We choose our cruises for the availability of when we want/can cruise and also very importantly, the destination. My brother had previously sailed on the Eden and had a wonderful experience on their first ever cruise, so I had no qualms about sailing on her, even after the negatives I had read on this site and Facebook.
We do like our privacy and time on our own so we chose a suite for our accommodation, the fact that P&O are a cheaper cruise line than others we have cruised with, we were able to afford the extra for our suite, the suite amenities were excellent, the perks included; free laundry, room service breakfast, separate dressing room with ample cupboard space, priority embarking, disembarking and tenders.
We ate in all of the restaurants except for Salt and enjoyed every morsel we ate. The Waterfront had a good selection and we always found something that appealed, we ate there for breakfast and lunch on most sea days. We also ate in the Pantry, but not as often although what we did eat there we couldn't fault, when we did choose to eat at the Pantry we usually took our meals back to our cabin and ate them there, I think seating can be a problem there during peak times. Salt Grill had very tasty burgers, hot dogs, pizza and my husband scoffed a whole bucket of prawns to himself, all for a nominal fee. Both speciality restaurants served gourmet food and the service was excellent, both menu's changed half way through the cruise. It is a good idea to book all your restaurants at the beginning of the cruise, quite a few people who didn't book were turned away during the cruise as the Waterfront was booked out. On the first day we went straight to the Monkey Bar and booked for the whole cruise.
Plenty of on board activities, we participated in a few Trivia contests, Bingo and had a dabble in the Casino, the duty free shopping was also good, they had daily sales on watches, hand bags, wallets, jewellery, perfume and makeup.
For the first time on a cruise I utilised the Spa, having my eyebrows and eyelashes tinted, waxing and a hair treatment. All of these services were excellent and a very reasonable price, although I did choose to go on days when they had discounts.
All of the public areas, bars and seating areas were lovely, we found all of the bar staff to be friendly and we never ever waited more than a few minutes to be served.
Entertainment was very good, we didn't go to all of the shows as some didn't appeal, but what did see was very entertaining.
All of the ports we visited were amazing, we did the Alotau Cultural Festival in the morning and then my husband went on the Milne Bay WW2 tour in the afternoon. Kitava is a beautiful untouched island, no actual tours but the locals take you across to the smaller island on their sail boats, or you can take a walking tour to the skull caves. In Rabaul we did the half day Volcanic tour and it was fantastic, it included a visit to the Volcano Observatory, perched high on a hill where you get a fantastic view of the port and the Eden, it also takes you to the base of the volcano that blew in 1994, it is acutally a Caldera (super volcano). We didn't do a tour on Gizo, we had originally booked the Sanbis Resort tour but it was cancelled so we just walked around had a drink at the hotel and purchased some souvenir's. Honiara we walked outside the port terminal and picked up a tour with Manahem tours, excellent, it cost 100AUD for the both of us, we had our own tour guide and driver in a late model van which was air conditioned, they also supplied water and coconut water, they took us to where we wanted to go, which really appealed to us.
We came across a few serial whingers on the cruise, who were never going to be satisfied but you get that on any cruise. All cruises are what you make of them.
P&O go out of their way to help, we met a lady who's luggage went astray, (Virgin was her airline and they couldn't care two hoots) it didn't turn up until our last port Honiara, the ship sent a crew member to the airport there to collect it for her, they also let her choose some clothing and items from the shop for free. It seems her luggage was put on the wrong flight and sent to Canada!!!!!!!!
Lovely cabin, the ship is dated but everything was clean and comfortable. Huge balcony with two sun lounges and a table and four chairs. Comfy couch inside and the king bed was sleep inducing (of course the gentle rocking of the ship helps with that too). Large dressing room with a vanity and sink also ample storage. The bathroom was adequate with a high pressure shower over a spa bath, I did utilise the spa bath and it was great. Shampoo, Conitioner and Body Wash on tap. It is advisable to bring a power board as there is only one double power point, the Nespresso machine is plugged into it. Airconditioning is also very efficient.