Pacific Pearl has something for everyone. Daytime activities run the gamut from a martini mixology class and wine tastings to scrapbooking and ballroom dance classes. There are also karaoke, trivia and bingo almost every day somewhere onboard. On sea days especially, the daily itinerary is packed with interesting and fun things to do, and the outdoor big screen located on the pool deck forward is where you'll catch movies, full-length concerts or live sports, including rugby league and AFL during the season. The ship also broadcasts major international sporting events, such as the recent FIFA World Cup.
Evening entertainment is largely standard cruise ship fare, combining lively Broadway-style production shows with guest entertainers from the worlds of song, dance, magic and comedy. Impressive production shows, which run across the fleet, and are held in the Marquee theater. They include Pirates of the Pacific, a fast-paced, interactive show for all the family, taking you on a virtual pirate voyage, and DisConnected, featuring music from the past few decades and a story line about how communications drive our life.
Pacific Pearl's bars also have a variety of live music entertainment nightly. The highlight of the ship's performances, however, is Pacific Cirque, a highly talented young acrobatic troupe hailing from Colombia. They put on a show of juggling, fire eating and daring acrobatics, very much in the Cirque du Soleil style, which is spectacular, whether performed indoors and out. In fact, a special outdoor venue on Deck 12 was built especially for them.
Another popular entertainment feature of a P&O cruise is the theme night, such as island night, country and western night or '60's rock 'n' roll night. It's not only an excuse for passengers to dress up but also to get involved in a variety of fun activities, such as country and western line dancing, dressing up in Hawaiian shirts and sarongs and having their photographs taken in costume. P&O has expanded these to be featured on shorter cruises; dressing up is optional, and you can buy clothes and accessories from the onboard shops if you don't want to bring your own.
Also popular with many couples and families is a photo portrait; the ship has a dedicated photo studio, Expression. Theme cruises have also grown in popularity, usually two or three-day jaunts to nowhere with a focus on music, fitness, comedy, food and wine. They usually have a different program of activities and sometimes entertainment, such as boot camp classes or comedy workshops, as well as guest speakers and special presentations.
New to P&O is P&OEdge, dubbed the world's largest "adventure park at sea." Adrenaline-seekers will find a wide variety of options for fun, from climbing the aft funnel and laser tag to riding on the flying fox, which zips across the pool deck. Pacific Jewel was the first to be fitted with P&OEdge facilities; Pacific Dawn receives them in 2014, and Pacific Pearl will get them in 2015.
Pacific Pearl cruises from Sydney most of the year and from Auckland for two months. Her itineraries include themed cruises with focuses like food and wine or comedy. Passengers can also attend events like the Melbourne Cup. Cruises to Queensland, Moreton Island, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the South Pacific (including Fiji and Vanuatu) are also available.
Across the many ports of call the ship visits, there are plenty of excursion options available to suit all tastes, ages and fitness levels. In Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, you can take a half-day tour that includes a scenic drive along the northern coast and up slopes of Tovanumbati to the Volcanological Observatory; the mountain is one of eight active volcanoes in the Rabaul caldera. Meanwhile, on Moreton Island, you can ride an ATV Quad on the sand dunes.
Examples of other shore tour options include a snorkel day cruise from Port Denaru in Fiji, a visit to Matiu Somes Island and wildlife sanctuary from Wellington, and a ride on the Kuranda Scenic Railway from Cairns.