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1,386 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

We had a great cruise. The cabin staff were amazing and attention to detail was spot on. Loved the entertainment and the dance classes were so much fun. Food was amazing and the staff in the Pantry and Waterfront really looked after us. ... Read More
We had a great cruise. The cabin staff were amazing and attention to detail was spot on. Loved the entertainment and the dance classes were so much fun. Food was amazing and the staff in the Pantry and Waterfront really looked after us. We dined at the Pantry for breakfast and lunch and most dinners we ate at the Waterfront. We really enjoyed the destination and shore excursions. We enjoyed the theme nights and the game shows that were held on the ship. The entertainment crew had us laughing the whole time. We did the Mix cocktail course on the sea days between New Zealand and Hobart. That was good value. We visited the spa a couple of times and loved the pampering we got. The gym was a bit on the small side but by the end of the cruise, there was plenty of room as people didn't attend in the same numbers. Overall, we had a great time and would travel on the Jewel again if it wasn't leaving the fleet. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Sydney - Adelaide - comedy cruise - no ports. Embarkation -at Sydney International Terminal Circular Key - easily the best experience on embarkation of any cruise, very quick no fuss bag drop off and straight on-boarding (did not ... Read More
Sydney - Adelaide - comedy cruise - no ports. Embarkation -at Sydney International Terminal Circular Key - easily the best experience on embarkation of any cruise, very quick no fuss bag drop off and straight on-boarding (did not need to wait for designated time slot), very short but efficient registration with very friendly staff - thanks ladies/gents; hassle free trip on board with usual photo ops, on-board packages- spa/gym etc, our bags already delivered to our room. Ship - yes it is an older tub but to my view has been very well maintained and was very presentable with only minor signs of aging, overall was very impressed with the various venues/bars/public areas/shops etc. Particularly liked the main theater black/silver deco type theme. Public facilities all the ones used were very clean. Outside areas also appeared to be well maintained in general - only tardy area on level 12 edge/court area - showing weathering and age. This ship was much better maintained than previous vessels. Layout and size - probably not a fan of the general layout being an older design has some short comings, particularly around the Pantry area, seating and size; also not as keen on a ship this small - would probably prefer the 2000-2500 guest mark and slightly bigger size ship. Still very happy with the new experience. Entertainment/shows/activities - Comedy cruise (2nd cruise) so looking forward to the entertainment after huge disappointment on Carnival Spirit and a let down on Norwegian Jewel; was not disappointed and generally found the over 18 shows to be worthwhile and entertaining, was not a fan of all of the performers but Bob Downe and Ellen Briggs were terrific. The magician ?? Galea was also very good; didn't see any other cabaret performances - i know we missed at least one but don't know if there were others. - on board activities eg trivia etc was very enjoyable and the staff were excellent, particularly the uber funning bloke from Manchester. - tried the whisky tasting and really enjoyed the experience - but would suggest P&O try to use some different less common products in the whiskies they choose as in this case of the 4 on offer, i've tried them all in some form, so some less popularly available would be appreciated. - also opted in for the wine tasting - again great experience thanks John (happy scot) and good value, unfortunately P&O have an arrangement with the winery/vineyard on board and the tasting is only of their products, in our group one of the tasters really knows his stuff and generally the product was below par, other myself included who wouldn't have the fogyist weren't over impressed by the Hunter samples on offer and there were plenty of samples covering right across the range from whites/reds and dessert. Still worthwhile. Service - top marks to all of the staff across the ship, we had terrific service throughout with little to complain about or nothing really, sure some staff were a bit happier and smiley than others, some were finishing up when the boat reaches Singapore etc but generally all terrific. Excursions - a big NONE - water only 3 nighter down the coast around the bend and across the bottom, did have a bit of mildly rough seas on first day down to tip of Vic and maybe around the bend but nothing extreme. FOOD - P&O dropped the ball a little in this area, we were restricted to the Waterfront and Pantry as dining options along with some snacks at Ocean/blue bars and Grill. We could not get into Angelo's and heard bad reports of guests waiting up to 1hr just to order their meals - would have given it a try if available (had our names down on a waiting list). Whilst the food was generally okay - it wasn't great or memorable, we did get a couple of very good dishes at Waterfront but I've had much better on Royal Caribbean and worse on Norwegian Jewel. The breakfast menu was pretty much standard fair with smaller portions but pretty nice; toast was crap - very cold/dried out; bread rolls etc could be better; pancakes very well received; Tea/coffee hit and miss in relation to being warm/hot; the Waterfront was passable - if not great. The Pantry was very average in my view, did try some of the selections on first day and for one lunch - pretty much same fare across the cruise; dessert bar was pretty awful - really cheap crappy desserts; Salad bar - didn't actually try due to uninspiring selection (RC much, much better); tried a small croissant for early breakfast very poor inedible felt stale the small cake/muffin was alot better. Not a great bread selection, fish chips okay and very popular but fish over battered and soft not crispy - still tasted fine. Did not try the additional pay options (have on other cruises) as short cruise. Did not like the additional menu selection in the Waterfront for special selection like lobster tails you have to fork out extra cash for - seems to be a trend on cruises and one I don't like - if i want to pay extra for a special meal i'd opt to go to one of the paid venues on the boat. Think they should just offer a bigger selection on the main menu and leave off the add-ons. I'd say overall the dining experience was pretty average - certainly not tragic or terrible but could have been much better - this is a real discouragement to opting for further cruises on this line, experience with dining on Royal Caribbean and Princess was far superior; not so on the Carnival and Norwegian and this influences future choices - booked cruise in May on Royal Caribbean so hoping they live up to our expectations. Overall value for money, entertainment, amenities, service and food was pretty impressive and happy with the experience. Disembarkation - whilst a little different in 8pm bags outside room and no option to carry off your own luggage, it was again pretty flawless - meet at desiganated time at the Magestic theater, wait to be called, stroll down to level 6, swipe off and then easy luggage pick up. Train from port to Adelaide CBD waiting at dock area - short stroll, railway staff and volunteers fantastic, $10 all day public transport card for train and later tram ride out to Glenelg- what more could you want or expect. Hats off to P&O just a fantastic onboarding and off boarding experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Our first P&O cruise was wonderful, This cruise was a special Anniversary for us and being at Christmas we thought it would be extra special. All of it was a complete & utter let down the buffet food was just not up to standard ... Read More
Our first P&O cruise was wonderful, This cruise was a special Anniversary for us and being at Christmas we thought it would be extra special. All of it was a complete & utter let down the buffet food was just not up to standard over cooked, not hot enough, especially the dessert section all of it was just synthetic tasteless crap, if you chose a hot dessert it would always be cold with lukewarm custard. Also no turkey on Christmas Day WHAT!! Waterfront Restaurant could never book a table for the early session, the food again disappointing one of the main meals (steak) couldn't eat it tough as old boots, no Christmas atmosphere whatsoever. All the trips were booked up, we were told we could have booked online beforehand we weren't told this. Entertainment what entertainment? a few name that tune evenings, The bingo was the hi light because of Mathew. I think this has completely put us off cruises, such a waste of money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Second cruise (First was also Explorer). Cruised wih my 5yo and myself. Cabin: 9205 Window cabin with unobstructed view, and a queen bed. This room had more than enough space for our 2x suitcases and drawer space for all our clothes. ... Read More
Second cruise (First was also Explorer). Cruised wih my 5yo and myself. Cabin: 9205 Window cabin with unobstructed view, and a queen bed. This room had more than enough space for our 2x suitcases and drawer space for all our clothes. The suitcases could fit under the bed, but there was plenty of space in the wardrobe for them to stand in so no need. Tv and fridge in room were used daily and both great. My 5yo packed a few toys and there was plenty of space for him to play with them on the ground in our room while watching tv in the evening. Ship: Becuase we done the Chrsitmas cruise, the ship was decorated beautifully with Christmas trees / decorations / gingerbread houses all over the place. We even had fake snow! Food – The Pantry: Food wasn’t too bad. Lots of options to choose from. Only ate at the Pantry during lunch time, so no comment for breakfast or dinner. It wasn’t easy trying to find seating, so that was annoying. Waterfront: Mainly ate here. Could not fault the food. Breakfast menu was the same every day, but enough options to choose something different every day if you liked. Lunch and dinner menus different every day. I enjoyed all of my meals at Waterfront. Dragon Lady: Went once, and never got around to going again. Not bad. Lukes: Yummy burgers and fries. Although you must pay, it is a nice area to sit and watch over the pool area or while a movie is on. Shell and Bones: Beautiful food (extra charge). This is just a sectioned off part of The Pantry, so it doesn’t feel very ‘restauranty’. Angelos: Did not use so no comment Entertainment: Attended four (free) shows in the Marquee, with every single one of them being amazing. The entertainers on board do a fantastic job! I was early to each show, so had no problem finding seats, but it does fill up fast. P&O Edge / Waterslides - did not use so no comment. Kids entertainment: Turtle cove – my son absolutely LOVED it. He would stay there all day every day if I let him. They had so much for the kids to do: face painting, games, songs, play stations, dancing, acting, everything. Service: AMAZING. Room stewards go above and beyond, always there if you need something or have a question. They make the kids feel welcome in an unfamiliar place. Bar staff everywhere I could not fault. Always greeting everyone with a big smile. Waiters in the Waterfront always lovey. Other passengers: A great mix of families / elderly / 20-30 year olds. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There is always a few disgruntled passengers, but it’s easy to ignore them! Money: Used Aussie dollars on all islands. I would recommend changing big notes ($50, $20) at reception on the ship to smaller notes before going on the islands. Islands – Noumea: Bought the hop on hop off bus ticket once we got off the ship. Spent the day at Lemon bay beach which was clean, beautiful with plenty of trees for shade. Lifou: Spent a few hours at the beach the tenders dropped us off at. Nothing spectacular, stayed a few hours and then went back to the ship for lunch. Port Vila: Booked an all day tour via Facebook. (Blue Lagoon Bus Tours). Our stops included Blue Lagoon, Rarru waterfalls, Mele beach bar for lunch and drinks, and then duty free before heading back to the ship. This tour was a 10/10. Would book again! Mystery Island: Spent all day at the beach. The most beautiful island we have been to. You don’t even need diving gear to see the fish swimming around the coral. Markets were amazing, and the locals were all beautiful people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I was warned, I read the reviews however for whatever reason still decided to book a cruise due to the convenience. A major reason for this was the fact we live on the Gold Coast and it's only a short drive to the terminal in Brisbane ... Read More
I was warned, I read the reviews however for whatever reason still decided to book a cruise due to the convenience. A major reason for this was the fact we live on the Gold Coast and it's only a short drive to the terminal in Brisbane Queensland. Someone mentioned prior to the cruise that the Dawn was like a floating RSL but I've never been in an RSL that was as dirty or staff as rude as the Pacific Dawn. As we're ushered on through an area reminiscent of an oldSydney Ferry, we were quickly encouraged to move through to our rooms while navigating our way through a barrage of sales desk selling one thing or another. Imagine our shock to finally arrive to our balcony room on the 10th floor to be greated by a bed that had been tidied however had blood stains and hair across its blankets and pillows, a bathroom that had discarded toothpaste in the sink, hair in the shower as well as used towels. What a way to start a holiday! I now know why they refer to it as like no place on Earth because I'd doubt you'd find another $400 a night room like it anywhere in the world. While there were a few exceptional staff members most would be more suited working outside of the hospitality industry as they couldn't even be bothered to greet you as you approached a bar or food area. One waiter brought my breakfast out without key ingredients and plonked it on the table without any explanation why it was incomplete. Further investigation established they had run out but no alternative was mentioned when ordered. Last but by no means the least, for a cruise liner plagued by reports of serious illness aboard, you can imagine my surprise when i saw a tablehand drop the cloth they were using to wipe down tables on the floor only to pick it up and continue to wipe down tables people used to eat meals on adjacent to the Pizza bar. Just shows how little regard they have for the well-being of their passengers regardless how good their brochures look. It's ultimately a slick marketing company getting paid the big bucks to turn this mutton into lamb! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My partner and i were given this cruise as a birthday gift from my daughters. Because we didn’t choose it, we looked for reviews on the Pacific Aria and found a lot if negatives. Well we couldn’t fault it. Embarkation and ... Read More
My partner and i were given this cruise as a birthday gift from my daughters. Because we didn’t choose it, we looked for reviews on the Pacific Aria and found a lot if negatives. Well we couldn’t fault it. Embarkation and disembarkation were so easy and quick. Luggage to our rooms were quick. We love the Ocean Bar on deck 8. We spent most of our time there. They did Trivia a couple of times a day. They had karaoke every night. The entertainment crew were terrific, especially Jeffersen, Megan and Georgie. Jeffersen was fantastic at bingo. He made it so fun. The Sideshow Alley show was our favourite but also enjoyed the others. Our favourite free restaurants were The Dragon Lady snd The Waterfront. Didn’t like Angelos. The pantry was great for quick meals that could be taken and eaten anywhere. We didn’t get to go to Airlie Beach becsuse of a cyclone. We had a tour booked, but was refunded immediately to our onboard credit. We were given a letter regarding the cyclone as sokn as we boarded and had announcements by the Captain on a few occasions informing us of the situation. Never felt scared at all. Lived, loved, loved the Aria and all the staff 10/10 Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
What a wonderful time!! The food, the service, the entire experience - from start to finish - we loved it all! Even though it was our first cruise and we were told by some others that there were fancier cruises out there, for us it was ... Read More
What a wonderful time!! The food, the service, the entire experience - from start to finish - we loved it all! Even though it was our first cruise and we were told by some others that there were fancier cruises out there, for us it was just spot on. Be sure to read the TIPS below for some helpful hints re:this ship, but the following might answer some general questions. The staff? So helpful, friendly - just such lovely people - from servers, waiters, entertainers, activity hosts, security - they just made the cruise so special for you. The food? The Pantry had great offerings - and this from fussy eaters. Additionally, three great, included restaurants provided an up-market pace. The Dragon Lady offering a range of Asian cuisine from different countries was a fave. Irrespective of venue, the service was was wonderful and helpings were endless. We didn't try the non-included restaurants as we just didn't see the need, but a fellow cruiser raved about the Salt Grill. The crowds? There were families and kids on board but we didn't often see or hear many youngsters; same as there our fair share of baby boomer / grey nomads, but they seemed to party just as hard as their younger counterparts! I think the ship was pretty full but we didn't notice - the occasional wait for a barista coffee, but everything else was reasonable. The entertainment/activities? There seemed lots to do for all ages - sample pages from Good Times pic attached. Towel Animal Parade was a huge surprise (pic attached), as were the Sit-Down Comedy shows (definite crowd pleasers, some R18+ and ID checked). Production shows pretty good; trivia; activities; etc. Plenty to do!! Prices? We were amazed how reasonable things were - $4/$5 for barista coffee & frappe's, lots of cocktails for $12 (some $15-$17), $6.50-$8 for a beer, it was even cheaper for the NZ ice-cream on-board than it was on land in Cairns! All except - bottled water - that was ridiculous, and the photos were expensive, but they were very professional and looked it, so, probably cheaper than land prices. TIPS - water and tea/coffee stations available 24/7 - take a travel mug &/or water bottle so you can take drinks easily from the Pantry back to your room or around the ship; - different spa vouchers & offers were given to rooms daily through out the cruise (most days) - fill out the free raffle tickets in your embarkation booklet but for the spa ticket only tick the areas you actually might use (not what you are 'interested in'); - consider the drinks package - although prices are reasonable, you just tend to drink more than you normally would (even/especially non-alcoholic ones); - check what times tours are leaving so that you can avoid those times yourself for getting on/off at ports; and take a back pack / bag when you go - if taking food off the ship and they see it you're up for hassles - most evening show times tend to be 7pm & 9pm so if booking restaurants consider accordingly - most shows went for ~45 mins - If queuing for a show, level 7 starboard door tended to open first; - don't go early, or late, for safety drill - just when told to do so to save unnecessary waiting; - bring a lanyard for your cruise card (one that can detach at the end easily to hand over your card for swiping); - using the cash kiosks was quick and easy - you can keep an eye on your account via the app available through their intranet - hassle free and no charging to cards, even when checking out, no dramas! - level 6 has the best laundry, all use $1 coins - plus our room had plenty of hangers and a line over the shower; and - check the deck plans carefully if selecting cabins - deck 6 had windows out to the walking track so curtains would have to be kept closed most times; dis/embarking occurred deck 3 & 5 so choose carefully if considering as queuing occurred outside many of these cabins; smokers are outside on deck 6, mid-ship/aft starboard side; deck 10 has restaurant, etc., above and can be noisy; deck 9 was fantastic. Mid-ship best for minimal noise (I'd keep away from stairs/lifts). Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We choose this cruise because was relatively cheap and great for short break. Pretty much everything was mediocre. Food very ordinary. The pantry was boring with the same food each morning. Desert station was good. The main ... Read More
We choose this cruise because was relatively cheap and great for short break. Pretty much everything was mediocre. Food very ordinary. The pantry was boring with the same food each morning. Desert station was good. The main restaurant wasn’t any better. We had really bad weather and there was not much information or updates. Never seen The Captain and I think I heard his voice twice during our 4 days cruise. Entertainment didn’t met my expectations until last night where everybody was enjoying good, old rock’roll. Cabin was old with very firm bed and worn flat pillows. Decor was very ordinary in need of updating. There was not enough attention from the crew towards people who were sick during the really rough sea. The cabin crew on the other hand was very helpful,polite and friendly. Cruising on Pacific Jewel was my first experience with P & O . Never again on Pacific Jewel! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We choose this cruise because it was our Wedding Anniversary on the 8/12 & Ship departed from Melbourne. Speciality dining & Elimis Day Spa were the highlights. Main dining horrible. For b’fast we ordered Smoked Salmon ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was our Wedding Anniversary on the 8/12 & Ship departed from Melbourne. Speciality dining & Elimis Day Spa were the highlights. Main dining horrible. For b’fast we ordered Smoked Salmon & got tin food. OJ was just a cordial. Buffet food wasn’t a buffet at all, serving stations. Stir fry with chunks of cabbage & green capsicum, over cooked pasta. No entertainment near the pool at all. Evening show, like a school play. During the day only Trivia’s,Bingo & cooking show. Where was the Captain? On disembarking day we literally had to be dragged out at 0700am from our cabin. Not like other cruises. Disorganized disembarkion process, looked like stampede. All 3 days were very boring. Ship’s asking 4 a dramatic renovation & just say ‘Goodbye’ . We cruised before & P&O was our first cruise. Very disappointing experience. Would never sail with P&O or Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Last minute decision. Booked Thursday leave Friday as price was good. Little slow boarding, but no problems were dropped off in car park. Once on board went to room to discover had been set up for 4 people not a double! Staff said ... Read More
Last minute decision. Booked Thursday leave Friday as price was good. Little slow boarding, but no problems were dropped off in car park. Once on board went to room to discover had been set up for 4 people not a double! Staff said they would fix it, two bags in front of door for people unknown but with our room number on them? Anyways it was fixed later in evening, so all good except no face washers or tissues and cupboards door falling off and cupboards full of blankets etc... Cyclone Owen caused lots of high swells for few days and strong winds which meant we missed Hamilton Island. Made it into Cairns for an overnight stay. It's amazing how the cruise lines ( all of them) can arrange arrival times that make you miss by 5 minutes any chance of getting onto an outer reef trip unless you book onboard at $60 more than price ashore. AND ship leaves next day one hour before outer reef trips return to Cairns....amazing... Wet weather meant the Kuranda Rail was not running for the two days we were in port. Willis Island visit was good and sunny, interesting. Ship activities were the usual, however, the trivia was won by same group of retired woman 95% of the time ( even music trivia etc ), obviously they always do it as ship crew knew the names of the woman. It really sucks, and most people were cheesed off big time. Food at Pantry was good as usual - with the usual being sometimes cold food and overcooked bacon etc to watch out for. But variety was good. Italian and Asian restaurants were also good, but booking can sometimes be difficult especially for last few days. Waterfront didn't try as too many past experiences of slow service and crap food. Entertainment staff were generally good and Cruise Director Kabir was young but very dedicated and tech. savvy, He said he was Canadian with Indian ( as with India ) parents, he loved dressing with smart Indian attire. Dancers and guests performers were very good, no complaints there. Ship is well setup ( past Holland America Ship) and rooms are good size. Theatre is a bad setup at top level, the seats stick into your back and you cannot see the stage very well unless you are in the front. Downstairs is OK. Wine is a rip off ( minimum $9.50 a glass) , beer is average cost ( from $6). There was no bargains at the shops, everything was well overpriced including alcohol at same price you could buy it at BWS or any outlet in Australia. ( Price is half when ship goes to Port Vila ). Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The public areas on the ship were very nicely decorated. It never felt crowded and there was always plenty of spaces to sit. I loved the Bonded Store and the Blue room, very nice bars to have a quiet drink in. The food in the restaurant is ... Read More
The public areas on the ship were very nicely decorated. It never felt crowded and there was always plenty of spaces to sit. I loved the Bonded Store and the Blue room, very nice bars to have a quiet drink in. The food in the restaurant is average, but that seems to be case on all cruise lines now, cutting back costs. The Pantry was the same. I do find P&O to be the worst for additional charges, other lines, include pizza, ice cream and hamburgers for free, and at every meal the menu shows additional items that can be bought. It was a comedy cruise and I was surprised and horrified that on the last evening the comedy show, which should have been free, you had to purchase tickets. Entertainment is supposed to be included in your cruise fare, bad move P&O. The staff on the ship were very good. Embarkation and disembarkation were very quick and smooth. I was disappointed that standards have dropped, in the dining room, short and thongs was acceptable for the evening meal, really? We had sailed on the Eden before but found this ship much nicer and not as crowded. The cabins are showing their age and are in need of a refit. Shopping was disappointing, high end shops with no one in them. The cruise director Zoltena J, I only saw once, and at best she only does the trivia, I think she should work harder and put more daytime entertainment and activities on. On most ships, you see the captain walking around, not on this cruise, only heard from him once and that was at the safety drill. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I have a medical condition which prevents me from flying, so my wife and I decided to try this cruise as a test - if we can't fly, we'll float. The only real criteria for the selection was that it was from Brisbane and we could ... Read More
I have a medical condition which prevents me from flying, so my wife and I decided to try this cruise as a test - if we can't fly, we'll float. The only real criteria for the selection was that it was from Brisbane and we could book at short notice. The on-line booking process was very slick and loads of information provided - apart from anything that was actually happening on the cruise.... We had booked a suite so had priority boarding which went very smoothly. However the baggage tags were just paper. The P&O attendants at the terminal were very nice (they seem to employ everyone's grandmother for some reason) and the one we got stapled the absolute bejeezus out of the tags to reduce the risk of them getting torn off. So we waved our bags off in a pair - saw mine again about five minutes after we got to our suite and inexplicably my wife's about 3 hours after that. We were grateful as a number of other guests had theirs fail to turn up at all due to the tags being ripped off. Note to P&O - stick the hands deeper into the pockets and invest in tags they use at airports. More about the baggage later... The Princess Dawn has seen too many I'm afraid. There was nothing wrong with our suite except it has seen an awful lot of people. Clean, but worn smooth and a vague feeling you were staying in a Motor Inn somewhere in country NSW. Our stewards were very attentive and added a lot of touches through the four days - fruit in the room, nice little quotes on the mirror and a towel fashioned into a penguin (complete with googly eyes). The bathroom was functional decorated in grey marble which would have been fine if it had been a morgue. BUT loads of water pressure and the hot water was hot. There was a mystery puddle which seemed to manifest itself out of the wall, so we just kept throwing a towel over it and hoped it would go away. The bed was comfy with nice pillows. The balcony was OK, though it looked like it had been painted by someone with a nervous condition because it was everywhere - floor, furniture, door etc. The rest of ship was a larger example of the room - OK, but dated. It was like being trapped in an RSL club for four nights and surrounded by water. The meals from the Pantry were OK and the range was OK. I'm sure you're picking up the theme here - it was OK, as long as you don't expect too much. The front-line staff were excellent and were trying very hard to make up for the ship's many faults and failings. We heard a few horror stories - there were the people that paid for a suite which was perfect in every-way except the lack of air conditioning, so they were sleeping in another cabin in steerage. The people next to us had a faulty toilet which was proving difficult to fix. We know this because we heard a superheated exchange between her and ship's reception through the incredibly thin suite walls. Do not discuss or do anything you don't want to share with your ship mates! The entertainment and bars were all OK (there's that word again). So back to the bags. We were not aware that bags were collected at dinner time on the last night, so had to hurriedly buy an overnight bag to put our jammies in when we got off. You also had to tag you bags again (you guessed it - paper). Your bag is allocated a mysterious number (ours was 2). Which equated to a spot in the terminal shed where your bag might be. It wasn't. This phase of the trip was probably the most unpleasant. Imagine a shed with 1500 people with little sleep and hangovers, 3000 bags (some without tags) and the grandmother's shouting contradictory instructions and waving toward a mountain of bags. Airports do it so much better... Anyway, by some miracle we found our bags in two different spots and made our escape. SO - would we cruise again ? Most likely. Would we cruise with P&O ? Perhaps, depending on the cruise - would ask a lot more penetrating questions next time round. Also heed the title - you get what you pay for. This was value for money if you remember what you paid. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
A 4 day mini cruise from Melbourne to EDEN (NSW) and it was good. Food was OK. We ate mainly in the MDR Waterfront and there were no complaints. A small serve of one dish I had and the waiter offered to bring another serve or another ... Read More
A 4 day mini cruise from Melbourne to EDEN (NSW) and it was good. Food was OK. We ate mainly in the MDR Waterfront and there were no complaints. A small serve of one dish I had and the waiter offered to bring another serve or another choice. Had breakfast at the buffet and that was OK but annoyed that some people during busy times were just sitting at a table staring out to sea and not eating. . Wanted to do SALT again (did this 12 months prior and was really good) but at $59 extra perhead, my group said a firm NO. We are paying for Dinner anyway so P&O missed out on many passengers visiting. Sorry Luke Mangan, not your fault and missed your famous Licorice Parfait. Cabin OK for 4 nights, liked the bigger shower compared to Princess. Room Stewards so good but amazed at the number of cabin they have to do in a shift. Entertainment was good, tap dancing quartet were excellent. All in all, OK cruise, Different star rating to Princess so can't compare there. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this series of Cruises as a cost effective way to increase the number of cruise nights for status recognition with Princess Cruises working towards Elite. We are based in Melbourne but flew to Sydney for a Comedy cruise to ... Read More
We chose this series of Cruises as a cost effective way to increase the number of cruise nights for status recognition with Princess Cruises working towards Elite. We are based in Melbourne but flew to Sydney for a Comedy cruise to Melbourne, then Melbourne-Eden-Melbourne, then Melbourne-Hobart-Kangaroo Island-Melbourne (total 13 night). We were expecting a 3* experience and that and a little more was delivered. The Public rooms of the ship have been refurbished and are very pleasant to spend time in and the Waterfront MDR has a more intimate feel than the larger MDR's we have experienced. Ocean view Cabin (9182) was spacious for two, Cabin stewards very friendly, accommodating and responsive to ad hoc requests. Cabin cleaned well. MDR service varied between very good and below average with food OK, depending who the table staff were. Food was average compared to other cruise lines with less variety (reduced variety expected in selecting these cruises) Live Music was very good with a standard range of free activities (We didn't try any of the Edge Activities at an extra cost) Speciality restaurant (Salt) offered better quality food and attentive service but were pricey compared to other cruise lines ($AU 59 per head, wine extra) We have booked 3 short B2B cruises again for similar reasons as we took these cruises Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Recently back from a cruise to NZ, Booking process terrible, no choice of deck, no choice of room and wasnt able to upgrade. Our cabin was very small and was directly above the band in the Explorer Hotel, we had music in our cabin till ... Read More
Recently back from a cruise to NZ, Booking process terrible, no choice of deck, no choice of room and wasnt able to upgrade. Our cabin was very small and was directly above the band in the Explorer Hotel, we had music in our cabin till late every night. When I asked to be relocated to another cabin I was given a bottle of wine and told there were no other cabins which was a lie as a another passenger was given another cabin after a domestic blue. Menu choices have been reduced with items requiring payment added to menus Generally food was good, Angelos was very good, the food in the Pantry was ok but some dishes were only luke warm and the desert selection consisted mainly of cakes and custard. This was my fourth cruise with P&O and will be my last, I must add that the first three cruises were excellent but the standard has slipped. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
As a family we have cruised on 3 previous occasions. The 1st time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Eden', the 2nd time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Aria', the 3rd time was on Carnival Cruise Lines 'Carnival ... Read More
As a family we have cruised on 3 previous occasions. The 1st time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Eden', the 2nd time was on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Aria', the 3rd time was on Carnival Cruise Lines 'Carnival Spirit', and finally this time on P&O Cruises 'Pacific Explorer'. The cruise-liner I'm reviewing today (P&O Cruises 'Pacific Explorer') is by far the most outdated ship we have traveled on to-date. It was previously known as P&O Dawn Princess and was supposedly refurbished in 2017, but most of the common areas feel worn down and dated. Apart from the extremely small rooms and dilapidated common areas, it features eight restaurants (including the all-day eating area known as 'The Pantry'), four swimming pools, five spas, seven lounges and bars, and two places to look after children. See the cabin review below for further details. For entertainment it also has a water slide, a zip-line, a 'walk-the-plank', and you can do the 'Titanic experience', as well as things like a rock-climbing wall. Whilst the ship itself feels out-dated, the service from the staff was second to none - they could not bend over far enough to help make the cruise an enjoyable one, which is good, because without them I'd be rating the experience as 1 out of 5 stars.... with the staff I can give it a solid 3 out of 5 stars..... I'd still rate Carnival Cruise Lines 'Carnival Spirit' as the best in its class out of the 4 ships I've been on. The review is apples for apples - we have chosen a Balcony cabin on all 4 cruises. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We travelled on the Dawn Princess ,Pacific Explorer a few Times before she became the Explorer . We had to have a look what she was like after the Refurbishing in 2017 ! Dining Rooms lost their Charm . Waterfront looks like a Container ... Read More
We travelled on the Dawn Princess ,Pacific Explorer a few Times before she became the Explorer . We had to have a look what she was like after the Refurbishing in 2017 ! Dining Rooms lost their Charm . Waterfront looks like a Container Dining Room , with Food to match . Items on the Menu , when they came to the Table could not be Identified as the Item you ordered . Garden fresh Vegetables was a term used on the Menu ,yet on most Dishes we ordered they could not be found on the Plate . After alternating between Dragon Lady and Waterfront for 3 Days ,we gave the Dining Rooms a miss ,and went to the Pantry where you could see what you where eating ! Most Upgrades in the Public Areas were ok .Some were obvious Money generating changes , we did not use .We could not Comment on them . Food in the Pantry was fine . The best Idea was that Passengers could not serve themselves .What happened after the Food got to the Table is a different Story . Cleanliness in the Dining Room and Pantry left a lot to be desired . It is either Lack of Staff or inadequate Training causing these Problems . Entertainment in the Marquee Was excellent !Cruise Director and her Programm to entertain Guests very good . Except for Love Riot ,deserves to be Kiel hauled !! Embarkation went Fine , Disembarkation not so .Could have been because Tent Disembarkation set up . The Ship and Cabin were fine , Shower Cubicle a bit Tired ,Floor does look a bit worn ! Service was excellent , Except for lack of Staff during Rush Hour at Pantry ! Tender Services a little shoddy ,but you can always blame the Wind. We will not go with P&O again ! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I have always wanted to go to New Zealand and after half a dozen domestic cruises with P&O I decided cruising was the way to go. With 6 sea days and 1 different ports it was a great mix of sightseeing and the usual cruise fun. I am ... Read More
I have always wanted to go to New Zealand and after half a dozen domestic cruises with P&O I decided cruising was the way to go. With 6 sea days and 1 different ports it was a great mix of sightseeing and the usual cruise fun. I am in my 40's and cruised with my Mother so we definitely have different opinions and wanted different things but found we usually agreed. We left from Sydney (a first for me), at White Bay. The facilities were ok, the staff helpful and embarkation was fabulous. We had a noon boarding time but the process went really smoothly and we were on the ship by 11.45. The ship was great, the public areas really well done, clean and modern. Had all the facilities we needed & really liked the Explorer Bar but was rarely enough seating when 'things' were on, could have included more without being cramped. I think the Marquee should also be bigger ideally but having Black Circus at least gives other options. Minor grumble is that you cant get waiter service in the Marquee and the bar next door (Explorer) can be bedlam at times, so go to another bar and bring your drift with you. Blue Room seems under utilised but nice, and the cocktail classes were fun! It was great to have areas where you can chill (loved the window seats) the atrium was a great meeting spot. Have to admit that now and again on certain decks (mainly lower) there was a smell of sewerage which I had read about previously but it wasn't often, and not that bad. Room wise we had a balcony and it was great to have but I think it reduced the cabin size though as space was a premium. Definitely adequate and had all the essentials but I'm glad there wasn't 4 adults in the room (just 2). Our steward was awesome, nothing was too much trouble! Really helpful to have a fridge too. The entertainment team was fabulous - I am in love with Marius (LOL) and Zoltina J is just great. Went to the majority of the shows in the Marquee, really well done even if not all my type of thing. The last nigh Lip Synch Battle had to be a highlight. Also went to 2 lecture series. The first was by Mark McCreadie (ex-police dog handler & author) which was great, loved the stories and the message. The second was presented by Alex (from the Entertainment Crew) about the personal story behind the Titanic. This was unbelievable and on the last seminar, people were in tears as Alex did such a wonderful job. He as articulate, passionate, knowledgeable and completely enthralled me. Trivia was fun and there was plenty to do should you wish too. We did do the Love Riot show (including the dinner) one night. The dinner was nice, great value at $39 and the show enjoyable but had seen better. The performers were really amazing, really clever but it did seem all a bit haphazard - no particular story to tie it together. I was aware it was 18+ and there was some nudity which doesn't worry me at all but wasn't really sure why it was there? Didn't use the pools, slides or Edge at all but they weren't overly crowded. Lounges could be hard to find sometimes but there was usually other options in the adult only Oasis or Sanctuary which was good. To say it was right on the commencement of school holidays I was surprised by how few kids I saw. Another experience we had was the Luke Mangan Degustation dinner which I think was $110pp. This was lovely and would definitely recommend it. With 7 courses, each with wine we were spoilt. The food was amazing, the 2 waiters did a great job and after over 3 hours+ hours we were full of good company, unbelievable food & possibly a tiny bit tipsy. Regarding other food options: * We did Waterfront for dinner a few time, nice food, never cold and good service but after a while the menu does get monotonous. We never used it for lunch and only once for breakfast. * The Pantry was pretty good, some dishes better then others but usually nice, warm and with some variety. Can be hard to find a spot and missed having a bigger external area where you could sit if you wish. * Went to Angelo's and Dragon Lady only once. Dragon Lady I found dark, with no atmosphere. The food was good and nicely presented but not my type of food. Angelo's was a disappointment (food was bland, Lamb Shank really fatty - but other people we met loved it) so didn't go back. * Luke's (Burger Bar on Deck 14) was good and although its not free, its good value. We used it a few time and was great to look over the pool or watch a movie while having a drink & dinner. * 400 Gradi on Deck 8 looked great but we never ate there. It was hard to locate as often you couldn't get in and only later found out that you must use the glass lifts in the atrium (and my Mum not great with lots of stairs) - something for next time. * Charlie (Café) as nice, awesome cakes but the coffee was never fabulous (anywhere in the ship actually). Would be great to have a second café on the pool deck like Pacific Dawn does. * Shell & Bones - never got there but had eaten there previously and was looking forward to it but ran out of time. Overall the service was also good all around. Reception were really helpful and most of the staff in the bards & dining rooms were polite, helpful etc. Entertainment crew must get tired smiling all the time LOL but they were upbeat , fun and seem to really love their job. The Captain was great especially when we encountered really rough sea for 24 hrs on our way home, having updates was really helpful and the daily catch up was good. Disembarkation was fairly smooth. We had booked a transfer on board to get to the airport upon our return which was good value at $20 pp. We had an early start and was at our designated spot on time by 6.50am but was a little miffed that we then had to wait for 45 mins without any info as to why the delay but it didn't affect us much. Finding our bags in a mad house of luggage was interesting, some more signage would be helpful but still found our bags quickly and were on the bus in plenty of time. With 3 ships is port in White Bay that morning I was surprised it all went pretty well. I will do a separate review on the shore tours or this will be a novel but have to say there was plenty to choose, some a little overpriced but not all and enjoyed them all. Hope this is helpful. Pacific Explorer may not be as 'posh' as some other cruise likes in Australia but its great value, a lovely ship and staff on board are very proud of P&O. You will have a great holiday if you just give it a go! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise as a family and for the Ports....Airley Beach....Cairns and Willis Island. The stop overs were fantastic... no complaints there...food on the cruise was average except for Angelo's which was to die for...having to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a family and for the Ports....Airley Beach....Cairns and Willis Island. The stop overs were fantastic... no complaints there...food on the cruise was average except for Angelo's which was to die for...having to purchase food in the dining room for indulgences such as lobster tail or sirloin steak for $29 was a joke....I have never experience this with any other cruise line...The pantry was humid and basketball court above it sounded like a game was in progress in the pantry itself. I challenge anyone to try and get a glass or a mixed drink with coke...seems the crew have been told there is only pepsi on board....not true! A shortage of duty free alcohol and smokes on board...sorry but we missed a delivery????? I have cruised a number of times before and am ashamed at what we produce as Australians.......I am an average Aussie and have cruised happily for many years with other cruise lines without complaint but will never cruise with P & O again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Booked two Suite cabins #11117 and #11116 - Cabin was ok but a little dated - clean and reasonable size - bed was comfortable, but pillows cheap and hard. Cabin attendants were really good. When you book a suite with P&O you have no ... Read More
Booked two Suite cabins #11117 and #11116 - Cabin was ok but a little dated - clean and reasonable size - bed was comfortable, but pillows cheap and hard. Cabin attendants were really good. When you book a suite with P&O you have no recognition or any worthwhile benefits at all and certainly don't feel like a VIP. They need to take note of what Royal Caribbean do for guests who book suite's. We were suppose to have priority boarding, but apparently there was a wedding party that they decided had priority above suite guests. It started to rain and only when bitterly complaining (as i had my mother in a wheel chair outside) that they finally allowed us in to register and board. The common areas were over crowded at all times (except when we docked at Airlie Beach) and you could never get seats around the pool. Dining areas were also way overcrowded (what i would refer to as a pig trough) and constantly bumping into people and queuing for meals. It would take nearly 20 minutes or more to get a meal then line up to get a drink at the bar - by then my food was cold. Food on the whole was really average and in some cases disgusting. The main restaurant was really old, boring and nothing more than a Coles cafeteria. If your disabled and in a wheelchair then forget it as it's so not wheelchair friendly. Had so much trouble pushing the wheelchair around and doors that were constantly closed made it impossible. Even corridors that seemed blocked all the time, which meant i had to go all the way back and around the ship. Lifts were a real pain and spent so much time waiting to get to different levels on the ship. Entertainment and activities were just average. I would never step foot on another P&O cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Having travelled on Norwegian, RCL and Holland America in the past 4 years, we did a trip within a trip and went on the Melbourne Cup cruise - a 6 day cruise from Sydney to Melbourne, 3 days in port there, and back. Having read some ... Read More
Having travelled on Norwegian, RCL and Holland America in the past 4 years, we did a trip within a trip and went on the Melbourne Cup cruise - a 6 day cruise from Sydney to Melbourne, 3 days in port there, and back. Having read some horrible reviews, I have to tell you first off that our toilets did not clog, the AC/heat (we needed both) worked, and basic needs were met. The restaurants were fine, not as many lux ingredients, ie no smoked salmon, but good on the whole. We ate at both Angelos and Dragon Lady as well as Waterfront and the Pantry. The oceanview cabin had a comfortable bed but a very distressing bathtub, the highest I have encountered in a long time, making getting in and out of the shower dangerous and difficult, especially with a little ocean movement. Who needs it? The security getting on in Melbourne was ridiculous. Knee replacements set off the machine each time, and I was thoroughly wanded as well as everything put through xray each and every time. No other line has been so anal. And what is with the boarded up gates at the Melbourne dock making it necessary to walk from the bow of the ship all the way to the back to go through a gate, then back the full length of the ship to get to the port opening? Then on the third day, the boarded up gates are opened, so you can get right on and off without walking 2 ship lengths. Take pity on us who have difficulty and pain walking, when there is a shortcut. There was never anyone in charge in this area, just people doing what they were told to do and nothing more. I was not disappointed in the cruise; the views of Sydney Harbor coming and going was worth a lot. But a little more attention to detail and someone in charge with common sense would have helped. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
In one of the the three restaurants. The Menu offered Beef Cheeks. What was served was Ox tongue. Lots of gravy didn't conceal the fact the it wasn't Beef Cheeks. Didn't send it back as we had other commitments ... Read More
In one of the the three restaurants. The Menu offered Beef Cheeks. What was served was Ox tongue. Lots of gravy didn't conceal the fact the it wasn't Beef Cheeks. Didn't send it back as we had other commitments and the Serving Staff were very busy. Perhaps too busy! At the Pantry. The Menu was offering a Pork and Peppers Roll for lunch. What was handed out was a ham and salad roll. Questioning didn't do any good. At the Restaurants. One person only looking after the orders of many waiters at the main despatching point for the Restaurants.. Result. Long delays for drinks. The persons serving have no idea of the need to serve beer and wine that has been chilled properly and not put in the fridge just before dinner. Getting a glass for beer is another issue that leads to even longer delays. The waiting time meant that the food was served and going cold before the drinks came. (Talking about 15 to 20 minutes) Even complaining to the Supervisor did not resolve the issue as insufficient staff at the serving point. Serving of wine and water at the table. Training needs to happen so that staff do not 'slop' the wine and water over the sides of the glasses and the table. Being dressed up to enjoy the evening is a pleasing aspect of dining but having wine and water dripping onto clothes is a real issue. The "Smokers" are a real problem outside the Dome. The wind blows the stale smoke into the 'smoke free' space as the automatic doors just keep opening when anyone is near the Lifts. The Lifts are mostly 'Under Maintenance' so waiting ends up the 'norm' with unacceptable time frames. Very annoying when needing to move handicapped and elderly to other decks. These are the reasons for rating Dining as "Poor". Toilets are an issue near the Swimming Pool as they are often have wet floors and poorly maintained with simple items like paper. There is an issue with the toilets in most of the public areas. The 'Kids Club" was excellent. The Adventure Program was great. The Gym was fine. The engagement with the various staff running the entertainment was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I have not cruised with P&O Australia in 3 years and last sailed with Pacific Dawn. When the opportunity to sail onboard the Pacific Aria presented itself my dad and I could not resist. This review will be a little lengthy but to ... Read More
I have not cruised with P&O Australia in 3 years and last sailed with Pacific Dawn. When the opportunity to sail onboard the Pacific Aria presented itself my dad and I could not resist. This review will be a little lengthy but to summarise our expectations were well and truely exceeded. Embarkation- We had been assigned 12:00pm boarding time as our cabin was only allocated close to the sail date. We arrived at the port at approximately 11:00am and dropped our bags off. A staff member told people that they were only allowing people with 11:00am boarding in and others to come back again in an hour. We took the opportunity to go around and get some photos of the ship before boarding. Once we realised that they were letting people board we went right back to the terminal. Check-in was fast and efficient and done in around 15 minutes maximum. It was all brilliantly organised. We waited maybe 20 minutes for our group to be called and then headed onboard the ship. We already had a plan and went straight to "The Bar" located deck 8 aft to book in some of our dinner reservations. On embarkation day you are allowed to book any 3 nights, and then return the following day to book the rest. Overall we never had a problem with booking in to the restaurants and always got the times and dates we wanted. The Waterfront- We ate breakfast here everyday except disembarkation day and found the meals to be great and overall a great way to start your day. We also opted to have lunch here almost everyday that it was open and thoroughly enjoyed it. The few dinners we had here were also amazing. We were unable to fault the food or the service. Angelos- We dined here twice for dinner, once with menu A and once later in the cruise with menu B. This was a great place to go for dinner however we felt that menu A was the better. Dragon Lady- The absolute highlight of the cruise when it comes to food. We were absolutely blown away with the fact that we were on a P&O ship and not in a proper restaurant. The food was impeccable and always pleasing. We dined here twice, once with menu A and again on the final night with menu B. We had such a hard time deciding what to order as simple we could have eaten any of the dishes they all sounded amazing. Everything about this restaurant was a 10/10. The Pantry- We only dined here a few times and found it to be ok, you were able to find something to eat but it was not our favourite. Salt Grill & Chefs Table- We did not dine here and once we got onboard and tried the free food we were glad we didn't waste our money paying for food. The Ship- Absolutely stunning decor all around the ship. The staff work tirelessly to make sure it is looking its best and always feels welcoming. Despite the cruise being sold out and almost at capacity (official count of 1460/1500 passengers) it never felt crowded. Yes we had to wait for service at the bars at times but that was due to going at peak times (the Ocean Bar during trivia, or The Dome at start of service in the afternoon). Overall I would absolutely not hesitate to book another cruise on this ship and actually encourage people to book on this ship and experience it for themselves. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
See New Guinea. Particularly Rabaul and Volcanos, Milne Bay. Ship left 14hrs late, had been docked facing upriver and they couldn't turn it around. Cruised to Milne bay at 13-14 knots, three days at sea. Return trip 19-20 knots. Late ... Read More
See New Guinea. Particularly Rabaul and Volcanos, Milne Bay. Ship left 14hrs late, had been docked facing upriver and they couldn't turn it around. Cruised to Milne bay at 13-14 knots, three days at sea. Return trip 19-20 knots. Late departure used as excuse to cancel Rabaul. Docked at Milne bay, quite good and interesting .Kirinina very good beautiful people. Kitava didn't dock captain said seas were too rough, I think trying to make up lost time due to medical evacuation. Conflict islands, had to change your money for vouchers. Most things much more expensive than Kirinina. Eg 1 hour snorkeling booked on the ship $80. The ship was certainly showing its age, the cabins were adequate and the cabin staff excellent. Dining was good in the actual dining room but up in the pantry I would describe as like a feed lot. We did have a beautiful meal in salt and peppers but $60 pp extra. Entertainment was average, some routines a bit old.Any extra services ridiculously expensive. Meal service in the dining room was good but at the bar if you didn't stand in front of the staff you didn't get served. Order a soft drink, fill the glass with ice first then add the soft drink, wasn't refrigerated. All together probably my worst holiday experience. No more cruises for me. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Having cruised with P&O numerous times I was looking forward to cruising to PNG. Unfortunately this cruise was unsatisfactory & well below expectations. It was delayed 16 hours, there was no sail away party. The ship has been sold ... Read More
Having cruised with P&O numerous times I was looking forward to cruising to PNG. Unfortunately this cruise was unsatisfactory & well below expectations. It was delayed 16 hours, there was no sail away party. The ship has been sold and the new owners were on board with paint samples, carpet samples, tape measures wandering around measuring things. 2 ports were missed, the main one being Rabual. The captain took 3 days to sail to PNG but only 2 to get back to Brisbane. We could have easily made it to Rabual. Entertainment was lacking. Food quality hit & miss. A huge disappointment in many ways. At the end we were herded into buses for a half hour trip back to the terminal. Not one passenger received a feedback survey to fill in. I guess P&O only like to receive positive feedback and knew there would be none from this unsatisfactory cruise. Would I recommend P&0. NO. Prior to this cruise I would have said yes. The cruise J846 to PNG was so unsatisfactory that a petition was started. Close to 300 signatures. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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