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Sail Date: February 2018
Just got back from a 4 day cruise on the Explorer. I am gluten free and had advised P&O at time of booking. Food was very limited, in fact the Pantry could only offer me, steam rice, nachos and for desert a small packet of biscuits ... Read More
Just got back from a 4 day cruise on the Explorer. I am gluten free and had advised P&O at time of booking. Food was very limited, in fact the Pantry could only offer me, steam rice, nachos and for desert a small packet of biscuits (similar to that you get on a plane). The quality of food was disgusting in the Pantry and there was often a smell of sewerage at the entrance. The restaurants were slightly better in quality (but not much), with only 1 option for gluten free for each course. Sauces tasted watered down and in some cases, tasted like it was poured from a bottle or can. The only decent restaurant was the Dragon Lady, but unfortunately we could only get in on one night, all other nights was fully booked. My daughters wifi only worked occasionally and after a day of no wifi we were told it drops out and you have to log back in again. Would have been good to have been told this at time of purchase. As mentioned sewerage smells were around the ship at various times and locations and there were big wind blowers down the hallways (assume to get rid of the smells). The only good thing about the cruise were the stage productions and getting off at the end. We had booked another cruise later this year with P&O, but have cancelled this due to this really awful experience. Will never cruise with P&O again, I guess you get what you pay for. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
To celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary We begun our cruise by the check-in staff very awkwardly telling us that there is an issue we wanted a a double room/bed with obstructed sea views, the obstruction was the port holes were ... Read More
To celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary We begun our cruise by the check-in staff very awkwardly telling us that there is an issue we wanted a a double room/bed with obstructed sea views, the obstruction was the port holes were closed, so we saw nothing until the day before we docked. We are pensioners and were not able to climb up into bunk bed, the young cabin boy was so sorry and advised us to go to the admin staff I wanted to get off the ship and would have until my husband came back, they had assured him that they would find another cabin but could not help until ship left the port and they would contact us, we waited in the cabin not touching anything or unpacking for 4 hour, my husband went back to desk who informed him that there were no other cabins and that was that, he asked what about double bed and was told a double bed would not fit in. By now i was crying and my husband took the mattress of the upper bunk and put it on the floor the young man looking after us said he was told to offer us a trundle bed which we declined, my husband complained again and he said someone may be getting off at the next port we knew he was lying because he would of known if it was happening and we were told we'd refused a trundle my husband suffers from back pain and i recently had two knee replacements, we got the trundle and it was bad sleeping on the floor on a mattress and having 9" to walk down the side of the but the trundle was like a hammock sinking in the middle on 3" foam we both had to sleep on a single mattress for three nights and 4 nights on and off the trundle I could go on and on but it was the worse experience we have ever had and all we wanted was a double bed and a lovely week to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary i don't think that was asking to much I won't even start on the cleanliness or food. Hope this review helps some one else not waste their money on P&O Watch out in the pantry for the waxed lemons in bowls with scrapings off where rats scratch to big for mice. Def give this ship a giant miss Mr and Mrs J M & C Laurie Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
A group of us chose this cruise as it was an easy way to get a taste for the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne. We departed 7 hours late due to rough seas from the previous cruise. This can't be helped and it was very different having ... Read More
A group of us chose this cruise as it was an easy way to get a taste for the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne. We departed 7 hours late due to rough seas from the previous cruise. This can't be helped and it was very different having Sailaway at 11pm. This was an ideal way to get to see the tennis with a bit of relaxation on the way. When we reached Melbourne we were transported to the venue via coaches and could come back via the coach as well. Very well organised for the 2 days we were there. The ships is a great size, and with 1,200 passengers, just right. No great line up for most things. Eden is showing her age in parts and friends complained of lack of sleep due to creaking Windows during rough seas on the way down. Food was generally ok with the Italian restaurant (no extra charge) being the pick. Sometimes the food was just warm in the main dining room at breakfast. We had a scrumptious high tea for an additional $20 each which we enjoyed very much. Would possibly do this themed cruise again as its a lovely relaxing way to do the tennis. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
My son's 6 years old, I wanted to test his 'sea legs' on a mini cruise and Pacific Explorer was right time right place to fit in with school hols. Embarkation was amazingly straight forward from White Bay Cruise Terminal, although there ... Read More
My son's 6 years old, I wanted to test his 'sea legs' on a mini cruise and Pacific Explorer was right time right place to fit in with school hols. Embarkation was amazingly straight forward from White Bay Cruise Terminal, although there is no car parking anywhere nearby which is a bit annoying given the acres of space in the adjacent area. Rooms - Our 'Stateroom' was clean, tidy and kept that way by Donny and Joseph during our trip, thank you very much guys (in case you're reading this). Food - The main food area is 'The Pantry' which is essentially a food court as you'd find in major cities. There were eight different choices for Lunch and Dinner including Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Roast, fish and chips etc, all of which were quite satisfactory. Breakfast choices were cerial, yoghurt, fruit and full english with an abundance of surprisingly good bacon. There was also a good salad and fruit bar, a reasonable selection of bread, self service tea and coffee and a bar with Barista made coffee (not included in price). If you're in a largish group don't expect to be seated together at busy times. The pantry also offers sandwiches, rolls and wraps during the arvo which were very good quality. Also included in the fare is Dragon Lady (Chinese) and Angelo's (Italian), Dragon Lady decor is a fantastic subdued black with exceptionally well thought out lighting, food is what you'd expect from any Chinese restaurant in the world - Chinese. We didn't eat in Angelo's but we were told it was good. Next up is 'Lukes' and 400 Gradi , Luke's is an alfresco 'grill' overlooking the pool area designed by Luke Mangan, a limited menu but very good quality, try the Korean Chicken Burger with pickles, absolutely fantastic. 400 Gradi was exceptionally good, a fantastic selection of good quality Italian Prosciutto and Salami, traditional Italian style pizza and possibly and the best Semi Freddo in the Southern Hemisphere, seriously, it really was that good. Neither restaurants are included in the fare but the cost is modest, starter, pizza, two desserts, three glasses of wine and four mocktails set me back $40, 'Lukes' was similarly inexpensive and the staff in both could have come directly from a top City restaurant, very, very good at what they do (to the point of going to another of the ships bars to get me a particluar wine). There are other restaurants but we didn't get time to go to them. Entertainment - Every evening a programme is supplied detailing the next days events of which there is about 50 or so between the hours of 7am and midnight, too much to go into here but something for all age groups. The main deck has two pools, two hot tubs a well stocked and efficiently staffed bar, a MASSIVE movie screen and lots and lots and lots of noise, the PA system pumps music, trivia, exercise routines and movie soundtracks relentlessly from early to late, fortunately it's a good quality sound system. Kids - There are two main clubs, 6 and under and 7-11 year old's, (apparently something for teenagers as well) both are very well staffed (I guesstimated 1 supervisor per 6 or 7 kids). The club has secure buzz entry and kids under 8 are not allowed to leave unless a parent is there. Adults - The ship has an adults only retreat, conveniently located adjacent to the kids club. It has three hot tubs, a pool, plenty of loungers a very well stocked bar and is situated at the back of the ship with open views of the ocean. I didn't experience any of the other adult attractions as I was travelling with a 6 year old. Passengers - It would be difficult not to have regular chats with other passengers given the close proximity dictated by the limited space, I struck up countless friendships with people of all age groups all of whom were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Crew - 850 crew to 2500 passengers, all are clearly very well trained, seemed happy doing what they were doing and always keen to assist in any way they could, I can't over emphasize the consistently positive attitude I encountered with the staff and crew, absolutely amazing team, if you're a P&O boss you need to give these guys a pay rise, all of them. Finally, having read some of the other negative reviews it should be pointed out that this ship is very family oriented, if you struggle being in a 'captive environment' surrounded by kids and/ or enjoy your privacy and solitude then this particular cruise ship probably isn't for you. Have a fun cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We begun our cruise by the check-in staff very awkwardly telling us that there is an issue with our room at that we need to see a particular crew member once onboard. She kept apologising and was told that she was not allowed to tell us ... Read More
We begun our cruise by the check-in staff very awkwardly telling us that there is an issue with our room at that we need to see a particular crew member once onboard. She kept apologising and was told that she was not allowed to tell us what the issue was. After boarding we found that a family had requested our room so that they were all together, and P&O wanted us to move but weren't going to give us anything for the move or inconvenience of moving away from friends - making us in turn feel bad for not moving for this family. We then moved onto the 'Pantry' which was all but a zoo where they slopped sometimes unrecognisable food onto a plate and handed it back over the glass to you. We thought we may have better luck at the Waterfront restaurant that night so tried to book a table for 9 and was told we may be separated as they didn't have tables to accomodate this many. When we arrived to dinner, tables were magically pushed together so we could all sit together. Food was very average with some in the group unable to eat beef as they weren't even asked how they would like their steak cooked. This theme of terrible food was carried on the next three days and the icing on the cake was in the Waterfront restaurant for lunch. With limited options we ordered a creme brûlée cheesecake for dessert which came out looking less than appetising and when turned over revealed there were mould spots on the base on all four cheesecakes that were ordered. After this ordeal we opted not to return to the waterfront and decided to eat at the grazing yards at the pantry or buy pizza. The rooms are extremely small, with minimal room to put suitcases. I'm glad that I am not tall as my knees would have touched the door when sitting on the toilet. The grotty slimy shower curtin made me feel dirt every time I went into the shower. The decor in the rooms doesn't look like it has been updated since the ship was built in '97. The beds were very uncomfortable and not good for someone who has a bad back. Entertainment wise the comedy acts were fairly good except for comedians swearing and talking about inappropriate things in front of children. I was very very frustrated that every time I walked into a R18+ act that I had to have my ID to prove my age. This proof should be attached to the cruise card as it is with other cruise lines. Overall, if I wasn't with the people I was with it would have been an awful three days. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This Cruise was a 80th Birthday surprise for my father. We had planned to take a cruise with our immediate family for my dad's 80th. After much planning and secrecy we managed to celebrate this momentous occasion with 6 nieces and ... Read More
This Cruise was a 80th Birthday surprise for my father. We had planned to take a cruise with our immediate family for my dad's 80th. After much planning and secrecy we managed to celebrate this momentous occasion with 6 nieces and nephews joining in the celebrations, making a total party of 12 people. We had decided on the Fraser Island cruise as this was one destination my dad had wanted to visit, but had never gotten around to. Unfortunately due to poor port conditions and bad weather we were unable to visit the island. All of our party had planned different shore tours, and we were disappointed about the missed port, but understood the safety implications the Captain had to make. This means we will have another chance to visit, hopefully in the near future, but not by the means of a Cruise. We had booked 3 Balcony cabins on deck 10. They were the perfect size with comfortable bedding, a decent sized lounge and bathroom and a very spacious balcony. We were positioned close enough to the oasis pool area which made it an ideal spot when we wanted to take a quiet dip in the pool. As always the case with P&O the cabin stewards are always helpful and efficient. In fact all the staff on the ship were friendly and professional. They not only had to deal with passengers that were disappointed with not disembarking at Fraser Island, but the weather was wild and rocky with many people suffering from seasickness. Overall the ship is in need of an update and maintenance. There was rust coming through on the balcony in places and some of the public areas were looking a bit warn. Considering the ship went through 45 knot headwinds with swells up to 8 metres I think it was doing alright. The Pantry is a new concept that I liked as it kept unsanitary hands away from the food, but it did create longer lines and slower serving times with people. We found that if you wanted to visit the Pantry do it in the quieter times very early or very late breakfast. We only visited the Pantry for lunch on the boarding day and never went to the Pantry for dinner. Most of our meals were taking at the Waterfront and Angelo's, both come very highly recommended. The food in all the service areas was top notch, with much variety. We found the Gym and excercise classes were a great way to get the day started. The main criticism I have with the facility is they don't open until 7am. As we are early rises this can throw you out of your routine for the first day, but eh we are on a holiday so it's good to be a little flexible. The equipment is first class, with great cardio equipment and very good strength conditioning machines. The instructors not so enthusiastic, I took a class which was meant to be a kick boxing class, but ended up being a circuit class with some boxing components, what made it worse was the instructor was as excited as a deflated balloon. The shows were pretty good, I think they had entertainers that could actually sing this Cruise. The comedian was very good and well received. The other activities on the ship were conducted by a variety of staff who did their jobs with a lot of humour, which was very well appreciated by the Australian passengers. As the cruise was an 80th that turned into a family reunion, it was great to get together with family members we don't get to see very often as we live in all areas of Australia. Well done P & O for making a difficult cruise due to poor weather conditions into a resounding success for our family holiday. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
A friend booked this trip for 10 friends - the food at the 'Pantry' was dreadful - the food at the preferred seating Restaurant was hit and miss although more miss - I did not see any passenger use the sanitizer in fact there was no Staff ... Read More
A friend booked this trip for 10 friends - the food at the 'Pantry' was dreadful - the food at the preferred seating Restaurant was hit and miss although more miss - I did not see any passenger use the sanitizer in fact there was no Staff to ensure it was used. You could not use the two spas as Parents would leave their young children in their me then wander off, at one stage I counted fifteen children sitting in and around a spa never again, would I ever use Pacific Jewel or any in this fleet. I have been on five cruises by different lines and ha e me r experienced such poor service and t times rude staff - I have been on Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity Cruises which are far superior to what I experienced on the P&O Pacific Jewel I am afraid I could never recommend P & O - most went back to use their own bathrooms because the public bathrooms were beyond words Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We wanted a break after the exhaustion of Christmas and New Year. A short comedy cruise seemed to fit the bill. Pros.....our superb cabin - see below; the comedy acts; the speciality restaurants; Cons.....bogan, unruly, loud, ill ... Read More
We wanted a break after the exhaustion of Christmas and New Year. A short comedy cruise seemed to fit the bill. Pros.....our superb cabin - see below; the comedy acts; the speciality restaurants; Cons.....bogan, unruly, loud, ill mannered adults. The zillions of kids were great in comparison! The ship has been extensively refurbished and seems to work, except the atrium and main public areas are still to small for gatherings. The couple of bars are of a good size and well furnished. The Dome seemed to be empty most of the cruise (what a waste). Duty free area is full of the usual suspect gold by the inch and other junk. The bars are OK, but a couple of the bar staff need manners-training. I'm a wine drinker but unfortunately only the bottom of the list wines were available by the glass in all the bars and the theatre. You have to go to the speciality restaurants to get a reasonable glass. The comedy shows were great....two family shows and one 18+ each night in the Marquee. In spite of the rules, an few minor arguments broke out over passengers reserving several seats for friends. Music groups abounded in the lounges each evening. But nothing during the day. For two days passengers are captive on the ship and it would have been nice to hear a pianist, or a quiet group in the afternoon. The Waterfront restaurant was a great disappointment. The meals we had were bland and unimaginative. A couple of the staff had attitude problems. I don't complain but on one occasion for dinner here we were ignored for a good length of time and had to call the supervisor. There was a great wine tasting on the second day. It's a pity the good wines tasted were not available by the glass anywhere. Luke Mangens restaurant was superb, as was the Shell and Bones seafood restaurant. A great seafood platter for 2 for $50. We buzzed through the Pantry which seemed to have fresher, and more interesting food than the main restaurant. But too small for the passengers. There was no Nic and Toni's as mentioned on the Cruise Critic review. We rarely ventured to the top deck which was for families, kids and fun seekers having a great time. The movies on the big screen were new releases, and of excellent visual and audio clarity. Most fellow passengers were Aussie families and friends. Few singles or gay couples to be seen. There were your usual loud mouth, singlet clad bogans. No problem on the top deck and in the pool, but there was supposed to be a dress code and if the code states long trousers and collared shirt after 5 then why is it not policed? There is a choice. Up stairs dress as you like, down stairs in the evening...be decent. Many people were not. The Gatsby evening was a lot of fun. The white party not so much. Special theme party on the first night is not sensible. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We have cruised many times on various cruise lines including the Costa, Carnival, Celebrity, NCL and HAL almost always in a suite or penthouse product. This was our first time on a P and O. To be honest we have previously avoided cruising ... Read More
We have cruised many times on various cruise lines including the Costa, Carnival, Celebrity, NCL and HAL almost always in a suite or penthouse product. This was our first time on a P and O. To be honest we have previously avoided cruising out of Brisbane even though we live nearby in Noosa. We read the negative reviews about this ship and expected the worst but instead found it really great value for our cruise on the Aria to Noumea, Mare and Port Villa. I encourage you not to believe the other negative reviews about this ship. I will tell you why. The refurb is fantastic. The public areas are clean and have sophisticated decor. The ship is an old HAL ship and the layout is a smaller version of the Noordam. Yes the ship is worn in a few places like some of the chair arms and bath tubs, but if you think that is horrible and will ruin your cruise, then really what are you doing here anyway? The staff on board were all happy, friendly and helpful. We have been on ships where the staff don't smile and are worn out and show it. (Like the Celebrity Millennium where the staff were rude and our room wasn't cleaned upon arrival, during the cruise and we could write our names and play naughts and crosses on the dirt and grease on the glass coffee table!) For this cruise we decided to try the suite category at $2200 each including the drinks package. It was worth every cent! We were welcomed aboard with a complimentary bottle of champagne and fresh fruit bowl. Our room was spacious and the attendants Mannix and Jayson were friendly, approachable and fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble. If you ask, they unpack for you but we normally do that ourselves. Like the rest of the ship the room was spotless. The extra large balcony was perfect for us as we sometimes get a little freaked out by the heights of bigger ships but on the Aria the huge space enabled us to feel safe. There were two sun lounges and a table for four so it too was spacious. We ate our room service breakfast (free for suite guests) every morning enjoying the spectacular views. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that except for snacks like peanuts etc and drinks the rest of the room service menu is free for suite guests. After a day onshore pjs, room service and movie is perfect. This cruise was incredible value for money in the suite category especially when compared to other cruise lines. The only thing missing was a proper butler and concierge. Having said that, the main reception and shore tours desks were never crowded when we went there. Our room attendants were just as good as a butler anyway. We really wanted to review the food here. By comparison to HAL and Carnival the food was better. If you can't find several nice things to eat on this ship you must be too well done for. The Pantry offers wonderful, plentiful options and the food was suitably hot. This concept of being served the food is fantastic. On other ships where the food is self served in this casual eating option, we always have the fear of everyone else who isn't hygienic touching the utensils. Not on this ship! Other reviews have commented on dessert being 'mass' produced. Seriously with 1200 guests and 600 crew any food offering is mass produced! The desserts on board were on par with every other ship we have cruised with including the penthouse products on the NCL. We weren't impressed with Salt as much as we thought we would be. The custard dessert was exactly the same as the Pantry and The Waterfront Brûlée custard and the Agnolotti was greasy. Angelos was, however, spectacular and Dragonlady wonderful too. The food on board was the same standard as all of the complimentary eating areas we have had on the other ships we have been on. Overall this cruise was excellent value for money. Let's add it up. Clean stylish accomodations, spa bath, robes, slippers, welcome champagne, fruit, afternoon canapés and complimentary wine and soft drink when served, free laundry, free room service, free drinks, complimentary high tea in your suite, Nespresso coffee machine, priority disembarkation and embarkation and it results in a value for money for product. The destinations were great but as we got to Noumea late the shore excursions were cancelled. Of course there were disgruntled passengers however most agreed it was a good excuse to come back again! We came on this cruise to give it a go. It was a nice smooth cruise. If you are use to superior ships like NCL and Celebrity suite categories of course the amenities on the Aria suite aren't as luxurious. But it is a third of the cost, and given that, this is a great price, great product, and great destinations. Great cruise! Read Less
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