Sydney - Adelaide - comedy cruise - no ports.
-at Sydney International Terminal Circular Key - easily the best experience on embarkation of any cruise, very quick no fuss bag drop off and straight on-boarding (did not need to wait for designated time slot), very short but efficient registration with very friendly staff - thanks ladies/gents; hassle free trip on board with usual photo ops, on-board packages- spa/gym etc, our bags already delivered to our room.
- yes it is an older tub but to my view has been very well maintained and was very presentable with only minor signs of aging, overall was very impressed with the various venues/bars/public areas/shops etc. Particularly liked the main theater black/silver deco type theme. Public facilities all the ones used were very clean. Outside areas also appeared to be well maintained in general - only tardy area on level 12 edge/court area - showing weathering and age. This ship was much better maintained than previous vessels.
Layout and size - probably not a fan of the general layout being an older design has some short comings, particularly around the Pantry area, seating and size; also not as keen on a ship this small - would probably prefer the 2000-2500 guest mark and slightly bigger size ship. Still very happy with the new experience.
- Comedy cruise (2nd cruise) so looking forward to the entertainment after huge disappointment on Carnival Spirit and a let down on Norwegian Jewel; was not disappointed and generally found the over 18 shows to be worthwhile and entertaining, was not a fan of all of the performers but Bob Downe and Ellen Briggs were terrific. The magician ?? Galea was also very good; didn't see any other cabaret performances - i know we missed at least one but don't know if there were others.
- on board activities eg trivia etc was very enjoyable and the staff were excellent, particularly the uber funning bloke from Manchester.
- tried the whisky tasting and really enjoyed the experience - but would suggest P&O try to use some different less common products in the whiskies they choose as in this case of the 4 on offer, i've tried them all in some form, so some less popularly available would be appreciated.
- also opted in for the wine tasting - again great experience thanks John (happy scot) and good value, unfortunately P&O have an arrangement with the winery/vineyard on board and the tasting is only of their products, in our group one of the tasters really knows his stuff and generally the product was below par, other myself included who wouldn't have the fogyist weren't over impressed by the Hunter samples on offer and there were plenty of samples covering right across the range from whites/reds and dessert. Still worthwhile.
- top marks to all of the staff across the ship, we had terrific service throughout with little to complain about or nothing really, sure some staff were a bit happier and smiley than others, some were finishing up when the boat reaches Singapore etc but generally all terrific.
- a big NONE - water only 3 nighter down the coast around the bend and across the bottom, did have a bit of mildly rough seas on first day down to tip of Vic and maybe around the bend but nothing extreme.
- P&O dropped the ball a little in this area, we were restricted to the Waterfront and Pantry as dining options along with some snacks at Ocean/blue bars and Grill. We could not get into Angelo's and heard bad reports of guests waiting up to 1hr just to order their meals - would have given it a try if available (had our names down on a waiting list).
Whilst the food was generally okay - it wasn't great or memorable, we did get a couple of very good dishes at Waterfront but I've had much better on Royal Caribbean and worse on Norwegian Jewel. The breakfast menu was pretty much standard fair with smaller portions but pretty nice; toast was crap - very cold/dried out; bread rolls etc could be better; pancakes very well received; Tea/coffee hit and miss in relation to being warm/hot; the Waterfront was passable - if not great.
The Pantry was very average in my view, did try some of the selections on first day and for one lunch - pretty much same fare across the cruise; dessert bar was pretty awful - really cheap crappy desserts; Salad bar - didn't actually try due to uninspiring selection (RC much, much better); tried a small croissant for early breakfast very poor inedible felt stale the small cake/muffin was alot better. Not a great bread selection, fish chips okay and very popular but fish over battered and soft not crispy - still tasted fine.
Did not try the additional pay options (have on other cruises) as short cruise.
Did not like the additional menu selection in the Waterfront for special selection like lobster tails you have to fork out extra cash for - seems to be a trend on cruises and one I don't like - if i want to pay extra for a special meal i'd opt to go to one of the paid venues on the boat. Think they should just offer a bigger selection on the main menu and leave off the add-ons.
I'd say overall the dining experience was pretty average - certainly not tragic or terrible but could have been much better - this is a real discouragement to opting for further cruises on this line, experience with dining on Royal Caribbean and Princess was far superior; not so on the Carnival and Norwegian and this influences future choices - booked cruise in May on Royal Caribbean so hoping they live up to our expectations.
Overall value for money, entertainment, amenities, service and food was pretty impressive and happy with the experience.
- whilst a little different in 8pm bags outside room and no option to carry off your own luggage, it was again pretty flawless - meet at desiganated time at the Magestic theater, wait to be called, stroll down to level 6, swipe off and then easy luggage pick up. Train from port to Adelaide CBD waiting at dock area - short stroll, railway staff and volunteers fantastic, $10 all day public transport card for train and later tram ride out to Glenelg- what more could you want or expect.
Hats off to P&O just a fantastic onboarding and off boarding experience.
Ocean view cabin - port side - very happy with the cabin - does show a bit of age in the design/decor etc and some tarnish in bath suite area but generally very good, reasonable storage, plenty of hangers, good bed, reasonable TV - usual limited channels/programs, small lounge. A/con worked
Overall fine for the 3 nights, maybe not so good for an extended stay.