We booked this cruise quite late. I was asked to take leave and the timing suited us and the pricing was amazing. We got a BA grade balcony cabin for 6 nights for under $800 p.p. and that included a soda package, a social internet package and a $50 cruise credit for each of us. In addition, we organised our flights from Melbourne to Cairns and Auckland to Melbourne via P&O who were able to source good pricing made even better via a $400p.p. flight credit they added in. So, all up it was a great value short break.
We flew up to Cairns the day before departure stayed at the Holiday Inn which is about 2km north of Cairns' cruise terminal. After a walk around Cairns on the morning of the cruise, we got an Uber to port and dropped off our luggage at the port at around 12:30. After grabbing some lunch in Cairns, we boarded at 2PM which was very easy, and we were onboard within 15 minutes. The only downside of our embarkation was my luggage tag was torn off somewhere along the way after we dropped it off, so my bag didn’t find its way to our room, and I eventually found it with other unclaimed luggage at Reception about an hour after we set sail.
The itinerary of 6 nights only included one port day at Norfolk Island. The remaining 4 days were all seadays which suited us as it was very restful though I could understand some people may not have liked it much particularly as P&O’s entertainment offerings were pretty poor.
Whilst the public areas of the ship have been updated by P&O, the cabins do betray the ship’s age in both décor and fit out. We had a balcony cabin (BA) midship on Deck 9 which was pretty well located and being midship not too affected by the rough weather we encountered on a couple of nights apart from the expected creaks all cabins transmit in heavy seas.
For two people, this cabin is adequate though I wouldn’t want to stay in it with three or four people. The furniture is limited to just a desk and a chair with two chairs on the small but perfectly fine balcony which, due to the ship’s design is built into the ship’s superstructure.
The bathroom is quite small with the offset toilet forcing you to sit on a strange angle. Whilst a shower curtain is present, fortunately, it wasn’t one that constantly clung to you. As part of cost cutting, there is no face washer in the bathroom. Bathroom and beach towel are located in the bathroom and changed daily.
Our cabin attendants did a good job and serviced the room twice daily with the obligatory messages and towel animals on a few nights.