(we actually left from Brisbane but this option is not available on the drop down list)
THINGS WE LOVED: The ship itself, The pools, the waiting and entertainment staff, the special night at SALTGRILL..well worth the extra $40, the trivia, the bingo, the restaurant meals (rarely ate in the buffet so no comment), Our lovely steward LEVIN, our suite (we upgraded to one of the full suite on Aloha deck from a mini suite on B deck after reading another review in this section below. It was well worth it just to get the Nescafe espresso machine. The review on this forum re the noisy deck above the mini suites actually turned out to be very valid as we saw a woman come up onto the deck screaming at the kids for scraping chairs on the roof at midnight so I think we made the best choice to upgrade and not take a mini suite at all. Some of our kids loved HQ, the kids club, the older ones avoided the 15-17 year old HQ plus. I believe the age for the older club should be 14-17 as our 14 year olds didn't want to hang around in a place full of really young children.
Things we wondered about: Why we only got one knife and fork with our room service morning breakfasts which were clearly ordered for two people, Why there was no coke machine or vending machine available for our 16-18 year olds so they could get a drink late in the evening when everything was closed except the nightclub. Why the shore excursions cost so much more than we could organise ourselves. Why the photos were so expensive when a far better option in this day and age would be to have them browsable and printable from a photo kiosk rather than having to cover the cost of thousands of photos no one wanted to buy. I'd love a dollar for every printed one they had to shred at the end of the trip, it would have covered my bar bill! NOTE: Have all photos viewable from kiosks and available for a $20 print fee and you'd sell a lot more P&O !
Things we hated: one family member had a queasy stomach and a touch of gastro.. nothing more serious than he gets at home. He asked for a tablet at the medical centre and was quarantined for 24 hours, missing out on the best day of the cruise with his children. He was completely fine and had no problem for the rest of the cruise. I understand the need for a quarantine if he was nauseous, vomiting etc.(all the symptoms of norovirus) but a 24 hr quarantine when he was just after a precautionary tablet was a bit of an overreaction in this particular case. Stock up on your own tablets because a visit to the medical centre for any reason will cost you... ! The cameraman who set up his camera right in front of us on Comedy Night when a simple roof mounted camera would have provided not only a better shot of the comedian for those at the back who couldn't see him but also wouldn't have blocked the view for those of us who could !
TIPS: take your own lanyard or be prepared to pay $7 or so for a "souvenir" one. Buy a photo on day one to get your USB drive and wait until the last day to buy any others. Do your own sightseeing shore excursions if possible. We had a local driver take ten of us to the mele cascades in Vanuatu for the same price two people would have paid to see the same sight via a ship-booked shore excursion. If more than four of you definitely book a regular table in the Palm Court restaurant if you don't like buffet food. Book at least ONE meal in SALTGrill. We found Duty Free cigarettes and alcohol much cheaper in Vila than on the boat. Visit Hideaway island and the Mele Cascades when in Vila. In Lifou walk over the hill (walk up towards the church on the left hand side of the beach along the road and take the first turn to the right to Turtles Next.. so much better for snorkelling but remember to wear reef shoes or boot fins as its not an easy access to the water.