We departed from Brisbane which is our home port so did not need to do any exploring before we left.
Embarkation was really quick this time and was relatively easy which was good.
We have been on this ship a few times before so knew our way around easily. This time our balcony cabin was more to the rear of the ship and we noticed more engine noise than previously.
We had traditional dining which started at 5:30. The wait staff were always pleased to see us and were very helpful with any extra requests. We found the menu a little unimaginative this time round however.
The entertainment was always at 7.30 or 9.30 and you needed to get to theatre early to get a seat which was almost impossible with the early dining sitting. We would have to wait till the later performance if we wanted to see a show and then get there by at least 9.00pm.
We only saw one show by the Princess performers which was excellent and the other entertainers were also worth watching, comedian and a female and then a male singer. The comedian was hilarious and not smutty at all.
Apparently one entertainer was a no-show so the Cruise Director filled in. Matt Baker was a very talented and entertaining person.
Unfortunately we did not get to the ports of Kitava or Kiriwina due to rough weather making tendering difficult.
We did get to Alotau which had changed for the better since we were there 3 years ago. There was paving in the square as opposed to a rough road and a few more new stores.
Rabaul was in difficulties due to a lot of rain and the roads were very rutted and with lots of very large potholes covering the roads making driving interesting.
Conflict Islands was the jewel of the trip. A really magical tropical island. We had two days there to make up for missing two other ports. The owner has partnered with P&O to help with the infrastructure and is heavily involved in turtles and looking after the eggs and babies.
The cabin itself was good and not too far to walk to the elevators or stairs. We did notice a lot of vibration when the thrusters were being used to hold the ship in position when tendering. The bed was really good and we didn't notice the join for a queen and the pillows were excellent. The fact the cupboard doors and bathroom door open onto each other has always been a nuisance but that is the design of the cabin and something you have to deal with.
This was our home port so did not need to take an excursion.
Unfortunately we did not get to see these ports due to rough weather and difficulties with tendering. We had been to these two islands before and were very sorry we missed them this time as they are true tropical islands and the inhabitants would also have been very disappointed the ship could not go there.
This ended up being a real surprise and the jewel of the trip. Panasea is the island we went to and it is a true tropical paradise. There are recliners available for the day (the sign said $5 per day) but we managed to get them for free, probably because the owner of the islands was on board the ship and the fact that we had two days there because we had missed the islands of Kitava and Kiriwina. The island uses a voucher system for money which you exchange when you get there. It is dollar for dollar of Australian money, however you can exchange Kina if you have any. This is an eco friendly island and deals heavily in turtle hatchery which you can tour. There are lots of enclosures of turtle eggs around the island with expected dates of hatching listed. We had a wonderful day there, the weather was marvelous an the water a magnificent colour. We were able to take our recliners along the beach and sit a mere feet from the water. The island also has an airstrip but not sure what size aircraft would use it as it is a grass strip. A stop worth visiting again.
We hired a local taxi to take us to Kokopo. We went over the range to the town and saw all the damage done by recent weather. The roads were heavily potted with large holes of varying size filled with water. Some locals were bailing out the water from some larger holes. We ended up at the local market but did not find it had too much of interest for us. We did visit the war museum again and noticed that they had uncovered a few more items from the jungle. On our way back to the port we stopped at a local resort high up in the hills for a cold beer and then stopped into a local school to drop off some school supplies.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We only had very large Kina notes so went to the Westpac bank to get smaller denominations first. We had been there 3 years prior and found the place much improved. There was a large paved area in the town instead of rough bitumen and a few new stores. The area looks quite nice now. We ended up walking back towards the ship to the Alotau International Hotel for a cold drink and to sit in the cool near the water.View All 4 Alotau Town Tour Reviews