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332 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

Never been on Aria, had heard bad things a few years ago. But ship was fine, lots of entertainment and things to do. Food - Pantry - Lots of variety, food probably a bit bland but we all ate there every day, didn't get to the 2 ... Read More
Never been on Aria, had heard bad things a few years ago. But ship was fine, lots of entertainment and things to do. Food - Pantry - Lots of variety, food probably a bit bland but we all ate there every day, didn't get to the 2 free restaurants (they were booked out early), didn't bother going to the sit down free waterfront ( too much hassle to book in and takes forever ). Entertainment crew were good, loved the music trivia with Orona, apparently he is now off for 3 months then back on Jewel. Lots of music on board with different bands and singers, seen two night shows at threatre and they were very good. Hamilton Island was lovely - too bad it rained in the morning, but OK in afternoon. It would be too crowded if a larger ship for the buses to cope. The free buses take you around the main area. Overall was a fun trip and very enjoyable, recommend the ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I just go off the Jewel yesterday after a 4 day cruise. My 1st time ever on a cruise & I went on this cruise as it was bought for me as a gift. After reading the reviews I was a bit worried but we loved it. The food was terrific ... Read More
I just go off the Jewel yesterday after a 4 day cruise. My 1st time ever on a cruise & I went on this cruise as it was bought for me as a gift. After reading the reviews I was a bit worried but we loved it. The food was terrific with a great variety to choose from, the service fabulous & the entertainment fantastic. The shows we saw were great & we loved all the different trivia. The staff were friendly & more than helpful. The rooms weren't fantastic but I didn't want to be in my room anyway except to shower & sleep. Our stopover was Kangaroo Island & I found that a bit boring unless you booked a shore tour(which I didn't) but that was ok cause we went back to boat and relaxed. There was plenty do do & we tried to do as much as we could in the time we were there. I'm definitely going to go again & can't wait to see their improvements. Well done to you all. We had an absolute ball :) Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
After our last cruise we decided that the older children (24 & 19) should experience cruising. We picked the 4 day Moreton Island cruise for them to try. It was our first time on the Pacific Explorer and we totally enjoyed it. We did ... Read More
After our last cruise we decided that the older children (24 & 19) should experience cruising. We picked the 4 day Moreton Island cruise for them to try. It was our first time on the Pacific Explorer and we totally enjoyed it. We did experience a blocked toilet on the first morning however one call and we had plumbers there within 5 mins to fix it and we didn't have any further trouble with it. The four of us shared a quad balcony. The room was reasonable but wouldn't want to be in it for a longer cruise. The bathroom was very small with only a tiny area to stand in. Not good when trying to get changed. The facilities on the ship are good and lots of entertainment to choose from. We dined at Angelo's one night and the meal was fantastic. Highly recommend it. The Pantry food was quite good considering it is made for as many people as it is. There are a lot of shore tours to choose from and you need to book them through P&O as there is nothing available to book directly on the island. We did the ATV quad bikes which everyone thoroughly enjoyed, and the sea scooter snorkeling the wrecks which the two children enjoyed but the older two not so much for fear of crashing into the wrecks and being hurt. We purchased tickets ($10 each) for the evening show called 'Love Riot' as I had read good and bad reviews of it. Okay definitely not my cup of tea in fact even the younger two thought it was bizarre. No story line to it, just acrobatics, nudity and dancing. Would not waste my money to see it again. All in all another great cruise with P&O. Everyone enjoyed it. Would i do this trip again YES Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
A group of us chose this cruise as it was an easy way to get a taste for the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne. We departed 7 hours late due to rough seas from the previous cruise. This can't be helped and it was very different ... Read More
A group of us chose this cruise as it was an easy way to get a taste for the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne. We departed 7 hours late due to rough seas from the previous cruise. This can't be helped and it was very different having Sailaway at 11pm. This was an ideal way to get to see the tennis with a bit of relaxation on the way. When we reached Melbourne we were transported to the venue via coaches and could come back via the coach as well. Very well organised for the 2 days we were there. The ships is a great size, and with 1,200 passengers, just right. No great line up for most things. Eden is showing her age in parts and friends complained of lack of sleep due to creaking Windows during rough seas on the way down. Food was generally ok with the Italian restaurant (no extra charge) being the pick. Sometimes the food was just warm in the main dining room at breakfast. We had a scrumptious high tea for an additional $20 each which we enjoyed very much. Would possibly do this themed cruise again as its a lovely relaxing way to do the tennis. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This Cruise was a 80th Birthday surprise for my father. We had planned to take a cruise with our immediate family for my dad's 80th. After much planning and secrecy we managed to celebrate this momentous occasion with 6 nieces and ... Read More
This Cruise was a 80th Birthday surprise for my father. We had planned to take a cruise with our immediate family for my dad's 80th. After much planning and secrecy we managed to celebrate this momentous occasion with 6 nieces and nephews joining in the celebrations, making a total party of 12 people. We had decided on the Fraser Island cruise as this was one destination my dad had wanted to visit, but had never gotten around to. Unfortunately due to poor port conditions and bad weather we were unable to visit the island. All of our party had planned different shore tours, and we were disappointed about the missed port, but understood the safety implications the Captain had to make. This means we will have another chance to visit, hopefully in the near future, but not by the means of a Cruise. We had booked 3 Balcony cabins on deck 10. They were the perfect size with comfortable bedding, a decent sized lounge and bathroom and a very spacious balcony. We were positioned close enough to the oasis pool area which made it an ideal spot when we wanted to take a quiet dip in the pool. As always the case with P&O the cabin stewards are always helpful and efficient. In fact all the staff on the ship were friendly and professional. They not only had to deal with passengers that were disappointed with not disembarking at Fraser Island, but the weather was wild and rocky with many people suffering from seasickness. Overall the ship is in need of an update and maintenance. There was rust coming through on the balcony in places and some of the public areas were looking a bit warn. Considering the ship went through 45 knot headwinds with swells up to 8 metres I think it was doing alright. The Pantry is a new concept that I liked as it kept unsanitary hands away from the food, but it did create longer lines and slower serving times with people. We found that if you wanted to visit the Pantry do it in the quieter times very early or very late breakfast. We only visited the Pantry for lunch on the boarding day and never went to the Pantry for dinner. Most of our meals were taking at the Waterfront and Angelo's, both come very highly recommended. The food in all the service areas was top notch, with much variety. We found the Gym and excercise classes were a great way to get the day started. The main criticism I have with the facility is they don't open until 7am. As we are early rises this can throw you out of your routine for the first day, but eh we are on a holiday so it's good to be a little flexible. The equipment is first class, with great cardio equipment and very good strength conditioning machines. The instructors not so enthusiastic, I took a class which was meant to be a kick boxing class, but ended up being a circuit class with some boxing components, what made it worse was the instructor was as excited as a deflated balloon. The shows were pretty good, I think they had entertainers that could actually sing this Cruise. The comedian was very good and well received. The other activities on the ship were conducted by a variety of staff who did their jobs with a lot of humour, which was very well appreciated by the Australian passengers. As the cruise was an 80th that turned into a family reunion, it was great to get together with family members we don't get to see very often as we live in all areas of Australia. Well done P & O for making a difficult cruise due to poor weather conditions into a resounding success for our family holiday. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We wanted a break after the exhaustion of Christmas and New Year. A short comedy cruise seemed to fit the bill. Pros.....our superb cabin - see below; the comedy acts; the speciality restaurants; Cons.....bogan, unruly, loud, ill ... Read More
We wanted a break after the exhaustion of Christmas and New Year. A short comedy cruise seemed to fit the bill. Pros.....our superb cabin - see below; the comedy acts; the speciality restaurants; Cons.....bogan, unruly, loud, ill mannered adults. The zillions of kids were great in comparison! The ship has been extensively refurbished and seems to work, except the atrium and main public areas are still to small for gatherings. The couple of bars are of a good size and well furnished. The Dome seemed to be empty most of the cruise (what a waste). Duty free area is full of the usual suspect gold by the inch and other junk. The bars are OK, but a couple of the bar staff need manners-training. I'm a wine drinker but unfortunately only the bottom of the list wines were available by the glass in all the bars and the theatre. You have to go to the speciality restaurants to get a reasonable glass. The comedy shows were great....two family shows and one 18+ each night in the Marquee. In spite of the rules, an few minor arguments broke out over passengers reserving several seats for friends. Music groups abounded in the lounges each evening. But nothing during the day. For two days passengers are captive on the ship and it would have been nice to hear a pianist, or a quiet group in the afternoon. The Waterfront restaurant was a great disappointment. The meals we had were bland and unimaginative. A couple of the staff had attitude problems. I don't complain but on one occasion for dinner here we were ignored for a good length of time and had to call the supervisor. There was a great wine tasting on the second day. It's a pity the good wines tasted were not available by the glass anywhere. Luke Mangens restaurant was superb, as was the Shell and Bones seafood restaurant. A great seafood platter for 2 for $50. We buzzed through the Pantry which seemed to have fresher, and more interesting food than the main restaurant. But too small for the passengers. There was no Nic and Toni's as mentioned on the Cruise Critic review. We rarely ventured to the top deck which was for families, kids and fun seekers having a great time. The movies on the big screen were new releases, and of excellent visual and audio clarity. Most fellow passengers were Aussie families and friends. Few singles or gay couples to be seen. There were your usual loud mouth, singlet clad bogans. No problem on the top deck and in the pool, but there was supposed to be a dress code and if the code states long trousers and collared shirt after 5 then why is it not policed? There is a choice. Up stairs dress as you like, down stairs in the evening...be decent. Many people were not. The Gatsby evening was a lot of fun. The white party not so much. Special theme party on the first night is not sensible. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We booked this cruise as it was our only option for the dates we needed and I booked while it was on sale. We have sailed celebrity, P&O and Princess previously with Celebrity being our favourite. We were not sure what to expect ... Read More
We booked this cruise as it was our only option for the dates we needed and I booked while it was on sale. We have sailed celebrity, P&O and Princess previously with Celebrity being our favourite. We were not sure what to expect as I have not been a real P&O fan in the past, however we enjoyed this trip. The good The public areas on the ship have been done beautifully. The deck and outside areas are all well maintained. The Pacific explorer is an older ship which is obvious, but it has a certain charm, I love that deck 7 has a walk around deck, nothing better than a few daily laps around the ship. Overall the staff are very friendly and helpful Love riot, loved it, a bit rude, a bit silly (fun silly), a bit naughty and very entertaining and fun. Feature shows, a bit of a mixed bag, we enjoyed most of them and absolutely loved the Cinderella Panto on the last night, a mix of pure professionalism from the professional cast and absolute hilarity from the non professionals from the crew! The cruise director played the fairy god mother and belted out an amazing tune. Best disembarkation we have ever experienced, quick, no crowds and ahead of schedule. Quick and easy embarking and rooms ready on boarding. F&B staff parade at the Gatsby party excellent. Room kept lovely & clean and nothing was too much trouble for the room stewards. I asked for a top sheet and it was no problem and a few other small things were dealt with quickly. One of the waiters in the Explorer hotel greeted my husband by his first name from the first time he ordered a drink. We took early tenders at each port and encountered virtually no wait times. The not always great (some could be considered first world problems only) Lots of waiting around to order drinks, not many waiters roaming to take orders and often long lines at the bars. A few staff in the Pantry who if you asked them what something was they just pointed to the menu on the counter, I am pretty sure they could not speak English which made things a bit confused at times. I wish they would clean the windows in the Pantry, its a small thing but they were so dirty you had to squint to see out of them, kinda ruined the ambiance. People holding several spots in the theatre for their friends who wanted to slip in at the last minute or even after the show started like they were VIPs Lounges in the shade were all "claimed" before 7.30am with books and hats and people not showing back up until a few hours later and then disappearing again for hours. Staff dont appear to do anything about this. Its a personal hate of mine and not just encountered on cruise ships, but I wish they would do something about this, it is ridiculous. The adults only area is very hot with very little shade. The Food Overall great! we tried all the paid and free options. Taste of salt, just do it! Love riot dinner, it was ok I enjoyed it but they have some interesting dishes, like pate, which a lot of people would not enjoy. Lukes, it was ok, I really prefer a cruise where food from the pool grill is included. Pizza, nice and worth trying Shell and bones, lobster Mornay yummmmmm and the dessert was my favourite of the whole cruise.We went twice. Ate once in the waterfront, service good, food good, I heard a few complaints about the Waterfront but we had an ok experience. Dragon Lady good and free Angelo's, loved the gnocchi, had it twice. Pantry, we only had breakfasts and lunch here, oh and we did cruise past for dessert on occasion. I was so pleasantly surprised by the food. Every day they had a different themed selection of desserts, they tasted and looked fabulous. A good selection of food which varied each day. Balcony Cabin Bed was a bit uncomfortable...too hard mattress. Very small cabins and the bathroom is tiny. Ample storage. Furnishings dated as they were not updated with the makeover. It served it's purpose and apart from size, which wasn't really a problem for us no real complaints. Stewards were helpful and friendly. Overall I felt you could really see the effort that P&O has put into the Pacific explorer in all aspects. They hit the mark in a lot of areas and missed it in a few. I would cruise on Pacific Explorer again if the price and itinerary were right, in fact we have a 4 day booked in Feb. If you are only use to other top end cruise lines you may feel it falls a bit short in some aspects, but overall it was a surprisingly good cruise and I think they provide a good product for their market. Loved all the ports. A cruise to the Islands is more about relaxation than exploration and we snorkeled and swam at each port. Noumea - Did a non cruise tour to Escapade Island for snorkelling and a seafood buffet. (Brought a beer and a small coke in Noumea and it cost $19, yikes). Lifou - Jinek Bay booked through the ship, wonderful snorkelling - take a pool noodle and flippers if you are not a great swimmer. Mare - A bit of a hairy bus ride to the beach (which must be pre-purchased before you get off the ship and costs from memory $20 return), but nothing else to do on the island and the beach is beautiful with good snorkelling off the main beach and lots of locals selling food and drink. In comparison to Noumea we brought a beer, a fresh coconut drink and a serving of amazing fresh made hot chips for $15. Isle of Pines, stunning! We snorkeled around "The Rock", ate the biggest chicken sandwich I have ever seen and then did a last minute tour with locals which showed off a lot of the pretty spots around the island, the old jail and the well maintained convict cemetery. The shaded areas at all of the beaches get quite full, so if you want to be assured of a nice comfortable shaded spot take an early tender to arrive at the beach as early as possible before the main crowd. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted to do something special for New Year's 2017/18. As not many cruises go to the South Pacific from Melbourne, we flew up to Sydney to board P&O Pacfic Eden for a 12 night cruise to Vanuatu and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to do something special for New Year's 2017/18. As not many cruises go to the South Pacific from Melbourne, we flew up to Sydney to board P&O Pacfic Eden for a 12 night cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Before I talk about the cruise I would briefly like to mention P&O's room allocation procedure. Unlike Princess, which you usually choose not only cabin type and deck and number when you book (and which results in different prices within the one category) with P&O unless you wish to pay extra to pick your cabin, this is done automatically within the type you select, eg. interior, oceanview etc.. On the P&O cruise control website it says that you can print your documentation two weeks before the sail date. We tried to do this but the website said, that it can't be done as the rooms hadn't been allocated yet. When I rang P&O they informed me that room allocation could occur up to one day before the sail date, which I personally think is unsatisfactory, as there may be an issue with room location. I was manually emailed the documentation, but when we picked up our documents from Escape Travel, the consultant didn't believe me until i showed him the error. The embarkation procedure for the cruise was very good, with only a small wait time. When we have sailed on Princess, their wait times have been quite a bit longer and they are fairly rigid with making you wait until your boarding number is called. So we got on and were settled in fairly quickly. I shall provide a brief paragraph on each of the main areas of the cruise. The ship Pacific Eden was smaller than the other ship Pacific Jewel which we went on and was newer looking with more of a boutique and elegant feel to it. Everything was fairly accessible, although some corridors led to dead ends which could make finding some areas more troublesome. Dining on the ship was very good, with a reasonable selection of food available in the pantry, although it taking a while to get served due to their no self service ability. We dined at the waterfront restaurant which had good food and service apart from sporadically slow drink service and inconsistent enforcement of dress codes. At some times the pantry wasn't open for food and on these occasions you had to pay more for snacks. We won a dinner at the Luke Mangran salt grill which was exceptional and well enjoyed. As to be expected, snacks from the convenience stores on board were quite expensive. The activities were probably the best aspect with usually there being something to do. All the entertainment directors such as Louie, Lauren etc.. always made sure people were enjoying themselves. I got a pass for the Edge activities, which included rock climbing, cargo net and flying fox and these were all handled professsionally. The tv choices were somewhat limited with shows often being repeated during the cruise. It was good having trivia at least 3-4 times a day, but the location in the ocean bar tended to get very full and you needed to be there quite early to get a seat. The excursions were alll ran well and went off smoothly, but there could have been more tender boats going to quicken the process of leaving the ship. On one occasion we went to where tender tickets were being issued and were told by other passengers that they weren't being issued and instead we had to wait for an announcement regarding getting off without a ticket (this took at least 20+ minutes with no announcement). The ports were all easy to get off at and information was available. The port information booklets could have done with a map, which princess usually provides with theirs. Drink service was fairly good throughout and was used by my partner mainly who purchased a soft drink card. This was with the exception of when we were in the casino and she ordered a drink and the waitress forgot before going on her break! We inquired about the situation after some 20 minutes and when told of the situation I informed them, that this wasn't acceptable service. The waitress came back very apologetic and was thereafter better with her service. It was just the two of us so no children. Because of the nature of the cruise there was definitely a younger crowd which was usually fine.We think we would probably not do another New Year's cruise as it was just one of those once off things to experience. We are frequent cruisers however and usually go on one a year, with this being our 6th one. Apart from the minor issues mentioned here, the cruise on the whole was very enjoyable, especially the entertainments. We have as I mentioned previously cruised on Princess and they are our first preference, although their prices have gone up considerably recently. P&O are still an acceptable second and if the circumstances and price were right we would definitely consider cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My husband and two daughters, (16 and 20) really enjoyed our 10 night cruise. We had separate balcony rooms which worked out fantastic as everybody had their own space. Our room stewards were amazing and went over the top to cater to ... Read More
My husband and two daughters, (16 and 20) really enjoyed our 10 night cruise. We had separate balcony rooms which worked out fantastic as everybody had their own space. Our room stewards were amazing and went over the top to cater to our needs. The personal touches to each and every passenger had to be commended. We loved our turned down beds every night (chocolate of course) and our next days itinerary ready to go. Breakfast there were two choices, The Pantry or the Waterfront Restaurant. We found that the Waterfront was the best option for breakfast as the meals were fresher and the omelettes were yummy. The Waterfront also felt like a restaurant were the Pantry had a food court atmosphere. We also enjoyed Angelo's (Italian) and Dragon Lady (Chinese). The best recommendation, if you enjoy alcoholic beverages, is to purchase the drinks package for sure. After the second night and checking our cruise accounts, we found that we had spent way more than we had realised and really regretted not getting a drinks package. We found the entertainment staff, especially Marious, made trivia and bingo funny and kept us returning for more laughs. Joanna also has to be acknowledged for her wit, professionalism and fantastic vocal skills that she displayed for the Motown performance. We are now planning our next family cruise and recruiting more family members as we were surprised how much fun we actually had. Thanks P&O :-) Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Family & Friends were cruising together, When we dined at the water front for dinner the service some nights was quite annoying night 1 we waited for 15 minits for a drinks waiter to turn up but out meals arrived first. Second night ... Read More
Family & Friends were cruising together, When we dined at the water front for dinner the service some nights was quite annoying night 1 we waited for 15 minits for a drinks waiter to turn up but out meals arrived first. Second night meals arrived finished off first course was nice but need to ask for some bread buns for our table. Yoga went to attend willing to pay the $14 per class but come on a dance floor with Laser Tag going on in the same area and the Yoga on the beach was meant to be a 7am start only to be told it is now 10.30 am hot as and high tide should be a free classes under the conditions supplied. Movie night was great the first 2 nights on the top deck but Planet of the apes 3 night in a row PLUS on the tv channel as well one of the same night . Transformers was the advertised movie a lot of people had set up early and when Planet of the apes started 75% walked away in discuss. Do it again TBA Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We cruised on the P & O Pacific Eden on 1st December 2017 for a six-night cruise to Tasmania. We were rather worried because of all the negative reviews which we had read. Contrary to this we had a very pleasant trip when all our ... Read More
We cruised on the P & O Pacific Eden on 1st December 2017 for a six-night cruise to Tasmania. We were rather worried because of all the negative reviews which we had read. Contrary to this we had a very pleasant trip when all our expectations were exceeded. It is an old ship, but our room 'Stateroom' was very comfortable and clean. The bathroom also old with a bath to step into for a shower but clean. It was serviced every day. Our room was tidied and cleaned each day including our bed made each morning and turned down before the night. The aircon was nice and cool and we slept well each night. The crew was very helpful at all times, but I guess it always helps if there is a mutual exchange of respect. The meals were totally opposite to the negative reviews - food was always hot, and satisfying. The Pantry was our favourite...the variety was amazing! The 'Waterfront Restaurant' very nice and I feel sorry for the poor waiters carrying those burning hot plates. I have included some photos which you can judge for yourself. With taste I think there is a phenomenon of being at sea... tastes are slightly different, for example my cup of tea. using the same tea as back at home tasted not as strong. Not sure why but the food was fantastic. At the Pantry you could go for second helpings if so desired, but tried to resist and used the stairs for exercise instead of the lift. Sadly because of adverse weather, the Ship Captain made the decision to sail West and around Tasmania and to Hobart, wisely choosing passenger safety over the stop over at Port Arthur. This choice made sailing more comfortable for us. Although we missed out on Port Arthur, spending time on the ship made up for it in comfort. The shows were very entertaining, and we enjoyed the Jazz Band at the bar, the Trivia, games and activities all very good. The decks were never overcrowded. We thoroughly enjoyed our stop over at Burnie and Hobart. Our pre-booked on-line Shore Tours tickets were delivered to our room. Overall we had a great and restful holiday and don't understand why people complain so much? We recommend this cruise as a great holiday for a very affordable cost. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise because it was a short break that left from Melbourne on dates that suited us. We travelled as 2 couples and 1 child, this was our 11th cruise (we've cruised 5 different cruise lines, 8 different ships). We ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a short break that left from Melbourne on dates that suited us. We travelled as 2 couples and 1 child, this was our 11th cruise (we've cruised 5 different cruise lines, 8 different ships). We ate all lunches and dinners in Waterfront and were pleasantly surprised by the meals. None of us had a meal we didn't like. The service did vary though and was sometimes barely acceptable and other times wonderful. Breakfast we enjoyed in the pantry, a great selection with something for everyone's tastes. Our son enjoyed kids club but didn't enjoy being forced to partake in the scheduled activities when he just wanted to play with the toys. There were some activities he simply wasn't interested in (like Gatsby headband making). I did wonder why he couldn't have just played quietly while the kids who wanted to do the activities did them (there weren't many kids on board, and seemed to be only about 8-12 kids in the Shark Shack at any one time). The entertainment - we went to the comedian the first night and left after just a few minutes when we realised he expected audience participation (being embarrassed and singled out involuntarily is not our thing! We have no problem if they call for volunteers from the audience but to be forced unwillingly is a no go, so we left). The other 2 shows, Velvet Rope and The Four Seasons Show were very entertaining. We also went to the Luke Mangan live cooking show, very entertaining, funny and we learnt a few tips. All in all, we enjoyed this cruise and would go on Pacific Jewel again for another short cruise, however, would choose a different line for longer cruises. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
A self confessed cruise snob, I had not travelled on P&O for 25 years. This came up last minute and we took a chance. Wow! So much better than we expected. Decor had a complete revamp and was sensational - second to none. ... Read More
A self confessed cruise snob, I had not travelled on P&O for 25 years. This came up last minute and we took a chance. Wow! So much better than we expected. Decor had a complete revamp and was sensational - second to none. Comfortable and a little bit glamorous. Cruise staff were as good as any other ship (reasonable but rarely exceptional) food was okay if you knew where to look and in the case of Dragon Lady - really good. My only real gripe is that we were due to arrive in our first port on a Sunday at 3pm and didnt make it till 5pm. All tours (such as they were) were cancelled. Anyone else would have spent an extra night at sea, gone to the farthest port first and work backwards to spend a full day in each. Really dumb. We went before the Christmas rush - so few kids and large parties of drinkers. Just normal people. Would suggest you also time your trip well in consideration of the above. Generally would recommend based on above and never thought I'd be saying that. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Ship was old but good. Cabin was clean. Cabin stewards were friendly and helpful. Loved the towel animals. The pantry food was cold at times but good. Loved the way the food in the pantry was set up not to keen on buffets the food was ... Read More
Ship was old but good. Cabin was clean. Cabin stewards were friendly and helpful. Loved the towel animals. The pantry food was cold at times but good. Loved the way the food in the pantry was set up not to keen on buffets the food was behind glass and served to you which was much more hygenic than been touched by other passengers and put back again and food mixed with other food. The pantry staff were good always cleaned the tables for you which was nice. entertainment was good. The entertainment staff were excellent and we always found something to do. Waterfront restaurant had good service and staff very friendly. Loved that it was casual and relaxing embarkation and disembarkation was very well organized. Ships shore tour staff member was very helpful. loved all the places they took us. It was our first cruise and we liked it that much will be doing it again with p and o. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We had to cancel our 4x4 trip to the Simpson desert. I was looking forward to this trip , the car was ready and the bags was packed. Then my husband had to have an emergency hip replacement. This would have been his 3 in just 5 months. ... Read More
We had to cancel our 4x4 trip to the Simpson desert. I was looking forward to this trip , the car was ready and the bags was packed. Then my husband had to have an emergency hip replacement. This would have been his 3 in just 5 months. Holding back the tears with the lump in your throat as the specialist explains the procedure once more , To help my husband to heal I thought of a cruise, he got the ok from the doctor and all I had to do was book. ITS THE BEST THING WE HAVE EVER DONE LAST MINUTE CRUISE. Was relaxing , healing , exciting , it gave us something to look forward to. Booking the cruise was easy , I had a cruise booked within weeks. Our cabin was perfect, especially the cabin crew. They made us laugh everyday. We ate breakfast and dinner in the restaurant every morning and night, and enjoyed every meal. We had a ball with the passengers as they where all friendly. My husband and I was able to visit the islands as disembarking was easy . For the entertainment well , we only watched a few. As we enjoyed sitting by the bar playing the games and chatting with other passengers . We had a ball. This cruise was healing, exciting, relaxing , comfortable and very friendly Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Happy to say we enjoyed our first cruise, Chose a short 4 day cruise--- just in case ! Everything ran like a well oiled machine, staff helpful and friendly, we found everyone helpful. Embarkation was simple and instructions clear. ... Read More
Happy to say we enjoyed our first cruise, Chose a short 4 day cruise--- just in case ! Everything ran like a well oiled machine, staff helpful and friendly, we found everyone helpful. Embarkation was simple and instructions clear. Disembarkation was rather rushed and staff a lot less friendly. The Explorer is very glam and lot's of beautiful areas to relax or party. The Oasis adult area was a welcome region as the pool was always full of children. Our cabin was small but comfortable. Entertainment was not 5 star but fun. Food was good, we ate in the Pantry for breakfast and lunch and dined in the restaurants in the evenings. Again food not 5 star but all good. I found the "free" restaurants just served up- market pantry food eg Angelo's sold cannaloni (same a pantry served at lunch, Hake in Waterfront was just ground fish and flour ---- grilled fish was in Pantry same day (????)-------Even though meals not 5 star in the restaurants, I still enjoyed dressing up and being served rather than a food court atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We were lucky enough to get a last minute deal for a quad cabin which worked out roughly to be $63 pp per day making it a very cheap holiday for our family of 1 adult, and 3 children. We've never cruised P&O before and I'd ... Read More
We were lucky enough to get a last minute deal for a quad cabin which worked out roughly to be $63 pp per day making it a very cheap holiday for our family of 1 adult, and 3 children. We've never cruised P&O before and I'd always been hesitant to book given the rumors of it being a 'party ship' among other things. Sure, I was worried on the first couple of days seeing all of the young adults drink to excess (yes, you did!!) I quickly learnt to avoid the smoking area on Deck 12, and the Dome at night. The upside was the ship was VERY quiet until about lunchtime. We had early boarding at 1030am and it was smooth and hassle free - we were onboard just after 11am giving us plenty of time to book an early slot for dinner in the Waterfront, dumping our hand luggage in our cabins, and in The Pantry eating lunch by 1130am. there were some passengers trying to jump the queue, but staff members were asking for paperwork and those without the early boarding were not let through (Ditto with the smooth and hassle free disembarkation). Getting on early meant we could explore our cabin and the ship. We had a window view quad room on the 9th deck which was adequate for our needs. Plenty of storage space for clothing, toiletries, and cases although a few extra coat hangers would be nice. Beds were comfortable, bathroom was adequate, we have no complaints about the cabin or size of the cabin. Every staff member we encountered were delightful, polite, and friendly. We have no complaints about staff members or the service, although there was a youth security officer who might need to adjust her attitude a little and understand that not all youth are unruly. Speaking of youth, I had no idea of the amount of kids onboard until the family Halloween party - I didn't find the kids to be a problem at all, quite the contrary in fact. I do wonder if the 'kids running all over the ship' mentioned in so many other reviews were doing scavenger hunts organised by the kids club. My kids did a few onboard and it does involve doing what is needed quickly. I couldn't get my boys out of the kids club, they loved it. My other child preferred to hang out with me. We all really liked The Pantry, I'm always a little wary of buffets so was interested to see how a food court would work at sea and was pleasantly surprised. We ate breakfast quite early (by 7am at the latest), lunch at 1130am and there was always plenty of seating available mostly in The Pantry, or just outside (the exception was the last sea day and disembarkation morning). Food offerings for lunch changed daily, breakfast appeared the same, I did pop in occasionally to see what they offered for dinner and it also appeared to change daily). We had dinner at the Waterfront (also tried it for breakfast and lunch) and were happy with the choices offered, and the quality of the food however something needs to be done about the temperature - it was mostly lukewarm when arriving at the tables. This is probably my biggest whinge about the trip - I hate lukewarm and cold food that is suppose to be hot, it's just asking for a boatload of food poisoning...We didn't try the other restaurants, and only had hot chips at The Grill which were nice at the beginning of the cruise, but the Grill started to stink of old fat/oil by the end and I couldn't walk past without gagging. The ice cream was nice and we enjoyed a few of those, as well as enjoying a few cocktails - well I did, the kids had soft drink! We didn't do a lot of the activities such as quizzes etc as were content to be in the pool, on the waterslides, or chilling out on deck with a book and/or talking to other passengers. The full shows we saw were Slumber and Seven and enjoyed them both, we also went to the 'introduction show' thing on the first night. Musicians onboard were fabulous and we spent a lot of time listening and singing along in the Atrium - I'm too clumsy to dance :D We didn't do any ship shore excursions preferring to sort our own thing out which has worked well in the past, and did this trip as well. We didn't think much of Noumea, but loved Lifou and Port Vila and will happily go back to either/or both! Would we cruise with P&O again? If the price was right, sure. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I chose the option of a cruise so I didn't have to negotiate the tedious rigors of airport security and the daily pains of finding a place to eat and another to visit to fill in my holiday. I work long hours normally and get very ... Read More
I chose the option of a cruise so I didn't have to negotiate the tedious rigors of airport security and the daily pains of finding a place to eat and another to visit to fill in my holiday. I work long hours normally and get very little time off so the wife and I wanted a holiday that was out of NZ and stress free. The Vanuatu Explorer certainly achieved this. While the ship itself is a bit tired, they do well with what they have. Service and staff were excellent. Atmosphere of the ship itself fantastic and we finally got the rest we deserved meeting a lot of good Kiwis in the process. It is true that you need to be careful as there are cash traps, once on the ship you are tied to the boat and reliant on the prices there in which are a bit excessive. On the whole however our first cruise a success. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This is our 2nd cruise on the Aria and 9th cruise overall. We've sailed with many different lines, some 5 star so I feel we can compare fairly with other cruises on offer from Australia. We booked this 4 night cruise to Hamilton ... Read More
This is our 2nd cruise on the Aria and 9th cruise overall. We've sailed with many different lines, some 5 star so I feel we can compare fairly with other cruises on offer from Australia. We booked this 4 night cruise to Hamilton Island and back to Brisbane for a great price when P&O were having one of their many online sales. I think we paid less than $100 AUD a night when they were trying to fill cabins. We sailed with 2 other couples, and our cabin was 4216 interior on deck 4. We don't spend a lot of time in our cabin and it was nice being down low for the quiet and stability, particularly on our last night which was quite rough coming back into a storm in Brisbane. (My husband took 2 Kwells and slept through the whole thing, lol..) We've been on this ship before and love the classy refurb done a couple of years ago and have always found the un-refurbished cabins spacious, clean and comfortable - we had our 10 yr old sharing with us last time. I was interested to see how things have changed for the better or worse since our cruise on Aria last June. We booked our dinner reservations as soon as we got on board at the Monkey Bar outside Angelos and Dragon Lady. We got all the evenings and times we wanted. Dragon Lady was absolutely fantastic - the restaurant's decor is amazing, our server Mary-Beth was great and the food has really improved on last time. There was a perfect amount of time in between each course which is a big improvement on last time. A tip though - the portions are on the smaller side so we ordered 2 entrees each and some extra mains and it was great to try different flavours and share. Angelos was lovely too, great atmosphere and tasty food - not 5 star, but perfect service and lovely wine selections. My husband loved his lamb shank and the salmon was good. Waterfront is still pretty good - some tasty dishes and great service. They really try hard. I notice other cruisers have complained about dishes coming out cold. This only happened once to us in 5 days - my husband's egg benedict on our last morning came out cold and dried out like it had been pre-cooked and left sitting. Disappointing as the restaurant was nearly empty but he ordered 2 other things off the menu for breakfast that morning so he was quite satisfied. We didn't try Salt this time - we were going to do it on our last night but it was quite rough and some of our group were feeling a little queasy, so we cancelled. Although it was superb last June. The Pantry is in my opinion a good option for a quick lunch or dinner. It can be tricky getting a table, but the food is tasty and never cold - not sure why people have complained about this..? The Indian curries are to die for, the Mexican made to order tacos and burritos good too and on the other side you can pick up a cheese platter to enjoy by the pool with your drinks in the afternoon. The only disappointment was desserts at the Pantry - they were mass-produced and tasteless. But generally the Pantry is good and with staff serving you over the counter it keeps wastage and hygiene in check and the staff are lovely. The ship is being well maintained - decks and railings were being re-painted and varnished during our cruise and deck chairs had new cushions rotating each day. Entertainment - there was a FANTASTIC band on board (apparently they are finishing up with P&O at the end of the year after many many years) called Alter Ego. They are 4 very talented Asian guys and they played every request the audience threw at them - from Elvis to Jimmy Barnes! They had the entire Ocean Bar up dancing on the very first night! The Gatsby party (on every cruise) in the nightclub is so much fun. Do yourselves a favour and dress up! Girls - cocktail dress and a feather headband from Lovisa... Guys - black and white trousers/shirt/tie/suspenders/hat combo... it's not hard. They had everyone up there in the nightclub with Alter Ego playing. I saw 19 year olds to 90 year olds on the dance floor. They also hand around complimentary champagne. Also go to the Gatsby dance classes earlier that day to learn the dances to do that night. I love the acoustic guitar/singing at the Oasis adults only pool/bar deck at the back of the ship every afternoon from 4pm - very chilled and relaxing. They had a more upbeat band playing around the Lido deck which suited the atmosphere there with a few children in the pool and a bit more noise around. In comparison with Carnival, who we sailed with in April this year to Tahiti, P&O do this much better. They really maximise the best out of each area and put on some great bands in appropriate areas and parties too and get everyone involved. The shows in the theatre were pretty good, on 2nd last night we had a comedian Peter Krause I'd seen before using the same material (yawn..) but the stand out was a talented trio of 3 girls from Victoria who sang songs from the 50's and 60's with a great routine going on. All the buggies were booked out so we walked around Hamilton Island shops, visited the yacht club, pool areas and beach and wandered back to the boat. Some guests did the Reefworld day trip etc but we'd been before and actually enjoyed the atmosphere at the Oasis deck on the back of the ship compared to the public pool area at Hamilton. One of our gripes with P&O is the watered down spirits and cocktails.. particularly at the pool bars.. not impressed when you are paying $9 for a rum & coke. Maybe stick to beer and wine if this is an issue. The lifts were mainly all operating well (except when they are moving guests' luggage to where it needs to go). The gym and day spa is a great area, although we didn't use it this time. Good coffee and T2 tea is available from Ocean Bar and the Ice-cream shop on the Lido deck at reasonable prices. The Grill on the Lido deck has unbelievable pulled pork burgers if you're still hungry..! All in all we had a great 4 night cruise for unbelievable value and we felt like we'd been away for a week! We were lucky with the weather until the last afternoon/night but the Captain warned us and they modified the evening's activities and most retired early to their cabins. As he predicted, at exactly 1am we entered calm water and sailed back into Brisbane. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth, hardly any waiting. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Having sailed on the Paciifc Dawn out of Brisbane last year, we wanted to save travel costs and sail from our home port in NZ. Cruise departed from Akl and have to say embarkation was much simplier and efficient in Auckland. Disembarkation ... Read More
Having sailed on the Paciifc Dawn out of Brisbane last year, we wanted to save travel costs and sail from our home port in NZ. Cruise departed from Akl and have to say embarkation was much simplier and efficient in Auckland. Disembarkation was just as painless. We had a balcony suite 10176 and was in a great spot on the ship never had any trouble with noise. Was very happy with the dining, while we spent most of our dining time in the waterfront, on the occasione we used the pantry we were very happy with the food selection. Also dined at Salt Grill on night of Gatsby party, food was fantastic and thouroughly enjoyed the very professional service from the staff who were also very accomodating when one of our party fell ill ( sea sickness). Gatsby night was a winner yet again. My only critique would be of the entertainment staff, didnt feel the same vibe and happy involvement from the crew as we did on the Dawn. Also felt the quality of bands and singers not quite at the level of those on th Dawn, with the exception of Lisa Crouch who was phenonmenal. We we all very pleased that they gave her a second show which was packed out. Service staff are the best and go out of their way to be of great service to all. As stated by others the Jewel is in need of an update as she is looking a bit tired, look forward to sailing on her again when she has a refit. Loved every port we went to, did not do any ship tours but arranged our privately. Off to cruise expo this weeknd to book the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The ship & cruise were much better than I anticipated. I researched previous PNG cruises but there was not a lot of information available. The ports were Alotau (docked) Kitava Kirawina & Conflict Island (all tender). Best to have ... Read More
The ship & cruise were much better than I anticipated. I researched previous PNG cruises but there was not a lot of information available. The ports were Alotau (docked) Kitava Kirawina & Conflict Island (all tender). Best to have PNG Kina for purchases & donations to local schools,midwives, guides etc. There were no shore excursions on Kitava & Kirawina. The locals walk a long way to from their village to the beach to see the "rich" people off the ship & the children are happy to sing & dance. All the people appreciate donations of kina & colour pencils, books, games etc for the children. We had a midship oceanview cabin on deck 6 which was good. Close to everything. The Waterfront, Angelos & Dragon Lady Restaurants were reasonable. The nightly shows were average. Staff were friendly & helpful. I have been on many different cruise lines & I would rate this ship well below Celebrity & Royal Caribbean & slightly below Princess. It is however good value for money & well above Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My in laws took the entire family 11 in total (2 seniors, 4 adults, 5 children aged 6-13) on this cruise as a birthday celebration. Embarkation was delayed for several hours to allow for extra cleaning. Once we started to line up to ... Read More
My in laws took the entire family 11 in total (2 seniors, 4 adults, 5 children aged 6-13) on this cruise as a birthday celebration. Embarkation was delayed for several hours to allow for extra cleaning. Once we started to line up to board the ship, the process was seamless and we were on-board within about 45 minutes. Our cabin was easy to find and bags were delivered not long after we arrived at our cabin. The benefit of this was we left Sydney Harbour at dusk and were able to capture some magical views of the harbour bridge, opera house and harbour as we departed. Ship The public areas were very well maintained and were constantly being cleaned. These had recently been refurbished. We had no issue with "drunks" (as mentioned in another review) from those who had the "all you can drink" option. Cabin Whilst slightly cramped for 4 (bunk beds for kids above single beds for adults) the cabins were spotlessly cleaned upon arrival and this high level of attention was maintained by the diligent room attendants throughout the entire cruise. The beds were very comfortable with a good selection of pillows. There was plenty of room for storage of suitcases once cloths were unpacked and stored in draws. The a/c was very efficient and could be adjusted as required. The bathroom while small was more than adequate and had good water pressure. We had no issues with the vacuum toilet system throughout the cruise and suspect previous "issues" were caused by people trying to flush stuff they shouldn't. Clear instructions were provided. Dining The children loved the options available from The Pantry which offered a good selection of dishes in a food court style environment. It was "hectic" at times but a table could usually be found and cleared upon request. The adults preferred the more sedate Waterfront, Dragon Lady (Asian) and Angelo's (Italian) restaurants for their menu/table service type offerings. The menus were changed and offered good selections. We purchased the soft drink packages for all children and they made the most of them. 3 or more soft drinks per day made them worthwhile. Anything less and you are better to just buy as you go (all soft drinks came from original 375ml cans). We didn't purchase the alcohol package - don't drink enough to justify them. Alcohol prices were no different for New Zealand bar prices. Tap water was perfectly fine to drink. Guests were encouraged to wash /sanitize their hands before all meals in common areas with wash/hand sanitation stations being present. There was no attendant on duty to enforce this (which mother-in-law said happened on other cruises) Entertainment & Activities The predominantly English & South African Entertainment crew had a "Hi-De-Hi" type vibe going on which was quite fitting for the roles they were undertaking. The provided very entertaining quiz’s, bingo, games sessions for all ages. Main pool was well frequented, as were the water slides (not overly scary apparently). We were always able to find a loungers/couch areas for our group to sit in. The forward adults only pool area appeared to be hardly used through the entire cruise and appeared to be the perfect place to relax (alas I never got in there) The evening shows, each lasting approx 40 minutes, were preformed at a very high standard and were thoroughly enjoyed. One of the female adults had a treatment at the Spa and rated the experience. The Flying Fox/Segway/Mechanical Bull/Climbing Wall/Walk the Plank activities could be brought as a package. There were only offered at limited times. Only paying for what you were interested in doing appeared the better alternative. There were always spaces available for the things our children wanted to do. Kids clubs were offered for various age bands. Ours decided not to attend, but it talking to the parents of those whose children who did go said they enjoyed them. Kids clubs were open to 1am, yes 1am! Service Room attendants - utterly brilliant! Wait staff - always pleasant, but appeared somewhat subservient at times, which was a shame as once they were engaged with always had an interesting story to tell. Bar Staff - great for adults, seemed to ignored children at times looking for soft drinks. Ports & Excursions Two ports required disembarkation by tender. The first day we waited an hour to get off, but still had plenty of time on the beach. We sorted ourselves on the second day, got on the first tender, and had a beach pretty much to ourselves for the first hour or so. The two beach based excursions were taken on amazing beaches with crystal clear water and good safe snorkelling at each. Snorkels & flippers could be hired on board (must be done before first day excursion but were quite pricey @$30-$40 per person. On one of the beaches you could hire snorkelling equipment for the day for $5 at it was in reasonable condition. We took our own gear. Noumea was nothing to rave about. It was Sunday and most shops were closed, the "noddy train" tour was informative and gave a good tour of the island for 1.5 hours. Best (open) shop was the French patisserie - it could have been anywhere in France! Tips 1) book your shore excursions early (even before you embark). We missed out on a desired snorkelling trip as we tried to book it to late (ie once on board after 1 day) 2) get to the evening shows early. With children, the 7pm show was our preference, and the 550 seat theatre was usually full 15 minutes before show time (there were 2,000 on board). 3) a cabin with at least a port hole would be a must I'd recommend. They are a good size and it was great to be able to have a nosey out the window. The internal cabins had little appeal. Disembarkation Slightly odd to have to put your suitcase out by 8pm the evening before disembarkation the next day at 10am (meant you had to keep some extra clothes/toiletries out. For a family holiday of 11 it was a great option. There was plenty for everyone to do if they wanted to and cost per head the numbers stack up. Would I go on a cruise again?, yip, I would Would I do that exact cruise again, Yip, I would. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The New Guinea Islands cruise came recommended by several friends (cruisers) and so we decided to forgive P & O our past experience of being on a wild party ship, and give them another chance. WOW !! We had previously sailed ... Read More
The New Guinea Islands cruise came recommended by several friends (cruisers) and so we decided to forgive P & O our past experience of being on a wild party ship, and give them another chance. WOW !! We had previously sailed several cruise lines including the Ryndam that was the ship converted to be the Aria. Stunning ! Loved the entertainers, especially the Aussie's !! Loved being entertained by Cashmere in Dragon Lady Restaurant. Everything on board was enjoyable, and P & O have certainly picked up their game. Only criticism is the lack of wet weather coverage at Brisbane Dock ....but that isn't the ship's fault...people turning up at the allocated embarkation time and NOT early would make everything work better as well. Now only weeks later, we have booked on the Eden for the Tennis Cruise in January. Can't wait. !!!!! You have been forgiven P & O!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Chose cruise because of interesting ports. Embarkation easy. cabin 9126very good.Only problem was shower taps a bit difficult to operate no big deal though. Dining room meals were good with a nice variety. The Pantry was fine if you wanted ... Read More
Chose cruise because of interesting ports. Embarkation easy. cabin 9126very good.Only problem was shower taps a bit difficult to operate no big deal though. Dining room meals were good with a nice variety. The Pantry was fine if you wanted a bigger serve you only had to ask.MUSIC was excellent Lazy Leis alter ego and jitensha were great particularly. on the last night when they all combined for agreat show on the top deck. the tender process was aproblem.Fortunately there wasnt a lot to do ashore on the islands so we waited until they said you no longer needed a number and would go ashore still had at least 2 hours to have alook around no worries.loved Kitrava island the quinticential tropical island the people were really nice. Alotua looked fairly scruffy from the ship.Took a tour from outside the wharf precint for agood price to outlying village and war relics etc good. Rabaul sama same but different. again took local tour to markets volcano etc good again.Kiriwina simlar to kitava maybe 2or3 generations ahead of K itava.Conflict Island very nice but no locals. it is owned by australian who has made it acruise destination. Have to compliment the captain for his d aily briefings most informative.likewise the talks on png history and culture .Getting off no worries Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We travelled in a group of 4 couples on this short cruise from Brisbane and had a very good time. The main entertainment was several comedy shows, some rated PG which were (usually) ok for children, and some R rated for the adult themes ... Read More
We travelled in a group of 4 couples on this short cruise from Brisbane and had a very good time. The main entertainment was several comedy shows, some rated PG which were (usually) ok for children, and some R rated for the adult themes and language. We preferred the PG rated shows, which showcased the quick minds of the comedians without the swearing. I think that the nature of the cruise meant that there were very few children on board. The shows were generally very good, and we really loved the gong show, where fellow passengers could have a crack at stand up comedy - what a surprise that was! But by far the best entertainment was the range of extremely talented musicians on board. A fabulous singer/guitarist at the Oasis setting the relaxing mood, the girl with the haunting voice at the Lido, the piano player in the Blue Room and the band (Alter Ego?) at Oceans Bar, who took requests and could play and sing anything! The musicians were all superb. Now the food - we all thought that the 'food court' style of The Pantry was a positive step up from the usual buffet and the food there was simple and tasty. It is hard to get a table here though and tables are not cleared very quickly. Breakfast at the Waterfront was pretty good, but other meals were a bit hit or miss. Angelo's (the Italian) was average and Salt was disappointing (both our fish dishes were overcooked). Service is generally slow. We were unable to get into The Dragon Lady even though we tried booking after lunch on the first day - so get in quick if you want to eat here. Drinks: Coffee is best in Oceans Bar. The mocktails were way too sweet so we ordered them with soda water to dilute them. (Refreshment package was well used). Favourite cocktail - Pink ginger cosmopolitan! Drinks seemed to be diluted later in the evening. Suggestion to management: Move the trivia to a larger venue - maybe the Dome? People were sitting on the floor! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
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