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276 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

I have just returned from an 8 night Fiji Experience Cruise on the Pacific Jewel (me + my two kids, 6 & 8 along with other family & friends) and I have to say that overall it was a wonderful experience. The staff were very friendly ... Read More
I have just returned from an 8 night Fiji Experience Cruise on the Pacific Jewel (me + my two kids, 6 & 8 along with other family & friends) and I have to say that overall it was a wonderful experience. The staff were very friendly & welcoming, the food & entertainment was great and the overall atmosphere fantastic. The rooms are a little dated (3 star) but well maintained and well laid out. Plenty of storage space (so many draws!). The common areas have recently been renovated & look great! The food in the Pantry (think buffet) was ok & I always found something I liked – it’s not gourmet food by any stretch of the imagination – I would place it slightly above food court. We choose to have dinner at the Waterfront restaurant most nights and the food there was great. On the first night the kids even managed to see a pod of Dolphins alongside the ship as they ate which was a great surprise for them. A big shout out to our waitress ‘Shelia’ who was fantastic with the kids. Despite having a large table of 11 of us to contend with, she managed to find time to show them an amazing card trick (I still have no idea how she did it!). I would also like to give a big shout out to Ria who works at the ‘Sugar bar’ in the Pantry. She was fantastic with my son (6) & always kept an eye out for him to make sure he was served – they became great friends & my son was very sad when he had to say goodbye. Also Bobbi, the Cruise Director, was amazing with him on Gatsby night. She danced with him for ages and made it a really special & memorable night for him – he was sad that he didn’t get to say goodbye to her as she made quite the impact! All in all a great experience & perfect for families. From kids club to activities to the evening shows there was always something to do. I went as a solo parent and it was great for me as well as I could get some ‘downtime’ when the kids were in kids club. No idea why there are so many negative reviews - would definitely recommend!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We took our three Grandchildren - 15, 14 and 11 on a cruise to the Pacific Islands. We all loved it and had a great time. Staff on board are amazing - they are all friendly, always happy and smiling and interacted wonderfully with the ... Read More
We took our three Grandchildren - 15, 14 and 11 on a cruise to the Pacific Islands. We all loved it and had a great time. Staff on board are amazing - they are all friendly, always happy and smiling and interacted wonderfully with the kids. We had bought Edge Adventure passes and these were used every day for different activities and we definitely got our money’s worth. Cabins were spacious with plenty of drawers and hanging space - we had 1 double and one 3 to 4 bunk cabin. We did book for dinner each night at the Waterfront Restaurant - and we loved the food here. We also went to the Pantry but sometimes it was difficult to get a table for 5 people. A couple of the theatre shows were very average. Embarkation and disembarkation went off without a hitch - all organised extremely well. We would definitely do another cruise on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My first cruise. Escape to the warmth en route to Fiji for 8 days. Fun filled days, great food, (The Pantry and Waterfront Restaurant absolurely splendid. Wonderful resaurants - Chefs Table is a must; Island excursion's to ... Read More
My first cruise. Escape to the warmth en route to Fiji for 8 days. Fun filled days, great food, (The Pantry and Waterfront Restaurant absolurely splendid. Wonderful resaurants - Chefs Table is a must; Island excursion's to outer islands just wonderful. Dravuni Island tremendous. Tour operators were alot of fun. Loved the singing. Water warm. Nightlife greatest fun.- Gatsby Party and Back to School meant dressing up and great dancing. Great drinks. My cabin was very private and comfortable. Very clean. TV room reception ace. Thoroughly enjoyed the open air big movie screen, and The Cafe. The on board lectures were informative and very helpful eg acupuncture and posture lectures. It was fun attending the opening of the new on board Pandora Shop. Embarking and disembarking very organised. On board shopping great value. Great gift specials. Very kind and very helpful staff. Didn't want to come home! Saving for my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
There is absolutely nothing to complain about. I’ve been on many so called 5 star cruise lines and our stateroom was in fact in better condition than any we’ve ever been in The linen and toiletries were of a high standard. The bed and ... Read More
There is absolutely nothing to complain about. I’ve been on many so called 5 star cruise lines and our stateroom was in fact in better condition than any we’ve ever been in The linen and toiletries were of a high standard. The bed and pillows were extremely comfortable The room was very spacious and it was great to have a full size bath was great. Our cabin staff were extremely efficient and polite The public areas were lovely well maintained elegant decor. The standard of entertainment was excellent athe food was delicious in all the restaurants without any surcharge. The staff were exceptionally friendly. So much fun organised and you could join in or just relax at your own leisure The ease of embarkation and disembarkation was easy and hassle free. The initial lovely ladies at the dock put everyone at ease. It was such great value. Highly recommended well done P&O Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was a reasonably priced cruise recommended by a friend and our first cruise. We loved it and the staff were extremely courteous, helpful and friendly and couldn't do enough for us. Our disappointment was the fridge in our cabin ... Read More
This was a reasonably priced cruise recommended by a friend and our first cruise. We loved it and the staff were extremely courteous, helpful and friendly and couldn't do enough for us. Our disappointment was the fridge in our cabin was not working and could not be repaired and so we had no way of keeping our water cool as the ice bucket provided did not take the size of the water bottles. We received a mere $30 room credit for the inconvenience but we felt this was a bit poor as we couldn't even take any food back to our cabin that needed to be kept chilled. We would certainly do another cruise as it was so relaxing being waited on etc. We were very disappointed with the Waterfront Restaurant meals apart from the breakfast and it was only talking to other passengers who made us aware that you could order extras eg. fried tomatoes, extra bacon, marmalade or jam etc otherwise we wouldn't have known this. Would like to make special mention of the waiting staff at Shell and Bones, particularly Bruno, the Maitre'D, the lovely thin Indian waiter wearing a cap, and the dear Indian waitress (Judy?) who were very special and so welcoming and entertaining. You made our trip very special. We look forward to doing our next cruise sometime in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I am a little shocked to read some of the other reviews for P&O Australia. We had an amazing time and everything was well above what was expected. Firstly the staff were amazing, friendly, personable and always willing to help. ... Read More
I am a little shocked to read some of the other reviews for P&O Australia. We had an amazing time and everything was well above what was expected. Firstly the staff were amazing, friendly, personable and always willing to help. They always go above and beyond, they addressed my entire party by name every time we seen them, they were always smiling and seemed genuinely happy to be there. The food was great, we never had trouble finding a table in the pantry and the staff were constantly cleaning and clearing tables, a huge feat given the large amount of people on board. Waterfront restaurant was also enjoyable, friendly staff, great food. We never had trouble booking a table and on many occasions we walked in after cancelling our booking to attend other activities and were seated immediately. I highly recommend Salt Grill, the food was amazing, the best food I have ever eaten. A great experience. The cabins are well equipped and much larger then I expected after seeing many YouTube videos. They were small but more then sufficient. Plenty of space to unpack your belongings so you’re not living out of a suitcase all week. Embarkation and Disembarkment was quick and easy, no hassles, very smooth process, which limits waiting times for everyone. Internet is via satellite only, but it was more then sufficient for me to video call home to my children daily. And messenger them regularly. I would highly recommend this Ship and company to other cruisers. It was clean, friendly, and great value for money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We were offed a good deal from the last cruise on the Jewel. I recommend taking the free booze cruise its well worth it. The ship is big and very clean there was plenty to do the staff on the entertainment side were very pleasant and ... Read More
We were offed a good deal from the last cruise on the Jewel. I recommend taking the free booze cruise its well worth it. The ship is big and very clean there was plenty to do the staff on the entertainment side were very pleasant and friendly. The guys doing the photos were also on the top of thier game. As for the food it was top notch especially Shell and Bones. We met some great people on board but thats what its all about meeting new friends. The entertainment was also brilliant especially in the black circus the adult show was outstanding and top grade. Our favorite is the bingo which we played daily. We even booked our next cruise onboard. Our room was a room with a window and very large one at that, the staff who looked after us were always there to help and made sure our room was as good as any 5 star hotel. I recommend tis ship anyday. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We did 9 nights on the Pacific jewel to the south pacific. We had a great time! It was a great affordable holiday! The service was fantastic, the ship was very nice and well looked after. The live entertainment every night was excellent. ... Read More
We did 9 nights on the Pacific jewel to the south pacific. We had a great time! It was a great affordable holiday! The service was fantastic, the ship was very nice and well looked after. The live entertainment every night was excellent. The included in fare food was a bit hit and miss but good the majority of the time. The onboard restaurants we paid extra for were delicious! Well worth the money. We also got the premium drinks package and I think that is definitely a must do! As you don't have to worry about paying for drinks, you just swipe your cruise card. I think the experience you have on board is alot to do with your attitude, we went on with a positive attitude, not really knowing what to expect from our first cruise and we were pleasantly surprised with our trip. We will definitely be sailing with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This our second on Pacific Aria cruise departed Brisbane 24 April 2018. The first June 2017 cruise we found the new Pantry restaurant disappointing. On this second cruise the Pantry food was very much improved with a large variety of ... Read More
This our second on Pacific Aria cruise departed Brisbane 24 April 2018. The first June 2017 cruise we found the new Pantry restaurant disappointing. On this second cruise the Pantry food was very much improved with a large variety of cuisines to suit everyone's taste. What impressed us most was the care and expertise by Pacific Aria crew for their passengers especially with so many elderly and disabled needing help when high winds made the tender transfer back onto the ship from Isle of Pines so dangerous. The Magic Water Music shore excursion was a delight with extra care to provide us comfortable seating in the shade to watch this wonderful show. The fresh fruit and a can of drink afterwards before we boarded the buses was welcome on a hot day. The bus tour of Isle of Pines was interesting but a little too much emphasis on the islands buildings however, walking through the rainforest to the queens grotto was awe inspiring. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Booked to celebrate my 50th birthday, took a girlfriend with me and we left our husbands at home. To all who complain about the food, quality, and staff, you are obviously a bunch of WHINGERS who expect to pay a budget price and step ... Read More
Booked to celebrate my 50th birthday, took a girlfriend with me and we left our husbands at home. To all who complain about the food, quality, and staff, you are obviously a bunch of WHINGERS who expect to pay a budget price and step aboard the QUEEN MARY. Won't happen. We loved everything about it, especially our cabin steward ,JETT. THANKS JETT FOR MAKING THINGS EVEN BETTER!!!!!!!! We even got a free upgrade from deck 6 ocean view to deck 10 balcony, invite to the Captains cocktail party and free prawns and wine for my birthday. Only problem was the one day Jett was off and the replacement steward didn't even leave towels or turn down beds. This was fixed promptly and with a free bottle of wine. Be realistic and give it a go, what a great 50th Currently saving to do it all again for my friends 60th in 2 years time. Comfy cabin, cheerful and helpful staff, food fab, great shows, even some surprise freebies. Give Pacific Eden a go. Wonderful holiday for a reasonable price. Don't listen to the complainers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We won this cruise - well a 2 for 1 voucher brought us here My partner and I didn't know what to expect and were dubious. Would we like sailing and there weren't great reviews about Eden. BUT it was the most relaxing holiday ... Read More
We won this cruise - well a 2 for 1 voucher brought us here My partner and I didn't know what to expect and were dubious. Would we like sailing and there weren't great reviews about Eden. BUT it was the most relaxing holiday we had ever had. Walking onto the ship, so much better than an airport process, then sailing out of Sydney harbour - wow! We loved the quaintness of the ship - it was older, you could tell, but there is something really special about her. Clean, comfortable, great restaurants, adult areas (we sailed without kids) and our cabin - a balcony cabin on level 9 was just fantastic. Wonderful staff. Beautiful islands to visit. There was nothing to fault (well, okay don't go to the spa for a cheap beauty treatment). Within a month of coming home, we had re-booked the same cabin for Eden's farewell sail from Adelaide to Singapore in 2019. We know that people say P&O is the basic cruise line, but not being able to compare, we just loved it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We all stayed in a mini suites and suite. Service was excellent. Pantry was excellent. Activities- excellent . We travelled with our family of 13 . (6 kids) kids clubs all outstanding . Chefs table - excellent , salt restaurant, amazing ... Read More
We all stayed in a mini suites and suite. Service was excellent. Pantry was excellent. Activities- excellent . We travelled with our family of 13 . (6 kids) kids clubs all outstanding . Chefs table - excellent , salt restaurant, amazing food and staff . We all had the best family holiday we usually go either Fiji or Hawai’i but from now on cruises diffantly as you get so much more variety for your money. Next cruise I think the Mexican riviera . The pacific Dawn has been done up apparently, this was my first cruise with my 3 kids 10-15-27, my parents probably their 30th cruise , my sister 8th cruise . The bed was so comfortable I couldn’t fault the cabin , we had a balcony but never used as there no point going outside as you have the pool deck to view the islands. Next time I would rather not have a bacon in our suite . There was never long waits at restaurants the pantry was always busy but the lines moved - free eating here. We liked to dine at the shells - salt- or chefs table for dinner - you have to pay to eat at these ones . We like great service and that’s what we got ! Outstanding . Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We wanted to see the renovated Pacific Explorer but with the negative reviews, were not sure what our experience would be like. However no worries at all, such a great 3 night Easter cruise we didn't want to get off. Embarkation was ... Read More
We wanted to see the renovated Pacific Explorer but with the negative reviews, were not sure what our experience would be like. However no worries at all, such a great 3 night Easter cruise we didn't want to get off. Embarkation was quickest ever, we arrived at our allocated time of 1.30 pm and were onboard swiftly. Absolutely love the way the ship has been renovated, so stylish, modern and fabulous furniture. Even although our cabin was not renovated it was lovely, the furnishings and design of good quality, well maintained and spotlessly clean. It was the smallest cabin and bathroom we have had on a cruise ship, but that was not important as we spent our time out and about, not in the cabin. We really liked the choice of venues for meals, as you have Angelos, Dragon Lady and the Waterfront to choose from. The Pantry was amazing also but was quite busy for breakfast so we had breakfast in The Waterfront which had a great menu, served really quickly. The Easter displays and themeing throughout the ship was amazing also the Easter Sunday activities were well organised on Pool Deck for the children. Another compliment for P&O is their production shows, the best we have ever seen at sea. There was so much to pack into this 3 night cruise, two great production shows which we really enjoyed, loads of Comedy events at different ti es and venues, a White Party that we didn't get to, the Gatsby Night when everyone on board dresses up in Gatsby clothes and accessories and the main Atrium is themed Gatsby style with matching music. We will go on another cruise on the Pacific Explorer and have a totally different opinion of P&O after being on board. Shame this Easter cruise is not available on Explorer for 2019, we would already be booked!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
DINING Dining options were more than adequate. My wife and I always found good varieties of choices from 'The Pantry' and from the restaurant menus. ACTIVITIES I was surprised to see no one playing shuttle board ... Read More
DINING Dining options were more than adequate. My wife and I always found good varieties of choices from 'The Pantry' and from the restaurant menus. ACTIVITIES I was surprised to see no one playing shuttle board type games on the decks. There were a few small groups of oldies playing carpet bowls occasionally, but most of the activities appeared to be indoors, like trivia, karaoke, competitions etc... SERVICE Exceptional service all round. Especially with food and beverage. Staff were all friendly and professional, even though the ship was chocker-block with occupancy. CABIN Excellent service with a smile by crew, and very good flexibility with timings for cleaning cabin. Just enough room to 'Get-It-On' (if you know what I mean). ENTERTAINMENT No specific Cinema, though movies were played in The Marquee Lounge near the Casino, which was good. I thought the shows (performing arts) were very good, though my wife did not enjoy them as much as I seemed to. I thought they were the right length of time too, so you weren't required to sit in crowded theatres for long periods of time. BEVERAGE PACKAGE I'm primarily hoping this review might assist you when deciding if to buy a drinks package. I found the Premium Beverage Package ($79 per person/per day) drinks package to be great value for money, especially if you adopt the approach "I am on holiday's, so I know my drinking habits will be different to what they are back home, during the working week" etc. During April 2018, the P&O Pacific Dawn beverage prices, as posted on various menu boards around the ship bars where as follows: BEER: (below is just a selection) Heineken $8, Peroni $8.50c, Corona $8, Pure Blonde $7, Crown Lager $7.50c, Carlton Dry $6.95c, XXXX Gold $5.75c, Cascade Premium Light $5.50c, VB $5.90c, Bulmer Original $8. SPIRITS and COCKTAILS (just a selection) Baileys - $9 Scotch (Johnny Walker Red) - $9 Scotch (Johnny Walker Black) - $10 Bloody Mary - $12 Strawberry Daiquiri - $12 Tobelrone - $12 Pink Ginger Cosmopolitan - $12 BUBBLES & BLUSH (just a selection) Tyrrell's Vintage PN Chardonnay - Btl $49, Gls $13 Tyrell's Lost Block Rose - Btl $30, Gls $9.50c Brown Brothers (various) - Btl $36/33, Gls $9.50c WHITE WINE (just a selection) See Saw SAV BLANC - Btl $33, Gls $9.50c Saint Clair SAV BLANC - Btl $42, Gls $9.50c Margan CHARDY - Btl $35, Gls $9.50c Gulfstream CHARDY - Btl $32, Gls $9 RED WINE (just a selection) Shateau Tanunda Grand Barossa SHIRAZ - Btl $ 45, Gls $12.50c Wirra Wirra SHIRAZ - Btl $33, Gls $9.50c Margan Estate CAB SAV - Btl $49, Gls $14 Gulfstream CAB-SAUV-SHIRAZ - Btl $33, Gls $9.50c WATER 330ml bottle - $2.95c This cruise was during Easter 2018, and the ship was at capacity with guests. There was always plenty of staff and crew on hand to provide excellent friendly customer service. I barely had to wait at all for drink service, and they literally 'kept them coming', upon request for another drink. My experience with the beverage service and value for money with the Premium Drinks Package was realised very early on, as if I had paid individually for drink consumption I would have paid more overall, though I believe I would not have drank as much as I did. With the Premium Drinks Package costing me $632 for 8 days, my break even was approx. $90 worth of drinks per day. On average I drank approx. $110+ worth of alcohol, using the above drinks menu as my price guide (also, refer attached photos). My wife bought her drinks individually outside a package, and this worked well for us both regarding quantity, quality of choice, and best value for our money. All the best with your decision and P&O experience! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
From Shirley & Martin We experienced our very first cruise - trial cruise for us before considering a longer cruise -been a cruise to nowhere out of Auckland for three days. Naturally before we left we read the reviews on this ... Read More
From Shirley & Martin We experienced our very first cruise - trial cruise for us before considering a longer cruise -been a cruise to nowhere out of Auckland for three days. Naturally before we left we read the reviews on this site. Well our taste and expectations must be a lot lower than those who have written before us but we can assure you they are not. We spend many times away in four star plus hotels and enjoy silver service dining at least on a monthly basis but at the same time look at value for money. Firstly we can only be complimentary about our experience :- a) Boarding - seamless and efficient b) Cabins - for an older vessel it was very clean and had all that is required - we had a window cabin with black out curtains (we only used at night/sleep) - with excellent storage (built in dresser and wardrobe plus bedside cabinets and desk unit) c) Dining - we could not fault what was on offer from the Pantry ( a very up market food court ) with traditional Australasian choices and ethic food such as Indian, Mexican & Asian/Japanese. Only negative was the curries were mild to suit everyone. The Waterfront was excellent and taking into account its scale/size the food was very good as were the portions size. The "special " dishes did attract a nominal extra charge but if they were better than the standard choice then the " foodie" person would likely be not disappointed. For the inclusive of fare dining it was excellent ( I don't know what people expect when they analyse the cost of the room, entertainment and 3 meals a day - they must come from a different planet). d) Entertainment was also good and covered all tastes - Danny Black managed to get groupies following him the last 2 nights . The last night jam with many none performers of the ship staff ( management etc ) was very enjoyable . Shows, live bands, duos , quiz sessions , casino , bingo etc - very easy to fill in every waking hour. e) Swimming Pool & top deck including Oasis Bar - very relaxing and the bar ( adult only ) was a great hideaway with background chill entertainment during part of the day . Only negative the pool was freezing ! Too cold for us. f) Standard of ship - it is an older ship and if you look behind the initial appearance in parts it is dated but the main entertainment and public areas have recently been upgraded and therefore top notch. Main thing for us is clean - and this we could not fault from our room serviced daily and bed turn down in the evening to the restaurants and public space. One negative was the internet - paid for the package but coverage throughout the ship was average to nil at best. g) Value for money - exceptional when you add up what is offered for the inclusive fare. I hope this helps to balance what we see are no founded adverse comments or from those who expect 5-6 star quality but only want to pay probably less than the very reasonable fare the Pacific Jewel offers. The negative reviewers must have totally unrealistic expectations. We could not fault the experience . Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Travelled to Tasmania, Port Arthur. WARNING! if you have mobility issues or are overweight Port Arthur is not for you! Dont listen to the wingers this is a great ship. Food and entertainment were very good ate mainly in the Pantry, up to ... Read More
Travelled to Tasmania, Port Arthur. WARNING! if you have mobility issues or are overweight Port Arthur is not for you! Dont listen to the wingers this is a great ship. Food and entertainment were very good ate mainly in the Pantry, up to date movies in your cabin, the Sanctuary was good to go and hide and soo peaceful. Adults only area was good a little small, my only complaint was there is a designated smoking area, however it did not stop some smokers from leaving the area to take photos around you and therefore you were subject to smoke, very disrespectful. Cabin stewards are always the best, reception staff very good in fact did not have an issue with anything on the ship unlike Pacific Eden which should be sunk and used as an artificial reef although I think even the fish would be too scared to go on board. I only have good tings to say about this ship.I have done 7 cruises, 5 with P&O and booked this ship for next year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We have just returned from a 4 day Morton Island Cruise. We were 2 couples aged in our late 50"s early 60"s. We have previousley cruised with Celebrity cruises, Royal Carribien( our usual cruise line), MSC and our very ... Read More
We have just returned from a 4 day Morton Island Cruise. We were 2 couples aged in our late 50"s early 60"s. We have previousley cruised with Celebrity cruises, Royal Carribien( our usual cruise line), MSC and our very first cruise was on the old Pacific Sun many years ago. We have not cruised witrh P & O since our 1st cruise and after reading many bad reviews did not think we would cruise with P&O again. After seeing a very good price on a Morton Island cruise we thought we would bite the bullet and try the Pacific Explorer. How bad coud it be? Well we were proven wrong, we had a great time on the Pacific explorer and loved the ship. ENBARKATION was quick and easy very friendly staff at White Bay. Pacific Explorer is a beautful ship with lots of great places to relax and have a drink. Lovely decor. DEMOGRAPHICS on the ship was mainly the 30 - 50 age group. ( about 60%) 20-30 year old ( 20%) and over 50 (20%) - We were defiantly on of the oldies on this cruise :-) CROWD BEHAVIOUR - what a great crowd - everyone was friendly and saw no bad behaviour. ENTERTAINMENT: This is where P&O has the edge on the other ships I have been on. The Gatsby Night, the White Night and the Farewell Party were all so much fun. Everybody dancing and singing with the entertainment staff. All enjoying themselves together. The Blue room is a nice place for pre dinner drink - Jazz and blues type of venue. It then turns ito the over 18's Disco at 11.30 pm. This is where you really notice how many young people were on board. All having a great time. Went to 3 shows - Seven - Rock of Ages - Love Riot (fee applies) All were great - Love Riot is very different, at first it is kind of weird but stick with it because it ends up a really good show. During the day they had the usual Cruise activities - Trivia, Bingo, Dancing Lessons etc. CABINS- They have not been refurbished and are only small. But were always kept clean and the beds were very comfortable. That's all I need on a ship. As usual our cabin Stewardess was great. STAFF: Always friendly. No complaints. Never had problems getting a drink. FOOD: Unlike a few review I have read I LOVED the Pantry. The food was very good and so much variety. It is so much more hygienic to be served by the staff than to have all the passengers handeling all the tongs etc. We ate at the Waterfront - Dragon Lady - Angelo's - all good We also ate at Shell and Bones - Had the lobster. It was not like the traditional Lobster Mornay you would get at a restaurant. The lobster was mashed up and mixed with other ingrediance before being put back ito the shell so you didn't get those nice big chunks of lobster meat. It was very tasty but I must admit I was a bit disapointed. GYM: Great Gym with all the usual equipment. Never had problems getting a machine. CHILDREN: Not sure how many childred were on board but only really saw them in the main pool area. Saw no children running up and down stairs etc. P&O have a seperate Gatsby Party and White Party for the kids about 7pm. TENDERING: Was quick and easy - no problems. MORTON ISLAND: I have spent a week on Morton Island previosley so did not go on any excursions. I have never done ship tours on any cruises. I find them way overpriced and prefer to organise my own tours. Morton Island is beautiful. We just walked to the wrecks along the beach. One of our group swam out to the wreck but the rest of us just had a swim. If you are a strong swimmer and have your own snorkle you are able to just swim to the wrecks without taking a tour. Just be aware the currents can be very strong. Overall we really enjoyed this cruise. You will not get a 5 star room or 5 star fine dinning. If that is what you are after maybe Crystal Cruises, Silversea’s or Cunard Line are better suited. The reason I gave the cruise 5 stars is because it delivers what it promises. P & O does not pretend to be a luxury line. What you will get is value for money, great staff, great food and great entertainment. After this I will defiantly be cruising with P & O again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was an impromptu Grab One deal of $750 for a couple for 4 nights. Only after buying did we begin to research cruises. We saw some terrible reviews and were a bit concerned. But we went with an open mind and no expectations of ... Read More
This was an impromptu Grab One deal of $750 for a couple for 4 nights. Only after buying did we begin to research cruises. We saw some terrible reviews and were a bit concerned. But we went with an open mind and no expectations of grandeur and were pleasantly surprised. Embarkation is smooth and professional. The choice of food at both complimentary eating places was absolutely fine. We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet Pantry and chose the Waterfront at night which was more sophisticated - a la carte. We enjoyed being placed with strangers at these sittings and met lovely people. There was plenty to do on the ship and plenty of places to relax and chill. The Jewel had just been done up so everything smells new. The crossing over the Tasman was surprisingly calm and steady. Probably the deal-breaker was the weather. It was warm and sunny all the way. Perhaps the cruise would be a lot less enjoyable if we were confined indoors. Another positive was that we were 1700 people out of a possible 2400. This meant no crowding. The comedy entertainment was surprisingly good. We are not really into the crudity that many comedians depend on for a laugh, but this was quite clever and we laughed a lot. Our advice to newbies like us is 4 days is perfect, don't waste money buying a water package - there is plenty of free water in the restaurants and at the bars all the time. The instant coffee and tea at the eateries is also fine. They have discounts on massages and some merchandise towards end of cruise - so keep an eye out. Disembarkation way less stressful than at airports. Highly recommend to others thinking about a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Pacific Aria, a small ship by modern standards, is the smallest my wife and I have sailed on in eleven cruises. Having previously discovered that smaller ships tend to offer an experience that is more like traveling with family, we were ... Read More
Pacific Aria, a small ship by modern standards, is the smallest my wife and I have sailed on in eleven cruises. Having previously discovered that smaller ships tend to offer an experience that is more like traveling with family, we were eager to see what an even smaller vessel would offer. Below is what we found onboard, not just in relation to our interaction with others, but in relation to the venues and general feel. CABIN Being guest presenters onboard, my wife and I were assigned a cabin on the lowest deck. This was fine by us as we love to have a close-up view of the water from our window. And, with an eight metre swell at one point, the view was fantastic. The bed was supremely comfortable. So comfortable, in fact, that we arrived home to order a new mattress that closely resembled the one onboard! The cabin was cleaned well by two friendly staff members. Space was typical; fairly small but large enough to be practical. The bathroom included a small bath. While undoubtedly a downside for those with limited mobility, the shower-over-the-bath arrangement meant a lot more shower space than is normally experienced. High quality body wash, shampoo and conditioners were supplied in on-wall pump units. LOUNGES AND BARS This was the biggest difference for us compared to other ships. During much of the day, you couldn't help but wonder where hundreds of passengers vanished to. Lounges were often extremely quiet. And each area had a distinct feel. For example, the Blue Room is dark and moody. Not to our taste during the day but, at night, a perfect location for live music. The Mix Bar area was, by contrast, bright and lively. The Salt Grill Bar - which doesn't actually have a bar in it, is a very quiet lounge area where book readers seemed to sit quietly every day. The Ocean Bar was a very utilitarian area: Very casual, quite busy, and the location for trivia and similar activities. The Dome, at the top and very front of the ship, was bright with great views. These varying locations meant you could find a setting that suited your mood: To be around buzzing activity, to be in solitude, to be near music, or to be in near silence. ATRIUM The central, three-storey atrium didn't appeal to us a great deal. It was very small with the bottom level based around a circular internet access area. Other ships often have this area as a social area with cafes and chairs. As a result, the area was usually dead. MOVIE THEATRE The movie theatre featured quite a number of films; some being very recent releases. Sound was good and there was a reasonable amount of seating. The big downside which prevented me from watching more than one movie was the layout. While there's a rear door, nearly everyone used the front door and walked in front of the screen. The seating was also not tiered sufficiently so there was always someone's head in the way of the screen! MUSIC AND DANCING My wife and I love music and dancing. The music itself was very good. But there was a distinct lack of dance floors. There was a dance floor in The Dome but bands only played there a couple of times during the cruise. Presumably, this was used late at night for dancing. The only other dance floor was a tiny space in the Ocean Bar where a lone guitarist - not playing dance music - would perform. RESTAURANTS Areas for eating were excellent. In addition to the Salt Grill and a burger outlet where you paid for meals, there were numerous places to eat for free and all were of good quality. The Dragon Lady is Asian-inspired. Very dark to eat in and lots of little pockets where you are seated. Angelo's is an Italian restaurant which is bright, spacious and you are cared for with just a touch of fun. Then, of course, there is the Waterfront restaurant and The Pantry. The Pantry is P&O's version of a buffet where there are a number of "shop fronts" where staff serve you. OUTDOOR AREAS In good weather, the bow of the ship is accessible via deck six. Two higher levels are also available that allow you to look out the front. There is a full walk-around deck on level six which, we're told, is a vanishing feature on cruise ships due to the space they take up. But it's a very nice feature. Pool areas were nice as was the area above the aft pool which was the outdoor dining area of The Pantry. SUMMARY Was this our favourite ship to date? It wasn't a stand out winner though the friendly, family-style mentioned at the outset was certainly there. We would definitely cruise on Aria again because it has nice features that aren't present on other ships we've been on. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
You can tell this used to be a Princess ship - it is a step above the usual P&O Australia standard and a lot larger than the rest of the fleet. We were in Oceanview cabin 9198 close to the lifts and stairs towards the back of the ship ... Read More
You can tell this used to be a Princess ship - it is a step above the usual P&O Australia standard and a lot larger than the rest of the fleet. We were in Oceanview cabin 9198 close to the lifts and stairs towards the back of the ship but good exercise walking to the dining venues. Usually the only difference between the oceanview and inside cabins is the window, but not on this ship. The inside cabins are about two-thirds the size and quite cramped for space. All the common areas were well furnished and well maintained. Plenty of space to read in comfort or chat to fellow passengers. The promenade on deck 6 is a bit strange as you have to open and close two doors at the back of the ship to go completely around, and on a lot of days the crew were doing maintenance so you couldn't do a circuit anyway. A lot of passengers had the (expensive) beverage packages. On the last night the guy next to us at dinner came in with a can of VB and had that plus two bourbon & cokes before entree. He left holding his third, complaining that the duck didn't taste like duck - I guess it tasted like bourbon & coke! There were a lot of people towards the end of the cruise determined to get their "money's worth", unfortunately. We booked the restaurants for the whole cruise when we first got on board, by lining up at Dragon Lady. Bottles of wine with dinner started at about $27 with no 15% add-on gratuity - good Australian and NZ wine and quality Italian wine at Angelo's.. The Waterfront restaurant served very good quality food and we ate there for breakfast, lunch and some dinners. The Pantry at lunch time was too crowded for our liking and the Waterfront was much more civilised. The "free" (i.e., price included) Dragon Lady restaurant was very friendly with one excellent menu the first week and a second equally excellent one for the last 5 days. There was a similar change in menu at the "free" Angelo's Italian restaurant, which was also exceptionally good. Shell & Bones was a bitter disappointment and $30 for two half "tiger prawn size" Lobster Mornays with no sides included was a waste of money - afterwards we went down to the Waterfront for entree and dessert! We were later told we should have brought in our "sides" from the adjacent Pantry. We went to the 'Taste of Salt' 7 course menu with matching wines for $99 each but it was a bit "ho-hum". The service was good but it wasn't the food I would have chosen from the Salt Restaurant on other P&O ships, and the quantity was disappointing. The best dinner we had on the ship was the "Love Riot" cabaret 5 course dinner - well cooked, good quantity and ending with a "WOW" factor dessert. It was $29 for dinner and show or $10 for just the show - next time we'd pay the $29 for the dinner and give the show a miss. The show was good - lots of talented acrobatic people - but not as good as the dinner. The 'Rock Anthem of the Ages' show was not to our liking for either singing or dancing and why they needed to blind everyone with strobe lights was beyond me. We thought the best entertainment on the ship was the Phillippino crew band 'Soundblasters'. We liked the afternoon Trivia with its strange questions, especially when it was run by "Dora the Irish Explorer". We liked the fact that P&O didn't skimp on easy listening live background music during the day - very pleasant. We missed Isle of Pines due to the cyclone but headed up the west coast of New Caledonia to avoid it - good thinking! In Port Vila we found a duty free shop half way down on the other sided of the road which was cheaper than the famous "yellow" shop. Mystery Island has become more commercialised since our last visit and the ocean current on the other side of the island is still very strong. The tender boats were in excellent condition and the first we have encountered with an open top deck - great idea. Duty free alcohol bought on board or on shore is distributed on the morning you arrive back in home Port, which is annoying as you have already got rid of your bags the night before. Also annoying is that you have to line up twice - once in Angelo's for ship bought alcohol and then in Dragon Lady for alcohol bought off ship. Of course the ship has a "pre Vila" 10% off alcohol sale which brought the price down, but not quite (but nearly) as good as in Port Vila if you are going into town anyway and you don't take into account the $5 bus ride. We have previously been on the Jewel and the Pearl and had decided not to go P&O Australia again until friends recommended the Pacific Explorer. We would have no hesitation in booking another holiday on this ship and while we were on board we booked the Aria for a cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We have done 10 cruises before this, all small expensive boutique cruises. It was time for a short break and in desperation booked on the Aria for a seven night cruise. All the negative reviews and media did not help our stress levels, ... Read More
We have done 10 cruises before this, all small expensive boutique cruises. It was time for a short break and in desperation booked on the Aria for a seven night cruise. All the negative reviews and media did not help our stress levels, but we needed a quick break. We were in for a massive surprise. Our balcony suite was really nice, all the staff friendly and helpful. Entertainment was great. We loved the food. Salt is a must. Dragon Lady and Angelos were also good. My favorite was the Pantry. I used to grab a plate and walked around picking my favorite bit from every stall. Waterfront is average to good. Only one negative, if you like your eggs perfect its going to be hit and miss. The ship is very accessible for the disabled and there were heaps of people in wheelchairs having a great time like all the others. We only had a long queue to get on the ship, but its the same as when we fly international. This is mainly due to people not following their embarkation times and showing up whenever they want to. The one other issue raised in the past is the ship not catering for smokers. This is not true anymore as deck 12 has a great spot high up for the smokers with the Dome Bar just inside to grab a cocktail. We had 100km/h winds and 6 meter swells on the way back from Vanuatu. The ship coped magnificently with only a small amount of rolling and pitching considering the weather. (I am an ex naval officer who has spend a lot of time at sea in different ships and atrocious conditions.) All in all it was the best value holiday we ever had. We will be back. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This is the first cruise for my husband and I, and we were not disappointed. From the moment we arrived at the port in Brisbane to when we had to disembark, everything was perfect. We were lucky with the weather until the last 2 ... Read More
This is the first cruise for my husband and I, and we were not disappointed. From the moment we arrived at the port in Brisbane to when we had to disembark, everything was perfect. We were lucky with the weather until the last 2 days, but nobody can control that. We found all the crew friendly, helpful and professional, it couldn't have been better, they really have a big job to do, and they work long hard hours, but it never shows. We loved the food that was available, and good to see no buffet style eating, as it's more hygienic, and there was never a queue. I did overhear a male passenger having a whinge and was being quite rude to the poor fellow behind the salad bar, but really? Is it the end of the world if you didn't get enough avocado on your plate?? Some people amaze me. We lashed out and booked into Salt Grill on the first night, that was amazing. Highly recommend that. Bar staff and entertainment staff were great, there is no way you could come in this cruise and say that it was boring and you had nothing to do. I would recommend that you read the daily bulletin that gets delivered to your room each evening, telling you what's on the next day, because there is so much to do, it's a shame to miss out. Also purchasing a drinks package is recommended if you are that way inclined! It does take away the stress at the end and don't end up with bill shock! It was just my husband and myself on this cruise, but did see a lot of families with small children and they seemed to be having a great time. It's a great family holiday choice. We would definitely recommend the Pacific Aria to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I've never been on a cruise before but have travelled a lot and stayed in hotels all over the world, from back-packers to five star full service. I was concerned by all the bad reviews but needing a break and not having much cash for ... Read More
I've never been on a cruise before but have travelled a lot and stayed in hotels all over the world, from back-packers to five star full service. I was concerned by all the bad reviews but needing a break and not having much cash for a holiday I decided to take the chance and booked an interior cabin on the Pacific Jewel. I was really pleasantly surprised and had a great time on the cruise. The a-la-carte restaurant was absolutely lovely. If you're not a big drinker you really don't need to spend extra money onboard if you don't want to. The cabin was old but was very clean and well-tended by our caretakers, the bed was advertised as Queen but was definitely King size and comfortable. I like extra pillows and received them very promptly when requested. Some reviews mentioned small portions but it was great food and you could always ask for more so I don't know what they are talking about. The Pantry alternative to a buffet was fine. Yes it's food-court level cuisine but absolutely nothing wrong with the quality (Indian was the best, absolutely delicious). My only criticism was the food could be kept warmer. Gatsby night and White night were great fun and day on-shore at Eden very pleasant. Staff were very, very nice and hard working. Some of the staff in the a-la-carte restaurant seemed rushed but a small tip brightened their demeanour and showed appreciation. Being waited on hand and foot by people who had to run up and down stairs with your food and getting beautiful quality included in the cheap cruise price makes me think those who complain are malcontents who need to save up for a more expensive break if they want more. You get what you pay for and in my opinion on this cruise you get more. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I have just returned from a short cruise on the Pacific Eden. I was impressed with the cabin, the most comfortable bed. Our cabin stewards were wonderful, nothing was too much trouble. There were so many on board activities, you ... Read More
I have just returned from a short cruise on the Pacific Eden. I was impressed with the cabin, the most comfortable bed. Our cabin stewards were wonderful, nothing was too much trouble. There were so many on board activities, you could be busy doing everything or busy doing nothing, I loved the adults only pool and deck. Angelo's was our favourite dining experience, the Pantry offered a wide selection of dishes. The only complaint I have is that some of the bar/coffee lounge service staff were more interested in chatting amongst themselves than giving service. The barman in the Pantry may be mute as I went to the bar 3 times and he did not speak once. We needed wheelchair assistance off the ship and the staff were wonderful, taking us all the way to a taxi and another young man took our cases for us. Booking was easy ad every request that I made was met. This was my "tester" cruise and I am hoping to go again on a longer trip. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Went on this cruise because it left from outer harbor. Ive been on 20 cruises in as many years- all Australian based. After cruising on the Jewel with 7 family members, I was more than disappointed in everyway with the ship and was ... Read More
Went on this cruise because it left from outer harbor. Ive been on 20 cruises in as many years- all Australian based. After cruising on the Jewel with 7 family members, I was more than disappointed in everyway with the ship and was reluctant to cruise ever again- BUT I was already booked on Pacific Eden with some 1st time cruisers, and I'm so thankful I didn't cancel as it was a trip to remember.. As soon as we stepped on board the friendly smiling faces of the crew were there to greet you. Everything ran in ship shape order. It continued through out the cruise. Staff always smiling and ready to help if needed. The maître de was tops and his staff happy and willing to assist. Needless to say the food was fantastic- every day. The entertainment was tops best I've seen. Willie Lee the cruise director gets a special mention as an outstanding 'entertainer' Very very funny- the Dawn will miss him for sure. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
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