Firstly, I thought i would start by saying I never usually write reviews but it is imperative that I get this out there to perhaps stop people from making a massive expensive mistake in booking a cruise with P&O!
My brother picked this P&O for his 21st birthday. My whole family (plus others) came along. Between us we spent around 20k just for the bookings without expenses on the boat and I can tell you now, you couldn't give me 20k to go on another cruise with P&O again. It was absolutely the worst experience of my life.
The cruise was meant to be a 7 night cruise to Noumea, Lifou and Port Vila. We set sail from Brisbane and upon boarding the ship we heard other passangers talking about a cyclone in Vanawatu. We thought this was a little odd as we hadnt heard anything and P&O didnt communicate anything so figured it wouldnt be an issue... How wrong we were!!!!
About half way to Noumea the captian made the annoucement that there was infact a cyclone due to hit Vanuatu which could impact our itinerary but he would keep us informed. We were all a little frustrated but hoped that it would pass by the time we got there. Just before arriving in Noumea another announcement from the captian.. This was to inform us that the cyclone would be hitting Vanuatu and the catagory had been upgraded to a catagory 5. We were advised we would get one day in Noumea but we would miss out on going to Lifou and Port Vila and we would we would have to leave Noumea just before the cyclone hit and then the boat would turn around and head back to Brisbane... BUT.. they would take 4 days for the return journey!
You can only imagine the disappointment and frustration we had over this annoucement.
We arrived in Noumea later then the expected time and it was alomst nightfall when we arrived. Most places were already closed. We were then informed that Noumea had a public holiday on the Monday so therefore most of the shops/restaurants would be closed and most of the shore tours had to be cancelled because of the terrible weather.
They couldnt dock the ship in the normal port so they docked in the shipping container wharf, not really ideal and certainly not attractive to look at.
Noumea was a complete disappointment. To think we spend 20k to go to a town that was a ghost town. Hardly any shops were open, majority of restaurants were closed. As you can imagine the weather was also so awful raining, windy and cloudy.
We boarded the ship really disappointed with the experience of Noumea only to be told the conditions on the way home were home to be rough.. this was an understatement!!! I can honestly say there were multiple times i was scared for my life onboard that ship!
Because P&O had to make up the days, the captian decided to travel back to Brisbane doing approx 10knts. In cyclonic weather, winds up to 60knts, swell at 7m. It honestly felt like we were in a washing machine. I woke up many nights thinking the ship was going down. I was flung out of the shower which the crashing of the waves hitting the ship.
All the restaurants on board were mostly booked up because of the extra days we had at seaso we had no choice but to eat at the pantry most of the time which is honestly the worst food. A few people on board got gastro from it. My parner said the food as his FIFO camp in better then the rubbish they serve. The few times we could get into a resaurant the staff couldnt even get the bookings correct and booked on the wrong dates and then were so rude and tried to blame it back on us. A complete diaster!!
Because of the weather the pools had to be drained, the lifts were out of order so the poor elderly people had to try and get up and down the stairs with the boat rocking. so danergous for them.
We were bascially stuck inside with very little to do unless you wanted to spend money on botox or gambling or you could watch a movie. P&O advertise the latest new release movies on their website.... I'm not sure if you would call the Notebook a new release considering it was released in 2004!! The entertainment and activites were a joke and mostly aimed at you spending more money.
Most people got extremely sea sick because of the conditions, myself included. P&O offered sea sick tablets, AT $20 PER PILL!!! They couldnt have cared less how sick we felt as long as we were spending money they didnt care at all! Not once did they offer us a way to contact people back home to let them know we were still alive. The wifi on the boat was terrible, you pay so much money to use it but you have to pretty much sit in the reception area for it to work.
Myself and others complained profusely and requested to take us back to Brisbane early as the conditions were awful. We were told this wouldnt happen as head office made the decision to keep us at sea. Bascially we felt like prisioners on the ship with no control over what was happening to us. The aircon on the ship was so cold and you couldnt go outside unless you wanted to be blown out to sea. Because of the rain parts of the ship flooded and the doors, openings had to be covered with towels. Some parts of the ship stunk of vomit because of how many people were sick.
We were told they would not be refunding us as it states in their terms and conditions they are allowed to change route if the weather doesnt permit. Well P&O there are so many things you could have done to make this awful situation better or not happen at all.
They could have made the decision to take us to a different route, anywhere else that didnt have a cyclone would have been great. They could have communciated to us about the cyclone before we boarded the ship and given us the option on what we would like to do given we had spent the money for a GOOD expereince.They could have offered all passangers a way to contact family to let them know we were safe (just). They could have offered freebies such as drinks or massage or at least something to make it a little better but P&O offered nothing at all.
P&O knew this information before we left Brisbane but kept it quiet and decided to put our lives at risk by taking us straight into a cyclone. We should have been given the option before we boarded the ship to continue or not with the cruise. Had this information been communicated to us, we would have forfitted the amount we had spent to not go on the cruise.
I would never ever recommend P&O cruises to anyone. I would highly recommended if you are thinking about doing a cruise to choose another company.
I will be take my compliant with them further as this simply was not good enough in my view.
My words of advice....DO NOT GO P&O!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The cabin was right at the back of the ship on level 10. It was right next to the bar and pool area at the back. This meant it was a little noisy at times but for us because of the swell, the room was so rocky and caused me to be really ill. I would wake up through the night thinking the boat was going to sink. I'm sure that in nicer weather it would be better but for us it wasnt a good experience.