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1,385 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

Firstly I have to say that this is not our first cruise with P&O[ the others both 10 day cruises] So I do know that P&O can show their guests a great time on a great ship....unfortunately this was not the case with the Dawn. ... Read More
Firstly I have to say that this is not our first cruise with P&O[ the others both 10 day cruises] So I do know that P&O can show their guests a great time on a great ship....unfortunately this was not the case with the Dawn. Embarkation was fairly quick and easy, then the smell hit us. Our cabin [a balcony...that's a laugh] was 10123 and the corridor leading down to it smelt disgusting [heard the same complaint from other floors] . This smell was there for the whole cruise...so glad it was only 4 nights. When we stepped into our cabin was a little disappointed as it was very dated. I had read that the ship had been refurbished 2 years ago so was expecting at least some new carpets and prints on the walls[apparently the only cabins refurbished were the suites!] Prints were so old & dated the only colours left in them were blue and the carpet[as much as it looked clean] also had an odour. Not sure what era the lamps were from , but it is time they saw the bin.Their were some good points to the cabin, PLENTY of storage[even the heaviest pcker would have room for all their gear] The bathroom was spotless & well laid out and the pillows on the bed were the best I have ever had. Pity the same couldn't be said about the mattress, which was like sleeping on a brick. Also the sheets on the bed were clean but very greyed.The fancy bit of cloth on the bed needed a good wash! The safe to the room took us 20 mins[with the assistance of cabin steward] to lock and when we tried to unlock to get wallets out we couldn't, so had to call front desk for assistance[3/4 hr later] someone turned up and said it needed a new battery and fixed in a couple of minutes. I feel this is something the cabin steward should have been onto when we had trouble locking it. Also felt as much as rooms were left tidy when they were cleaned.....we are not messy people. Things were definitely lacking in this department. Beds were not made until well after lunch one day[even though sign was out from 7.30] only got 2 turndowns & 1 lot of chocs on pillow. Their is also no number to contact your cabin steward. So you just have to look out for them[in some cases try & find them] Not really sure what their shifts actually were . Also I asked if a bucket of ice could be left each day[common sense would have been that it was left in the fridge] But no twice it was left on the table next to the tv [half melted by the time we got to it] Probably the worst aspect of our room was the balcony. Each time we have travelled with P&O we have gone up a level with our room [1st inside...no window, 2nd cruise outside window & this time a balcony] What a mistake that was!!! Should have saved our money! We rarely used the balcony because it was such a hard place to get onto. Let me explain. For Us both to be able to sit outside ! of us had to open the door. Then step outside & close it. Go & sit on the chair which was behind the door when it was opened. The second person would then come out and have to move the table[much to big for the balcony...think they may have come from the suite remodels] to be able to sit and their chair. Putting the table in front of the door making it impossible for the door to be opened again without all the bother we had just gone through. Also the balcony looked like monkeys had been let loose with a paint can. Paint over the furniture, floors and even the windows. This was not the inviting place that is shown in the brochures. We had gotten a balcony cabin on another cruise that we took[Princess] and it was wonderful. We loved to be able to have the door open to let some sea breeze in and we had breakfast & drinks out their many times. We barely used the balcony on this cruise, it was such a mess. May I add that we took this short break cruise to celebrate my birthday & if I had known the balcony would have been so bad we would have gotten a window room! Also hubby [a work health & safety officer] showed concern that there were no fire rated safety bulbs in the sprinkler heads on the balconies. After unpacking we decided to visit the Pantry for some lunch. We had both been looking forward to this as I thought the concept was great Boy was I mistaken. Not sure if the Pantry is laid out the same way on all P&O ships , but on Dawn it just doesn't work. People are going in all directions to have a look at all the little store windows[where as in a buffet you are all in a line going in 1 direction] It is very cramped in some areas . Finding a table can be a nightmare and for the evening meal they even block off part of the eating area to turn into a restaurant[that you have to pay for] So it is even harder to find a seat . Our first meal[lunch] was ok. Desserts were below average and lacked variety. We went to the pantry the following morning for breakfast [think it was about 7-7.30]and it was probably the worst breakfast I have ever had ,ever! As much as their were all the little shop windows open the variety was very limited[was told by other cruisers it was the same breakfast every morning] Decided on french toast and bacon & juice. Both the french toast was barely warm[even though their were a mountain of it in the window] and the juice was barely cold. So just left it promising to never go back their for breakfast again. We did call into the pantry a couple of times [mainly coffee and snacks] at best the food is basic and at times just plain terrible[ rock hard burgers , chips dry & salad limp ] Though I did have some very nice fish & chips one day. Coffee machines are frequently under maintenance for a long time. The waterfront restaurant on the other hand is wonderful. Was always able to get a seat[only 2 of us] and always enjoyed the food [all 3 courses of it] The only negative I have about this restaurant was that I arrived at 9.15 for breakfast[suppose to stop serving at 9.30] after running late from the spa and was told by front staff that they were closing early , so I couldn't have breakfast. Not good service guys! But in general the staff & food was above average in this restaurant We didn't try room service at all on P&O as you have to pay for it [free on Princess cruises] Where P&O did excel was its inside common area bars[obviously where most of the refurbishment had been done.] The Orient , Dome and Promenade bar, were absolutely stunning. Also the bar staff DEFINITELY gave Princess cruises bar staff a run for their money. They actually make their cocktails from scratch[not using premade mixes like on Princess] And they were delicious! A definite to do is the mix academy class run in the promenade bar. You get to make 4 cocktails for $25. !!. Hubby also loved that he was able to get a XXXX gold for $5.95 a can in these bars[they call it banana juice] Way cheaper that beers on other ships. Also another fun thing on P&O was its elevators[again done in refurb] lots of interesting scenes inside rather than plain boring walls. We also weren't constantly harassed to have our photos taken [which to us was great] and attend art auctions which are big on Princess. Probably one of the biggest disappointments on this ship was the pool[If you can call it that] deck. What a disaster!!! 1 VERY small pool [have seen backyard pools bigger] that for anyone with disabilities would have been a nightmare to get in & out of. Looks like there were suppose to be fountain going in it , but they weren't working. There was a kids water park which looked great , if you were a young child. But kids over a certain age did not seem to want to have anything to do with it making the swimming pool absolute bedlam. The couple of spa's on the deck were again only tiny spa's like you have at home. So what is usually a nice relaxing day at the pool definitely wasn't happening aboard the Dawn. Another thing I found absolutely ludicrous was the fact that the pools & spas get netted off at 8.00 in the evening. Seems crazy to me considering we live in the tropics. On other ships they at least leave them open until after the outdoor movies have finished. As people seem to like lying in the pool or spa to watch the movie. Not sure what time they were open in the morning , but did hear some people complaining[so many complaints from people] they had gone for an early morning swim and it was still netted off. The pool deck in general was a disaster area . Furniture generally looked like it had been picked up from the side of the road, Hazard tape was everywhere & where was the staff? It was only on the day before we were due to get off, that were actually saw staff going around asking if you wanted them to get you a drink[ I was thinking that this was not a service offered by P&O. I know the ship had been through a cyclone previously, but I do think that cruisers should have been notified about the damage done, then they could decide if they wanted to continue on a substandard cruise, or rebook later. Feel this was definitely money grabbing on your part. The main bar on the pool deck was not open until in the evening [as the cover had been damaged in the cyclone[ So a small pop up bar had been made. Don't know how many times we had warm drinks from there [actually soft drink came straight out of a warm can over ice] Not good enough P&O[ you guys are suppose to be leaders in the cruise field] . Staff were VERY low on pool decks . Chairs had towels over them for hours with people wandering round looking for seats , but not knowing if they could sit their. Actually stall seemed to be light on everywhere As I was on this cruise for my birthday decided to treat myself to the spa [a facial massage package] What a lovely looking area that was . Staff was wonderful. Chang[mu therapist ] couldn't have been better. Pity my peaceful massage was constantly disturbed by BEEP BEEP BEEP, BANG BANG BANG. Chang informed me that they were fixing something in the engine room. Definitely not the relaxing experience I was craving[But again thank you Chang for trying] Think that's about it apart from letting you know you will have to pay for shuttle buses to town[free on other cruise] and that public toilets constantly seemed to be under maintenance. Heard so many complaints aboard this ship[actually the only positive thing I heard was" well I suppose you get what you paid for'" ] When I got home I compared the per night rate for this cruise aboard P&O and the per night rate we paid on Princess at the end of last year and the difference was less than $50 a night per cabin [and that was sailing at Christmas time] So I really don't feel that " this was a cheap cruise" statement is warranted. To All the staff on the Dawn, I feel sorry that you have to work on such a substandard ship .but you do the best you can with what you have[heard 1 passenger refer top it as a ferry] Would I ever travel with P&O again, yes would give them another try. Would I travel on the Dawn again NEVER!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I have done 53 cruises and this would be in the top 5. Every thing was great,. The staff was fantastic. They soon learned your name. The Pantry food was great. Especially the asian soups which was special. The Waterfront restaurant was ... Read More
I have done 53 cruises and this would be in the top 5. Every thing was great,. The staff was fantastic. They soon learned your name. The Pantry food was great. Especially the asian soups which was special. The Waterfront restaurant was so-so.and the speciality dinning was ordinary but cheap at $30 Lots of kids on this cruise 470. Lots of young couples. A old and dated ship but lots of character. The smallest balcony I have ever had, about a meter wide. Then cabin was good, clean and well maintained. Entertainment was fantastic, great broadway shows. Comedian was great. When you consider the cost which was cheap as a sole passenger. It was value for money and I would do it a again and again. The staff made the cruise they were exceptional I loved them. The Orient bar had the cheapest beer on tap I'm have ever had $6 a schooner. I would recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
It was somewhere I wanted to go. I wish to thank DR Google from the Waterfront Resteraunt, who looked after my allergies, and made sure I had wonderful meals. I thank you so much you really took care of me and was a lovely friendly person ... Read More
It was somewhere I wanted to go. I wish to thank DR Google from the Waterfront Resteraunt, who looked after my allergies, and made sure I had wonderful meals. I thank you so much you really took care of me and was a lovely friendly person who made me feel relaxed about being allergic. Unfortunately, my friend was put out about my kind caring treatment and I was unable to thank you personally, and give you a good tip. So sorry about that, I felt so bad. Because you were wonderful and I never had any symptoms on board, it was great not to worry about the food myself, I am so grateful. I hope you get to read this, you said say you are Marlon Brando as a joke. Very nice and kind Dr Google I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You made my cruise much easier and enjoyable. :-) 9198 Overall the whole Cruise was fun and exciting. To find places on decks was easy due to information at the lifts. The rooms were lovely with the large balcony. Had an awesome view of the sea. The cabins were looked after very well, staff attending were wonderful and helpful. All food on board was really tasty. The food staff were excellent and caring to my allergy needs. Gatsby party was fun away to sea party was fun and the white party was fun, but what I liked most was the Blue Room where they played Jazz every night. Great musicians, loved the saxophonists playing, really really great to see and hear. The best thing about the whole Cruise was being at sea, loved it. The crew made the trip really easy and relaxing. Thank you P&O I will definitely be looking forward to my next Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Did the 3 night food and wine cruise with friends on the Pacific Eden to/from Adelaide for the 3rd time in 3 years. As we had found previously, it was a pleasant way to spend a long weekend. The ship is showing its age in parts but is ... Read More
Did the 3 night food and wine cruise with friends on the Pacific Eden to/from Adelaide for the 3rd time in 3 years. As we had found previously, it was a pleasant way to spend a long weekend. The ship is showing its age in parts but is still serviceable. Like the fact that the ship has a Promenade deck that allows you to do a complete circuit of the ship. The entertainment was excellent, with the Australian Cruise Director having a good sense of humour and having having a good team. Loved our lunch in Salt (extra charge but well worth it). Angelos (Italian restaurant) and Dragon Lady (Pan Asian), which are both free, seem to have got better since our last venture on this ship. Didn’t use the Pantry but found the food in Waterfront was fine. The beer and cheese tasting, along with the food and wine pairing sessions were well run. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
To give this review some context we are somewhat experienced cruisers having been three times on RCL, twice on Carnival and once on Celebrity, three of those cruises were for nineteen nights and the rest shorter. Pacific Dawn is an ... Read More
To give this review some context we are somewhat experienced cruisers having been three times on RCL, twice on Carnival and once on Celebrity, three of those cruises were for nineteen nights and the rest shorter. Pacific Dawn is an older and smaller ship than most we’d been on but after the refurbishment the interior of the ship is typical of most ships and in good condition. The ship had recently been affected by Cyclone Oma so there were more than the usual signs of surface rust showing, the crew were always painting whenever conditions allowed. Cruise ships are like aircraft they are constantly in use, a docked cruise ship is just eating money, so a quick turnaround is always the norm, this necessitates maintenance being done whilst a ship is on a cruise. Overall, we thought the Pacific Dawn was well maintained and in good condition considering its age. Our cabin was a suite (SA) on deck eleven, it was very comfortable, the carpets and everything that wasn’t nailed down had been replaced during the refurbishment. That said we aren’t 5 Star travellers, preferring budget airlines and better rooms in 4 star hotels instead of standard rooms in 5 star hotels. Without question the best thing about this ship are the crew, an amazing bunch of people, they were always, friendly, smiling and helpful. We ate in both the Main Dining Room and The Pantry as well as room service breakfasts on most mornings, the room service breakfasts were excellent as were some of the meals in the other two venues, however we felt that choices in the MDR were somewhat limited and seemed designed more to impress than please, a lady on an adjacent table received a turkey breast that was so tough she couldn’t cut it and it was replaced by another, somewhat better but still tough. Some of the meals were excellent, barramundi in filo pastry, Italian meat balls and lasagne with quinoa spring to mind, my wife who is less adventurous found most of the meals a bit too exotic and settled for soup and desert on many nights, she was obviously disappointed (her waistline wasn’t!) Here again the staff were excellent! Our experience in the Pantry was similar with their breakfasts quite good when we ate there but on occasions the food was pretty ordinary, on the first day I had an Asian dish with beef that was very tough, on another occasion they had a lot of cinnamon and sugar donuts which looked lovely but required some serious chewing to eat. On the other hand the fish and chips were excellent, the deserts were variable some good some not so good which pretty much sums up the food generally. The Pantry is an excellent concept as long as it is well staffed and in our experience it was, there is no doubt that having all of the food served from behind glass will limit the gastro problem as people can’t drop a spoon on the floor and put it back, taste food off the spoon and put it back etc etc as is sometimes seen in the traditional buffets. The eating areas are also divided into smaller areas which avoids that cafeteria feeling of some ships. We had drinks before dinner most nights in the Cocktail Bar on deck seven overlooking the Atrium, the service was good but they repeatedly ran out of martini glasses and had to serve them in a wine glass and a beer glass was no where to be seen. Pretty poor form for a cocktail bar. Like all cruises common sense is required if you don’t want to search for a table in the Pantry don’t go at peak times, the same can be said for going ashore by tender, after all it’s a holiday, will another half hour ruin your day? We didn’t go to any shows but we did go ashore in Alotau to the Cultural Festival which was excellent, didn’t in Kitava because it rained on and off, Rabaul was a fascinating place and really took some getting used to because people would come up to you, introduce themselves and thank you for visiting Rabaul, one of those situations that invariably invokes the “what are you selling response” but these people were genuine and a refreshing change to the usual run of spivs and hawkers you come across on shore visits. We also went ashore in Kiriwina and had a swim as well. All of the islands were worth a visit but be sure to have reef shoes, the coral can be very sharp, even on some of the beaches. Regardless of the ups and downs we enjoyed our cruise to PNG, there were a good range of people on board, a few children but overall a well-behaved and friendly crowd. Would we cruise again with P & O? Probably not, but we choose cruises by itinerary and when we booked this was one of few cruises going to PNG, that has now changed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our first cruise on the Dawn ( been on all the others), was a bit worried as other people had reported it as a bad experience. However, I was very satisfied. We were lucky with the weather and got ashore all ports, P&O ... Read More
This was our first cruise on the Dawn ( been on all the others), was a bit worried as other people had reported it as a bad experience. However, I was very satisfied. We were lucky with the weather and got ashore all ports, P&O organized some lectures on board which was very interesting. Alotau - been twice previously, there isn't really much to see there. There was two new places to go drinking - one just after leaving the dock on the left, it was a big hut with natives singing and playing instruments. Beers were $5 or 10 Kina. Keep walking and arrive in town and a new resort ( Imperial I think ), it was really good with new pool and great gardens ( it was full of Aussies) beers were $5.50 or 11 kina. Ship tours were available but most people didn't like them. Lots of beetle nut chewing and spitting everywhere, also watch out for pick pockets here. Kitava Island -Tender ashore. Very lovely place, lots of natives selling junk ( I mean interesting items). Everywhere there is schools singing and hospital etc people after your money - make sure you take some small kina with you as they have nothing and all is appreciated. Snorkelling is good especially over the small island ( 5 kina a trip- by speed boat or sailing vessel) Kiriwina Island - been once before. They put on a big dancing show and usually a cricket game ( but bus broke down so no cricket this time), people follow you everywhere wanting you to pay them small money to show you around. You need to go past the small island to find any coral alive and the shelf drop off is where the fish etc are at. Rabaul - been once may years ago. You can just get off and get a tour ( the same company I used 3 years ago) less then half price from ship. Interesting thing I noted - the ship tours travel in convoy with a armed guard in first van and a spare empty van at the rear in case one breaks down. The tours to volcano and old war sites are interesting and now have air conditioned vans. Not much to see in town. Conflict Islands - never been - beautiful - It's owned by some rich Australian I heard. Everything is expensive beers are $10. Walk to other side of island and swim out to the coral and fish ( fair distance but it's salt water so can float most of the way ), great for coral and fish ( probably the same as the best I have seen at Mystery Island). No locals to hassle you. Cabin - Was a 4 berth but only two of us, but it was fine for size and clean. We had lots of problems ( air conditioning, cold water stopped, plug stuck in sink, noisy neighbours ) but reception got it all sorted so that was fine. Food - There is the Waterfront and Pantry for free eating, we never bothered with the Waterfront as we heard it was booked out after 1 day ? Pantry food was fine, of course it was crowded at times but you could always find a seat or stool somewhere. Dessert bar had too many cakes as usual, but did have fruit salad, but no ice cream. The Orient ( where most trivia's etc was held was very noisy from the bar and ice crushing machine going all the time. Atrium as usual had very little seats, almost impossible to get one for shows or trivia's etc. Entertainment was OK, a few fill in shows, but that's normal. Duty Free - what a joke , it should say extra duty, drinks were at least double prices in Vila. Exchange rate on the ship from Bank was $1 = 2 kina. Entertainment team were OK, Cruise director Ben was a very bubbly person and always said hello to you, seemed a really nice guy. Unable to walk all the way around the deck 7 only up and down each side. Get to gym early ( it says opens at 6:30am, but it was always open at 6am. Beers on board ranged from $6 up and wine was $9.50 up per glass. No tender tickets were used on this cruise, just line up early. Laundry was 3 x $1 coins for washing, we just hung up our clothes in room to dry. Overall it was a great cruise, especially as we met such lovely people on board ( mostly from Brisbane of course ). Prices for cruises out of Brisbane are more expensive then out of Sydney. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We enjoyed this cruise very much, partly because it was our first time to New Guinea but perhaps also because (this being our fifth cruise on 'the Dawn') our expectations regarding this old tub were blunted long ago (I say it ... Read More
We enjoyed this cruise very much, partly because it was our first time to New Guinea but perhaps also because (this being our fifth cruise on 'the Dawn') our expectations regarding this old tub were blunted long ago (I say it fondly). Though built in 1990 and last refurbished in 2017, she looks about my age (70 this year). We're both a bit tired and very wrinkled. To begin with, there were two big negatives (and a few smaller ones). First, having boarded at 11am, I did not receive my luggage until about 5 pm, when a note was attached to our cabin door telling me (peremptorily, because that's how you treat suspected crims) to visit Deck 3, where my bag would be opened in my presence and the contraband therein (identified by an unknown but not too efficient process) extracted. I did as I was told. The culprit, an innocent bottle of Gaviscon, was nestling on top of my shirts. Without apology (though without rudeness either) the young staff member hastily allowed me to depart. He did not even sniff the contents. No doubt he could tell (from a few remarks of mine) that such a move would be unwise. I think my anger was justified (though it was not the young man's fault). Maybe I should have known better. But if P&O were half as concerned with good customer relations as they are with their profits from alcohol, they would tell customers very clearly in pre-cruise advice not to pack bottles in their luggage. This would seem to be simple enough. The second hiccup occurred when we retired that night (early, as befits our age and health). Our cabin was close to the atrium where loud music continued until well past 10 pm. Throb, throb, throb. Next day, our cabin was exchanged with no fuss and, indeed, the young lady on reception went out of her way to be pleasant and helpful. Mind you, we were initially warned that an exchange might not be possible because P&O ships tend to sail fully booked. So, good luck, rather than P&O management, was mostly responsible for the good outcome here. The food in the Waterfront Restaurant is not good at all, very hit and miss. We booked for five evenings, but did not survive the first. I had a positively monstrous concoction: a base of dry rice and/or couscous (I couldn't tell what it was), black in colour and tasteless (another diner later said it 'looked like dirt and tasted like dirt), topped with a very few pieces of battered eggplant and artichoke. My friend had sliced beef that was so salty as to be inedible. Some diners at our table were happy, but we did not return to the Waterfront, and from the number of complaints we heard about its food we evidently made the right choice. The Pantry was a different story. The food varied from OK through good to excellent. The curries are nothing short of superb, and are served with a great range of condiments, chutneys etc. It is a pity, though, that the cheapest quality short-grain rice is used in this Indian (and Asian) food. It rather spoils it. My only other complaint about food in The Pantry is the bread served at breakfast, which is clearly obtained from Coles (the $1 per loaf stuff). Another negative: a so-called 'market' is held in the Dome once during the cruise, and involves some of the merchandise found in the Atrium shops. But while a very few items may be reduced, most are not. I checked out the mugs and Billabong shirts ($18 and $70 respectively, as in the shops). Nothing but a grand deception! The musical entertainments on this cruise were also good. The Drawbridge Duo was 'standing room only' every night and deserved their popularity, as did an African American solo pianist. We don't go to the nightly stage shows, because on past cruises on this ship they have been either cringeworthy or ear-shattering or both. The talks on the wartime history of the places visited were very worthwhile. One of the most striking features of a cruise on the Pacific Dawn is the easy going friendliness of staff and passengers alike. The staff cannot be faulted (though one girl on the breakfast toaster was always a bit grumpy - not a morning person, but we can empathise!). Smiles and greetings are frequent and natural. The same applies to the passengers, who are very friendly on the Dawn. All in all, a very enjoyable trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
It was my birthday month and I was celebrating my birthday on board the Pacific Jewel P&O. P&O had said they had given me a birthday package and asked me when I would like it. I had said the first day 1/3/19 when I got on the ship ... Read More
It was my birthday month and I was celebrating my birthday on board the Pacific Jewel P&O. P&O had said they had given me a birthday package and asked me when I would like it. I had said the first day 1/3/19 when I got on the ship which we had been on before. BUT NO, I never got it at all. This didn’t start out to be a pleasant cruise from day one.I had gone down to the front counter several times and ask them about it, they said they would get on to it each time I asked, but as usual had gone on deaf ears, like the rest of the complaints they were getting. The drink package we got, waste of time and money, ran out of just about everything. The staff were rude and couldn’t wait to get off the ship in my eye and in a few other customer I spoke to as well. There were a few that were lovely but very few. The crew were probably upset because so many customer were complaining to them and they took the brunt of it. Customer, myself and my husband were getting upset with the alcohol, food, service, entertainment, stock it shops and closing the shops before the cruise had ended, air conditioning not working and a lot more things running out and not working on this cruise. I did relax as I stayed in the cabin a lot because I was upset and crying most of the time because of what was going on or should I say what was not going on, quality wise. Getting up at 5:30 am to collect our passports, on holiday and when you didn’t need to get off the ship till 9:30am. Other ships delivered them to your cabins the night before. I have but in a complaint to P&O and they said they would get in touch we us in 5-10 working days, have heard nothing. DEAF EARS AGAIN. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our 6th cruise, our first with P&O. Overall, a good cruise, but compared to other lines (Norwegian and Carribean) not so good. SHIP - older but refurbished in 2015 and was ok. CABIN- inside at stern. Great cabin with ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise, our first with P&O. Overall, a good cruise, but compared to other lines (Norwegian and Carribean) not so good. SHIP - older but refurbished in 2015 and was ok. CABIN- inside at stern. Great cabin with pretty good room. A bit of rust in shower but not really a problem. Biggest problem was the aisle being uneven and holes in deck beneath the carpet. A slant was ok, but not dips and holes. DINING- food overall was disappointing, particularly compared to the other ships we’ve been on.The chefs need to taste their food, some dishes too salty or not salted. The Pantry has a variety of options that were mediocre. Some dishes were ok but nothing outstanding. The Indian food was very disappointing considering many chefs are Indian. We hated the buffet style but being served by staff for every dish was unusual as every other cruise was self serve. Probably saves waste, but we didn’t like it. The waterfront restaurant was ok, but nothing outstanding. Italian was slightly better but lots of kids dining ruined the experience for us. Luke Mangaan’s paid restaurant had excellent food. Dragon Lady Asian restaurant was very good. No soft serve ice cream available... really? The paid for New Zealand ice cream was nice but expensive. We were staggered at why we had to pay at The Grill by the pool for Hamburgers, Hot dogs, Nachos Pizzas etc. Lucky the ship is Australian based cause the Yanks would go crazy!. ENTERTAINMENT- typically mixed! Most good, some excellent. Special mention for Sideshow Alley. Best we,ve seen on a cruise. SERVICE- room service was fine. Not much cleaning around ship though.Some public toilets needed more than once daily cleaning. On other cruises, water on the pool deck was wiped up almost instantly, not so on Pacific Aria. No towels at the pool after returning from a shore day was especially irritating, as were the crew comment to go and get your room towels. PORTS- ok. P&O had the best on off procedure we’ve had. Still takes some time but it just seemed to work. Good value shore excursions compared to rip off prices on other ship lines. WOULD WE RECOMMEND? Probably Not, better overall on other lines. We still had a great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Having just returned from the Airlie beach cruise I thought i would share my thoughts on this cruise. 1/ Ship overcrowded, especially at meal times. 2/ The Pantry, worst food I have ever had on a cruise (and I have been on a few). No ... Read More
Having just returned from the Airlie beach cruise I thought i would share my thoughts on this cruise. 1/ Ship overcrowded, especially at meal times. 2/ The Pantry, worst food I have ever had on a cruise (and I have been on a few). No room to sit & P & O in their wisdom decide to shut half of it at dinner time to allow them to open a restaurant in the same area. The idea of the Pantry doesn't work, long ques waiting for servers to dish out the food. Take a leaf out of other cruise lines and revert back to Buffet style dinning. Same food virtually ever meal. 3/ Understaffed, trying to find a waiter on the pool deck is like trying to win the lottery. When you walk up to the bar you are not given receipts for drinks, so you have no idea what the staff are charging you. 4/ Ship is in bad need of maintenance, rust everywhere, stained floors, windows you cannot see out (dirty need cleaning or replacing) nearly all areas of ship had unpleasant smell. All in all a very disappointing cruise for our first & last cruise with P&O, we will be sticking with Royal Caribbean & Princess Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Just to try out cruising. We have heard that cruis8ng is the way to holiday as we live on the road as we travel with our caravan full time. So we gave it ago. Beer run out, wine run out but the only beer we were able to buy was just so ... Read More
Just to try out cruising. We have heard that cruis8ng is the way to holiday as we live on the road as we travel with our caravan full time. So we gave it ago. Beer run out, wine run out but the only beer we were able to buy was just so much dearer than we could afford, so had used up more of our off shore spending money just to have a drink on ship. Also butter, marmite, peanut butter and marmalade run out very early in cruise. Will try amoth cruise company next time, as not happy to not be provided with services. The getting off the ship at Singapore was just a mess. Told to disembark at 9.10, Did not get off ship until 10 am, then spent 25 minutes in que to get through through immergration. No water or coffee was offered as people who had to be up and collect passport at 6am we’re getting very thirsty. No way again Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My husband and I commenced this cruise with some trepidation due to the large number of negative reviews. This was our first cruise with P&O, our 4th in total. This was the last voyage for the Pacific Jewell. 1: EMBARKATION from ... Read More
My husband and I commenced this cruise with some trepidation due to the large number of negative reviews. This was our first cruise with P&O, our 4th in total. This was the last voyage for the Pacific Jewell. 1: EMBARKATION from Melbourne was simple and efficient. 2: CABIN: We had an interior cabin. It was clean and tidy. Quite spacious with lots of storage. Only one Australian power outlet but we were able to get a power board. A ceiling water leak developed half way through the cruise. This was rectified after we reported it. Bed was moderately comfortable. 3: DINING: The Waterfront restaurant menu was disappointing in range. Service was efficient and staff were friendly. The Pantry had a good range of food and unlike other reviewers I found the food to be of a good standard. What I particularly like about the Pantry is that staff serve all food thus eliminating people touching and coughing over food and spreading germs. All the food is behind glass partitions. I found the sweets selection to be limited. Staff in the Pantry were friendly and helpful. It was disappointing that some items of the menu in the Waterfront was not included and an extra fee was charged. We did not try the pay restaurants. I was also a little disappointed that you had to pay for ice-cream on the pool deck. I have never come across this before. 4: ALCOHOL. There were problems quite early on with different brands of alcohol being in short supply and they eventually ran out of many wines and beer. While I was not personally impacted by this my husband was quite often unable to get his preferred beverage. I imagine that the people who had purchased an alcohol package would have been very upset, and rightly so. An alcohol package for us would have been a waste of money. I would suggest that you do your sums prior to getting a package to see if it is worth it for you. It made much more financial sense for us to purchase a drink when we wanted. 5: INTERNET: I purchased an internet package for $79, unlimited time for the entire cruise. Connection was available in all public areas but not in staterooms. The internet worked very well. 6: The ENTERTAINMENT TEAM were great and do a great job keeping everyone occupied on sea days. They all had a great sense of humour. We thought that the shows were varied and of a high standard. 7: THE EDGE: I won an Edge experience. I chose to Walk The Plank. I'm so glad that I did not pay for this. It lasted maximum of 90 seconds and would have been a complete rip off if I had to pay $24. While I enjoyed it I felt that the experience should have been longer and as I was the only person booked in to do it I could have been given extra time. 8: ROOM STEWARDS: We had Joseph and Dennis look after our room. They were very friendly and worked very hard. Our room was always well serviced. 9: PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: We went on only one shore excursion and that was in KL. I found that it was well organised and the price was moderate. We found that we saved money by arranging independent trips at all other ports. In Fremantle and Busselton we found it interesting to wander around the towns with no tours necessary. We visited the old prison in Fremantle. That was worth a visit. 10: DISEMBARKATION: Quick and easy. 11: ATM: It was handy to be able to get Australian dollars on board for shore days. 12: CURRENCY: We used money changers at all international stops and seemed to get reasonable exchange rates. We deposited money into our cruise account prior to embarkation. This worked well for us. We got a refund of unused money the night prior to disembarkation. 13: LAUNDRY: The onboard laundry was good. Always very busy. It costs $3 AUD for the washer and $3 AUD for the dryer. Only takes $1 coins. 14: SPA: I had a massage which was relaxing. Quite expensive at $149 for 60 mins. My husband an I were both given $50 vouchers to be used at the spa as we were first time cruisers with P&O. This enable me to have a hair cut. I also purchased some Elemis products. We liked the size of the Pacific Jewell but as it is no longer part of the P&O fleet we would happily try another P&O ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
So embarrassed to have talked up and sell cruising to good friends of mine as a fun, exciting and wonderful way to holiday and party with your mates. I have never complained or posted negative reviews in my life. Let me start with a ... Read More
So embarrassed to have talked up and sell cruising to good friends of mine as a fun, exciting and wonderful way to holiday and party with your mates. I have never complained or posted negative reviews in my life. Let me start with a positive, the age of P&O Eden is approx 27 years old, the have done a fabulous job in decorating and fitting out. All the public areas at just gorgeous for her age. Our balcony rooms 9132 and 9135 were again for the age very well appointed, clean didn’t smell and not issues with noise from below or above facilities. That’s where the positive compliments end sorry to say. P&O have not only let themselves down The company name but also to those that save their hard earned money to take time off work to enjoy a well deserved break. P&O you may have sold this ship!!! But you haven’t sold your name!!! Now this cruise was advertised as a FOOD & WINE cruise. They apparently ran out of bubbles at every bar in the ship in the first 12 hours of the cruise. (I say apparently because as you will read at the end of my post we were able to get hold of it) You were lucky to be able to buy it by the glass, but if you were with friends, several bars needed to be approached to buy 2 glasses. There was no wine list as they only OFFERD 2 whites and 2 reds, they ran out of white Chardonnay and the remanding 2 whites were cheap $8 bottles you could buy from BWS that they sold for $35.00. With so little to choose from we decided we would enjoy some REDS on our food and wine cruise!!!! But there were once again only 2 reds available either by the glass or bottle, both cheap and blends. No full bodied reds or whites. No extensive wine list as you would expect on any food and wine event. The only cheese in site was paper thin pre sliced sandwich cheese and sandwich ham. No platter options For those that wouldn’t know any better, your fair entitlement for fine dinning included in your fair was not obtainable on this ship as advertised. Never in my experience of cruising over a dozen cruise have I ever been denied this opportunity. We were on the ship in the first hour of boarding and could not even book in. All cruise experiences I have had. You are entitled every night, either in two choice of bookings. 6:30 or 8:30 and or anytime dinning which is achieved by taking a buzzer, having some pre dinner drinks and waiting approximately 15-20 min for a table. The only option left to us was up at the pantry, which let me tell you was a repeat of Very limited options that didn’t change for both lunch and dinner. Mainly consisting of Asian and Indian, some chicken and if there was roast, it was like leather boots. Very lacking in choices, no bakery options, no cookies, muffins and all the lovely things you would expect of a buffet on a cruise, Salad options were also very limited. There was no 24 hour fair included food facilities past 9pm So your late night after club munchies were limited to 1 outlet and you had to pay for it. Pizza $9 hot dogs $5 and so on. NEVER EVER have we had to pay for pizza let alone the midnight munchie option. For an industry that is fast growing to be at the top of the holiday industry and trying to gain more and more interest in Adelaide waters. P&O you have not only disgraced you own name. But for those that have never cruised before, burst a bubble of how beautiful cruising really is. I did make a formal complaint on the ship and was met with the supervising manager of baring. Who was lovely enough and as a peace offering booked us immediately into the fine dining we were never able to seem to obtain a normally entitled seat in AND magically a bottle of champagne appears with also anothe 3 options of another 2 brands of choice. In which I also bought another of this apparently very rare bottles that no one seemed to be able to even get a glass on the entire ship. Which brings me to the conclusion. No bubbles, no decent white, no decent reds and also running low on some ciders and beers. That they were pushing to sell cocktails or spirits both in some cases twice the price and not only myself but the girls I was with all felt they were watered down. You may be a budget cruise line and offer to the market a slightly less fare for cruising. But this does not mean you can just advertise and not deliver. I felt so very bad for you staff that coped it from so many disgruntled passengers. Real shame Us girls made our own fun and did our best to enjoy what we could. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
we thought a trip to our tropic north would be different.it wasn't.the ship was old,slow and badly maintained.entertainment was non-existent,day time events were old news and boring.day trips were uncomfortable,overpriced,and ... Read More
we thought a trip to our tropic north would be different.it wasn't.the ship was old,slow and badly maintained.entertainment was non-existent,day time events were old news and boring.day trips were uncomfortable,overpriced,and sometimes dangerous.the locals seemed indifferent to tourists,with no effort made to welcome us. our cabin was adequate,but badly in need of repair.balcony was covered in rust.sewerage smell evident early mornings. now the good news.food and dining was mostly first class.all venues provided plentiful and varied meals.beer was cold,and cheap(for a cruise).staff were all cheerful and helpful without exception.brisbane port experience was excellent and speedy. the shows provided were unvariably amateur,and improvised.bands were very good,but only performed for a limited time,leaving us sitting waiting for some live music for up to two hours.shore days were badly organised,with little to do.duty free was very limited in variety,with alcohol being the only bargain. all in all,not a trip we would repeat.we paid top dollar,and recieved little in return. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We found the embarkation to be okay but it didn't run as smoothly as Sydney. ( our hometown). The ship Aria we found to be very small compared to other cruise ships we have been on. These are the points we enjoyed about the boat. ... Read More
We found the embarkation to be okay but it didn't run as smoothly as Sydney. ( our hometown). The ship Aria we found to be very small compared to other cruise ships we have been on. These are the points we enjoyed about the boat. * Small & intimate - easy to get around. * Pools were never crowded so easy to get a deckchair . Deck 10 pool was empty most of the time so great for relaxing. We just didn't like the chairs as very uncomfortable. * Bars all had a nice ambience especially the Blue Room. * Limited children onboard. Dining - the best All we can say is thank goodness for Salt Grill Restaurant as we dined there most evenings . The food & service were outstanding for a cruise ship. We also loved the Chef's table - excellent yummy degustation with interesting people. So, so - restaurants. Dragonlady - food was cold & horrible... the worst restaurant on the ship. The Waterfront - okay food but the menu didn't change which made it boring. Ambience & atmosphere, service was excellent. Angelo's - okay but nothing to write about. Just average. The Pantry - Not enough seats - horrible dining experience. We felt like we were living in a boarding school. However; we did like the salad bar & curry bar the best. Breakfast - on our balcony which was blissful although the food was pretty ordinary. Casino - We found the staff to be unfriendly & unhelpful . We did have a few wins on the roulette table & pokies which made our evenings fun. Entertainment - good quality entertainment. We enjoyed the comedy shows the best. Service - Level 10 staff were fabulous - especially our butlers. Great having free laundry done everyday & our ice delivered to the room. Drink package - we wished we hadn't brought it as we found it hard to use it up everyday. Overall - We did enjoy our cruise, especially having a suite & dining at Salt Restaurant which made our cruise more memorable. We also loved visiting PNG islands , villages, schools & hospital. A suite is a MUST on this ship.... Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We took this short, 4 day local cruise because my husband has recently become disabled and wheelchair dependent, and we both wanted to see how we would manage by ourselves on a cruising holiday with his disabilities. We were in one of only ... Read More
We took this short, 4 day local cruise because my husband has recently become disabled and wheelchair dependent, and we both wanted to see how we would manage by ourselves on a cruising holiday with his disabilities. We were in one of only 2 wheelchair accessible cabins. Sadly, they were obviously included as an afterthought because they were both located on deck 4, at the very front of the ship (so the ride through rough weather wasn't at all pleasant) but we didnt have any choice. Ideally, these cabins should have been positioned near the elevators to allow easier access for people with disabilities. The cabin had tiny port hole windows - they had paint all over them and were so filthy it was hard to see anything through them. However, the cabin itself was very spacious so as to accommodate our wheelchair and other equipment, although the layout was not at all wheelchair friendly. It was almost impossible for my husband to get into bed because his wheelchair couldn't be positioned along side the bed, necessitating the need for me to push, pull and roll my husband into position from the foot of the bed and he isn't a small man! The corridor leading from the elevators to our cabin was very long and narrow and quite often the cabin stewards and cleaners would block the passage with their cleaning equipment making it all but impossible to manoevre the wheelchair through the obstacle course. The elevators, we found, were extremely tiny and my husbands wheelchair only just squeezed in sideways, with me and maybe one other person being able to get inside at the same time. In regards to restaurants it is essential to make reservations the immediately upon embarkation otherwise it is highly likely you will be eating in "The Pantry" for the entire cruise. This is located on the Lido Deck and replaces the traditional buffet however the food is average food court fare, akin to what you would find in your local shopping centre, and is only open at set times, unlike other cruise line buffets which are pretty much open most of the time. There are 3 other "free" restaurants on board - Angelo's (offers tiny portions of mediocre Italian cuisine - you can upgrade to "nicer" food for a fee), The Waterfront (A La Carte dining; tiny portions; we paid a fee and upgraded our main course to steak - disgusting, fatty and gristly - I cook better steaks than that - so it was very disappointing to pay extra for poor quality steak) and finally, Dragon Lady Asian cuisine. This place was wonderful. We ate here on the 3rd night and were fully prepared for another disappointing dining experience, but we were pleasantly surprised as the food and service was wonderful with good portion sizes. There are also 3 places to eat where guests must pay extra - Salt Grill by Luke Mangan (we didn't dine here but we were told that the food is delicious), The Chefs Table (again we didnt dine here) and on the Lido Deck by the pool the is "The Grill". Here guests can purchase hot dogs, chips, pies, burgers etc. We had a pizza late one night and hot dogs during the day after the pantry had closed for lunch. Both were just okay (nothing to write home about), but on previous cruises with other cruise lines, these items were always included in the cruise fare and not an additional fee, so I felt that this was a bit of a rip off. The actual ship as a whole was just average; the crew and staff, although pleasant and friendly towards the guests, all seemed unhappy and bored. There weren't enough staff around to keep on top of the cleaning and it was all too common in the pool and deck areas to see filthy tables, dirty dishes and food and drink spillages left unattended to, and not a bin in sight. The whirlpool spas were at a pleasant temperature but the spa jets weren't operating and they had disintegrated in places. In all, I would say our short get away was okay, but the ship lacked atmosphere, fun and excitement. The live musicians were pretty terrible, out of tune and off key, and the whole ship seemed tired, worn and lackluster. I understand that this ship has been sold and would be making its final voyage for P&O in a few weeks which would explained why it was like it was... Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I was very excited for the cruise and have heard many good things from family members whom have all been on cruises before (with different companies). However, there are a few things the Pacific Eden can improve on, things I expected to be ... Read More
I was very excited for the cruise and have heard many good things from family members whom have all been on cruises before (with different companies). However, there are a few things the Pacific Eden can improve on, things I expected to be done properly. Our room was very clean and neat but the towels were old and felt like sandpaper, some staysoft wouldn't hurt and new towels would've been nice. The toilet didn't have any toilet spray, which is weird because it's not really something you think of packing when going on a cruise, it should be supplied. The little shop didnt have aftersun or chewies (chewing gum), also dissapointing because those 2 things are quite important on a holiday but unfortunately people forget theirs at home alot. The pools and Jacuzzis were all cold and not heated. This was very dissapointing, barely any adults were swimming due to this. We like warmer water! Dinner wasn't supplied after 9-10pm, what about us midnight snackers? I suggest some vending machines in the hallways. Finally, on our last night we were expected to leave our luggage at our doors to be collected for departure the next day, this had to be done by 8pm, I cannot explain how annoying this was, we had to keep aside our sleepwear, toothbrushes etc and the next day's clothing, then somehow had to stuff it all in our hand luggage (backpacks and purses) when departing. Why can't we keep our luggage until the next morning? Other than those few things, everything was clean and tidy, we enjoyed the entertainment alot! I suggest improving the things mentioned above, then I'd definitely give you a 5 star rating. Thanks! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Departed Bne on Sat 16Feb - departure delayed due strong winds from Cyclone Oma. Instead of 2pm - departed at 10.30pm which meant we had to miss Noumea. Captain & all the crew were very helpful & because Bne Port was going to be ... Read More
Departed Bne on Sat 16Feb - departure delayed due strong winds from Cyclone Oma. Instead of 2pm - departed at 10.30pm which meant we had to miss Noumea. Captain & all the crew were very helpful & because Bne Port was going to be closed on the weekend, our cruise was extended by 3 days & we did get to visit Noumea. Some rough seas. We were on Deck 5 & water went completely over our window on a couple of occasions. But it was the best cruise because the Captain was constantly updating us & the Cruise Director & staff did their best. Free champagne on the Gatsby night & because we docked at Fisherman's Island, they provided free shuttle buses to the usual port. Food was good, loved the Pantry & always managed to find a seat. Tried Shell & Bones Restaurant & had lobster - delicious & only $29 extra. All in all the staff were wonderful & we got 3 extra nights for free. Entertainment in Theatre was spectacular. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This cruise was a quick getaway to relax and watch some comedy acts aboard the ship. The booking agent or P&O failed to acton the instructions given as to the need for a disabled access room, after 25 phone calls being advised by ... Read More
This cruise was a quick getaway to relax and watch some comedy acts aboard the ship. The booking agent or P&O failed to acton the instructions given as to the need for a disabled access room, after 25 phone calls being advised by the booking agent P&O needed to fix it and then have P&O advise that we needed to speak to the booking agent we gave up we were advised by P&O we were upgraded to a balcony room WELL REALLY FUNNY THAT WE HAD PAID FOR A BALCONY ROOM although it was a bitter disappontment the floor was uneven and for me a hazard that I may have lost my footing and fall over as I use a cane to get around. The room was not disabled friendly as neither the booking agent or P&O would move and fix the issue just kept stating the other one needed fix it. (read here not using either again) The furniture in the cabin was treadbare and the chair covering was ripped and looked like it hadnt been changed since the 80's. The balcony had a massive drainage hole in the floor right where you step onto the balcony from the room and area around this was drain was spongy and felt unsafe to step on, we were assured by the steward it was fine although we did note he wouldnt step onto the balcony. We paid extra for a package of Bubbly and canapes a meal in the Salt Grill and breakfast in bed. The Salt Grill left a lot to be desired we requested glutenfree bread for one of the 4 people at out table when the bread for the others was brought to the table, it had to be requested a further 2 times before it finally arrived just before dessert was served. The meal it self was ok the steak was cooked well and the sides were edible just. We then ordered coffes and a pot of tea with soy milk which also didnt arrive until it had been requested twice more. Not really the experience expected at the price we paid for the meal perhaps Gordon Ramsey could go undercover and then give the servers and chefs some timely feedback. The next morning the breakfast that arrived was not what was ordered and there were missing items but at least it was hot and tasty. I won't bore you with the rest of the issues as it was a waste of money and a real eyeopener to the fact P&O really don't give a rats backside to their customer requests and needs. We were shocked by the attitude and lack of attention to detils forthe whole experience end to end. No one stepped up and took ownership and certainly not one person knew what was going on at the front of station peir, when we were advised we needed to get out of the car and walk to the other end of station peir to the ship with suitcases in hand. Well as it turns out the P&O person at the peir should have directed the driver of our car to take us to the ship like the majority of the other people embarking on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Chose cruise for the itinerary & offered 2 days in Cairns. We are from Canada & wanted to experience great Barrier Reef without being rushed. Cruising is our vacation style of choice & have cruised in excess of 30 cruises with ... Read More
Chose cruise for the itinerary & offered 2 days in Cairns. We are from Canada & wanted to experience great Barrier Reef without being rushed. Cruising is our vacation style of choice & have cruised in excess of 30 cruises with other cruise-lines, mostly Princess. Everything about the Aria was shameful! Maybe they know they have the monopoly of that route so don't feel effort is necessary. We were aware vessel was older & refurbished but were unprepared for the shabbiness & filthy state of the ship. Customer service was non-existent & downright rude from some servers/bar-tenders. This was the ONLY time I have ever been hungry on a cruise, the food was totally inedible. The buffet alternative "The Pantry" looked like a prison cafeteria & the food being slopped out on a tin plate looked even worse. The specialty restaurants served lukewarm or room temperature food, instead of hot or chilled ! The servers had no product knowledge, were ill-informed, or didn't speak English......or, plainly didn't care! We demanded a refund for our purchased spa pkg on the first visit when nothing was working & the shower heads & hose had mould & mildew dripping down everywhere. Our balcony room was shabby although our cabin steward did make an effort to keep it groomed. Sadly we couldn't use the balcony due to the grime, paint splatters everywhere & toxic fumes coming from a very sticky railing. This experience was SO BAD we opted to get off when we reached Cairns. Never have I ever come close to any consideration like this on ANY type of vacation. It cost us a lot of extra money, but our physical health & mental anguish was worth it. Interestingly not ONE PERSON asked why we were disembarking 3 days early !!!! My recommendation NEVER, EVER go anywhere near this disgusting experience !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I chose to do this cruise as I had never been on one before and thought a short one would be a good introduction. The overall cruise was lots of fun but there are some less than great things. This ship is the oldest and is about to ... Read More
I chose to do this cruise as I had never been on one before and thought a short one would be a good introduction. The overall cruise was lots of fun but there are some less than great things. This ship is the oldest and is about to be decommissioned, you can tell. The rooms look very tired and the colour scheme is so early 90's it sometimes hurts. But on the flip side, the bed was really comfortable and the shower was fantastic! The Pantry...This was really crap. The food that is included in your fare comes from here. Its fatty and made from low quality products. I struggled to find something that I wanted to eat. One dinner there was seriously nothing. I'm a dessert lover and often the desserts were really bland. The pannacotta was tasteless and the custard was so thin it wasn't even custard. The onboard activities were so much fun! Trivia and bingo were my favourite. The stand up comedians were also hilarious. The gym was basic but still very functional! I went every day. Now my number one peeve - up-selling of products! The seminars they run are a ploy to get you to buy something. I was really mad at this. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I have not previously done a short cruise so when the price and timing worked in with our life we booked around 5 weeks from sailing in a twin berth ocean view level 8 right near the back. Embarkation Not sure why but they started a ... Read More
I have not previously done a short cruise so when the price and timing worked in with our life we booked around 5 weeks from sailing in a twin berth ocean view level 8 right near the back. Embarkation Not sure why but they started a bit late but it was quite smooth once it got going, before getting on I had a good look at where our cabin was (we only found out days before) so when I got on I was able to make my way directly to our room which was ready, by chance we saw our bags on the way so grabbed them as well on the way to the room. The Cabin The rooms on Explorer are not huge but for 2 it was adequate and comfortable, the windows on level 8 outside (where the life boats are not) are huge and offer a great view out and somewhere to sit to admire the view. The bed was comfortable, the AC and fridge worked as did all of the things that are supposed to work but the shower was locked at a just warm temperature that I would have liked to be hotter Food An important feature of cruising to many and if its the most important thing to you P&O is not your cruise line, 3 night cruise allowed us a night in each free restaurant and no need for the pantry, no meals were great but all OK Entertainment Really good, there were 4 comedians on board who did a range of shows which I really enjoyed, the only criticism would be the venue for the late comedy shows was too small and even half an hour early there wasn't many seats. One of the PG shows was a mime act which was also great. besides the comedy they also put on a "rock of the ages" show which was 45 minutes of non stop entertainment and a fantastic show. Service Our room steward asked us early how often we wanted our room cleaned which I found unusual, normally its daily with a nightly turn down but for our first 2 days we were happy to go along with not being disturbed by it only having the towels changed over, the last day he cleaned up for us doing a really good job of it and he did the turn down, I kind of feel he was a bit lazy with us but at the same time I didn't mind it and to be fair if there was anything we wanted he provided without hesitation so I am actually going to say that was a good thing as much as I am sure plenty of others would not have been so happy with it. Other service throughout the cruise didn't stand out either way for the most part, the future cruise lady was really helpful and went out of her way to help us, dining staff were efficient, friendly and accommodating with the more senior staff doing the rounds to make sure we were happy at most meals. The ship I often read reviews where it seems some people have a terrible experience because of things like "they allowed somebody in the dining room wearing a T shirt" or "the ship needs repair" or "I noticed a rust mark" or my favourite, "the chairs look old", if this is you spend twice as much for a newer ship on another line because it is a 20 (plus) year old ship and it does show signs of its age but for me that does not detract from how much enjoyment I can get from it, in fact some of my more memorable cruises have been on ships not long before they are retired from the fleet, Pacific Sun, Celebrity Century and the Pearl. Value Everywhere you go there seems to be something to spend more money on, while giving me a free short massage as I was walking through they tried to sell me a hair cut and shave for around $120 which I found outrageous and every meal seems to have "indulgent" items to spend more on. The free food venues close at 9 so if you want something to eat after that you are paying for it but with a little will power its easy enough to say no to the extra items. With the above in mind however it was a good value cruise, P&O bank on you spending more money during your cruise to make up for the cheap fare and while I do spend some money whether it be a beer with a meal or buy something from the shop it still ended up cheap for me and certainly my on-board spend was no more than it would have been with any of the more expensive lines The drinks package Being a 3 day cruise you cant have the alcohol packages (not that I do normally) but they still offer the 2 non alcoholic packages, $7.50 per day for soft drink only or $19 a day (if pre booked otherwise its $25 on board) for mocktails, coffees, juices, water hot chocolate, iced chocolates or soft drink. My wife paid the $19 per day before we left and probably got the value from it whereas I drank water and free tea from the buffet and had 2 or 3 bears a day for around the same amount of money which worked out better for me (and probably healthier as I didn't drink more than I needed trying to get my money worth) To sum it up I have now been on 9 cruises in 7 years with 4 different cruise lines on 7 different ships, mostly P&O and I am yet to have a cruise that I didn't enjoy, your more upmarket cruise lines are better for a lot of reasons and deserve a loyal following but for me I love cruising so much I prefer quantity to quality (most of the time), this doesn't mean I wont spend more to go on the other lines but I do spend a lot of time looking for the good deals which do come up if you are prepared to be flexible, my problem is that when I am looking I normally find much better value deals with P&O that I cant resist :) Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
BEST PART We were very impressed with the size of the Suite (living area, bathroom and deck), Including the free laundry services provided no matter how many cruises you've done. Also, the priority booking perk worked well, as we ... Read More
BEST PART We were very impressed with the size of the Suite (living area, bathroom and deck), Including the free laundry services provided no matter how many cruises you've done. Also, the priority booking perk worked well, as we tried to book restaurant seats late on the first day and were refused & treated like ignorant scum until later we tried again and mentioned our Suite number - then instant bookings occurred this time with only a hint of crankiness / impatience by the staff. WORST PART We found "the Pantry" to be absolutely horrid. In two words we would describe it as 'lazy' and 'cheap'. For bfast there was only one station providing both bacon and eggs and there was always a large queue for it. Another station had bacon but although it very clearly said "eggs cooked to order" on their display sign (& there was a grill plate cooker behind them) the staff would not cook eggs and sent everyone who wanted eggs to line up at the other station. We even pointed out the “eggs cooked to order” sign to one of the supervisors and he actually told us we shouldn’t be reading that part of the sign (fair dinkum!). If you wanted something from a few stations, you had to line up at each one while your meals go cold and get coughed over by people pushing past. A buffet service is so much faster - they need to bring this back. I found it very tiring and stressful to dine at the Pantry because the food choices were so poor, there was fierce competition to get seats, people were crowded together in the seating areas and in the walkways, and the ceiling was low and claustrophobic. There was nothing that impressed us at lunch or dinner at any of the stations, it all pretty much looked like the food you'd cook yourself at home. An exception is the fish and chips station that had good chips and a very nice batter, but although calamari was supposed to be served we never saw any, only fish, and the 'plates' provided were wire baskets with a sheet of paper under the food, and so very difficult to eat from with a knife and fork as the paper fell apart and the food fell through the wires onto the table so you ended up actually eating off the table itself. Some people were eating off what looked like prison or boarding school trays! (which I imagine are meant to be trendy but had the opposite effect). One station had on display at almost every visit the same thing which was a pitiful looking sliced devon sausage and tiny little piles of crudities (sliced carrots etc) and nothing else! Similarly at another station, significant display space was used up with widely spaced small bowls of cereal or very simple salads depending on the time of day. The pantry was a huge disappointment, and I dreaded going there when other dining options were not open. Instead of looking forward to meal times, we were put off at the thought as it was such an unpleasant experience. OTHER RESTAURANTS We didn't try Salt but wished we had, because we later found out that Salt meals are apparently specially prepared to order, unlike with the other restaurants the meals are pre-prepared and stored. Dragon Lady and Angelo's were good, but nothing to write home about. We did the Chef's Table and at least one of the dishes served had also been served at the Waterfront the day before (yet we paid $119 pp for 'special' meals). We think Princess Cruises do a much better job of the food in all aspects. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My husband and I had never been on a cruise before but wanted to try one. We booked one for a great price despite the negative reviews we read online about the Pacific Aria and P&O. I'm so glad we did, we loved it!! Pros: ... Read More
My husband and I had never been on a cruise before but wanted to try one. We booked one for a great price despite the negative reviews we read online about the Pacific Aria and P&O. I'm so glad we did, we loved it!! Pros: *I had low expectations due to reviews online stating the food was crap. My expectations were exceeded and I was impressed by both the food in the restaurants and the Pantry! Especially the restaurants! Advice: get one member of your group/ couple to go straight to the desk at Angelos restaurant as soon as they can, and immediately book Dragon Lady and Angelos, even more than once each! Waterfront is easier to book in for, those other two are difficult. These 3 restaurants are all free. We enjoyed dining in restaurants at night instead of the Pantry at night. *loved the shows, musicals, and things the itinery lists you can attend. Especially that last musical! *we found alot of fun or decent things to do in the itinery to keep us occupied *I would describe our affordable room as decent sized, not as the 'sardine tins' size I've heard it described as *last boat I was on I got so sea sick. On here I was fine. I started off on travel calm till I realised I didnt need it. *loved the themed parties and how its a cleaner club environment before 11pm each night *we were occupied enough that we didnt go for board games or books or sunbaking (4 night cruise) *most of the staff were kind, friendly *I loved getting the opportunity to dress up well at nights, dine in restaurants without paying extra, attend shows and go dancing and have a couple drinks *vegetarian friendly *the way the ship is decorated and designed and styled was very very nice and well thought out! *coffee tastes good and is available free when the Pantry is open (which is most of the time I think?). Glad they offered more than just cows milk *barista coffees are available for purchase in takeaway cups anytime to take anywhere on the ship *try Dragon Ladys shared plates for two people option!!! Wow! *this ship has an adults only pool of good size. Good.. Coz I hate kids splashing :P *cruise director Kabirs jokes over the speaker were funny Cons: *my husband and I need a particular environment to sleep easy and this wasnt it. We needed sleeping pills every night.. But we have struggled to sleep elsewhere before where I thought it would have been easy to. Occasionally there were people talking loudly in the hall at night but that wouldnt be as much an issue if you dont go to bed early. At one point for 30 mins the wind made the motor boats squeak. We were on deck six where motor boats were pended above the deck outside our window *the staff may be afraid of people burning themselves.. So most things are (in my opinion) not hot enough. I got used to it.. But the coolest was coffee at the Waterfront (ask for very hot coffee there). Concerned about food poisoning if its not hot enough. I didnt get sick *the hallways had a bad odor but it wasnt very strong *some staff werent friendly enough but thats the same everywhere *nearly all the staff are foreign. So there was a language barrier once. Does the company employ them so they can pay really low wages? I dont know *I'd like to try out another P& O ship next time as I've already explored the Aria sufficiently *if future shows are the same then I might need to bring a book or play one of their board games. Maybe *it is very easy to spend alot of money on board. With so many hours free its very popular to purchase many drinks. I'm glad we didnt purchase the drinks package we were tempted to, as it turned out cheaper buying drinks individually. *on non-sea days, try leave the boat at non-peak times if you dont want to stand in queues for awhile *I saw some of the prices in nicer rooms for the same cruise I went on. It wasnt worth those large amounts of money per person for those rooms. Perhaps people who spend heaps on cruises have very high expectations and are more picky with complaining? *when restaurants are prone to getting fully picked out.. You are asked if you will share a table. This can be hit and miss. We did this three times and twice it was ok but another time it was actually so awkward and couldnt wait to leave. I would prefer to book all restaurants at the start of the cruise with no share tables, just in case *the aircon wasnt cool enough in The Pantry dining area at times *the deck seats for dining arent shaded so get used to that and bring sunnies and you'll be fine Looking forward to my next P&O cruise, as I was left impressed! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
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