28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our first time on a P&O ship - we will never be sailing P&O again. We booked "The Penthouse", it was a tired "Owners Suite" at best. This was not a great start - however it certainly set the tone for ... Read More
This was our first time on a P&O ship - we will never be sailing P&O again. We booked "The Penthouse", it was a tired "Owners Suite" at best. This was not a great start - however it certainly set the tone for our cruise. Safety: 1st port with tenders: an announcement had to be made that they were struggling to launch the tenders and apologies for the delay. Delay is one thing - safety is another!! What if we had have needed to deploy the tenders due to an emergency? The tenders were eventually launched but this didn't settle my concerns about the future reliability of the tender launch process!! Hygiene: There were numerous plumbing issues across the entire ship - so much so that the Captain came on during 1st sea day imploring "cruislings" to be careful with what is placed down the toilets. Toilets were overflowing in cabins - hallways were littered with carpet dryers where there had been overflows from backed up toilets and sink. Toilets in public restrooms were blocked up, Service: Service was abysmal. Staying in the most expensive suite in ship, we expected at least access to a concierge to assist us, if not a personal butler. Neither. Preparedness: there were missing ingredients for signature dishes in specialty restaurants. They were unable to service simple requests such as delivering the right items ordered as room service. They had ques of people around the clock needing assistance with room keys, accounts, blocked toilets (in public spaces and private cabins). Ship refurb: the main public areas were beautiful and a pleasure to be in - it's just such a shame that the rest of the boat didn't meet the same standard. Cabins hadn't been updated at all since Pacific Dawn days, "less glamorous" public areas such as hallways, staircases and restroom facilities were also overlooked in the refurb. Dining: Waterfront (the main dining room) was fantastic. Angelos (italian) and Dragon Lady (asian) were equally as good. Room service was average - often missing items and no children's menu items available via room service. The Pantry (replacement for traditional buffet) was average - longer ques, lukewarm food, good variety though. Read Less
70 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My wife and I have just returned from from a wonderful ten day cruise to New Caledonia on the newly refurbished Pacific Explorer. Being the first cruise for the crew and staff on this ship we were expecting to see some teething problems, ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from from a wonderful ten day cruise to New Caledonia on the newly refurbished Pacific Explorer. Being the first cruise for the crew and staff on this ship we were expecting to see some teething problems, however we we were completely surprised at how smoothly the whole cruise went from the embarkation to disembarkation. This was our seventh cruise and have sailed on P&O , Princess, and Royal Caribbean and have to say it was one of the best cruises we have been on. The fresh decor in the public areas was lovely and comfortable, all new sun lounges on deck areas made lounging by the pool very pleasant. Dining areas are the biggest improvement, we should know as we have previously sailed on this ship when it was the Dawn Princes. Waterfront Restaurant was warm and inviting, friendly attentive staff and good food. Dragon Lady Asian restaurant had beautiful intimate decor great food and staff. Angelo's Italian Restaurant was equally good. Menus in all three restaurants changed several times during the cruise. The Buffet now called the Pantry was fresh with a great selection of food and delicious cakes which varied regularly. Entertainment was great with several brand new shows. Our cabin was an inside cabin and this was a little on the small side, however it was quite adequate with a very comfortable bed, brand new linen and pillows. Our cabin steward was fantastic. You need to remember this is a twenty year old ship so there are some areas of the ship that are showing its age. New water slides and water park seemed to be a big hit with the kids. To sum up this is a great family ship and would recommend it to anyone. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
There was a promotion for inaugural cruise of refurbished ship. We had a balcony room booked. The sliding door to the balcony could hardly be open,balcony dirty,chairs covered in brown dust,rust and broken rubber fitting around door. ... Read More
There was a promotion for inaugural cruise of refurbished ship. We had a balcony room booked. The sliding door to the balcony could hardly be open,balcony dirty,chairs covered in brown dust,rust and broken rubber fitting around door. No amenities in the room,slippers and bath robes had to be paid for . Bottles of drinking water had to be bought. Room was so bad we had to change rooms . Almost all the time half of public toilets out of order. Very small and not sufficient pools.We could never get in a pool,kids in all the time. Windows very dirty. There are lots of tours but the description very limited and not all accurate. There are lots of bars and many restaurants ,food is average they have a couple of menus repeating continue ,no spacial nights or theme nights like other ships. Ice cream had to be paid for. The Pantry restaurant closes at 9 PM so nothing to get after that . There were very few good shows at night. Personally we will never cruise with P&O. Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Inaugural Trip - Did not meet our expectation (12 passengers all different ages). The re vamped areas were well done however only emphasised the old shabby smelly areas. Theatre too small for amount of passengers. All common ... Read More
Inaugural Trip - Did not meet our expectation (12 passengers all different ages). The re vamped areas were well done however only emphasised the old shabby smelly areas. Theatre too small for amount of passengers. All common areas small. Atmosphere still feels like a Princess line ship and not a family fun ship. Hope this improves dramatically. Cabin tired and small. Toilet not working for 3 days then spasmotically for five days. Advertised as refurbished however Date on mattress was 2013. Luke warm showers even with no cold water added. Lamps hanging off wall and switches broken. Limited channels on tv (laundry had better options). Air conditioning stayed on icy cold, balcony door not sliding. Dining The Pantry. Food Ok but was cold. Supervisors criticing staff in front of passengers. Grumpy Supervisors but happy staff. Waterfront - good options each night, staff attentive but once again supervisors telling staff to hurry up all the time. Angelo's - lovely food however same menu every night. Dragon Lady - Dark enclosed atmosphere, very slow service and food cold. Pizza - lovely area, friendly staff. Great spot late at night. Entertainment and Activities - Need more varied activities. Big Screen not on until half way through cruise. Limited music and dancing during day around pool areas. Service - staff in cabins were great and super efficient. Wait staff varied from each area however supervisors always on wait staffs back and scowling. Ports and excursions- we did our own thing for half the price the ship was charging. Embarkation and Disembarkation down pat - extremely smooth and efficient. Unfortunately we are very disgruntled at this point in time and we will not give this ship another chance so will return to P & O Dawn or go back to RCI. Read Less
62 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our (two of us) third cruise with P&O Australia, and fourth overall. We started our cruise with a wonderful lunch and drinks (highly recommend the tom yum cocktail) on the balcony of Wild Ginger Thai restaurant overlooking ... Read More
This was our (two of us) third cruise with P&O Australia, and fourth overall. We started our cruise with a wonderful lunch and drinks (highly recommend the tom yum cocktail) on the balcony of Wild Ginger Thai restaurant overlooking Circular Quay dock. Check in was quick and we were on board within 15 min of dropping off our luggage. The ship has been very tastefully decorated and is true to the photos and reviews posted on this website and others.The public areas are light, airy and relatively upmarket. The cabins and hallways though have not been renovated so there is a distinct downgrade as you walk through these. Nevertheless they were spotless and very well maintained throughout the cruise. The crew on the ship for the whole cruise were excellent. They were all fresh, happy, full of energy and eager to please. It was obvious they were proud of their "new" ship and wanted to impress the passengers. The entertainment and bars were great. We thoroughly enjoyed the Love riot dinner and show (food was not good but for $29 all up it was worth it), the Seven sins show in the marquee (theatre needs a makeover) and the piano player at the Ocean bar was great. We loved the concept and decor of the bonded bar, however it failed to deliver the sophisticated drinking experience it promised. The blue room was a great venue with excellent live music and great service. Noumea is not my favourite destination but we had a fantastic lunch at Marmite et tire bouchon, a 5 min taxi ride from port. Mare and Isle of pines are great beach destinations. This cruise was certainly a success for me thanks mostly to the excellent overall service by the whole P&O team and the well designed and maintained areas of the ship. Will definitely consider the Explorer again if the price is right. Note: There is a lot of discussion about dining options on the forums so the following is my opinion on all the dining I experienced. I am a keen "foodie" so was very interested with the dining options which range from the buffet/food station Pantry to a $99 degustation chef's table dinner. In my opinion (please note taste is subjective YEMV) the common theme throughout all venues was average tasting food with excellent presentation and service. Included Dining Waterfront: Beautifully decorated venue that feels very up market. The service here for breakfast, lunch and dinner was exemplary. Far superior to anything I have experienced on Pacific Jewel (the only other P&O ship I've been on). Ordering was fast, accurate and always on hand without being obtrusive. The menus were varied and imaginative helped along by a great wine list as well. The food though was hit and miss. Every dish was presented beautifully, however the quality and taste was a mixed bag. Some dishes were quite good while a few were unpalatable (mussels eg). Overall more than acceptable for a budget cruise like this. Pantry: Very well thought out with a mix of self serve buffet and service stations. I didn't eat here often but had lovely sweet fresh pineapple and some good sandwiches. Food looked appetising as I walked past and always well kept. Angelo's: This Italian restaurant provided a great dining experience. The decor is Italian 60's chic . Service was faultless. Friendly waiters that were very keen to please. Menu was well thought out and food varied from just ok to good. Main let down of the food was things like tough pork, gravy tasting like "bisto" and regular frankfurters masquerading as italian sausage in the potato soup (oh the horror! lol). I must mention the excellent wine list (see my photo). A special shout out to the Barone Ricasoli Chianti, I miss you! Dragon Lady: Tasteful romantic asian themed restaurant. Once again the service and decor was impeccable. Sake cocktails and french champagne are on the drinks list, as are some well selected inexpensive Australian wine. Unfortunately the food was not to my liking but I thank P&O for letting me relive the taste of the Myer cafeteria fried rice from the 70s. Overall we had a great dinner even though the food was not to my taste. For Fee Dining Shell & Bones: This is a pop up surf and turf evening restaurant set up in a curtained off area on one side of the pantry. We only tried the chicken, as I am not a fan of frozen seafood. It was a small whole de-boned spatchcocked chicken that was moist and well seasoned, however I suspect it was cooked "sous vide" and the skin had not been browned so it had that "boiled chicken skin" taste. For $20 I was little disappointed. Service was great and this was our least favourite of all restaurants for atmosphere. 4:00 Gradi: Another restaurant with great decor and service. Gradi is located on deck 8 overlooking the atrium. Light and airy with quality table settings gave an up market bistro feel. Great service , excellent menu and wine list. We had a selection of anti-pasti (two cheeses , two salumi) and happy to say the quality and taste was excellent. Unfortunately the garlic focaccia disappointed as it did not taste of garlic (I suspect dried garlic granules) . As a regular Gradi customer, I thought the pizza tasted different to what I am used to at the Melbourne venues.The dough didn't quite have the same thickness nor texture, but the toppings were spot on. Of course it didn't have a wood oven taste but was nicely browned underneath and properly cooked. For ten dollars it is excellent value for money and very enjoyable. Lots of passengers were ordering take away pizzas and eating them around the ship. Luke's Grill: Decent food at a great price outside overlooking the pool. Korean chicken burger was delicious. Chef's Table: I highly recommend this seven course degustation held in a separate curtained off area in the Waterfront restaurant. Well worth the money and was one of the highlights of our trip. Read Less
79 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We are a family of 3. Mid-thirties with an 11 year old son. I booked this cruise on a whim without doing much research at all, I just knew we wanted a holiday and it had to be in the School holidays as hubby is a teacher. Leading up to ... Read More
We are a family of 3. Mid-thirties with an 11 year old son. I booked this cruise on a whim without doing much research at all, I just knew we wanted a holiday and it had to be in the School holidays as hubby is a teacher. Leading up to the cruise we were all excited, if not a little nervous. I read so much information and opinions on cruises that my head was spinning a little and at times I was a little worried. One thing I have learned from this is that everyone's opinion is subjective so you're only really going to know if you go and experience it your self. Embarkation: This particular voyage left from White Bay Terminal in Sydney. I booked the holiday through Flight Centre who organised the flights through P&O so we had next port guarantee but I was still a little fretful on the day leading up to travel. We had no issues however and the 9am flight from Adelaide was a dream run. (I did hear over the cruise that the people leaving on the 7am flight from Adelaide weren't so lucky and were delayed 6 hours!) In the future I will not fly on the 'day of', this is one lesson learned (thankfully not the hard way for us). The terminal was busy but getting on the ship was a fairly seamless if not tedious affair (but it always feels tedious waiting when you're excited about something). Room: We booked an interior room as I was doing it as 'cheap as possible'. For a place to stay for 10 nights for 2 adults and an 11 year old it was quite adequate. We had a triple which had 2 singles and a top bunk above one. There was lots of drawer space and a cupboard with plenty of hangers supplied. I was able to store our 3 suitcases (one inside another) and one with our beach gear (snorkels, fins and reef shoes) in the cupboard though there was plenty of room under the beds for these I had just read to keep everything off the floor in case of sewage issues. Speaking of that, the cruise prior to this one had reported quite severe issues with the toilets both in the public and private areas of the ship. I am pleased to report that we didn't experience anything of such nature. There was a letter that went out about a serviceman doing maintenance daily in the rooms to ensure correct system running and as I said no such issues experienced by us. People we met on the 2nd day told us their toilet had issues before we even left the harbor on the 1st day and that evening but thankfully it was sorted and they didn't have that issue again. Overall I found the size and layout of the room fine for us. I did hear some complaints about the size of the room from seasoned cruisers. The bathroom was fine, but I did find the showers a bit too cool for me (i like a hot shower) but the pressure was good. In the future I think it would be worth booking a balcony for us, not so much to enjoy in the room but as a private place to sit back and relax away from the crowds. Also a side note we were on deck 8 about 4 rooms from the front of the ship. We didn't find the movement upsetting at all, until it was a little rough on the last night. Mainly the occasional thud and shudder as the ship hit a trough which worried my son a little but didn't keep us from sleeping. Public Areas: All the public areas were amazing. Well decorated and my husband and I often remarked how comfortable the seating was everywhere. We enjoyed the comfy nooks in the windows when you could get one. With 2000 passengers and school holidays these places were often crowded and I am very glad we only had one out of 10 days that made being outside not pleasant. The main pool area was always super busy and alive with activity, from trivia times, to movies, to dancing, to golf etc (this also meant that often getting a sun lounge was nigh on impossible and the pools and spas were overflowing with people. My son and I really enjoyed the water slides which were easy to get to and we never had to wait long to use them. Having a child who wasn't keen on spending much time in kids club meant we didnt get to experience the adults only pool areas much if at all. I did hear they were often just as full as the main pool however. Our favourite public areas was the Explorer Hotel. Lots of cozy seating and fun activities on frequently (trivia, karaoke, pictionary, board games etc). The waiters were good in there, keeping tables cleared and your drinks flowing. Kids Club: My Son was in the HQ (11-14) He found it a little daunting on his own and struggled feeling comfortable so didn't attend much but it looked great to me. Dining: Booking dinners was easy. At the start of the cruise I went to Angelo's and booked a table at the Waterfront. If we decided we wanted to try somewhere else we just let them know and canceled the booking for that night. We had dinner at the Waterfront most evenings. We thought the food and service was great and the menu changed everyday. The pantry was good. We never found the food was too cold as many others have experienced. Getting a table wasn't always easy but sometimes we took our food and ate outside. There was some recurring staples at the food places but many new things to try each day too. I loved that there was fresh fruit (the pineapple was really yummy) and though there isn't 24hour food available I was never hungry waiting for something to open. We had dinner on our 2nd night at Angelo's because I had read some good reviews but all in all I wasn't impressed. Hubby felt a bit pressured to order something different than I did by the waiter and didn't enjoy his meal. I had also read that the 'Dragon Lady' wasn't that great but by some encouragement from friends we made on board we decided to give it a go and actually loved it. Just a shame I had been put off so we didn't try it until the 2nd menu. We did book it for the last night as well because we enjoyed it so much. We tried a pizza from 400 Gradi near the end of the cruise and it was alright, decent price but nothing to write home about to us. Entertainment and Activities: Enjoyed the Trivia on board. Would have liked to see an area for games all the time where you could meet up with people and join in if you were at a loose end. Proper dancing classes too would have been fun. The shows in the Marquee were alright. Some thing to do for an hour but if we missed it we weren't too disappointed. Didn't attend Love Riot as it isn't really our thing. The Live music was great and Anthony Hughes who often played in the Atrium or Explorer was great to listen too. Service: One word really 'WOW' Take my hat off to the hard working guys and gals who keep everything running smoothly. The best part for me was walking around and having conversations with the staff who were all so nice and friendly. Ports and Shore Excursions: This particular cruise stopped at 5 ports and we were so unbelievably lucky to be able to get to see them all. Noumea: Booked a shore tour through P&O before the cruise. It was 3 hour excursion which included a jet boat thrill ride to Duck Island and back, some time on Duck Island to snorkel and explore and a couple of sun lounges with umbrella to chill under. The boat ride was fun and the driver catered to his crowd. Snorkeling was ok there. We went back onboard the ship for lunch and then headed out to look at the town of Noumea in the afternoon. I didn't like it much and found the products in the shops really tacky and over priced. Lifou: Booked the Jinek reserve pass for the AM session so this meant we were on the 1st or 2nd tender which was great. Jinek was AMAZING. Easy to get down to the water by some steps and it was like snorkeling in an aquarium. When we finished that we wandered around the island and visited the Church and the caves where we had fun jumping into the underground body of water. Getting back on the ship took a fairly long time so Tender could have run a bit better. Port Vila: Booked a private tour through FB prior to leaving. Sadly the tour operator had a death in their family the day or 2 before we were there so we were met by his Brother in law who had it sprung on him he was going the tour and the things that had been planned weren't organised. We did however get driven to the Blue Lagoon, which was super beautiful and fun, The Turtle Sanctuary, which I admit I wasn't a fan of (over-priced and I didn't like the whole set up) and Tanna Coffee (lovely coffee). Enjoyed wandering the markets outside the ship set up by locals before we headed back to the ship. Mystery Island: Beautiful Island. Was fun to walk around and explore. Tried fresh coconut for the 1st time and had the most delicious mandarins that had been grown by the locals on their home island. Sadly we didn't have the nicest day weather wise (all the locals were rugged up complaining it was cold) but still an enjoyable day. Tender worked a lot better that day as there was another boat running than at Lifou. Isle of Pines: Our favourite destination for sure. Just wandered down the beach and found a quiet spot away from the crowds. We spent the day snorkeling, spotting some turtles which we were able to film with the Go Pro. Just an enjoyable day on a white sandy beach in the warm sunshine. Tender worked well this day again. Disembarkation: Leaving the ship was an easy experience. The night before we had our bags packed ready to go with colour coded labels. We had a spot and time to meet the next day and leaving the ship happened in an orderly fashion. Overall for our first cruise experience we had a great time and found it very relaxing. I would do it again and would recommend others give it a go. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The toilets in the room (10076) was blocked through out nearly the whole cruise, cabin was old looking and extremely small for an interior, staff were extremely friendly, food in the pantry was the same food throughout the cruise for ... Read More
The toilets in the room (10076) was blocked through out nearly the whole cruise, cabin was old looking and extremely small for an interior, staff were extremely friendly, food in the pantry was the same food throughout the cruise for breakfast and lunch, the waterfront had wonderful food for dinner, the karaoke was in a bar which I thought was disgraceful and at a late time for kids to do it at 10:00 til about 12:00 (midnight), the marquee is so small and old looking like the cabins, the line up for the tender boat was extremely long and took us 1 hour and 30 mins to get on one, shark shack kids clubs was small compared to other P&O ships we have been on in the past but still good for kids to do there thing, the duty free shopping was a bit expensive like thongs for $50 which was a bit of a rip off. We DO DON'T RECOMMEND TO ANYONE THIS CRUISE, STAY AWAY FROM THE PACIFIC EXPLORER (P&O) Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Embarkation went very smoothly in sydney on the boat in less than 30 minutes anddisembarkation very fast as we carried our own bags. The ship was lovely in the renovated sections of the Restaurants, cabins certainly need refurnishing ... Read More
Embarkation went very smoothly in sydney on the boat in less than 30 minutes anddisembarkation very fast as we carried our own bags. The ship was lovely in the renovated sections of the Restaurants, cabins certainly need refurnishing (our cabin steward was very obliging). as does the show room but overall a pleasant experience except for thestench of sewage in different parts of the ship and the fact that the public toilets werecontinually out of order. The Pantry was very hit and miss the breakfast pastries tasted like they had been left over from the last cruise!! Italian Restaurant I had salmon and it was delicious, Dragon Lady very odd menu and didnot enjoy but both were beautifully furnished. Waterfront Restaurant excellent service andfood was on the main part very good. The two shows I saw were exceptional very professional dancers. The line up to get off at the Sunshine Coast was unbelievablely long but the Captain announced they were having some problems with the tenders so we stayed onboard and enjoyed the pools. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Sailed for 12 nights to Vanuatu in August from Sydney. We thought this was a "new" ship so imagine our surprise when we found out it was the same one we went to NZ on last November with Princess. The cabins were old then so now ... Read More
Sailed for 12 nights to Vanuatu in August from Sydney. We thought this was a "new" ship so imagine our surprise when we found out it was the same one we went to NZ on last November with Princess. The cabins were old then so now only older. The toilet system was undergoing "maintenance" which meant that every night - every single night - the toilet was blocked up. On night I fell asleep waiting for maintenence. I went to reception at 6.30am and had someone attend. Maintenance told us that they never got the message. The hygeine was non existant, other ships "encouraged" cruisers to wash their hands or use hand gel. None of this on this cruise, consequently the flu broke out on board, us included. Although we found the food plentiful it was very poor quality. I had a call on the second night about my booking in the waterfront restaurant (which I made just after boarding for the entire cruise) as 2 other people had requested our table at the same time and the restaurant manager did not know what to do? The whole ship smelt of sewrage and it should never have been allowed to leave port. The cabin staff were very good. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. We hardly heard from the Captain as with other ships where he would give us a daily update, We have cruised P&O before but NEVER AGAIN it was a complete waste of money. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Blocked toilets. Service was ok. Cabin was nice and clean. Dining was ok shore excursions would of been better if the weather was great.. overall the cruise was ok but ill been on better. The smell of sewage was such a bloody turn off. ... Read More
Blocked toilets. Service was ok. Cabin was nice and clean. Dining was ok shore excursions would of been better if the weather was great.. overall the cruise was ok but ill been on better. The smell of sewage was such a bloody turn off. Especially when you heard the ship has been revamp. Would think all theses problems would not exist. The staff were very pleasant and the dining was good. But there wasn't enough toilets on board. The disembarked went very smoothly to Moreton island. It's a shame of the weather not been good. My friends and I enjoyed the atmosphere in the resort it was a very good afternoon.. The stop in Gladstone was enjoyable. The entertainment was enjoyable. Would I go again on the explorer. Gee I don't know unless the fix all the problems on board. Especially when it's meant to be state art of cruising. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Having sailed with three different companies (Carnival and Princess previously). I found the P and O Pacific Explorer to be a decent ship overall. It has some plumbing issues, which does taint the experience at times. I never had any ... Read More
Having sailed with three different companies (Carnival and Princess previously). I found the P and O Pacific Explorer to be a decent ship overall. It has some plumbing issues, which does taint the experience at times. I never had any issues with my toilet blocking, but I did here of others who had. The annoying aspect was having the public toilets blocked on many occasions alongside experiencing some unpleasant smells outside on occasions. That being said, it was overall a pleasant experience. Although the staff were not as friendly as I have experienced on the other cruise lines, they were not unpleasant. The decor of the ship was amazing in many ways due to the recent refurbishment. The Bonded Bar and Blue Room (bar/nightclub) were the stand out. A big hi and many thanks to Denzel in the bonded bar for his exceptional service and pleasant demeanour. :) We experienced a stormy night on the first night and she was rocking around a lot. The Captain did an excellent job to navigate the ship through this however. He was very professional and informative throughout the entire cruise. A credit to him and his team. The food was better than Princess and Carnival lines in my opinion. Particularly in the restaurants. I'm not a big fan of buffets, but it was a good standard as buffets go. The Italian and Asian restaurants were immaculately designed with great food to match. The best however, was the 400 Gradi restaurant which dished up the most amazing pizzas and baked eggplant parmigiana!!! Garlic focaccia out of this world...Well worth the extra expenditure at least for one night. Pizzas were approximately $10. I would recommend getting the drinks package if you are partial to a few drinks. I found I easily drank more than the daily fee ($79). Beers were between $6 to $8.50 a stubby. Spirits ranged from $7 to $17 and Cocktails were mostly $12 (which is the limit per drink on package, so most cocktails were inclusive...bottoms up I say). I also highly recommend the Love Riot show! Fantastic experience with dazzling acrobatics and dynamic performers. Bravo guys. The gym was a little tired I must say :( All up I would sail again on the Pacific Explorer. Give it a go guys. Everyone has differing opinions of course (as you can see by the reviews). You get what you pay for I always say. P and O are not a high end cruise line it must be remembered. They have done a great job in my opinion, minus some issues as mentioned above. Thanks P and O Happy and safe travels to you all. :) Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our second and probably last cruise with P and O and whilst we had fun the cruise and ship did not meet our expectations. We chose the Penthouse Suite at the back of the ship. Whilst the ship has been advertised as a newly ... Read More
This was our second and probably last cruise with P and O and whilst we had fun the cruise and ship did not meet our expectations. We chose the Penthouse Suite at the back of the ship. Whilst the ship has been advertised as a newly refurbished ship it really is only the common areas that have been refurbished. Our room was a bit dated with its decor however we found the suite a great size and quite nice. Our cabin attendants were sweet but a bit hit and miss with towel animals only 2 night out of 7 and chocolates 3 out of the 7. I know its not much but its the little things that count. Having said that they did keep the room clean and stocked. Unfortunately our cruise was very rough and being at the back of the ship we copped the full brunt of it and spent most of the first night avoiding being thrown around the cabin and out of bed. I wonder had the ship been newer whether the stabilisers would have been better at avoiding this rocking. As suite guests I don't feel we got the same benefits that other cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity offer despite the price being around the same. Yes we got priority boarding and dinner reservations however no free internet or concierge. Food was quite good but not great as it is with most cruise lines. It can be a bit hit and miss. The bar and restaurant service was very good. please be aware that they do seem to stick to Australian RSA standards e.g. you cannot buy a drink before 10am and drinks are all measured. This is different to how other overseas liners work. So now it comes to main problem with this ship and why I have nicknamed it the poocific explorer. Basically throughout the cruise all you could smell on the ship was sewerage. Even in the indoors areas. Many cruisers we came across commented on this and were appalled. To add to this our toilet blocked 3 days in a row (one day the toilet continuously overflowed onto the floor) as did many other cabins. Many of the public toilets were regularly out of order and on one of the final nights I had to go to 5 public toilets before I found one I could use. The final straw was when we had no hot water for the last 24 hours of the trip. My message to P and O Australia is this. Go on a Royal Caribbean or a Celebrity cruise and then go back and copy the customer service and benefits to guests and do something about the plumbing on the explorer as it simply is not good enough. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
So nice to see such happy staff on a P&O again! They have embarkation & disembarkation down to a fine art. Had received a text to say delayed departure & come an hour later than scheduled & basically just walked ... Read More
So nice to see such happy staff on a P&O again! They have embarkation & disembarkation down to a fine art. Had received a text to say delayed departure & come an hour later than scheduled & basically just walked through. The refurb of the public areas looks great (was on the Dawn Princess last year). The cabins are looking very shabby though. Smell of sewerage at various points in the ship & noticed it first at the dock in Sydney before boarding. Not good. Dining room layout is much improved and the new Pantry means that most food is served rather than passengers handling it. A much-needed improvement! Food itself was good to very good, but nothing outstanding. Toast was appalling! Tasted like gluten free bread! Service in all areas was excellent! Only one port, Mooloolabah - a tender port & boy, some problems here! Average wait to get off was 30-45 minutes. Some waited more than an hour. Getting back on was even worse & a long queue snaked around the dock with no seating or shade. Definitely need to improve in this department. Would liked to have known about the 18+ entertainment, as it looked fun, but was sold out quickly (had to pay). Had no idea about it until that day & too late then. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We took a 4 day trip on Pacific Explorer from Sydney to Mooloolaba, departure was put back 6 hours till 10pm to refill freshwater ( that was not true the ship had plumbing problems ) We attempted to have a shower and NO HOTWATER and only ... Read More
We took a 4 day trip on Pacific Explorer from Sydney to Mooloolaba, departure was put back 6 hours till 10pm to refill freshwater ( that was not true the ship had plumbing problems ) We attempted to have a shower and NO HOTWATER and only cold air in room. After being given the run around for hours we were re located at 1.30am. For 4 days the ship had a sewerage stench through out , smelly , smelly , smelly , most toilets were out of order. The food in the Pantry was fresh but very average , very little variety. In general the food in your cruise package was horrible but the food you had to pay extra for was very nice. The waterfront restaurant was by far the worse , we had a very bland entrée followed by a main course we had to send back followed by a poor dessert. However on the last night we used a gift voucher we were given to the seafood restaurant and it was very good.The cabins are old and very tired , the room stewards did a good job but staff in Pantry were useless. Lack of entertainment and what was available was very average. Why is the Blue Room so cold ??? We tried it a couple of times and had to leave because it was so cold in there. In general everything about our 4 day cruise was disappointing including the sugar syrup cocktails .....just not up to standard like everything on this cruise. No more P & O Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
As soon as we came round the corner of the Quay all we could smell was sewage, as soon as we got on the ship it was worse. What is that smell ? Awwww Poooo.It's making me feel sick . Room was ok , bed was actually comfy. Pantry ... Read More
As soon as we came round the corner of the Quay all we could smell was sewage, as soon as we got on the ship it was worse. What is that smell ? Awwww Poooo.It's making me feel sick . Room was ok , bed was actually comfy. Pantry was ok if you arrived early or later ,had to push for a table. Food was average,ok for kids. Waterfront resturant was ok ,no big deal, the Italian restaurant was rather nice, Dragon Lady was different ,kids didn't like. Day trip, had a long wait . Public toilets were always blocked, our toilet blocked, shower was cold. Entertainment was good. Staff were excellent. Kids came back all sick, they had been in pool & spas, have to question the pools hygiene. Entertainment was a bit late in the evening. Day trips were expensive. Spa was expensive for a massage but staff were wonderful. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We have been on the ship 35 days sailing to Hawaii and back, when it was still running under Dawn Princess. When we heard P&O took over and renovated the ship we were curious and booked the 4 night cruise out of Sydney. Checkin ... Read More
We have been on the ship 35 days sailing to Hawaii and back, when it was still running under Dawn Princess. When we heard P&O took over and renovated the ship we were curious and booked the 4 night cruise out of Sydney. Checkin was fast and easy. The ship was supposed to leave at 16.00 but was delayed till 22.00. It didn't disturb anybody because it was a Cruise with only one port anyway and Entertainment was on already since lunch time. Just stepping onto the ship we noticed a very strong sewage smell, but being in the Harbour we thought they are cleaning out the waste. How wrong we were !!!!!! The sewage smell was through the whole Cruise inside and outside. At one stage we were sitting at the Sanctuary when the odour issue was so strong that we nearly vomited. We complained to reception but they just said, there is nothing wrong and you are the only people who complained. We have spoken to other Passengers and they noticed the smell as well. The Ship was nicely renovated in the public rooms...Modern look.... Very handy was the seating area in the windows. They had cushions and a nice mattress to sit or lay on. Loved it !!! The area was very popular, so be early if you don't want to miss out. Restaurants were great and we liked the Dragon Lady and Angelo`s Restaurant very much. Great decor. Food was very good and the Pantry was amazing too. We cruised in Winter and outside temperatures were very cold, unfortunately so was the A/C on the ship... it was so cold that we couldn't warm up at all. Thick Jackets or jumpers were our daily wear. The pool area had nice lounge chairs and we were very impressed from the Adults only area Also the Sanctuary was great. I believe it is also Adults only. The Edge: as always at a cost with P&O Zip line, walk the Plank, rock climbing, special movies.......... Its a nice ship but the sewage smell turned us off.. Otherwise we could give it 4 Stars... Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Firstly let me say how wonderful all the crew were. Our cabin crew were so helpful friendly and efficient. Food overall was delicous except for shell and bone we ordered the cold seafood platter the seafood was not good watery tasteless ... Read More
Firstly let me say how wonderful all the crew were. Our cabin crew were so helpful friendly and efficient. Food overall was delicous except for shell and bone we ordered the cold seafood platter the seafood was not good watery tasteless and tough. Why they have no salads on that menu is beyond me. We also had the high tea please p&o advertise this better for it was the best high tea i have ever had,unfortunatly people we spoke too had not seen anything about it and missed out. Yes you have renovated. Sorry to say the loo's missed out. Being a little short i found it nearly impossible to see much of the shows so i think the marquee might be needing a upgrade. What i did see was excellent. Our cabin was old but clean but definitly needing a little reno. Overall we loved our short little cruise and are looking forward to our next cruise on the eden. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Pacific Explorer is the latest old ship to be transformed by P&O Cruises Australia. Coming from the Princess fleet, this ship has had a remarkable transformation in the public areas. I was actually impressed with the ship, except in ... Read More
Pacific Explorer is the latest old ship to be transformed by P&O Cruises Australia. Coming from the Princess fleet, this ship has had a remarkable transformation in the public areas. I was actually impressed with the ship, except in the cabin, where the only thing they had done was add a power socket for the Australian market. The themed restaurants were visually appealing, the service was typical P&O, with the waiters doing the best they could in the situation they were presented with. Dragon Lady was half full, but passengers were told that the restaurant was full (because they have over capacity and can only handle so many people at once). The food is probably the worst aspect of the whole cruise. However if you are prepared to pay, then the food is excellent. On the four nights we sampled "Salt experience at the Chef's table" "Shell and Bones" "Gradi 400" and of course Dragon Lady. We had lunch on embarkation day in the "Pantry" and the fish from "hooks" was wet, soggy and full of grease. Something that you wouldn't eat (I threw mine away). We avoided going up there to eat at all costs. The cabins are on the small side, however functional and the beds were left over from Princess (the pillows were a vast improvement over Pacific Dawn, Aria, Eden and Jewel.) Our cabin steward was average, didn't do anything wrong, didn't do anything special. Embarkation was delayed by an hour, as the ship had "water issues" read sewerage problems. We dropped our cases off and headed up to check in. We were on the ship within 10 minutes of arriving at the terminal. The ship STANK of sewerage the whole time, and the staff when questioned said they couldn't smell anything (probably desensitised to the smell). It was in the cabin, along the corridors and in all areas apart from the dining room and the entertainment venues. It was a quick 4 night cruise. I enjoyed the stop on the sunshine coast, and could have spent longer just walking on the beach and enjoying the weather. Tender service surprisingly was good, and on my return, just walked onto a tender without queuing and we headed off about 5 minutes later. The bar service was slow, and drinks were overpriced. Gone are the days of duty free prices for a drink when on a cruise. The packages they offer can offer good value if you drink a lot, otherwise avoid them at all costs. The top package is $95 per person per day (which wasn't offered on our cruise as it was under 7 nights) I opted for the refreshment package, which was well worth it. It included coffee (actually not bad at all!) speciality tea, glasses of soft drink and a couple of mocktails. Yes for 4 nights, it was cheaper than going to a hotel, it was nice looking at the ocean and seeing the land at sunset. The food was the biggest disappointment as it always is. We avoided the main pitfalls (waterfront and pantry) but ended up paying $99 per person for "a taste of salt" and a la carte pricing for Shell and Bones. Pizza's at Gradi were about $10-$20 per pizza, and were of good quality. We didn't find the time to eat at "Lukes" but word was that it was good. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
The stench of sewer was with us the whole cruise. From previous reviews I have now seen this seems to be an ongoing problem. I cant see how they are getting away with continuing to operate. Toilets in rooms blocked. Majority of public ... Read More
The stench of sewer was with us the whole cruise. From previous reviews I have now seen this seems to be an ongoing problem. I cant see how they are getting away with continuing to operate. Toilets in rooms blocked. Majority of public area toilets out of order at least once a day. Food average unless you had a meal that you paid for. 30% of the Pantry is partitioned each night so that it can be turned into a seafood restaurant...........yep you guessed it, you have to pay. Not much room left for the other people to sit. Entertainment was well put together, but there were some shows that you had to pay for, first time I have ever seen that on a cruise. Most on board staff were good to deal with, butt there was a percentage of rude and abrupt staff. 5th and last cruise with P & O. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Took my mother on a 10 day Barrier Reef Cruise (her 1st cruise).Everything went well, a smooth embarkation, The ship looked great, interior décor well done in the public areas, except for we were welcomed with a strong stench of raw ... Read More
Took my mother on a 10 day Barrier Reef Cruise (her 1st cruise).Everything went well, a smooth embarkation, The ship looked great, interior décor well done in the public areas, except for we were welcomed with a strong stench of raw sewerage which lasted the whole cruise , The rooms are very small and have extremely small balconies, seems it was only the public areas that was refurbished,with Explorer being a new addition to the P&O fleet, thought she would have been refurbished throughout, the carpet in our room & upholstery on chair was very soiled, but the room was clean, The food in The Pantry was disgusting, most hot foods being cold when you receive it or by time you get back to table. Desserts were uneatable, and didn't even have ice-cream on offer. Food in other restaurants was ok, if you could get in, or willing to pay for meals in other restaurants. Service on board was good, entertainment was great, especially Grant Gallea, should have a bigger dance floor for those wanting to participate in dance classes, a lot left due to lack of space . Had a fantastic time, on our shore excursion days, except for the schamozzle that happened at Cairns (have done 8 cruises and have never experienced this before) ,Cigarette smoke was smelt right through ship especially deck 7,and even on smelt on balcony at times, not to good for those people that are sensitive to cigarette smoke. Despite these problems, overall both had a great time. Did book a 10 night South Pacific cruise on board the Explorer, at same time as this, for February with husband, wondering how that will go. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We did the P&O Explorer Barrier Reef Discovery 10-night trip 30th August to 9th September. It was our first ever cruise, we’ve never done one before. Departing Sydney, stopping at Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas and Brisbane ... Read More
We did the P&O Explorer Barrier Reef Discovery 10-night trip 30th August to 9th September. It was our first ever cruise, we’ve never done one before. Departing Sydney, stopping at Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas and Brisbane before returning to Sydney. We chose this cruise because it was close to home (we’re from New Zealand) and the dates fitted in with our work commitments. We booked back in late January through our travel agent, our deal included the premium drinks package. We don’t drink alcohol but thought it would be worth it for the espresso coffees and soft drinks. We chose a mini-suite to give us our own balcony and a bit more room. We chose room 10079, as it was mid-ship and fairly close to the foreward lifts. I was a bit apprehensive before we left as there seemed to be a lot of talk on social media about problems with the sewage system on the ship. However I decided to ignore that and make up our own mind once we got on board – plus there was much excitement and anticipation as embarkation day drew closer as it was something we’d never done before. We flew to Sydney the day before, and stayed at the Intercontinental in Macquarie Street (recommended by our travel agent). We had a 12th floor room with a view over the harbour and bridge, so we saw the Pacific Explorer arrive just as daylight appeared. It was a magnificent sight and added to the excitement. The hotel was very close to Circular Quay so we walked with our luggage and arrived at the Overseas Passenger Terminal on embarkation day at 10.30am. With a mini-suite we had priority boarding and could board any time from 11am to 3pm. We dropped off our bags at the bag drop off easily enough. Embarkation was a bit chaotic, as it was not clear which line was for priority passengers. Once we’d checked in we had to wait for a while in the large seating area, then we went through security and before we knew it we were onboard. We went straight to our cabin. We were really pleased with it. It was very roomy and there was a separate small lounge area with access to the bedroom through an archway. The bathroom had two entrances, from the main cabin entrance a door led into the toilet and handbasin then there was a wooden louvered door which led into the marble shower and spa bath area. The shower was full sized with a glass door. The toiletries were Moh brand. There was liquid soap on the handbasin, liquid body wash and shampoo/conditioner in the shower. Plus we had four little tubes of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion as well. There was no cake of soap, I’m not sure if they had them available or not, I had brought some from the hotel with me. We had plenty of thick white towels. There was a little dressing room/storage area which meant we could hang our clothes and store the suitcases out of the way. We had a table and two chairs and two footstools on the balcony, which ran the width of our cabin. While the cabin had not been refurbished, it was very clean and tidy, and the bed and pillows were very comfortable. Our cabin stewards Edward and Jinky were very nice and friendly. The public areas of the ship had all been refurbished and were very swanky. There were lots of cafés and bars all over the place. There were also lots of different seating areas, so you could sit somewhere one day and somewhere else the next, and feel like you were in a completely different area. We tried several of the restaurants: The Pantry; Angelo’s; The Waterfront and Lukes. We used The Waterfront for both breakfasts and dinners some days, and The Pantry for all three meals over the ten day period. We dined at Angelo’s three times (it was only open for dinner). The only food we paid extra for was a burger from Luke’s on the pool deck ($5.00 for a nice burger). We didn’t see the need to pay extra for Shell and Bones or A Taste of Salt – we were very happy with the food and service at the other venues. The serving staff at The Pantry were very friendly, as were the waiting staff at Angelo’s and The Waterfront. We thought the food was very good at all venues. Lots of variety in The Pantry. The only thing we found with The Pantry is that on sea days it can get very crowded, but since it’s open long hours you can time it so that you get there when there’s not many others. There is always lots of things to do on the ship on the “at sea” days. We did a digital photography session with Ollie from the photo shop. That was very good. He also did a GoPro session later in the cruise, that was so good that we bought one later that day. It turned out to be a very good price, we’re really pleased with it. We did a couple of the trivia quizzes – they were a lot of fun plus we won one of them and got free coffee and cake! We also joined a group for Pictionary that was fun. We borrowed a couple of books from the library and they also had packs of cards for loan. Regarding the premium drinks package: it was completely wasted on us as we don’t drink alcohol. Being first timers we were a bit green and would not make the same mistake again. We had thought that we would be able to use the package for our espresso coffees, but they were excluded. I’m not sure exactly what the package cost us as it was part of the deal, but if we bought it prior to the trip it would have been $79 per person per day…that adds up to $1580 for both of us. I realise that the package deal price would be less than $79/day, but it would still be far more than we could drink in soft drink per day. However, we will be sure to look into “deals” more next time. Let me state that we had NO ISSUES at all with our toilet. A couple of the cubicles in the public areas were out of order, and once or twice we got a whiff of sewage, but only once or twice. I think one of the problems is people putting stuff down the toilets that block it – there are very clear signs saying that only toilet paper from the ship is to be used in the toilet. We were told one person dropped a hand towel into the toilet and tried to flush it – well guess what, it blocked the whole system. We chose to do no shore tours. There was enough on the ship to keep us busy (or not, the whole idea of the cruise was for us to relax). In fact we didn’t even enter the casino once, though we had thought we’d have a flutter at some stage. We simply didn’t get around to it. On the port days there was hardly anyone around on the ship, it was great. We only took in one show (“Rave On”, with the talented Jeremy Stanford singing some great Buddy Holly numbers). There were several others that we thought about going to, but we found we enjoyed relaxing in the evening after dinner in our room or out on our balcony. It was lovely sitting outside as the sun went down and the sky darkened. We were blessed with wonderful weather apart from the last day when it was very windy and quite rough. Disembarking was a breeze. We had breakfast in The Waterfront, then disembarked around 8.30am (we had priority “any time” disembarkation). Our bags, which we had left outside our door the previous night, were easily retrievable from the lineup of other priority bags in the terminal. So for our first cruise we were pretty happy with everything. We found ten days just the right length of time. We will probably go on another cruise in the next couple of years. Would happily consider P&O again. It will be a matter of booking a cruise which suits our timing and our wallets. We definitely would look for a deal that doesn’t include an alcohol package – it’s just not worth it for us personally. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our very first cruise as most of our holidays are camping holidays. This was a 10 day cruise along the Queensland coast. We were told you will either love it or hate and we absolutely loved it. Getting on and of the ship was ... Read More
This was our very first cruise as most of our holidays are camping holidays. This was a 10 day cruise along the Queensland coast. We were told you will either love it or hate and we absolutely loved it. Getting on and of the ship was relatively easy and did not take much time at all. The ship is well laid out but it does take a few days to work out where everything is. Our cabin was an interior cabin and perhaps on the small side for some. There was just enough room to walk around the double bed, but the bed was very comfortable. Never spent much time in our room except to sleep. Plenty of storage to put your clothes away. Toilet and shower worked as they should and had no problems. Room stewarts were great and always very friendly. Rooms were cleaned twice a day and fresh towels everyday if you desired. We only dined in the restaurants that were included in the cruise package. The Pantry had lots of variety and all hot food was served up for you and you could have as much or as little as you wanted. Some food stations did alter their menu from day to day but lunch and dinner were basically the same. And no the food was not kept in there for the next 6 to 8 hours. When lunch time was over it was all packed away replaced by cakes or pastries and brought out again at dinner time. Great variety of desserts every day. The Waterfront restaurant had a great breakfast, lunch and dinner menu which was changed halfway the cruise. Did enjoy the breakfast much better here then the pantry, just because of the personal service. The Asian Dragon Lady and Italian Angelos were a great destination for dinner, giving you a 3 course dinner. We did dine more often at Angelos only because our friends preferred it but both have great menus which also changed halfway the cruise. Staff in all the restaurants were absolutely terrific. I am no foodie but enjoyed all the meals thoroughly. I am a very big eater and left all the restaurants satisfied. Did not do many of the shore tours as we were lucky enough a few years ago to visit Cairns and Port Douglas and did all the tourist things then. Only did barramundi fishing at Port Douglas which wasn't long enough but hey it never is when I go out fishing.All tours seemed well organised with tenders or bus transfers. Disembarkation obviously did take a little longer when tenders were required but the overall process was pretty much pain free. People doing shore tours got first preference to disembark but that is only natural because of tome constraints. Plenty of on board activities from trivia to musical shows, comedy and the like. Had to pay a small fee for the Love Riot show which was well worth it. Was never found wanting for anything to do. Information was left in your cabin for the next day activities? The entertainment staff were terrific, very approachable and very funny. If I didn't mentioned it before, the wait staff especially in Angelos were great and we left like we were old mates. Overall we had a great time. Travelled with three other couples and we all enjoyed ourselves thouroughly. Would definitely cruise again. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
The Pacific Explorer was remodelled (well only the public areas) and re-launched mid 2017. My 8 day cruise was in September 2017. In a previous life it was the Dawn Princess I was travelling solo and had a balcony cabin (11155) on deck ... Read More
The Pacific Explorer was remodelled (well only the public areas) and re-launched mid 2017. My 8 day cruise was in September 2017. In a previous life it was the Dawn Princess I was travelling solo and had a balcony cabin (11155) on deck 11 – almost midship. It was very comfortable for one, maybe a little tight as a twin. The balcony was very private, but at only 1.1m wide, not a great deal of room there. The desk was by the balcony door and had a built in hair dryer – very old fashioned and low in power. There was the US powerpoint at the desk, but across the room behind the TV was another with Australian and Asia/Europe points. My computer cord only just reached so maybe a short extension lead could be handy for computer use and charging. I had an armchair and a stool which was stored under the desk. The bathroom was good – I asked for and received real soap as I do not like the liquid variety. The shampoo basic, but I would suggest bringing a conditioner. There was no body lotion supplied. One morning I was unable to turn on the water in the shower, but that was fixed within a couple of hours. However, on deck 11 I saw a few people changing cabins due to plumbing problems and in parts many of the corridors had a damp musty smell. The wardrobe had plenty of hangers – the type that one can remove properly without having to re-hook onto the connection on the rails. There was a very small safe, with very easy to use instructions. My cabin stewards were great and the next day’s program was usually delivered by 7.30 at night. Dining options: the “Pantry” which has replaced the buffet on most ships. This is set out more like a food court with the following sections: soups and sandwiches; salads; roasts; fish and chips; Asian; Mexican; Indian; Mediterranean and deserts. At lunch time the dessert section has a different themed display daily, and worthy of a photo - try to resist the selections presented. There are also three “free” main restaurants – Dragon Lady (Asian); Waterfront (traditional) and Angelos (Italian). And four “pay for” ones complete the choices – 400 Gradi - pizza; Lukes - hamburger; Shell & Bones – seafood, with three meat and twl vegetable options – sides extra; and Salt –degustation – no prices listed – just charges will apply. The main dining room, The Waterfront, is not as traditional as most ships’ main dining room nor as elegant. It is more like a large hotel bistro, with some tables twos and fours, but others were long bench tables and some high up with bar stools. Here there are also extra main meals available on the menu for a fee, ranging from $A17 to $A25. I ordered a bottle of Hardy’s Shiraz cabernet - @ $27 the cheapest on board and it was very pleasant. Prices and choices vary all over the ship. The meal serves were on the small side, which is good, but the vegetables negligible however on occasion when I asked for green vegetables, they were available. The cheese plate had one piece of cheese! The only other restaurant I tried was the Dragon Lady – Pan Asian Restaurant – bookings really necessary. The wine list there was different again – the cheapest red was $A6 more than from the Waterfront restaurant. For my dinner, I ordered Vietnamese spring rolls, rose dumplings and coconut sticky rice with mango. The spring rolls were very roughly rolled, the “rose” dumplings had the dough wrapped around (to form a rose bud) a solid core of tasteless mince, couldn’t finish it; and the “sticky rice” was just normal rice pudding, with a little shredded coconut and a little mango puree. All in all, an extremely disappointing meal – will not return. Meal times on board here are a lot shorter than on any other ship and there is no provision for afternoon tea – unless you want to pay for “high tea” at 2.30. At night all is cleared away by 9pm – again a couple of the “pay for” venues are open. The prices are not listed on the daily program – just “charges apply”. On port days, only The Pantry is open for lunch – no other choice. Extras: While the cruise itself – twin share of course, not single as I was – was inexpensive, all the “add ons” certainly are. The cheapest glass of wine I saw (and prices vary all over the ship – they are not constant) was $8.50 – most around $14. There is only one alcoholic drinks package and that is $89 per day! The bottled water in the cabin (1.5lt) is the cheapest brand – Frantelle – and that is $4.95 per bottle. Coffee prices were about standard to what is charged in Australia. SPA: Overnight there was a leaflet offering Spa treatment “bargains” with items ranging from a super detox – 50 minutes for $198; anti aging facial - 60 minutes $229 or ocean massage 100 minutes - $323. Down the bottom of the page in very, very small, fine print was “5% auto gratuity will be added”. On the general price list, the cheapest “treatment” was Ionithermie revitalising leg therapy @ $A99 for 40 minutes; many treatment were for 50 minutes with prices ranging from $A149 to $A198; 60 minutes from $A206 to $A229 and so on with the most expensive single “treatment” being $A331 for 100 minutes. Of course there were many “add ons” and “upgrades” listed. These prices are much higher than on any other ship I have been on. Internet: I chose the top priced “Platinum Voyage” unlimited option – a first day “special” at $A89 and found it mostly quite fast and it was nice not having to worry about the time logged on. There were many “daily” choices, but those could add up to the same cost or more. Theme nights: On the 8 day cruise there were four. The first was “Cocktail” and the room stewards were advising people that they would only be allowed into the Pantry (buffet area) in casual clothes. This was not the case as many people came to the Waterfront Restaurant in very daggy clothes. We also had ‘Back to School”; “Bianco” (white) and finally “Gatsby”. Again some people dressed up, many did not. Library: or lack of! I was pleased that I had bought some books (travel trash) with me because despite P&O Sydney advising me that there was a library, there is no library on board. I was told that they usually have the book swap on some of the sea days and as I had some to exchange, I didn’t have to pay anything – otherwise I think it was $A3 per book. Shows: Love Riot – venue Black Circus– tickets $A10 rated R18 held in The Black Circus: We were all offered a complimentary cocktail each – apple vodka or cranberry vodka. There was a set of “glasses” under each seat, which at first I thought were maybe 3D but seemed to have a series of dots on the lenses, and when the spotlights were on, a heart shape formed around the light – very clever. The show started at 7.30. The costumes were good, some of the dialogue very course, the acts OK but nothing special. There was one man running around nude with a balloon penis attached at the front. There was a 15 minute interval at 8.15 and the second half seemed as if it was going to be similar to the first so I left before it finished. The Marquee (theatre) – Murray Raine’s “Follies Fantastique” – a burlesque marionette show, and it was one of the best I have seen. The first marionette did a strip tease, the second was an old hag on a cruise ship, and the next act was short with a French clown and a balloon. The next act had a passenger involved (don’t sit in the front row!) operating one of the marionettes which progressively fell apart, and the final act was brilliant, it was a trapeze act with the puppet doing all sorts of things on a trapeze bar, even swinging from his nose. It was all thoroughly enjoyable. There were many “free” seminars, naturally designed to tempt you into spending money, but this happens on all ships. We called into three ports – Noumea, Mare and Isle of Pines and I have posted a separate port review on each. Duty free alcohol was not available on the last night of the cruise as on most ships, but had to be collected between 5.30am and 8.30am on day of disembarkation from one of the restaurants. This went smoothly as there were three collection desks and all packages were sorted by decks, which made them easy to locate. As the ship was due to dock at White Bay on return, early (7.30) or late (8.30) transfers to the Airport and Central Station were offered. I chose the Central Station one which was $A15 and not the $A13 as listed in the brochure. The airport one was very well priced but I cannot remember the exact pricing. Disembarkation was very smooth and a little earlier than scheduled. The transfer time from White Bay terminal to Central Station about 15 -20 minutes depending on traffic. Plenty of options for families – at a price for access to the Edge activities; also great for late night party players with drink packages and/or unlimited bank accounts! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
First time sailing P&O, having sailed 15 other cruises with Disney, RCL and Princess. We previously sailed on the same ship when it was Dawn Princess. We were curious to try the Pantry as an alternative to traditional buffet style ... Read More
First time sailing P&O, having sailed 15 other cruises with Disney, RCL and Princess. We previously sailed on the same ship when it was Dawn Princess. We were curious to try the Pantry as an alternative to traditional buffet style dining, and it really doesn't work well. It is usually necessary to queue at multiple stations to build a meal. For example, burgers were available at one stall but fries had to be obtained separately from the fish n’ chip stall. There is no self service, and it feels awkward describing to the server which items you want, and in which quantities, and unless we requested them to add more their basic serving portions were quite small. Over the years we have observed food standards onboard cruises to be in decline, and this was no exception. Overall, it was the worst food experience we have had while cruising. The main dining menus were lacklustre, and the Pantry food was on a par with a basic canteen. We were concerned by reading previous reviews about the general state of the Explorer, especially the odours and toilet malfunctions. There was definitely an unpleasant odour when we boarded, especially around midship, but nothing worse than we have experienced on other cruises and this did not persist throughout the cruise. We had no issues with our bathroom in room 9212, the toilet worked fine and we had plenty of hot water in the shower. The room had plenty of storage space for 2 guests, and was kept perfectly tidy by the tireless dedication of the stateroom attendants. The aircon seemed to have no effect at night, and even on the lowest setting the room was usually too hot for comfort. The aircon fan noise was on constantly at night making it difficult to sleep. The bed itself, whilst not the worst we’ve experienced, did contribute to back ache in the mornings. The stateroom TV does carry several news channels and some sport, which is often lacking on cruise ships, and was much welcomed. Service in bars was generally below average. The bar tenders prioritised making drinks to meet the orders given to the roaming serving staff, and would therefore ignore people stood waiting at the bar. The problem was that it was sometimes difficult to catch a server, especially during busy events such as when one of the themed parties was on. During the Gatsby evening for example, there were only two servers in a packed bar, and it took over 35 minutes to get a drink. We suspect this lack of service was related to the large number of people using the drinks package, to restrict the amount of ‘free’ alcohol served. Since we were paying for drinks as we went along this poor service was particularly frustrating. The caveat to this was the casino bar. As a rule we have found the casino bars onboard ships tend to have the most attentive staff, who will typically remember your name from the moment you order your first drink, and the Explorer casino maintained that high standard. We would therefore head to the casino bar whenever service elsewhere was lacking. The overall experience of our cruise was that it was an average holiday with nothing special being offered. We preferred the food and service as it was before the Dawn Princess was rebadged, and the food quality and Pantry experience means we will be unlikely to sail with P&O again. Read Less
Pacific Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.3
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.3
Family 4.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.1
Service 4.5 3.9
Value For Money 4.0 3.4

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