Having happily cruised before with other cruise companies such as Princess, in good faith (we believed the P&O marketing) we booked a 12 night cruise on the Pacific Eden expecting a refurbished ship with a great programme of ... Read More
Having happily cruised before with other cruise companies such as Princess, in good faith (we believed the P&O marketing) we booked a 12 night cruise on the Pacific Eden expecting a refurbished ship with a great programme of entertainment and enjoyable dining. We should have read the reviews! We became P&O Cruiselings – P&O victims – customers foolish enough to become captive on a journey full of unpleasant surprises and added costs.
Upon embarking on the ship we were accosted by the overbearing smell of raw sewage which was strongest on the Lido deck and in The Pantry, but also on other floors in several bars, near the casino and duty free. The sewage smell lasted for the entire cruise, only varying in intensity. The Pantry, a food hall that replaces a buffet, was an area in which food was served and prepared creating a sickening mingling of cooking and sewage smells, and was at many times the only food outlet open so unavoidable. Any establishment in Australia run in the way The Pantry was would be shut down by health authorities due to the obvious health risks (presence of sewage) and not maintaining food at correct temperatures – the Pantry food was old, reheated and often barely warm.
The alternative was the The Waterfront, which offered similar food in a better environment, but with the service of a restaurant you would never go back to if it was “on earth”. As described in other reviews there were queues to get in, pagers when the wait was long, and the service usually a letdown. It was obvious that the some of the dining room staff were trying their best but the dining room, bar and galley systems did not support them. Other food options included in the price – Angelo’s and The Dragon Lady had to be booked days ahead, but offered better food and experience, anything else, including snacks and ice cream incurred additional costs. Surprisingly, towards the end of the cruise we discovered that on request you could get ‘rare’ foods such as bananas, cheese and crackers – these were stored under the counter in the Pantry and only available sometimes.
As far as entertainment goes, Cruiselings should not expect too much, especially not during the day time, and should find their own fun, ideally spending as much as possible on the casino, bingo, drinks and food. Many of the shared recreational facilities were uninviting - grotty, lacking in hygiene and badly maintained. Evening shows were limited and deteriorated in quality and frequency as the cruise progressed. In the cabin you could enjoy a range of the same movies running back to back on a loop on a tiny TV or order some scratched DVDs that will not play (a token service). Luckily our cabin was one of the clean and quiet ones with a working toilet and a fridge (rare on this ship). Yay!
This cruise resulted in my return to nightly prayers – upon going to sleep praying that there is no emergency (that the people who were smoking in their cabins do not set the ship on fire etc) because it was obvious that in the case of emergency all would be doomed - judging by the chaotic tender service on port days with queues the length of the entire ship and disembarking procedures that defied logic, an emergency event would clearly end tragically.
The real positive of the P&O experience is that I returned home feeling grateful for the life I have, my family, my friends and my home. Also, grateful for the new friendships forged on the ship – all the lovely people who were literally “in the same boat” as us as we made the best of our holiday under bizarrely adverse circumstances.
Finally, I feel sad for crew working on this ship under such circumstances for extended periods – many seemed extremely unhappy - I was grateful for every time a staff member was helpful or offered a smile as their work is obviously very challenging and unrewarding. At least our time on the ship was short and we could go home… So happy to not be a P&O Cruiseling anymore or ever again!!! Read Less