Currently there are a number of stage show productions showing in the Marquee Theatre aboard the Pacific Explorer - Let’s Misbehave, Seven and Rock of Ages. These shows have running for a number of years, and while they are great shows, new production would be appreciated and welcomed by repeat cruisers.
In the Black Circus theatre, two other shows are currently being performed. These do cost an additional $20 to attend.
Described as a cross between a magic and burlesque show, the 18+ Purple Rabbit show debuted on the first passenger cruise. There were mixed review from boring to racy and fun and exciting. Time will tell if passengers will warm up to the show and be willing to fork out $20 to watch.
Hans The German
Hilarious, full of glitter and spunk, and just a little naughty, Hans captivated and delighted audiences abord the ship. Many loved the show so much, they went to both shows, Be prepared for some audience participation - over 18’s only. This show also incurred a $20 entry fee.
There are dozens of daily activities to take part in aboard Pacific Explorer. The usual trivia, bingo (addition cost), dance classes, karaoke and more. Every day, each passenger receives the next day’s newsletter their cabin, listing all the daily activities, theme nights, port info (if there’s a port day) dining times and other useful information.
For thrill seekers, the Edge adventure park offers passengers the chance to take part in outdoor activities including the flying fox, walk the plank and the titanic experience. These are all an additional charge.
Don’t expect to tuck in early, there’s entertainment galore at night. From late night comedy shows, karaoke, bands and nightclub, the atmosphere is fun and lively. There is also a mid-sized casino on board with both tables and poker (slot) machines.
There are numerous bars with a great selection of drinks and cocktails to chose from. There are a number of drink packages, however only non-alcohol packages are available on short cruises. Packages start from $10 per day.
For the Best Cocktails: The Bonded Store is a gorgeous speak-easy style bar with an extensive cocktail menu. The cocktails are made with such theatre, enticing and entertaining cruisers with the interesting creations. Ask for the Berry Cheesecake or Smoked Negroni.
The ambience is just beautiful, with 1920s touches. The bar tenders are knowledgeable (ask for Julius) and take great care in creating delicious libations. Don't miss the 'secret' entry!
For a Chilled Vibe: Head to The Blue Room, where you'll also be able to indulge in your favourite drink -- but with a side of live music (at certain times of the night). The low lighting and plush furnishings provide a great place to escape for a while. After hours, it really come alive as the ship's nightclub where the live musicians are replaced by a high-energy DJ. Prepare to dance the night away!
For the Best Views: Sky Bar located on the highest deck is a fabulous place to order a drink and view the ship from this premium location. It can get windy, so bring a hat and scarf on cooler days. It's our favourite spot to enjoy a sailaway.
For Live Music: Explorer Hotel is full of life and a had a great pub atmosphere. Grab a drink, listen to some live music and then hit the dance floor for a boogie. On some nights, you can even take part in Karaoke. Always lots of fun.
There are two large pools on the main pool deck and two hot tubs. In addition, there are two smaller pools in the adult’s only Sanctuary and Oasis. The Oasis also features two hot tubs and a dedicated bar.
Younger cruisers love the two waterslides -- as do the young at heart. The two slides are a little different (one is a disco slide) and aren't terribly scary. I was assured the water was heated but it felt pretty cold to me!
It’s not hard to find a place to lounge on board as there are many areas available and many sun loungers to relax on the decks. There is a smokers' section on deck 12 starboard, so avoid grabbing a spot there is you're sensitive to the smell.
A favourite spot on board if you're seeking total relaxation, is in the Oasis adults' only area. Grab a cocktail and enjoy the wake view.
P&O have designed an App to use without internet on board which allows passengers to see the daily activities, book restaurants, check your balance and chat with other passengers. It did seem to be a bit hit and miss, worked for some but not for others. The Wi-Fi was genrally good, but again, many passengers were frustrated with the speed and being ‘kicked off’ and having to continually log on.
The Elemis Day Spa offers passengers a number of services from massages to teeth whitening. There is also a small thermal suite (sauna and steam room) which can be accessed with treatments.
Prices are a little on the more expensive side (starting from $189 for a 50min massage).
While aboard, I indulged in a massage, and it was very nice. The therapist was friendly, proficient and lovely. Before every treatment, the spa staff go through a long list to ensure each individual’s personal health circumstances and are understood and what they hope to achieve from the service or treatment. I appreciated this bespoke and unhurried attention.
The thermal suite is on the small side and numbers are limited due to Covid restrictions. There isn’t a view of the ocean from the thermal suite, unlike other cruiselines.
The salon and barber offer hair cutting, colouring and styling services. The salon is more popular among older women, many of who I saw have their hair styled before a fancy dinner or formal night. The hairdressers were again very professional and friendly.
All the stylists and therapists more masks during the appointments.
If you want to keep your fitness up, Explorer’s gym will not leave you wanting for much. With lots of fitness machines and free weights – and a fabulous view, the gym is clean bright and modern.
There are a number of cardio machines, including treadmills, bikes and rowing rowers. An added bonus is the fabulous view from the gym – Deck 12 aft – that is perfect motivation.
Weight machines are also plentiful, with every imaginable piece available. For a cruise ship gym, Pacific Explorer ranks very high in facilities, equipment and sheer size.
If jogging or walking out on the deck is more your style, Deck 7 is the best way to get your heart rate up. The beautiful timber deck can be walked all around the ship and offers spectacular views without having to weave around sun loungers on the sun decks.
P&O's core market is families so a lot of effort is devoted to keeping kids happy so that mum and dad can also be happy. Pacific Explorer offers a wide range of activities for children, with or without their parents. Dedicated venues include the kids and teen clubs (free of charge and divided into four age groups, as described below), a virtual reality games room and the P&O Edge adventure centre. The ship's two theatres also have family-friendly entertainment and talent shows, as well as appearances by characters such as TC the Turtle on the pool deck.
Onboard activities that cater for the whole family include barefoot bowls, golf putting, table tennis, board games and karaoke. For an extra fee, more lively activities can be enjoyed from the P&O Edge program, such as laser tag, bungee trampolining, a Segway course, flying fox (zip line over the pool deck), mechanical bull rides, Walk the Plank and the Titanic Experience. One of the scarier options is Walk the Plank, where you are harnessed for safety but do literally walk along a narrow plank over the side of the ship. The Titanic Experience is where you stand on the ship's bow and yell "I'm king of the world!" Kids prices are $5 cheaper than adults and P&O Edge has a minimum age of six years old on all activities.
A kids' dinner for those aged between three and 10 years is held at 4.15pm each day in The Pantry, with highchairs available if required. Baby food and infant formula are not sold on the ship but may be taken onboard (home-prepared food is not allowed).
Family-specific accommodation has also been improved on Pacific Explorer, with 20 interconnecting rooms created for parents and kids to have internal door access to each other. At least one passenger aged 18 years or older must sleep in each room to ensure supervision; however, when families cruise together, children can sleep in a separate room if one child is 16 years or older.
Late-night group babysitting is available from 10.30pm until 1am for $5 per hour per child aged over two. In-cabin and one-on-one babysitting isn't offered.
The minimum age to sail is six months on Australian and New Zealand domestic cruises; for all other itineraries children must be 12 months or older. Infants under two must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times in all venues including the kids' club. All children using the ship's pools must also be supervised by a parent/guardian. Infants in nappies (including swim nappies) and children who are not toilet trained are not permitted in the pools and spas.
P&O can provide cots, high chairs and booster seats. Parents or guardians need to bring their own nappies, wipes, prams, baby baths and other baby accessories for the duration of the cruise as these are not available or sold onboard.
Turtle Cove, for children aged two to 6 years old, is supervised by experienced youth staff. The room is like one big cubby house with lots of nooks and crannies to play with games and toys. At 8am, mums and dads can come along for Toddler Time with Parents. Art and crafts, parties, movies and Sleepyheads Storytime are also organised by staff. A highlight is a live on-stage production of TC & Skipper's Island Adventure Show, held in Black Circus.
Shark Shack is a separate, supervised club for seven to 10 year olds that encourages learning. Activities include jewellery making, computer games, dance lessons, scavenger hunts, Lego activities and theme nights.
Security is high for the kids' clubs to ensure safety. Parents or authorised guardians (aged 16 years or over) must show their cruise card each time they sign in or sign out children aged between two and 10.
For those aged 11 to 14, HQ is designed as an ultimate chill-out zone with lounges and booths to hang out with friends, play board and computer games, and watch movies. The youth staff also lead activities from filmmaking and karaoke to performing in a talent show or a rock band. A new Sony PlayStation VR room is located in HQ. Adults are not permitted, which is a shame. We'd like to see 18+ sessions, or a family hour involving parents, so that all passengers can experience the futuristic fun of virtual reality at sea.
For kids aged up to 14 a parent or guardian can authorise sign in/out privileges. After 10.30pm children aged 11 to 14 must be signed out by a parent or guardian, except for those authorised with sign in/out privileges.
Next door is HQ+, strictly for 15 to 17 year olds. A high level of involvement is encouraged with great programs such as Broadshorts, which gets teens behind the camera to make a movie while onboard. Teenagers can also use the club to play computer games, board games or Foosball, watch movies and relax on bean bags and sofas with new friends.