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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2019
Having been on only 5 cruises in 16 years ( on 5 separate cruise lines), we don’t qualify as frequent cruisers, but we do regard ourselves as seasoned travellers. Our most recent trip was on the Pacific Dawn, which we picked up in ... Read More
Having been on only 5 cruises in 16 years ( on 5 separate cruise lines), we don’t qualify as frequent cruisers, but we do regard ourselves as seasoned travellers. Our most recent trip was on the Pacific Dawn, which we picked up in Darwin on the way from Singapore to Brisbane. The cruise suited us as a 6-day relaxing way of returning home to Brisbane from a holiday in Darwin. We had read the range of reviews of the ship’s recent voyages, and weren’t expecting too much. Consequently, we were pleasantly surprised. Pacific Dawn is probably in its twilight years, but has many good features. Ours was an outside cabin on deck 6, so by no means upmarket. Compared with other cruise ships we’ve been on, both the cabin itself and the shower were larger and better appointed. The bed was comfortable. Everything functioned properly, and the cabin staff were attentive and efficient. Because the journey had commenced several days before we joined the ship, our social contact with other passengers was limited. Most seemed to be enjoying the cruise, but we did hear quite a few complaints. Happily, they weren’t issues that affected us. Of course, we weren’t on board to add any notches to our cruising record or to tick off any bucket list items, so that may help to account for our genuine enjoyment of the experience. Passing through the Torres Strait and around Cape York was fascinating, with helpful explanatory commentary from the Bridge. The ship’s route followed the North Queensland coast as far as Airlie Beach, and the scenery was spectacular. Our only stop and shore venture was at Airlie Beach. The process of getting ashore by tender was slow and a bit frustrating, but returning on board was quick and efficient. Every night the entertainment in the Marquee theatre was first-rate. We did find the cruise director’s regular verbal intrusions on the performances and other ship’s activities to be long-winded and unnecessary - she has verbal diarrhoea - but that was a minor irritation. There were plenty of the popular cruise activities like trivia quizzes, karaoke and bingo, but we didn't take part in them. The food, in both the Waterfront Restaurant and The Pantry bistro was quite good. We did book one specialty dinner, in the Shell and Bones Restaurant, and found both the meal and the service quality to be outstanding. The price was also reasonable, and excellent value. We understand that this may not be a ship for the jaded cruise palate, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted somewhere different to the Pacific Islands and it suited our timeline. We flew to Singapore and had a few days there before embarking on the Dawn which was an easy process except for the “Taking” ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted somewhere different to the Pacific Islands and it suited our timeline. We flew to Singapore and had a few days there before embarking on the Dawn which was an easy process except for the “Taking” of our passports, with no receipt of SUCH. Wasn’t impressed by this. Our cabin was OK. Plenty of room for 2 people. I think it went downhill from there. Went to the Pantry to have a look, well if you call it a look. We could not see out of the very dirty windows. Can’t take decent photos through windows as they are all almost opaque, we were told it is because the ship is old and it’s on the inside of the double windows and can’t be cleaned. Just terrible. The whole ship is like this. Have to go on deck to see clearly, and not on the smoking deck or you almost suffocate in the smoke. Air conditioning, or lack of it in our room from day 1. Was eventually fixed albiet, could not adjust it at all, till the second last day when it died again and then we were offered a fan as a replacement!!!!! A couple of days in and our sink plug would not unplug. Their solution to this was to pull it right out and sit it on the side of sink which left a gaping hole, we could not fill and heaven help if anything fell down the hole. Then our toilet would not flush, first thing in the morning, both busting to go. It really was a nightmare with the plumbing. The rest of ship had many, many problems with toilets not working in public area and cabins, air conditioning only worked overtime in the Marqui area where it was freezing cold every day for activities and entertainment. No wonder everyone was coughing by the end. Apparently this virus has been on this ship for years as per other reviews. Now for the food, was fabulous the first night in the Waterfront restaurant, but it went downhill from there. Very strange combination of described flavours. Mostly you could not taste any of these. Fresh basil was described on one, well one miniscule flake of green was probably basil? Meat is also inedible. Veal saltimboka was full of gristle and unchewable. Orange, marzipan bread & butter pudding had no orange at all and not sure on the marzipan, I couldn’t tell. And, their signature “crispy cream puff” with passion fruit. What a joke. Dense, doughnut like ball with no passion fruit in sight, just maybe a touch of orange colour with no flavour is on the menu every night. YUK!!! The Pantry has a wide selection of different cultures of food but usually it is cold. All the food is out by 5 o’clock to feed the under 15 kids, but is there for the rest of us. It sits for hours if not popular. I had Indian food on the last night and when I tried it the rice was dead cold, the curried veggies were tepid and the curry almost cold. Could not eat it. So much waste. The bacon at breakfast is almost unchewable, the toast is cold and you have to go two or three stations down to get rock hard butter for your toast. Ridiculous!!!!! Now to the swimming pool. Postage size pool. Over 6 foot deep with vertical ladders at the sides. People could not stand in it, kids who could not swim could not use it. Very, very difficult to get out of it. There is a kids water play area next to it that used to be a pool. I think I only saw kids playing in it about 3 times. What a waste, could have been a shallow pool for the kids. Activities, they had lots of trivia but was so hard to get a seat or join in as there just isn’t enough seating areas except for the Marquis which they only used for bingo and night entertainment. Only had 1 movie in the Marquis area and it was packed. Should have used this area more but it was always freezing in there. Shore excursions are very expensive, but did one in Bali and the Komodo tour. Very well organised and enjoyed them both. Only got off ship yesterday morning so this is very fresh, had to be out of cabin by 6-30, what is with that?? Needless to say I will never ever do a P&O cruise again if this is there standard of service. Oh, almost forgot, on the morning of disembarkation we had our onboard account in our box outside door. There was a $30 onboard credit stated on there. I queried this and it was for compensation for aircon, toilet issues. I asked for it in cash, but no they said I could spend it onboard. On what, nothing is open when in dock. Laughable!!!!!!!! NEVER AGAIN Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
The following includes some activities/pitfalls to avoid or be aware of on P&O cruises overall the Pacific Explorer was a fun ship with some great people looking after you but P&O need to supplement their discounted fares so be ... Read More
The following includes some activities/pitfalls to avoid or be aware of on P&O cruises overall the Pacific Explorer was a fun ship with some great people looking after you but P&O need to supplement their discounted fares so be aware they are not happy just charging the cruise price they need to extract more to remain profitable. I’d estimate based upon prices and upsell pressure their looking at making $500 to $1000 per guest so add that to your cruise price when factoring in the cost. They also operate under a first and second class citizen model. Unless you book your tours with them or book a suite you’ll have to wait up to two hours longer to disembark at destinations which use tenders. That’s 10-20% less shore time if your a second class citizen. Then there’s the continual upsell it starts before you leave with about 20 messages in your cruise application about insurance and then they start abusing your personal email address with multiple messages even after you update your cruise app to reflect you do not need insurance. I got insurance for two people for less than what they charge for one. Before you jump in about it not being fit for purpose my wife is from overseas so we had to submit to the French embassy for a visa and they approved the visa with the level of travel insurance we had. The level of cover was not basic it was greater than the P&O offering in many areas. So only a rich fool would use the insurance offered by P&O. Then you get to your room and there’s two robes and an umbrella on your bed. Don’t break the seal on the plastic or you just incurred $75. All up there is close to $100 of “optional” up sell items in your cabin on arrival. Choosing your cabin. Deck 10 is probably the best others all have problem areas like deck 11 below pool deck, deck 9 above casino etc. remember level 7 has most of entertainment so avoid above and below. Now the departure process. If you don’t know you can drop your bags off at anytime so don’t drag them around as you visit the opera house or tackle the hills of the rocks area. They do have a lot of people assisting at checkin so it goes quite quick and usually you can get on before your allotted time just check when you drop your bags. Next the food I have seen posts ranging from its pigs slop to rave reviews. The range and preparation is good but there is a lot of lower grade cuts of meat so the food is just ok. It’s not top restaurant quality but it’s ok and you won’t go hungry. You also have to remember their catering for 2000 plus people and aim at the lowest common denominator so no strong flavors. Even if it’s Garlic Mushroom soup you’ll struggle to taste the garlic. We tried to eat dinner at the specialty and main restaurants as the taste was better but still some cheaper cuts and lack of strong flavors. We avoided the buffet for dinner but for a family it’s pretty good with kids with finicky tastes. You can go back as many times as you like no need to create a Mixed food mountain enjoy the taste of each separately and take your time. As soon as you get on board go down and book your restaurants for dinner on level 6 for the whole cruise you may miss one free drink but you’ll be better prepared for the rest of the trip. Dragon Lady and Angelos change menu about mid cruise so book one early and one late to sample the full range of their offerings. The entertainment is fantastic great musicians, shows. and entertainment but often too little of appeal is on at the same time so everyone is trying to get to the same thing. If you want to enjoy a show I recommend you get there 20 minutes early even for entertainment in the pubs as there won’t be a seat but one will open up in 15-30 minutes in the pubs if you can wait and stand for that long. Staff well there’s three categories and a specialist group. The people who look after your room are super friendly and happy to help with anything. The entertainers who on the whole are great professional and upbeat in the face of a number of rude and drunk people. Then there’s the general service people in the restaurants and shops. Most of them are very nice the rest rude arrogant, racist non service people. If you hate people that much change industries don’t continue in customer service. But the most annoying people of all are the photographers. Whether your trying to board the boat, relax on a deck chair, enjoying the departure party, your dinner or getting off at a departure point. They are there and get grumpy/disappointed if you say no thanks. They continually block passage ways, arriving piers, stairs, kick you out of chairs when listening to entertainment all so they can gouge money. Now 30 years ago before the iPhone, Samsung et al, I got the idea and need for a ship photographer but now I can take 100 snaps filter it down to 5-10 and get them made into prints wall hangings, coffee cups, plates, mouse Mats, T-shirt’s, a picture book, or even a glowing plastic replica of the moon with the photo etched in. I don’t need to be interrupted all the time by a predatory photographer who tries to sell me the print at a higher cost than the GDP of a small West Indies Island. $80 for three small 6x4 prints if you take advantage of the onboard discount. Ports of call if you are docking to a pier it’s busy for first 30 minutes but then it’s easy to get off the ship. If your stops involve using tenders you may as well give up for the first hour or more. Each tender takes about 15 to 20 minutes at least and cannot operate in rough waters. They use multiple tenders but are restricted by single point loading and unloading bottlenecks. Consequently they land about 6 boats each hour. Each holds about 100 people so with 2000 people on the boat that’s 3 hours to get them all transferred. No wonder so many stay on the boat. Next year they take on a bigger ship of 2500 capacity. Tenders are a 2000’s solution to a 2020’s world I’d cancel if I had a cruise with three tender stops again. The Shore Tours they do have a lot of them and the more popular ones book out very quickly so if you have your heart set on one book it early and suck up the high price tag. The sales pitch is all based on fear. “If you book a tour with us and your late we’ll hold the boat for you if you book with others you’ll miss the boat”, or my favorite which I think should be referred to consumer affairs “we have insurance so if something happens your covered if you book with the local providers they don’t so you won’t be covered”. So none of the local tour providers have insurance you know this for a fact? And it appears they are saying your travel insurance won’t cover you if you use a local tour provider. At the time of writing oxygen was still free but I’m sure P&O corporate are working on a way to charge you for that. I researched the price of food and drink before I left and it was probably a year old but most of the prices have gone up by about 10-15% some exceptions. CPI is running at 1-2% but in keeping with their pirate ancestors P&O can increase costs by 10-15% in a year or so. My wife forgot her conditioner so $8 for a small travel size bottle on board. 1st Lesson gentlemen the free shampoo conditioner is not the same so do not suggest that 2nd Lesson double check you have everything. Bottled water $5 a bottle with two bottles laying in wait in your room not for free but you guessed it upsell break the seal and your charged. Not all the food and drink is free and what is and what isn’t will surprise you. I had the premium drinks package and soft-drinks package which includes soft drinks and alcoholic drinks up to $13 but not tea or coffee and 600ml bottled water was free at the bars but I had to pay for water in my room. Now specialty ice cream you pay for but they don’t have any ice cream unless you buy the specialty ice creams so parents expect To pay $5-10 for an ice cream for your kids. No soft serve machine like all other buffets in the world. There is an Italian restaurant in the list of free restaurants but you can’t get pizza you have to buy that at a specialty pizza restaurant. You can’t bring water on board in your luggage but can bring 12 cans of soft drink each. Confused I think that’s the intent so you drop your guard and pay for something that’s not included in your package. Time to talk about the boat. It’s has seen better days despite this pig having a fresh coat of lipstick in about 2009 and a tidy up in 2017 it’s showing it’s original manufacture date of 1997. It sort of looks like they just paint over the rust and everything has this rough bubbly finish hiding the imperfections. TV’s and other appliances in rooms don’t work with quick turnarounds they don’t seem to have time to fix things. You will need a masters in Electrical Engineering to be able to work out how to switch on and off your lights in the cabin. On a positive note the public areas which have high traffic appear well maintained as with the deck chairs and cushions. There is a lot of things to do with most tastes catered for but with 2000 people all looking for privacy or a unique experience this isn’t going to happen. Repeat together “yes we are all individuals”. Finally check your bill. I had the drinks packages but still had charges for soft drinks on my bill totaling about $20 Luckily it was easy for me to get them removed but what if you didn’t have a drinks package how would you go trying to argue you didn’t incur those costs. I also had a charge where they over charged my wife $15 for a charge but couldn’t prove it so had to suck it up. Seemed a common complaint with many people saying they had additional items added to their bill. I think they make an extra $15-30,000 per cruise from these types of overcharges if you use my example and don’t get them rectified. In summary a cruise on the Pacific Explorer is overall a nice vacation nothing special. Adjust your thinking before you come even with drinks packages it’s not an all inclusive holiday. Also check if your happy to be second class or want to pay the extra for first class, also P&O don’t have any loyalty packages so you don’t loose anything by trying other providers so try the others next time. The use of tenders it’s past their use by date only use ports with pier facilities or have one tender stop maximum. Check your cruise and change accordingly. If P&O changed but one thing it would be free or at most cost price water in your cabin you shouldn’t profiteer from water and most importantly it would improve the demeanor of your customers who feel like P&O are breaching the Geneva Convention by charging so much for water. Positives Cabin and Entertainment Staff Good Adults Only Areas Boarding Process Rest and Relaxation Areas Food preparation Negatives Continual Habitual Up Sell Prices and Unregulated Increases Bland food not matching ambience and service Photographers Bottled water policy/price Deceptive tour sales Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Hi, my husband and I and 2 friends boarded this cruise on the 13th August to the New Guinea Islands. My first disappointment was the fact that we could not take on a pack of bottled water or the usual 2 bottles of wine on baord, like we ... Read More
Hi, my husband and I and 2 friends boarded this cruise on the 13th August to the New Guinea Islands. My first disappointment was the fact that we could not take on a pack of bottled water or the usual 2 bottles of wine on baord, like we could on every other cruise. And our first thoughts as we headed towards the boat was how tired and dirty the boat looked. As the cruise sailed up the Brisbane River, we all decided to get a cocktail to celebrate the beginning of our holiday only to find out that the cocktails we ordered had half the amount of alcohol in them. It was on another P & O Cruise that the bar staff taught us how to make Mudslides and Toblerones and these cocktails on the Aria were like chocolate milkshakes, the other drinks on the boat seemed to be watered down as well. Not impressed at all. This happened right throughout the cruise and when we questioned the bar staff they just said (It is company policy) which I can only gather is what they have been told to say. Not good enough. We wrote in a complaint at desk and asked to see someone higher up, which of course never happened. The next complaint is the variety of food in the Pantry Dining - poorer quality and poorer variety of food than any other cruise we have been on. We tried 3 other restaurants and was not happy with the amount of dishes to choose from, on there menu's and at these venues. Had much better on other P & O Boats. Then we went to see a show - because of the layout and low tiering of the seats in the Marquee - we could not see the stage performances hardly at all, and in the end, we had to get to the Marquee sometimes 3/4 of an hour earlier just to get a seat in front of the glass petitions on the top level to be able to see the show. Then there was the trivia - we learnt early that we also had to get to trivia at least 1/2 hour beforehand just to get a seat and many people just walked away in disgust. When we ordered drinks from any venue (except the Dome room) we had a long wait. Any venue that had a good entertainer at it, just got swamped with people and there, again, was no where to sit. The layout of the boat is very poor. The adult pool on the back deck didn't even have 1 spa - this has never happened on another ship. Pretty poor. The only 2 spa's on the main deck were usually full of kids and parents. The amount of toilet facilities around the boat were very poor and outdated. None I found had more than 2 toilets in them. We were all very disappointed with this cruise ship and would never go on it again and this was not just our opinion - there were people on the boat that told us how disappointed they were as well. The only good thing I could say about the boat is that the rooms were nice and that the staff cleaning our room were very good. I feel this trip was not worth the money we spent on it. The only way P & O will get us back on their boats is to give us a free cruise to prove they have changed their policies and maybe ditch the Aria boat or give it a make over. I feel terrible to make this sad revue but feel it is necessary to do so and hope P & O read it and make plans to rectify situation before more people right more sad revues. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Embarkation - we flew up to Brisbane (from Canberra) on the morning of the cruise, this is something we would not normally do as if flights are disrupted we could have missed the ship. We arrived at Portside at around 11.15am after a $30 ... Read More
Embarkation - we flew up to Brisbane (from Canberra) on the morning of the cruise, this is something we would not normally do as if flights are disrupted we could have missed the ship. We arrived at Portside at around 11.15am after a $30 cab ride from the airport. We were able to check- in (despite our time being 12.30) and it went fairly quickly despite the line, as we were on the ship by 11.45am. We went straight to the Waterfront for lunch and we were told the rooms were already accessible. The ship - Pacific Aria - it was clean and tidy and relatively good condition despite it's age. We like the design of this class ship and with only around 1200 pax aboard it doesn't feel crowded. The cruise passengers were mainly Queenslanders, with family groups and such but not that many children. Overall it was a fairly old demographic (I would guess the av age around 70+). Service was excellent all around the ship. Food was good in the Waterfront (4 nights) and excellent in Dragon Lady (3 nights) and Angelos (3 nights), and the pantry had great selections with Mexican, Asian, indian, sandwich, fish and chip, roast, salad and dessert stations. The waterfront was open for lunch every day (even port days) and we used it often as well as for breakfast most days. Ports Alatou - we used Jaywood tours ($60pp for the two of us), which was good and they took us all over the place visiting numerous sites and highlights. We would recommend utilising the Cruise PNG page on FB which has numerous recommendations. If you want the Cultural show, Alatou tours is best utilised or the ship's tour. Kitava Island - we couldn't tender due to winds, but we were going to swim and snorkel. Rabual - we used Scenic tours ($85pp and we were put on a bus with around 10 others). It was the Volcano, town and WWII tour and was excellent, it took close to 7 hours and mainly due to road conditions slowing the drives. Kirawina Island - we swam and looked at the stalls and the village, took a canoe ride, it was low tide so snorkelling was difficult. This is the place to buy any woodwork as the selection was huge. Use up all your Kina here as well. Conflict Island - great island beautiful swimming and snorkelling. Food and drinks ashore are reasonably priced and you need to buy vouchers for the purchases (they accepted AUD and Kina). We took 210 Kina with us and had bought some dresses and shirts for our granddaughter as well as some drinks, the rest was used as tips and gifts as well as swapping our left over Kina for AUD at Kirawina as they cannot change the AUD. Debarkation - had to be out of the cabins by 6.30am (explains why the rooms were ready so early on embarkation day), we did the walk off and was in a cab by 6.45am. Overall, the cruise was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We always said we would not cruise with P&O Australia as it always receives such dismal reviews but they offered a cheap Auckland to Brisbane 4 night comedy cruise and we thought let’s try it as it is better than flying and if we ... Read More
We always said we would not cruise with P&O Australia as it always receives such dismal reviews but they offered a cheap Auckland to Brisbane 4 night comedy cruise and we thought let’s try it as it is better than flying and if we hate it it is only 4 days, We have cruised all the cruise lines and over a 100 cruises so are the first to admit a little jaded and critical. Well we were impressed with the decor of the ship on boarding as the public rooms and pool area are very modern in decor and still in good condition. The staterooms are original Holland America decor but still tidy and comfortable and very spacious. We had stateroom 10062 with a balcony which was a good position for the pantry and access to the pool etc. The food overall was good in all restaurants and the service was excellent and much better than we thought it was going to be. The production shows were fantastic and some of the best shows and singing we have seen on a ship for a long time. There were lots of activities on during the day and with lots of children on board it seemed to keep everyone happy. The drinks at the bars were priced ok and included all service charges unlike HAL and Princess who add 15% on top of the menu prices. The staff were all friendly and very efficient and so nice to see Pacifica staff onboard to add to the flavour of the cruise line being based in Australia and NZ. It is definitely a family oriented ship but a few too many children for our liking as we are at a stage in life that we like a quiet time. Well done to P&O and your wonderful staff you managed to impress us! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Chose this cruise because it was going to Singapore , what a mistake , smell of sewerage everywhere , our toilet kept blocking up .Over crowded ,swimming pool was more like a bath tub .Had to wait hours to get on and off ship by tender ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was going to Singapore , what a mistake , smell of sewerage everywhere , our toilet kept blocking up .Over crowded ,swimming pool was more like a bath tub .Had to wait hours to get on and off ship by tender .Staff as usual were excellent hpwever management treated everyone lime cattle .Never again ,got charge for visa to Timor , only out about the day before we arrived there , then price went up 33 1/3 % overnight . Lined up everywhere for food , half the time couldn't get a seat when dining or for shows . Found most ot the staff who were higher up in rank rude and arogant . The ship itself is old , there is rust everywhere and bits were actually falling off .A lot of the facilities were out of order and were never fixed the whole time we were on the cruise . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise as we wanted to go to the Darwin Cup and Komodo Island. All that dates aligned with the ship docking in Darwin on the date of the Darwin Cup. Paseptic Doom Room 8107 -do not go there. I was so excited to be ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted to go to the Darwin Cup and Komodo Island. All that dates aligned with the ship docking in Darwin on the date of the Darwin Cup. Paseptic Doom Room 8107 -do not go there. I was so excited to be going on a cruise, Brisbane to Singapore, with stops at Port Douglas, Darwin, Timor Leste, Komodo Island and Benoa Bali. I had read some bad reviews and also some good reviews about the Pacific Dawn and I decided to go with the the good reviews. I booked an interior room and were surprised to have been given a complimentary upgrade to cabin 8107, obstructed view. The first night we noticed our floor vibrating, then the loud noise from the band, then karaoke (help me please). We made the decision to not come back to our cabin till after 11.30 to avoid this. We had a great few days enjoying the ship. The decor is very modern, and we soon settled in to ship life. Day 2 my partner came down with very bad head congestion and rough cough. By Day 6 I also had it. So we did not contaminate others, we lay low and and hid in our cabin. That’s when we noticed the little laneway outside our cabin carrying all kind of engineering/ seamen past our cabin window. One whole afternoon they were grinding metal outside our windows. So curtains closed during the day, and noise till 11.30 pm each night. As we disembarked in Darwin to head to the chemist for medication, we noticed a couple of 100 more people with the same problem cough. After we were feeling a little better and not contagious we ventured out. One night in the Marqee lounge, the chorus of coughing was louder than the entertainment. My guess would be that the air conditioning on this ship is very sick. We washed our hands thoroughly, used the sanitiser, I sanitised our cabin twice a day with eucalyptus spray. You can’t catch it through the food handling as the staff handle all the food. So I am guessing if you go on this ship get a balcony cabin so you can have fresh air. I am sitting by the pool right now and it is a chorus of coughing. Now down to the sewerage problem. The first couple of days all was fine, then a massive sewerage smell started sweeping over the ship. Staff outside the Marquee were spraying air freshener on to the carpet to try to cover it up. The smell was very dominant around deck 7,8,9 and 11. This is not good enough P&O. This is a major health risk to your staff and your passengers. I do hope that this is your major priority of your 2 week dry dock in Singapore. Getting off the ship at tender ports. It is so slow. Arrive Bali at 8.00am, still trying to get off at 12pm. Not complaining as I can see the problem, but just be aware if you book tours privately. Promenade bar is a great spot to get a serious drink and unwind before dinner. A very big Thank-you to John and Bella for looking out for us. Orient Bar Too noisy for me, always trivia, games, karaoke going on , but way to loud for my tastes. The Pantry Food acceptable, the only problem for me was if I wanted butter with my toast, I had to line up in 2 queues, as the butter did not live with the toast. A good concept of a food court style. Stops germs spreading. Food was ok, service was excellent. The Waterfront Gone are the days of having the same table for dinner every night. But it was ok, we got used to it. The food was of an acceptable standard and the service was efficient. Salt Grill What a disappointment We had dined here previously 10 yeas ago on the Jewel. It was brilliant back then. I ordered sashimi scallop. There was more potato on the plate than scallop, and covered in a green herb sauce that totally over powered the delicate taste of the scallop. I had a steak that was a little on the tough side for main. I had the cheese for dessert, which was the smallest serving of cheese I have seen on a platter. All in all very bad value for money at $59 per head. Nice wine list though. We also had the afternoon tea at Salt Grill which was very good at $29. I wish they would change the menu as I would have liked to this again. Chefs Table Pre dinner canapés with Australian Sparking, followed by a 7 course degustation. This was a lovely meal, the standout dish for me was the lobster bisque We had Tuna Lobster Bisque Barramundi Strawberry Daquiri Steak Mango dessert Cheese platter All dishes had accompanying Australian wines. It was a very well balanced out menu Shell & Bones Thanks Kylie for a wonderful night. The food was what I expected and the prices reasonable. We ended up esting here Twice The Grill Perfect Pizza, excellent. The Spa Did not go to the spa as the prices were off the charts. I really wanted a masssge but not at those prices. I wonder how many people would book treatments if the prices were not so high. Our Cabin 8107 Very clean, our steward James was fantastic looking after us in every possible way. Hot water is magically hot and pressure is the best. But as above, do not book this if you want privacy or peace and quiet. The Orient bar runs all day and concludes at 9.45 and some nights 11.45pm. All access tour. I really wanted to do this, it was something I was looking forward too. We had the access all area’s tour booked, but we are both so sick and we don’t want to affect anyone else’s holiday. The staff are amazing, they go above and beyond any request possible. If it were not for the bad cabin and illness I would rate this a really good cruise. Day Trips Port Douglas Too rough to tender. Darwin Went to the Darwin cup, the buses run for free from the city service. The set up on the day is great, Hundred of long tables under cover for the public. Timor Leste We chose to tour privately with Timor Adventures. The tour was great, but we were pushed for time due to the tender process getting off the boat. Our tour was scheduled to leave at 9am, but it did not leave until 11am, whilst we waited for people to get off the boat. We drove out to the old fort, stopped at an old gaol, seaside lunch, Cristo Rei and the cemeteries where the massacre was. We learnt a lot about the struggles of the people of Timor Leste. Komodo Island We booked a private tour here with Beyond Komodo Tours. It was the highlight of my trip. We had a small group tour of the dragons, sighting 7 in total. We then went on a boat to Pink Beach where we were given snorkelling gear and were dropped straight on the the reef. It was spectacular, beautiful corals and a multitude of fish. Then we were served a delicious lunch of prawns, calamari, chicken, eggplant and stir fry with rice and noodles. Thankyou Leo from Beyond Komodo. This made our trip. Bali Another private tour in a car to Ubud, we visited the monkey forest, a traditional housing compound and a Lewakcoffee house. As we struggled to get off the ship again due to tended, we missed 4 hours of our tour. We used Hire Bali Driver. Leo was very good trying to fit in as much as possible. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Here is the short version of my review. My longer detailed version is below. If you are a first time cruiser with no expectations and you are looking for an average cruise on an average ship with an average crew the pacific dawn is ... Read More
Here is the short version of my review. My longer detailed version is below. If you are a first time cruiser with no expectations and you are looking for an average cruise on an average ship with an average crew the pacific dawn is perfect for you. However, if you are an experienced cruiser with expectations for anything above the bare minimum I would absolutely avoid this ship and this cruise. Long version: this was the first time my wife and I had ever cruised with P&O and it will be the last. We paid a little bit more with Holland America but we had a much better experience! I can't say anything was really TERRIBLE about P&O and the Pacific Dawn but there was nothing above the bare minimum either. There was rust in our cabin and on the outside of the ship. The ship is 28 years old and it is dated and worn out. Half way through our cruise some of the toilets on the lower decks started to back up and smell really bad. Our bed was nice but the pillows we were given were terrible. The crew were nice enough and were never rude but most of them never went out of their way to learn our names or give us anything above the bare minimum. The food was not bad but it was very average. We were not impressed. P&O also charges 5 dollars or more for all the extras (ice cream, hamburgers, hotdogs etc) the only food they don't charge extra for is the food served at breakfast, lunch or dinner The on board entertainment was not bad but again, it was very average. Their "library" is a mobile book cart and the selection is extremely limited. The TV in our room wasn't on demand. If you wanted to watch something you had to plan your day so you wouldn't miss the movie. Now for the positives: P&O does not charge that daily gratuity fee which is very refreshing. Additionally, not every show or every meal were terrible but overall, both the shows and the meals were just average. They did offer a free kitchen gallery tour which many other cruise lines charge upwards of 50 dollars for. That was neat. Also our room stewards really did a good job taking care of us. Some of these complaints might seem petty but as experienced cruisers we just expected more and were disappointed. But as the old saying goes, "You get what you pay for". P. S. Full disclosure, after we disembarked in Singapore P&O claims they are putting the ship in dry dock for 12 days and renovating everything. Unfortunately we weren't on board the ship again to see the results. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Our 1st ever cruise was some 10/12 years ago on P&O Pacific Star. Well, haven't things changed (for the better). We were very happy with the offering from P&O and in particular the crew on board the ship. They were a credit to ... Read More
Our 1st ever cruise was some 10/12 years ago on P&O Pacific Star. Well, haven't things changed (for the better). We were very happy with the offering from P&O and in particular the crew on board the ship. They were a credit to the Company and although the ship is an older vessel (certainly showing external signs of age) the vibe on board was friendly and efficient and the crew appeared (primarily) to enjoy their job. Admittedly we did have lower expectations having travelled with the more highly rated Celebrity and Princess Lines, however we were overall quite impressed with the majority of aspects onboard. A special mention to the bands. . . both Popcorn and The Lazy Leis were fantastic and the jam session on the last evening involving all performers was truly memorable . . . very talented. On board crew shows were excellent, a couple of guest performers are past their use by date and appeared to be simply topping up their super. Production shows were considered to be a significantly higher standard - crew shows were particularly entertaining viz LipSync Battle. Having Petro Civoniceva on board was a nice touch as well. . .thanks to him for his valuable time and open participation. A couple of constructive comments . . . the Tendering situation needs work - whoever made the decision to honour the tickets from the aborted tender operation in Port Douglas in preference to distributed tickets for Dili needs to consider their future. . . a real howler. Actual Shore time was significantly reduced in both Dili and Bali due to sea swell and the large number of Ships Tours and "Priority" passengers. Made our own arrangements re a tour in Timor Leste and also Bali - understand cruise coys favour their own shore excursions though we prefer the small group experience v's a coach load. Anytime dining in the Waterfront took a few days to sort out - many passengers had made permanent bookings which meant there was initially up to an hours wait for anytime dining - this resolved itself after 4 nights when some perm bookings were a no show and therefore cancelled. Could easily do with an additional lunch menu in the Waterfront restaurant for variety . . .only 2 menus for the 14 days. . . though there was the variety in The Pantry. Drink prices are excessive though consistent across all lines - what did happen to duty free prices??. . .would like to see a similar policy to that of Princess. . ie allowed to bring a bottle of wine pp onboard. There was sufficient entertainment with usual trivia etc however big screen movies were heavily weighted in favour of children's themes and animations - this despite the small number of children on board. Special mention to the Captain for his accessibility and daily broadcasts - very approachable and informative (luvs his "Minions") . Upon arrival in Singapore, we skipped the long taxi lines and got the MRT direct to the Airport for flight back to BNE. Very efficient disembarkation, despite the fact the ship was advertised as docking at Marina Bay - instead we turned up at Harbourfront - this caught many off guard. Singapore has such a great public transport system - even with luggage. Extremely happy with our decision to revisit a P&O Aust classic ship - overall a good value for money cruise - we will be back. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I wish to make a few comments about my recent 3 night comedy cruise aboard P&O Pacific Dawn from Brisbane. I have travelled on this ship for a previous South Pacific Cruise as well as several cruises aboard Princess and Norwegian ... Read More
I wish to make a few comments about my recent 3 night comedy cruise aboard P&O Pacific Dawn from Brisbane. I have travelled on this ship for a previous South Pacific Cruise as well as several cruises aboard Princess and Norwegian cruise lines. I felt that the standard of customer service on the Pacific Dawn has declined to almost deplorable level, most notably the friendliness of staff and their readiness to offer help. The meals were mediocre at best. The choices were limited and it was a struggle at some meals to find something appetising. I also felt that there is a culture of penny pinching, as in everything is at an extra cost. As an example I was shocked at The Indulge menu in the main dining room, at an extra cost. And The Grill has a fee for food items. We did visit Salt and enjoyed our meal but I was violently ill a few hours later and believe the sea scallops were to blame (I commented to my fellow diner at the time that they tasted a bit strange). The ultimate insult was to be asked to vacate our cabin at 6:30am on our disembarkation day. This was our holiday, not bootcamp. Lots of very grumpy travellers that morning! Breakfast was offered until 7:30am on the last morning but was served in a rushed brusk manner. Add to all this the unpleasant smells in some corridors, the slow lifts which would sound fault alarms when they were half full, the blocked toilets on various decks, and the very inappropriate locations of Trivia and other social events (the lobby???, really) which were much too small for all the attendees, and you can perhaps understand why I am disappointed with the way the P&O experience has declined to the point that the brand is being harmed. Cheap can be good, but cheap and nasty is NEVER good. Regretfully I will not be travelling with P&O again on my future cruises, since standards have dropped a step too far, and with plenty of competition I will be looking for more pampering and attention in the future. Good Points: The bed was comfortable, and the comedy acts and other entertainment were very good. Embarkation was quick and easy. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose the Great Barrier reef 10 night discovery in a balcony room. The positives Housekeeping and entertainment were good with no issues. There are a few negatives The food particularly in the pantry was bland and dry. No ... Read More
We chose the Great Barrier reef 10 night discovery in a balcony room. The positives Housekeeping and entertainment were good with no issues. There are a few negatives The food particularly in the pantry was bland and dry. No variety unless you like curry or a roast. The breakfast options were a bit better. The waiters never came to us to offer a drink, They clean tables only. On Princess Cruises they routinely would ask if you wanted a drink. That counts for paid drinks as well. On that note, without the drinks package all that was included was water or watered down orange juice. The poocific explorer on some days there was a sewerage smell around deck 12 and even in our room. We notified reception and they sanitized our room promptly to their credit. Also they don't tell you at time of booking that the waterslides cannot be used at the reef. Travelling with a child we would have liked to have been informed. I think i will stick to princess cruises Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having downsized our large property after our children left home we’re now in a situation where we can spend money on traveling to the places that we have been dreaming about for years, the question was where to start first? Having done ... Read More
Having downsized our large property after our children left home we’re now in a situation where we can spend money on traveling to the places that we have been dreaming about for years, the question was where to start first? Having done a reasonable amount of Australia when our children were growing up, we decided that a trip to our local House of Travel in Motueka to investigate cruising was the best place to start. Friends and family had already been on Princess Line cruises with great feedback on how much they had enjoyed themselves. After seeing what was available to suit our schedule and what we considered to be the best value we decided on the Fiji Encounter with P&O and promptly booked and paid for our tickets. Excitedly we returned home and started further researching our dream breakaway only to be horrified by the online reviews of what seemed to be the holiday from hell so if you’ve just found yourself in this situation I want you to take a breath and relax, Pacific Aria is not five stars but be realistic you haven’t paid for five stars so if you board Aria with a determination to have a great holiday you won’t be disappointed. The ship; Pacific Aria is the smallest ship in the P&O fleet but still packs in all the features that you would expect on the larger ships just on a smaller scale. I would have to say that the Aria is not the greatest ship that I’ve traveled on after we encountered a few days of rough weather, neither of us suffers from motion sickness but there were onboard reports of our fellow travelers struggling with the conditions. Our advice would be to take a sea legs tablet the day before you depart and keep taking them for the remainder of your cruise if you’re concerned about seasickness. We had a balcony room on deck 10 and the condition of the room had lost a bit of its gloss from new and could do with a refresh up. Still, it was very clean, and our room Stewart’s were amazing at keeping it spotless. Again, the Aria is not five stars and we spent very little time in our cabin anyway. The restaurants and bars have faired better and still retain a lot of the original shine. Dining; This is where we feel that the Aria has been unfairly slammed the most in online reviews, so we took special note of what was on offer. The Pantry, is where you can eat as much as you like pretty much when you like and has a good selection on café type food it looked well stocked and clean we only had one quick lunch here and it seemed to be on par with other cafes that we’ve grabbed a quick bite at when in a hurry. In short nothing spectacular but by no means bad. The Waterfront restaurant is where you can dine for all three meals on sea days and has a varied menu with great service. We tried a bit of everything, and it was nicely prepared if slightly lacking in imagination. Again, they’re preparing a lot of meals and dealing with a lot of dietary needs, so we gave them a solid 7 for food and a 10 for service. Angelo’s is one of the two specialty restaurants onboard the Aria that is included in your fare and is well worth a visit. We dined there twice and sampled both menus A and menu B. Angelo’s has beautiful décor and good service. We gave Angelo’s an 8 for food and an 8 for the overall dining experience. The Dragon Lady; “Wow” This is not what we expected when we paid our fare, we would have to rate Dragon Lady as one of the best restaurants that we’ve dined at. This is qualified by over forty years of combined experience in the hospitality and service sectors. We gave menu A, a well-deserved 10 and Menu B a solid 8. Service was exceptional. We dined there on four occasions and would’ve gladly eaten there every night. This is the best GF menu that we’ve ever seen, anywhere! Just needs another GF dessert option on menu B. Salt Grill by Luke Mangan; This is billed as the best dining experience onboard P&O and is the only place where you have to pay an additional surcharge so we were looking forward to something special and at the risk of upsetting our Aussie brothers and sisters we were underwhelmed with both the menu and the service. The food is good, it’s just not as good as it’s hyped up to be and we found the service to be slightly arrogant. In fairness, I do have a GF diet so maybe some of the ingredients had to be removed from the dishes, but this wasn’t an issue elsewhere on Aria. We gave Salt Grill a 7 for the food and a 7 for service. Entertainment; this is where the Pacific Aria shines as the production shows held in the Marquee are world-class with slick choreography and singing which is supported by great lighting and sound. Our favorite was Johnny Balance the Comedian Magician who had us laughing so much that it hurt. Name that tune with Georgie, Cruise Director Cole’s morning Trivia, Bingo with Cameron, Pacific Popstar and the riotous Rock the Room were some of the other standouts for us. Unfortunately, the Ocean Bar is just not big enough for all of those wanting to participate in the fun. This is also where the Aria fell short with the themed parties that were a bit of a let down as we had visions of us dancing the night away in a grand setting, but full marks must go to Cole and his wonderful team. If you can’t find something fun to do on the Aria, we would suggest that you check your pulse. Music and Bars; There is a range of theme bars with matched live music that is of a high standard our favorites were Kawai and Ian Berry, but they were all great. As far as the bars go the Blue Room was the standout for us due to the excellent service and late-night coffees. It’s a great place to chill out reading with a premium coffee during the day or to enjoy live music and a cocktail in the evening. We would also like to rebuff the online nonsense regarding short poured drinks as the drinks that we watched being made were always prepared using the correct standard measures. Bar hygiene was also of a very high standard. We weren’t cruising with any children of our own and there was plenty on board, but we hardly ever saw them we can only assume that they were locked away in the engine room or having the time of their lives in the kid’s clubs and pools. Shore excursions; These were of an acceptable standard for us but we would suggest that P&O send some undercover team along from time to time to make sure that standards are being maintained our tour guides were great on the bus but left us to our devices once we arrived at our destinations. We found a lot more was on offer once we moved away from the group and went exploring on our own. The standout was the amazing cultural shows and singing. The only bad point was the tender trip into Port Denarau which took an hour in very hot and humid conditions. Overall, we had a great time cruising with P&O and would do it again on one of their bigger ships but in saying that the letdowns due to the size and age of Pacific Aria were expertly papered over by the outstanding crew. Pacific Aria is still a fun place to spend a value-packed holiday and a great introduction into the world of cruising. David and Gaylene, Motueka NZ. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
this cruise was amazing, coming with one side of the family it was a fantastic trip. Everyone was always occupied and the activities couldn't have been better. There were lots of shows to watch and parties to go to. Our room was a bit ... Read More
this cruise was amazing, coming with one side of the family it was a fantastic trip. Everyone was always occupied and the activities couldn't have been better. There were lots of shows to watch and parties to go to. Our room was a bit small, but our room stewards couldn't have been better. Every day there were great activities on for the whole family, which varied from White parties to Gatsby dance classes. The food in the pantry was pretty good, but could have been better if there was a bigger range. The pizza restaurant on level 8 served amazing food, and so did Dragon Lady (level 5), the only disappointing part was that it cost more to eat at these places.Our cruise travelled to Noumea, Maré, Lifou and Isle of Pines. This trip had been going smoothly until day 6 when the weather in Maré was miserable, as it was raining all day, when we reached Isle of Pines the following day (the last island) we were told that we weren't going to be getting off the ship due to the swell. The rocking of the boat was definitely noticeable throughout most of the trip but sailing with P & O Pacific Explorer was great!. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Our 1st cruise and I booked P and O because of their $1 deposit. I've seen and heard many negatives ,particularly the Pacific Dawn. I couldn't fault our cruise at all - and I can be hard to please. But I really think some ... Read More
Our 1st cruise and I booked P and O because of their $1 deposit. I've seen and heard many negatives ,particularly the Pacific Dawn. I couldn't fault our cruise at all - and I can be hard to please. But I really think some people just like to complain and whine about nothing. From our boarding to disembarking the crew were fabulous. I found the food great (if I didn't like what I got , I went and tried something else). The people that looked after our room were warm and friendly, basically at your beck and call They remembered mine and the kids names after 1st meeting us. Waiters serving us pre dinner drinks remembered from the 1st night what cocktail I liked. The evening shows are world class. I thoroughly enjoyed them every night. The activities, whether family orientated or for myself were plentiful and fun. I absolutely was in awe of everything. These holidays are really what you put in and make of it. My family and I had a fantastic time. The best value holiday ever. And if P and O is an entry level cruise , I can't wait to try another cruise line. But I would also book another p and o without hesitation My only and biggest regret...... I didn't book one long enough. As soon as I boarded I knew 4 nights was not going to be long enough. New cruise addict here! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have cruised P&O many times from Brisbane as we do not have a lot of options for local ships - until 2020 at least. We were blown away by the service of almost all groups on this ship. The folks running the Edge program are ... Read More
We have cruised P&O many times from Brisbane as we do not have a lot of options for local ships - until 2020 at least. We were blown away by the service of almost all groups on this ship. The folks running the Edge program are AMAZING, and everyone we encountered in the dining rooms / stateroom attendants/ restaurants were fantastic. Sadly there were too many issues with this cruise to recommend anyone travel on the Pacific Dawn. The water supply to our cabin was polluted (*see cabin info below). The food was ordinary at best - with the exception of Salt Grill which was amazing. My wife has coeliac disease, and sadly the labelling on items in the buffet was either incomplete or factually incorrect. An example was a soup at the asian area that said Gluten Free - but when I quizzed the staff I was told no - there is soy sauce in this. The waterfront restaurant made attempts to modify some dishes (dinnertime only) and these were of an ok standard. We had a lot of photos taken as part of a photo package, sadly when we checked the USB drive once at home only a fraction of the photos we selected were actually on this USB disk. This was heartbreaking as we had some wonderful dress-up shots taken of our children. I can only put this down to lazyness of the staff in the photo area. The ship is rusty and tired (it was sad seeing the rust hastily whitewashed over when in lovely Pacific Island ports) the eateries never have enough seating space and have comparably short open hours compared to Royal or Princess. Whilst the waterslides are great, they do not make up for the tiny pool or limited deck chairs on the Lido deck for a cruise with 500 children onboard. Unless you can only afford a 3 day trip from Brisbane or have never cruised before - steer clear of this ship. I took a $600 hit to the pocket by cancelling another cruise I had booked rather than sail on the Pacific Dawn - or probably with P&O - ever again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Chose this cruise as Fiji, Mystery Island & Mare were destinations not previously been to. Whilst the weather cant be controlled by P&O the destinations & experiences are controllable. Upon arrival in Suva on a Sunday the ... Read More
Chose this cruise as Fiji, Mystery Island & Mare were destinations not previously been to. Whilst the weather cant be controlled by P&O the destinations & experiences are controllable. Upon arrival in Suva on a Sunday the tour guide on the bus informed us that on Sundays most attractions are closed but at the end of the tour would take us to the only establishment open on a Sunday being the local souvenir establishment. It doesn't make sense that P&O would schedule a cruise to arrive at a major destination in Fiji on a Sunday when venues are closed. Would have thought adjusting the sailing schedule by 1 day to arrive on a Monday is a simple solution to this disappointment. All other aspects of the cruise were amazing, cabin staff were outstanding as was the entertainment with special mention to Joanna & Rory from the entertainment team & food on offer was excellent. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Having been on an earlier cruise on the Pacific Jewel we decided to do a longer cruise on the Pacific Aria. The ship was smaller and more intimate than the Jewel but parts were quite dated and we noticed an almost musty smell in our cabin. ... Read More
Having been on an earlier cruise on the Pacific Jewel we decided to do a longer cruise on the Pacific Aria. The ship was smaller and more intimate than the Jewel but parts were quite dated and we noticed an almost musty smell in our cabin. The service could not be faulted from the housekeeping staff, the entertainment, the restaurants and we felt the food was superior in the Waterfront to previous although not so keen on the pantry food. We were fortunate enough to be gifted a lunch at Luke Mangins Salt Grill and the steaks were absolutely the best we have ever had and would give them a 10+ We felt this ship being smaller was more rockier than previous but it may have been due to the weather. Special thanks to our Room Stewards Viddy and Elmer for helping us and making our stay just that ore special with their service. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I have been on many cruises with various cruise line. This has been my 5th P & O and I must say after this trip I will never sail with P & O again. The cabins are so small that you don't even have room for your luggage ... Read More
I have been on many cruises with various cruise line. This has been my 5th P & O and I must say after this trip I will never sail with P & O again. The cabins are so small that you don't even have room for your luggage when you empty it. Not even under the bed which is where you normally would store it. The entertainment was very average. The food was below standard except for the in 400 Gradi, which was excellent. The cruise director and her crew were excellent. As were the cabin staff. But the biggest problem a of all was a stench that was evident throughout the whole ship for 5 of the 6 days. People could smell it in their rooms, the dining areas and the bars. There was just no escaping it. The reception staff kept making excuses, but at no time were we ever given the truth about the smell or was any sort of apology given. At one stage the even tried to say that it was a passengers deodorant. We spoke to other passengers who said that they had had the same problem previously on the Explorer. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
It was a Dark Mofo 6 night mid-winter escape to Hobart that caught my eye. To Tasmania in the middle of winter ? Yeah why not. I have fond memories of the Dawn Princess but not very good memories of some of P&O Australia's ... Read More
It was a Dark Mofo 6 night mid-winter escape to Hobart that caught my eye. To Tasmania in the middle of winter ? Yeah why not. I have fond memories of the Dawn Princess but not very good memories of some of P&O Australia's "new" (old) ships. I thought my experience on the Pacific Eden' inaugural trip from Fremantle to Sydney a couple of years ago would have cured me from every going near P&O Australia again but....I must have had a lapse of concentration. Pacific Explorer seems to have a terrible problem with what I suspect is their sewer system. For two days the stench in the Atrium on Deck 4 level was eye watering and then one morning I woke to find the stink had found its way to my cabin on that same level. It leaves a metallic taste in your mouth. You need to escape to the open decks. But stench aside and in most other places I enjoyed myself very nicely. FOOD The Pantry is not much better than a shopping centre food hall. Its seems the food is all put out on display at the beginning of service (and replenished obviously) I mostly found things to be lukewarm or cold. Breakfast eggs were like golf balls. Toast was cold and chewy and they have the worst coffee I have every had on a cruise ship...thank you Nescafe. I restricted my visits there in the end to just lunch for a sandwich and a salad and some fresh fruit which were all very good. The dessert displays at night were sometimes a bit dramatic (one night it was pink on pink on pink) but EVERYTHING comes out of the same packet and tastes the same, no matter what colour the cake is. The Waterfront Was very nicely laid out in smaller sections and the menu was interesting despite lots of pay for extra's items and the service was pretty good by friendly staff. A glass of wine order at dinner seems to throw everyone into a spin however and one night I waited 30 minutes for the wine to arrive. Other nights I was well in to my meal before the wine finally arrived. Breakfasts in the Waterfront are very nice, very sane and civilised and the eggs, toast, and coffee are quite okay. Avoid the Pantry buffet bun fight. Alfredo's was very good (1st night) but after that I just dined in the Waterfront in the same area and mostly the same table where the staff and service was very good and the food quite surprisingly good. There were a couple of misses on the menu but after the Pacific Eden where everything on the menu that trip was a HUGE miss, I managed okay this time. Pizza For lunch one day was very nice. Not very warm but quite tasty. The Public Rooms have been very nicely decorated and service is very good. I left most of the entertainment on board to the night owls. The Dark Mofo inclusions for on land at Hobart were generous. Will I go P&O Australia again, ahhm, not sure. They need to fix that stink on the Pacific Explorer though. Everyone was talking about it. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I booked this as a quick cheap getaway for a few days and it was pretty inexpensive. Embarkation and disembarkation were super easy, probably because customs wasn't involved. The condition of the ship was better than expected as ... Read More
I booked this as a quick cheap getaway for a few days and it was pretty inexpensive. Embarkation and disembarkation were super easy, probably because customs wasn't involved. The condition of the ship was better than expected as I had read reviews that it had seen better days but it was very nice and no obvious signs of wear and tear and certainly better than some ships we have been on. Lots of areas to lounge around including window seats but these were popular with the teens and 20 somethings, plenty of other sitting areas including lots of sun lounges on decks. I booked an interior cabin which is something I haven't done previously but as it was quite cheap and only for 3 nights I thought why not. The cabin was 10214 and located aft and at the end of the corridor, this I booked deliberately so no passing traffic and away from lifts and family rooms etc. The room was as expected small but clean and tidy and in good condition, just dark I wouldn't book an interior again because of the size and darkness and for the sake of a little more in price, I need light and fresh air. Overall the cabin was certainly acceptable. The shower was compact as they mostly are and we managed to squeeze in although if you were on the larger size it would be a tight squeeze. The water temp was lukewarm at best after about 3pm, so if you wanted a shower before dinner then it was a cold one. The bed was difficult to get in and out of due to the lack of room on either side and the mattress springs gave us some free acupuncture until I requested and received a mattress topper, which alleviated the issue somewhat. A clock of some sort would have been good as to tell the time in the morning as it was so dark it could have been 3 am or 11 am- this I didn't like and we missed breakfast in the restaurant because we overslept. We had cabin 10214 which is the last cabin , so no passing traffic which is perfect. I chose this cabin due to its location and not the deck above (11) as that was directly under the gym, then again maybe noise from the gym goers might have woken me earlier. No choccies at night and I had to remind the steward to bring us our pre-ordered water but all in all, pretty good. Food- well this was a downer for a range of reasons. We prefer to eat all our meals in the restaurants BUT they were all booked out. We attempted to eat in the Asian and Italian (included in fare) restaurants but were told by staff that they were booked out for the whole cruise. When we pointed out that they were actually empty, we were told that they have been prebooked and passengers hadn't shown up yet but they couldn't give the tables away incase they did. We found out from other staff that this is an ongoing issue, especially with short cruises. We ate in the main restaurant one night and the food looked good but was cold and this was an ongoing issue with all food on this ship, whether it was in a restaurant or the buffet, it was always cold. Restaurant staff seem uninterested and confused and the whole dining experience is unorganized and understaffed. Maybe trying to cut costs with less staff?? The main restaurant the "Waterfront" is disappointing serving cold food that should be hot and getting a drink proved to be a challenge. Some of the meals on the menu are included in your fare but the "better" ones are at a cost. This goes for Breakfast Lunch and Dinner menus, which was a bit of a surprise. Dining in the Specialty restaurants (if you can get in) is at the marked price on the menus, not a "cover charge" as they do on other cruise lines, so this can add up to be quiet a bill if you're not careful. Buffet food was served by staff at stations which is a good idea to prevent the spread of germs (BTW no one washed their hands entering the area, nor were they directed to, as on Princess). Food in the buffet was of a good variety and impressive but COLD. The design of the buffet doesn't really work as the flow of diners is impeded by queues of diners at each station, so doesn't work very well. There is also a coffee station for barista coffee which also formed a long queue which snaked its way across the path of those trying to get to a food station. Staff in the "Pantry" seemed uninterested and slow to pick up plates and don't offer to get you a coffee, juice etc at your table as they do on other cruise lines. Getting something to eat is the downfall of this ship, its disorganized, cold and mostly at extra cost. Iceream, burgers pizza etc is all extra which was a surprise as it has always been included on other cruises we have done. Entertainment- This was a Comedy Cruise which wasn't the reason we booked but an added bonus. Shows were excellent but as the venues are small it was hard to get a seat with a lot of passengers sitting on the floor. Shows were 18+ but kids were still "allowed" in with some being young children under 10etc which I don't think is acceptable and seemed to throw a few of the comedians off as they "censored" their jokes as to not offend. Staff do not police the 18+ rule. Pools- pools are clean and well maintained as are the hot tubs, not too crowded but it was June and a little cool outside. It was impossible to find deck staff for a towel or blanket and there are no towel/blanket stations to help yourself. Bars- all very good, some staff better than others. Love the Oasis Bar at the rear of ship. Very crowded on sailing out of the harbour but that's to be expected but hardly anyone there at other times. Shhhh don't tell anyone. Their programme of events isn't very informative or inclusive of all events and nor does their on-board app work. They have information screens but these either don't work or aren't up to date, so finding out what's on or where is difficult, even for a seasoned cruiser. first timers would struggle. Would I sail on Pacific Explorer again?- Maybe but would book a balcony especially on a longer cruise. Lessons learnt from this cruise- 1. P&O fares are cheaper but with all the extras you have to pay for it works out the same if not dearer than other cruise lines 2. Demographic is made up of families and middle-aged couples with a few older passengers and groups of "cellabrators"- 30th/40th/50ths, bucks/hens groups etc 3. Don't book inside cabins- not worth the saving of a few dollars 4. Pre-book restaurants otherwise, you can't get in. Maybe P&O need to look at how they manage this better. 5. Book aft staterooms - less traffic and away from family rooms with easy access to lifts and outside. 6. No kettle/ Tea/coffee facility in cabin 7. Not included in fare eateries such as burgers,pizza, icecream on pool deck or anywhere. 8. Some entertainment shows are an extra fee 9. Be prepared for a bigger stateroom account due to extras having to be paid for such as shows and food. 10. Theme nights are only just a small event and hardly mentioned or attended. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise as we had never been to Vanuatu before and this was the only cruise line which departs Auckland for this destination. We also have done two previous P&O cruises which have been ok. However the standards have ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had never been to Vanuatu before and this was the only cruise line which departs Auckland for this destination. We also have done two previous P&O cruises which have been ok. However the standards have dropped with much cheaper food lines. You can definitely see where cut backs have been made to the food which is presented. This was very dissapointing and would possibly prevent us from sailing with P&O in the future. Even in the sit down dining restaurants it was difficult to find something descent to eat. We also thought the ship could do with a good scrub down. The main viewing windows on the ship in the dining areas & restaurants were green from algie and looked disgusting. Surely there must be a way these can be cleaned as they bought the whole ship standard down. The staff were all pretty good though. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is now our third cruise, our second (and last) with P&O. Our first cruise was with P&O on our own and we weren’t impressed, but it was our first and a few years ago now so we thought we would give them another try. The money ... Read More
This is now our third cruise, our second (and last) with P&O. Our first cruise was with P&O on our own and we weren’t impressed, but it was our first and a few years ago now so we thought we would give them another try. The money grab of the century is probably the easiest way to explain it, no happy hours for drinks, no coffee card and the cocktails were so watered down that having 2 of them back to back had no effect at all, just lolly water. The ship is tired with outdated decor. The food was just ok, the Pantry (or pigs trough as we called it) was ordinary, little variety and didn’t change. The Waterfront was ok, but always rushed with a small menu which also didn’t change much. The language barrier was an issue at times also and when asking for certain items to be added or subtracted from a meal it was a bit of a lucky dip. The ship was so crammed with people it was very difficult most times to get a seat to watch any of the entertainment. We decided to try out the Salt grill, which was about $100 extra per couple, the food was very good, but the service was poor, getting the cooking of our steaks wrong and reaching across us often during service. (The Luke Mangan blurb in the menu also had spelling and grammatical errors, he would not be happy) We were unable to stop at 2 out of the 5 islands, I know this is out of their control, but at Conflict Islands the ship left immediately once the decision was quickly made at 9am, then sailing back slowly because of the extra time which made for a very bumpy ride. Many seasick for that next day. I had to go back twice where extra drinks were put against my cruise card, when challenged about it they said they yelled out to me but I walked away, mind you I then sat in the lounge where the bar was for the next hour or so, but nobody came over to me even though the same person was floating around taking drink orders, I had to sort it out, dishonest is a word which comes to mind. Ok, ok, ok, it can’t be all bad I hear you thinking! Well the production shows were very good, but because the Marquee theatre is so dated, their electronic screen, which is a big part of their show is stepped back behind the curtains and unless you sit in the front area, you can’t see it. This was often an issue because of the amount of people crammed onto this boat. Overall a terrible experience, my son and daughter in law came with us and have now asked us not to invite them on another cruise because of how bad this one was. Avoid at all costs, go for another cruise line if you can. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We had previously cruised with Explorer several times and hoped it would still be good. Unfortunately due to the high decibel noise of the (background) music at the venues daytime and evenings while waiting for a game show or trivia to ... Read More
We had previously cruised with Explorer several times and hoped it would still be good. Unfortunately due to the high decibel noise of the (background) music at the venues daytime and evenings while waiting for a game show or trivia to commence the sound was painful. This also continued at the same level for the singers and dancers shows Several people were unhappy and I spoke to the Cruise Director about it but was ignored. I also asked the sound engineer to turn it down a little and he said his instructions were to be loud as it encouraged people to join in. Unfortunately it just meant that after 10 minutes with my fingers in my ears I could not take any more and had to leave One Theatre show was actually offensive and I do not know how anyone can think that the background of a dirty padded cell with a bed and a woman tied to it being interfered with by several 'doctors' is at all funny Avoid the slumber show it stinks Other shows I had seen previously which was lucky as I could not take the much higher decibel level this cruise The cabin staff were great even when one was off ill the other did an excellent job. Tendering was hit and miss calling us down to join the queue when there was no tender there or in site meant we were an hour standing on the stairs instead of waiting in the lounges Dining was 'different' We always use the dining rooms but twice had to leave as there was nothing on the menu which we could eat and had a good meal in the pantry. The menu shows strange mixes of ingredients so instead of a fish or meat dish you would find evidence of the other item mixed in Unfortunately the one evening we both had the roast lamb it was awful, strings of grissle and fat and no meat whatsoever. Sadly after 8 or 9 cruises with P&O Australia I do not think I can risk my hearing again and will continue with the other companies instead Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Having been very spoilt on our first cruise with the Regal Princess, I guess I should have expected the standards to be heaps lower. The ship is old and rusty and having had a refurbishment 2 years ago I can't see where the money has ... Read More
Having been very spoilt on our first cruise with the Regal Princess, I guess I should have expected the standards to be heaps lower. The ship is old and rusty and having had a refurbishment 2 years ago I can't see where the money has gone. Our shower had 2 temperatures... hot as the sun and cold as ice. The toilet flushed occasionally and a few times my husband and I had to resort to using water from the tap in a glass to try and flush away anything that went in there. The balcony was tiny and you couldn't leave the door open to listen to the waves. Good luck getting out there to sit on the chairs anyway. On the plus side our room attendants were great and our room was always neat and tidy every day. The food was average. Being a sweet tooth I didn't even eat the dessert. The food was basically the same everyday and felt more like RSL food than a buffet. The staff were hit and miss. Some amazing and some completely uninterested. The mocktail package we bought was fine as long as you didn't mind getting in line for 15 minutes everytime you wanted a drink. The coffee on the other hand was great. Nice flavour and consistent. Bingo was fun... the staff for this were good and Tony was hilarious. The entertainment dancers on the last night of the cruise looked bored and you can tell they don't want to be there. Protege were great, some of the other bands were a bit karaoke style. James in Charlie's bar was amazing and always friendly and happy. He is an asset and if all the staff were like him the ship would be great. Information on shore excursions was pretty limited. The big screen tv has pixelated pieces and you can't see the whole thing. Every restroom I went to had at least one toilet out of order. Sorry P&O but I won't cruise with you again unless you up the level on your ships. We heard a lot of the same from other people who we just overheard. It's a shame because it could be great. Read Less
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