Pacific Explorer Cruise Review by james king
- Sail Date: August 2017
- Destination: Australia & New Zealand
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.
If I went on Explorer again, and had a balcony cabin. I wouldn't hesitate to choose this one. I saw the mini suites and they looked much better than other mini suites on P&O.