My wife & I booked this cruise looking for a relaxing time, but in many ways although cruise OK, many things on this ship were lacking in quality/standard. Our previous experience has been HAL in Alaska, Europe & Eastern Mediterranean, and Princess to Tasmania. HAL way ahead in all categories with Princess not far behind. We still quietly enjoyed the relaxation even though it lost its gloss via lack of attention to detail.
We deliberately chose a higher midships inside stateroom having experienced outside & verandah previously, as we only use it for sleeping. Found the stateroom tidy clean - nothing flash. Steward good but nothing personal in manner.
The ship, we were told was just 18 months out of having substantial dollars spent on refurbishment. Waste of money and a prime example of P&O Aust. (or Carnival Corp's)policy of hand me down ships to the aussie cruise market. Many parts of the ship are very tired and dated. Movement around the ship is not a comfortable exercise, does not flow particularly as it has no complete promenade type deck. It has no top decks lounge area such as the usual crows nest, a legacy of being handed down from the German market I'm told. It also lacks comfortable & quiet lounge furniture & areas throughout. Elevators constantly out of service. Lower accommodation very noisy from worn machinery (stabilisers I believe) with some people asking for moves away so to sleep.
Below, to save space & time is a dot point summary of the cruise
Embarkation Process - Very Good
Welcome on board - None
Directions to stateroom - None
Sail Away Party - ordinary and loud on Lido
Crew - mostly offhanded behaviour, appeared poorly trained but found the occasional good & helpful steward.
Dining Room - Food was good to very good but spoilt by rude stewards.
Plantation buffet - mediocre food & service
Restaurants - Did not go to Salt Grill with $40.00 cover charge - did go to La Luna (Asian) 1 night (cover charge $20), a waste of money.
Spa & Gym - very expensive.
The Marquee - bar one comedian whose humour was from the gutter, the shows were very good. The seating is very uncomfortable with low & uncomfortable fixed bench seats at rear & behind a weird mixture of crammed in movable seating with high backs.
Circus on Lido deck - mediocre
Pools tired and dated
Ports - Luganville very basic - our Custom Village tour was a disaster and should be dropped (1 hour to do 10km in a rust bucket van)
Noumea - beautiful area of New Caledonia but town dead (was Sunday afterall)
Other ports were excellent especially Mystery Island
P&O Australia seriously needs to review its hand me down ship policy. Probably won't go on P&O again and this is where P&O will suffer as others agreed. Needs to upgrade its party at all costs/hand me down budget cruise line reputation.