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As a couple who love to cruise, this being our fifth, we have never before felt happier to disembark. Our outside stateroom was fine, with a very comfortable bed and the staff member (Mae) was lovely and kept our room spotless for which we were very grateful. We certainly had no issue with the majority of staff members who were friendly, helpful and courteous. When we embarked Pacific Dawn, after 3 hours of procedure in very hot conditions, we did not even rate a ‘Welcome Aboard’. A staff member stood at the doorway and pointed the way to the lifts – there was not even a smile or a word of welcome. We eventually found our cabin 9105, deposited our hand luggage and went up to the Plantation Restaurant for a cool drink. We ordered a cold beer which was delivered to our table in a bottle – we hadn’t realised we would have to request glasses! We asked for glasses and then waited 10 minutes, and after a subsequent request, a warm glass was delivered to our table. Whilst waiting on glasses, we were approached by a staff member to ask if we were interested in a Chef’s Dinner at a cost of $95.00 each. We had not had time to find out what was actually available on the ship at that time and so declined - the staff member was obviously unimpressed. We were shocked to think that within a few minutes of boarding this cruise, we were being asked to fork out yet more money. It didn’t end there, the next person to approach our table wanted us to sign up for a wine-tasting at further cost. We felt bombarded with requests for more money within minutes of boarding. May we suggest passengers are given time to unpack, at least, before requests of this nature are made. These requests should be made via a note to the cabin or intercom announcement rather than making passengers feel uncomfortable when declining. After unpacking we were informed that we would have to book a seat at the restaurant if we chose formal dining, which was our preference. On the first evening we managed to get an early seating rather than at our preferred time of 7.30pm. On every subsequent day, we phoned or personally attended the restaurant, as advised, to book a table only to be told that there were no tables available unless we ate at 5.45pm. We accepted this booking on two occasions and we enjoyed our meals although sharing the dining room with many families with small children was not our preference. We noticed later in the evening that the restaurant had many empty tables at the time we would have preferred, much to our wonder. On another evening, we were approached by the waiter and asked if we would like a glass of water and were offered two different high priced labels, the lesser cost being $4.95. We responded that we would prefer the iced water being poured from the jugs next to our table as we have never been asked to pay for water before. The waiter was unimpressed and we assumed he would provide the water requested but that was not to be. We had to request water a further two times before our glasses were filled, under sufferance. Four fellow diners at our table had not even realised they were being charged for the water they received and were very surprised when the waiter asked for their cruise cards. We decided then and there not to dine in the formal restaurant again as we couldn’t get the booking times we wanted so were left with the only other choice, the Plantation Restaurant. The food on offer at the Plantation was adequate but certainly not to the standard we had come to expect on our cruises. On one evening we queued and were passed a tray, a serviette, and a fork. The staff member handing these out then said, and I quote, “We have run out of knives, you will have to eat with a spoon”. We were stunned to say the least but went to the other side of the restaurant and found knives to use. How we were expected to cut meat with a spoon was laughable but the staff member couldn’t have cared less and gave no indication of finding any available cutlery. The Plantation Restaurant was redubbed the ‘cafeteria’ by many as there were no dress standards whatsoever and trying to enjoy a meal with others dressed in their togs, without shirts or footwear etc., was not pleasant. As passengers who had been on several cruises we were invited to the Captain’s Party which we looked forward to. It was due to start at 5.30pm so many people attended The Dome at the time specified on an extremely warm afternoon. The doors to the Dome were closed and we were asked to wait outside. There were quite of few passengers waiting, many of whom were elderly with no access to seating, and we were left standing outside the doors without airconditioning. In time the Cruise Director, Willie, advised they weren’t ready for us and to wait longer. A number of passengers complained about the heat and only then were we allowed access. The Captain’s Party lasted only 30 minutes which surprised many of us as we had been asked to attend in formal attire and had assumed it would be ongoing. A number of past passengers began discussing the cruise at this event and without exception it was agreed that this was so far below standard as to be redubbed “The Bogan Boat”. It seemed it was nothing more than a blatant grab for money at every turn. As non-smokers we were quite surprised that so much of Deck 12 was given over to smokers making it uncomfortable for others. Consequently, Deck 7 was an option for relaxation as it was non-smoking – the only problem being that deck chairs were not laid out in this area unlike the smoking section on the same Deck. On the final full day of sailing, we joined other disgruntled passengers in untying the deck chairs and laying them out so we could enjoy the beautiful weather in something other than the loud music and party atmosphere actively encouraged by P&O. When the ship visited Cairns we were informed that we should be on Deck 5 at 9am to be tendered into port. Everyone who was disembarking for the day attended at the same time causing major confusion. Those who had tours booked through P&O were the first to disembark by tender and we managed to get onto a tender an hour later. There was no extra seating available on Deck 5 and many people were reduced to sitting on the floor waiting to be called. A number of passengers just gave up and decided to stay aboard rather than have to put up with such a disorganised disembarkation. We could not see the point of everyone being told to be in the same place at 9am. We should have been given a later time to assemble. This cruise was cut short by a day because of a health emergency on the previous voyage – totally understandable in the circumstances, but the way in which we were notified and then the matter dismissed by your staff as an insignificant occurrence was beyond the pale. The pathetic offer of $100 on board credit, which did not cover the loss incurred, was an insult. To find that those on board paying quad fares received the same compensation as those who paid full fares, not to mention mini-suites or suites was appalling. The offer of a credit for a days’ cruise on the ‘Bogan Boat’ certainly did not appeal. We believe you should re-think your so-called compensation offer as it falls far short of both cost, inconvenience and expectation. All in all, we will never travel with P&O again after being so totally disappointed with such a low level of service. P&O have obviously become a floating pub and their standards have slipped to all time low.  

Unbelievably Bad

Pacific Dawn Cruise Review by JaneLincoln

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
As a couple who love to cruise, this being our fifth, we have never before felt happier to disembark.
Our outside stateroom was fine, with a very comfortable bed and the staff member (Mae) was lovely and kept our room spotless for which we were very grateful. We certainly had no issue with the majority of staff members who were friendly, helpful and courteous.
When we embarked Pacific Dawn, after 3 hours of procedure in very hot conditions, we did not even rate a ‘Welcome Aboard’. A staff member stood at the doorway and pointed the way to the lifts – there was not even a smile or a word of welcome. We eventually found our cabin 9105, deposited our hand luggage and went up to the Plantation Restaurant for a cool drink. We ordered a cold beer which was delivered to our table in a bottle – we hadn’t realised we would have to request glasses! We asked for glasses and then waited 10 minutes, and after a subsequent request, a warm glass was delivered to our table.
Whilst waiting on glasses, we were approached by a staff member to ask if we were interested in a Chef’s Dinner at a cost of $95.00 each. We had not had time to find out what was actually available on the ship at that time and so declined - the staff member was obviously unimpressed. We were shocked to think that within a few minutes of boarding this cruise, we were being asked to fork out yet more money. It didn’t end there, the next person to approach our table wanted us to sign up for a wine-tasting at further cost. We felt bombarded with requests for more money within minutes of boarding. May we suggest passengers are given time to unpack, at least, before requests of this nature are made. These requests should be made via a note to the cabin or intercom announcement rather than making passengers feel uncomfortable when declining.
After unpacking we were informed that we would have to book a seat at the restaurant if we chose formal dining, which was our preference. On the first evening we managed to get an early seating rather than at our preferred time of 7.30pm. On every subsequent day, we phoned or personally attended the restaurant, as advised, to book a table only to be told that there were no tables available unless we ate at 5.45pm. We accepted this booking on two occasions and we enjoyed our meals although sharing the dining room with many families with small children was not our preference. We noticed later in the evening that the restaurant had many empty tables at the time we would have preferred, much to our wonder.
On another evening, we were approached by the waiter and asked if we would like a glass of water and were offered two different high priced labels, the lesser cost being $4.95. We responded that we would prefer the iced water being poured from the jugs next to our table as we have never been asked to pay for water before. The waiter was unimpressed and we assumed he would provide the water requested but that was not to be. We had to request water a further two times before our glasses were filled, under sufferance. Four fellow diners at our table had not even realised they were being charged for the water they received and were very surprised when the waiter asked for their cruise cards. We decided then and there not to dine in the formal restaurant again as we couldn’t get the booking times we wanted so were left with the only other choice, the Plantation Restaurant.
The food on offer at the Plantation was adequate but certainly not to the standard we had come to expect on our cruises. On one evening we queued and were passed a tray, a serviette, and a fork. The staff member handing these out then said, and I quote, “We have run out of knives, you will have to eat with a spoon”. We were stunned to say the least but went to the other side of the restaurant and found knives to use. How we were expected to cut meat with a spoon was laughable but the staff member couldn’t have cared less and gave no indication of finding any available cutlery. The Plantation Restaurant was redubbed the ‘cafeteria’ by many as there were no dress standards whatsoever and trying to enjoy a meal with others dressed in their togs, without shirts or footwear etc., was not pleasant.
As passengers who had been on several cruises we were invited to the Captain’s Party which we looked forward to. It was due to start at 5.30pm so many people attended The Dome at the time specified on an extremely warm afternoon. The doors to the Dome were closed and we were asked to wait outside. There were quite of few passengers waiting, many of whom were elderly with no access to seating, and we were left standing outside the doors without airconditioning. In time the Cruise Director, Willie, advised they weren’t ready for us and to wait longer. A number of passengers complained about the heat and only then were we allowed access. The Captain’s Party lasted only 30 minutes which surprised many of us as we had been asked to attend in formal attire and had assumed it would be ongoing.
A number of past passengers began discussing the cruise at this event and without exception it was agreed that this was so far below standard as to be redubbed “The Bogan Boat”. It seemed it was nothing more than a blatant grab for money at every turn.
As non-smokers we were quite surprised that so much of Deck 12 was given over to smokers making it uncomfortable for others. Consequently, Deck 7 was an option for relaxation as it was non-smoking – the only problem being that deck chairs were not laid out in this area unlike the smoking section on the same Deck. On the final full day of sailing, we joined other disgruntled passengers in untying the deck chairs and laying them out so we could enjoy the beautiful weather in something other than the loud music and party atmosphere actively encouraged by P&O.
When the ship visited Cairns we were informed that we should be on Deck 5 at 9am to be tendered into port. Everyone who was disembarking for the day attended at the same time causing major confusion. Those who had tours booked through P&O were the first to disembark by tender and we managed to get onto a tender an hour later. There was no extra seating available on Deck 5 and many people were reduced to sitting on the floor waiting to be called. A number of passengers just gave up and decided to stay aboard rather than have to put up with such a disorganised disembarkation. We could not see the point of everyone being told to be in the same place at 9am. We should have been given a later time to assemble.
This cruise was cut short by a day because of a health emergency on the previous voyage – totally understandable in the circumstances, but the way in which we were notified and then the matter dismissed by your staff as an insignificant occurrence was beyond the pale. The pathetic offer of $100 on board credit, which did not cover the loss incurred, was an insult. To find that those on board paying quad fares received the same compensation as those who paid full fares, not to mention mini-suites or suites was appalling. The offer of a credit for a days’ cruise on the ‘Bogan Boat’ certainly did not appeal. We believe you should re-think your so-called compensation offer as it falls far short of both cost, inconvenience and expectation.
All in all, we will never travel with P&O again after being so totally disappointed with such a low level of service. P&O have obviously become a floating pub and their standards have slipped to all time low.
 
JaneLincoln’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9105
Although we booked a 2 berth cabin, our assigned room was a standard, ocean view four berth cabin, made into a queen bed with the bunks folded away which made it quite difficult to get around the bed - single beds would have been more practical. Everything was clean & tidy and maintained well.