Pacific Dawn Cruise Review by ckrken: Never Again
This was my Bucket List after 35 years of marriage and raising 6 children, it was my time for being spoilt and have someone look after me. Therefore you can imagine our excitement of finally taking the trip of our dreams with all the high expectations that P&O promised in their shiny brochures.
My husband and I set sail on the Pacific Dawn from Brisbane heading towards New Caledonia for 7 nights. Our first taste of the disaster that was to become our holiday started at the terminal. What a dingy place that is and no one told us to expect an hour to fill out forms and there was no where to sit or rest the papers against to do so as this small place was quickly filling up with other passengers all trying to do the same paperwork. Then we were held up for an hour or so due to a problem with customs delaying our departure.
SO IF YOU ARE GOING ON THIS TRIP TAKE A PEN AND BE PREPARED TO WAIT. There were shops where you could get something to eat More whilst you had to wait but they were so far away you be afraid of missing your turn to get on the ship and having to wait longer.
Once onboard we went to our cabin which we had as an 'upgrade'. It was originally designed as a quad with little room to move around the bed and it was situated right under the Marquee room resulting in all sorts of noise filtering down through the night making sleeping a little difficult at times. When we arrived at our cabin there was a Yellow card saying that I had an item in my bag that was being Confiscated and made me feel like a criminal trying to smuggle illegal goods - as it turned out it was my travel iron of all things. I was told that I could not use it as they had a laundry and I could iron my items down there. There was no mention in any of the documentation of what not to bring onboard saying that I could not bring one, even the questions on the Facebook fellow travellers page when asked say that this was a prohibitive item only that there were laundry services available for a fee.
Available for a fee became the theme for this voyage.
The ship itself and all the feature rooms and trimmings were tired and looked like they needed a refit. My general impression was that they were downgrading the quality and offering lower prices to get more people to travel with them.
There were quite a lot of activities offered but they were so boring that it was not worthwhile going or participating. For instance the trivial quizs where half hearted as was the bingo game which I did play after paying $30 for the privilege, the casino my husband played/lost $30 without even realising it as you have to insert your card and a whole lot of rigmarole. There were only one table of each, roulette, blackjack and a poker game so if you wanted to have a flutter it became a long wait. The so-called BIG ATTRACTIONS were tired and very difficult to access. The main performance was from the Pacific Circus in the Atrium and if you did not get a seat an hour beforehand it was impossible to see what was going on. The music provided by the various bands I could have watched better at our local pub, they were tired and lacked any enthusiasm. Definitely no toe tapping fun to be had with them. Otherwise all the other activities could be had - for a FEE - a gallery excursion, a tour of the ship and etc.
The theater was outdoors on the pool deck on a large screen so if you didn't get a seat right in front you had to sit on the side and not get a good viewing. Also it was cold and windy most nights so that did not encouraged us to go out much.
PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS
There was nothing like I imagined, no greetings from the locals, no organisation involving tour operators or how to get on to the tours, you had to sort that out all by yourself. The islands were not what we had expected them to be and there was very little cultural or background knowledge provided. Life on islands was not as romantic as I had anticipated and would rank them as being 3rd world, with a lot of graffiti everywhere. But they did use Australian dollars which was great and very little way of shops to buy trinkets for back home.
Terrible is what I can only describe it as. Where was all this wonderful food we were promised? The Plantation was a cafeteria at best, with not a big range of choices and if you asked for a second slice of the 'meat' of the day they snarled. The coffee was terrible and there was no cold water available. I ended up with Acute Gastroenteritis from eating there so be careful as it does happen quite frequently on the Pacific Dawn as there at least 3 other cases when I go sick.
The Waterfront promised a lot and delivered not much. They said you had to dress up for the occasion but this was not the case. The meals were tepid at best and bland all the time. But it was nice being served. All the other eating venues you had to pay and as I mentioned earlier this was the theme of the ship. You also had to book for evening meals or line up for lunch and breakfast.
Both restaurants had closing times and when you were in port difficult to get in
Ice cream, pizza and everything else you can imagine had a price.
It appeared to me that for all staff English was not their first language and they made little eye contact. if you asked them a question they appeared not to understand you so we gave up.
Once again the terminal was abysmal and dingy. You had no idea where lines started or finished. Claiming my 'illegal' iron was difficult and everyone crowded in or around the door way that made getting out difficult.
This was first part of my bucket list and I can say that I can cross it off my list but I will NEVER travel with P&O again
Everything had a price and you had no idea of what or how your spending was going unless you checked it everyday so I would highly recommend everyone to do that, as I witnessed quite a few fellow passengers have near heart attacks when they received their final bill. Less
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Cabin review: queen6108
It was terrible as it was right under the Marquee room and had to suffer through all the noise when trying to sleep. Room designed as a quad share so no room to move around the bed and with all the extra cupboard spaces, made it much smaller to move around in general.Tight spots to store suitcases. TV channels had a loop so you watched the same thing over, and over, and over again.