We are currently cruising PNG on the Pacific Aria. We have had two docking days and 2 tendering days with one more tender due at the Conflict Islands tomorrow 26 February which has been canceled due to the swell.
Unfortunately I have to say that the organisation of the tendering of passengers is an absolute dogs breakfast. Three tenders trying to move a thousand passengers to and from the islands results in people waiting three hours to get off the ship and then having only a couple of hours ashore before last boat back to the ship. A lot of passengers just gave up and stayed on board.
P&O needs to review their practices if they expect to attract passengers to this cruise in future.
Generally the ship is very tired and shows it’s age.
The crew are friendly and very accommodating and helpful.
Book early for feature dining venues as people book multiple nights at a time.
Drinking is expensive and the measures are doubtful and the choices are limited when it comes to beer. If you have a couple of coffees and soft drinks during the day and a couple of beers, wines or cocktails each day it’s worth considering a package. Beer averages $8, cocktails $12 -$16.
We booked an access all areas ship tour which was supposed to happen on the sea days after we left PNG. Unfortunately we didn’t get the advice of when it was on and missed out.
We were on this ship 12 months ago and I think the entertainment was far superior on that cruise. Admittedly the weather caused the cancellation of some shows but generally, apart from one three piece group, the entertainment was pretty mediocre.
PNG is a great experience. On the islands the people are friendly and not at all pushy when offering craft and goods at the markets.
If you purchase wooden products make sure they are sealed or they may be confiscated by customs on your return. There’s plenty of items produced by the local people as well as the usual rubbish made in China like caps and stubby coolers.
Take plenty of Kina. Even if you don’t spend it the locals will ask you to exchange it for Aussie $ which they can’t use. You will get A$25 for 50 Kina compared to $16 from the currency traders in Australia.
Rabaul was devastated by the volcano in 1995. The township was rebuilt in a new location but the small villages remain without power today so cooking is over open fire and lightning is by kerosene lamps or gas.
Education is free but parents can’t afford uniforms and shoes for the kids so they don’t go to school.
So all in all the destinations were very good. The service was good but the ship is tired and the organisation left a lot to be desired.
Clean but very worn. Cracked basin, dodgy light switches, worn carpets and fittings