P&O Cruises’ new look Pacific Explorer is nearing completion after a multi-million dollar upgrade in Singapore’s Sembawang Shipyard.

P&O said they will reveal details about the refurbishment in March and she will be departing on a sailing from Sydney departing 13 March.

P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the brand always had plans to reveal Pacific Explorer’s new features once the transformation had come to fruition.

“The countdown is on for the debut of Pacific Explorer‘s significant upgrades following her multi-million dollar refit which will build on the ship’s existing features and spaces which have proved extremely popular with our guests. We can’t wait to show Pacific Explorer off when she returns home to Sydney in March,” Mr Myrmell said.

There has been extensive superstructure work and her cabins have been renovated.

As one of Australia’s favourite ships, we know there is huge interest in her changes. So we have compared before March 2020 and after March 2020 deck plans.

From what we can see, it looks like more interconnecting cabins and mini suites  – so bigger emphasis on family and multi-generational cruising.

Cruise enthusiasts and Facebook group Singapore Cruise Society has been hot on the tail of the Pacific Explorer’s renovations, making regular posts about her progress in dry dock.

Pacific Explorer

The last refurb Pacific Explorer underwent was in 2017, after initially being built in 1997 for $300 million – as the Dawn Princess.

Following her 2017 enhancements, she boasted onboard waterslides, 12 dining experiences (all included in the cruise fare), and modern stage show productions.

But many lamented that cabins had not been updated.  So we hope this is being rectified.

Her previous upgrade was described as being built with “P&O’s stylish yet relaxed modern Australian interior designs.”

Pacific Explorer

Fast facts about the Pacific Explorer:

She has had a capacity for 1,998 guests, across 11 guest decks. She is 260 metres long and weighs gross tonnage of 77,441.

Onboard Recreation

Daily itineraries are filled with activities such as cocktail making classes, dance lessons and even weight loss seminars. Pacific Explorer also has two heart-racing water slides.  There are more thrilling activities to push your boundaries at the P&O Edge park. You can sail across the length of the ship on the zipline or Walk the Plank over the water.

There are also Segway tours, trampolining and rock climbing. Prices start from $19 for individual activities or $149 for five. For gym buffs, there are classes ($19 each) from boxing and spin to pilates.

She also has two indoor pools, two outdoor pools, a spa and a casino. 

Dining Choices

Among the twelve dining options are the popular Waterfront Restaurant, The Dragon Lady (offering Asian cuisine) and Angelo’s (with Italian cuisine).

Some of the new dining venues, which were introduced with the delivery of Pacific Explorer include 400 Gradi, a pizza joint by Johnny Di Francesco and Taste of Salt by P&O’s long standing celebrity chef partner, Luke Mangan.

400 Gradi serves authentic Italian fare including antipasto plates with an array of cured meats and cheese and pasta, but the stars are the pizzas.

Taste of Salt is a private dining experience within the Waterfront. The decadent seven-course degustation menu includes kingfish sashmi with ginger, eschallot and Persian feta, seared sea scallops with blue cheese polenta, grilled sirloin of beef with spices, mash, beans and shallots as well as Luke’s famous parfait. At $99 with matching wines, it is great value.


The Marquee offers stage shows, including Black Circus with Cabaret style shows. The Blue Room has Live music and Charlie’s Bar and the Casino are also fan favourites. 

Love Riot, which is in the Black Circus, is an original production that has been designed exclusively for Pacific Explorer. The show is raunchy – with a bit of nudity, but enjoyable with talented dancers, acrobats, jugglers, aerialists and gymnasts performing to a mix-taped of songs that feature the word love in the lyrics. Highlights include a hilarious unicyclist and an amazing contortionist from Austria, who swallowed an incredibly long balloon at the end of her act, and a juggler who began by throwing balls in the air and soon switched to blow up dolls, which had everyone laughing.

The Itinerary

Once the Pacific Explorer‘s renovations are complete and she makes her re-positioning voyage back to Australia, her calendar for the remainder of the year is to sail around Australia’s popular ports with plenty of short theme cruises on offer – as well as New Zealand and the South Pacific including Vanuatu, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Can you spot the difference?

On P&O’s website, they have provided two deck plans, before and after the refurbishment. Can you spot the difference between the two? Let us know…

And thanks to the Singapore Cruise Society for the images!