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.