Checkin was easy and the line moved really quickly. The cabins are bigger and our steward was there to greet us on arrival, he did a great job throughout the cruise.
We booked the same table every night as we liked our waiters and dining companions. The food, while delicious is not up to Princess standards, that is the only area we think lets P&O down, it's not a bad thing you just aren't tempted to eat so much. The "anytime" dining is the only complaint we have. We think they should return to 2 sitting times. Lining up to rebook our regular table for Christmas dinner was a pain that lasted about 30 minutes. I do hear the line got longer as breakfast progressed. It isn't anytime dining anyway, they still seem to have only 2 sittings.
The Pacific Entertainer performances were first class. Don't miss the Pacific Cirque performances, they will blow you away with their skills. All of the entertainment staff were energetic and engaging which made the activities really enjoyable. Love your work Nick and Anthony! Particular favourites were the trivia, pictionary and tabletennis tournaments. Not to mention the Karaoke and Popstars, now they were great entertainment. The Bengal Bar is a great place to gather and meet new friends.
The drink prices are acceptable, the photos a little expensive but you don't have to buy them. The shops could have had more Christmas themed stock but that's a minor issue.
We didn't book any tours and were happy enough to do our own thing, snorkelling on all the islands, which by the way were really beautiful. We were told to take reef shoes for the coral and also some small toys for the local kids and are glad we did. On the last day we donated our snorkel gear and reef shoes to some very grateful locals.
Noumea and Vila were our least favourite stops, in hindsight it would have been better to have pre booked some tours at these ports as we only saw the drab side of them. In Vila you are met by some very over zealous taxi and bus drivers. Get a price before you get into the vehicle and make sure they stick to it. Some people paid a driver for the day ($100-$150) and they then took them around to all the places worth seeing. From what we heard they all had a very enjoyable day. Otherwise there are a lot of tours on offer from the boat, though book early for Vila.
Champagne Bay was by far our favourite port, the place is just so relaxing, the shade from the large trees is spectacular. The best snorkelling is on Lifou, walk to the other side of the island. Wala has a local man who slices up locally produced tropical fruit and presents it on a banana leaf for $5 which is great value. Mystery Island is the place to buy coconuts for the juice, very nice.
The gym, being on level 2 is a letdown, it would be better to have ocean views as you workout, like on Princess ships. It is also very small.
Overall, despite a couple of rough days we had a lovely holiday and will definitely travel with P&O again.