5 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
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Exceeded expections: The choice of restaurants, quality of food and service was outstanding. The entertainment, shows and bands were exceptional - thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were wonderful, particularly our cabin stewards. ... Read More
Exceeded expections: The choice of restaurants, quality of food and service was outstanding. The entertainment, shows and bands were exceptional - thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were wonderful, particularly our cabin stewards. The ship has been updated and decor is very tasteful. The fitness centre was well equipped with a great outlook The spa was excellent The shore excursions were extremely well organised with very little waiting time for the tenders One third of our time was absolutely terrible - sleeping! The Queen/Double bed, unlike the fabulous Princess Cruise Line mattresses, were two ancient, rock hard, collapsed 'canoes' shoved together with a ridge down the middle. By day 3 I had severe pain down my leg and spent the rest of the cruise sleeping across the bottom of the two beds as it as the only part that had any support at all. Absolutely disgusted with the bed and will never ever travel on P&O again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We picked this for a cheapie weekend away, and to check out Pacific Explorer having traveled on Carnival Spirit twice for a total of 17 nights and RCI Voyager OTS for 9 nights. We have always had balconies and will continue to book them ... Read More
We picked this for a cheapie weekend away, and to check out Pacific Explorer having traveled on Carnival Spirit twice for a total of 17 nights and RCI Voyager OTS for 9 nights. We have always had balconies and will continue to book them for longer cruises but as this was a shortie we decided to check out an ocean view stateroom instead. Lots of groups on board celebrating milestone birthdays, bucks, hens etc. Not many children evident, possibly due to being a 3 nighter. This was a Comedy Cruise, however we found most of the comedy to be pretty disappointing. Just the luck fo the draw on this I would say. Embarkation took about 25 minutes, no complaints. However, White Bay v.s Circular Quay is really a pain, particularly on the return as we were heading straight to work. Sailing away under the Harbour Bridge however is fantastic. Muster held indoors and seemed pretty well done. Indoors means you are more comfortable, can hear and so are more likely to pay attention. Our room # 8234 had a lovely big picture window but was certainly smaller than any we have previously been in and the bathroom is tiny. Both my husband and I commented that we would struggle with this on a longer cruise. We may have felt a little less confined if we had a balcony. It was adequate for a short cruise, and our attendants were lovely and did a great job of waving their magic wand over the room twice a day. Wish I could bring them home with me. The internal areas on this ship are lovely, certainly nicer than Spirit and perhaps even nicer than Voyager. I love how the evening party events are in the atrium and seem to draw you in from anywhere. Entertainment vibe was very good all over the ship. I feel P&O do this very well and seem to "get" Australians. Lots of lovely bay window nooks around the ship to curl up in for a chat or a read or just to people watch. These were a lovely find. External: pool deck fine, love the artificial grass on a lot of the outdoor areas, seems to make it less slippery. The adults' area at the back did not really appeal to us, it does not help that a smoking section is on the port side of The Oasis at the rear. We just could not really warm to it, but perhaps are biased after loving Serenity on the Spirit. The front adult area is lovely, with pretty lounges, but no permanent bar there and mostly unusable for the short time we were on due to the fact that it was usually too windy. (expected on moving ships at the front). Food: Pantry was OK, and I do like the fact that most of the food is served to you and not handled and coughed all over by everyone. I would rate it as 2.5 stars overall. I love the idea of three different styles of venue so that you feel that you are dining in a different restaurant each evening. I also liked the smaller more intimate feeling of them. Husband, however, felt that he prefers the larger MDRs on other ships. The fact that you have to line up and book on the first day however in order to get a table is a pain in the butt and for the life of me, I cannot work out how they cannot have a better system like other lines seem to manage. Big downside. Food was generally OK - good in the restaurants, in fact overall I thought the MDR was more consistently OK than the last time we were on the Spirit. Over the 3 days we had all dinners in one of them, 2 breakfasts and one lunch. All quite enjoyable. Drinks: Corona $AU8, cocktails about $AU12. Gym: very small. Lots of opportunities to pay extra for the usual things, including food, however we did not feel the need to spend extra on a 3 night cruise. Staff all very friendly and Explorer is a nice pick for a short trip getting away from it all. Would consider again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
My wife has always wanted to go on a cruise and I was never fussed so 4 nights, if we didn't like it, was doable. First mistake was doing everything online before we left as they had no records of our input at embarkation. Second ... Read More
My wife has always wanted to go on a cruise and I was never fussed so 4 nights, if we didn't like it, was doable. First mistake was doing everything online before we left as they had no records of our input at embarkation. Second mistake was pre-booking the special packages. When we arrived in our cabin everything was there, cheese and biscuits and red wine for Day 2, chilled bubbles and strawberry's in chocolate for Day 3 of the trip. We didn't get our pre-ordered water but 12 1.5 ltr bottles was delivered that night and was far too much. Plus it was as cheap to purchase the packages on the ship. Third mistake going to have a meal at the Pantry - it was like a zoo, image a busy food court and then double the amount of people, that was the Pantry and tainted our view of it. Then went and booked evening meals away from the zoo. The trouble was that the times they provided for dining clashed with the show times. Eating - The Waterfront was ok, Dragon Lady provided small portions and Shell & Bones was ok but disappointing as I expected more, particularly as we were paying. We purchased burgers at Luke's and they were really good. However, on the last night we had the degustation meal at A Taste of Salt and wow what an awesome meal but it cost $125 per person (limited to 14) and provided 8 different glasses of wine, seven courses over 4 hours, and everyone sat around talking, the art of conversation is not dead. I think that if you did this on Day 1 it would ruin the food outlets for the rest of the trip. The price of drinks was ok throughout and cheaper than I thought it would be, a beer and a wine costing $15.50, cocktails $12. I used the gym which was like any hotel gym but with a nicer outlook and all the equipment was working. The adult pool area was small but provided an escape from kids, but all the sunbeds quickly filled up. The lifts were very slow and didn't help when the kids pressed every button. We took the Northern Explorer trip at Moreton Island and that was informative and well done. Now the cruise overall was ideal for kids and family groups with continuous entertainment and was just like my memories of visiting the Butlin's holiday camps. Like all good campsites there was something for everyone. Would I go again? Unlikely, unless I was with a group, or with family. Hi-de-Hi everyone! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
First of all I wanted to put it out there that after reading some ridiculous reviews from previous passengers I was sceptical about having chosen the Pacific Explorer. I booked for my Partner and I that are both white collar workers with ... Read More
First of all I wanted to put it out there that after reading some ridiculous reviews from previous passengers I was sceptical about having chosen the Pacific Explorer. I booked for my Partner and I that are both white collar workers with well-respected jobs and our 4 children. I had previously sailed 2 years before on the Pacific Aria and only had it to compare to but was again impressed with almost everything. I have laughed at many of the bad reviews now and don't know what people expect from 20 year old ships at less than $200 a night. Some people complaining about the weather, food and rooms are seemingly delusional. I worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years and the food was as good as all the 4 star establishments. The ship itself was 20 years old which was information available to the public on the P&O site. The public areas were refurbished very well like the Aria and only the cabins were the original decor from 1997. The decor in the restaurants, bars and pool areas was tasteful and well designed. There was plenty of seating in the public areas such as decks and bars. The cabin (9124), although a little dated (fitting for the 90s when it was built) was clean, neat and comfortable. The towels were replaced twice a day and the beds refreshed as needed. Towel animals and chocolates were put in the room nearly every night. The air-conditioning was able to be controlled and the shower pressure was great. No problem with the hot water and the bar fridge was great to store the cans we took on board plus unfinished white wine from dinner! The dining was by far the best experience- and I say that being someone who is a great cook and is used to quality food. The Pantry has a big selection of food outlets offering daily changes to the menus and fresh food for lunch and dinner. The Waterfront restaurant was the A la-carte dining choice with several changes to the menu while on-board and daily cuisine specials. Great for brekky, lunch and dinner if you want more formality. We dined 3 times at the asian fusion Dragon Lady and I cannot fault anything there. A truly unique and delicious dining experience! The Italian restaurant Angelo's was also fantastic for free and has lovely food and hilarious staff. My bottle of red wine was served standing in a high heel shoe and the kids loved the giant pepper grinder! We had 6 people on the ship and all 6 loved the food, including my fussy self! The entertainment was of a high quality and very well put together. On the second night at sea the weather was a bit rough and one show was cancelled for the staff safety but they put it on in their own time before we disembarked so no-one missed out! Some of the most interesting shows I have ever seen before and suits a wide range of tastes. Service in every area was remarkable! The room stewards, F&B staff and cleaners were all polite, well-trained and carried out their jobs efficiently. We didn't go on any shore excursions as it was a bit costly for the 6 of us but the ports we stopped at were all fun and gorgeous. Noumea seems a little desolate and boring but all you need to do is jump on the bus and you find some lovely small beaches to spend the day at. We travelled with 4 kids aged 7,11, 14 and 16 and they can't wait to go on another cruise. They loved the food choices and felt like royalty at the service. I would definitely go again and will be looking at another cruise for the adults when we get married!!! Read Less
Pacific Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.3
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.3
Family 4.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.1
Service 4.5 3.9
Value For Money 4.0 3.4

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