This was a very expensive trip, and the experience on the Oceanic Discoverer was truly awful.
Boarded in Broome and disembarked in Darwin for Australia Kimberly cruise. My cabin, C07, was noisy because of the way the water drainage in the ship is configured (this is confirmed by the ship engineer, Frank). Gray water collects, about 7 liters, then releases, through sections in the wall, every "x" number of cabins. A truly awful experience, and I had to wear earplugs to sleep.
The staff is very small, about 20-25 for a passenger list of 65+. They work very hard, but it doesn't make for a good passenger experience. Even the largest commercial cruise line (for example, Carnival) has a better staff to passenger ratio. First they are cleaning your cabin, then trying to serve food. Poor training, especially when I see the staff putting a glass in the ice bin to get the ice. A scoop should be used in case the glass breaks. The poor guy in the kitchen is overwhelmed, dinner service is very slow and the food is rarely hot. Breakfast and lunch were buffets. The food was cooked to death sometimes (gray beef - totally unrecognizable, only the menu gave a clue), other items were raw - fish. Some items, lamb, were inedible, they were so tough. The menu is limited and you see the same items often on a 10 day cruise. Ice tea and water were left on the bars for us to have at our pleasure. Problem was the pitchers were uncovered and the liquids were warm. Laminated dinner menus made their appearance at lunch time, sticking up in the middle of the tables. You had to pre-order your dinner. Breakfast eggs, etc were always cold.
The 'tinnie' the Explorer is a horrible way to travel. It felt like being on a boat ride from the old folks home. Couples split up to grab all the window seats. If you didn't have a window seat you couldn't see, or take a picture. As a single and wanting a window seat, I had to get out on deck early and be at the head of the line. The staff hated that. We had an engine malfunction and the tool kit on board was inadequate. They had to send our security zodiac back to the mother ship for more tools. We were fortunate in that one of our passengers was an experience boatman, and made a fix out of 'chewing gum and spit'. There were only 2 zodiacs and were rarely used. The microphone system on the Explore rarely worked, so not only did you need a window seat, but you needed a front seat! Raising and lowering the Explorer felt like a 'klugy' experience at best.
The lounge was used for presentations. No one ever did figure out the audio/video workings in that room. Truly exasperating. I was never so glad for a trip to end. It was a really bad experience. I've traveled a lot (over 90 countries by land, sea and air) and this trip rates as one of the worst I have ever had.
terrible, noisy, no safes