We've been on seven cruises with four different lines and this was disappointing in comparison. Pacific Dawn - 7 nights, Queensland tropical coast.
WHAT WE LIKED
Staff were obliging, had great English, and were diligent. From the cabin stewards through to the cleaning staff, all were thorough and provided great service.
The Kid's club staff were lovely.
The food in the restaurant was good and Luke Mangan's was great (worth $40 per head).
If you want to pay an additional $95 per head, the Chef's Table is fabulous - best experience on the ship.
The Cirque de Solei (please excuse spelling) shows were amazing.
The Pacific Entertainers provided two excellent shows.
Self service laundry is fantastic (particularly with a family of four.)
Embarkation and disembarkation, effortless and efficient.
The ports were fantastic - particularly Pontoon Reef tour with Quicksilver at Port Douglas. Book directly with tour guide as P&O double your costs for this tour. Same with Skyrail and Kuranda at Cairns. Prebook or hire a taxi and pay when you get there - a third of the price!
WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE
About 95% of all on-board entertainment was geared towards selling P&O services and products. Pay, pay, pay. Am not sure what the Cruise Director does besides promote P&O Products.
Most adult onboard entertainment which was 'free', was late at night, after 10.30pm. Understand the rationale. No food on offer, so pay, pay, pay, and it encourages drinking all day and night!
Being kicked off the outer decks at 5.30pm (sun still shining and seas calm) to be herded into the interior of the ship.
The Buffet - DO NOT GO THERE. Worst buffet we have EVER experienced and shuts at 9pm, so for hungry teenagers - who of course missed dinner because they had 'better things to do', by the time 10pm and onwards comes, they are hungry and only alternative is to flash the card and pay, pay, pay.
PHOTOS - every nook and cranny was stuffed with photo studios, and every onboard activity was snapped, eating, drinking, walking, talking - you get the picture - ha ha. Photos were expensive - no packages offered, in comparison with other cruises who most certainly have this option.
No dining packages, no drinks packages - so pay, pay, pay, for every single thing.
Art auction - awful.
Cabins, new carpet - good, rest of interior dated, but clean.
Kids club. Both boys were at HQ 11-14. They enjoyed the other kids and the staff, but... one air hockey table - no puck by day three. Three only playstations for around 70 kids - easter time. Nothing else on offer in terms of facilities. One ping pong table on pool deck which was shared with every other kids club and adults. Not good - really not good in comparison with other lines.
So... in summary. If P&O is your first cruise - I believe you will have a great time, but for those who have something to compare it with, Pacific Dawn will leave you wishing that you had sailed on one of those 'other' lines. We most certainly did!