Having never cruised before and after listening to many other cruisers stories (both positive and negative) my husband and I (both 38) decided to try out this 3 night cruise before committing to a 14 night cruise later this year on the Pacific Pearl.
Embarkation was a breeze. We received a text the day before to call a hotline which advised embarkation times depending on what deck you were on. Despite being over half an hour early due to a quick hotel check out and super efficient taxi driver we were able to check in straight away and we were on the ship within 20 minutes. The staff at the overseas passenger terminal at Circular Quay were fantastic, very helpful and the whole process was very organised and efficient.
Our cabin was midship on deck 6 which we had no trouble finding quickly. We were pleasantly surprised with the layout, spacious with a good sized window and not at all cramped like we were expecting. Plenty of drawer and hanging space and a comfy bed. There is also a desk, an armchair and a small table. Our cabin steward Clive was very friendly and helpful and always smiling. The towell arranged into a love heart on the bed and chocolates on our pillows on the second night were an unexpected and lovely touch.
We only ate at the Plantation restaurant (the buffet) preferring to meander up to eat when the urge took us. Though we did hear good things about the Waterfront restaurant which we plan to try on our next cruise. The food at the buffet was fantastic, fresh with lots of variety and always lovely. I read a review that described it as "slop" but in my opinion you would have to be hard to please to not enjoy the food on offer at the buffet. We never encountered long lines even in the busy times and with so many tables we never had any trouble finding somewhere to sit. The wait staff were great, friendly and very helpful. We also loved the fact that there is antibacterial hand lotion at the start of the buffet which is not optional - everyone has to use it before you pick up a plate. Very hygienic and a fantastic idea.
The entertainment was top notch. Comedy shows that were hilarious, and the Pacific Cirque acrobats were amazing. The ships entertainment crew were great to watch. We went to a few seminars which we enjoyed including a 'virtual bridge tour' by the captain which was interesting and very entertaining due to his sense of humour. The Marquee theatre was a great venue for the shows but get there early to get a good seat as the layout makes some seats very hard to see from. The laser light show was a must see along with the Cirque acrobats performance which were both in the Atrium which was a great location and plenty of spots for people to see because of the 3 levels.There is also an outdoor giant screen on the top deck which shows movies etc which is great if the weather is being kind. One thing we would have liked to see was an indoor cinema (or movies shown in the Marquee theatre) for the occasions that the weather isn't agreeable for the top deck.
Other reviewers have commented on the public toilets and the lifts not working properly on previous cruises. I can't confirm whether this was the case with the lifts on this cruise as we preferred to take the stairs all the time to attempt to work off all those yummy desserts! I did come across one toilet that was blocked in the toilets near the Marquee theatre one evening but it was repaired quickly and was working by the following morning.
We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 days on board the Pacific Pearl. We were well fed and entertained and didn't get a chance to get bored with all the activities on offer. Yes it is an old (albeit refurbished) ship and as such you can expect to see some signs of wear and tear. But all in all the refurbishment has been done well and any signs of age aren't glaringly obvious.
Counting down the days until our next cruise on board the Pearl!