26 Brisbane Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

First time traveling to New Zealand and first time on Princess line. Unexpected problem at the start and cruise cut short by 3 days due to cyclone.. can't help the weather. Just myself and best friend on this trip. Embarkation ... Read More
First time traveling to New Zealand and first time on Princess line. Unexpected problem at the start and cruise cut short by 3 days due to cyclone.. can't help the weather. Just myself and best friend on this trip. Embarkation went smoothly as did disembarkation when we returned. Entertainment was fantastic something for everyone.Especially one group in particular- Mosaic was their name..great band.All staff were amazing very friendly knowledgeable approachable. Food was amazing we had anytime dining. Service terrific staff amazing food fantastic Lots of areas to have quiet time or be active.. enjoyed very relaxing massage inn the spa.. staff running activities were easy going friendly Cabin was very clean and tidy. Looked after each day by amazing staff.. had arranged day tours before arriving. Organisation of these was well done.. buses were then when required. Left on time. Ticked off a couple of things inn my bucket list . visited Tauranga and went to Hobbiton and while in Aukland violated Sky Tower.. amazingly stunning views Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
First time cruising and had mixed expectations about what to expect. I can honestly say after this experience I will never cruise again with P&O. 1. Drinks Package: Purchased this after paying $750 for the 8 day package. Seemed ... Read More
First time cruising and had mixed expectations about what to expect. I can honestly say after this experience I will never cruise again with P&O. 1. Drinks Package: Purchased this after paying $750 for the 8 day package. Seemed like good value, and was, but the only down side was the drinks are watered down and nine times out of ten you only get half nips for the cocktails. Seems to be the general consensus with everyone that I talked with on board. When you pay good money, you expect value, not in this case. 2. Gambling: Observed from a distance and staff were happy to continue taking thousands of dollars off patrons why they were quite clearly intoxicated and unable to make logically decisions. As soon as they leave the table, cut them off from drinks and say they have had enough for the night. Quite clearly this should have happened long before it got to this stage, and they had wasted thousands on gaming. My belief is, if you can't drive a car at 0.05, why should you be allowed to gamble away your life away while being heavily intoxicated and under the influence of alcohol. 3. Rooms were out dated and had quite a fowl stench coming from the carpet, which appeared to be damp, and window clouded and full of mould. Only view was of a cloudy and overcast window. 4. Entertainment for adults is limited, kids movies shown throughout the day, and kids allowed up in adult only areas till 1130pm at night, which allows 2.5 hours child free until the venue closes. Adult only area has two hot tubs that hold 10 people maximum and 10 sunlounges. This makes sense when there is nearly 1000 adults on board, not!!! 5. Food was okay from the pantry, but would pass on breakfast and dessert in the future. Toast was stale and cold and seemed like it had sat there for 24 hours. Simple fix would be to allow patrons to toast their own. Luke Menigan and New Zealand ice cream best part of the trip and great value for money. All in all, mixed experience and views. Would do another cruise, but just not with P&O as I believe you are blantaly ripped off by a company that only cares about its profits, and not providing patrons with what they have paid for. Please be aware and read reviews before cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We did this cruise to compare the two cruise lines with the idea of a multi generational family holiday. We have cruised several times with different companies. Usually we exit Sydney - this time with P&O out of Brisbane. There is ... Read More
We did this cruise to compare the two cruise lines with the idea of a multi generational family holiday. We have cruised several times with different companies. Usually we exit Sydney - this time with P&O out of Brisbane. There is nothing as beautiful as Sydney Harbour on a cruise regardless of the ship. Everyone should try it at least once. Similar size ships Pacific Dawn and Sun Princess. Pacific Dawns refurbishment is really good and puts it a step above Sun Princess - particularly for young families. The Water Park, water slides and kids clubs look great. Only one pool on Dawn dominated by kids. Great poolside furniture on Dawn but starting to break and not being repaired. Sun princess furniture in better repair but not as many options. More quiet locations for adults on Sun Princess. Movies under the stars better with Princess - I love their warm blankets and pop corn. Shows were better produced with Princess however all public areas were far better with P&O - the refurbishment shows strongly here. Cabins were similar in size but Princess balconies seemed larger and worked better due to the sliding door. I like to leave the door open at night to get fresh air. P&Os wardrobe is better set up but both balcony cabins had equal and plenty of storage. Bathrooms were comparable however Princess gives you more toiletries. Linen is far, far better on Princess so if you like crisp white linens you will be disappointed with P&Os offer. I would have put them in the rag bag for cleaning use to be honest. Princess has a top sheet but none on P&O despite asking for it to be put on. Cabin cleanliness was comparable however I did step on broken glass, quite a large piece, left over from a previous user, in the P&O cabin. Luckily I was wearing shoes. Only received one cabin turn down service with P&O. Princess was efficient every night with chocolates on the pillow. Staff were, without doubt, better trained and more efficient on Princess. This goes across the board from dining room to casino attendants. I had to go to the bar each time for a drink this would have never happened on Princess. Actually maybe P&O don’t have roving waiters? I’m not so sure now. Food - poor quality and variety on P&O whereas Princess has always been outstanding. I found that the food choices that kids would want around the pool like chips, hot dogs and burgers and ice cream were an extra cost on P&O whereas Princess this is all included. This is a significant issue where I think P&O has dropped the ball and is taking advantage of their cruisers. Food choices in The Pantry were the same for three days running. I wouldn’t like to do a longer cruise with P & O for this reason. Princess food was fresher, more variety and overall just so much better. Their bread and cakes are simply outstanding. So the wash up P &O Public areas are much better particularly night club areas Princess cabins are better P&O for families - much more variety for the kids Princess for food - wins easily across the board in all areas Princess for older families 15+ and couples Entertainment better on Princess Staff on Princess win hands down. Princess better value to me. Families watch out for all the extras that P&O don’t include. I hope this helps. I will cruise again with P&O when taking my grand kids but will choose Princess for couples cruising. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
To celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary We begun our cruise by the check-in staff very awkwardly telling us that there is an issue we wanted a a double room/bed with obstructed sea views, the obstruction was the port holes were ... Read More
To celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary We begun our cruise by the check-in staff very awkwardly telling us that there is an issue we wanted a a double room/bed with obstructed sea views, the obstruction was the port holes were closed, so we saw nothing until the day before we docked. We are pensioners and were not able to climb up into bunk bed, the young cabin boy was so sorry and advised us to go to the admin staff I wanted to get off the ship and would have until my husband came back, they had assured him that they would find another cabin but could not help until ship left the port and they would contact us, we waited in the cabin not touching anything or unpacking for 4 hour, my husband went back to desk who informed him that there were no other cabins and that was that, he asked what about double bed and was told a double bed would not fit in. By now i was crying and my husband took the mattress of the upper bunk and put it on the floor the young man looking after us said he was told to offer us a trundle bed which we declined, my husband complained again and he said someone may be getting off at the next port we knew he was lying because he would of known if it was happening and we were told we'd refused a trundle my husband suffers from back pain and i recently had two knee replacements, we got the trundle and it was bad sleeping on the floor on a mattress and having 9" to walk down the side of the but the trundle was like a hammock sinking in the middle on 3" foam we both had to sleep on a single mattress for three nights and 4 nights on and off the trundle I could go on and on but it was the worse experience we have ever had and all we wanted was a double bed and a lovely week to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary i don't think that was asking to much I won't even start on the cleanliness or food. Hope this review helps some one else not waste their money on P&O Watch out in the pantry for the waxed lemons in bowls with scrapings off where rats scratch to big for mice. Def give this ship a giant miss Mr and Mrs J M & C Laurie Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We travelled in a group of 4 couples on this short cruise from Brisbane and had a very good time. The main entertainment was several comedy shows, some rated PG which were (usually) ok for children, and some R rated for the adult themes ... Read More
We travelled in a group of 4 couples on this short cruise from Brisbane and had a very good time. The main entertainment was several comedy shows, some rated PG which were (usually) ok for children, and some R rated for the adult themes and language. We preferred the PG rated shows, which showcased the quick minds of the comedians without the swearing. I think that the nature of the cruise meant that there were very few children on board. The shows were generally very good, and we really loved the gong show, where fellow passengers could have a crack at stand up comedy - what a surprise that was! But by far the best entertainment was the range of extremely talented musicians on board. A fabulous singer/guitarist at the Oasis setting the relaxing mood, the girl with the haunting voice at the Lido, the piano player in the Blue Room and the band (Alter Ego?) at Oceans Bar, who took requests and could play and sing anything! The musicians were all superb. Now the food - we all thought that the 'food court' style of The Pantry was a positive step up from the usual buffet and the food there was simple and tasty. It is hard to get a table here though and tables are not cleared very quickly. Breakfast at the Waterfront was pretty good, but other meals were a bit hit or miss. Angelo's (the Italian) was average and Salt was disappointing (both our fish dishes were overcooked). Service is generally slow. We were unable to get into The Dragon Lady even though we tried booking after lunch on the first day - so get in quick if you want to eat here. Drinks: Coffee is best in Oceans Bar. The mocktails were way too sweet so we ordered them with soda water to dilute them. (Refreshment package was well used). Favourite cocktail - Pink ginger cosmopolitan! Drinks seemed to be diluted later in the evening. Suggestion to management: Move the trivia to a larger venue - maybe the Dome? People were sitting on the floor! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We had our annual convention on board the Sun Princess so had no choice of ships or cruise line. This line caters for the old and very old. Passengers lived in fear for the total time of contracting Nora virus which has been on this ship ... Read More
We had our annual convention on board the Sun Princess so had no choice of ships or cruise line. This line caters for the old and very old. Passengers lived in fear for the total time of contracting Nora virus which has been on this ship since January The ship is old and out dated. The wait staff were great, they had a huge job keeping the virus at bay. The ship was very clean and food hygiene was also very good. Officers were never seen, staff of rank when about not friendly at all. Customer service desk also un friendly. Our owners suite was large, bathroom excellent. Bedroom was spacious also with a very comfortable bed. Both TV were large and modern. Room steward was excellent. Lounge suite needed a good clean by professional hot water extraction, all carpets also required professional cleaning. We will never sail on the Sun Princess again. We had 4 of us, 1 suite and 1 room with a window. With our room and the other one cost us $11,000.00 for 7 days. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Why can't their be an area that is not focused on alcohol. What ever happened to family dance night where there is no bar or alcohol involved. As a family we love all activities. We paid for the gold tickets for the adventure park ... Read More
Why can't their be an area that is not focused on alcohol. What ever happened to family dance night where there is no bar or alcohol involved. As a family we love all activities. We paid for the gold tickets for the adventure park and our children couldn't use their tickets because the adventure park office didn't open until the third day of cruising. We have one adult daughter, three teenaged youth and one under 12 child. We don't drink neither do our children. We participated in all the dress up parties but they were overcrowded. If you had children you had to sit it out because they couldn't come join in the fun it's not appropriate to have alcohol around them. Every floor had a bar and the cruise parties were alcohol focused and we didn't want our son or youth around that. We took our son up to the children's den and there was nothing up their for him to do. Overall, the food, staff and accommodation was good but it would have been perfect if there were options for non-alcohol drinking adults and there adult children. We wanted to listen to the comedy but that was in the bar. We wanted to watch a family movie but there was bingo in the auditorium. Disappointed with not enough options for families. We went swimming after breakfast and guess what everyone is drinking alcohol. Went to spend time in the spa pool, well they were drinking their too. My son wants to cruise again soon, but the alcohol focus is a turn off for me. Our bathroom had built in dirt in the hand basin. Two adults in our group complained about hitting their head on the upper bunk bed. No towels for the swimming area. Including myself. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
40th Reunion cruise with a group of 13 in total. 4 nights to Airlie Beach from Brisbane and return. The ships public areas had been refurbished in April this year. Found the entertainment and public areas great. Our cabin was ... Read More
40th Reunion cruise with a group of 13 in total. 4 nights to Airlie Beach from Brisbane and return. The ships public areas had been refurbished in April this year. Found the entertainment and public areas great. Our cabin was comfortable for 3 adults. (Probably would have been squishy for 4) Shower was brilliant and water hot. Stewards were great. **Just a HINT*** I took a wide mouth water bottle - sports type- and refilled from ice water available on ship by filling glass and pouring into my bottle- they of course do not want you to place the mouthpiece under the tap- fair enough- we didn't need to buy water. The Pantry is the old buffet and although you are served your food I felt it was much better than the buffet style. However I really did think the food let the cruise down- Previously on cruises I have found the dining options unbelievable but was disappointed on this cruise. So we had a permanent booking for dinner at the Waterfront (a la carte) restaurant- arranged as soon as we got on board because there was 13 for dinner. Unfortunately I and most of the group felt the food was a disappointment- choices limited- no steak and the only seafood was fish- red meat meal was usually pie or stew- very disappointing for a la carte unless you paid extra. On the last night I ordered Surf and Turf- scotch fillet with half cray and 2 prawns- cost $25- very nice BUT you should be able to get red meat without extra cost. The wait staff usually rushed us as we were a large group and our sitting was 8pm - I understand they wanted to clear up BUT if that's the case say to the large group that 7.30 pm is as late as possible. Wait staff were clearing around us and dropping desert menus while you were still eating. Breakfast at the Pantry each morning was wonderful- no complaints about breakfast. Lunch at the Pantry was mixed- always asian food, indian curries and often a roast. We did eat at Shell & Bones one night and most of us shared a hot or cold platter ($60) was nice. I guess the only thing was NONE of the food was worth raving about!! And when did ALL the extra for this meal or extra for that meal come in?? Drinks were a standard price with cocktails around $9 - $14 I certainly will not be using P&O for my next cruise- some of the group had recently been on Caribbean and Princess and they especially noted the food. We had a great time because we hadn't seen each other for 5 years so from the point of view as a location for a reunion it was a great idea. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was the 3rd time on the Pacific Aria for me. All have been good. Entertainment staff are great and always good for a laugh. Very entertaining. Trivias are great fun, don't miss Christiaans at 5 pm. Also his Gatsby dance class. ... Read More
This was the 3rd time on the Pacific Aria for me. All have been good. Entertainment staff are great and always good for a laugh. Very entertaining. Trivias are great fun, don't miss Christiaans at 5 pm. Also his Gatsby dance class. Food in the Pantry, meats in the Asian Stir Fries and Mexican are overcooked, othrewise good. Aria has a seperate pool aft for over 18's which Pacific Dawn does not. The PNG cruise is excellent. Cabin was excellent and includes a TV and DVD player. If you need a fridge, you will need to ask for a cabin with one when booking. Shore tours are grossly overpriced. Shows onboard are excellent. Great bands and music. Dancing could have been catered for better. I have seen some of the poor reviews. I really can't understand those people. Some people are never satisfied. Those people that bag this ship really should get a life. Better yet, cruise with Cunard and see how much you pay. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Went on this cruise with my family, to Airlie Beach and Surrounds, the destinations were beautiful, and the staff onboard were incredible kind and patient. Being my first cruise, honest to say it was relaxing and the seas were calm, ... Read More
Went on this cruise with my family, to Airlie Beach and Surrounds, the destinations were beautiful, and the staff onboard were incredible kind and patient. Being my first cruise, honest to say it was relaxing and the seas were calm, however on the last day it was a little choppy. Food was good, some variety, in the major restaurants the culinary techniques could be a little more sophisticated. Drinks prices were at a reasonable price. The parties were outstanding! Very lively and talented performers on the ship, especially the musicals performed, they were magnificent. Bianco and White Parties were such fun! Mixology classes/ Tequila Tastings are a must do, especially if you are hungover from the night before from the incredible parties, as was I, it really helped wake me up! We made incredible cocktails, and the best thing was that we got to drink them too! Cabins were neat and clean. But we were hardly in our room because there is so much to do and see when your onboard. Service: Shoutout to Ajay and Andrew the two cabin stewards on our level were always positive and so kind! Overall I loved cruising onboard the Pacific Aria, and I am planning another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The cruise was to the Melbourne Cup. We had not been on the Pacific Dawn before and were a little apprehensive. However we were pleasantly surprised. Yes, the ship is tired but it's due for a refit next year. This was our 10th cruise ... Read More
The cruise was to the Melbourne Cup. We had not been on the Pacific Dawn before and were a little apprehensive. However we were pleasantly surprised. Yes, the ship is tired but it's due for a refit next year. This was our 10th cruise and we felt that the cabin was more comfortable than any other we have had. Certainly more spacious. The transfers to the cup were well organised. The food was a little disappointing but there was plenty to choose from. The ship could do with more areas to sit in as it was always difficult to find somewhere to just sit given that the ship was full. The crew were great and we appreciated that the captain kept us informed any time an alarm was sounded. There were 3 incidents where they called for first response teams but in each case he told us exactly what the call was for and what the outcome was. He also made an announcement any time the seas were going to be rough. We particularly loved the entertainment director and his team. Willie Lee kept us laughing the entire cruise. The dancers and production shows were first class. We would not hesitate in recommending a cruise on the Pacific Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The food and wine cruise on Pacific Aria was absolutely amazing. From the moment we lined up to check in (the line moved very quickly) to when we first opened the door to our amazing room to the moment we unfortunately had to leave the ... Read More
The food and wine cruise on Pacific Aria was absolutely amazing. From the moment we lined up to check in (the line moved very quickly) to when we first opened the door to our amazing room to the moment we unfortunately had to leave the ship (which took all of a very quick 5 minutes) we had an amazing time. We got an upgrade on the level of our cabin due to our cruise being for our 20th wedding anniversary. Our cabin was beautifully furnished and extremely comfortable. The bed was comfy and the added bonus of having a tv and dvd player was great for relaxing in bed late at night. The bathroom was very clean and easy to use. We also had a great steward (thanks Richard) whom was always at the ready to assist us. We mostly dined at the pantry which we absolutely loved. The food was always yummy and the various daily selections blew us away every time. The staff in the pantry were always very nice and extremely helpful. We dined twice at the Waterfront restaurant but felt the food came nowhere near the quality and selection of the pantry. Loved drinking the yummy cocktails. The ship itself was beautifully furnished with great colour schemes. I loved the blue room. It was always such a pleasure to walk around the ship. The games that were on during the day were always great fun and we had lots of laughs. The night time entertainment was great and we even got to watch the nrl grand final. My husband and I had an awesome time on the Pacific Aria and never once did we feel unhappy or disappointed. (except when we didn't get in quick enough to book into Angelo's and the Dragon Lady. Do this as soon as you get on board. We were still happy though) Can't wait to do it again, this time with our three children. Had an awesome time, loved it, loved it, loved it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
First thing i will say is my wife and i have cruised with 2 other companies so we are judging this company/ship against those. We choose this cruise because it was a special for the State of Origin Game 1 in Sydney and the price ... Read More
First thing i will say is my wife and i have cruised with 2 other companies so we are judging this company/ship against those. We choose this cruise because it was a special for the State of Origin Game 1 in Sydney and the price included Tickets and Transfers to the Game as well as Premium drinks package. The ship is very very dated and not in very good order. One of the lifts was out of service right from the start and was not repaired during the cruise. The Lido deck "grass" was uneven and nothing but a trip hazard, the chairs cushions(all of them) had stains and needed replacing. The toilets(both men and women)on this deck had some major issues as well there was always one that needed servicing, which was a problem because these toilets also serviced the Buffet as a result the majority of the people we spoke to and ourselves returned to our own rooms to use the loo and that was from almost anywhere on the ship because the cleaning of the toilets was very relaxed. Food in the Buffet never really changed from day to day and unless you turned up at the right time for a fresh batch it was almost cold, which is great unless your expecting your bacon and eggs to be hot, which most people do.The queue for the buffet was unbelievable at one stage it was over 30 minutes long simply because it's an old fashioned buffet and could easily be rectified with an update. We also tried the Waterfront Restaurant for breakfast(once), even this was not up to par, my wife ordered Eggs Benedict and it was cold and we don't know what the meat was but it wasn't bacon, my big breakfast came out about 5 minutes later(which isn't great when your a couple) but it was hot and tasted pretty good. We waited a very long time for our juice and again they didn't turn up at the same time. Service everywhere on the ship was pathetic, if you wanted something you may as well go and get it yourself and this applies to everywhere except the Restaurants that you pay extra to eat at they had awesome food and service to match. One of the waiters told us that another company had bought out P&O and had cut service staff to a bare minimum and it showed. The only day we had someone ask us if we wanted a drink or anything while we ate in the Buffet was the first day in Sydney because there was big wigs from the company on board doing inspections, the next day it was back to what is was before. There was plenty of entertainment on the ship but the majority of it was about the State of Origin with Ex players(legends) on board giving talks and taking time out to sign guests Memorabilia and getting photos with people. So i don't know what the normal entertainment is like. We ended up in an Obstructed Oceanview room after a lot of phone calls and extra cost to us as the original room we booked and had paid for in total had been given away and the room they gave us was not in an ideal position on the ship. So we had to pay more money to get a room that was almost in the same place on the ship as our original room. The cleanliness of the room left a bit to be desired it wasn't great and the bed was the most uncomfortable bed i have slept on for years. We had a great time in the ports, on Moreton Island they had a game of touch football with the legends and guest playing with and against each other. The Island is a beautiful place and just going for a walk along the beach to the shipwrecks is so very worth getting off the ship for. Our next stop was in Newcastle which is a very old town and interesting to explore it's history, we have family there so we spent a wonderful day with them. The third and final port was Sydney, what can i say it is typical of a massive city if you can't find something to do you must be asleep. It has everything you could think of and possibly some stuff you wouldn't think of. To wrap this up i will say we had a great time on this cruise because it was a specialty cruise with passengers that shared the same passion for their rugby league as we do, BUT and it's a big but, the ship is dated and needs some serious money spent on it from top to bottom, there needs to be more staff in the service areas and the food heating issues needs to be sorted out. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We went on the Pacific Dawn for the Comedy cruise. The ship was very dated which was fine the rooms were comfortable (outside with a porthole) and the comedians were fantastic specially Jacques from Chinchilla and an older guy with a ... Read More
We went on the Pacific Dawn for the Comedy cruise. The ship was very dated which was fine the rooms were comfortable (outside with a porthole) and the comedians were fantastic specially Jacques from Chinchilla and an older guy with a guitar. The food was Average to say probably 3 star!!! You need to break it up & pay for the grill restaurant or the Asian...I could cook better myself and U can't cook very well!! Nest time we will try another cruise line. as $650pp wasn't that cheap for 3 nights. The pool area wasn't very inviting as the pools were small and separated. I'm glad we didn't take kids on the cruise as there didn't look like much for then to do. If u do go make sure to take some fun friends as we did then the poor quality food and average service doesn't really matter as much. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
So my partner and I went on a 7 night cruise to Hamilton Island and Cairns. I really want to start off by saying if you're going on the Aria have an open mind! Before we left I read all of the reviews and obviously some of them are ... Read More
So my partner and I went on a 7 night cruise to Hamilton Island and Cairns. I really want to start off by saying if you're going on the Aria have an open mind! Before we left I read all of the reviews and obviously some of them are awful! The few good ones left me with some hope. I went on with an open mind wanting to have an amazing time and we did! I couldn't fault anything! The staff were so attentive and helpful. Other said there weren't enough staff and it took a long time to get a drink but we never had an issue! There was always staff walking around offering. The food was also excellent. The pantry is similar to a food court but much nicer and hyngenic. All the food there was great! We also went to the waterfront restaurant numerous times and everything was super delicious and the service was so fast and like a 5 star restaurant. It was the same at Angelos. We didn't try the dragon lady because I'm a bit fussy. Our cabin steward were so helpful and always remembered our names whenever they saw us. We only saw 2 shows because I kept forgetting they were on. The first one I thought was average and the second one was great but they also aren't really my thing but other guests said they thought they were very good! There was always lots to do the entire time, we played trivia, bingo, name that tune and movie mania. We weren't very good but they were definitely a good laugh! Disembarkment at ports and when we arrived home was all very fast and smooth. Over all we didn't encounter any issues and we had such a wonderful time so really I have no idea why others complained! I hope this helps others to go on this boat! Positive mind = positive cruising! :) Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We recently boarded the Pacific Aria on a 3 night Food and Wine Cruise to nowhere. We have cruised several other times on both the Australian based Carnival ships and the Pacific Dawn and Jewel. I was looking forward to seeing this ... Read More
We recently boarded the Pacific Aria on a 3 night Food and Wine Cruise to nowhere. We have cruised several other times on both the Australian based Carnival ships and the Pacific Dawn and Jewel. I was looking forward to seeing this "new to P&O" ship. As far as first appearances go, most areas seemed to be beautifully re-furbished. There were several bars and lounges that were decorated nicely. Very sophisticated. Except for the interior of the lifts. They were ugly. I loved the outdoor areas around the main pool. Loved the lounges and the retractable roof. Great in the rain. The bars looked great but it was a pity I could not enjoy them because the air-conditioning was freezing and due to the warm weather we had been having, I unfortunately did not pack a jacket. Our cabin was an interior double on deck 6 and was spacious enough. The room had not been refurbished but the was not an issue. What was an issue was the toilet that didnt flush, the shower that was tricky to turn on and the temperature changed from hot to cold to hot again and also the room temperature was so cold, that it was uncomfortable to be in without laying under the doona. We had it turned to heat as far as it could go, and it was still freezing. We ate in the Pantry, the Waterfront and Salt Grill and we thorougly enjoyed all venues. We had a dinner in the Italian restaurant but I didn't rate it. I felt there could have been more events centred around the Food and Wine theme. We really wanted to do the Mix Academy but it was booked out by midday on day one before we had even sailed. Disappointing. We did a wine tasting by Watershed Wines and we enjoyed that. We also enjoyed the presentations by Chef Daniel. Very useful tips just wish there were more presentations like this. And menu sheets after the presentation so I could remember how he cooked things would have been great. I would have also liked to have been able to do some type of Galley Tour in keeping with the theme, and maybe a presentation from the captain or executive chef about the inner workings of the ship and/or galley. We didn't see any shows so can't comment on these. It was too cold to sit in the cold theatre on those uncomfortable chairs (tip for the ladies, the backs of the chairs rub right on the bra strap and after a while it hurts). I know I must sound like I'm wingeing; I'm not usually a complainer. I am booked to go on the Aria again next year and I'm actually looking forward to it. I'll just be better prepared next time. I just feel that the re-furbishment didn't go far enough. Even in the lifts, there was a sign with the old Holland America name " MS Ryndam". You can make an old ship look pretty, but you can't change the old bones and you will notice some problems due to the age. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I think we had such a good experience because our expectations were so low due to the reviews we read before going. Embarkations was easy, no issues although our bag arrived at our room damaged which I believe was mostly handled by ... Read More
I think we had such a good experience because our expectations were so low due to the reviews we read before going. Embarkations was easy, no issues although our bag arrived at our room damaged which I believe was mostly handled by staff that were not aboard the ship. Our cabin stewards were fantastic, they would usually be servicing rooms by the time we had left for breakfast and our rooms would always be made up by the time we'd returned. The same goes with dinner, they were very onto it and would service it as people left their rooms as opposed to knocking and bothering you while getting ready or just busy doing things in the room. One night we received chocolates on our pillows and another the towel animals, which were a lovely touch, the kids loved it. We dined in dragon lady, angelo's and waterfront which were nice enough but had very few options. They are not exactly child-friendly either as there aren't seperate menus for children. The staff in angelos did go above and beyond though and offered things that were not on the menu but it seemed to vary with different staff. We also were seated at two seperate tables in all restaurants which unfortunately meant we didn't always have the same waiter, which in turn meant we ordered and finished at different times but overall pleasant, just not ideal for bigger families/groups wishing to dine together. The Pantry was great, plenty of options and plenty of food for everyone and more accommodating for families/bigger groups. The food was about 10 times better than the restaurants too. We would eat early at each meal time so it almost always felt like there was food constantly. We didn't eat from the grill(little takeaway cafe they had by the lido pool) because we were always full but prices were very reasonable for what they had to offer. We did however splurge a bit on the Ice Cream which costs roughly around the same as what you'd pay at any ice creamery on land. Shows were fantastic, something different every night of our cruise and all the activities they had planned that we attended were well organised and fun. P&O call centre told me that the Gatsby party was 18+ and the white party was for everyone but every theme party they have onboard is both for adults and children, except they are held at different times of the evening. The kids spent a lot of time in the kids club and I guess their desire to keep going back speaks for itself. That includes the kids club for the teens, they had every intention of not going themselves but ended up there most of the time and I know the fantastic staff had a lot to do with why they kept wanting to go back. Overall, it was a fantastic getaway with little to no problems for us. We would definitely go on the Pacific Aria again but would probably request the same rooms through fear of pulling the short straw on one of the others. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Just like a few others here, I was a bit concerned about the negative reviews concerning Pacific Aria. If there really were problems earlier on, then I guess I do feel sorry for anyone who had a poor experience but whatever teething ... Read More
Just like a few others here, I was a bit concerned about the negative reviews concerning Pacific Aria. If there really were problems earlier on, then I guess I do feel sorry for anyone who had a poor experience but whatever teething problems may have been present when this ship started cruising from Australian ports late last year seem to have been ironed out. We had a great time. The food was good, the staff were friendly and helpful and, if the vibe was right some of them could be very humorous and entertaining. Be friendly and polite to the crew and you'll get it back in spades. Above all, don't be put off by the earlier poor reviews and ratings. We ate in the Pantry for most breakfasts and lunches, we tried the Waterfront for dinner, we had one dinner in the Salt Grill and splashed out for one dinner at the Chef's Table (Highly recommended if your budget will allow it). At $49 per head it's a 7-course degustation dinner presented by the executive Chef and complete with wines (included in the cost) matched to each course. You would pay a lot more on land for this. It was also a great way to meet other guests and as the wine flowed and the good food kept coming the atmosphere became convivial to say the least, including the vibe between the guests and the staff. Oh, almost forgot that the chef took us on a tour of the immaculately clean and efficient galley of which he was justly proud. No need to worry about food hygiene on this ship, I can assure you. Boarding and disembarkation was a breeze and the tender boat transfer to Hamilton Island was well organised. Be aware though, that the tenders are actually lifeboats so don't expect creature comforts like padded seating and air conditioning. Cabins were roomy and well serviced on a daily basis (well, twice daily if you count the fact that the staff turn your bed down for you while you're out taking in dinner and a show). Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was an Australia Day cruise. I booked it six weeks prior to departure as it was a great special. We booked two outside cabins one for my wife and her three friends and the other for myself and our three young children aged 10, 8 and ... Read More
This was an Australia Day cruise. I booked it six weeks prior to departure as it was a great special. We booked two outside cabins one for my wife and her three friends and the other for myself and our three young children aged 10, 8 and 5. My mission to let mum have a good time and the boys not annoying her. Although I believe during the cruise she started to have withdrawal syndrome. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal and had all formalities completed within half an hour and where on the ship within the hour. Even though we were in the early boarding group our cabins (outside) on deck 9 where already ready and we were able to drop of our hand luggage. As it was not yet lunch time the boys and myself got in our swimmers and headed to the pool. We were one of the first in the pool and we had a great time. My wife and her friends disappeared and we did not see them until late in the evening. After swim we changed, had lunch at the buffet which was fine and varied and I then registered the boys into kids club. Registration was fairly straight forward and they now use sea passes for checking in and out. After the drill we changed again and swam some more, in the meantime I also had our dinner reservation booked for the 6pm seating. Some passengers seem to be confused about the dinner bookings not realising that once you have made your preference they will pencil you in for the same seating, you just have to reconfirm. During the day I also met the head chef and when he realised that I have German heritage offered to cook a special Schnitzel for myself and the boys the following evening, he said just to let the waiters on the table know and he would prepare it with his special sauce. He was true to his word and the following evening we had the best Schnitzels ever. It was that good that all my boys wanted seconds. Overall we found the meals at the Waterfront excellent and had breakfast and dinner there and lunch in the buffet. The cabin was a very good size and there is ample room for four people. We have been on Royal ships before and found their quad cabins to be too small with insufficient storage space, the Pacific Dawn was the opposite. Shower and toilet were fine too. The cabin was clean and tidy and the cabin steward would fold the beds up during the day and we had a turn down service in the evening. The itinerary was three sea days and then one day at Tangalooma (Australia Day) before going back to Brisbane. Instead of doing circles the Captain took us to a small island with nothing but a weather station, some birds and a wreck and gave us a detailed history of the area. It was magnificent and well out of the way. I have tried to locate it on maps but have been unable to find it. We actually anchored there overnight and it was surreal. Entertainment on board was great. Whilst the Pacific Dawn does not have an Orchestra they still have great production shows. They also do Themes very well. We had Bianco which was great fun and Gatsby. I certainly recommend go come along in Theme. Australia Day was also excellent with the entire ship decked out and flags everywhere and the whole crew was in the Spirit. We have done two Easter cruises and a Christmas cruise with Royal ships, but the Pacific Dawn just leaves them for dead. Overall we had a great cruise - and so did the ladies. They went for lunch to Salt Grill too and said it was worth every dime. Drink prizes on board where similar to other cruise liners and Charlies on deck 5 was one of my favourite hang outs. The children really enjoyed Turtle Cove and Shark Shack and some days could not wait for it to open. Will we sail again on the Dawn, yes we will. We have done over 20 cruises on various ships but the friendliness of the staff, the excellent children's program and youth security on board that truly keeps and eye out for the children will certainly make us cruise again on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was my second cruise with P&O the first on the Dawn was fantastic could not rate it high enough this time on the Aria worst trip of my life. staff at the pantry were good and sure the crew had a hard time trying to work with a ... Read More
This was my second cruise with P&O the first on the Dawn was fantastic could not rate it high enough this time on the Aria worst trip of my life. staff at the pantry were good and sure the crew had a hard time trying to work with a lemon of a ship. when i first boarded saw nice ship and that's where it ends. Got to our cabin a 4 berth went to put clothes in a wardrobe and the door fell off my brother sat on his bed and went through it so slept on a broken bed the entire cruise as even though they attempted to fix it next day was only suitable for a child not an adult . forget eating at the restaurants service was shocking one waitress through our plates on the table and was unprofessional menu nothing great their repleted every 3 days no great choice better selection and service at the pantry . and then it rained! a number of rooms were flooded out lifts stopped working toilets blocked up and overflowed a number of passengers slept in wet rooms and given $100 on board credit. Go to get duty free alcohol that was on sale and advertised in the shop only to told sorry sold out last cruise. All i can say is when it comes to this ship run.total waste of hard earned money. now home and need a good nights sleep from this nightmare Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
The ship is falling apart, constantly learning of people being moved from their rooms due to water leaking from the ceiling and walls, one lady i know woke up with ankle deep water in her room, ants through at least 6 cabins and the lovely ... Read More
The ship is falling apart, constantly learning of people being moved from their rooms due to water leaking from the ceiling and walls, one lady i know woke up with ankle deep water in her room, ants through at least 6 cabins and the lovely aroma of sewerage floating through the pantry and other sections of the ship. many people would get the runs after eating at any of the food locations. the pantry has many large leaks in the roof causing them to close at least 2 stations of the buffet and cordon off the buckets everywhere(one of which was 16 buckets in one location) BUY YOUR DUTY FREE ALCOHOL IN VILLA at feung kuei much cheaper than the ship The Edge wasn't open for the first 8 nights. no communication before the cruise even after we learned it had not been available on the cruise previous to ours. the 8th night we received notification of the edge finally being open when the ridiculous price list turned up with an offer of an adults for kids prices deal if you booked for the next day, however if they had to cancel it for whatever reason no refund or reschedule. when one of our group tried to book they attempted to charge full price. we were guaranteed a photographer would be available for the edge but on the day we were informed that the activity was not going to be on, the photographer was not coming and it was tough luck. after speaking with a manger we were told we would get a full refund, come the final day charges still on the bill and told that they would not give us the money back even though they said they would. if you would like to use the spa...... i hope you like to share the 1 working spa with kids using water guns that is until later at night when they throw the nets over all the pools ..... which only opened after the 3rd day of smooth sailing. Do you like elevators? if you can get one that works and you don't get stuck in them (happened to me and a disabled woman with her husband, it was their second time) i hope the floors you select stay selected and you don't imitate a yoyo for several minutes. which whilst entertaining the first time it happens can be hazardous when the hand rails fall off. the decorartion in the elevators is lovely i especially liked the double sided tape left where they had placed cardboard placards with "pacific Aria" on them. at the end of the cruise 1 elevator had a metal sign with the ship name the others either had MS RYNDAM or picture of the ship taped or again just the tape. but don't forget this only is a problem on 75 percent of the elevators because a minimum of 1 in 4 front and back are out of order everyday. if you were told this is a new ship the fine print should inform you "new to the P&O line" twice previously suffering from a norovirus outbreak as recently as july 2015. as for the food, the pantry serves the same food every morning and lunch and almost the exact same every dinner. the waterfront has a great selection with few good waiters. if you suffer the displeasure of this ship try to get alex as your waiter only decent one we found having eaten there 7 times. the dragon lady and antonellis well after the 10th attemot to get through the booking to hear a busy tone we gave up. booked out everyday. although from other people on the ship we missed nothing. it was a 50/50 if you would have bad food, bad waiters and long wait times. or a good experience. Do you enjoy the scenery whilst looking out the window to avoid wind or smokers. well look between the smudges, salt and whatever the hell else junked them up. fair enough if it had been only a few windows but almost every one was dirty so pick the cleaner options and ignore the surrounding areas. deck 6, can enjoy starboard side smoker alley or port side closed almost every day. as well as a fair amount of light coming through the windows which even if you use a coat hangar to clasp the "black out" curtains together will leave you with enough light to navigate your room at ease and no fear of stepping on anything or running into anything especially the fridge which even if you need one for medication good luck getting one. one lady who requested a fridge (which when booking they said was no problem) waited three days and when she finally confronted the french bloke she was angry he responded with i am not going to help you because you yelled at me. no news if her husband became ill or not but she cancelled her next cruise on the aria right there and then. Tenders or lifeboats which ever you prefer are dropped at any place without a big enough port so enjoy a lovely 5 am wake up when they drop the noisy things outside your window and tie off ropes immediately beneath your window. i took photos a couple of times this happened and the manager refused to accept it. there was barely any light on the horizon but i was lying because all the crew member responsible for the tenders are lazy and only turn up around 6 or 7. as for the cabins. most of the light switches work, the light covers are stained as are some of the decorative covers for the beds, which can include if your lucky lipstick or tears in pillow cases and sheets. my sister had poo stained underwear in her cabin upon entry and when she dropped it onto the reception desk it was ignored as if it did not matter. the showers can come with a bath tub which if an elderly person attempts to use may have extreme difficulty. and trying to figure out the shower is about a 20 minute experiment due to faulty buttons and dodgy setups with no instructions. if you make a complaint about this you are promptly treated like a moron for not knowing that the cabin boy/cleaner should have shown you .... and the 22 other cabins he was responsible for. you need to start the water running, press the button as many times as it takes for it to change to the shower head, then pull back on the switch on the other tap to add hot water sounds easy but try to figure it out when the taps go opposite directions and the button to switch from tub to shower head works occasionally. Oh and don't forget to tighten the fittings to stop the hot water jetting from the fixtures to your privates (your welcome) and don't mind the rust. the room comes with a tv and dvd player. the adds look and sound beautiful, the movies which repeat all day alll four of them on 2 channels or the same 2 tv shows on a third channel will repeat after 4 days but it doesn't matter that they repeat it's so you can try to hear the parts you missed when the picture or sound stopped randomly or glitched badly. and no guide for times just watch the end of a movie you have or haven't seen and you'lll know a new one is about to start that you have probably seen. but avoid the torquay or the marquay because being that uncomfortable on the seats, which if you aren't in the front row can't show you more than a half screen and heads should be illegal. the torquay is freezing which made a few people leave, and even the projector shoots through peoples heads. almost forgot the marquee leaks too have fun with that. if you would like to encourage binge drinking you can grab the 79 dollars a day pack which must be bought on in the first 48 hrs and is for the entire 10 days including disembarkation day. while the drinks are expensive, unless you plan to drinks consistently all day or maybe just 8 cocktails at night because you can only order drinks up 11 dollars in value, cocktails are 11,12 or 16 dollars. you are going to be having difficulty making it worth your while. the soft drink package is more reasonable at 7 dollars a day, if you ask for less ice you can get lucky with only half to three quarters of the glass full with ice. you cannot get a can of softdrink unless you pay $3.50 on top of the package which is meant to be unlimited softdrink. if you go to a bar you can get flat coke from a can that has been sitting on the bench for no one knows how long or from the tap with a ridiculous amount of ice. if you use the cruise control site don't worry about the on ship parties, for the 2 weeks prior to the cruise it probably won't show you where you are going or what is available. apparently there is another app that had the correct info but P&O failed to inform us. consequently we missed 5 separate dress up nights which makes you feel really good to be the odd one out especially the next morning when people ask why you didn't show and you get to see the pictures and hear the stories. the laundromat fees apply, but 1 of the 3 washing machine and 1 of the 3 dryers were broken the whole trip. the walkways between cabins are wide enough to walk past people but if you follow anyone in a wheelchair watch and be amazed as they have to bash against the cleaners carts while staff members watch including one of the managers, when i offered to help the man he said it was ok he was used to it now. and the bloke on reception the one with unending empathy lol, good luck getting change from him. he refused to hand out smaller denominations even though he had tens of thousands worth (from the managers mouth there was more than enough for everyone on board to take hundreds in 5s every place we stopped) do you enjoy the view from the front of the vessel? well No your not able to go there. aircon is dodgy in some rooms power cords aren't taped down even if they have a large blower out for days trying to dry the soaked carpet in the pantry and on the stair cases. entertainment - well if you enjoy listening to music all night you are going to love this cruise if you wan't to do anything else the very limited options will leave you bored to the point of falling asleep and yawning on sea days. at least on port days you can leave the ship. same musicians for 10 nights, tennis and basketball courts are immediately over the pantry. the duty free shops on board are a joke. some items are 4 times the price. but a few are normally priced i don't think i found anything that was cheaper than it should have been. breakfast drink options for free are orange juice and apple juice or tea and coffee. lunch is water or tea and coffee and dinner is water or tea and coffee. if you don't like spicy food prepare to eat the same thing day and night. if you frighten easily beware the ceiling on the 11th floor no warning when they move it open or close there will be screaming and people jump or tremble visibly. entertaining for some. if you want to avoid the children do not rely on the youth security. never around when you need them and when a kid finally has a fatal accident don't be surprised. i dread the thought but if it isn't stated it will be ignored. the machines to check how much money you've spent sometimes work. one was out of order for days but not surprised if you don't know what you spend how can you be careful. the shore tours are much cheaper on the islands in vanuatu, do not pay for snorkeling tours on mystery island you can do it anywhere and the glass bottom kayaks are just pespex tubs and are terrible to use. the people running them are great though and the people in vanuatu are very nice and friendly almost beyond belief. atv and aquaquad/vego are amazing on villa, the off road buggies are good in the wet but fairly slow in the dry. you should bring goggles for both glasses do not cut it. if you get a cab in villa they will take you around the island for a cheap price. feel free to pay a little more for the cab as the buses only leave when full and take you to the more expensive places. with no warning that you may have to pay to use the toilets which are just holes in the ground. nomeau new caledonia is an absolute hole, like the valley at 3 in the morning unless you take the tchou tchou express or some other tour of the island it will be unpleasant and the general white population are very rude. if we had been informed better we would have definitely taken a tour out of the dock area to the main city and beaches. mare new caledonia, you can go for a walk to the left of the dock looking at it from the water and find i nice secluded but small beach other wise you have to pay 9.50 for the dodgiest bus/coaches i have ever seen. filthy with windows rusted to the point of almost falling out. seat belts held by wire. expect great service from most of the underpaid waiters and cleaners except in the restaurant where they may throw knives and forks at you if you tell them your steak is cold or solid. and forget the standards for steak the medium rare is rare and the medium is medium rare etc. if you order a drink before the entree that isn't alcoholic you may wait until after desert. the entertainers in general are very fun and outgoing some more than others. 2 comedy shows and one magic/singing show in 10 days the rest were dance performances which if you don't like them mean nothing to do. the movies shown in the theaters were on the tv at least 2 separate days for half the day if you have complaints write them down and keep a copy because you won't get yours back. do not hesitate to share them you will not be alone. also repairs to the ship happen almost constantly trying to remove large amounts of rust or just painting over some of it(i couldn't believe my eyes and keep telling myself it must have rust converter in it) doors, lights, elevators, the nozzles for the fire system. leaks pests, broken or missing railings all need repairs, 1.5 cm x 6 cm signs to let you know a door or railing have been coated in varnish. dents, missing pieces of wall trim, broken floor covering. if you want to book a cruise on a ship that makes you feel like your in a cheap motel with crappy food where everything is crazily expensive. this is for you! 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Sail Date December 2015
We chose this cruise for a work Christmas celebration as opposed to a standard lunch or dinner. This was our 4th cruise, but second with P&O and our 1st on the Pacific Aria. Our 1st impression of the ship was good - it was lovely and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a work Christmas celebration as opposed to a standard lunch or dinner. This was our 4th cruise, but second with P&O and our 1st on the Pacific Aria. Our 1st impression of the ship was good - it was lovely and elegant. The new décor is a little dark for me, but very attractive all the same. Our ocean view cabin was very clean, large with a king sized bed and it included a bath in the ensuite! However, I was surprised that now you need to pay extra for just about everything. The food was very ordinary in the Waterfront Restaurant, The Pantry & Angelo's and I didn’t count 15 eating venues in total. We didn’t get to try the Dragon Lady as it was booked out and the Open Kitchen cooking school & Chef's Table were not open. The new lounge - the Cellar Door is where we enjoyed a lovely afternoon wine tasting and it was excellent! The Salt Grill Bar with a cover charge of $49.95 each, I thought was way overpriced for what you get. The staff generally left a lot to be desired, with a few exceptions most of them were disinterested in serving us and lacked the joviality you would normally find on P&O. All drinks other than a coffee machine and tea bags at the Pantry you have to pay for. Alcohol was more expensive than what we had found on other ships. We didn’t get to the gym and the pools seemed very small for the amount of passengers. There didn’t seem to be much entertainment, as a lot wasn’t open when I questioned the staff they explained it was only a 3-day cruise. Many passengers played cards, Yahtzee, dominoes, jigsaws or arts and crafts. Disembarking was substandard. We had used one credit card (my husband’s) as did several other people and I was stopped getting off the ship for non-payment of my bill as were several other wife’s. This I found very embarrassing! They had let our husbands through and restrained us! Overall we did we enjoy our cruise, but would we not sail on this ship again, nor recommend it to our friends. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Papua New guinea is a must go destination for everyone no matter what age and background you are. Returning expatriates, returning ex-service personnel, children of those who once lived in PNG, inquisitive travelers etc. Our first time ... Read More
Papua New guinea is a must go destination for everyone no matter what age and background you are. Returning expatriates, returning ex-service personnel, children of those who once lived in PNG, inquisitive travelers etc. Our first time with Princess Cruises and they excelled in every area. In Alotau we did the Cultural Festival on board tour which was worthwhile. We noted that independent travelers still had to pay the same as passengers if they wanted entry. Good range of cultural dancers and the arts and crafts were very nice and affordable. We noted that the sellers were not used to haggling and when we were dropped off at the local market on the way back to the ship we could see why. All the produce in the markets was marked with a price and that was what was paid. There were other tours to suit other interests such as WWII or local village and cooking tour. Off to Kitava Island where we were greeted by three young ladies in traditional dress who we felt were only doing it because their mum had insisted. We saw her taking note of the numbers of passengers getting off the tenders so I'd say she billed the cruise line for the privilege as many of the other children had signs "K5 a snap" in front of themselves. The primary school children were there to greet us and put on small performances and were a delight. More carvings, shells, string bags (bilums) for sale. Lovely place for a swim and snorkel. Off to Rabaul where we took a full day tour with Kokopo Tours (wish I could insert their flyer here so others could benefit!) AU$150.00 each including water and lunch at the Gazel Peninsular Hotel. Saw everything there was to see, Yamamoto's bunker, Bita Paka War Cemetery, Kokopo War Museum and Cultural Center, Hot Springs, Volcano, WWII Zero crash site etc. The devastation of the last major eruption in 1994 is still very evident. Sea day before reaching Doini Island for more snorkeling, dance groups etc. More arts and crafts to buy. What a great little 'resort' island. Check out www.doiniisland.com and if you're cruising there pre-book snorkeling or trips to Samarai Island etc. Love to come back and chill!!!! 2 more sea days and back to Brisbane. On the way up to PNG and on other sea days we were entertained by very knowledgeable speakers who obviously loved their work. All in all a very pleasant visit to our next door neighbours. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I really wanted to take the time to write this review about the pacific dawn after reading so many negative comments. We have just enjoyed a fantastic holiday which for is after travelling the world extensively, was all positive. I was ... Read More
I really wanted to take the time to write this review about the pacific dawn after reading so many negative comments. We have just enjoyed a fantastic holiday which for is after travelling the world extensively, was all positive. I was actually quite scared after reading all the comments here about pacific dawn yet we loved it. My three year old was treated like a prince, I actually had blissful moments alone just staring at the sea and my husband had a great time around the pool deck listening to live music with a beer. We met a great variety of people - all lovely - no yobbos at all as I have previously read on this site. The entertainment was fantastic- ports of call were as expected after doing my own research and the food was brilliant. I'm celiac so can not be more grateful for the beautiful gluten free food the chefs and wait staff bent over backwards to provide for me. There was a variety of people from young to old and I'm between. My little boy wouldn't stay in the kids club yet not from lack of the gorgeous staff and fun activities. It was a family holiday so we were happy to be together. After all the negative reviews I really have to say you simply get what you pay for. We grabbed a bargain with a free upgrade to level 9 with an oceanview cabin and it was great. The whole shop is immaculate regardless of the fact it is older and no it's not five star or brand new. This did not affect our time on this boat at all. The beds are comfortable. The staff are extremely happy, beautiful people who will do anything for you and even made my little boy towel animals every night. A glass of wine is $8 for a house merlot yet that's the same price you pay at a restaurant. Plus for a bargain holiday with all food provided what do you expect. The theme nights are good fun. The photos are ok yet expensive plus a hassle to find but hey. That's part of the deal. The whole cruise was actually a really beautiful experience. Something I recommend everyone to do young old or in between. There really is something for everyone. I loved the freedom of being at sad and having no phone or internet yet if you want it there is an Internet cafe. All the food outlets that charge a fee are extremely reasonable. We were so happy with the restaurant food we only went for an ice cream or coffee here and there. The activities on board are what they are. Either get involved or don't. We loved the children's family nightclub dance and the pool deck parties. And no we didn't go wild yet I really loved we could hang out together as a family in the fresh air as we sailed off from noumea with a glass of red. It's a really happy holiday and the fact you can just get in and relax with children is heaven. So for me no whinging to share. We will grab another trip on p&o anytime. Thank you for everything pacific dawn. We truely appreciate your efforts to make our holiday a great one. Stop thinking about it and just book it. You might even grab yourself a last minute pack and go deal like we did. Oh and the tours on the boat are expensive so do your research and plan ahead or book your own. Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My 2nd cruise on the Dawn , the first was with my daughter and son-in-law and their 2 children plus a friend. I got very sick and was confined to the cabin in case I infected other passengers, which was fine. I pitied the poor cabin ... Read More
My 2nd cruise on the Dawn , the first was with my daughter and son-in-law and their 2 children plus a friend. I got very sick and was confined to the cabin in case I infected other passengers, which was fine. I pitied the poor cabin steward who had to attend to the mess in the bathroom. I moaned and groaned my apologies but he remained smiling and polite (and also concerned as it was clear I wasn't suffering from a surfeit of cocktails). A few days later the loo flooded the bathroom but it was was fixed within half an hour. The children just loved the Kids Club and could barely eat a meal before rushing back there. It was school holidays so lots of other children to meet and mix with. There was even a concert put on by the children from the Kids Club which I went along to out of a sense of grandmotherly duty. I loved every minute of it and stayed and watched all of it. We laughed and laughed (not unkindly) at the antics of the young ones, half of whom had no idea what they were supposed to be doing but did it all anyway. The Lifou Tour was disappointing as the only English speaker was the Guide who was dressed like a Vietcong soldier. I tried asking questions of our driver and his companion whilst we were driving around, about the various places we passed, and got off the tour bus none the wiser. Vanuatu was totally different; the Tour guide did a marvellous job. Even taught us a local version of 'Waltzing Matilda' , in which the locals waited for tour ships to come in and then popped the Captain and crew into the cooking pot. Hilarious. That 1st cruise was so enjoyable I then did a 3 day Comedy Cruise with another friend who had previously flatly refused to even consider a cruise. To illustrate how much he enjoyed it, despite hobbling around (often in great pain) with a walking stick, the day we returned he had me booking us another one. We avoided the Adult Comedy Shows and went to the Family ones, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. But you do need to seated well before the shows begin as The Marquee fills up fast. We did the Whiskey Tasting which I felt was far too early at 12 noon, later would be better. We played Trivia, the prize of a P & O key ring (with bottle opener!) is pretty lousy, a pen would be more useful I think. We watched other (mostly younger) folk play Charades and Pictionary, both very entertaining especially the lady running the Pictionary who is blatantly and unapologetically anti -men (at least whilst running the game), she was hilarious. I saw one comment on this site from a girl who complained that she and her husband spent $2,000 whilst on board. My first thought was that they must have had a heck of a lot to drink, that sounds a ridiculous amount of money; my second thought was that P & O didn't force them to spend that much. We used the Watermark to eat, and whilst on the first cruise the food was good (though it made me ill so perhaps I should temper that remark), this time I found it not so good though my friend loved everything he ate. The wait staff were very good, we even had a singing waiter to serenade us at breakfast. Our cabin staff were excellent and we got the towel animals which are fun. One complaint is that P & O has out of the blue somehow taken an extra amount of $250.00 from my Debit Card and whilst they are 'looking at it', it is irritating, and so far I can't get a copy of my spending on that first cruise. So one piece of advice I have is to make sure you keep your account (I didn't as I knew it was all paid directly from my Debit Card) in case of a hiccup later on. My other complaint concerns the so called Art Auctions, run by Park West which operates on 140 ships around the world. My friend won a prize for attending the auction and was very excited until he found he had to pay $65.00 in order to have it shipped from US to Australia! He was so outraged he declined the prize, and when we arrived home I checked up on the value of the (unframed) seriolithographs he had won, and they are worth next to nothing. So be warned and don't pay the $65.00 Yes the Dawn is a bit tired, but for the price it is a good bargain. There is plenty of free stuff to do. Drinks aren't overpriced; The Edge isn't cheap but it is good value; Kids Club is a boon for parents and most children enjoy it; the dancers/singers are OK; the staff were all polite and attentive. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015

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