59 Brisbane First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

Admittedly first time on a large cruise ship. If this is indicative of cruising it shall be my last. A) Pacific Dawn is in need of maintenance - state room - bathroom had rust in various locations = needs immediate attention. - public ... Read More
Admittedly first time on a large cruise ship. If this is indicative of cruising it shall be my last. A) Pacific Dawn is in need of maintenance - state room - bathroom had rust in various locations = needs immediate attention. - public areas are dated and need face lift and refreshing =minor - light sconces in the Plantation dining area need to be dusted! - since you use them so much REPLACE the tenders! Disgraceful! B) -Waterfront restaurant strong on service weak on product. FOOD WAS BRUTAL! I was never fully aware of what could be ordered from the menu entrees vs rice pasta dishes ... tried to navigate this issue to get something that tasted good ...I FAILED in every attempt. Food was at its best - average... very very disappointed in this =REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. New chef New menu IMPOSSIBLE TO GET A GOOD CUP OF COFFEE -unless ... you paid extra. C) NEXT BIGGEST ISSUE the "up sell" You want to avoid what you paid for? then pay more... for dining for coffee for everything.... What they have done is stripped bare the cost for the cruise and then added back on items you will want for extra fees. Not a problem. But there is FAR too much effort, attention and focus on this up selling. EXAMPLE- I do not wish to be accosted by the photographers every time I dine! Nor at each port I call at! Which leads to the tendering process.... REALLY? at each port... we tendered Airlie Beach/Yorkey's Knob/Port Douglas... Airlie beach was brutal why did we stop there? absolutely tragic ... I did not sign up to be a economic stimulus package to the retirees living there. Suggestion there are NO individuals offering services upon landing... either you book with P & O or nothing. Apparently the retirees are far too busy herding passengers to take the initiative in this regard? OVER ALL very disappointed with P & O. BIG disconnect between their illusions of grandeur and the modern day reality I was confronted with. D) I support my own cases and do NOT need to support yours… donations to your charity / cause automatically applied to my bill. Whats up with that? E) Extra charges for using VISA. How is this allowed? Very shoddy business practice. VISA need to intervene.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Hi Everyone, My wife and I travel overseas all the time , never before on a cruise. I really did not care if I went or not but was sort of pushed into it. We left Brisbane late, no surprise as I was sure that the cruise was a dud and ... Read More
Hi Everyone, My wife and I travel overseas all the time , never before on a cruise. I really did not care if I went or not but was sort of pushed into it. We left Brisbane late, no surprise as I was sure that the cruise was a dud and not for me. Well that night I went to bed after a good feed at the restaurant and 2 beers, woke up 9 hours later after the best sleep, the reasons are plain to me, no neighbours, no phone calls and no boss. The cruise was great, the food was great, the service was great and the entertainment was the best fun,(thank you Willie and the team). All I can say is that you have paid the money and did not enjoy the cruise it is probably your own fault and do everyone a favour, including yourself, stay at home because if you cannot find something to do and don't know how to enjoy life I am sure you already have the answer. Happy sailing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We recently undertook a 9 night P & O cruise departing from Brisbane visiting the Island of Lifou, Port Vila, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. Here is my honest assessment of the experience and tips for future travellers. Firstly ... Read More
We recently undertook a 9 night P & O cruise departing from Brisbane visiting the Island of Lifou, Port Vila, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. Here is my honest assessment of the experience and tips for future travellers. Firstly the answer to two basic questions: Did I enjoy the cruising experience enough to do it again – Yes! Would I cruise with P&O again – No! The Good 1. Great value for money 2. Check-in and boarding and then embarking and dis-embarking at ports and at islands was extremely efficient 3. Cabin layout and size exceeded expectations 4. Cabin staff and wait staff in the restaurants were exceptional. Friendly and attentive. 5. Waterfront Restaurant experience exceeded expectations 6. Drinks prices including tea and coffee were equivalent to on-shore Australian bar and restaurant prices. 7. The on board entertainers in the many bars and the evening feature shows were excellent. 8. Snorkelling at Mystery Island and the Isle of Pines 9. Port Vila – ‘third world’ but very interesting The Bad 1.The on-board temperature was very variable in different areas of the ship. The restaurants and the ‘Dome’ were simply too cold 2.Some of the daytime activities were a bit lame and the seminars relating to heat land beauty were basically infomercials (hence the poor attendance) 3.Some of the staff conducting daytime activities were condescending 4.The Waterfront restaurant is the classier of the two ‘included’ eateries but sometimes the food was just warm and occasionally cool 5.The Plantations Buffet – It’s a buffet for the masses although suitable for breakfast 6.The prices for treatments at day spa not realistic having regard to demographic on board. Prices were pitched at middle to high income earners. The cruise attracts many lower income earners. 7.The milk added versions of the free tea and coffee available form a number of machines is simply dreadful. It tastes like powdered milk is used. When water and milk is added to tea it was a frothy mess which we nicknamed ‘cuppateano’. 8.The gym was too small and a couple of pieces of equipment were out of order for the whole cruse. 9.Dumb passengers who have little regard for coral reefs 10.All smokers (allowed on the main deck but still annoying 11.Sparkles’ - one of the on-board entertainment staff. Groan!! 12.The wages paid to board staff. But that’s why it’s so affordable. My Tips Pre Cruise Tip 1 - If arriving from interstate, the Admiralty Airport Motel on Nudgee Rd Hamilton is a good pre-cruise accommodation option. It's a 15 minute, $30 cab ride from the airport and an easy flat 10 minute walk to the Portside Wharf where the ship leaves from. While there are others a lot closer on Kingsford Smith Drive, it's a major road and is extremely busy and noisy. The motel was very comfortable and clean. There is no on-site restaurant but fish and chips are about 200 metres away and the Portside Wharf and Racecourse Rd precincts are within easy walking distance. Tip 2 - Buy a lanyard for your cruise card (your on board money).They are available on-board but at a premium. Tip 3 - You can take bottled water and soft drinks on board so don't be surprised when you see passengers checking-in and boarding with slabs of either or both. Soft drinks and water are about $3 each on the ship. Tip 4 - Arrive early for hassle free check-in and boarding. Boarding is done in numbered groups based on time of check-in. If you check-in early you'll have time for your last decent coffee at the Portside precinct and also time to pick up any last minute supplies at the IGA supermarket. On board Tip 5 - Assuming you check-in early, use the first hour on board to get familiar with the ship. Tip 6 - Lunch is served on board on the first day but there is a mandatory safety presentation half an hour before departure (i.e. so 1.30 pm for 2 pm departure) so factor that in. Tip 7 - Keep a daily eye on your spending by swiping your cruise card at the computer terminals at main information desk and reviewing your transactions. Tip 8 - Unless you are impressed by lots of food on display, love loading up your plate with a mountain of food that you probably won't get through, want to bum around in shorts and thongs all day long or have kids who can't sit still, then dinner in the Waterfront restaurant is the best option. It offers table service and 3 courses - all part of your cruise fare. It's also open for breakfast and a 3 course lunch. There are lots of choices and daily specials for dinner. It’s a much nicer experience than Plantations. On 'land' days you can return to the ship for lunch before exploring the islands again but you will have to put your snout in the Plantations trough as Waterfront does not serve lunch on these days. Tip 9 - Power outlets are scarce in the rooms so a double adaptor or small power board is useful. Tip 10 - If you like a variety of tea and decent coffee and don't want to pay for it at the cafe then bring your own tea bags and coffee (you can easily take on board a plastic plunger, ground coffee and capsule of UHT milk). Tip 11 - If you want to use the gym in the morning then get their on opening. It's small and gets busy. Tip 12 - There are some good duty free alcohol deals on board. $25 for two 1 litre bottles of basic spirits (includes Famous Grouse whiskey and Smirnoff vodka) or $35 for two 1 litre bottles (includes Johnny Walker red and Jim Beam white.) Prices on these were only marginally better at Port Vila so convenience could win out. The biggest and best shop for alcohol in Port Vila is Fung Kuei. On the day I was there they had a massive special – A 2 litre bottle of Jim Beam white label for $19!!! However, other shops did have marginally better prices on certain items but simply did not have the range. Tip 13 - The temperature in the restaurants and bars is deliberately kept cool so a jacket or cardigan is essential for those who feel the cold. This was one of our biggest gripes. Tip 14 - There is reasonable clothes hanging space in the cabins but if you have a lot to hang then bring a few wire coat hangers. Tip 15 - Make sure you head to the feature shows at night about 30 minutes before they start to avoid disappointment. Seating is limited On shore Tip 16- On island days, get going early and head back to the ship at around 11.30 for lunch. You'll avoid having to queue for the tender boat by doing so and can go back on-shore afterwards. Most people head back for lunch around 12.30pm to 1.00 pm. Tip 17 - Most of the on island markets are full of junk. You will keep seeing the same thing time after time. Tip 18 - On Lifou, don't miss the cave with its crystal clear plunge pool. Instead of heading left to go to the church on the hill and Jinek Bay, go right. You'll pass another church and, shortly after, come across a few locals sitting near a sign about the cave. They charge $10 to get through to it but it’s worth it. Tip 19 - On Lifou the locals offer two tours for a lot less than similar tours offered by P&O. Tip 20 - At Port Vila, arrange for a ‘taxi’ to take you around. We negotiated a taxi for 5 people from 9 am until 3 pm for $200. We took in the Cascade Waterfalls ($25 pp), the Tanna Coffee house, the Beach House Cafe for lunch (near Hideaway Island), a drive through a real village of, a cultural show ($10pp ), the Port Vila shopping district and return to ship. The driver was very accommodating waiting for us at each stop and accepting payment at the end of the day. Tip 21 - At Mystery Island, start with a walk around the island on the beach (island is only 200m across and 1km long) then pick your favourite spot. The best conditions are in the morning as the wind can pick up after lunch. The better snorkelling is on the side of the island opposite to where the ship’s tenders drop you off. The locals from the neighbouring island run snorkelling and fishing tours ranging between $15pp and $50pp and small outrigger canoes can be hired for $10 pp. Make sure you buy a fresh coconut for $1 or $2. Make a donation to the local pre-school while watching the kids sing their little lungs out. Tip 22 - On Isle of Pines, if you have a good level of fitness there is a great walk up Pic Nga (232 metres) which rewards you with 360 degree views if the Island. The walk takes about 35 minutes each way for those with a good level of fitness. The starting point is about 10 minute walk from the jetty/wharf - head out along the road to Vao, turn left at a T intersection, pass the petrol station (Essence) and you will come sign indicating the trail on your right. Don't miss snorkelling around the edge of the little isle at Kanumera Bay. The $60 Island Discovery Tour offered by P&O is $25 on shore with the locals, but you need to be early.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was a first time big ship cruise experience, not a cruise to a destination. In some respects the ship was showing its age - occasional rust spots and painting required. There were more than enough activities to make choice difficult ... Read More
This was a first time big ship cruise experience, not a cruise to a destination. In some respects the ship was showing its age - occasional rust spots and painting required. There were more than enough activities to make choice difficult - including the gym. Service was unobtrusive and more than adequate with formal dining service being generally outstanding. Port and shore excursions were well organised by the ships company but as always, then subject to shore conditions. On this cruise an anticipated late arrival and short port call put shore excursions into the "why did they bother" category. Compensation was however provided in the form of on-board credit. Embarkation could not have been faster or better organised. If only airports were as efficient. The cabin was efficiently serviced and comfortable. Again, the age of the ship showed with some minor signs of wear apparent but this really did not detract from the overall impression. Dining was varied from simply collecting a snack to formal dining to suit all tastes. It really was a case of just ask and you would most likely get exactly what you wanted in the quantity you wanted. Variety was never an issue and quality was invariably excellent. I probably never discovered all the dining options! I did not try pizza but did hear that there was a wait there (too popular at that time). Children were notable in their absence - but were on the ship as they were occasionally seen. I was informed that they were well looked after in their own area. Entertainment from the cabin TV to big screen events, and shows provided more choice than could be accommodated. Live shows were professional and classy and timed to suit formal dining. As with embarkation, disembarkation could not have been better organised. Efficiency and organisation with every effort made to enhance the cruise experience best summarises this cruise. As a first time big ship cruiser, having had previous small ship experience, the result was that I am quite prepared to go back for more.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
A reasonably enjoyable cruise for hubby and I, although sea sickness prevented me from enjoying the first few days. Fortunately, the nice Nurse gave me a needle in the butt that sorted me out. Loved the food (formal dining was very ... Read More
A reasonably enjoyable cruise for hubby and I, although sea sickness prevented me from enjoying the first few days. Fortunately, the nice Nurse gave me a needle in the butt that sorted me out. Loved the food (formal dining was very 'try-hard' but the buffet was great and loads to choose from) and we could not fault the impeccable service. The organised tours were unexciting and very average. One was cancelled leaving us to roam Noumea in the dark for 2 hours. Formal and theme nights were good and even better were the Donna Campbell shows on board - she was the highlight of our cruise! Incredible! We also got formal pics taken by a pro photographer that we would not normally do and spent $2000 on that. She was lovely and it was a very positive experience, one that I would recommend. Our mini-suite was dated but very roomy and the spa was a bonus. The balcony was divine. Although there was an Art Auction and a few art lectures on board there was nothing else that seemed remotely culturally stimulating except perhaps Pilates and yoga classes. Playing Bingo, the excessive drinking of alcohol and the gorging of food don't quite cut it for me. But don't get me wrong. I enjoy the odd slice of cake and red wine. But, I have never seen so many obese, seemingly starving and incapacitated (due to their size) people in one space in my entire life and if this is in any way an example of the cross section of the Australian community, then we are in big trouble and it's very sad. Fortunately, the passenger friendly factor on board was high. Would we go again? Probably not. But it's definitely an experience that everyone should try at least once in a lifetime. Different courses for different horses.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was my Bucket List after 35 years of marriage and raising 6 children, it was my time for being spoilt and have someone look after me. Therefore you can imagine our excitement of finally taking the trip of our dreams with all the high ... Read More
This was my Bucket List after 35 years of marriage and raising 6 children, it was my time for being spoilt and have someone look after me. Therefore you can imagine our excitement of finally taking the trip of our dreams with all the high expectations that P&O promised in their shiny brochures. EMBARKATION My husband and I set sail on the Pacific Dawn from Brisbane heading towards New Caledonia for 7 nights. Our first taste of the disaster that was to become our holiday started at the terminal. What a dingy place that is and no one told us to expect an hour to fill out forms and there was no where to sit or rest the papers against to do so as this small place was quickly filling up with other passengers all trying to do the same paperwork. Then we were held up for an hour or so due to a problem with customs delaying our departure. SO IF YOU ARE GOING ON THIS TRIP TAKE A PEN AND BE PREPARED TO WAIT. There were shops where you could get something to eat whilst you had to wait but they were so far away you be afraid of missing your turn to get on the ship and having to wait longer. SHIP INFORMATION Once onboard we went to our cabin which we had as an 'upgrade'. It was originally designed as a quad with little room to move around the bed and it was situated right under the Marquee room resulting in all sorts of noise filtering down through the night making sleeping a little difficult at times. When we arrived at our cabin there was a Yellow card saying that I had an item in my bag that was being Confiscated and made me feel like a criminal trying to smuggle illegal goods - as it turned out it was my travel iron of all things. I was told that I could not use it as they had a laundry and I could iron my items down there. There was no mention in any of the documentation of what not to bring onboard saying that I could not bring one, even the questions on the Facebook fellow travellers page when asked say that this was a prohibitive item only that there were laundry services available for a fee. Available for a fee became the theme for this voyage. The ship itself and all the feature rooms and trimmings were tired and looked like they needed a refit. My general impression was that they were downgrading the quality and offering lower prices to get more people to travel with them. ACTIVITIES There were quite a lot of activities offered but they were so boring that it was not worthwhile going or participating. For instance the trivial quizs where half hearted as was the bingo game which I did play after paying $30 for the privilege, the casino my husband played/lost $30 without even realising it as you have to insert your card and a whole lot of rigmarole. There were only one table of each, roulette, blackjack and a poker game so if you wanted to have a flutter it became a long wait. The so-called BIG ATTRACTIONS were tired and very difficult to access. The main performance was from the Pacific Circus in the Atrium and if you did not get a seat an hour beforehand it was impossible to see what was going on. The music provided by the various bands I could have watched better at our local pub, they were tired and lacked any enthusiasm. Definitely no toe tapping fun to be had with them. Otherwise all the other activities could be had - for a FEE - a gallery excursion, a tour of the ship and etc. The theater was outdoors on the pool deck on a large screen so if you didn't get a seat right in front you had to sit on the side and not get a good viewing. Also it was cold and windy most nights so that did not encouraged us to go out much. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS There was nothing like I imagined, no greetings from the locals, no organisation involving tour operators or how to get on to the tours, you had to sort that out all by yourself. The islands were not what we had expected them to be and there was very little cultural or background knowledge provided. Life on islands was not as romantic as I had anticipated and would rank them as being 3rd world, with a lot of graffiti everywhere. But they did use Australian dollars which was great and very little way of shops to buy trinkets for back home. DINING Terrible is what I can only describe it as. Where was all this wonderful food we were promised? The Plantation was a cafeteria at best, with not a big range of choices and if you asked for a second slice of the 'meat' of the day they snarled. The coffee was terrible and there was no cold water available. I ended up with Acute Gastroenteritis from eating there so be careful as it does happen quite frequently on the Pacific Dawn as there at least 3 other cases when I go sick. The Waterfront promised a lot and delivered not much. They said you had to dress up for the occasion but this was not the case. The meals were tepid at best and bland all the time. But it was nice being served. All the other eating venues you had to pay and as I mentioned earlier this was the theme of the ship. You also had to book for evening meals or line up for lunch and breakfast. Both restaurants had closing times and when you were in port difficult to get in Ice cream, pizza and everything else you can imagine had a price. It appeared to me that for all staff English was not their first language and they made little eye contact. if you asked them a question they appeared not to understand you so we gave up. DISEMBARKATION Once again the terminal was abysmal and dingy. You had no idea where lines started or finished. Claiming my 'illegal' iron was difficult and everyone crowded in or around the door way that made getting out difficult. SUMMARY This was first part of my bucket list and I can say that I can cross it off my list but I will NEVER travel with P&O again Everything had a price and you had no idea of what or how your spending was going unless you checked it everyday so I would highly recommend everyone to do that, as I witnessed quite a few fellow passengers have near heart attacks when they received their final bill.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We're first time cruisers and really looked forward to QM2, even after reading some of the more critical reviews here. That said our embarkation was relatively painless. No problems with photo's or credit card details, but a ... Read More
We're first time cruisers and really looked forward to QM2, even after reading some of the more critical reviews here. That said our embarkation was relatively painless. No problems with photo's or credit card details, but a number of other passengers who embarked in Brisbane did have those problems. Plenty to do onboard, the presentations that we attended between Brisbane and Hong Kong were superb and well delivered. Entertainment at night was less so, with shows only lasting 45 minutes being held at 8.30pm and 10.30pm. The formal night balls it was necessary to eat at Kings Court (Pigs in a Trough is the only description for this place) early so you could attend the ball that started at 9.45pm. Had to get to the Queens Room early (at least 30 minutes) in order to get a table/seat. Waiter service patchy with the balls, some waiters were really good, some seemed to hide in the shadows. Brittania Restaurant, the food was good. We got the 2nd sitting for Brisbane to Hong Kong and again between Hong Kong to Singapore, however our table mates made for excellent conversion. Our table mates were so good, we'd meet up in the Commodore Club for pre dinner drinks most nights. The service in Brittania was good be it breakfast, lunch or dinner however at times it felt very rushed and the menu's were nothing outstanding in terms of fine dining. The Commodore Club was an absolute gem, the diamond in the mud so to speak. It was a great spot to rest up during the day just reading a book or watching the world go by whilst sipping a coffee or something stronger if desired. The only complaint about the CC was the lack of dress standards after 6pm, jacket or jacket tie were required not shorts and t shirt as we saw on occasion. The staff did not pull up the passengers either. Cabin was an inside stateroom, that was quite adequate given we had it for 25 nights. Enough storage space provided (we had 4 large suitcases with us), the beds were okay, the air conditioning blows on your heads however and we both got head colds from this. The shower space in the ensuite could be slightly bigger which would make showering that little more pleasant, plus a good power point there would also help. We had no problems with the internal plumbing of our ensuite, but other passengers on our deck, deck 4 and 6 had to go without their toilets for a whole day due to plumbing issues (perhaps caused by passengers that do not understand English and therefore put things down the toilet that resulted in having the plumbing for half the ship out of action). Service by staff on the ship was very hit and miss. In Canyon Ranch Spa, it was UPSALE UPSALE by the staff. The photographery staff were pushy in getting photos of you taken in order to sell them at USD $30 a shot to you. Again in the photo gallery it was UP SELL UP SELL, the attitudes of the staff if you didn't take an UP SELL fell accordingly. Waiting staff in Brittania Restaurant were in general good. That said my partner asked 4 times for spinnach to be served with her eggs and 4 times she was told it was not available (it was when we spoke to a 5th waiter who was very surprised that she had not been able to get spinnach daily with her meal). The less that is said about Kings Court Restaurant the better. It was where the pigs came to eat and the shit began to fly. Menu wise was bland and the menu was repeated after 10 days. Waiter service was either pathetic or barely there with lots of junior waiters running around with absolutely no idea. Drinks service was pretty thin too. Fellow passengers, some were quite old and mobile others were clearly not so mobile. A number of passengers seemed to think it was okay to leave half empty coffee cups lying around all parts of the ship and on occasion we found half eaten meal plates left near the elevators by whomever had grabbed a meal from Kings Court. Some of the passengers clearly had "I'm King" attitude and lorded it over all the staff. Some of the staff had a "don't give a toss" attitude as well, which made us wonder just why they were on the ship in the first place. Some of the Ships Officers were not in my mind even Officer material, if they could find an excuse or disappear they would do so, they would certainly not be proactive. Our stateroom steward had to be asked repeatedly for soap, shampoo, slippers, fresh towels and oh yes to change the bed linen (done only twice in 25 days accordingly to my partner). The ships library is a highlight, very enjoyable with an excellent selection of books, the only drawback was the significant number of people talking to each other (libraries are supposed to be quiet but not here). The other plus was the library was just one deck directly below the Commodore Club, so you could easily grab a book/magazine and head for the Commodore Club for a read and drink. The ship itself is grand and in places stunning to look at. Its well maintained as it should be. Using the tenders to go ashore proved to be "interesting" at best and "woeful" at worst, whilst disembarkation in the 6 ports we visited (aside from Hong Kong) was at best "woeful". It could take a hour or longer to get off the ship (granted not always the fault of QM2), but when you are only in port for a day, losing an hour is not much fun. Ships tours in general were okay but do your homework before signing up. Not much point in doing a "active" tour if you have mobility issues and have to remain in the bus for most of the tour. In fact getting to the tour buses by our less active cruisers must have been difficult given the distances they had to cover in getting off QM2 and to the bus (again not QM2's fault). Overall, as first time cruisers we found the cruise "okay". That said we would not recommend QM2 or Cunard for cruising, as Carnival Cruises who now own Cunard have got their "cost cutters" into Cunard and its been reflected in all of the above comments. Its cut cut cut and if that means service gets cut or something is not available for a passenger too bad so be it, seems to be the current prevailing attitude of Cunard towards the paying passengers of QM2 today. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was our first cruise and I had read everything and looked at all the pictures on the internet and determined that I was setting myself up for disappointment as it couldn't be as good as it sounded/looked. I was so wrong - it was ... Read More
This was our first cruise and I had read everything and looked at all the pictures on the internet and determined that I was setting myself up for disappointment as it couldn't be as good as it sounded/looked. I was so wrong - it was better - waaaaay better! How can the Chefs and cooks turn out five star meals each and every time? The buffet was great with everything so fresh. I wanted to take the Baker home with me. We had a balcony cabin at the suggestion of our Travel Agent but it was a bit of a waste as we were not often to be found in the cabin. I was surprised at the lack of "ship" noises - so quiet and I slept really well.. Every day we had a list of activities and I was disappointed that I had to choose one over others - there was not enough time in the day. I had expected to be bored out of my brain for the five days at sea to New Zealand. I took two books and crochet and would've been lucky to even have read five pages of my book for the whole trip. We were treated to demonstrations of "food carving" (making the decorations for the buffet) and ice carving and a peek into the spotlessly clean galley. There was movies under the stars, dance parties, karaoke, zumba, line dancing, sports competitions, healthy lifestyle "lectures" etc., etc. You could indulge in free ice cream and chips, burgers, hot dogs, pizza just for the asking as well as the restaurant and buffet. Wow! too much food - too many choices - not enough time to sample everything. When the crew wished you a "nice day" they meant it! What a treat to come back to the cabin and your bed was turned down with chocolates on the pillow and our cabin steward was such a sweetie, always making time to enquire about our day (and stopping to listen). Nothing was too much trouble for anyone. The shampoo in the shower must be formulated to the water as my hair was not responding to my normal shampoo and when i switched it was fine. We only did one planned shore excursion as we couldn't afford any more but every port we visited we found we could've spent a week there. What a lovely country and in February so refreshing to have to wear a wooly hat and scarf at times. If you haven't already done a cruise you owe it to yourself to add it to your "bucket list" How soon can I go again ??? :-) Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We were first time cruisers, family of 5, generally down to earth people who don't normally choose luxury holidays. We took two cabins, one a double, and a twin that had a fold down bed for one of my sons. Cabins were ... Read More
We were first time cruisers, family of 5, generally down to earth people who don't normally choose luxury holidays. We took two cabins, one a double, and a twin that had a fold down bed for one of my sons. Cabins were "cosy", but generally well thought out and comfortable. From the start, the staff were fantastic. Our cabin stewards helpful, always there when wanted, but not there otherwise. The waiters were likewise outstanding. During the day there was always plenty of good quality food available in the buffet restaurant, but for better family chats over meals we chose to go to the proper dining room about twice a day. For those worried about dress codes, you can wear almost anything to the buffet. In the dining room we wore what we wanted to breakfast and lunch, but for the evening meal when informal tended to be jeans and a shirt (not T-shirt). The formal meal we wore dark lounge suits, and the ladies wore dresses or skirts and a blouse. Throughout the day there is free ice cream on the top deck, delicious! You can order pizzas (free), and we saw no need to go to the speciality steak house (costs about $20) because the other food was so good. In terms of entertainment, we were disappointed not to be able to attend all we wanted to. They need to think a little more about the timings of activities for we often missed activities because the start times seemed ad hoc, so the activities overlapped. There are table tennis tables, but if you like your table tennis take your own bats, theirs have seen better days. The prom deck with its all the way round the ship walk or run is well worth regular visits, as are the shuffleboard courts on this deck. Movies under the stars (a huge screen on the top deck) is a good idea, but they frequently had the sound set so low that we couldn't hear what was going on. If this happens to you, complain till they put the sound up! The evening entertainment we went to (Queen tribute and three tenors) were excellent, we didn't go to many other evening entertainments as we were often too tired. We went along to the Bridge (card game) training and afternoon play. If you don't know how to play, or want to brush up your skills this is well worth going along to. We were on a longish cruise so did washing on board. Be prepared for a long queue for the machines, and for some of the machines or driers not to be working. Best to go along 10 mins before the laundries open, and consider going to use the laundries on other decks with less cabins! We found our clothes dried when spread around the cabin, just as well as it was difficult sometimes to get a drier. Only other advice, if you are likely to suffer from sea sickness, I advise you get sickness tablets and start taking them the day before you go. Not worth feeling grotty, and they really make a difference. Would definitely go with Princes again one day.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014

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