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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
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
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
My friend and I made a spur of the moment decision during an art day. It was my first cruise and her third. We loved the edge activities, doing the zipline flying fox 3 times in a row and walking the plank. And the staff running the ... Read More
My friend and I made a spur of the moment decision during an art day. It was my first cruise and her third. We loved the edge activities, doing the zipline flying fox 3 times in a row and walking the plank. And the staff running the edge deserve huge huge accolades..they were amazing. We only used our cabin for showering, sleeping and dressing, so interior cabin was perfect. Very little motion and very comfortable beds. We enjoyed the Lady Dragon menu out of the 3 free restaurants and would pay to dine there. A wee hint if you are a red wine lover. The Waterfront has a good selection and I know my wine. There are a few bottles on the wine list that have a good pedigree and vintage. The price is very cheap. I bought a Margeret River Cab Sav 2013 for under $40 and this wine is worth $50 on special. Check the vintage before purchase. If you love coffee but don't want to spend a fortune bring good quality satchets because the pantry coffee is ..meh. The two things that were not so good were: There was virtually no cruise director. Passengers wandered aimlessly on the gatsby and white party nights. A lot of guests had no idea where or when. There is a guide to activities each day delivered to your room but nobody came on the PA to encourage activities or build excitement. The second thing was my art supplies going missing from my cabin. I had purchased new art pads, graphite pencils, pastel pencils and eraser. They were out near the bin due to me not wanting to forget them. On the last day of cruise my friend and I intended to relax and draw. But my art supplies were not in our cabin. After 2 hours of going back and forth and managing to keep my temper it transpired the steward had thrown them out. Very upsetting. They found the art supplies ..surprisingly in pristine condition but it was too late to use. I asked the steward why. He said they had been there for 3 days. I replied so had my makeup and clothes, but they didn't get thrown out. I asked him not to remove anything not in the bin in future. Aside from the above, my first cruise was stellar and we have booked a Melbourne Cup cruise on this vessel. How you spend your days onboard is up to you..there is so much to do you cannot get bored. Lastly..the nz icecream stand had the most surly attendant..he wins the rotten tomato award. But all other crew were amazing. Kitchen staff top marks in the pantry. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Good deal on a 4 night cruise to Moreton Island for a balcony cabin, usually out of reach of our budget. We have cruised both in Australia and the South Pacific and also overseas. We have cruised on 4 star American ships and 3 star ... Read More
Good deal on a 4 night cruise to Moreton Island for a balcony cabin, usually out of reach of our budget. We have cruised both in Australia and the South Pacific and also overseas. We have cruised on 4 star American ships and 3 star English ships and they offer so much more than P&O Australia, whose ships are also 3 star, in our opinion. After the dreaded trek to White Bay, embarkation was very swift and we found our cabin, on the 9th floor aft, to be a good size, with a compact bathroom, and the balcony which, although on the small size, had two adjustable deck chairs and a small wonky table. This balcony became our Sanctuary/Oasis. After meeting our cabin attendants, we decided to go to the The Pantry while we waited for our bags to arrive. Every one of the 2 000 or so other passengers had also decided to do this and it was then that we found that a LOT of children had taken a week off school. Hundreds of children, mostly under the age of 12. The noise was incredible. This was the second time we have cruised with P&O during school term and exactly the same thing had happened: a ship full of children we had assumed would be at school. What the ships would be like in actual school holidays we can't imagine. BTW we do have (adult) kids ourselves. A few opinions/observations: No sewage smells were evident on deck 9, or in any public areas, with the exception of a toilet out on deck 14. We had a day of rain squalls and a couple of sections of The Pantry had to be cordoned off due to water coming down from the ceiling onto tables and chairs. Overall, the ship's public areas looked very smart. The exception was The Marquee's leather chairs which all had areas where the leather had worn away. The windows in a lot of areas would benefit from a scrub. The materials used in the majority of the furniture were better (darker) coloured than on the refurbished Pacific Eden, where The Pantry chairs and tables were putrid. The cabins did not appear to have been refurbished at all, but ours was clean. The beds were narrow and fairly firm. The quilts were of a good weight, not too thin, not too thick. We did find the switches on the bed lamps were very dicky. If you like a medium to firm pillow, perhaps take your own: the pillows are good quality feather pillows but so soft they have no substance. The Pillow Concierge, when we requested a firmer pillow, returned with a larger pillow, but it too was full of lightweight feathers. Every day The Pantry staff battled valiantly to clean up the tables left in disarray after groups left dirty dishes, cups, etc piled up on tables. There did not appear to be enough staff to keep up with the flow of passengers chowing down. The food was hit and miss, but we were always able to find enough variety. Overall, the servers behind the counters were cheerful in what is a tiring job. Angelo's and Dragon Lady were fine: the portions are small but tasty, and the staff were pleasant in both. The Waterfront Restaurant was not enjoyable: the waiter was surly and the after dinner coffee was a farce. One of us requested coffee, "decaffinated, if it was available please". We were told it was, by Mr Surly, who returned some time later with a small jug of milk, a cup and saucer and a pot of what we thought was decaffinated coffee. Nope, it was a pot of plain old hot water. He poured the hot water into the cup, then gave me an unopened Nescafe sachet of Decaffinated coffee and walked away. The sight of people lying around on pillows in all the windows down both sides of Deck 7 in particular gave the entire area a down at heel look. The people sitting on the tables and chairs directly in front of these large picture windows were unable to look out at the view of the ocean; all they could see were the thonged feet, legs, bodies of the people sprawled in the 'window seats' above them. The Production shows and the Love Riot were all very enjoyable. Liar Liar was good, as was the Sherlock Holmes skit but one member of the crew, present in both activities, was crude, not funny, knowing there were children in the audience he should have toned down his behaviour. Tendering was well done, not too long to wait, considering there were so many passengers. Forget about swimming in either of the two main pools, unless you can get in before 6am or after 7pm. The entire time the pools were filled with screaming, jumping children. The Oasis pool is very small and it was packed with people trying to escape the hordes of children. The 'pool' in the Sanctuary is only 18 inches high according to the sign, so it is good for dipping your feet in. BTW the Sanctuary area has lovely comfortable day beds and was an adults only area when the ship was owned by Princess; not any more, kids and their parents soon discover it and soon enough the screaming, crying etc takes over. Disembarkation was very well organised. We realise that we are not P&O's target market. Would we go on another P&O cruise, knowing this? If a great deal for a balcony cabin came up again, on a shortish cruise, then we would think about it; we mainly cruise for the destinations, not the ships, and we know for sure now that no matter what time of the year they sail, P&O ships will be full of children, and people who like to PARTY. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Happy to say we enjoyed our first cruise, Chose a short 4 day cruise--- just in case ! Everything ran like a well oiled machine, staff helpful and friendly, we found everyone helpful. Embarkation was simple and instructions clear. ... Read More
Happy to say we enjoyed our first cruise, Chose a short 4 day cruise--- just in case ! Everything ran like a well oiled machine, staff helpful and friendly, we found everyone helpful. Embarkation was simple and instructions clear. Disembarkation was rather rushed and staff a lot less friendly. The Explorer is very glam and lot's of beautiful areas to relax or party. The Oasis adult area was a welcome region as the pool was always full of children. Our cabin was small but comfortable. Entertainment was not 5 star but fun. Food was good, we ate in the Pantry for breakfast and lunch and dined in the restaurants in the evenings. Again food not 5 star but all good. I found the "free" restaurants just served up- market pantry food eg Angelo's sold cannaloni (same a pantry served at lunch, Hake in Waterfront was just ground fish and flour ---- grilled fish was in Pantry same day (????)-------Even though meals not 5 star in the restaurants, I still enjoyed dressing up and being served rather than a food court atmosphere. Read Less
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