Explorer Dream Review

3.5 / 5.0
63 reviews

Not as good as expected

Review for Australia & New Zealand Cruise on Explorer Dream
10+ Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Feb 2020

We got a twin ocean view cabin for about $98/nite pp which was cheap for a 7 night Tasmania cruise from Sydney. Embarkation was relatively smooth - much better than P&O's amateurish efforts. Dream Cruises come from Asia and are basically geared to cater for the Asian market. This could explain some of the issues we encountered. About half of the passengers were asian. The ship was a bit "quirky" but quite OK. I'm not sure what the Ancient Greek theme on the pool deck & the main restaurant was about, but was no big deal. The big cathedral rear windows in the main restaurant were great, and the theatre was nice, but a bit small for the size of the ship & number of passengers, and was located at the stern rather than up the bow like all other ships. The cabin was OK size-wise, not as tiny as Sun class ships (Sun Princess, Sea Princess & Pacific Explorer) but not as roomy as Voyager of the Seas or Pacific Jewel/Dawn. Not much hanging space and no drawers in the bed-side units made things a little difficult. The en suite was small as per most cabins. The sliding door on the toilet didn't - it was jammed open but would have been fairly non-functional if it was closed so we left it as it was. Shower was OK, vanity basin about normal. The bed was some cobbled-together-thing that was probably smaller than a double (yes smaller!) that was very high and hard. It also had a bow in the middle that felt like you were going to slide or roll off it either side if you let go of your death grip on the sheets. It was uncomfortable and the sole cause of poor sleep for the trip. A queen size probably wouldn't have fit very well in the cabin but I would have thought a queen was a basic minimum for a cruise? Dining! This is where we take a bit of a slide down hill. If you didn't get yourself there at their specified narrow times you literally missed out - not joking. Breakfast finished at 9.30 but they started pushing you out at 9.00 am by cutting off things like the "juices". Lunch finished at 1.30. Bad luck if you are a late luncher, they weren't interested. Dinner finished at 9.30 but they made no secret of being annoyed if you turned up around 9.00 pm. You should have seen them starting to take away the trays in the buffet, and shoveling the plates in front of you in the restaurant to get you to eat quicker. A really poor show I thought - eating to the cruiseline's imposed timetable? There were "snacks" provided at other times during the day but for the "whole ship" there were 4 small trays of ... uhm ... crap. Tasteless squares of pizza, tasteless oily triangles of something, and rum balls that were tasteless, oily and warm cake that were covered by half melted chocolate substitute. Yuk. The quality of the food in the main restaurant was OK. We had some nice meals there. Nothing special and the quantity was meagre but OK (so long as you didn't turn up late that is!). The buffet was, well, a bit of a joke most of the cruise. One side of the buffet was never opened for the whole cruise. The other side was generally half opened (that's 1/4 of capacity) except for a couple of big nights when almost all of the one side was opened. It was broken up into different sections that didn't seem to have any particular theme or food type. You just lined up and took your chances. For the first few times we went in the wrong way (each section seemed to have a different direction of entry & exit. Never mind, it wasn't a hanging offence but some of the asian passengers seemed to be annoyed by these non-compliant Aussies going in & out in the wrong directions. The food in the buffet was average to poor and the choice was limited to say the least. Enough said there. There were plenty of "pay" restaurants all over the ship where there seemed to be much more attention to detail, quality & choice. Fancy that! The entertainment was largely of world class standard. They really did put time & resources into the shows & music, but many missed out on the shows in the theatre because it was too small for the ship numbers and they didn't have a second session. Also, if you did go to the show, you missed out on dinner unless you ate around 5.00 pm. Amazing. The casino reminded me of an old country RSL in the 80's, but you could smoke at the pokies or the tables if you wanted if that's your thing (to cater for the asian customers basically). The tender service to Port Arthur was OK, not the amateur show that P&O often is. All of the scheduled ports were visited. Would we go with Dream Cruises again? It would have to be bloody cheap to get us back on board, all things considered, unless they get their service principles reset to serving their cruisers, not their ordered routines (and better food too!) (and a better bed too!).

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