10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
On the 28th December 2018 we embarked on a New Years cruise with P&O (the prices for this particular cruise were double if not triple normal prices due to the time of year). The dramas started when we paid for priority checkin however ... Read More
On the 28th December 2018 we embarked on a New Years cruise with P&O (the prices for this particular cruise were double if not triple normal prices due to the time of year). The dramas started when we paid for priority checkin however our tickets did not list this, it wasnt such a big issue, however at the time we didnt know this was just the start of the many issues we would experience. First day on the cruise one of our suitcases never arrived to our room, after calling reception we were told to wait and they will contact us back once they have tracked it down. 1.5 hours later sitting in our room waiting for a call back we called receiption to find our bag was there and we could come down and collect it. CABINS The first 3 days at sea were rough (with approx 6 foot waves) which is not uncommon however the front of the boat was particulary bad and majority of the time we could not be in our rooms due to the severity of the movement. Now to give you some background prior to this cruise we were on another cruise with RC which was in the middle of a cyclone with 8 foot waves and had little to no issues with our room which was also located at the front of the boat so it seems this particular boat with P&O may of not be of the same standard mechanically. Our room was on level 11 (pool 12 and pantry 14) which was a great location however levels 5,6,7 are also great as they are close to bars , reception and shops. Cabins were clean and liveable however they do not reflect the standard you would expect when paying a minimum $6k a couple (interior room) on new years. They are the original cabins and corner rooms are particulary smaller. If you are particular with pillows make sure you take your own as they are not the best. The rooms do have a safe and fridge and a great little sensor light for night time toilet trips. They also only have 1 australia power point , 1 european power point and 1 US power point. The rooms do have a hair dryer however they are very basic. Overall we were fine with our rooms however during our trip the toilet blocked up , lost all power and lights in our room at 12am in the morning and also had issues with the door locks not recognising our cards. A special mentionto the room attendents who do an amazing job , are very fast and are friendly. FOOD Not to bad, same as most cruise boats. We liked lukes , dragon lady and the cafe for cakes and tea. We love how P&O have set up the pantry as it stops alot of food being touched by other guests and limits food waste. Special mention to 400 grandi , great food , amazing staff and a nice quiet place on the ship. STAFF We were extremly lucky to experience great staff at the ocean bar , the cafe and 400 grandi. They are extremly helpful and accomodation. ENTERTAINMENT For a New Years cruise entertainment was limited however for a standard cruise it was not bad. Love riot was a great show (approx $15 per person) it was well worth it. Please note P&O seem to limit any adult only shows for 9pm and 10pm at night which wasnt always the best if you have a port day the next day. Please note lawn bowls and slides are not open permently only certain hours. PORT DAYS / TENDERS For locations with a port it was very simple and quick to get off and well organised. For ports which required tenders it became a bit of a mess and for one of our ports we waited 1.5 hours and then gave up getting off. Some people waited over 2 hours to get off and no explanation was given. After speaking to people who were lucky to get off we found guests on the beach kept snorkeling in the tender lanes which would then hold up the boats. P&O didnt seem to get these people out of the water or issues warnings to causing delays for other guests and some guests didnt even get off. SHORE TOURS We were lucky enough to do a great snorkelling tour in Santo which was well worth the money. However the couple we were travelling with did a village tour on another island and it was nothing like the tour summary and they did not learn anything from it. GUESTS Possibly some of the worst behaviour I have seen. Many of the guest were extremly rude , self centred , would push past or push in lines and we even experienced guests permently calling our room at 1am even though they were told they were calling the wrong room. Kids where still running around after 9pm and would often fill up the lifts or press all buttons inthe lifts. Our last morning there were kids outside our cabin door screaming at 5am with parents who did not care (our room was out of the way). The experience which really sent us over the edge was this one lady which we had to ask 4 times to move so we could sit down on the first day and book restaurants. We then had to ask her another 6 times to move so we could get up from our seat. I also experienced a lady at the gym who proceeded to push pass me and tell me she was waiting for a tredmill and she was next in line..... mind you i had been on the equipment for a good 5 mins before she appeared from somewhere having a cry. Please note the gym gets packed out and runs out of room and equipment duringthe mornings. Overall terrible behaviour and this doesnt even go into the fights , yelling and crappy comments we heard being shouted between guests and at the poor staff. LEAVING THE BOAT You are told to put your bags outside your room between 4pm and 8pm the night prior. Please note no where do they say you can self assist and take your own bags off but you can do this and it will get you off the boat faster. We got off the boat at 740am (we were told 720am for group 1 and 2). When we finally got off to collect our bags, our bags where not out yet and we had to wait atleast 30-40mins for our bags to come through. If you are being picked up or have a flight please keep this in mind. LIFOU If you are travelling to Lifou please note you need a ticket for jinek bay. If you do not get a ticket you will not be able to snorkel. Even though this is plastered everywhere we watched many people ignore this and walk in 30 degrees heat to the bay to then be disappointed. Quick tip, everyday you get a newsletter , make sure to read the back page for sales and spa deals. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Recently back from a cruise to NZ, Booking process terrible, no choice of deck, no choice of room and wasnt able to upgrade. Our cabin was very small and was directly above the band in the Explorer Hotel, we had music in our cabin till ... Read More
Recently back from a cruise to NZ, Booking process terrible, no choice of deck, no choice of room and wasnt able to upgrade. Our cabin was very small and was directly above the band in the Explorer Hotel, we had music in our cabin till late every night. When I asked to be relocated to another cabin I was given a bottle of wine and told there were no other cabins which was a lie as a another passenger was given another cabin after a domestic blue. Menu choices have been reduced with items requiring payment added to menus Generally food was good, Angelos was very good, the food in the Pantry was ok but some dishes were only luke warm and the desert selection consisted mainly of cakes and custard. This was my fourth cruise with P&O and will be my last, I must add that the first three cruises were excellent but the standard has slipped. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Old out dated cruise ship even though it’s supposed to be renovated. Almost like staying in a back packers hostel. Really small rooms. Food wasn’t really good only if you decide to pay for it. I’ve been on quiet a few cruises with ... Read More
Old out dated cruise ship even though it’s supposed to be renovated. Almost like staying in a back packers hostel. Really small rooms. Food wasn’t really good only if you decide to pay for it. I’ve been on quiet a few cruises with other cruise ship and have cruise 29 days in total with p&o and explorer is the worst. Even the crews on top deck told us that the like pacific explorer because it’s a bludge job and easy going. Cruise director on this cruise from 18/10/18 to 3/11/18 was lazy and was hardly seen and this was mentioned by a lot of customers. Hardly no entertainment on top deck and played same songs and movie clips over and over. P&O has fallen way behind its competitors. Never again will I cruise with them again . Not enough room for anyone all areas are way to small and tender service was a joke borderline fire hazard Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was my second of back to back cruises on the Pacific Explorer. I had sailed a few times when this ship sailed as the Dawn Princess. P & O destroyed everything about this ship. The food was horrible. One youth would only eat in ... Read More
This was my second of back to back cruises on the Pacific Explorer. I had sailed a few times when this ship sailed as the Dawn Princess. P & O destroyed everything about this ship. The food was horrible. One youth would only eat in the Dragon Lady and another youngster described the offerings as prison food. Quality is disgusting and variety boringly non existent. The 12 day refurbishment left just about all public areas in a very unkempt condition. The Marquee Theatre should have all the seating replaced. Seats throughout other public areas sadly need refurbishing. The Explorer Hotel has wood border trims near ceiling all scratched up. It needs to be completely sanded down and varnished. Several nautical theme items on the walls have been removed, which is a pity as it used to be a very attractive lounge and dance venue. When the cruise director announced on two occasions that it was the last day of the cruise, it was met with applause on both occasions. That says it all! In my many cruises, this was a first. The 9th deck launderette had 3 machines out of order...washing machine, token dispenser and detergent dispenser. The 10th deck launderette had all 3 washing machines out of order. The target demographic is now young families. It seemed like over 80% of passengers were first time cruisers with over 300 aged 19 and under. So they have nothing to compare with. The mirrors during refurbishment were covered on all lifts (elevators) and replaced with questionable looking wallpaper. There are charges for delivery of tea, toast and all food items to cabins. There are charges for ice-cream and pizza as well. So surf and turf night on this ship. The skimping and cost cutting is blatantly apparent. Seriously, DO AVOID AT ALL COST. OH NO, P & 0. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Picked this cruise going to the barrier reef. As we have sailed on the Dawn Princess previously as it was before transferring to P&O we thought to give it a try. It has been refurbished only in certain area, but not in cabins nor ... Read More
Picked this cruise going to the barrier reef. As we have sailed on the Dawn Princess previously as it was before transferring to P&O we thought to give it a try. It has been refurbished only in certain area, but not in cabins nor the theatre which had broken armrests and torn chairs. The food in the restaurant was disgusting and the menu changed every 5 days or so. the only decent meal we had at Angelos and even then the menu changed after 5 days. You could not get anywhere near the swimming pools nor the hot tubs as they taken over by children. The mattresses in the cabin were shocking and we had to ask for overlays to be put on the bed which did not improve much. Because the ship arrived in Sydney late which causes our departure leaving at 9pm instead of 4pm. We misses Willis island and Airlie beach due to strong wind Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Where do i start...First tip. If you've cruised with either Carnival or any decent cruise company do not expect much from P&O. Don't expect a decent size room (especially the bathroom). Ship was refurbished 2017 (not ... Read More
Where do i start...First tip. If you've cruised with either Carnival or any decent cruise company do not expect much from P&O. Don't expect a decent size room (especially the bathroom). Ship was refurbished 2017 (not impressed). On day 4 i decided to wash some clothes...big mistake....not only was there only 1 out of 3 washing machines working but whilst my clothes were washing, machine broke down...had to take wet clothes next level up where 2 out of 3 washers working. Be careful eating in the Pantry....you get Luke warm food and very little variety (maybe try Angelo's for dinner and the waterfront for breakfast). Don't expect any decent entertainment at night (unless you pay for it). Cruise really only caters for kids under 12 or big drinkers over 18. I wanted to play poker on the table in the Casino only to be told the table had been broken for a month (but noticed no poker machines were broken down...funny that) We wanted to maybe enjoy some music on the top deck every second night or maybe a decent stage show that we didn't have to pay for (isn't that why we payed almost $1700 each for?) but forget it they only have games for kids or movies for kids. The best days we had were when we visited the Islands. If your looking for a good cup of coffee in the morning then don't go to the Pantry unless you like a weak tasteless coffee, you need to go to the Cafe ( where you pay $5 for a coffee). I hope i gave you an informative review. P&O you lost my trust. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Do yourself a favour and do not book this cruise ship if you are thinking about it. This was my 3rd cruise. We travelled as a large group of 15 and we’re all so disappointed. I’ll start with the positives - our room steward Yuyus ... Read More
Do yourself a favour and do not book this cruise ship if you are thinking about it. This was my 3rd cruise. We travelled as a large group of 15 and we’re all so disappointed. I’ll start with the positives - our room steward Yuyus was fantastic. He Went above and beyond any request we made. The cabin itself is old and dated but it did the job. The restaurants NOT included in the fare price are delicious - we paid for a pizza at 400 gradi or a burger at Luke’s grill every day. They made nice soup. THATS IT for the positives. Now for the negatives - The food that IS included in the fare especially at the pantry was horrible to say the least. It was always just cold -warm. Never hot. I’m 5 months pregnant so it really concerned me, especially when they didn’t know if the Hollandaise sauce contained raw egg!? (Turns out it was pre packaged). Some of the bar staff in the pantry and deck 12 pool were so so rude. I had an unlimited refreshments package (everything except alcohol included). They tried to charge me $2 to heat up each bottle of milk for my 1year old daughter even though milk is free! There are no microwaves available to passengers on the ship so I didn’t have any other choice! Then I was questioned as to why I got 2 bottles of water 40 minutes apart - I explained that the water is not kept in the fridge, it was sat on the bar bench in 30 degree heat and I’m pregnant... they didn’t care and made me feel like I was trying to rort my drinks package! They had wet paint on the main deck flooring and had re varnished the stair hand railings mid cruise - didn’t make any sense as to why they’d do it mid cruise? Most nights they’d just put on a movie for entertainment, not much excitement on deck like other cruises I’ve been on. Laundry facilities were broken down half the time and detergent, softener and token dispensers don’t work - remember to take your own detergent! Entertainment shows were ok, but bingo is sooo expensive! Ping pong tables and bats are falling apart. The kids water park water is not heated and on one of the highest decks. It was so windy my 3.5 year old couldn’t really enjoy it. The only heated pool was the spas and the adults only oasis pool - young kids were freezing as the pool water was ridiculously cold! Overall, if I could give this a 1/2 star rating I would. Honestly, don’t waste your money! I wish I’d taken into account more the other reviewers comments and spent my money elsewhere! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Just got back from a 4 day cruise on the Explorer. I am gluten free and had advised P&O at time of booking. Food was very limited, in fact the Pantry could only offer me, steam rice, nachos and for desert a small packet of biscuits ... Read More
Just got back from a 4 day cruise on the Explorer. I am gluten free and had advised P&O at time of booking. Food was very limited, in fact the Pantry could only offer me, steam rice, nachos and for desert a small packet of biscuits (similar to that you get on a plane). The quality of food was disgusting in the Pantry and there was often a smell of sewerage at the entrance. The restaurants were slightly better in quality (but not much), with only 1 option for gluten free for each course. Sauces tasted watered down and in some cases, tasted like it was poured from a bottle or can. The only decent restaurant was the Dragon Lady, but unfortunately we could only get in on one night, all other nights was fully booked. My daughters wifi only worked occasionally and after a day of no wifi we were told it drops out and you have to log back in again. Would have been good to have been told this at time of purchase. As mentioned sewerage smells were around the ship at various times and locations and there were big wind blowers down the hallways (assume to get rid of the smells). The only good thing about the cruise were the stage productions and getting off at the end. We had booked another cruise later this year with P&O, but have cancelled this due to this really awful experience. Will never cruise with P&O again, I guess you get what you pay for. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We begun our cruise by the check-in staff very awkwardly telling us that there is an issue with our room at that we need to see a particular crew member once onboard. She kept apologising and was told that she was not allowed to tell us ... Read More
We begun our cruise by the check-in staff very awkwardly telling us that there is an issue with our room at that we need to see a particular crew member once onboard. She kept apologising and was told that she was not allowed to tell us what the issue was. After boarding we found that a family had requested our room so that they were all together, and P&O wanted us to move but weren't going to give us anything for the move or inconvenience of moving away from friends - making us in turn feel bad for not moving for this family. We then moved onto the 'Pantry' which was all but a zoo where they slopped sometimes unrecognisable food onto a plate and handed it back over the glass to you. We thought we may have better luck at the Waterfront restaurant that night so tried to book a table for 9 and was told we may be separated as they didn't have tables to accomodate this many. When we arrived to dinner, tables were magically pushed together so we could all sit together. Food was very average with some in the group unable to eat beef as they weren't even asked how they would like their steak cooked. This theme of terrible food was carried on the next three days and the icing on the cake was in the Waterfront restaurant for lunch. With limited options we ordered a creme brûlée cheesecake for dessert which came out looking less than appetising and when turned over revealed there were mould spots on the base on all four cheesecakes that were ordered. After this ordeal we opted not to return to the waterfront and decided to eat at the grazing yards at the pantry or buy pizza. The rooms are extremely small, with minimal room to put suitcases. I'm glad that I am not tall as my knees would have touched the door when sitting on the toilet. The grotty slimy shower curtin made me feel dirt every time I went into the shower. The decor in the rooms doesn't look like it has been updated since the ship was built in '97. The beds were very uncomfortable and not good for someone who has a bad back. Entertainment wise the comedy acts were fairly good except for comedians swearing and talking about inappropriate things in front of children. I was very very frustrated that every time I walked into a R18+ act that I had to have my ID to prove my age. This proof should be attached to the cruise card as it is with other cruise lines. Overall, if I wasn't with the people I was with it would have been an awful three days. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Having previously experienced two other cruise lines and most importantly P + O's parent company carnival, this cruise was disappointing to the extreme. Ways in which this cruise was lacking: Very old ship that was renovated ... Read More
Having previously experienced two other cruise lines and most importantly P + O's parent company carnival, this cruise was disappointing to the extreme. Ways in which this cruise was lacking: Very old ship that was renovated being advertised as a 'new addition'. I only picked this cruise because I thought it was a new ship - wrong. It's a 20 year old ship that got renovated. Terrible toilet system. Vacuum toilets that doesn't flush if your poop isn't directly in the hole. Poop smell that wafts through the entire ship and cabins. The other reviews cover the poocific explorer extensively so I won't go into too much detail. Lets just say if your butt doesn't have a missile guidance system you're going to have a bad time. Terrible shows. Compared to shows on the other cruises the performances were dull and bland. The pacific performers only know how to lip sync and dance. Each show they put on is just a playlist with no plot. Some performances were canceled. Other's were only scheduled to happen once a night - 500 people auditorium with 2k people on board, not very good planning. Added on to the fact that there were no other activities in the evening apart from live music around the ship. Terrible food. The buffet closes at 9pm. At least on carnival you get a pizza stand that stays open all night long. Nothing here. You get a free soft serve machine on carnival. Here you get new zealand natural which you have to pay for every scoop. Their premium restaurant shell and bones is a joke and tastes awful. Nothing they fry ever comes out crunchy. They're just greasy and soggy. I ordered a papaya and pineapple fruit plate. The waiter came out with the plate went 'enjoy your papaya'. The plate had rockmelon and pineapple on it. The waiter then acted ultra confused when we said this wasn't papaya. Terrible room cleaning and state. Cost cutting everywhere. We had a empty tissue box space in the bathroom for days until we asked why... They told us it's now protocol to no longer give tissues unless you specifically request then. Our first set of sheets had yellow stains on them, when we asked them to change the sheets they asked us if tomorrow as okay... By the way religiously check your bill at the end of the journey. We had onboard credit and then spent more money than that. Eg Had $100 onboard credit. Spent 130. They charged our credit card 60 bucks so that if we had just left the ship we would've had 30 bucks onboard credit for no reason... Unlike other companies that give you photo packages... like Celebrity gives you ALL your photos for $300... P + O just sells it to you by the 1. 30 bucks each. Lets not forget their 'life studio'. Where they take your pictures for 20 minutes with no make up and minimal props then try to charge you 300 bucks for a negative or a cheap $6000 family photo package. TLDR: Don't pick this cruise line if you have any other choice. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Must have been a moment of weakness and stupidity! Rooms are stingy and like a small shoe box. Food and restaurants . . . . . . like shops in a 2nd rate suburban Mall. Staff not bad, but some are not people persons. We would never go ... Read More
Must have been a moment of weakness and stupidity! Rooms are stingy and like a small shoe box. Food and restaurants . . . . . . like shops in a 2nd rate suburban Mall. Staff not bad, but some are not people persons. We would never go P& O ever again. They are mean, and seemingly inexperienced. We hated the " restaurants included in Fare ". You must book and to get a table for our party of ten, was not permitted. They split us up every time. The meals? Yes well, we always left feeling we could eat a horse and chase the rider. There is no buffet available. Everything speaks of cost cutting measures. Food in what they call The Pantry, was always cold and the lines to receive their very small portions, were long and slow moving. The coffee was weak and never hot enough. I bought a drinks package to include water, soft drinks, coffee and mocktails. I was refused a "Bloody Mary MOCKTAIL i.e. minus the Vodka. I just wanted tomato juice with a dash of Tabasco. I was refused . . . . . The Barman claiming RSA issues. What!!!!! I wanted a mocktail !!!!!! Not a cocktail!!!! How can a barman be so stupid!! It became an issue and finally, he slammed down a bottle of Tabasco in front of me and told me to add it to anything I wanted! Treatment like that further lessened my already low opinion of P&O Australia. But, never again. Many people we chatted with were complaining and we found ourselves recommending Royal Caribbean to them. We certainly won't even look at P& O ever again. It was an unpleasant experience for the entire 10 in our party. Live and learn, but sadly it was costly. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
The stench of sewer was with us the whole cruise. From previous reviews I have now seen this seems to be an ongoing problem. I cant see how they are getting away with continuing to operate. Toilets in rooms blocked. Majority of public ... Read More
The stench of sewer was with us the whole cruise. From previous reviews I have now seen this seems to be an ongoing problem. I cant see how they are getting away with continuing to operate. Toilets in rooms blocked. Majority of public area toilets out of order at least once a day. Food average unless you had a meal that you paid for. 30% of the Pantry is partitioned each night so that it can be turned into a seafood restaurant...........yep you guessed it, you have to pay. Not much room left for the other people to sit. Entertainment was well put together, but there were some shows that you had to pay for, first time I have ever seen that on a cruise. Most on board staff were good to deal with, butt there was a percentage of rude and abrupt staff. 5th and last cruise with P & O. Read Less
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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The balcony room was quite spacious and in a great location. The evening shows were outstanding, the group put lots of energy in their show and costumes, the variety was great too. This cruise could have been very nice experience, however, ... Read More
The balcony room was quite spacious and in a great location. The evening shows were outstanding, the group put lots of energy in their show and costumes, the variety was great too. This cruise could have been very nice experience, however, the way information sessions were organised, it was very clear that fitness and spa team are trying to sell you anything and everything. The sessions were not quite informative and sometimes had very conflicting information. I'm not sure why you need to sell shoe inserts and detox pills on the cruises, it is just disgusting. most fitness classes were offered at the additional cost. I think spa should be relaxation space and not pushy sales space. The reception service was rude and not helpful, all 3 attempts to get any information about tours, shuttles, etc. was a waste of time, the staff has to be trained well to communicate to guests, this ruins the experience overall. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
we chose this cruise because the first port of call was to be Norfolk Island. The weather did not allow a tender boat to take us on the island. We had two days at sea to get there and two days at sea to get to Tonga This meant five days ... Read More
we chose this cruise because the first port of call was to be Norfolk Island. The weather did not allow a tender boat to take us on the island. We had two days at sea to get there and two days at sea to get to Tonga This meant five days at sea before getting on land. My complaint is that we heard afterwards that ships rarely get onto island because of weather and small jetty. Cruise ships and travel agents should not sell a product that they can't deliver Buyer beware! Also this ship sells internet packages that don't work. After we couldn't get on Norfolk, to get over cabin fever, I thought i would purchase a package that gave me 500mg. After two days of trying to connect i noticed that just over half my data was already used and i hadn't even sent one email or done one search of what to expect in Tonga. I went to reception to complain and get money back, they said nothing can be done. We warned that sometimes it is slow. As soon as i said i would be writing to the Ombudsman he did some typing and said refund would be in your account later today!! Again Company shouldn't sell a product that doesn't work! This cruise was cheap for 16 days and excellent value if you are on a food fest. The entertainment was good and the director of such, Zoltina J was the one saving grace on the cruise Generally speaking the ship was overcrowded for the seating in most areas. some people would go to venues up to an hour before so that they could get a seat. On several nights we literally had to argue with other customers to get a seat at the 9pm show. On one night we arrived five minutes before only to find no seats available. We stood at back for five minutes and then left. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Hello All, Having just returned from our first P&O cruise after 6 cruises with carnival - I thought I would share some relevant comparisons that would highlight what each provide and what potential cruisers may find appealling ... Read More
Hello All, Having just returned from our first P&O cruise after 6 cruises with carnival - I thought I would share some relevant comparisons that would highlight what each provide and what potential cruisers may find appealling Our family has sailed on Carnival Legend twice and Carnival Spirit 4 times and now on Pacific Explorer last week - all trips to pacific islands for snorkelling as the main event out of Sydney BOARDING - both lines have a smooth and efficient entry to the boat - we have never been delayed in 7 total cruises (always choose the earliest time possible to get lunch on boat - and arrive even earlier at Circular quay as they will let you board in the previous 30 minutes time slot if you dont have the earliest possible). Expect a 20 minute process. If possible book a cruise leaving from Circular Quay as White Bay terminal is a nightmare to get to, especially on day of return when all you want to do is get home fast !! ROOMS - we have always booked a Balcony room. Rooms on Carnival are well designed and include a lounge and desk with chair along with the beds - so reasonable size and comfortable. Room on P&O was alas a broom closet - with no lounge at all and poor use of space so for us with an additional 18 months old cot in the 2m x 2m living space - there was basically no room to live ! Bathroom tiny on P&O - functional on Carnival. Carnival have suitcases fit under all beds - P&O did not ! Toilets notorious for blocking on P&O - ours blocked on 2nd last day (and was fixed in about 8 hours)- Carnival we have never had an issue BALCONY - Carnival have lights on the balcony - whereas putting children to bed at 7 pm - lights out - with one parents staying with our 18 month old and 5 year old - naturally that parent would sit on the balcony reading etc etc - EXCEPT - you may not believe this but the P&O setup had balcony light built right next to curtain runner - BUT THE CURTAIN WAS ON WRONG SIDE OF LIGHT - meaning that the light shone into the room, not onto the Balcony when curtain closed !(rendered our balcony useless after 6 pm - kids were trying to sleep). We asked reception for a portable lamp but they refused our request. P&O actual balcony design is better - there is some shade areas on the side so if sun is out in force - you can sit there all day and find some shade - Carnival it is wider full view but sun blaring means its just too glary and hot at times out there -------------------------------------------- FOOD - the real difference here was one of frustration with P&O - in that they monetise all the great foods that you hope for on a holiday and that kids are looking for. Hamburgers - all paid $7 each on P&O - all free on Carnival. The burgers are both really nice with the Guy Fieri burger (free) slightly better and with more options than the Luke Mangan cafe paid burger. Pizza - 24hours and free on Carnival - rolled in front of you fresh for trad Italian thin crust pizza ready in 10 minutes. Pizza all filtered into specialist restaurant on P&O - $16 each - nice and more restaurant quality but Carnival was the nicer pizza and for free (there is no food after 9 pm on P&O - except small paid cafe) Ice-Cream - 24 hours and free on Carnival - none available on P&O except branded shop NZ Ice cream all paid Restaurants - both very high quality food and cant be faulted - cant separate them - 3 courses and can have anything you want and however much. Specialist restaurant on P&O - Italian - was really lovely. Dinner reservations were easier and better organised on P&O as it was a simple phone call but you did have to book every day - Carnival if you have any time dining you get a pager when you turn up and need to wait usually (but fixed dining you just walk straight in to your table with same waiters). P&O are going for more upper class quiet atmosphere in restaurant - muted lighting - whereas Carnival go for family oriented brighter lighting and have a song and waiters dancing (5 minute intrusion - Im not a fan of the silly carry-on)! Buffets - this is where there is a difference. P&O have gone for a food court, always served by staff approach with seven different stations - quality varied widely - Pantry layout worked very well in that we rarely if ever waited too long - lines were not too long. Stations are 1 Indian 2 Asian 3 Roasts 4 Pasta 5 Mexican 6 Fish and Chips 7 Desert Sugar Bar The Indian was disappointing as I was looking for the classic butter chickens, masalas, kormas and hardly ever had these sort of dishes - just dal after dal and lots of vegetarian naturally. Asian - this was the worst option - Australian want westernised Chinese like your honey chicken, lemon chicken, mongolian lamb, sweet and sour pork - instead this was really old stale boring trad Chinese - nasi goreng, lamb stir fry (hoi sin sauce with wet cabbage sitting in wok for ages with the toughest boot leather lamb ever) - and it rarely ever changed Fish and Chips - fantastic - as good as this can get Mexican - really nice variety and especially the beef dishes with nachos or wraps Pasta - alas really big dry pasta bakes - you would hope for fresh and replenished pasta staples but it really was average quality at best without much choice Roasts - seemed quite good - irish stew, hams, leg of lamb with a few veggies Desert Bar - the most disappointing of all - you really better like light cream cakes - they were nice but repeated every day ad nauseum - saw the Butterscotch cream cake 5 days in a row. We were hoping for some mousse, eclairs, donuts, slices, ice-cream, mud cakes, tarts, cookies but it was all so similar Ice Cream - none - see above - monetised Carnival buffet is different - self serve and served by staff - a lot more variety with multi dishes at many stations - but also some really average stuff but really delicious stuff - so I found Carnival winning in end because I could find really great things amongst stuff I didnt like but with P&O - quality was as described above and variety wasnt there Seating - could not find a seat at lunch time on P&O a number of times - so seating was inadequate - also happens a little on carnival but apart from first day - could always find a booth - overall same for both lines. --------------------------------------- SHOWS - Carnival have a 3 tiered theatre so that you can walk in with 1 minute to go and find a seat no problem. P&O have a 1 level theatre with massive seating issues - 2 times out of 4 I had to walk out as there was not 1 seat left. On last night - our children loved the Rock concert 2 nights previous - we intended to go back for the 90's pop concert - wetn early to get an aisle seat with an 18 month old - instead - we found 3 seats in the mobility seating - were told to move - and there were 80 people standing at back aisles on each side - there were simply not enough seats. I had to leave with my family arguing and staying in the back row - awful experience. P&O musicians superior to Carnival - rock concert they had a live band as well as the singers - and the musicians and mixing were superb - incredibly good - where Carnival show is more cabaret and still OK - but P&O better in terms of their musicians throughout the whole ship --------------------------------------- TENDERS Both lines do them pretty well -with P&O seeming to be better organised and not as rushed ---------------------------------------- SHIP LAYOUT - I absolutely love the top deck round lounges (pods) with cover and privacy - on Carnival boats - they would be the spot I spend the most hours in. Pillows - ocean views - wind protected - lounges angled so they are private - perfection ! Much to my chagrin I found the P&O boats had nothing to cater - simply nothing. Every single deck chair was turned facing inwards towards the pool / middle of boat squashed in like sardines and the two glass angled panels and framework blocked view to the ocean really badly. Generally P&O boat was cramped and no where near enough chairs - whereas Carnival I could name 4 or 5 reading spots or quiet spots where I loved to sit - indoors and out. The bigger boat pays off with this sort of stuff. Just not a lot to do on P&O - no basketball court, no soccer court, no running track, hardly any standup comedy - adult area was really lame and small on P&O. Bowls was complete waste of time because the ships movement meant the bowls did not track with curve - and space was too narrow - so no one ever played it. Elevators were a slow nightmare on P&O - much quicker and more of them on Carnival. With a pram, we waited for endless minutes as elevators did not come or were filled (ended up carrying the whole pram up 4 levels up stairs after standing for over 10 minutes after safety drill) OVERALL - we will not be cruising with P&O again - Carnival from now on. It really depends on what you are looking for but we found P&O signicantly inferior in many areas that affected the quality of the holiday. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
There is only two positives to this cruise. I got to see Glenn Shortock sing and I bought two handbags. I have cruised on this ship when it was the Princess Dawn to Fiji and had a wonderful cruise. Now it has changed to the Pacific ... Read More
There is only two positives to this cruise. I got to see Glenn Shortock sing and I bought two handbags. I have cruised on this ship when it was the Princess Dawn to Fiji and had a wonderful cruise. Now it has changed to the Pacific Explorer and attitude change. Staff were rude and ignorant. I went to Charlie’s bar at 8.15 pm last night to get a coffee(no one around) and there was five staff behind the counter and I waited 7 minutes (yes I timed it) before asking if anyone was serving and a reply back that they were a bit busy. ( they were standing there talking between themselves) The food in the pantry was the same every day. The entertainment was appaling. If you are going to have theme nights such as Gatsby night at least play music related to that period, not have a young band playing all the latest hits. Also the bands should at least know some songs which suit all age brackets as 75 percent would have been over 50. (The male dou weren’t too bad) I have on 17 cruises, 5 being this type of cruise and this would rate as the worst. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
As a fulltime carer I needed a short break, and wanted to try a comedy cruise. Got a good last-minute deal on a penthouse suite, with its nespresso machine, spa bath, huge balcony, canapes, afternoon teas. If I'd known this boat ... Read More
As a fulltime carer I needed a short break, and wanted to try a comedy cruise. Got a good last-minute deal on a penthouse suite, with its nespresso machine, spa bath, huge balcony, canapes, afternoon teas. If I'd known this boat rocks more than others we've been on, I'd have brought a wheelchair for my caree. As it was, had to rent one (other ships supply them free), and the $150 deposit took weeks to be returned. Worse, the chair given had stuffed wheel bearings, and was very difficult to push. Warning, the medical center has very limited opening hours. I must have been caught on cctv swapping the chair for one that worked, because I was roundly berated for doing so, never mind that renting a chair that doesn't work is a breach of contract. We'd heard good things about the Shell and Bone's fish pie, but for some reason it was off the menu, and we opted for the lobster. What an unmitigated disaster, a plate full of shell holding what might as well have been crab stick covered with what tasted like melted cheddar. Really should have complained. On the upside, Dragon Lady was quite good, and no surcharge. The Pantry does a reasonable paella, and fish and chips, but the queues can be insane, and you're not supposed to take stuff back to your cabin. Embarkation was delayed 3-4 hours, we were supposed to be priority boarding but had to queue for ages, we did not get the arranged wheelchair boarding assistance until we stalled halfway up those quite steep ramps. I wanted to like P&O, Australian currency, no tipping, local employers are all good ideas. But I probably won't cruise with them again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Having travelled a few months ago to Tasmania and enjoying myself decided on another cruise on Explorer, what a terrible cruise, Kids allowed to run a muck. I have never seen soo many snotty nosed crying uncontrollable kids. I came on this ... Read More
Having travelled a few months ago to Tasmania and enjoying myself decided on another cruise on Explorer, what a terrible cruise, Kids allowed to run a muck. I have never seen soo many snotty nosed crying uncontrollable kids. I came on this cruise to enjoy myself and some down time not to put up with children whos parents cant be bothered looking after them properly. The smoking on deck 7 near the Explorer bar was just awful creeping up to deck 8, the smell of pot on the Oasis deck that had been smuggled on board by a group as well as crew members smoking on deck also the amount of Adults allowed to drink in the spas and crew serving them. Where was the Security? fights beaking out on the ship.The disgusting Pantry floor and windows, went in for breakfast usual time 6.30am and floor was filthy from night before this continued all the way through the cruise so I ate in my room. What is up with the tender boats? sending back empty tender boats being told not to get on them when people are waiting to go back to ship. "Note to photo staff" when someone tells you four times they dont want the full photo package listen to them, very pushy. Why is the food not served at the proper temperature? COLD FOOD. I did not appreciate my cabin steward coming into my room whilst I was at breakfast, EARLY, to clean it at least wait till I put up the CLEAN MY ROOM SIGN. Watch the dogs on Isle of Pines they bite! and there are a few not so nice characters watching your possessions keep an eye out, as well as some not so welcome signs. I DO NOT recommend this ship for elderly passengers unless you enjoy unruly kids and second rate service save your money go elsewhere. I wont be cruising with P&O again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Travelling with a 14 year old and hoped all the extras activities would be great on the refurbish ship. Firstly the virtual video is not accurate. Refurbished external yes but certainly not cabins. We were in 10204 balcony bed was ... Read More
Travelling with a 14 year old and hoped all the extras activities would be great on the refurbish ship. Firstly the virtual video is not accurate. Refurbished external yes but certainly not cabins. We were in 10204 balcony bed was saggy, carpets old very tight space. I had a wheely walker and had to fold up to take in side. Meals in Waterfront were not much different to home meals, water fish main like soup, meatloaf as a example. Dessert nothing to write home about. Angeles not really Italian and Dragon Lady best but very small meals. They advertise anytime dinning but everywhere has to be booked. Do this as soon as on board. The biggest rip of is the extra activities. Zip line walk plank. Segway obstical coarse What a Joke. 15 meters on side of deck going around a few top hats (same as used on round works). My grandson and his father paid for the Gold Edge pass. Unlimited use of activities. The Edge centre was only open each day for a short time. Only able to do 2 activities each day. Plus different ones available each day. It cost the same for a 8 day cruise as a 13 night cruise. No complaints about staff except shortage of but others worked very hard as usual. No drink service in Pantry, line up. Pantry food cheaply made, scarcity of meat. Fish and chips best. Salad small but ok Will we go again. NEVER. Back to princess or Holland America. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was to be our last cruise of the pacific islands.Had traveled on this ship when it was the dawn princess. I found that the dining room were redecorated and split into 3 areas.I preferred it the way it was before. Dress rules were not ... Read More
This was to be our last cruise of the pacific islands.Had traveled on this ship when it was the dawn princess. I found that the dining room were redecorated and split into 3 areas.I preferred it the way it was before. Dress rules were not enforced at night. Often there were guest in shorts singlet tops and flip flops.There was no simulcast of the production shows.The theatre only holds about 600 people.There was no security or pool staff to supervise the use of the pool.The meals at the Pantry were often the same each day. Cold Cuts of meat were never provided for Lunch. The offering from Luke Mangans was the same each day (Boring) for which you had to pay extra for.This also was the case at the Waterfront Restaurant, A Steak there cost $17 and it was of poor quality. You need to avoid this!!! To summarise P&O need to upgrade the quality of there food and beverage to compete with other ships. This Ship is really low budget. It might suit some but not me. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I was travelling solo in a balcony cabin. Booking in via their web site & 4 phone calls to P & O took me 5 hours, 2 of the 4 people I spoke to over the phone told me they have a lot of problems with their web site. With hindsight ... Read More
I was travelling solo in a balcony cabin. Booking in via their web site & 4 phone calls to P & O took me 5 hours, 2 of the 4 people I spoke to over the phone told me they have a lot of problems with their web site. With hindsight I should have taken this as an omen early on & not booked with P & O at all. At check-in at the cruise terminal I was confronted by a loud aggressive male who aggressively snatched a small 330ml bottle of water out of my hand - apparently P & O are paranoid about passengers bringing their own liquid anything on board because P & O have the mindset that you wouldn't buy their overpriced liquids if you were allowed to bring your own on board - they are so paranoid that they have a luggage/bag scan that picks up liquids. In my trolley case I had a 'happy trip' gift wrapped 6 pack of lager so you can imagine what happened next, same aggressive white blokey demanded 'open the case!' (no 'please', no sense of humour, got deep psychological problems this bloke), the lager in it's pretty gift bag was confiscated & a female at a nearby desk who I felt sorry for, gave me a receipt to pick up package on morning of disembarkation from Charlie's Bar. I then proceeded to board & made my way to my cabin on deck 10. The cabin was quite pleasant, enough movable hangers for one person in double wardrobe, queen size bed, desk & chair, a bit of room to walk about, 2 chairs & table on balcony, bathroom very small but ok except usual crappy toiletries but I always bring my own (cruelty-free, natural & vegan) & wouldn't use their stuff. When I booked partly on-line I included a note under 'special requests' where I said "I am a vegan, I presume I can get some vegan food in one of the ships eateries, if not please let me know & I'll bring my own food" (I said this a bit tongue in cheek really) & there was a letter for me on the desk from one of the chefs who wrote under the heading (unbelievably) "Vegetarian", anyone who knows anything would know of course that there is a big difference between vegan & vegetarian, not just food but whopping difference in lifestyle. I never bothered contacting this chef who I think would probably be clueless & whom I wouldn't trust. I ate once or twice a day just in the Pantry because there you can serve yourself at the salad & fruit counters, I had same food every meal (cucumber slices, tomato slices or wedges, corn or peas, onion, lettuce and melon). It looked like at the hot food counter there were no separate containers of boiled potatoes, cauli, broccoli or any green veggies. In the Pantry dining area it was interesting watching the young female staff table-clearers who work efficiently & diligently who I imagine get wages & some would be sending most of those wages back to their families in their home country. I had a brief conversation with a couple of these young women. You could only get orange juice in the morning which was free, then they took the dispenser away, if you wanted orange juice any other time you had to pay. There were many instances where staff had their hand out for you to pay for something where you would think it would be free & included in cruise price. Entertainment & Activities: I did a couple of craft activities, origami & making a paper flower demonstrated by Tarryn in the Explorer Bar, the craft papers were free & I think all participants (25-35 of us) enjoyed the 50min workshops. The only entertainment I saw was The Tap Pack, 4 male tap dancers on stage who were quite good & pleasant in that they weren't lewd or crude in any of the spoken part of their act. I wanted to go swimming in one of the pools, where either side there is 2 hot tubs, the pool had a sign up "elderly (meaning over 55 which I am) people not allowed in the pool" then the standard safety cop out crap - how ridiculous this is, Dawn Fraser ("our Dawn") would not be allowed in a P & O pool because of their obsession with pettiness. I encountered another aggressive rude male - at the reception desk when I settled my $8 (I bought one Heineken lager) a/c, male said to me "$9" (no 'please'), I said to him "I was told it is $8" then he said "don't you want to give $1 to save the children?", I said "no thank you, I already give to save the children separately', I think the point is, apart from the aggressive attitude, passengers should be asked (politely) if they want to donate $1 or whatever $$amount & not have that money automatically added to their a/c without their knowledge, I think this beggars the question, is anything else being added to passengers a/c they didn't authorise. The gym is another issue, when I visited the gym there was no-one in charge just 6 or 7 males on the cycles. On the day of disembarking the system seemed to fall apart & people weren't disembarking in the order allotted to them, a bit of a free for all from deck 7 (quite a number of us sat around & didn't join the crush & dash & waited for the rush to ease off which of course it eventually did). There was no library on board. That morning I'd collected my confiscated gift wrapped 6 pack, P & O only alienate passengers with this & other pettinesses. After disembarking, it was good to see that the taxi system was organised & I was was very pleasantly surprised to find my taxi driver a female driver, very smartly dressed & very good driver, very pleasant. I was glad to be home Read Less
Pacific Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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