1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The balcony room was quite spacious and in a great location. The evening shows were outstanding, the group put lots of energy in their show and costumes, the variety was great too. This cruise could have been very nice experience, however, ... Read More
The balcony room was quite spacious and in a great location. The evening shows were outstanding, the group put lots of energy in their show and costumes, the variety was great too. This cruise could have been very nice experience, however, the way information sessions were organised, it was very clear that fitness and spa team are trying to sell you anything and everything. The sessions were not quite informative and sometimes had very conflicting information. I'm not sure why you need to sell shoe inserts and detox pills on the cruises, it is just disgusting. most fitness classes were offered at the additional cost. I think spa should be relaxation space and not pushy sales space. The reception service was rude and not helpful, all 3 attempts to get any information about tours, shuttles, etc. was a waste of time, the staff has to be trained well to communicate to guests, this ruins the experience overall. Read Less
3 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Have cruised before on Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria and wasn’t disappointed So disappointed this time around Meals average No dress code in Restaurants and children in adults only area Great Gatsby party was such a let ... Read More
Have cruised before on Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria and wasn’t disappointed So disappointed this time around Meals average No dress code in Restaurants and children in adults only area Great Gatsby party was such a let down people dressed up waiting for the party to start just hanging around stairs etc The band played wrong era music rock and Beatles Then when they did the Charleston it was by record Back to school was fun Shows were hit and miss Cabins are ok plenty of space balcony was big enough for two but needs the refurbishment Two many costly extras that are free on other cruise line Edge a waste of money and Soda drinks packages use cans to fill the glass which was often warm or flat Our cruise was a great price so I wasn’t expecting too much but unfortunately I was disappointed with the food choices in the restaurants and didn’t match was on the menu to on the plate Read Less
3 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I have not previously done a short cruise so when the price and timing worked in with our life we booked around 5 weeks from sailing in a twin berth ocean view level 8 right near the back. Embarkation Not sure why but they started a ... Read More
I have not previously done a short cruise so when the price and timing worked in with our life we booked around 5 weeks from sailing in a twin berth ocean view level 8 right near the back. Embarkation Not sure why but they started a bit late but it was quite smooth once it got going, before getting on I had a good look at where our cabin was (we only found out days before) so when I got on I was able to make my way directly to our room which was ready, by chance we saw our bags on the way so grabbed them as well on the way to the room. The Cabin The rooms on Explorer are not huge but for 2 it was adequate and comfortable, the windows on level 8 outside (where the life boats are not) are huge and offer a great view out and somewhere to sit to admire the view. The bed was comfortable, the AC and fridge worked as did all of the things that are supposed to work but the shower was locked at a just warm temperature that I would have liked to be hotter Food An important feature of cruising to many and if its the most important thing to you P&O is not your cruise line, 3 night cruise allowed us a night in each free restaurant and no need for the pantry, no meals were great but all OK Entertainment Really good, there were 4 comedians on board who did a range of shows which I really enjoyed, the only criticism would be the venue for the late comedy shows was too small and even half an hour early there wasn't many seats. One of the PG shows was a mime act which was also great. besides the comedy they also put on a "rock of the ages" show which was 45 minutes of non stop entertainment and a fantastic show. Service Our room steward asked us early how often we wanted our room cleaned which I found unusual, normally its daily with a nightly turn down but for our first 2 days we were happy to go along with not being disturbed by it only having the towels changed over, the last day he cleaned up for us doing a really good job of it and he did the turn down, I kind of feel he was a bit lazy with us but at the same time I didn't mind it and to be fair if there was anything we wanted he provided without hesitation so I am actually going to say that was a good thing as much as I am sure plenty of others would not have been so happy with it. Other service throughout the cruise didn't stand out either way for the most part, the future cruise lady was really helpful and went out of her way to help us, dining staff were efficient, friendly and accommodating with the more senior staff doing the rounds to make sure we were happy at most meals. The ship I often read reviews where it seems some people have a terrible experience because of things like "they allowed somebody in the dining room wearing a T shirt" or "the ship needs repair" or "I noticed a rust mark" or my favourite, "the chairs look old", if this is you spend twice as much for a newer ship on another line because it is a 20 (plus) year old ship and it does show signs of its age but for me that does not detract from how much enjoyment I can get from it, in fact some of my more memorable cruises have been on ships not long before they are retired from the fleet, Pacific Sun, Celebrity Century and the Pearl. Value Everywhere you go there seems to be something to spend more money on, while giving me a free short massage as I was walking through they tried to sell me a hair cut and shave for around $120 which I found outrageous and every meal seems to have "indulgent" items to spend more on. The free food venues close at 9 so if you want something to eat after that you are paying for it but with a little will power its easy enough to say no to the extra items. With the above in mind however it was a good value cruise, P&O bank on you spending more money during your cruise to make up for the cheap fare and while I do spend some money whether it be a beer with a meal or buy something from the shop it still ended up cheap for me and certainly my on-board spend was no more than it would have been with any of the more expensive lines The drinks package Being a 3 day cruise you cant have the alcohol packages (not that I do normally) but they still offer the 2 non alcoholic packages, $7.50 per day for soft drink only or $19 a day (if pre booked otherwise its $25 on board) for mocktails, coffees, juices, water hot chocolate, iced chocolates or soft drink. My wife paid the $19 per day before we left and probably got the value from it whereas I drank water and free tea from the buffet and had 2 or 3 bears a day for around the same amount of money which worked out better for me (and probably healthier as I didn't drink more than I needed trying to get my money worth) To sum it up I have now been on 9 cruises in 7 years with 4 different cruise lines on 7 different ships, mostly P&O and I am yet to have a cruise that I didn't enjoy, your more upmarket cruise lines are better for a lot of reasons and deserve a loyal following but for me I love cruising so much I prefer quantity to quality (most of the time), this doesn't mean I wont spend more to go on the other lines but I do spend a lot of time looking for the good deals which do come up if you are prepared to be flexible, my problem is that when I am looking I normally find much better value deals with P&O that I cant resist :) Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We travelled on a 4 night cruise on Pacific Explorer to Moreton Island and had a great time. The public areas on the ship have all been refurbished very nicely with modern touches. The cabin was more dated but still had plenty of room ... Read More
We travelled on a 4 night cruise on Pacific Explorer to Moreton Island and had a great time. The public areas on the ship have all been refurbished very nicely with modern touches. The cabin was more dated but still had plenty of room and was very clean. All of the staff were friendly and accomodating. Food overall was very good. We ate most meals in the Waterfront Restaurant and the food was of a high quality. 400 Gradi was also very good and the cafe and Ocean Bar were good for relaxing. The buffet was fine for casual eating although was always very busy. Kids club staff were great and my daughter enjoyed the activities. As she was under five I was given a pager so staff could contact me on at anytime which was a nice touch. My daughter also enjoyed the waterpark as the pools were too deep for small children. Themed nights were fun and we enjoyed making Gatsby headbands for the party. Although purchasing the photos on board is quite expensive, we enjoyed getting all of our photos taken at different backdrops and looking through them later. Overall, we had a really good time and I'd travel on the Pacific Explorer again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
After reading the previous reviews of the Pacific Explorer, I embarked on this cruise with a level of trepidation. My fears were unfounded - what we experienced were highly motivated and friendly staff, a small balcony cabin that was ... Read More
After reading the previous reviews of the Pacific Explorer, I embarked on this cruise with a level of trepidation. My fears were unfounded - what we experienced were highly motivated and friendly staff, a small balcony cabin that was perfectly adequate for a short cruise and great entertainment. Food quality was inconsistent - there were some standouts and some pretty average dishes - in our experience, the staff were more than happy for a meal to be sent back and swapped for something else and for multiple courses to be ordered. Nothing was too much trouble. We found the Waterfront and Angelo's to be the pick of the restaurants but Dragon Lady was ok too with some interesting dishes - my advice would be to try all three early. Menu in the Waterfront changed daily and half way thru for the other two. The speciality restaurants did book out on the first day so my advice would be to book for the entire cruise - you can always cancel or change a time later. This was a school holiday cruise but children numbers were booked and youth security was always on hand to deal with any unruly children. All in all high recommended given the price point - yes you have to pay for some extras but prices are modest and the fare is cheap to start with compared with the other lines. We had the drinks package - it is ok value especially if you get it on sale but found we didn't drink that much after the first few days. My only serious criticism is the lack in variety in on-board activities - lots of trivia and late night karoke but not much else. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We thought this cruise was great, relaxing, comfortable, affordable and we enjoyed it so very much. Only downfall was jewellery policy on the water slides. Our theme parks here in Oz do not have that policy so I enjoy the water slides. ... Read More
We thought this cruise was great, relaxing, comfortable, affordable and we enjoyed it so very much. Only downfall was jewellery policy on the water slides. Our theme parks here in Oz do not have that policy so I enjoy the water slides. Body jewellery is an upcoming thing and not everyone can take them out, so I think this policy needs reviewing. Staff were awesome and Bingo/trivia was a blast, so much fun and laughter. Theme night Gatsby was awesome. All in all fantastic.Crew were very friendly, helpful and our room was always clean. We did alot of relaxing on the deck under the shade, and the onshore tours were great. We winged it with all onshore stuff but it was great as we got to take a Buggy out in Noumea. This was an adventure driving on the opposite side of the road to Australia took a little getting used to for my hubby. Isle of pines is definately a place to go back too. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We loved our 8 nights cruise on P&O Pacific Explorer! I thought it will be very basic cruise but all my expectations were exceeded by far! Selection of meals and restaurants was very good, quality of food was good, delicious and ... Read More
We loved our 8 nights cruise on P&O Pacific Explorer! I thought it will be very basic cruise but all my expectations were exceeded by far! Selection of meals and restaurants was very good, quality of food was good, delicious and mostly healthy meals (in comparison to some other cruises where free junk food was so bad and in large quantities). Italian restaurant Angelou’s and Graddi 400 Pizza restaurant were fantastic! Loved quality Italian wines too. Pantry the buffet style dining was very good too, with many healthy and fresh cooking! Beautiful interior of the ship, immaculate spaces, cabins were a bit small but we spent lot of time going around.... Entertainment was fantastic too! For example, Blanco and Gatsby dress up parties, Titanic show, Misbehave show and much much more. The crew did an amazing job, well organised cruise and we all felt very comfortable and looked after. Thank you so much P&O Pacific Explorer! 17/01/2019 A family with kids and grandparents from Sydney. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
On the 28th December 2018 we embarked on a New Years cruise with P&O (the prices for this particular cruise were double if not triple normal prices due to the time of year). The dramas started when we paid for priority checkin however ... Read More
On the 28th December 2018 we embarked on a New Years cruise with P&O (the prices for this particular cruise were double if not triple normal prices due to the time of year). The dramas started when we paid for priority checkin however our tickets did not list this, it wasnt such a big issue, however at the time we didnt know this was just the start of the many issues we would experience. First day on the cruise one of our suitcases never arrived to our room, after calling reception we were told to wait and they will contact us back once they have tracked it down. 1.5 hours later sitting in our room waiting for a call back we called receiption to find our bag was there and we could come down and collect it. CABINS The first 3 days at sea were rough (with approx 6 foot waves) which is not uncommon however the front of the boat was particulary bad and majority of the time we could not be in our rooms due to the severity of the movement. Now to give you some background prior to this cruise we were on another cruise with RC which was in the middle of a cyclone with 8 foot waves and had little to no issues with our room which was also located at the front of the boat so it seems this particular boat with P&O may of not be of the same standard mechanically. Our room was on level 11 (pool 12 and pantry 14) which was a great location however levels 5,6,7 are also great as they are close to bars , reception and shops. Cabins were clean and liveable however they do not reflect the standard you would expect when paying a minimum $6k a couple (interior room) on new years. They are the original cabins and corner rooms are particulary smaller. If you are particular with pillows make sure you take your own as they are not the best. The rooms do have a safe and fridge and a great little sensor light for night time toilet trips. They also only have 1 australia power point , 1 european power point and 1 US power point. The rooms do have a hair dryer however they are very basic. Overall we were fine with our rooms however during our trip the toilet blocked up , lost all power and lights in our room at 12am in the morning and also had issues with the door locks not recognising our cards. A special mentionto the room attendents who do an amazing job , are very fast and are friendly. FOOD Not to bad, same as most cruise boats. We liked lukes , dragon lady and the cafe for cakes and tea. We love how P&O have set up the pantry as it stops alot of food being touched by other guests and limits food waste. Special mention to 400 grandi , great food , amazing staff and a nice quiet place on the ship. STAFF We were extremly lucky to experience great staff at the ocean bar , the cafe and 400 grandi. They are extremly helpful and accomodation. ENTERTAINMENT For a New Years cruise entertainment was limited however for a standard cruise it was not bad. Love riot was a great show (approx $15 per person) it was well worth it. Please note P&O seem to limit any adult only shows for 9pm and 10pm at night which wasnt always the best if you have a port day the next day. Please note lawn bowls and slides are not open permently only certain hours. PORT DAYS / TENDERS For locations with a port it was very simple and quick to get off and well organised. For ports which required tenders it became a bit of a mess and for one of our ports we waited 1.5 hours and then gave up getting off. Some people waited over 2 hours to get off and no explanation was given. After speaking to people who were lucky to get off we found guests on the beach kept snorkeling in the tender lanes which would then hold up the boats. P&O didnt seem to get these people out of the water or issues warnings to causing delays for other guests and some guests didnt even get off. SHORE TOURS We were lucky enough to do a great snorkelling tour in Santo which was well worth the money. However the couple we were travelling with did a village tour on another island and it was nothing like the tour summary and they did not learn anything from it. GUESTS Possibly some of the worst behaviour I have seen. Many of the guest were extremly rude , self centred , would push past or push in lines and we even experienced guests permently calling our room at 1am even though they were told they were calling the wrong room. Kids where still running around after 9pm and would often fill up the lifts or press all buttons inthe lifts. Our last morning there were kids outside our cabin door screaming at 5am with parents who did not care (our room was out of the way). The experience which really sent us over the edge was this one lady which we had to ask 4 times to move so we could sit down on the first day and book restaurants. We then had to ask her another 6 times to move so we could get up from our seat. I also experienced a lady at the gym who proceeded to push pass me and tell me she was waiting for a tredmill and she was next in line..... mind you i had been on the equipment for a good 5 mins before she appeared from somewhere having a cry. Please note the gym gets packed out and runs out of room and equipment duringthe mornings. Overall terrible behaviour and this doesnt even go into the fights , yelling and crappy comments we heard being shouted between guests and at the poor staff. LEAVING THE BOAT You are told to put your bags outside your room between 4pm and 8pm the night prior. Please note no where do they say you can self assist and take your own bags off but you can do this and it will get you off the boat faster. We got off the boat at 740am (we were told 720am for group 1 and 2). When we finally got off to collect our bags, our bags where not out yet and we had to wait atleast 30-40mins for our bags to come through. If you are being picked up or have a flight please keep this in mind. LIFOU If you are travelling to Lifou please note you need a ticket for jinek bay. If you do not get a ticket you will not be able to snorkel. Even though this is plastered everywhere we watched many people ignore this and walk in 30 degrees heat to the bay to then be disappointed. Quick tip, everyday you get a newsletter , make sure to read the back page for sales and spa deals. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Second cruise (First was also Explorer). Cruised wih my 5yo and myself. Cabin: 9205 Window cabin with unobstructed view, and a queen bed. This room had more than enough space for our 2x suitcases and drawer space for all our clothes. ... Read More
Second cruise (First was also Explorer). Cruised wih my 5yo and myself. Cabin: 9205 Window cabin with unobstructed view, and a queen bed. This room had more than enough space for our 2x suitcases and drawer space for all our clothes. The suitcases could fit under the bed, but there was plenty of space in the wardrobe for them to stand in so no need. Tv and fridge in room were used daily and both great. My 5yo packed a few toys and there was plenty of space for him to play with them on the ground in our room while watching tv in the evening. Ship: Becuase we done the Chrsitmas cruise, the ship was decorated beautifully with Christmas trees / decorations / gingerbread houses all over the place. We even had fake snow! Food – The Pantry: Food wasn’t too bad. Lots of options to choose from. Only ate at the Pantry during lunch time, so no comment for breakfast or dinner. It wasn’t easy trying to find seating, so that was annoying. Waterfront: Mainly ate here. Could not fault the food. Breakfast menu was the same every day, but enough options to choose something different every day if you liked. Lunch and dinner menus different every day. I enjoyed all of my meals at Waterfront. Dragon Lady: Went once, and never got around to going again. Not bad. Lukes: Yummy burgers and fries. Although you must pay, it is a nice area to sit and watch over the pool area or while a movie is on. Shell and Bones: Beautiful food (extra charge). This is just a sectioned off part of The Pantry, so it doesn’t feel very ‘restauranty’. Angelos: Did not use so no comment Entertainment: Attended four (free) shows in the Marquee, with every single one of them being amazing. The entertainers on board do a fantastic job! I was early to each show, so had no problem finding seats, but it does fill up fast. P&O Edge / Waterslides - did not use so no comment. Kids entertainment: Turtle cove – my son absolutely LOVED it. He would stay there all day every day if I let him. They had so much for the kids to do: face painting, games, songs, play stations, dancing, acting, everything. Service: AMAZING. Room stewards go above and beyond, always there if you need something or have a question. They make the kids feel welcome in an unfamiliar place. Bar staff everywhere I could not fault. Always greeting everyone with a big smile. Waiters in the Waterfront always lovey. Other passengers: A great mix of families / elderly / 20-30 year olds. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There is always a few disgruntled passengers, but it’s easy to ignore them! Money: Used Aussie dollars on all islands. I would recommend changing big notes ($50, $20) at reception on the ship to smaller notes before going on the islands. Islands – Noumea: Bought the hop on hop off bus ticket once we got off the ship. Spent the day at Lemon bay beach which was clean, beautiful with plenty of trees for shade. Lifou: Spent a few hours at the beach the tenders dropped us off at. Nothing spectacular, stayed a few hours and then went back to the ship for lunch. Port Vila: Booked an all day tour via Facebook. (Blue Lagoon Bus Tours). Our stops included Blue Lagoon, Rarru waterfalls, Mele beach bar for lunch and drinks, and then duty free before heading back to the ship. This tour was a 10/10. Would book again! Mystery Island: Spent all day at the beach. The most beautiful island we have been to. You don’t even need diving gear to see the fish swimming around the coral. Markets were amazing, and the locals were all beautiful people. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
The public areas on the ship were very nicely decorated. It never felt crowded and there was always plenty of spaces to sit. I loved the Bonded Store and the Blue room, very nice bars to have a quiet drink in. The food in the restaurant is ... Read More
The public areas on the ship were very nicely decorated. It never felt crowded and there was always plenty of spaces to sit. I loved the Bonded Store and the Blue room, very nice bars to have a quiet drink in. The food in the restaurant is average, but that seems to be case on all cruise lines now, cutting back costs. The Pantry was the same. I do find P&O to be the worst for additional charges, other lines, include pizza, ice cream and hamburgers for free, and at every meal the menu shows additional items that can be bought. It was a comedy cruise and I was surprised and horrified that on the last evening the comedy show, which should have been free, you had to purchase tickets. Entertainment is supposed to be included in your cruise fare, bad move P&O. The staff on the ship were very good. Embarkation and disembarkation were very quick and smooth. I was disappointed that standards have dropped, in the dining room, short and thongs was acceptable for the evening meal, really? We had sailed on the Eden before but found this ship much nicer and not as crowded. The cabins are showing their age and are in need of a refit. Shopping was disappointing, high end shops with no one in them. The cruise director Zoltena J, I only saw once, and at best she only does the trivia, I think she should work harder and put more daytime entertainment and activities on. On most ships, you see the captain walking around, not on this cruise, only heard from him once and that was at the safety drill. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Recently back from a cruise to NZ, Booking process terrible, no choice of deck, no choice of room and wasnt able to upgrade. Our cabin was very small and was directly above the band in the Explorer Hotel, we had music in our cabin till ... Read More
Recently back from a cruise to NZ, Booking process terrible, no choice of deck, no choice of room and wasnt able to upgrade. Our cabin was very small and was directly above the band in the Explorer Hotel, we had music in our cabin till late every night. When I asked to be relocated to another cabin I was given a bottle of wine and told there were no other cabins which was a lie as a another passenger was given another cabin after a domestic blue. Menu choices have been reduced with items requiring payment added to menus Generally food was good, Angelos was very good, the food in the Pantry was ok but some dishes were only luke warm and the desert selection consisted mainly of cakes and custard. This was my fourth cruise with P&O and will be my last, I must add that the first three cruises were excellent but the standard has slipped. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
As a family we have cruised on 3 previous occasions. The 1st time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Eden', the 2nd time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Aria', the 3rd time was on Carnival Cruise Lines 'Carnival ... Read More
As a family we have cruised on 3 previous occasions. The 1st time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Eden', the 2nd time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Aria', the 3rd time was on Carnival Cruise Lines 'Carnival Spirit', and finally this time on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Explorer'. The cruise-liner I'm reviewing today (P&O Cruises 'Pacific Explorer') is by far the most outdated ship we have traveled on to-date. It was previously known as P&O Dawn Princess and was supposedly refurbished in 2017, but most of the common areas feel worn down and dated. Apart from the extremely small rooms and dilapidated common areas, it features eight restaurants (including the all-day eating area known as 'The Pantry'), four swimming pools, five spas, seven lounges and bars, and two places to look after children. See the cabin review below for further details. For entertainment it also has a water slide, a zip-line, a 'walk-the-plank', and you can do the 'Titanic experience', as well as things like a rock-climbing wall. Whilst the ship itself feels out-dated, the service from the staff was second to none - they could not bend over far enough to help make the cruise an enjoyable one, which is good, because without them I'd be rating the experience as 1 out of 5 stars.... with the staff I can give it a solid 3 out of 5 stars..... I'd still rate Carnival Cruise Lines 'Carnival Spirit' as the best in its class out of the 4 ships I've been on. The review is apples for apples - we have chosen a Balcony cabin on all 4 cruises. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I have always wanted to go to New Zealand and after half a dozen domestic cruises with P&O I decided cruising was the way to go. With 6 sea days and 1 different ports it was a great mix of sightseeing and the usual cruise fun. I am ... Read More
I have always wanted to go to New Zealand and after half a dozen domestic cruises with P&O I decided cruising was the way to go. With 6 sea days and 1 different ports it was a great mix of sightseeing and the usual cruise fun. I am in my 40's and cruised with my Mother so we definitely have different opinions and wanted different things but found we usually agreed. We left from Sydney (a first for me), at White Bay. The facilities were ok, the staff helpful and embarkation was fabulous. We had a noon boarding time but the process went really smoothly and we were on the ship by 11.45. The ship was great, the public areas really well done, clean and modern. Had all the facilities we needed & really liked the Explorer Bar but was rarely enough seating when 'things' were on, could have included more without being cramped. I think the Marquee should also be bigger ideally but having Black Circus at least gives other options. Minor grumble is that you cant get waiter service in the Marquee and the bar next door (Explorer) can be bedlam at times, so go to another bar and bring your drift with you. Blue Room seems under utilised but nice, and the cocktail classes were fun! It was great to have areas where you can chill (loved the window seats) the atrium was a great meeting spot. Have to admit that now and again on certain decks (mainly lower) there was a smell of sewerage which I had read about previously but it wasn't often, and not that bad. Room wise we had a balcony and it was great to have but I think it reduced the cabin size though as space was a premium. Definitely adequate and had all the essentials but I'm glad there wasn't 4 adults in the room (just 2). Our steward was awesome, nothing was too much trouble! Really helpful to have a fridge too. The entertainment team was fabulous - I am in love with Marius (LOL) and Zoltina J is just great. Went to the majority of the shows in the Marquee, really well done even if not all my type of thing. The last nigh Lip Synch Battle had to be a highlight. Also went to 2 lecture series. The first was by Mark McCreadie (ex-police dog handler & author) which was great, loved the stories and the message. The second was presented by Alex (from the Entertainment Crew) about the personal story behind the Titanic. This was unbelievable and on the last seminar, people were in tears as Alex did such a wonderful job. He as articulate, passionate, knowledgeable and completely enthralled me. Trivia was fun and there was plenty to do should you wish too. We did do the Love Riot show (including the dinner) one night. The dinner was nice, great value at $39 and the show enjoyable but had seen better. The performers were really amazing, really clever but it did seem all a bit haphazard - no particular story to tie it together. I was aware it was 18+ and there was some nudity which doesn't worry me at all but wasn't really sure why it was there? Didn't use the pools, slides or Edge at all but they weren't overly crowded. Lounges could be hard to find sometimes but there was usually other options in the adult only Oasis or Sanctuary which was good. To say it was right on the commencement of school holidays I was surprised by how few kids I saw. Another experience we had was the Luke Mangan Degustation dinner which I think was $110pp. This was lovely and would definitely recommend it. With 7 courses, each with wine we were spoilt. The food was amazing, the 2 waiters did a great job and after over 3 hours+ hours we were full of good company, unbelievable food & possibly a tiny bit tipsy. Regarding other food options: * We did Waterfront for dinner a few time, nice food, never cold and good service but after a while the menu does get monotonous. We never used it for lunch and only once for breakfast. * The Pantry was pretty good, some dishes better then others but usually nice, warm and with some variety. Can be hard to find a spot and missed having a bigger external area where you could sit if you wish. * Went to Angelo's and Dragon Lady only once. Dragon Lady I found dark, with no atmosphere. The food was good and nicely presented but not my type of food. Angelo's was a disappointment (food was bland, Lamb Shank really fatty - but other people we met loved it) so didn't go back. * Luke's (Burger Bar on Deck 14) was good and although its not free, its good value. We used it a few time and was great to look over the pool or watch a movie while having a drink & dinner. * 400 Gradi on Deck 8 looked great but we never ate there. It was hard to locate as often you couldn't get in and only later found out that you must use the glass lifts in the atrium (and my Mum not great with lots of stairs) - something for next time. * Charlie (Café) as nice, awesome cakes but the coffee was never fabulous (anywhere in the ship actually). Would be great to have a second café on the pool deck like Pacific Dawn does. * Shell & Bones - never got there but had eaten there previously and was looking forward to it but ran out of time. Overall the service was also good all around. Reception were really helpful and most of the staff in the bards & dining rooms were polite, helpful etc. Entertainment crew must get tired smiling all the time LOL but they were upbeat , fun and seem to really love their job. The Captain was great especially when we encountered really rough sea for 24 hrs on our way home, having updates was really helpful and the daily catch up was good. Disembarkation was fairly smooth. We had booked a transfer on board to get to the airport upon our return which was good value at $20 pp. We had an early start and was at our designated spot on time by 6.50am but was a little miffed that we then had to wait for 45 mins without any info as to why the delay but it didn't affect us much. Finding our bags in a mad house of luggage was interesting, some more signage would be helpful but still found our bags quickly and were on the bus in plenty of time. With 3 ships is port in White Bay that morning I was surprised it all went pretty well. I will do a separate review on the shore tours or this will be a novel but have to say there was plenty to choose, some a little overpriced but not all and enjoyed them all. Hope this is helpful. Pacific Explorer may not be as 'posh' as some other cruise likes in Australia but its great value, a lovely ship and staff on board are very proud of P&O. You will have a great holiday if you just give it a go! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We travelled on the Dawn Princess ,Pacific Explorer a few Times before she became the Explorer . We had to have a look what she was like after the Refurbishing in 2017 ! Dining Rooms lost their Charm . Waterfront looks like a Container ... Read More
We travelled on the Dawn Princess ,Pacific Explorer a few Times before she became the Explorer . We had to have a look what she was like after the Refurbishing in 2017 ! Dining Rooms lost their Charm . Waterfront looks like a Container Dining Room , with Food to match . Items on the Menu , when they came to the Table could not be Identified as the Item you ordered . Garden fresh Vegetables was a term used on the Menu ,yet on most Dishes we ordered they could not be found on the Plate . After alternating between Dragon Lady and Waterfront for 3 Days ,we gave the Dining Rooms a miss ,and went to the Pantry where you could see what you where eating ! Most Upgrades in the Public Areas were ok .Some were obvious Money generating changes , we did not use .We could not Comment on them . Food in the Pantry was fine . The best Idea was that Passengers could not serve themselves .What happened after the Food got to the Table is a different Story . Cleanliness in the Dining Room and Pantry left a lot to be desired . It is either Lack of Staff or inadequate Training causing these Problems . Entertainment in the Marquee Was excellent !Cruise Director and her Programm to entertain Guests very good . Except for Love Riot ,deserves to be Kiel hauled !! Embarkation went Fine , Disembarkation not so .Could have been because Tent Disembarkation set up . The Ship and Cabin were fine , Shower Cubicle a bit Tired ,Floor does look a bit worn ! Service was excellent , Except for lack of Staff during Rush Hour at Pantry ! Tender Services a little shoddy ,but you can always blame the Wind. We will not go with P&O again ! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
we chose this cruise because the first port of call was to be Norfolk Island. The weather did not allow a tender boat to take us on the island. We had two days at sea to get there and two days at sea to get to Tonga This meant five days ... Read More
we chose this cruise because the first port of call was to be Norfolk Island. The weather did not allow a tender boat to take us on the island. We had two days at sea to get there and two days at sea to get to Tonga This meant five days at sea before getting on land. My complaint is that we heard afterwards that ships rarely get onto island because of weather and small jetty. Cruise ships and travel agents should not sell a product that they can't deliver Buyer beware! Also this ship sells internet packages that don't work. After we couldn't get on Norfolk, to get over cabin fever, I thought i would purchase a package that gave me 500mg. After two days of trying to connect i noticed that just over half my data was already used and i hadn't even sent one email or done one search of what to expect in Tonga. I went to reception to complain and get money back, they said nothing can be done. We warned that sometimes it is slow. As soon as i said i would be writing to the Ombudsman he did some typing and said refund would be in your account later today!! Again Company shouldn't sell a product that doesn't work! This cruise was cheap for 16 days and excellent value if you are on a food fest. The entertainment was good and the director of such, Zoltina J was the one saving grace on the cruise Generally speaking the ship was overcrowded for the seating in most areas. some people would go to venues up to an hour before so that they could get a seat. On several nights we literally had to argue with other customers to get a seat at the 9pm show. On one night we arrived five minutes before only to find no seats available. We stood at back for five minutes and then left. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Old out dated cruise ship even though it’s supposed to be renovated. Almost like staying in a back packers hostel. Really small rooms. Food wasn’t really good only if you decide to pay for it. I’ve been on quiet a few cruises with ... Read More
Old out dated cruise ship even though it’s supposed to be renovated. Almost like staying in a back packers hostel. Really small rooms. Food wasn’t really good only if you decide to pay for it. I’ve been on quiet a few cruises with other cruise ship and have cruise 29 days in total with p&o and explorer is the worst. Even the crews on top deck told us that the like pacific explorer because it’s a bludge job and easy going. Cruise director on this cruise from 18/10/18 to 3/11/18 was lazy and was hardly seen and this was mentioned by a lot of customers. Hardly no entertainment on top deck and played same songs and movie clips over and over. P&O has fallen way behind its competitors. Never again will I cruise with them again . Not enough room for anyone all areas are way to small and tender service was a joke borderline fire hazard Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I have recently been on the Pacific Explorer from 18/10/18- 3/11/18 and I agree with Micheal Graham review of this cruise journey of 16 nights. I was also on this same ship last year when it was the Dawn Princess and I noticed quite a few ... Read More
I have recently been on the Pacific Explorer from 18/10/18- 3/11/18 and I agree with Micheal Graham review of this cruise journey of 16 nights. I was also on this same ship last year when it was the Dawn Princess and I noticed quite a few changes since it changed to P&O. I have travelled with different P & O ships, Princess and Carnvial for last 10 years and I found this time that the cruise ship was lacking in several areas and I am not someone that usually writes reviews but felt a need to this time. I agree with the size of the staterooms as we were on deck 10 with an inside cabin with all the balcony suites surrounding us. I was on board Pacific Aria earlier in the year that is a smaller P&O ship and our interior room was on a lower deck and it was larger than Pacific Explorer that is a bigger ship. We called our room the closet as a joke. In the waterfront restaurant on two occasions they forgot two items that I had ordered as well as one night our party of 4 was served a cold main meal but we didn't complain as we didnt want to get the staff member attending to our table in trouble but we were not impressed. Also in waterfront restaurant there was not a lot of choice in menus and same menus repeated over several days. Not enough seating in lounge areas for the passengers. Repetition of same movies and documentaries on televisions in our rooms and not enough entertainment on top deck and repetition of same songs. Showroom shows were ok but I have been to better on previous cruises. The 10th deck launderette had washing machine out of order and only 3 for whole deck and when it was put back in the steward told me it still had a leak and had to be taken away again to be looked at. The public areas looking very tired and need to be updated, painted or replaced. The marquee especially had broken seats and several of the tray table openings on the arm rests were broken and the red seats reminded of the old mecca movie theaters and they were uncomfortable as well. I decided to take the plunge and have a massage on the ship even though I knew it was ridiculously expensive at $170.00 and this was the discount! but then when I was there I got conned into having the hot stones at $20 a pop for my back and feet so add another $40 onto that at $220.00. At the beginning and end of massage I was continually trying to be sold products or services that I didn't want and I didn't appreciate the hard sell either on my holidays. I know it was of my own doing but never again. I also didn't appreciate that every time you went anywhere near the Elemis Spa or on your way to the pantry for food that you were greeted at the lifts by the spa staff trying to do the hard sell and con people into buying expensive Elemis products or services trying to con them into buying off the shelf orthotics etc. I overheard a staff member telling a passenger that had custom orthotics by a podiarist at home, that the ships orthotics were better! So in summary I didn't like the hard sell of the spa and their promotions that suck people in and then sell them things they didn't want. There were a lot of hidden costs that you had to pay for including ice cream from kiosk on deck that I was already aware of but on other ships it is included and we were charged a surcharge for booking a specialty restaurant of $10 just to name a few. The coffee in the pantry was average at best so if you wanted a cappuccino it was at a cost in the pantry and it was quite weak as well. After speaking with quite a few passengers, we were all disappointed that our cruise due to unfavourable weather and swell conditions and safety of passengers could not land on Norfolk Island. After speaking with some passengers they picked this cruise due to the shore tour of Norfolk island in particular and some passengers were meeting friends on shore who lived there. People who booked shore tours not with P&O lost their money on the shore tours booked privately. I don't have a problem with not landing at a shore destination due to weather and safety conditions but when a ship promotes a shore destination that they hardly ever get to due to weather conditions and lack of quality wharf to land tender boats on from what I have read on internet and heard from other passengers, then they should not advertise that location as a shore destination but rather scenic cruising as this is what we did when we couldn't land there. As our cruise was called ' the mutiny on the bounty' cruise it was a destination that was part of the history of this story so it is a destination that you can't really cut out of the itinerary. The tender service was a bit chaotic at times. It took over 1 hour to get to the Tongan island on the smaller tender boats due to the wharf size there but they could have advertised that this was the case the day before so we were aware of the wait period. When we docked at Noumea I heard that they had problems with the gangway so everyone was crowded in the stair wells and lift areas and stressed trying to get off the ship so they didn't miss their shore tours and one passenger was even in tears. It was cold and hot respectively in different parts of the ship so you didn't know whether to take a jacket when visiting different areas of the ship. Our room thermostat stayed the same temperature it felt like no matter where you situated the thermostat dial in the room. The internet connection wasn't great and granted were were on satellite in middle of the ocean but for what they charge you for internet on the ship and the amount of times you are actually connected is very limited. Overall I still enjoyed my sixteen night holiday that included our bonus drinks package included as part of our deal when booking this holiday so that was a big savings but still quite disappointed in a number of areas with this ship. I have the say the crew were wonderful and I could not fault them in their attentiveness towards us throughout the cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I went with my family on this cruise and for the most part we enjoyed ourselves! Pros: Our luggage arrived to our room on the first day really quickly. Embarkation was a fairly quick process. Our room steward Gemma was amazing. ... Read More
I went with my family on this cruise and for the most part we enjoyed ourselves! Pros: Our luggage arrived to our room on the first day really quickly. Embarkation was a fairly quick process. Our room steward Gemma was amazing. The room was always spotless and she was always asking us if we needed anything else. I loved coming back to my room and seeing yummy chocolate, a note or a towel animal. Cocktail prices were surprisingly cheap and the service time was really quick. A lot of times at night there was hardly anyone around due to there being an older demographic. We loved the themed nights The food was pretty good. We loved the specialty restaurant Luke's however the deserts in the Pantry could have been better. At peak times it was also hard to find a set. Cons: There isn't a large variety of activities and the good activities such as the mechanical bull riding or walk the plank aren't free. It would be much better if this was included. The entertainment venue (Marquee) is way too small and you had to arrive an hour early if you wanted a seat. The entertainment offered here was also poor so we didn't really bother. The cruise director was highly annoying and talked for ages about pointless things. The tender process was slow and we had to wait quite awhile. The professional photos are really overpriced as is the spa. We enjoyed our hot stone massage however. The gym also needs a makeover. It is tiny. Don't bother with the "Love Riot" show. I had seen other reviews on here that it was amazing but it was such a let down and not worth the $15. Ports We missed our first point of call - Norfolk Island. We didn't mind that much as we were having a good time on board. Tonga ports - there wasn't much to see and do. Wouldn't go back. Suva, Fiji - good for getting souvenirs Dravuni - Fiji - we loved this place. Snorkeling, beach and water is amazing. Port Denarau - We did a shore excursion where a boat took us to a separate island. It was great. We got a buffet lunch, free drinks, snorkeling, use of paddle boards and went on a glass bottom boat. Noumea - We did the duck island tour, it is a must! Such amazing snorkeling, we saw turtles, big fish and reef sharks. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We really enjoyed this cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation were both very well organised and fast. The Pacific Explorer feels smaller than it is, and it can be hard to get seating, especially in the Explorer Hotel. We only went to ... Read More
We really enjoyed this cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation were both very well organised and fast. The Pacific Explorer feels smaller than it is, and it can be hard to get seating, especially in the Explorer Hotel. We only went to the Waterfront Restaurant once - the husband's meal was fine, mine was cold and quite unpleasant so I didn't want to go back again. Every meal we had at Luke's was fantastic, and we really like the new Pantry. Food wastage is obviously much reduced and we never over-ate. The blue room is nice, the band "SoundBlasters" was great fun. Bonded Store was too expensive for us so we didn't use it at all. we enjoyed Dragon Lady and Antonio's - I recommend the Primitivo red wine. We also really enjoyed 400 Gradi - the salads are so good we didn't even need to have the pizza - especially the roasted carrot salad - I could eat that all day. Love Riot dinner and show was great fun. The dinner beforehand was a bit disappointing but the dessert made up for all of that - quite a spectacle. We went to Noumea, Mare and Isle of Pines. The snorkling was great at Mare and Isle of Pines. There's a lady on the beach at Mare who cooks chips in oil over an open fire. They were the best chips we've had for a long time. We also went to nearly every show and enjoyed them all. Finding a seat was not a problem except for the last night when there was only one show. Marius, who was tasked with the bingo events, is very funny indeed and made bingo a lot of fun, even though he was a bit too fast when calling out the numbers. The trivia competitions were far too hard (except for the majority rules, and pub quiz). I saw more than a few people give up on the trivia competition because they only had a handful of answers; two, or maybe four, out of 20. All in all, we were sad to leave. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Hello All, Having just returned from our first P&O cruise after 6 cruises with carnival - I thought I would share some relevant comparisons that would highlight what each provide and what potential cruisers may find appealling ... Read More
Hello All, Having just returned from our first P&O cruise after 6 cruises with carnival - I thought I would share some relevant comparisons that would highlight what each provide and what potential cruisers may find appealling Our family has sailed on Carnival Legend twice and Carnival Spirit 4 times and now on Pacific Explorer last week - all trips to pacific islands for snorkelling as the main event out of Sydney BOARDING - both lines have a smooth and efficient entry to the boat - we have never been delayed in 7 total cruises (always choose the earliest time possible to get lunch on boat - and arrive even earlier at Circular quay as they will let you board in the previous 30 minutes time slot if you dont have the earliest possible). Expect a 20 minute process. If possible book a cruise leaving from Circular Quay as White Bay terminal is a nightmare to get to, especially on day of return when all you want to do is get home fast !! ROOMS - we have always booked a Balcony room. Rooms on Carnival are well designed and include a lounge and desk with chair along with the beds - so reasonable size and comfortable. Room on P&O was alas a broom closet - with no lounge at all and poor use of space so for us with an additional 18 months old cot in the 2m x 2m living space - there was basically no room to live ! Bathroom tiny on P&O - functional on Carnival. Carnival have suitcases fit under all beds - P&O did not ! Toilets notorious for blocking on P&O - ours blocked on 2nd last day (and was fixed in about 8 hours)- Carnival we have never had an issue BALCONY - Carnival have lights on the balcony - whereas putting children to bed at 7 pm - lights out - with one parents staying with our 18 month old and 5 year old - naturally that parent would sit on the balcony reading etc etc - EXCEPT - you may not believe this but the P&O setup had balcony light built right next to curtain runner - BUT THE CURTAIN WAS ON WRONG SIDE OF LIGHT - meaning that the light shone into the room, not onto the Balcony when curtain closed !(rendered our balcony useless after 6 pm - kids were trying to sleep). We asked reception for a portable lamp but they refused our request. P&O actual balcony design is better - there is some shade areas on the side so if sun is out in force - you can sit there all day and find some shade - Carnival it is wider full view but sun blaring means its just too glary and hot at times out there -------------------------------------------- FOOD - the real difference here was one of frustration with P&O - in that they monetise all the great foods that you hope for on a holiday and that kids are looking for. Hamburgers - all paid $7 each on P&O - all free on Carnival. The burgers are both really nice with the Guy Fieri burger (free) slightly better and with more options than the Luke Mangan cafe paid burger. Pizza - 24hours and free on Carnival - rolled in front of you fresh for trad Italian thin crust pizza ready in 10 minutes. Pizza all filtered into specialist restaurant on P&O - $16 each - nice and more restaurant quality but Carnival was the nicer pizza and for free (there is no food after 9 pm on P&O - except small paid cafe) Ice-Cream - 24 hours and free on Carnival - none available on P&O except branded shop NZ Ice cream all paid Restaurants - both very high quality food and cant be faulted - cant separate them - 3 courses and can have anything you want and however much. Specialist restaurant on P&O - Italian - was really lovely. Dinner reservations were easier and better organised on P&O as it was a simple phone call but you did have to book every day - Carnival if you have any time dining you get a pager when you turn up and need to wait usually (but fixed dining you just walk straight in to your table with same waiters). P&O are going for more upper class quiet atmosphere in restaurant - muted lighting - whereas Carnival go for family oriented brighter lighting and have a song and waiters dancing (5 minute intrusion - Im not a fan of the silly carry-on)! Buffets - this is where there is a difference. P&O have gone for a food court, always served by staff approach with seven different stations - quality varied widely - Pantry layout worked very well in that we rarely if ever waited too long - lines were not too long. Stations are 1 Indian 2 Asian 3 Roasts 4 Pasta 5 Mexican 6 Fish and Chips 7 Desert Sugar Bar The Indian was disappointing as I was looking for the classic butter chickens, masalas, kormas and hardly ever had these sort of dishes - just dal after dal and lots of vegetarian naturally. Asian - this was the worst option - Australian want westernised Chinese like your honey chicken, lemon chicken, mongolian lamb, sweet and sour pork - instead this was really old stale boring trad Chinese - nasi goreng, lamb stir fry (hoi sin sauce with wet cabbage sitting in wok for ages with the toughest boot leather lamb ever) - and it rarely ever changed Fish and Chips - fantastic - as good as this can get Mexican - really nice variety and especially the beef dishes with nachos or wraps Pasta - alas really big dry pasta bakes - you would hope for fresh and replenished pasta staples but it really was average quality at best without much choice Roasts - seemed quite good - irish stew, hams, leg of lamb with a few veggies Desert Bar - the most disappointing of all - you really better like light cream cakes - they were nice but repeated every day ad nauseum - saw the Butterscotch cream cake 5 days in a row. We were hoping for some mousse, eclairs, donuts, slices, ice-cream, mud cakes, tarts, cookies but it was all so similar Ice Cream - none - see above - monetised Carnival buffet is different - self serve and served by staff - a lot more variety with multi dishes at many stations - but also some really average stuff but really delicious stuff - so I found Carnival winning in end because I could find really great things amongst stuff I didnt like but with P&O - quality was as described above and variety wasnt there Seating - could not find a seat at lunch time on P&O a number of times - so seating was inadequate - also happens a little on carnival but apart from first day - could always find a booth - overall same for both lines. --------------------------------------- SHOWS - Carnival have a 3 tiered theatre so that you can walk in with 1 minute to go and find a seat no problem. P&O have a 1 level theatre with massive seating issues - 2 times out of 4 I had to walk out as there was not 1 seat left. On last night - our children loved the Rock concert 2 nights previous - we intended to go back for the 90's pop concert - wetn early to get an aisle seat with an 18 month old - instead - we found 3 seats in the mobility seating - were told to move - and there were 80 people standing at back aisles on each side - there were simply not enough seats. I had to leave with my family arguing and staying in the back row - awful experience. P&O musicians superior to Carnival - rock concert they had a live band as well as the singers - and the musicians and mixing were superb - incredibly good - where Carnival show is more cabaret and still OK - but P&O better in terms of their musicians throughout the whole ship --------------------------------------- TENDERS Both lines do them pretty well -with P&O seeming to be better organised and not as rushed ---------------------------------------- SHIP LAYOUT - I absolutely love the top deck round lounges (pods) with cover and privacy - on Carnival boats - they would be the spot I spend the most hours in. Pillows - ocean views - wind protected - lounges angled so they are private - perfection ! Much to my chagrin I found the P&O boats had nothing to cater - simply nothing. Every single deck chair was turned facing inwards towards the pool / middle of boat squashed in like sardines and the two glass angled panels and framework blocked view to the ocean really badly. Generally P&O boat was cramped and no where near enough chairs - whereas Carnival I could name 4 or 5 reading spots or quiet spots where I loved to sit - indoors and out. The bigger boat pays off with this sort of stuff. Just not a lot to do on P&O - no basketball court, no soccer court, no running track, hardly any standup comedy - adult area was really lame and small on P&O. Bowls was complete waste of time because the ships movement meant the bowls did not track with curve - and space was too narrow - so no one ever played it. Elevators were a slow nightmare on P&O - much quicker and more of them on Carnival. With a pram, we waited for endless minutes as elevators did not come or were filled (ended up carrying the whole pram up 4 levels up stairs after standing for over 10 minutes after safety drill) OVERALL - we will not be cruising with P&O again - Carnival from now on. It really depends on what you are looking for but we found P&O signicantly inferior in many areas that affected the quality of the holiday. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
The refurbishment (with the exception of the Marque which was VERY tired) was good. Our cabin stewards were very helpful and happy. Communications however were woeful including the daily newspaper, (nobody including the local bus ... Read More
The refurbishment (with the exception of the Marque which was VERY tired) was good. Our cabin stewards were very helpful and happy. Communications however were woeful including the daily newspaper, (nobody including the local bus driver knew that there was a festival parade and a wonderful fireworks display in Cairns while we were there. Many of the crew were very hard to understand as their English was not good and this included a number of public anouncements. The hygiene policeing in the dining areas was nonexistant. Having just comleted a cruise witl the Royal Caribean where you were not allowed into a dining area without "washy washy" we were a bit worried. Most of the cruise and ship was ok but we left with a feeling that improvements were required sooner than later This ship could be good value for money but management need to work on comms and hygeine before these things cause some major problems Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was my second of back to back cruises on the Pacific Explorer. I had sailed a few times when this ship sailed as the Dawn Princess. P & O destroyed everything about this ship. The food was horrible. One youth would only eat in ... Read More
This was my second of back to back cruises on the Pacific Explorer. I had sailed a few times when this ship sailed as the Dawn Princess. P & O destroyed everything about this ship. The food was horrible. One youth would only eat in the Dragon Lady and another youngster described the offerings as prison food. Quality is disgusting and variety boringly non existent. The 12 day refurbishment left just about all public areas in a very unkempt condition. The Marquee Theatre should have all the seating replaced. Seats throughout other public areas sadly need refurbishing. The Explorer Hotel has wood border trims near ceiling all scratched up. It needs to be completely sanded down and varnished. Several nautical theme items on the walls have been removed, which is a pity as it used to be a very attractive lounge and dance venue. When the cruise director announced on two occasions that it was the last day of the cruise, it was met with applause on both occasions. That says it all! In my many cruises, this was a first. The 9th deck launderette had 3 machines out of order...washing machine, token dispenser and detergent dispenser. The 10th deck launderette had all 3 washing machines out of order. The target demographic is now young families. It seemed like over 80% of passengers were first time cruisers with over 300 aged 19 and under. So they have nothing to compare with. The mirrors during refurbishment were covered on all lifts (elevators) and replaced with questionable looking wallpaper. There are charges for delivery of tea, toast and all food items to cabins. There are charges for ice-cream and pizza as well. So surf and turf night on this ship. The skimping and cost cutting is blatantly apparent. Seriously, DO AVOID AT ALL COST. OH NO, P & 0. Read Less
Pacific Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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