It was a Dark Mofo 6 night mid-winter escape to Hobart that caught my eye.
To Tasmania in the middle of winter ? Yeah why not.
I have fond memories of the Dawn Princess but not very good memories of some of P&O Australia's "new" (old) ships. I thought my experience on the Pacific Eden' inaugural trip from Fremantle to Sydney a couple of years ago would have cured me from every going near P&O Australia again but....I must have had a lapse of concentration.
Pacific Explorer seems to have a terrible problem with what I suspect is their sewer system. For two days the stench in the Atrium on Deck 4 level was eye watering and then one morning I woke to find the stink had found its way to my cabin on that same level. It leaves a metallic taste in your mouth. You need to escape to the open decks.
But stench aside and in most other places I enjoyed myself very nicely.
The Pantry is not much better than a shopping centre food hall. Its seems the food is all put out on display at the beginning of service (and replenished obviously) I mostly found things to be lukewarm or cold. Breakfast eggs were like golf balls. Toast was cold and chewy and they have the worst coffee I have every had on a cruise ship...thank you Nescafe.
I restricted my visits there in the end to just lunch for a sandwich and a salad and some fresh fruit which were all very good.
The dessert displays at night were sometimes a bit dramatic (one night it was pink on pink on pink) but EVERYTHING comes out of the same packet and tastes the same, no matter what colour the cake is.
Was very nicely laid out in smaller sections and the menu was interesting despite lots of pay for extra's items and the service was pretty good by friendly staff. A glass of wine order at dinner seems to throw everyone into a spin however and one night I waited 30 minutes for the wine to arrive. Other nights I was well in to my meal before the wine finally arrived. Breakfasts in the Waterfront are very nice, very sane and civilised and the eggs, toast, and coffee are quite okay. Avoid the Pantry buffet bun fight.
was very good (1st night) but after that I just dined in the Waterfront in the same area and mostly the same table where the staff and service was very good and the food quite surprisingly good. There were a couple of misses on the menu but after the Pacific Eden where everything on the menu that trip was a HUGE miss, I managed okay this time.
For lunch one day was very nice. Not very warm but quite tasty.
The Public Rooms have been very nicely decorated and service is very good.
I left most of the entertainment on board to the night owls.
The Dark Mofo inclusions for on land at Hobart were generous.
Will I go P&O Australia again, ahhm, not sure. They need to fix that stink on the Pacific Explorer though. Everyone was talking about it.
My cabin was lower down and further forward than I have even been on a cruise ship. The cabin was not allocated until a week or so before departure.
Un-refurbished from Princess days it was however restful and quiet and despite the awful stink that crept in one morning was okay. The cabin stewardess was wonderful.