I have cruised on numerous occasions with P&O Australia to North Queensland and the South Pacific, I love cruising but wanted to visit a different destination so I chose a 8 day cruise from Sydney cruising to Melbourne and Tasmania. It was different cruising to cooler destinations, it was odd packing jeans and jacket as I'm used to packing togs and a beach towel.Perfect weather in Melbourne and Burnie made for lovely touring days, overcast in Hobart and Port Arthur but this did not spoil our visit.I was very impressed with the day cruising down the east coast through Wineglass Bay and Great Oyster Bay and along the southern coast of Tasmania into Hobart. I spent the morning taking in the sights from a comfy chair in The Dome and the afternoon from a deck chair on the rear deck on deck 9. Dolphins, seals and sea birds abundant.
I was looking forward to cruising on the newly refurbished Pacific Pearl, as I had followed their blog during the new fit-out and was suitably impressed with the new public areas.I shared a outside quad cabin on deck 9 with previous cruising friends, the cabins were not updated in the refurbs, but were typical of P&O ships, comfortable, clean and we were well looked after by our cabin steward Arnel. My cruising buddies and I prefer to dine in the restaurant and really enjoyed the new Waterfront Restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we even managed afternoon tea on cruising days. We prefer a late dinner and had no problems booking table 246 each evening for 8pm. A varied menu with suitably sized meals, great service (thanks to Tiki and Maldon) and food left us with no complaints. We did visit the Plantation Restaurant for a late lunch after returning from Port Arhur, usual buffet style food and plenty of it.
As I like a relaxing cruise I spent most of my time with a good book in the Dome, the views were amazing especially cruising in and out of ports. The sports quiz each evening was a fun half hour. What really impressed me was the rear deck areas, we were only 6 cabins from the door out to the deck 9 rear area, so grabbing a pillow and a good book from the cabin we would crash on a deck chair and spend a easy cruising afternoon. I enjoyed the evening's entertainment in the Theatre, entertaining and getting more professional with each cruise I take.(I still have fond memories of Fairstar cruising 25 years ago when cruise guests were the entertainment).
I don't do any ship shore tours so I can't comment, I hired a rental car in Burnie and Hobart and went for a days touring, super public transport and easy walking in Melbourne City. Port Arthur was accessed by the tender service which was busy so expect a wait on board, we then spent the morning taking a leisurely walk around the grounds and a look around the tourist info centre.
I love cruising and really enjoyed this cruise. I'm already planning next years cruise hopefully from Perth to Christmas Island, Broome and Bali.