bathroom is tiny. Both my husband and I commented that we would struggle with this on a longer cruise. We may have felt a little less confined if we had a balcony. It was adequate for a short cruise, and our attendants were lovely and did a great job of waving their magic wand over the room twice a day. Wish I could bring them home with me. The internal areas on this ship are lovely, certainly nicer than Spirit and perhaps even nicer than Voyager. I love how the evening party events are in the atrium and seem to draw you in from anywhere. Entertainment vibe was very good all over the ship. I feel P&O do this very well and seem to "get" Australians. Lots of lovely bay window nooks around the ship to curl up in for a chat or a read or just to people watch. These were a lovely find. External: pool deck fine, love the artificial grass on a lot of the outdoor areas, seems to make it less slippery. The adults' area at the back did not really appeal to us, it does not help that a smoking section is on the port side of The Oasis at the rear. We just could not really warm to it, but perhaps are biased after loving Serenity on the Spirit. The front adult area is lovely, with pretty lounges, but no permanent bar there and mostly unusable for the short time we were on due to the fact that it was usually too windy. (expected on moving ships at the front). Food: Pantry was OK, and I do like the fact that most of the food is served to you and not handled and coughed all over by everyone. I would rate it as 2.5 stars overall. I love the idea of three different styles of venue so that you feel that you are dining in a different restaurant each evening. I also liked the smaller more intimate feeling of them. Husband, however, felt that he prefers the larger MDRs on other ships. The fact that you have to line up and book on the first day however in order to get a table is a pain in the butt and for the life of me, I cannot work out how they cannot have a better system like other lines seem to manage. Big downside. Food was generally OK - good in the restaurants, in fact overall I thought the MDR was more consistently OK than the last time we were on the Spirit. Over the 3 days we had all dinners in one of them, 2 breakfasts and one lunch. All quite enjoyable. Drinks: Corona $AU8, cocktails about $AU12. Gym: very small. Lots of opportunities to pay extra for the usual things, including food, however we did not feel the need to spend extra on a 3 night cruise. Staff all very friendly and Explorer is a nice pick for a short trip getting away from it all. Would consider again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I have not previously done a short cruise so when the price and timing worked in with our life we booked around 5 weeks from sailing in a twin berth ocean view level 8 right near the back. Embarkation Not sure why but they started a ... Read More
I have not previously done a short cruise so when the price and timing worked in with our life we booked around 5 weeks from sailing in a twin berth ocean view level 8 right near the back. Embarkation Not sure why but they started a bit late but it was quite smooth once it got going, before getting on I had a good look at where our cabin was (we only found out days before) so when I got on I was able to make my way directly to our room which was ready, by chance we saw our bags on the way so grabbed them as well on the way to the room. The Cabin The rooms on Explorer are not huge but for 2 it was adequate and comfortable, the windows on level 8 outside (where the life boats are not) are huge and offer a great view out and somewhere to sit to admire the view. The bed was comfortable, the AC and fridge worked as did all of the things that are supposed to work but the shower was locked at a just warm temperature that I would have liked to be hotter Food An important feature of cruising to many and if its the most important thing to you P&O is not your cruise line, 3 night cruise allowed us a night in each free restaurant and no need for the pantry, no meals were great but all OK Entertainment Really good, there were 4 comedians on board who did a range of shows which I really enjoyed, the only criticism would be the venue for the late comedy shows was too small and even half an hour early there wasn't many seats. One of the PG shows was a mime act which was also great. besides the comedy they also put on a "rock of the ages" show which was 45 minutes of non stop entertainment and a fantastic show. Service Our room steward asked us early how often we wanted our room cleaned which I found unusual, normally its daily with a nightly turn down but for our first 2 days we were happy to go along with not being disturbed by it only having the towels changed over, the last day he cleaned up for us doing a really good job of it and he did the turn down, I kind of feel he was a bit lazy with us but at the same time I didn't mind it and to be fair if there was anything we wanted he provided without hesitation so I am actually going to say that was a good thing as much as I am sure plenty of others would not have been so happy with it. Other service throughout the cruise didn't stand out either way for the most part, the future cruise lady was really helpful and went out of her way to help us, dining staff were efficient, friendly and accommodating with the more senior staff doing the rounds to make sure we were happy at most meals. The ship I often read reviews where it seems some people have a terrible experience because of things like "they allowed somebody in the dining room wearing a T shirt" or "the ship needs repair" or "I noticed a rust mark" or my favourite, "the chairs look old", if this is you spend twice as much for a newer ship on another line because it is a 20 (plus) year old ship and it does show signs of its age but for me that does not detract from how much enjoyment I can get from it, in fact some of my more memorable cruises have been on ships not long before they are retired from the fleet, Pacific Sun, Celebrity Century and the Pearl. Value Everywhere you go there seems to be something to spend more money on, while giving me a free short massage as I was walking through they tried to sell me a hair cut and shave for around $120 which I found outrageous and every meal seems to have "indulgent" items to spend more on. The free food venues close at 9 so if you want something to eat after that you are paying for it but with a little will power its easy enough to say no to the extra items. With the above in mind however it was a good value cruise, P&O bank on you spending more money during your cruise to make up for the cheap fare and while I do spend some money whether it be a beer with a meal or buy something from the shop it still ended up cheap for me and certainly my on-board spend was no more than it would have been with any of the more expensive lines The drinks package Being a 3 day cruise you cant have the alcohol packages (not that I do normally) but they still offer the 2 non alcoholic packages, $7.50 per day for soft drink only or $19 a day (if pre booked otherwise its $25 on board) for mocktails, coffees, juices, water hot chocolate, iced chocolates or soft drink. My wife paid the $19 per day before we left and probably got the value from it whereas I drank water and free tea from the buffet and had 2 or 3 bears a day for around the same amount of money which worked out better for me (and probably healthier as I didn't drink more than I needed trying to get my money worth) To sum it up I have now been on 9 cruises in 7 years with 4 different cruise lines on 7 different ships, mostly P&O and I am yet to have a cruise that I didn't enjoy, your more upmarket cruise lines are better for a lot of reasons and deserve a loyal following but for me I love cruising so much I prefer quantity to quality (most of the time), this doesn't mean I wont spend more to go on the other lines but I do spend a lot of time looking for the good deals which do come up if you are prepared to be flexible, my problem is that when I am looking I normally find much better value deals with P&O that I cant resist :) Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We travelled on a 4 night cruise on Pacific Explorer to Moreton Island and had a great time. The public areas on the ship have all been refurbished very nicely with modern touches. The cabin was more dated but still had plenty of room ... Read More
We travelled on a 4 night cruise on Pacific Explorer to Moreton Island and had a great time. The public areas on the ship have all been refurbished very nicely with modern touches. The cabin was more dated but still had plenty of room and was very clean. All of the staff were friendly and accomodating. Food overall was very good. We ate most meals in the Waterfront Restaurant and the food was of a high quality. 400 Gradi was also very good and the cafe and Ocean Bar were good for relaxing. The buffet was fine for casual eating although was always very busy. Kids club staff were great and my daughter enjoyed the activities. As she was under five I was given a pager so staff could contact me on at anytime which was a nice touch. My daughter also enjoyed the waterpark as the pools were too deep for small children. Themed nights were fun and we enjoyed making Gatsby headbands for the party. Although purchasing the photos on board is quite expensive, we enjoyed getting all of our photos taken at different backdrops and looking through them later. Overall, we had a really good time and I'd travel on the Pacific Explorer again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
After reading the previous reviews of the Pacific Explorer, I embarked on this cruise with a level of trepidation. My fears were unfounded - what we experienced were highly motivated and friendly staff, a small balcony cabin that was ... Read More
After reading the previous reviews of the Pacific Explorer, I embarked on this cruise with a level of trepidation. My fears were unfounded - what we experienced were highly motivated and friendly staff, a small balcony cabin that was perfectly adequate for a short cruise and great entertainment. Food quality was inconsistent - there were some standouts and some pretty average dishes - in our experience, the staff were more than happy for a meal to be sent back and swapped for something else and for multiple courses to be ordered. Nothing was too much trouble. We found the Waterfront and Angelo's to be the pick of the restaurants but Dragon Lady was ok too with some interesting dishes - my advice would be to try all three early. Menu in the Waterfront changed daily and half way thru for the other two. The speciality restaurants did book out on the first day so my advice would be to book for the entire cruise - you can always cancel or change a time later. This was a school holiday cruise but children numbers were booked and youth security was always on hand to deal with any unruly children. All in all high recommended given the price point - yes you have to pay for some extras but prices are modest and the fare is cheap to start with compared with the other lines. We had the drinks package - it is ok value especially if you get it on sale but found we didn't drink that much after the first few days. My only serious criticism is the lack in variety in on-board activities - lots of trivia and late night karoke but not much else. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The public areas on the ship were very nicely decorated. It never felt crowded and there was always plenty of spaces to sit. I loved the Bonded Store and the Blue room, very nice bars to have a quiet drink in. The food in the restaurant is ... Read More
The public areas on the ship were very nicely decorated. It never felt crowded and there was always plenty of spaces to sit. I loved the Bonded Store and the Blue room, very nice bars to have a quiet drink in. The food in the restaurant is average, but that seems to be case on all cruise lines now, cutting back costs. The Pantry was the same. I do find P&O to be the worst for additional charges, other lines, include pizza, ice cream and hamburgers for free, and at every meal the menu shows additional items that can be bought. It was a comedy cruise and I was surprised and horrified that on the last evening the comedy show, which should have been free, you had to purchase tickets. Entertainment is supposed to be included in your cruise fare, bad move P&O. The staff on the ship were very good. Embarkation and disembarkation were very quick and smooth. I was disappointed that standards have dropped, in the dining room, short and thongs was acceptable for the evening meal, really? We had sailed on the Eden before but found this ship much nicer and not as crowded. The cabins are showing their age and are in need of a refit. Shopping was disappointing, high end shops with no one in them. The cruise director Zoltena J, I only saw once, and at best she only does the trivia, I think she should work harder and put more daytime entertainment and activities on. On most ships, you see the captain walking around, not on this cruise, only heard from him once and that was at the safety drill. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I have always wanted to go to New Zealand and after half a dozen domestic cruises with P&O I decided cruising was the way to go. With 6 sea days and 1 different ports it was a great mix of sightseeing and the usual cruise fun. I am ... Read More
I have always wanted to go to New Zealand and after half a dozen domestic cruises with P&O I decided cruising was the way to go. With 6 sea days and 1 different ports it was a great mix of sightseeing and the usual cruise fun. I am in my 40's and cruised with my Mother so we definitely have different opinions and wanted different things but found we usually agreed. We left from Sydney (a first for me), at White Bay. The facilities were ok, the staff helpful and embarkation was fabulous. We had a noon boarding time but the process went really smoothly and we were on the ship by 11.45. The ship was great, the public areas really well done, clean and modern. Had all the facilities we needed & really liked the Explorer Bar but was rarely enough seating when 'things' were on, could have included more without being cramped. I think the Marquee should also be bigger ideally but having Black Circus at least gives other options. Minor grumble is that you cant get waiter service in the Marquee and the bar next door (Explorer) can be bedlam at times, so go to another bar and bring your drift with you. Blue Room seems under utilised but nice, and the cocktail classes were fun! It was great to have areas where you can chill (loved the window seats) the atrium was a great meeting spot. Have to admit that now and again on certain decks (mainly lower) there was a smell of sewerage which I had read about previously but it wasn't often, and not that bad. Room wise we had a balcony and it was great to have but I think it reduced the cabin size though as space was a premium. Definitely adequate and had all the essentials but I'm glad there wasn't 4 adults in the room (just 2). Our steward was awesome, nothing was too much trouble! Really helpful to have a fridge too. The entertainment team was fabulous - I am in love with Marius (LOL) and Zoltina J is just great. Went to the majority of the shows in the Marquee, really well done even if not all my type of thing. The last nigh Lip Synch Battle had to be a highlight. Also went to 2 lecture series. The first was by Mark McCreadie (ex-police dog handler & author) which was great, loved the stories and the message. The second was presented by Alex (from the Entertainment Crew) about the personal story behind the Titanic. This was unbelievable and on the last seminar, people were in tears as Alex did such a wonderful job. He as articulate, passionate, knowledgeable and completely enthralled me. Trivia was fun and there was plenty to do should you wish too. We did do the Love Riot show (including the dinner) one night. The dinner was nice, great value at $39 and the show enjoyable but had seen better. The performers were really amazing, really clever but it did seem all a bit haphazard - no particular story to tie it together. I was aware it was 18+ and there was some nudity which doesn't worry me at all but wasn't really sure why it was there? Didn't use the pools, slides or Edge at all but they weren't overly crowded. Lounges could be hard to find sometimes but there was usually other options in the adult only Oasis or Sanctuary which was good. To say it was right on the commencement of school holidays I was surprised by how few kids I saw. Another experience we had was the Luke Mangan Degustation dinner which I think was $110pp. This was lovely and would definitely recommend it. With 7 courses, each with wine we were spoilt. The food was amazing, the 2 waiters did a great job and after over 3 hours+ hours we were full of good company, unbelievable food & possibly a tiny bit tipsy. Regarding other food options: * We did Waterfront for dinner a few time, nice food, never cold and good service but after a while the menu does get monotonous. We never used it for lunch and only once for breakfast. * The Pantry was pretty good, some dishes better then others but usually nice, warm and with some variety. Can be hard to find a spot and missed having a bigger external area where you could sit if you wish. * Went to Angelo's and Dragon Lady only once. Dragon Lady I found dark, with no atmosphere. The food was good and nicely presented but not my type of food. Angelo's was a disappointment (food was bland, Lamb Shank really fatty - but other people we met loved it) so didn't go back. * Luke's (Burger Bar on Deck 14) was good and although its not free, its good value. We used it a few time and was great to look over the pool or watch a movie while having a drink & dinner. * 400 Gradi on Deck 8 looked great but we never ate there. It was hard to locate as often you couldn't get in and only later found out that you must use the glass lifts in the atrium (and my Mum not great with lots of stairs) - something for next time. * Charlie (Café) as nice, awesome cakes but the coffee was never fabulous (anywhere in the ship actually). Would be great to have a second café on the pool deck like Pacific Dawn does. * Shell & Bones - never got there but had eaten there previously and was looking forward to it but ran out of time. Overall the service was also good all around. Reception were really helpful and most of the staff in the bards & dining rooms were polite, helpful etc. Entertainment crew must get tired smiling all the time LOL but they were upbeat , fun and seem to really love their job. The Captain was great especially when we encountered really rough sea for 24 hrs on our way home, having updates was really helpful and the daily catch up was good. Disembarkation was fairly smooth. We had booked a transfer on board to get to the airport upon our return which was good value at $20 pp. We had an early start and was at our designated spot on time by 6.50am but was a little miffed that we then had to wait for 45 mins without any info as to why the delay but it didn't affect us much. Finding our bags in a mad house of luggage was interesting, some more signage would be helpful but still found our bags quickly and were on the bus in plenty of time. With 3 ships is port in White Bay that morning I was surprised it all went pretty well. I will do a separate review on the shore tours or this will be a novel but have to say there was plenty to choose, some a little overpriced but not all and enjoyed them all. Hope this is helpful. Pacific Explorer may not be as 'posh' as some other cruise likes in Australia but its great value, a lovely ship and staff on board are very proud of P&O. You will have a great holiday if you just give it a go! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I went with my family on this cruise and for the most part we enjoyed ourselves! Pros: Our luggage arrived to our room on the first day really quickly. Embarkation was a fairly quick process. Our room steward Gemma was amazing. ... Read More
I went with my family on this cruise and for the most part we enjoyed ourselves! Pros: Our luggage arrived to our room on the first day really quickly. Embarkation was a fairly quick process. Our room steward Gemma was amazing. The room was always spotless and she was always asking us if we needed anything else. I loved coming back to my room and seeing yummy chocolate, a note or a towel animal. Cocktail prices were surprisingly cheap and the service time was really quick. A lot of times at night there was hardly anyone around due to there being an older demographic. We loved the themed nights The food was pretty good. We loved the specialty restaurant Luke's however the deserts in the Pantry could have been better. At peak times it was also hard to find a set. Cons: There isn't a large variety of activities and the good activities such as the mechanical bull riding or walk the plank aren't free. It would be much better if this was included. The entertainment venue (Marquee) is way too small and you had to arrive an hour early if you wanted a seat. The entertainment offered here was also poor so we didn't really bother. The cruise director was highly annoying and talked for ages about pointless things. The tender process was slow and we had to wait quite awhile. The professional photos are really overpriced as is the spa. We enjoyed our hot stone massage however. The gym also needs a makeover. It is tiny. Don't bother with the "Love Riot" show. I had seen other reviews on here that it was amazing but it was such a let down and not worth the $15. Ports We missed our first point of call - Norfolk Island. We didn't mind that much as we were having a good time on board. Tonga ports - there wasn't much to see and do. Wouldn't go back. Suva, Fiji - good for getting souvenirs Dravuni - Fiji - we loved this place. Snorkeling, beach and water is amazing. Port Denarau - We did a shore excursion where a boat took us to a separate island. It was great. We got a buffet lunch, free drinks, snorkeling, use of paddle boards and went on a glass bottom boat. Noumea - We did the duck island tour, it is a must! Such amazing snorkeling, we saw turtles, big fish and reef sharks. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
I joined this cruise as part of a group so I didn’t take advantage of the onboard activities and bars. Our departure from Sydney was on time and boarding was pretty straightforward. Luggage arriving from a 12-1 boarding by 2:30. ... Read More
I joined this cruise as part of a group so I didn’t take advantage of the onboard activities and bars. Our departure from Sydney was on time and boarding was pretty straightforward. Luggage arriving from a 12-1 boarding by 2:30. The boat was clean but in places worn. We had a twin bed layout. The beds were pretty hard. The balcony cabin was compact with litte space apart from the balcony and a 1 meter area adjacent to the beds. Fortunately the beds have space for luggage below. The desk is tiny - just enough space for a laptop and bed side accessories. Storage in the wardrobe was good for 2 people. There were 4 PowerPoints 1 us on the desk, 1 US below a tiny hallway shelf and a European and Australian by the TV. The bar fridge below had enough space for 6 water bottles or 12 cans. I ate at the waterfront on a few occasions food was good but. It spectacular but the space was often cramped. Better for breakfast or lunch. 400 Gradi had excellent pizza’s and there was usually spare space for additional diners. The pantry food was average. Think food court in your local mall. I enjoyed the breakfast options, the Indian and carvery. The Chinese was poor the times I tried it. The deserts looked great but the were little more than sugar and food colouring. When cheese and biscuits were offered they were good. The soups I tried were usually bland. The staff were friendly and helpful. There were many activities available but often these prevented use of the facilities. For example when a movie played above the pool deck it was so loud that I had to leave the area. Similarly activities in the explorer bar made it hard to enjoy a social drink if you were not participating. Fortunately there were many other bars to use. On the whole I got what I paid for. Perhaps i’ll Go more upmarket next time or budget for meals in the pay restaurants most of the time. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Embarkation was faultless. The welcomed me and placed this solo traveller in the Priority line. My mini suite was very well equipped, 2 televisions, spa bath, marble shower and vanity, plus a comfortable bed. Champagne on arrival in ... Read More
Embarkation was faultless. The welcomed me and placed this solo traveller in the Priority line. My mini suite was very well equipped, 2 televisions, spa bath, marble shower and vanity, plus a comfortable bed. Champagne on arrival in the room from my lovely steward and a bowl of fresh fruit made me feel special. The Pantry was my choice for early morning breakfast, served by friendly attendants. Lunch at Luke’s was nice, but felt rushed as it is so popular. Dinner at Dragon Lady and Angelos and Waterfront were included in the fare. Shell and Bones was sensational. Solo ladies expecting service at the bars and lounges are not treated well at all. Ignored for up to 30 minutes. Cultural methinks. Shows in the Marquee was top quality however patrons left a bit to be desired. Looked back to see 10 toes on the back of the seat next to me. phew....and isle huggers annoy me. Tender priority ticket made life easy too. Loved the brand new Tenders too, very smooth sailing. Noticed a distinct difference in the clientele from when I sailed on Dawn Princess. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We have previously done two cruises with P & O in 2017. Both cruises where on the Pacific Jewel.Both cruises were excellent. we decided to try pacific explorer and although we had a very good time it was not as good as the Jewel. The ... Read More
We have previously done two cruises with P & O in 2017. Both cruises where on the Pacific Jewel.Both cruises were excellent. we decided to try pacific explorer and although we had a very good time it was not as good as the Jewel. The Jewel was more user friendly for the older generation.The only real complaint with the explorer is the entertainment venues were rather small and hard to get a seat. The Margee and the Black Circus were very good and usually easy to get a seat. The entertainment on board was very good and the bands that we saw were excellent.The cruise director Joanne and her staff were very funny and were instrumental in guests having a good time. The food for the most part was good and of an acceptable quality.We only ate in the Pantry The service was for the most part excellent and the waiters were very attentive. Reception staff were very helpful and friendly getting of the ship when in port was easy and very quick.The only down side to the shore tours was that e could not get of at Moreton Island as the weather was to rough. all in all the cruise the was very relaxing and we both had a good time. Embarkation and disembarkation was handled very professionally and with the minimum amount of fuss. Overall very happy with this cruise Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Food; 4 stars really excellent given this was an inexpensive holiday where the quality was much better than most average pubs/restaurants around town. We are Italian, cook well and are generally fussy about quality so I think we can say... ... Read More
Food; 4 stars really excellent given this was an inexpensive holiday where the quality was much better than most average pubs/restaurants around town. We are Italian, cook well and are generally fussy about quality so I think we can say... It’s not the best food but it is definitely good. Ship public areas: it’s beautiful. The interior designers have nailed a contemporary comfortable classic look. Again not 5 stars but really excellent 4 and1/2 star. Entertainment: 5 star! Brilliant. One performance had me up asking for an encore. I’m not a fan of the musical genre we prefer dance, modern circus, and theatre but the shows onboard are fantastic. We have been on a Celebrity cruise and P&O in the uk and these were so much better. Cabin: 3 star .....interior cabin 9197. Small and sad with mattresses which were a lower in the middle but after getting a sore back they replaced it with a hard mattress which was better. Bathroom small but functional. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first family cruise. We have two teenagers 16 and 14. My husband and I really enjoyed the whole experience. However I did feel there was a lack of things to do for the teens especially in the evening. Out of the 10 days 6 ... Read More
This was our first family cruise. We have two teenagers 16 and 14. My husband and I really enjoyed the whole experience. However I did feel there was a lack of things to do for the teens especially in the evening. Out of the 10 days 6 evenings were adult only shows. While there are other things happening at the same time options are much the same karaoke or trivia. The things they could go to they did enjoy. However we felt each thing didn’t last long enough 45 mins was the average. In order to secure a seat you needed to arrive at least 20 mins before. Which leaves you stuck with no seats for anything else. There seemed a massive shortage of seating anywhere there was anything on. Shows at 7 pm and 9pm were packed and many standing. Getting a seat in explorer hotel forget it. We seem to spend most of the night hunting for seating, some nights just giving up and going back to our room. The activities on board that the teens enjoyed cost extra laser tag Hover ball archery and mechanical ball only happened at time slots on varying days and they needed to be booked a day ahead. Table tennis tournaments my son loved , except when he waited for the advertised teen tournement to be told it was only for hq members( kids club) yet in the daily good times there was no mention of having to be in kids club. If your kids like to spend time in kids club then I think it would be ok although my daughter did go once and said it was quite boring and activities were very young. I would cruise again but without the kids as we spent a lot of time trying to entertain them. Bingo was great fun and Marius was an absolute joy and brightened our day. Only down side at $30 a go for the family was $120. The session is 5 games. Would like to see bingo extended maybe instead of two sessions a day one longer session. The entertainment team were outstanding and a real asset we can’t fault any of them. We ate at the pantry breakfast lunch and dinner and visited 400 grandi for pizza eat in and take out. The pantry food we found to be nice. I’m vegetarian and there was enough variety. The only downside is by the time you have found a seat often food is luke wArm. I didn’t like the sweet bar much and found the cakes to be quite dry and the taste the same. The pastries however for breakfast were a huge hit. Drink wise. My hubby and son got the soft drinks package $75 and my daughter and me the one that included coffee and mock tails water and soft drinks. $250 We found these to be well worth it. Hubby was undecided if to go for alcohol package, he was only one drinking. He brought individually and prices are standard a Vb was $6.5 and bourbon and coke $9. He ended up spending a lot less than the package so worked out well. Our cabin was better than I thought it would be after reading past reviews. We had a balcony room and the kids in one next door. They are basic but adequate. The room stewards do an amazing job and they were very clean and accommodating for extra blanket towels etc. the only negative I had ,was the double bed was two singles pushed together which were different heights. And one was rock hard and I had a bad first night as I suffer with chronic pain. But then hubby and I switched sides and he didn’t mind the very firm side. The other side (bed) was very comfy. Every where you go you see staff cleaning I was really impressed at the level of cleanliness. Toilet attendants are always around and everything shined. Bannisters were polished and hand sanitisers are located around food areas. Getting on and off the ship was very smooth and the longest we queued for a tender was around 45 mins, but mostly was quicker. Getting on at the start was smooth and problem free and likewise getting off was easy and quick and well organised. Shore tours we only did one through p and o which was jinek bay passes for snorkeling. I recommend you order them on line before departing as only 200 people a day are aloud in. And was amazing experience. We arranged our own tour through Viator for Port Vila which great. Although Port Vila is a little intimidating with the locals trying to get you to use there taxis etc. once we found our guide the day went very smoothly. The main pool area we only used once but the water was pleasantly warm for winter. The kids did use the water slides but got stuck half way down and felt they were more suited to younger kids. The main pool area was very crowded most of the time with young kids and my two felt they would have like to have gone to the adult only area. I didn’t use the adult area as I felt bad the kids had to be splashed and crowded by young kids and we wanted to hang out together. They did visit the gym and said it was adequate but basic. We didn’t usterlise the onboard spa but think maybe if we travelled without the kids we may do. Overall we had a good time. But not something I’m in a rush to do again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We travelled as a family of four (2 adults and 2 teenagers) and this was our 4th cruise and our 2nd one with P&O, the previous one being 10 years ago. EMBARKATION – We arrived at the cruise terminal in Circular Quay at 11:30 ready ... Read More
We travelled as a family of four (2 adults and 2 teenagers) and this was our 4th cruise and our 2nd one with P&O, the previous one being 10 years ago. EMBARKATION – We arrived at the cruise terminal in Circular Quay at 11:30 ready for our 12 noon check-in, and were ushered through straight away. 30 minutes later we were on board (and it would have been even quicker had it not been for a delay at the customs counter, which required information from all our passports having to be re-entered manually). We were really impressed with how efficient the process was. CABIN – We were booked into a quad share ocean view cabin on deck 6. As expected it was compact and cosy – okay, it was tiny! However, we were pleasantly surprised with how much storage was available to us and we were easily able to stow away all our clothing and other belongings without having to have any clutter on the desk etc. There was enough room to store our 3 large suitcases, 1 mid-sized case and 2 smaller carry-on cases under the 2 lower berths. As recommended by other members on this page, we took along a couple of suction hooks to use in the ensuite – these were very handy. Our cabin attendant was a real legend – he was always very cheerful and friendly and kept out cabin spotless. Nothing seemed to be any trouble for him. INTERIOR PUBLIC SPACES – All of the lounges, restaurants etc are very tastefully decorated and we loved the large window seats. Unfortunately, so did everyone else! Given the size of the ship though, a lot of the lounges felt too small and it was often difficult to find somewhere to sit. This was particularly so on one sea day when the weather was rather inclement and 2 of the bars were closed for private functions. I understand most of the public spaces were refurbished when P&O took over this ship. This was obviously not the case with the Marquee Theatre though as the upholstery on those seats is definitely in need of being replaced and, surprisingly, all of the drink trays in the seats were very sticky from previous passengers’ drinks. They obviously don’t get wiped down regularly. I say surprisingly because everywhere else on the ship was so spotlessly clean. The seats were comfortable enough though and neither of these issues hampered our enjoyment of the shows. FOOD & BEVERAGES – We ate in The Pantry, The Waterfront, Angelo’s and Dragon Lady and found the food in all of them was hit and miss. In fact, we were a little disappointed to find that overall the food quality had gone down compared with our P&O cruise 10 years ago. Sometimes the meals we ordered were overcooked and dry and other times they were cooked perfectly and delicious. In any case, the food was always nicely presented, we didn’t go hungry and I didn’t have to cook for 10 days! We made dinner reservations on the first day for the whole cruise and then decided after the first 2 days that we would prefer a later dining time. We were able to change most of them without any trouble. As far as the beverages go, it would have been nice to see more variety in the range of non-alcoholic drinks available. Other than water, it seemed the only drinks available for children were sugary, fizzy drinks and 3 sickly-sweet mocktails. On previous cruises, including our previous P&O cruise, our children have drunk non-alcoholic pina coladas and other similar drinks and we would happily have purchased them this time had they been available. All the waiters and bar tenders across the ship provided a superb service – always prompt and friendly. ENTERTAINMENT – The Entertainment Team, led by Joanna (Cruise Director) and Andy (Deputy Cruise Director) were brilliant – all very quick-witted with huge personalities. The banter between them all and between them and some of the passengers was entertaining in itself. We went to all the evening shows and enjoyed them all, whether they featured the production cast or guest entertainers. The musicians on board were all very talented and a joy to listen to – our favourites were the Pacific Showband and pianist, Anthony Quimby. DISEMBARKATION – We were horrified to find out on the second to last day that we’d been given a disembarkation time of 7:35am! That was way too early to get up on the last day of our holiday. However, we went to Reception and they willingly changed it to 8:30 for us. Phew! Disembarkation was just as smooth and efficient as embarkation. Overall the service provided by the crew was fantastic. All the crew we encountered seemed to genuinely want to do whatever they could to ensure we had a good holiday. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We just returned from an 8 day cruise on the P&O Australia Pacific Explorer to New Caledonia for 8 nights from Sydney in May 2018. Unfortunately we had so so weather, ending with a stomach churching bigger than forecast 6m slop from a ... Read More
We just returned from an 8 day cruise on the P&O Australia Pacific Explorer to New Caledonia for 8 nights from Sydney in May 2018. Unfortunately we had so so weather, ending with a stomach churching bigger than forecast 6m slop from a low off the NSW coast that delayed our arrival into Sydney and made sleep difficult. This was our 5th cruise in 4 years having sailed on Carnival Spirit, Sun Princess (twice) and the Dawn Princess, and we wanted to see what P&O was like in Australia given the party reputation and there was a great special on when we wanted to travel, and we would earn points with Princess. Overall, the standard of service was similar, the average age, younger, there were more physical and youth activities available. The ship had a more Aussie feel, and entertainment content was more Australian. The included food value seems to be lower than Princess, with the option to pay for more expensive food options – eg Prawns or steak. This possibly leads to lower fares. The Pacific Explorer is the refitted Dawn Princess, and having sailed on the ship before and its sister ship, the Sun Princess, we were very familiar with the ship layout. The refit appears to have focussed on the lounge areas, bars, dining rooms and youth plus the addition of the P&O Edge attractions and water slides. Apparently there was also some new engineering updates made. The lounge areas and dining rooms have been nicely updated in Australian contemporary styles, with a variety of new chairs and lounges in the bars. Every window alcove is now a chair or lounging area with cushions. Compared to Princess ships, we no longer felt we were in an American hotel. It felt Aussie. There were very few structural changes, so there are a few odd things such as where the rotating doors have been removed in the Blue room, but it now has a stage as well as a dance floor. However we were disappointed to find that the library had become a youth lounge. We did note that The Marquee, the main performance venue, had not had a refit. The upholstery on some of the chairs is becoming worn. We managed to get an Oceanview room, which appeared to be about the same size as internal cabins we’ve had on this class of ship. Clearly most of the cabins remain the same as before the refit. Unfortunately we ended up with a cabin very forward, which made for interesting rides during the bit sloppy sea. The video system is not play on demand as on the Sun Princess, but the content is mostly Australian which was a pleasant change. The dining experience was quite different, with no set dining tables that we could discern. The best option would be book all dinners shortly after boarding, as we found many venues booked up, or only had share tables available. The food was good quality and well cooked in general, although prawn fans will have to pay for the privilege – we had King Prawns in the The Pantry on the last lunch only. The lack of set tables means it is harder to get to know dining companions and serving staff, so more like the Princess Anytime dining experience. This is probably more the expectation of modern cruisers. In The Waterfront we were surprised to find only 3 starters, 3 main course dishes + 3 dishes that could be either entre or main course included in the fare that changed daily. There were a number of other options which could be purchased. In Alferedo’s there is a longer set menu with an Italian theme with a dessert cart, and the Dragon Lady has a modern Asian menu, although all desserts are western which was a bit of clash. None of the main restaurants are going to server more expensive dishes such as steaks or prawns. You need to pay for this at one of the other venues, and we didn’t go to them. The Pantry on deck 14 has had a bit of a refit, with a new colour scheme and what look like plants on the tables (but closer inspection shows them to be plastic). There are number of themed food stations pus salad and soup bar. This means most food is served to patrons, avoiding issues of a buffet, however adding communication issues with staff! Some of the staff just don’t understand how to dish up some of the food in a reasonable way. The food was ok quality for this style of service. The cakes varied between good and bizarre. For some reason they were unable to make decent donuts. As usual it is impossible to make a decent cuppa using the non-boiling water provided. All the bars also server espresso coffees but you pay per drink, same as for alcohol and soft drinks. The Espresso coffee was acceptable. Watch out if you get a cake at Charlie’s Bar on desk 5 – they charge for those! We didn’t use room service – you pay extra for it compared to the free service on Princess. On Princess Cruises we seen 3 different passenger group profiles. IN all, there is a leaning to more mature passengers. We’ve seen a broader age range of a 2 night cruise from Brisbane to Sydney, a generally more mature age range on a winter South Pacific cruise where we , in our mid 50s, were amongst the youngest, but both cruises were mostly from Australia/NZ, and a much wider agen range and broader nationality range on a NZ cruise. On this late Autumn non school holiday P& O cruise there was a much broader range, with about 20 young families, a few young adults, but still significant number of retirement age. There also was a wider ethnic profile. We didn’t witness any stupid behaviour, although we didn’t attend most of the late night parties. The standard of entertainment was very high, possibly higher than on Princess, and the shows were Australian produced, so more accessible. Of the 2 production shows we saw, only 1 had a live band. The volume for all production shows was very high and constant, which I don’t think is necessary. Rather than having 2 signers and 8 dancers, the group had 2 signers who could dance a bit, 2 dancers who could sing, and 6 dancers. Other entertainment were a magician, and the Cover Girls, the ship band, who also played jazz in the Blues Room, and some other soloists and duos. The crew were similarly capable to Princess ships, with stewards and dining staff being generally capable and friendly. We didn’t make use of the youth and children’s services so can’t comment. We didn’t make use of P&O Edge & water slides so can’t comment. We didn’t use the Casino either, but we did note that it has much more tables and machines than on the same class Princess ship. Generally boarding, tender and disembarkation procedures were similar to Princess. At check in you are able to link your ship board account with a credit card, something you can do pre-check in online with Princess. Tours were similar, perhaps with some higher activity options than princess. We were able to book online prior to cruise. There is an online wifi accessed application making the daily schedule available on your mobile device. Changes prior to and during the cruise were well communicated. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Pacific Explorer was very familiar as been on it previously as Dawn Princess, some changes made to appeal to younger patrons with two slides, water area for kids and usual P&O activities ( that need to pay extra to enjoy). The ... Read More
Pacific Explorer was very familiar as been on it previously as Dawn Princess, some changes made to appeal to younger patrons with two slides, water area for kids and usual P&O activities ( that need to pay extra to enjoy). The entertainment crew were excellent. Joanne was cruise director and Rory deputy ( had them in the past on other ships), new staff on entertainment crew but they were all very good. We went in a group of 6 ( 3 couples ) and are all seasoned cruisers, and all impressed overall with P&O - they have improved so much since a few years ago. I think the only crap ship now is the Pacific Dawn - even staff new of this. Off course it wasn't perfect and as some have said the restaurant food is a bit hit and miss and the Pantry can give out cold food, and we had two bad steaks at the Waterfront. But with 4 places to eat at no extra cost you cannot really complain, most of the time the food is quite good and service is pretty good ( Pantry is so busy at breakfast and lunch, but that is similar on Princess and Royal Caribbean). Entertainment at the theatre ( come early or miss out - a bit like Princess - chairs looked like original from when ship was made) was very good and even the magician was good ( Jack Black) as he combined comedy into the act. We were lucky we were put in a larger cabin ( disabled - unused), but other couple had a broom closet. Bathroom had some mould under shower on floor. Most laundries had one or two broken down washers or driers, you need to look early to get your washing done - purchase coin tokens at reception $3. Bring your own washing detergent. We just hang clothes up to dry in room - crank up heat as you leave room in the morning and dry when you come back at night. Overall the price was great for what you get, you can pay a lot more for Princess, Royal Caribbean or Celebrity and now Carnival also is more expensive and get a bit more but P&O go to places others do not go and very hard to beat the value. Ports Noumea - OK if first time , but most seasoned cruisers have had enough of this port. We just walked around and went to the Museum ( cost us $3 for over 60y each, but need to take New Caledonia money) - it was much better than we expected and large inside, some signs in English - beware is closed in middle of the day. Had good wak around area again up to the church, around the bay area etc and a few coffees. Lifou - Walked up to the old church to the right about 1km max. and looked around just to warm up for swimming. Large turtle in the water at the beach, lots of snorkelling around it and then usual swimming and fish spotting. Port Vila - Water taxi into town ( still $5 each - hard to negotiate prices in the morning), then walk around and off the duty free grog shop - prices still cheaper than ship BUT ship prices have dropped dramatically - it is now only about $1 cheaper on most drinks on the island ( however can buy 2 litre Jim Beans and 1.75 Jack Daniels that are not on the ship, which makes it so much more a bargain). Island duty free delivers to ship so no need to carry around. We then went across to Irikiri Island now that it is open again after cyclone - It is now $20 to get onto island and you now only get $10 back for spending but drinks are very expensive - food not too bad, used to get $20 back for food. But can used the facilities on island for free - we went snorkelling. Lovely just to walk around island and take pictures. Mystery Island - Island is getting more and more huts and more and more islanders trying to hire out equipment and tours etc. Their were blue bottles in the water ( first time seen on island in 10 visits) and lots of people got stung, lots of vinegar dispersed by P&O first aid ( one of our group was stung and had large sting marks on her shoulder). BUT the fish were fantastic, most fish we have ever seen and coral was great also. It would have been worth the sting. Isle of Pines - went for a long walk to the end of the beach ( near whalf) and then along the bay, then up to the old prison again. Lovely island pictures taken as usual, didn't bother going swimming as nothing could be like Mystery Island and been around Sacret Rock many times. Other couple with us went swimming after lunch and said it was OK but not like yesterday. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Embarkation We got to the port very early so I cant complain that we had to wait a while, even so, once the ball got rolling it was smooth and seamless. The Ship My previous cruise was on the sister ship Sun Princess so the layout ... Read More
Embarkation We got to the port very early so I cant complain that we had to wait a while, even so, once the ball got rolling it was smooth and seamless. The Ship My previous cruise was on the sister ship Sun Princess so the layout was very familiar and I had no trouble in finding my way around. The public areas were spacious and well appointed most of the time but certainly peak times at any location and it does get cramped most notably "The Pantry" and both of the show lounges. Its an older ship and even after the recent upgrades there are signs of wear but not enough to cause any concern. There are a lot of dining options to pay extra for and some of these are located in the worst places, one of them on level 8 which prevents you from accessing past the restaurant on that level, instead you need to go up or down a floor to get past which can be a pain. Dining Let me start by saying that I went on the cruise with very low food expectations and ended up finding it satisfactory, you simply cant compare P&O food to other cruise lines without also considering the price you paid for the cruise. There are a lot of options to spend more and seemingly a lot of limited repetitive choices to help sway the cruise cards towards those options. I didn't visit any of the "pay extra" venues but there were many times in the free venues where I struggled to find a meal option that I was looking forward to or really enjoyed. There were some dishes that I did enjoy but often there would be elements to the meal that were just not right, the dry crumbed turkey fillet which would have been great with a gravy or sauce or the Lebanese chicken skewer with "homus" which would have been great if only the homus didn't have the consistency of soup or the canolli that had a great filling but was left too long before serving and lost it's crunch . I got the impression that its a new menu, they were constantly asking what we thought of our meals or if there were any problems and to be fair they were happy to try to please or offer another meal if we hadn't eaten much. I found Dragon Lady to be the pick of the free venues. A word of advice with either Angelo's or Dragon Lady, book the day before or you may not get in, the Waterfront, we never bothered to book and never had a problem getting in. Entertainment / Activities I'm not interested in the cabaret style shows so didn't bother too much to watch them but the comedy magic act (Jack Black) and the 2 comedians (Garry Who and Jarred Fell) all put on very entertaining shows. Service Again, consider how much you paid for the cruise and adjust your expectations accordingly, I cant say I had bad service at any time but definitely some stood out much more than others, the girl serving coffee on level 5 who was quite possibly the friendliest cruise staff I have ever encountered and our room stewards Daniel and Vincent were as good as any cabin staff we have had on any cruise line. On the other end of the scale though there were some who didn't do any more than they had to. Ports Our itinerary included 4 ports, Santo, Pentacost, Vila and Lifou on 4 consecutive days, Pentacost being the only port we hadn't visited previously was a real thrill to see and the locals quite literally risk their lives to entertain us with their land diving, it is hard to see it as anything other than pure madness combined with pure bravery and definitely something you wont see elsewhere Kids club My 2 kids almost 13 and almost 14 used to love kids club but for some reason they have developed a thing where they think they will have more fun without it, while I am sure they are wrong with that thinking I cant make much comment on it as they didn't go beyond the initial signing in. Overall P&O offer a very competitive option tailored to the Australian market and they are good at it. Compare them to other cruiselines and you will find a lot of little extras missing but as a general rule no other cruiseline is as cheap and no other cruiseline understands how to entertain Aussies quite as well as P&O do, To be completely honest, if they were not cheaper there is no way I would choose them but like all cruiselines you need to consider the entire package. they are cheap, visit some unique ports, have a younger more energetic crowd and they know how to entertain their audience, their service, food options and luxury touches fall way short of all other cruiselines servicing Australia and if the above reasons are not enough to make up your mind its kind of good too have the "limited luxuries" so you will appreciate them more when you go on the more up market cruiselines next time Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Our cabin was clean and there was a short wait for our luggage to be delivered to the room but we had no concerns. Good times pamphlet was easy to read with lots of interesting activities to ... Read More
Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Our cabin was clean and there was a short wait for our luggage to be delivered to the room but we had no concerns. Good times pamphlet was easy to read with lots of interesting activities to do. Waterfront restaurant had good food and was easy to get into with and without a reservation. The Pavlova dessert was AMAZING. Highly recommended even for the $9 price tag. Seven / Let's Misbehave / Rock shows were awesome - very talented entertainment staff always great shows. just magnificent. I love walking along the promenade deck except when portions are roped off and you have to detour back inside the ship to continue the lap and when you have to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke (that definitely ruins the experience of walking around the ship and enjoying the seas air and views). Breakfast is always the worst meal of the day on cruises but breakfast under this new Pantry layout was DISGUSTING. The hot food (bacon, eggs, etc) were always cold and waiting in line for toast made it even colder. It is really difficult to get seats in The Pantry and the food is getting even colder by the time you find a seat. if you stay away from hot food and lines even the cold breakfast foods like yogurt and fruit were inedible. The Pantry is so chaotic - people walking every which way and people walking through the food area when they are leaving. no hand washing was enforced and broken soap dispensers was ignored by the staff. The staff were very slow in cleaning the tables in The Pantry which led to less tables being available and it was difficult to get a staff members attention is you wanted them to come clean a table for you. This was also noticeable around the ship as large stacks to used plates and cups were seen every including in elevators and under stairs. It may be a cruise ship and staff are there to pick up a lot of items but people can be sucks pigs leaving their leftovers everywhere. The Pantry at Lunch was not much better - too chaotic and too difficult to get seating for terrible tasting food. i recommend avoiding The Pantry at all costs. The opening times of the Pantry was awful. if you wanted a snack outside of The Pantry opening times there was nothing available unless you were willing to pay extra money. No sweets on offer between lunch and dinner times except the $5 a scoop ice cream. also the Pantry only offered Apple & Orange Juice with breakfast after than you could not get any drinks other than tea and coffee in the Pantry. No staff available to ask about getting other drinks with lunch?? the watersides were fun but lots of rules and issues about earrings. we took off our big earrings and went on the slides twice but then suddenly they changed their minds and we could not slide with any earrings in even small sleepers that were not going to come undone. make up your minds. many children were unsupervised as well and very pushy when trying to get past you on the stairs up to the slides. 18+ area was nice except for a couple of very loud annoying drunk women cackling away for 4 days and people hogging the hot tubs for many hours & not sharing. getting drinks was a slow process sometimes especially if you wanted to ask the bar tender any questions who would answer 1 then serve somebody else. Mock tails were never mentioned on any menus and had to be asked for specifically and then the bar tender would walk away to serve someone else without waiting for our order. Swim towels available in the rooms was much more helpful than other ships where you have to search for towels yourself and then walk back to the pool you want to use. Spa services are so expensive! $39 for an eye brow wax and then they try to sell you a special brand of face toner and cleanser for $60 each. what a rip off. Dinner at the Dragon Lady was excellent. Dinner at Angelo's was lovely, though the portion sizes were a bit small. getting drinks around the ship were sometimes a but confusing, the menus all said Pepsi / Pepsi max drinks but when you asked for Pepsi the staff looked at you blankly and said they had Coke / Diet Coke. also for non coffee drinkers it's difficult to get a non coffee drink. the menu only offered coffee flavored drinks and when a Iced Chocolate was asked for the staff would still make an Iced Chocolate Mocha even though they promised a non coffee Iced Chocolate. they even seemed confused when asked for a simple hot milk drink. entertainment activities was mostly fun though the paper flower making class was a bit ridiculous. the teacher did not explain / show the steps very well and when you asked for help or for her to repeat the steps she was slow at acknowledging us. learning the steps for the Gatsby flash mob was fun but when the time came for us to do the dance in the Atrium it was far too crowded and not enough space for the steps we were taught including Charleston kicks. it became very claustrophobic on the dance floor. we were promised confetti at the end of the dance which did not occur. The photo department...terrible photos and terrible prices! we are all dressed up in Gatsby outfits but the photographer cut off our fingers and outfits and was bamboozled when we had our own poses already chosen. all they want you to do is stand in the same spot every time and then they don't really check if you have closed eyes. the new digital kiosk system can make finding your photos easier but each staff member trained differently or incorrectly gives you different information. e.g. 1 staff member said you can only order digital copies from the kiosk and physical copies you had to find yourself in the many boxes of mixed photo graphs where another said you could order digital and physical copies from the kiosk (but after i had already spent 30 mins or more searching through the multiple piles of mixed photos for any photos of my group). shore excursions... we went to Moreton Island and we booked the snorkeling tour and the feeding the Dolphins tour. we were told to get a tender at least 90 mins before our tour time to make sure we didn't miss the tours but then we were so early for the tour that we were waiting for an hour for our tour to start. we were also not given enough information and were not told to dress in our swimmers before hand. once in the wet suit snorkeling was a beautiful experience. highly recommend. afterwards we had to wait for our next tour. so had a late lunch and a beach swim but still ended up waiting for many hours before the Feeding the Dolphins tour started at 5pm. the tour size was enormous! at least 100 - 200 people. we then had to wait another 90 mins while a buffet was served (which we could not eat as we had had lunch not long ago) & a dolphin presentation was held, before we even saw a dolphin. then we were joined by another 100 people from the island who wanted to feed dolphins before were were allowed to line up and grab our fish to feed to the dolphin. once in the water it was a very quick few seconds where the dolphin snatched the fish from your fingers a photo was taken and you were pushed back onto the shore where P&O staff were waiting to rush you on-board a boat to tender you back to the ship. lots on long waiting time for a very quick experience and then being rushed back onto the ship. shopping on-board ship is the usual clothing and jewelry - it's fine as long as you fit into small/medium sizes, anything bigger than a large is not catered for. it's all very expensive even when 50% off. i do enjoy cruising but there are a lot of little things that made my Pacific Explorer Experience not perfect. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Just returned from our short cruise. It was very enjoyable and relaxing. We have cruise before on the carnival legend but this was our first time on P & O. We booked interior cabin which was very nice and had everything we wanted. The ... Read More
Just returned from our short cruise. It was very enjoyable and relaxing. We have cruise before on the carnival legend but this was our first time on P & O. We booked interior cabin which was very nice and had everything we wanted. The cabin steward took great care of cleaning the room everyday including night turn down. Dining was adequate we really enjoyed The Pantry, which is the name of their buffet. Especially the Indian and Mexican food stand. For dinner we tried both the Dragon Lady - asian and Angelos - Italian. Both restaurants were very nice. Also ate at Waterfront - the main dining restaurant for lunch on of the day. Food was disappointing. Only a short cruise so there was plenty of activities to keep us entertained. The comedy and night shows were very entertaining. Our 6 yr old really enjoyed the kids club and pools/watersldes. It was great sunny weather but we managed to find lounge chairs to enjoy. Overall a great cruise and highly recommend to anyone considering especially first time cruisers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
After our last cruise we decided that the older children (24 & 19) should experience cruising. We picked the 4 day Moreton Island cruise for them to try. It was our first time on the Pacific Explorer and we totally enjoyed it. We did ... Read More
After our last cruise we decided that the older children (24 & 19) should experience cruising. We picked the 4 day Moreton Island cruise for them to try. It was our first time on the Pacific Explorer and we totally enjoyed it. We did experience a blocked toilet on the first morning however one call and we had plumbers there within 5 mins to fix it and we didn't have any further trouble with it. The four of us shared a quad balcony. The room was reasonable but wouldn't want to be in it for a longer cruise. The bathroom was very small with only a tiny area to stand in. Not good when trying to get changed. The facilities on the ship are good and lots of entertainment to choose from. We dined at Angelo's one night and the meal was fantastic. Highly recommend it. The Pantry food was quite good considering it is made for as many people as it is. There are a lot of shore tours to choose from and you need to book them through P&O as there is nothing available to book directly on the island. We did the ATV quad bikes which everyone thoroughly enjoyed, and the sea scooter snorkeling the wrecks which the two children enjoyed but the older two not so much for fear of crashing into the wrecks and being hurt. We purchased tickets ($10 each) for the evening show called 'Love Riot' as I had read good and bad reviews of it. Okay definitely not my cup of tea in fact even the younger two thought it was bizarre. No story line to it, just acrobatics, nudity and dancing. Would not waste my money to see it again. All in all another great cruise with P&O. Everyone enjoyed it. Would i do this trip again YES Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We booked this cruise as it was our only option for the dates we needed and I booked while it was on sale. We have sailed celebrity, P&O and Princess previously with Celebrity being our favourite. We were not sure what to expect ... Read More
We booked this cruise as it was our only option for the dates we needed and I booked while it was on sale. We have sailed celebrity, P&O and Princess previously with Celebrity being our favourite. We were not sure what to expect as I have not been a real P&O fan in the past, however we enjoyed this trip. The good The public areas on the ship have been done beautifully. The deck and outside areas are all well maintained. The Pacific explorer is an older ship which is obvious, but it has a certain charm, I love that deck 7 has a walk around deck, nothing better than a few daily laps around the ship. Overall the staff are very friendly and helpful Love riot, loved it, a bit rude, a bit silly (fun silly), a bit naughty and very entertaining and fun. Feature shows, a bit of a mixed bag, we enjoyed most of them and absolutely loved the Cinderella Panto on the last night, a mix of pure professionalism from the professional cast and absolute hilarity from the non professionals from the crew! The cruise director played the fairy god mother and belted out an amazing tune. Best disembarkation we have ever experienced, quick, no crowds and ahead of schedule. Quick and easy embarking and rooms ready on boarding. F&B staff parade at the Gatsby party excellent. Room kept lovely & clean and nothing was too much trouble for the room stewards. I asked for a top sheet and it was no problem and a few other small things were dealt with quickly. One of the waiters in the Explorer hotel greeted my husband by his first name from the first time he ordered a drink. We took early tenders at each port and encountered virtually no wait times. The not always great (some could be considered first world problems only) Lots of waiting around to order drinks, not many waiters roaming to take orders and often long lines at the bars. A few staff in the Pantry who if you asked them what something was they just pointed to the menu on the counter, I am pretty sure they could not speak English which made things a bit confused at times. I wish they would clean the windows in the Pantry, its a small thing but they were so dirty you had to squint to see out of them, kinda ruined the ambiance. People holding several spots in the theatre for their friends who wanted to slip in at the last minute or even after the show started like they were VIPs Lounges in the shade were all "claimed" before 7.30am with books and hats and people not showing back up until a few hours later and then disappearing again for hours. Staff dont appear to do anything about this. Its a personal hate of mine and not just encountered on cruise ships, but I wish they would do something about this, it is ridiculous. The adults only area is very hot with very little shade. The Food Overall great! we tried all the paid and free options. Taste of salt, just do it! Love riot dinner, it was ok I enjoyed it but they have some interesting dishes, like pate, which a lot of people would not enjoy. Lukes, it was ok, I really prefer a cruise where food from the pool grill is included. Pizza, nice and worth trying Shell and bones, lobster Mornay yummmmmm and the dessert was my favourite of the whole cruise.We went twice. Ate once in the waterfront, service good, food good, I heard a few complaints about the Waterfront but we had an ok experience. Dragon Lady good and free Angelo's, loved the gnocchi, had it twice. Pantry, we only had breakfasts and lunch here, oh and we did cruise past for dessert on occasion. I was so pleasantly surprised by the food. Every day they had a different themed selection of desserts, they tasted and looked fabulous. A good selection of food which varied each day. Balcony Cabin Bed was a bit uncomfortable...too hard mattress. Very small cabins and the bathroom is tiny. Ample storage. Furnishings dated as they were not updated with the makeover. It served it's purpose and apart from size, which wasn't really a problem for us no real complaints. Stewards were helpful and friendly. Overall I felt you could really see the effort that P&O has put into the Pacific explorer in all aspects. They hit the mark in a lot of areas and missed it in a few. I would cruise on Pacific Explorer again if the price and itinerary were right, in fact we have a 4 day booked in Feb. If you are only use to other top end cruise lines you may feel it falls a bit short in some aspects, but overall it was a surprisingly good cruise and I think they provide a good product for their market. Loved all the ports. A cruise to the Islands is more about relaxation than exploration and we snorkeled and swam at each port. Noumea - Did a non cruise tour to Escapade Island for snorkelling and a seafood buffet. (Brought a beer and a small coke in Noumea and it cost $19, yikes). Lifou - Jinek Bay booked through the ship, wonderful snorkelling - take a pool noodle and flippers if you are not a great swimmer. Mare - A bit of a hairy bus ride to the beach (which must be pre-purchased before you get off the ship and costs from memory $20 return), but nothing else to do on the island and the beach is beautiful with good snorkelling off the main beach and lots of locals selling food and drink. In comparison to Noumea we brought a beer, a fresh coconut drink and a serving of amazing fresh made hot chips for $15. Isle of Pines, stunning! We snorkeled around "The Rock", ate the biggest chicken sandwich I have ever seen and then did a last minute tour with locals which showed off a lot of the pretty spots around the island, the old jail and the well maintained convict cemetery. The shaded areas at all of the beaches get quite full, so if you want to be assured of a nice comfortable shaded spot take an early tender to arrive at the beach as early as possible before the main crowd. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
My husband and two daughters, (16 and 20) really enjoyed our 10 night cruise. We had separate balcony rooms which worked out fantastic as everybody had their own space. Our room stewards were amazing and went over the top to cater to ... Read More
My husband and two daughters, (16 and 20) really enjoyed our 10 night cruise. We had separate balcony rooms which worked out fantastic as everybody had their own space. Our room stewards were amazing and went over the top to cater to our needs. The personal touches to each and every passenger had to be commended. We loved our turned down beds every night (chocolate of course) and our next days itinerary ready to go. Breakfast there were two choices, The Pantry or the Waterfront Restaurant. We found that the Waterfront was the best option for breakfast as the meals were fresher and the omelettes were yummy. The Waterfront also felt like a restaurant were the Pantry had a food court atmosphere. We also enjoyed Angelo's (Italian) and Dragon Lady (Chinese). The best recommendation, if you enjoy alcoholic beverages, is to purchase the drinks package for sure. After the second night and checking our cruise accounts, we found that we had spent way more than we had realised and really regretted not getting a drinks package. We found the entertainment staff, especially Marious, made trivia and bingo funny and kept us returning for more laughs. Joanna also has to be acknowledged for her wit, professionalism and fantastic vocal skills that she displayed for the Motown performance. We are now planning our next family cruise and recruiting more family members as we were surprised how much fun we actually had. Thanks P&O :-) 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
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
Pacific Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.3
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.3
Family 4.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.1
Service 4.5 3.9
Value For Money 4.0 3.4

Find a Cruise

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