booked this cruise from our home port of Cairns with a drinks package at a good price. We were concerned by the reviews and we had also just finished a cruise from Hawaii to Sydney on Celebrity Solstice. So we went with our eyes wide open. it was going to be a 3 star ship which is typical of P and O australia and we were not expecting the bells and whistles of Solstice. We went with 3 other couples and had a great time.
embarking and disembark worked well. the ship was fine, obviously an older ship but in reasonable condition. particularly liked the lounges and bar arrangements. entertainment was consistent.The dancing and music in the theatre was high energy but missed the mark in my opinion. One of the shows was just too dark and a lot of the music i have never heard before. choreography was great but music choice poor and did not relate to the audience.it felt like they had done the choreography .and then picked the music to match it. if they had chosen music the audience could relate to the shows would have been better received
The pantry worked well. plenty of choice and no issues with the food being not warm enough. they have to do something about the crazy decision to put coffee tables into this area. what were they thinking?? its an easy fix and will complement the area by giving every diner a table to sit and eat at.
The main dining room is big and very well done....but its half empty every night. It looks like they dont have the staff so you are lining up for a table and there are empty tables every where. speaking of staff, it was very hard to get any inter action from them in any of the dining areas. The food was fine if a little on the small size with some serves. Actually some serves were miniscule. The same can be said for the asian and italian restaurants. good food, small portions and unsmiling stiff staff serving you.
the swimming pool at the aft is a great idea, no kids and a small bar. but it was almost comical to see almost everyone gathered around trying to find what little shade is on offer.
the drinks package was a first for us. we like a drink but at $79 a day you have to be drinking non stop to get value. with 4 port calls in 7 days you spend a lot of time off the ship so i found myself drinking just because i was on a package and not necessarily because i really wanted "another cocktail". we did not get close to drinking $79 worth on any day, which surprised me and were happy it was an add on to our booking. the last day i only had 2 drinks as i had had enough of alcohol. P and o certainly have it right with their drinks staff. plenty of them walking around and getting you drinks and we met some lovely staff in the bars.
Alatau was nothing special, walked down town. the memorial had interesting info re the war in milne bay. Kitiva and Kiriwini were very interesting. walked with a local guide and had an interesting time with the natives. Conflict was very pretty, the owner has done a great job with the facilities in such an isolated spot Apparently previous ships have had trouble tendering to this island. the jetty needs some modification as there is a big gap between the tender boat and getting onto the jetty. its an accident waiting to happen with older cruisers for sure, but even the young would have to be careful.
our cabin was fine, ocean view on deck 6 and was in good condition for its age. little things like wardrobe doors not closing properly, otherwise it was a good size, bed was great and both stewards did a great job.
Overall we had a good time on a 3 star ship that had the bonus for us of being a $20 taxi ride from our house. would i go on Eden again. probably yes , from Cairns. but if i had to hop on a plane to go to Brisbane or Sydney i would most likely cruise on Princess, RCI or Celebrity.