7 Brisbane First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

So from the start I should point out this was my first and only cruise. So you are seeming this from the point of view of what I expected to see on a cruise. My wife and I are both still working and around 60. Took the cruise to see if we ... Read More
So from the start I should point out this was my first and only cruise. So you are seeming this from the point of view of what I expected to see on a cruise. My wife and I are both still working and around 60. Took the cruise to see if we like 'cruising' with a view to longer cruises in the future. We read reviews of this ship after booking. The airport parking van dropped us at the baggage drop off and I was impressed at the organisation. A well dress lady pointed us in the direction of checking and off we headed. Once in the embarkation area, I was immediately stunned by the number of overweight western suburbs of Brisbane or Sydney types there were. Thongs appeared to be the dress code, complimented by a huge suitcase. The cruise was just 4 days and we were heading to Newcastle, so no chance of duty free shopping here. Maybe they were planning to steal some coal? Our cabin (deck 9 with a balcony) was very nice. The staff could not be better or more helpful. Some of them had been working virtually 7 days a week for 8 months without a break. Not to mention being away from home and family all that time. So give them a break. None were Australian but almost all from Asian countries. There are several free restaurants, all very nice decor but the food was basically equal to 3 star restaurant. The Asian restaurant decor (Blue Dragon) is excellent and reviews of the food were excellent. I found this not to be true but it was a cheap cruise and you get what you pay for. Make sure you book for the restaurant as soon as you get settled and go to the Monkey Bar in person to do it. Do not phone or should I say try to phone. On deck 11 is what could be described as a food court. Mexican, Chinese, Indian, fish and chips, roasts, sandwiches and deserts. Each is a smal shop in itself. Just ask for what you want. The food is good but the company is not. Pushing crowds of ugly Australians dressed in beach gear and with out the customery please / thank you. There is a fantastic gym that was used more than I thought. The gym instructor has a huge ego but the beauticians seem to like him. If he was better qualified it would have been a great advantage to the ship. There were heaps of activities and entertainment. Not shortage of shows which were excellent. Trivia several times a day and movies but the movie theatre could have been much better. Movie was blurred. There was an element of trying to sell you add on activities and my wife had 2 massages which she said were excellent. They did try to sell her other products and treatment to $800. We averaged spending $200 a day on extras and thought we were being conservative. The best coffee is in the blue room from a lady that made excellent coffee. The 24 hour tea/ coffee machine was terrible. In summary it was an interesting activity and a excellent way to determine if you like the cruising way of travel. Unfortunately it is not for me. Some short points, if you stand naked on a balcony remember that you can be seen from the upper decks. Give you room attendant a good tip as they work hard for little pay. We left $70 and often left $5 for dinner service in the restaurants. Do not be an ugly Australia and take your manners on holiday with you. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
On Friday 12th February 2016 my Husband our 2 children (aged 4 ½ & 7) and my parents started our 4 night cruise from Brisbane to Hamilton island on the ‘new’ P&O Aria and back again. We were first time cruisers, my parents ... Read More
On Friday 12th February 2016 my Husband our 2 children (aged 4 ½ & 7) and my parents started our 4 night cruise from Brisbane to Hamilton island on the ‘new’ P&O Aria and back again. We were first time cruisers, my parents had been on one other cruise (Celebrity Solstice) 2 years ago. I had read both negative and positive reviews before going on the cruise. I tried to cancel our cruise after reading some of these reviews however if we had have cancelled we would have lost 50% of our money so decided to still go ahead and make up our own opinion. We stayed in Suite 10018 and my parents stayed in Suite 10026. Boarding the boat was a very smooth and speedy process, we were very happy with this side of things. Upon embarking the boat and after looking around the different areas the décor and furnishings in the main areas were lovely. Our room was very spacious, with a large dressing room and a decent sized bathroom. Some of the furniture was a little tired (ie scratches on the wooden arms of the furniture, showing signs of wear and tear), however overall we were happy with the room. We were very happy with the size of the balcony also. We did notice a fair bit of corrosion around the boat which looked like it had just been patched up with paint. First night we put the children into kids club which they loved. One word of warning the kids club is on a first in first served basis, you cannot book. One of the parents we spoke to said on one morning they had to turn away children as they were full. We did not experience this because on all occasions we just got there 10 minutes before they were due to open and we were only ever 3rd in the queue. One other thing to mention is they will not provide water and will not feed the children in kids club, you need to take your own bottle and take them out for meals. On the first night we ate out at Luke Mangan’s Salt Grill, this got us off to a very good start. The food was 5 star, we all were very happy with the quality and execution of the dishes served. Unfortunately after dinner we went back to our room to discover there had been some sort of a major leak (fire water pump cupboard was right next to our room and we saw some men in the cupboard trying to stop the leak) whch had affected the room next door to us. There was so much water that it looked like a minor river running along the carpet when the people next door opened the door to their room in order to get out. The boat personnel needed to get an industrial sized vacuum cleaner to vacuum up the water (which was very noisy in the middle of the night) and then had an industrial sized blower in the hallway outside our door which went all night (and another day and another night at least) to try and dry it all up. I felt sorry for the people next door, I don’t know what happened to them as the carpet in their room would have been totally drenched. In the middle of the night I noticed that the carpet in our room just outside our bathroom was drenched along with the carpet on my side of the bed near the bedside table (the water must have run from the room next to us into our room). I spoke to the men trying to fix the water leak problems outside our door and they supplied us with towels to put on the floor for the interim. Then the next day and for the next couple of days they had a blower in our room trying to dry it all up. Unfortunately this meant that the door to our room was left wide open in order to get fresh air in there and we felt quite compromised privacy and security wise. We complained about this to reception and they gave us $200 credit. On the second night my Mum and Dad had issues with their toilet which had blocked up. My Mum not knowing what to do pressed the button hoping to clear the problem however pressing the button made the toilet overflow. Mum called reception asap as she didn’t want anything overflowing onto the carpet, luckily the boat personnel came down promptly, fixed the problem, cleaned up the mess and disinfected everything in their bathroom. We ate at Waterfront Restaurant (ok, but nothing to rave about), Angelos (quite good would rate this as being better than Waterfront), we did not eat out at Dragon Lady so cannot comment in regards to the food here. The new ‘Pantry’ is a great idea, we found this really good food option for the children, however from our perspective we found the food ok, there was not too much variety from day to day and a lot of the muffins/pastries ect tasted the same. My husband had a really good soft burrito at the Mexican stand which he quite liked. We also ate at the little eatery near the main pool area. They had a very limited menu only selling pizzas, hotdogs and the like, you pay extra for this, however the pizzas were really good and our children really liked the hotdogs. It is a shame that there was no free icecream for the children, you had to pay extra for this. We booked in for the Chef’s table degustation experience with matching wines , this was quite good. It was really interesting getting a tour of the galley kitchen and seeing how everything works on a big boat. We enjoyed the dinner, however if we were to pick the best food of our trip it would definitely be Luke Mangan’s Salt grill. Unfortunately for my Mum and Dad the toilet issues were not over. They had one more blockage on our 3rd night out which was rectified promptly before any overflow. However on our last night/morning of disembarkation at 3.30 am their toilet blocked, they called reception said they were sending someone to fix it however this did not happen so my Mum had to wander around the ship to go to a public toilet at 4am in the morning. The toilet issue was not fixed before we disembarked at roughly 7am, so they had to use the public toilets until then. My Mum and Dad complained to reception after the first overflow situation and nothing was offered in compensation. They just said unfortunately ships toilet systems are very sensitive and sometimes these things happen. I asked Mum and Dad whether anything like this happened on the Celebrity Solstice, they did not have anything like this happen to them on that boat. On the last night of our cruise there was also another issue outside our cabin. There was water dripping from a light fitting with a bucket underneath to catch the water. Staff overall were really lovely, happy and accommodating. We only encountered a couple of staff that I would say were surly/unhappy towards customers. Our cabin stewards Bonoir & Nincia were just wonderful, nothing was too much trouble for them during our trip and they always were happy and friendly. Disembarkation was also a speedy and smooth process. On the whole we were very disappointed with the whole experience. Unfortunately we did not book at the last minute and get a good deal. This holiday was not what we would consider a cheap one for us over $5000 for 4 nights on the boat. We were expecting 5 star, as this was how P&O have been promoting these ‘new’ ships. I would rate the entire experience 2.5. I would not consider going on another P&O cruise in future. If we were to consider another cruise we would look at going on a boat that is more modern and doesn't have plumbing issues that this boat seems to have. I would have thought that all of these plumbing issues should be sorted before a ship is commissioned/launched. Saying that “the toilet system is sensitive” is not acceptable. P&O really need to look seriously at fixing these issues, otherwise their reputation will be in shatters if it isn’t already. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Our first cruise and we had a great time, but more due to our attitude and ability to turn an ok time into a good one.. The good... Bed is large and very comfy, room is clean and tidy and room staff do ana amzing job.. The food in ... Read More
Our first cruise and we had a great time, but more due to our attitude and ability to turn an ok time into a good one.. The good... Bed is large and very comfy, room is clean and tidy and room staff do ana amzing job.. The food in Angelos restaurant and The Dragon Lady was currently free and absolutley delicious with top notch service... The decor on the ship is very attractive, but extremely un practicle... Its hard to find seats that are comfy anywhere , but they look great. The food in the pantry and free waterfront resteraunt I thought was fantastic, but certainly would lack variety on a long cruise if your budget prevented you from accessing the other resteraunts. The drinks package is fantastic, although possibly around $10-$15 too expensive to be considered great value... At $78 per day, for every day including disembarkation day where you leave at 8am, you have to drink a lot and consistently a lot to make it worth while... We regretted buyng it but only slightly.. big drinkers would love it. The entertainment needs to be more regular..we often found patches where we couldnt find entertainement as they where having breaks , or it was a case of musical chairs trying to follow performers doing very short gigs... Part of the problem is its a very small ship, thus less entertainment overall... For me my biggest gripe was that one spa was not working and the other one was filled with kids the entire cruise.., they seriously need both working and there should be designated times where no kids are allowed in the spa's The other big negative is the prices of the actual day spa, gym sessions, drinks and day tours.. Fairs fair, but these prices are rediculous for a ship refistered ina low tax environment, with a captive audience and paying low to very low wages... Most Day tours can be booked for hal price off the ship. The day spa is so expensive its almost half the cost of our cruise for a pamper, and to have to pay $13 to get access to a decent bike in the gym really annoyed me.. Given they where there and almost all other equipment was free... Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Embarking was easy, a walk in the park until the steps present small issues if your struggling with knee injury or the like ... Once on board the staff met us at the doorway to the Atrium, first impressions , OK , moderate, not shiny but ... Read More
Embarking was easy, a walk in the park until the steps present small issues if your struggling with knee injury or the like ... Once on board the staff met us at the doorway to the Atrium, first impressions , OK , moderate, not shiny but clean and well presented with comfy chairs spread out to lounge in .. this Atrium became the area of choice after 4pm when the temps outside got cooler, Charlie's bar is present and Alfred does his job perfectly always remembering ones name . A pleasant added bonus . We stayed in a triple room, window, deck 9 , would definitely aim at the same area again Our room stewards work hard and we tipped them for their efforts . The new Pantry was a major let down, the food bland, repetitive and most of all the same ol every day for 7 days with small differences . The staff again work hard in these areas .. long hours and try their best to reduce the queues. We only ever experienced short waits . The seating is fair, hard to grab a low table for a group at anytime of day really, always ending up on high stools .. Made it difficult for those with small children . Entertainment was ok , the shows each night differ, I can say average for a cruise, we expected no different . The Music on board was consistent, the activities we found ran into each other with times overlapping make it difficult to get to . Art Auctions won us with learning and purchasing a new collection a worthwhile experience , Thanks to the Park West Gallery . Kip, Dan and Steve . Many thanks . disembarking no issues, bar service great, for a budget cruise to wet ones feet it served us well. Id recommend for anyone not wanting to travel outside of Australia and wanting to keep the budget low . Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We went on Pacific Island Hopper from Brisbane -> Noumea -> Lifou ->Port Vila -> Brisbane Cabin - Good , neat and well presented Cabin Steward - Very very Good Shark Shack - Children's entertainment - Excellent ... Read More
We went on Pacific Island Hopper from Brisbane -> Noumea -> Lifou ->Port Vila -> Brisbane Cabin - Good , neat and well presented Cabin Steward - Very very Good Shark Shack - Children's entertainment - Excellent Entertainment - Great ( Good work Tim, Willy & Haden) Food - Extremely poor. ( Like buying a meal for $10 all you can eat restaurant - Plantation Restaurant) Food Choices - Vegetarians don't bother catching this ship, Ship induce you to go to salt gril or other restaurants and ask you to pay. Overpriced food. I recommend you to starve for a couple of months before going on this ship. Then it may taste good. For ordinary people who enjoy food, please look for some other cruise. Photography - Good, They do a good job. Not bad prices Embarkation/ Disembarkation - Good Job. Smooth Sail. Capitan & Other Staff - Very well behaved and very friendly. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Pacific dawn. The first ship i have ever sailed on so in all fairness can not say how it compares with other ships. However if you are prone to seasickness do not travel in december to the pacific...very rough seas on departure out of ... Read More
Pacific dawn. The first ship i have ever sailed on so in all fairness can not say how it compares with other ships. However if you are prone to seasickness do not travel in december to the pacific...very rough seas on departure out of brisbane and return into brisbane. I spent 2 days out of 7 ill along with many other passengers... As i am a smoker do not chose this ship as the ship is not smoker friendly.. there are only 2 areas to smoke and very difficult to access especially in bad weather. regardless of hoW much money you spend with p and o you will still be treated the same as every other smoker. not like every other passenger. The housekeeping staff and wait staff are very good work very hard and deserve every tip you give them as their wages are pitiful. i expect this would extend to other staff who are from poor countries working in other areas. The cruise itself with accomodation and all meals is very cheap however best you have A LOT OF MONEY to spend as you are on the ship most of the time and nearly everything has a price. the shore tours are very expensive in my opinion. charged more than back home to do equivalent things..best to select tours that are unique to the island/s and locals.. If you dont like the bistro food you can always book in to have silver service or pay for the seafood restaurant or pay for burgers or pizzas , the free coffee and tea is barely drinkable so if you are a coffee lover you will be paying for good coffee on board. There is WAY TOO MUCH lean on passengers to spend on the ship..on overpriced goods and services...all you have to say is no thankyou..simple.for those who are perhaps in the lower income brackets The goods and services however are quality products more catered for middle to upper class earners.There are a lot of different shows and entertainmnet on board and always at least one thing you will like..Great for 18 to 25 year olds who like to party pools spas sun alcohol casino and theme nights...these are a lot of fun...dress up or hardly at all...very skimpy bikinis on some of the young girls with hawaain night...im more of a spectator than a participator and enjoyed watching people and kids having fun...Heaps of places on the boat to have a sleep read a book or hide..up to you. some of the downer points: I did not like being woken before 6am by loud inroom speakers to inform passengers of small fires on the ship that had been dealt with..very stressful and alarming. I found this to be a contradiction ..the reason being that this cruise 6th to 13th dec 2014 was meant to leave brisbane at 2pm but did not sail until approx 7.30 pm that night ...the passengers were not imformed by the captain the reason why the boat did not sail at 2pm..as a result we missed our first port at noumea... This is my first and last cruise and was a gift to accompany my brother for his 50th birthday present..so this was a great disappointment...we were not offered a refund for the one day of sailing but TOLD we were being given a future cruise credit..to be spent with p and o. So be aware Aussies...if p and o stuff up your cruise or tours in any way they will not refund you...they do not abide by australian consumer laws... Also be aware as it is an older ship there are problems with the lifts...if you have bad backs hips or legs do not sail on this ship...chose a newer better maintained one...you will be forced to use the stairs many times. There are from time to time in bad weather leaks from deck 12( pool deck ) into ceilings in deck 11 so dont chose deck 11 rooms.when your agent is selecting you a room...try and chose midship where possible. Occasionally water does come up and overflow out of toilets..only some...just request another cabin if this happens to you. Make sure you take a jacket to wear with you on the ship at all times as the temperature varies from every part of the ship with aircon.. Hot water does run out on this ship so before you strip for a shower test the water in the shower first.. I feel this ship is best suited to young families young couple and young people generally.. .   Read Less
Sail Date December 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

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