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Pacific Pearl Review

Home > Cruise Ship Reviews > P&O Australia > Pacific Pearl Review
55% of cruisers loved it
Why Go?
  • Recently underwent major refurbishments
  • Interconnecting staterooms ideal for families
  • New Zealand Natural ice cream parlor onboard
  • Great facilities and entertainment for kids
  • Outdoor circus arena for acrobatic performances
  • Two pools, including a swim-up bar for adults
  • Offers cruises from Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne

Pacific Pearl Overview

(3.5) 3.5 out of 5+ star rating

The sixth ship to cruise under the P&O Australia brand and currently the oldest in the fleet, Pacific Pearl has enjoyed many previous lives. It was originally launched as Sitmar FairMajesty and was then absorbed into the Princess fleet as Star Princess back in 1989. From 1997 to 2003, it was MV Arcadia for P&O Cruises in the U.K., then renamed Ocean Village in 2003 when the new brand was established. When Carnival shut down Ocean Village in 2008, Pacific Pearl was transferred to P&O Australia, making its debut in Australia at the end of 2010.

Before being introduced to the Australian market, however, Pacific Pearl had a major multimillion-dollar refurbishment, which included a redesign of suites from top to bottom and the transformation of public rooms into elegant and contemporary spaces. A fresh look for standard staterooms and some appealing new features already introduced to siblings Pacific Dawn and Jewel had to wait until two subsequent minor refurbishments, the last of which was in August 2012.

Ultimately, although it is an older style ship, most of the traces of its previous lives have been either erased or improved upon. In particular, the standard cabins finally received a much-needed overhaul to bring them up to scratch, and new interconnecting cabins offer more choices for families and groups. Pacific Pearl's culinary offerings have also been markedly improved, with more choice and flexibility. And if there's one good thing about the ship's age, it's that it is solid and rides the fickle waves of the Tasman and South Pacific well.

There are still shortcomings which may disappoint, however, with a lack of balconies, a lack of open deck space and small pools for a ship of its size. Pacific Pearl is also a ship on which you can incur many extra charges. There are no drink packages available, for example, even for soft drinks, which can add up over the course of a cruise.

Overall, however, if you're looking for a more affordable high-seas holiday and enjoy the ultra-casual Australian style of cruising, it's worth considering.

Pacific Pearl Fellow Passengers
When the ship cruises from Sydney, most passengers hail largely from there and the rest of New South Wales, with a smattering of others coming from Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. When the ship homeports in Auckland between April and May, however, passengers are mostly local or from other parts of New Zealand. When it comes to age groups, the ship attracts a healthy mix of younger couples, groups of friends, families with kids and teens, and seniors, although it varies according to seasons and itineraries. For example, there are more families and up to 700 kids during school holidays, and fewer on shorter themed cruises.
Pacific Pearl Dress Code

The daytime dress code is extremely casual, with most people wearing swimwear, shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops. After 5:30 p.m., however, "smart casual" attire is required in public lounges and restaurants. On cruises of three to seven nights, there are one or two "cocktail" nights, where suggested attire is cocktail dresses for women and suits with ties optional for men. On Sydney cruises, more people tend to dress up for these nights.

Like its siblings, Pacific Pearl also has theme nights, such as country and western, and '60s rock 'n' roll, with a host of associated activities regarded as part of the P&O fun. Dressing up is optional, and if you don't fancy bringing your own gear, you can buy accessories from the shops onboard. P&O has also recently expanded theme nights to feature on shorter cruises. They were usually only on the program on cruises of seven nights or longer.

Pacific Pearl Gratuity
As tipping is an optional practice in Australia, P&O dropped compulsory service charges back in 2010. Passengers don't have to tip, but they're welcome to reward a crew member if they feel he or she has gone above and beyond the call of duty.
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Pacific Pearl Member Reviews 91 Reviews
   Huge Disappointment
October 2014

We had travelled on board the Pearl last year and enjoyed out time , so wanted to do a longer tour and see Norfolk Island.

Getting through Check In and on board wasn't a huge problem and went smoothly. Went and look at the buffet for ...continue

   Don't cruise P&O (unless you have to)
October 2014

Was very excited for this cruise having previously travelled with P&O and enjoying it but unfortunately P&O have reduced themselves and are now contempt with offering a substandard product that in no way competes with similarly priced ...continue

   Overall Good Value Cruise...
October 2014

I thoroughly enjoyed my cruise on the Pacific Pearl. It was a great surprise to find I'd received a cabin upgrade from an interior Exterior (Ocean View) on Deck 8. I was in cabin 8170, and this was in a fantastic location on the ship, away from ...continue

1 - 3 of 91 Reviews

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Ship Stats
Crew: 700
Launched: 1987
Decks: 11
Tonnage: 63,500
Passengers: 1,800
Registry: London
CDC Score: Not yet inspected
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