Pacific Pearl Cruise Review by JCDNZ: First time cruisers
First time cruisers
I'd read a lot of P&O reviews before going on my cruise and wondered what we were going to be in for. But no fear, it was fantastic. We went on the Bounty Discovery cruise from Auckland in early May 2011.
Sadly we couldn't disembark on Norfolk Island - the weather cleared beautifully to a sunny day with a slight breeze, but unfortunately the swells were 1.5 metres and it wouldn't have been safe to tender passengers to the island. But Duncan from Norfolk Island came aboard and gave us a fantastic narrative and pointed out places of interest as we sailed around the island.
Next stop was Noumea. We did the Tchou Tchou train ride - a lot of fun and a nice surprise bonus of delicious French pastries and soft drinks at one of the viewpoints. People say that you can get the train cheaper by booking it in Noumea itself, but our cruise passengers filled all the timeslots, so you would have been out of luck if you'd tried to book locally. We got the shuttle to the More Aquarium (well worth a visit), and wandered along Anse Varta Beach before heading back to the ship.
Then to Lifou where we snorkelled then wandered up to the church on the hill. We snorkelled again at Vila and wandered into town, and snorkelled yet again at the picturesque Mystery Island. Mystery Island was delightful, you can stroll around it in 30 mins - soft white sand, plenty of trees for shade and warm, warm seas - and the visiting locals were just delightful.
As regards the ship itself, we loved our cabin (a two berth window cabin on deck 8) - plenty big enough with ample room and storage space. We thought all the food was good - we had dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant and couldn't fault it (other than service being erratic at times), and had lunch and brekkie sitting outside in the sun at the Plantation Buffet. I'm not a fan of buffet food but I would have to say that the selection was good, and the food all looked nice - I was only interested in cold breakfasts and salad lunches.
If I was looking for fault, the coffee machines ran out of any coffee options that required milk, such as flat white, a few days out. I thought they'd re-supply at Noumea, but it remained like that for the rest of the cruise. So coffee was a black coffee, adding a couple of those little tubs of UHT milk (not the nicest). After a few more days an urn of fresh milk appeared at the machines, so at least the coffee wasn't so bad after that. But if as I suspect it was a "consumables" issue that led to "not available" for all the coffee with milk options, then that's poor planning on P&O's part.
We went to all the shows that appealed to us (pretty much everything), to all the laser light shows (fantastic), and to comedy, trivia etc. We were pleasantly surprised by the standard of shows, most were excellent, just one or two that were still good, but didn't have the X factor.
If you're going to look for fault I'm sure you'll find things to complain about, but all up we had a fantastic holiday (we were blessed with brilliant weather), and would happily do it again. Less
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Cabin review: EE
Cabin was quiet and very pleasant. We were handy to the upper level of the theatre, although got no noise from it, and relatively handy to the Atrium where some shows took place. Would happily have a cabin in that area again.
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