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276 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

Coming from NZ it was easy to fly to Sydney, hop on board and see more of Australia. We were well looked after by the crew, found the activities on board catered for most people and the entertainment was great as there were choices. You ... Read More
Coming from NZ it was easy to fly to Sydney, hop on board and see more of Australia. We were well looked after by the crew, found the activities on board catered for most people and the entertainment was great as there were choices. You were able to do as much or as little as you wanted and you would have to be very fussy to not enjoy something. I realise the ship is older but as far as we could see it is being kept in good condition. A small problem we had in our cabin was fixed quickly and with no hassles. Food was good, the variety was there and although smaller servings in Waterfront you did have the option of more if you required it. Once again we feel only very fussy people could have complained about the food - I know there were a few of those on board. For our 5th cruise we had only one complaint - fresh whole fruit would have been great if available. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We have just returned from a 10 day trip on board the Pacific Eden, we were pleasantly surprised as our previous three cruises were with Princess, which we enjoyed in spite of having a flooded cabin twice during our trip. Pacific Eden, ... Read More
We have just returned from a 10 day trip on board the Pacific Eden, we were pleasantly surprised as our previous three cruises were with Princess, which we enjoyed in spite of having a flooded cabin twice during our trip. Pacific Eden, staff were great, so helpful, nothing too much trouble, the shows were the best we have seen on board other ships, entertainment staff and all acts were second to none and we had a ball. The attention to cleanliness was very impressive and the choice of restaurants were excellent (both Angelo's, Dragon Lady were like dining in any top restaurant in Perth, the Waterfront was great if you wanted to be waited on; if you wanted to do your own thing, you had lots of choice in the "Pantry" (food hall) the best thing was that your food was served up to you instead of it being open to everyone breathing and coughing around it, causing health risk and shocking waste, though there was still no limit to the amount of food you could have on any serving, hence I saw no evidence at all of sickness on board and we would not hesitate to book on the Pacific Eden in the future. We were especially surprised at the space we had in our cabin and bathroom compared to previous trips. Embarkation and disembarkation ran like clockwork as did all stops, with very well run excursion times on and off the ship,extremely professional. Thanks to the fabulous crew, especially the entertainment guys, second to none. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
just for a relaxing weekend and to have a laugh. Food was good. The entertainment line up with the comedians was good. Room service was ok ...from the time we embark to the time we disembark, all went fine. never had a problem. the only ... Read More
just for a relaxing weekend and to have a laugh. Food was good. The entertainment line up with the comedians was good. Room service was ok ...from the time we embark to the time we disembark, all went fine. never had a problem. the only fault I could say is that it wasn't long enough ..next cruise in on the Explorer...looking to see what changes they have made. the weather was lovely for June and the best thing about sail way with this cruise was seeing Vivid on the boat... the lightning was spectacular. would differently book again for a three day one in June again for a mid year break. we sailed down the coast line as far as bega and then sail back and did a loop before re entering the heads. Arrived back in Sydney on time. Sailing under the harbour bridge is a sight to behold. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Having cruised with P&O in the past it was a no brainer to book this cruise when I came across the incredible deals they were offering. Some reviews of the ship would have you think that Pacific Eden is a floating pile of rust that ... Read More
Having cruised with P&O in the past it was a no brainer to book this cruise when I came across the incredible deals they were offering. Some reviews of the ship would have you think that Pacific Eden is a floating pile of rust that serves up food worse than you'd get in prison - this couldn't be further from the truth! Whilst the ship doesn't fall in to the category of 5-star (nor does P&O try to sell it as 5-star) it is a beautiful, well kept ship with a more classic layout and design. Whilst smaller than your modern super liner, she is by no means tiny and offers up ample public spaces for passengers to relax in and partake in activities. Food options are plenty and of a high quality with three all inclusive restaurant options (The Waterfront, Angelo's Italian and The Dragon Lady), one set price restaurant (The Salt Grill), The Pantry (a healthier, cleaner take on your classic cruise ship buffet) and the Ocean Grill (Pizza's, Burgers, Nacho's etc for a small price). Highlights for me were The Dragon Lady's second menu and The Salt Grill where we ended up eating on two occasions. It's worth every cent! The Pantry is also a huge improvement on the old buffet style setup for three reasons - 1) There is a lot more choice 2) It was evident that from looking around there was a lot less waste as portions were somewhat controlled (with that being said, if you wanted more you could ask for it and the servers would happily oblige) 3) It is significantly healthier as food isn't being handled by hundreds of passengers The Entertainment staff were great and highly visible throughout the cruise. The original shows were of a higher standard than I have seen on P&O in the past and the activities on offer seemed to keep everyone engaged on sea days. The only thing I would say was a negative on the entertainment side of things was the poor quality of the comedians. There are better comedians out there than ones who get their jokes off of the internet! The only shore tour we booked through the ship was for Komodo Island as it was required due to the World Heritage Site restrictions imposed on the island. The Tendering process was wall organised and involved very little waiting around. Once on the island the English speaking guides were very interactive and informative and made it an overall enjoyable, once in a lifetime experience. In summary if you're looking for great quality and value, P&O cruises are for you. If not, spend the extra money to cruise with someone else or quit your whinging. Some of the reviews on here are appalling and incredibly misleading. Comparing Princess, Celebrity or Holland America with P&O is not comparing apples with apples. I have never had a bad experience with P&O (nor Celebrity or Star) and will continue to sing their praises and recommend them to family and friends. P.S. I hope that Marius one day gets the Australian passport he so desperately desires Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Liked the size of the ship, to get away from the large liners with thousands of passengers and the fact it was Fremantle to Fremantle. I do not like food from buffets so I was really impressed with The Pantry. The reason I ... Read More
Liked the size of the ship, to get away from the large liners with thousands of passengers and the fact it was Fremantle to Fremantle. I do not like food from buffets so I was really impressed with The Pantry. The reason I don't like help yourself food is I have seen too many people touch food and put it back, coughing on food etc. The Pantry is excellent because the food is dished up and handed to you, so no one touches it and I like the fact that the glass partition is between the public and the food. I also liked the amount of water fountains around the ship. Overall I liked the layout and the size of the ship, not so far to go from A to B. This will be our second cruise on the Pacific Eden this year and we even booked the same cabin again as we liked the location. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We have travelled three times of the Pacific Jewel in the last 18 months. It is a ship that is 27 years on the seas but well maintained both in the public areas and cabins. It is not the Celebrity Solstice or the Royal Carribean Ovation ... Read More
We have travelled three times of the Pacific Jewel in the last 18 months. It is a ship that is 27 years on the seas but well maintained both in the public areas and cabins. It is not the Celebrity Solstice or the Royal Carribean Ovation of the Seas nor does it have the extras as we call them. It is a basic ship with limited features but it does have something that draws us back to her time again and that is the dedicated staff. There are teams of people that make the voyage a wonderful experience. We were drawn to this particular cruise because of the price, $329 for a four night cruise to Moreton Island is a bargain. We love the ship for the laid back approach to cruising, it is very casual and there are no formal nights but they do have their signature white party and charleston night which a lot of people embrace and have lots of fun. Generally the four day cruises are party cruises and people lay back and enjoy every moment. Maybe some a little more than others. Of the parts of the ship the Dome is my favourite place to relax. It is generally not occupied heavily in the morning and becomes an adult only area from 12 - 3 each afternoon.Sit back with a drink and a book or with friends just watching the ocean go by. The buffet or what P&O refers to as the Pantry is divided into food groups. You have your indian station, asian station, fish & chips, Carvery, Tacos station. The Pantry ranges from reasonable selection of food to excellent food you would get in a restuarant. Although about 9am in the morning, it becomes very busy and a bit disorientated for the breakfast sitting. So we normally avoid it and head down to the Waterfront Restaurant. Having travelled on the Jewel 3 times in a short period of time we found the service and quality of food in the Waterfront was excellent. You may get a limited choice of food to eat at dinner in comparison to other cruise lines but the quality of food available is good. The lunch time menu is fixed but there much more selections to choose from on the menu than the evening meal. Over the cruises we have done on the Jewel the lunch time menu gives a very good selection of food. The entertainment was excellent and despite seeing some of the shows previously on two other P&O ships, the quality of entertainment matched any other cruise line. One of the signature productions is the Velvet Rope and despite the limited stage space, it was performed at a very standard. Cabins are well maintained and we loved the large shower area. Storage within the cabin is probably better than most modern ships. You would have to be on a very cruise to fill the drawers and storage space. One thing we love that is not on the modern cruise ships like the Ovation of Seas is the laundry. This ship has wonderful laundry with 12 washing machines and 12 dryers as well as 4 irons and ironing boards. If you have a young family and need to wash cloths a lot or someone like me that wants to iron out some wrinkles in the shirt, the laundry on this ship wonderful. On the negative P&O supplies a lot of pork dishes and on 7 cruises in the past three years we have only seen red meat served once and that was Flank Steak on this cruise. On the Eden, no red meat and the Dawn again on one night some cheap serving of red meat. You can buy a rump steak for $17 for a 300 gram steak which works out to $56 a kilo. Whilst there are choices at the Pantry, I would not want to be on a long cruise with P&O because the food in the Pantry can become boring because there is limited choice. Particularly if you like plain food there is a very limited choice of food at the pantry. Another critism of the pantry is that food is prepared and put on heating trays for up to 90 minutes before serving commences. The tempreture of that food is well below the food industry standards in Australia and you can be served fish, pork or a range of food that is basically just warm but not at the right tempreture. We noticed that they were serving hamburgers at one station, when the next lot of hamburgers were prepared they were put on top of the hamburgers that had been sitting there for 90 minutues. When we decided to eat at the Pantry we would go mid serving so that the food was served at the correct tempreture and was reasonably fresh. The Shore excursions team we absolutley loved, particulary the shore excursion manager who worked through some excursion issues and was really prompt in finding solutions. Overall, we will go back on the Jewel later in the year, our experiences overall are good and despite this ole ship of 27 years, she still has something to offer people and your experience on this ship can leave you with beautiful memories of a wonderful vacation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this cruise, with a little bit of trepidation, because we had booked the Indian Pacific and it fit in with that schedule, plus we had never been into Broome before. It turned out to be an excellent choice. We thoroughly enjoyed ... Read More
We chose this cruise, with a little bit of trepidation, because we had booked the Indian Pacific and it fit in with that schedule, plus we had never been into Broome before. It turned out to be an excellent choice. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and everything about the ship. Everyone was friendly and the crew were excellent as they always are. The activities on board were great and the quizzes were amusing and most enjoyable. Marius, one of the entertainment staff, conducted our choir, which was great. He has the most fantastic laugh and sense of humour. The dining room was a little off, not the best food and system of booking but the buffet-style up top was extremely well done. Plenty of choice, even for me who is a vegan. I liked the idea of being served rather than a free for all. A much more sanitary way. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Was a great deal $$$ enjoyed this ship was lovely the food at the pantry was brilliant and enjoyed having dinner at the Waterfront Resturant, We booked into the resturant for dinner when we got on the ship ,The service were excellent in ... Read More
Was a great deal $$$ enjoyed this ship was lovely the food at the pantry was brilliant and enjoyed having dinner at the Waterfront Resturant, We booked into the resturant for dinner when we got on the ship ,The service were excellent in the resturant we went to Moreton Island it was a lovely little island we just looked around the island.the weather was nice we had only 4 days on the ship and we didn't want to get off it .I celebrate my 45th birthday had a moose chocolate cake which my birthday was on that saturday had it in the resturant was lovely best birthday ever.I learnt how to make flowers that was interesting I enjoyed relaxing on this ship my husband and I had a fantastic time our cabin was always clean even if we had a nap the cabin guy would always keep it clean he was lovely.I met a few lovely people on this cruise. We didn't want to get off will cruise again on the Pacific Jewel. Loved the bands and the dome was nice and peaceful, also love the mocktails on the ship.The staff were helpful and friendly to us thank you for a wonderful cruise Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was the 3rd time on the Pacific Aria for me. All have been good. Entertainment staff are great and always good for a laugh. Very entertaining. Trivias are great fun, don't miss Christiaans at 5 pm. Also his Gatsby dance class. ... Read More
This was the 3rd time on the Pacific Aria for me. All have been good. Entertainment staff are great and always good for a laugh. Very entertaining. Trivias are great fun, don't miss Christiaans at 5 pm. Also his Gatsby dance class. Food in the Pantry, meats in the Asian Stir Fries and Mexican are overcooked, othrewise good. Aria has a seperate pool aft for over 18's which Pacific Dawn does not. The PNG cruise is excellent. Cabin was excellent and includes a TV and DVD player. If you need a fridge, you will need to ask for a cabin with one when booking. Shore tours are grossly overpriced. Shows onboard are excellent. Great bands and music. Dancing could have been catered for better. I have seen some of the poor reviews. I really can't understand those people. Some people are never satisfied. Those people that bag this ship really should get a life. Better yet, cruise with Cunard and see how much you pay. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I loved the ship - the cruise - the destinations etc...very organised and clean ship - .the outside cabin was very roomy - with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space - it was a school holiday cruise with 409 children on board - hardly ever ... Read More
I loved the ship - the cruise - the destinations etc...very organised and clean ship - .the outside cabin was very roomy - with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space - it was a school holiday cruise with 409 children on board - hardly ever noticed the children as they were occupied with all the activities that p&o provide - the food was very good - luke mangan restaurant was great - had a dinner and a lunch during the cruise - beautiful food - top service...booked shore excursions before i sailed and that made it easier once on board.....lots of entertainment to choose from plus movies in cabin and other places - great to have movies under the stars on deck....i have done 22 cruises with p&o starting on the fairstar - this was my 2nd cruise on the jewel - great ship - would love to go on it again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We’re keen cruisers with P&O and have sailed on the Pacific Sun, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel and have an upcoming cruise booked on the new Pacific Explorer. Totaling 24 cruises in all since 2006 with our ... Read More
We’re keen cruisers with P&O and have sailed on the Pacific Sun, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel and have an upcoming cruise booked on the new Pacific Explorer. Totaling 24 cruises in all since 2006 with our shortest cruise being 9 days. There’s no other holiday that compares with a cruise for value for money and the total relaxation and it starts from the minute you step on board. Once you’ve unpacked, there’s nothing more to do. P&O look after everything from then on, there’s no driving around following a map trying to find the hotel or restaurant, you just let the wonderful crew take care of you, your cabin, meals, entertainment, travel, tendering and fun. And they do this so very well. We love the islands and snorkeling in the tropical waters. No wonder we keep on going back. Cruising is heavily recommended as a holiday for everyone. There's nothing else like it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Family of six. Four teenagers. First cruise. Was worried after reading previous reviews. We all had a great time. Lovely restaurants, bars and public areas. Cabins bigger than expected and well kept by excellent crew. We attended shows, ... Read More
Family of six. Four teenagers. First cruise. Was worried after reading previous reviews. We all had a great time. Lovely restaurants, bars and public areas. Cabins bigger than expected and well kept by excellent crew. We attended shows, movies, trivias, guest speakers and even craft activities. Children did two activities each a day with the Edge. No problems booking restaurants or activities. This was a casual, family cruise with 300 children aboard due to Easter holidays. Great atmosphere and mix of passengers. It is a 25 year old ship which is looking a little tired in some areas. This does not impact on the cruise.The children did not want to get off the ship when it docked on the islands as they were enjoying the ship so much. We did DIY tour on Lombok and Bali and cruise tour on Komodo. Would do this cruise on this ship again but would not bother with going ashore. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
What a fantastic week on the Pacific Dawn cruising to the South Pacific Island Ports of Noumea, Lifou and Port Vila! I had an incredibly fun and relaxing time with my mother and sister and cannot rave highly enough about the ship, crew, ... Read More
What a fantastic week on the Pacific Dawn cruising to the South Pacific Island Ports of Noumea, Lifou and Port Vila! I had an incredibly fun and relaxing time with my mother and sister and cannot rave highly enough about the ship, crew, ports and the P&O experience. This is a great ship that suits all ages, families, groups of friends and solo cruisers. If I had listened to all the negative reviews about the Pacific Dawn when I was booking my cruise I would have made a terrible mistake and not chosen to go on one of the best holidays I have ever had! Honestly I think some people just live to complain and don't know how to have fun. I do not usually write reviews about anything but I honestly feel like I have to correct some of the negative aspersions cast about this Ship and P&O in general on this website. I will take the time to go through the end to end customer journey so that Cruise Critic readers can see if P&O and Pacific Dawn is the right fit for them or if they should choose something else. This review will be long so strap yourselves in if you want a really holistic picture of what this type of holiday can give you! 1. Choosing a cruise The first thing I did was decide that I wanted to go on a cruise and look for cruises online. I explored the websites for all the operators of cruises in Australia and P&O's website was by far the most fresh, user friendly and easy to navigate. Their branding update has given them a great modern look that really appeals to me and this was also evident throughout the Ship with the branding of communications and materials following the same style. It was easy to navigate between the dates of different cruises, the ships that were sailing different itineraries and the different price options. In the end I settled on a Balcony room and was able to pay online and then immediately log into the Cruise Control to add my check in details and view options for pre-purchased activities and drink packages. 2. Check In At the Portside wharf I was able to easily check in with my passport and credit card and receive my cruise card at the allotted check in time. Despite Cyclone Debbie having just passed through Queensland our itinerary was luckily unaffected by the weather. We had a small change in that was had to take buses from the Brisbane Portside Wharf to the Navy docks to board the ship instead of directly getting on board. This certainly slowed down embarkation but was not fault of P&O and was managed fairly well. 3. The Ship - Internal Public Spaces As soon as we entered the ship it was evident that the renovations in March 2017 had made stunning changes to the public areas of the ship as our breath was literally taken away by the new atrium. This is a fantastic space that has a multi-purpose use for everything from live music, Gatsby dance parties, disembarkation and shopping to quiet relaxation with a book. The renovation carried through into the 2 bars - The Orient and The Promenade which were both stunning with a great atmosphere. The Promenade is a cool jazz bar and a great place to grab a cocktail and listen to some relaxing tunes on the piano of an evening. The Orient bar seemed like the nexus of the ship most nights with a gorgeous Colonial feel including jungle motifs, wicker chairs and comfortable couches and fantastic live music to get the evening started. The Dome Nightclub was also a great venue that held many different types of events such as the Back to School Party, the White Party (moved inside due to rain) and Trivia and worked well for them all. The renovation has given it a cool Alice in wonderland-esque 20s vibe with lush purple couches and banquettes and dramatic black and white art. The Pantry and The Grill have also been updated with a very modern but homey Australian look that I really loved and that I think will appeal to many cruisers. 4. The Ship - Outside and Water Park The Lido area around the pool has been refreshed with comfortable new deck chairs, a water park for children and retiling of the pool area. It looks great and has a very family, fun vibe all day. The Lido area also has a large screen from which movies could be watched which was fun and a unique experience that cruising has of seeing a movie while the sea breeze floats around you and enjoy the serenity of the clear night sky. The new water slides that have been installed are AMAZING and super fun at any age. The disco slide is darkened inside with flashing lights and music and this was even slightly scary in a fun way with a real drop near the end. The see through slide is a more sedate ride but also great. There were never large queues at the slides and we were on a school holiday cruise with the maximum amount of children allowed by P&O so this is a good sign. Our favourite area by far was the Oasis area on the upper decks at the back of the ship which are an adults only relaxing zone with comfortable padded sun lounges and side tables. This has a bar, 2 dedicated hot tubs and you can easily order snack food for a small 3 dollar surcharge or bring down food from the Pantry which is directly above. I spent many hours here reading, sunbathing and having a relaxing drink. It was also great to watch the wash from the propellers behind the ship and the gorgeous sunsets and clouds against the endless sea. The ship certainly requires a lot of upkeep as it is only a couple of years younger than me but it was constantly being repainted at ports, revarnished and normal wear and tear being addressed. Sometimes I think people forget that ships are ships and they always need maintenance, this is normal. Sea water and spray is highly corrosive and will cause rust, this is not a shock. On our first night we encountered some swell left over by Cyclone Debbie which was causing the ship to rock up to 4 degrees. The stabilisers of the ship worked perfectly well and we were able sleep with no discomfort. People complaining about the age of the ship are free to go on a newer floating mall if they wish but we loved the character of this vessel that really harkens back to the golden age of ocean liners with a lovely old school Promenade deck, wooden railings and wooden decks. 5. The Ship - Balcony Cabin We had a balcony cabin on Level 10 which was fantastic. It felt very spacious with a large closet area that we were able to unpack all of clothes into and store out suitcases inside very easily. The bathroom was also completely fine with in built cupboards to store toiletries, a perfectly functioning toilet and shower. The bed was very comfortable and had clean, white linen that always looked crisp and inviting. The cabin was quiet and we heard no noise the entire trip except for the launching of the tender on one of the port days. The balcony is small but serves its purpose to allow you to get outside and see approaching ships, ports and feel the wind in your hair. The only negatives with the cabin come from the age of the ship, including that the TVs are a little small and old in some rooms, the art needs to be replaced and the carpet is an ugly brown striped pattern. My mother had an ocean view room and this had a better TV and was very spacious so I would certainly recommend an Oceanview cabin as a price saving without a loss of amenity on this ship. Certainly the cabins need an update but there is nothing wrong with them except them being a little out of fashion. These things are very minor and in no way reduced our enjoyment of our cruise as we honestly were too busy having fun to complain about the carpet. 6. Food Dining on the Pacific Dawn follows the flexible eating trend and was simply convenient, tasty and had a diverse range of offerings depending on your mood. The new Pantry is a great idea, operating like a nice Food Court where you can choose which type of cuisine(s) you would like to try at each meal. We ate many of our meals at the Pantry as it was very quick and we wanted to get back to all the fantastic activities or just relaxing. The Pantry also has a proper barista mini coffee shop where you could get your caffeine fix for a very small extra charge. Self-serve fresh iced water is available everywhere in all the dining and bar venues which I really appreciated as I find it annoying to constantly ask waiters for water. The main dining restaurant the Waterfront has great service and a rotating menu with different cultural specialties each day. They also accommodate food allergies in this venue and have a special kitchen with 2 dedicated chefs to prepare safe and delicious meals for people who need gluten free, dairy free, nut free etc. You do need to book to eat in this venue but can easily do this each day when you decide your plans. We dined one evening in Luke Evan's Salt Grill and this was great value for money as we feasted on a gorgeous 3 course meal including in my case a scallops entree, eye fillet with 5 sides to share and a delicious chocolate dessert for only 49 dollars each. There is a small café that serves coffee and cake near the lido deck which is pleasant to sit in and relax, as well as the delicious Grill which serves hot dogs, fries, nachos and burgers all day for a 3 dollar surcharge. We often ate here when we doing activities during the normal meal service periods during the day and just wanted to grab a snack in our bathers. 7. Crew - Cabin and Food/Beverage Crew The crew were universally friendly, helpful and dedicated to their work. I honestly think the crew get treated better with P&O than other cruise lines because at no point did they complain about their conditions (which I have experienced on my previous cruise) and instead spoke about all the great initiatives they have to entertain the staff and how they are allowed to interact fully with the guests instead of being subservient and quiet. I think this is testamount to the fact that P&O probably pay them proper wages instead of relying on guests tipping like on other cruise lines and so they are secure in their work instead of appearing desperate for tips. My view on this obviously comes from being an Australian and thinking that people should be paid for the work they do and just to let them get on with it instead of having to grovel to be paid what they are entitled to receive. Our cabin stewards were fantastic, making up our room twice a day and quickly ensuring a small issue we had with our sink was resolved, as well as making the requisite towel animals for us and coming back when it suited us after we had put the please service our room tag on the door. The food and beverage staff were all very competent with serving an appropriately sized meal (portion control is important on a cruise!), observing very clean hygiene standards and being very friendly. 7. Crew - Entertainment and Officers The Entertainment Crew on the Pacific Dawn was honestly amazing. Most heralded from England and were given free reign to interact with the guests in a very familiar manner that we thought was hilarious and really gave the ship a fun loving vibe. Willie the Cruise Director is an absolute champion and gave us twice daily updates on activities around the ship, hosted absolutely hilarious comedy game shows, and had a new and loud suit every day to bring a smile to your face. The Comedy Gameshow with married couples having to guess how their spouse would answer various questions was literally insane and the guests they chose had some hilarious answers that may or may not have included miming the size of the female chest area. Our favourite activity was definitely the Name that tune game in the Orient each night which always drew a huge crowd and was super fun with 2 variations, one with flashback to the 60s -80s and one with more recent popular music. P&O is definitely the fun cruise line. It may have had a party reputation in the past but I found this to be fairly tame on my cruise and very family friendly, inclusive and certainly safe. On our cruise there was a Back to School Party, White Party and Gatsby Party. These all had a great vibe and it was fun to dress up in the theme with the other passengers. There is am Elemis spa on the ship that was very relaxing and professional, I had a great massage there. The gym is not as spectacular as ships which have a view from the treadmill but perfectly serviceable! We were lucky enough to be nominated by the Spa crew to attend the Captain and Officers party which was a limited event for a selection of guests. This was a very special surprise and was catered with food and drinks for the guests, allowing us to have interesting conversations about how the ship is run. The Captain also did an interesting interview with Willie where he talked about his career as a Merchant seamen, working at Cunard and meeting the queen and now working with P&O. This personalisation and willingness to really interact with the guests was fantastic and made the cruise feel really special. To conclude, don't listen to the naysayers! If you like to have fun, if you like to relax, if you like to be cooked for, not have to clean, if you like to laugh and laugh then the P&O Pacific Dawn if the ship for you! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I have been trying for years to get a good friend of mine to come on a cruise, my husband and I have done over 17 cruises with a lot of cruise lines. I had not done a P&O cruise for a long time, but loved the fact it cruised out of ... Read More
I have been trying for years to get a good friend of mine to come on a cruise, my husband and I have done over 17 cruises with a lot of cruise lines. I had not done a P&O cruise for a long time, but loved the fact it cruised out of our home state Adelaide a cruise to nowhere, the weather was perfect, the entertainment on board was fantastic, our beds were the most comfortable on any cruise line I have been on. Sure she has some rust in the bathroom, and the windows, we had an oceanview, but our cabin steward came and explained everything and what was on, we booked our restaurants for the 3 nights, I really liked the decor on the ship, loved the blue room, along with the entertainment, jazz band the lady had a really smooth silky voice. The food in the pantry was o.k. you are never going to get 100% of everything, but this ship is lovely, enjoyed being on a smaller ship, staff amazing and entertainment great, would I go P&O again yes, as was pleasantly surprised. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our first cruise we wanted to do a short cruise to see if we both liked cruising. To be honest are reading some of the reviews from last year we were both concerned as some of the reviews were not very good. However our ... Read More
This was our first cruise we wanted to do a short cruise to see if we both liked cruising. To be honest are reading some of the reviews from last year we were both concerned as some of the reviews were not very good. However our experience was good and we had a great cruise, the food, service, entertainment was great. Lots of variety of entertainment, bars to enjoy the various singers etc. Our cabin was clean, and our bed very comfortable, we had Jaime looking after us and he was great and looked after any requests we may have had. We did not have a fridge initially in our cabin, however with Jaimes and the reception desk help we had once delivered to our room on our first night of the cruise We dined at most of the restaurants onboard and they were all good. We did a short cruise to Pt Lincoln and enjoyed the cruise very much we did not do any tours and we met family there. Now looking at booking a future cruise. The Pacific Eden both my husband and I would recommend cruising with this ship. And would consider another cruise on the Pacific Eden as well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We are a retired couple, aged 57 and 70. This was our first cruise experience and we chose a shortish 7 night cruise to "test the waters" as it were to see if cruising was for us. While many reviewers on this site have been ... Read More
We are a retired couple, aged 57 and 70. This was our first cruise experience and we chose a shortish 7 night cruise to "test the waters" as it were to see if cruising was for us. While many reviewers on this site have been critical of the Pacific Aria, we had no such complaints. As suite passengers, we had priority embarkation and were able to board very early at 11am. The embarkation process was extremely well organised and we were through security and onboard within about 5 minutes. The ship was very clean and tidy when we boarded as well as for the duration of the cruise and maintenance staff were constantly cleaning and painting. Our suite (10046) was extremely spacious and very comfortable. We particularly appreciated the separate dressing area with bench, vanity basin and mirror, and the enormous balcony, which had 2 sun lounges, a table and 4 chairs, a smaller coffee table and another chair. We felt it was worth paying extra for a suite as so many "extras" were included. For example, free room service menu, afternoon tea delivered to the cabin, canapés and drinks were complimentary as was bottled water which was replenished every day. A fruit bowl was replenished as required and we were welcomed on board with a bottle of sparkling wine on ice in our cabin. Our cabin stewards, Mae and Guna, were exceptional and looked after us so well all week. They knew our names when we boarded and used them whenever we saw them. Mae and Guna seemed genuinely concerned when I encountered a bit of sea sickness and checked how I was feeling whenever there was a swell. BTW, if you do feel sick, go and see the ship's Dr immediately. Within half an hour of having an injection I was as right as rain and didn't experience any further motion sickness even when there were large seas several days later. The $85 consultation fee was well worth it as I could enjoy the rest of the cruise, and hopefully claimable under my travel insurance. Dining options are extensive and we found the food to be fresh and tasty given the majority needed to be mass produced in one kitchen. We usually had room service breakfast and the serves were massive - we were never able to finish the hot breakfast. Variety in the Pantry was good with enough choice to satisfy most tastes. We dined at Angelos twice and particularly enjoyed the occo bucco and the veal cannelloni. Dragon Lady was also tasty. The best meals though were at Salt and the Chef's Table degustation- well worth the additional charges IMO. Chef's Table was 7 courses with matched wines. The chef explained each course and why he'd chosen the accompanying wine. At the end of the meal, we were presented with large photos of our dining party of 14, as well as a hard cover colour cook book of recipes for meals and drinks on board. We were also given a private tour of the ship's galley, which was very interesting. We each purchased the Premium drinks package and definitely got our money's worth. Cocktails start at $12, wine was from about $8.50 a glass and specialty beer about $7 - $8 each. A few drinks around the pool, drinks with lunch and dinner and then a few with the evening entertainment would certainly have added up. Having the drinks package meant not needing to stress about the bill at the end of the cruise. Some reviewers have complained about long waits for drinks but we never experienced that. When it was busy, wait staff brought the drink to wherever we were sitting. If you get to know the bar and wait staff and smile and chat with them, they will really look after you! I did see some very rude and abrupt passengers who treated staff badly and then wondered why service was less than friendly!! The staff all work so hard and really appreciate some acknowledgement or even just a smile and a hello. We didn't partake in a lot of activities on board as we were happy to relax by the pool or listen to music during the day. We did venture out to a couple of evening production shows though. The Adele tribute show was stunning and Emma Kirk sounded more like Adele than Adele! She was sensational. The dress up parties weren't really parties as such and the advertised start times were quite late for us oldies, but we made the effort and enjoyed the atmosphere around the ship, particularly on Gatsby night. Overall, service was outstanding. We had no problems whatsoever but I have no doubt that had we experienced anything problematic the staff would have endeavoured to resolve it quickly. There was a continuing engine problem during our cruise which meant some minor changes to port timings. The Captain kept us updated throughout and organised free bus transfers for all passengers at 2 ports to compensate for any inconvenience. We didn't do any shore excursions so I can't comment on that. For us, it was all about the shipboard experience, not about cursory visits to a couple of ports. In fact, on port days we virtually had the ship to ourselves, which was even more relaxing. While we didn't use the Day Spa, we did use the ship's free gym. It was a pretty impressive gym with high quality equipment and machines. This was a fabulous introduction to cruising for us and we have already booked another cruise later this year. Don't be put off by negative reviews of the Aria - some people will always find fault no matter what. Keep in mind it's a 3 star cruise line, but the price is reflective of that and the trip will be what you make it. Smile, relax and enjoy Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We decided to take this cruise as it was a great opportunity to experience the ship straight after refit. Plus I needed a new wardrobe. We arrived in Singapore early having travelled light (hand luggage only, basically, Tuxedo, White ... Read More
We decided to take this cruise as it was a great opportunity to experience the ship straight after refit. Plus I needed a new wardrobe. We arrived in Singapore early having travelled light (hand luggage only, basically, Tuxedo, White Dinner suit for Gatesby and Bianco outfit - for those that have not sailed P&O before these are some of the theme nights). We did not stay in expensive accommodation in Singapore, 2 star only in Kalang but 8.6 score on TripAdvisor. We explored and shopped and at the end of the seven days I had a full wardrobe. The evening prior to departure we received a message that the cruise was delayed as they needed to do some more maintenance, however check in was still at the allocated time to get our cruise card etc and also the details at which Hotel they would accommodate us. With less than 24h to spare P%O found suitable accommodation in various Hotels across Singapore. Us four had to move from our 2 star Hostel (with bunk accommodation to get used to living in an inside cabin) into two separate rooms at the 5 star Fairmont Hotel and all on the account of P&O. We did not mind we took it as our first Port Day of our cruise considering they had issued our cruise card. Initially it was hoped we would board in the early afternoon, but there were some further delays, including Legend of the Sea needing our berth for our medical emergency that passengers were not transported to the cruise terminal until 1900h. It then took a while to board everyone. We did not get onto the ship until 2300h. Instead of waiting in the waiting area and then board and heading to the Pantry we just had dinner at the cruise terminal, after all Singapore is cheap if you eat where the locals eat. There were some complaints from passengers waiting but patience is virtue. Once on board, we explored the ship found the photographers for our mandatory "welcome aboard photo"(first time I actually had to look for the photographers :) ). And then explored the ship. The changes to all the lounges on Deck 7 - Panorama deck and deck 12 and 14 Lido deck were amazing. The new waterpark looked great, the waterslide awaited our attendance and the Pantry (formally buffet) looked spectacular. The Dome (front deck 14) was beautiful how they changed it with lounges etc. Café on Deck 12 looked very inviting. The ship had truly undergone a transformation, and is now in a class of its own, in a truly positive sense. We decided to retire to our inside cabin 10225 quad. The ship left sometime in the morning and by the time I arose it was daylight and we were at sea. One of the first things we did was to book the chef's table, one of the best experiences on a cruise and such value for money. All your drinks included, nine course meal, they even gave us a special cook book, photo and a tour of the galley. All this for $100. By the way, we did no have any drinks packages, none of us are big drinkers and we would not get the value out of it. We ate most of our main meals in the MDR late sitting. The meals were fine and varied. You can order as much or as little as you like. The first few evenings it took the service staff to adjust and sometimes meals were a bit longer than normal, but we did not mind, after all we were on holidays and had great table conversations. My comrades were late risers so I mostly had breakfast on my own at the waterfront and met many interesting people. My friends went to the Pantry. Lunch was a bit of a mix, I mostly went to the Pantry as I normally only have a light lunch. The meals in the Pantry are varied and there are lots of food stations. Or for a small fee you could order meals from the Grill. I forgot to mention that P&O also gave us compensation of $150 for the day lost plus refunded us the cost of one day. Many passengers seemed to be anxious for their money and lines at the Pursers desk for the first four days were very long. Also OBC that came with the bookings did not initially show up. I knew that they would sort it out and by day 5 all monies had been credited. One issue on board was with the Destinations manager ie shore tours. Somehow the individual in charge would not let anyone of the ship unless they were able to proof that they had paid for a tour with a company. His demands were excessive and his attitude was unhelpful bordering on arrogance. Passengers had all the documents that the P&O said the needed and he still would not permit them to get off the vessel once we arrived at Komodo. He was adamant that people would only be able to go to Komodo Island if they had booked a shore tour with him. I am not sure what he told the senior officers but it seemed he pushed his way through, until an email was received from a senior person in P&O corporate (someone on the cruise met this person at their Hotel in Singapore and had his detail). Next thing we knew he was called into the office by one of the senior Hotel staff and half an hour later everyone who had a confirmed booking with a tour operator on Komodo was permitted to go. Our first stop was Benoa, we were slightly late and this delayed the tender process. Tendering was slow and shore tours had priority. By the time we got off we just hung around Benoa and did not venture into Bali. I have to say though that the drivers there are rude, they would not leave us alone. I speak Indonesian very well and told them in a friendly way that we were not interested, one guy however kept on harassing us for the next 10 minutes. Benoa is a long way from Denpasar, Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua. What the locals should do is introduce water taxis like they have in Villa, because it is only a short distance by boat to some of the nice beaches. Next stop Komodo which was amazing certainly go and visit the big lizards and then snorkel at Pink Beach. After that Darwin, Cairns and Airlie Beach. Tendering remained an issue due to the distance and I assume the unfamiliarity of the terrain (water) Ships life though was excellent, we met many nice people and the staff were great. I enjoy how the senior officers always have time for a chat and even get to know you. Same with some of the entertainers. Entertainment on board was varied and P&O regularly change their production show. On this cruise they had the Premiere of a new show - Seven (about the seven deadly shows). The show was excellent one of the best I have seen on ships, and I can not for the life of me fathom why (and here we come to issue number 2) the cruise director did not promote this great show from the beginning. His promotion was almost non existent. Worse his senior cruise Director Alun was on board too. I can not understand how they could let this get away. Then again we hardly ever saw the cruise director, in the end I just said Pablo (who). His excuse that he had lots of meetings to attend was unacceptable and if I were in the shoes of P&O corporate I would take a serious look at those two. Getting back to this new show. So little to no promotion, then on the night dress for the day was smart casual, honestly, when you have a new show you make it a black tie event, you get people to dress to the hilt, you make it a major event not to be forgotten, the houses should be "sold out" standing room only. In this case it was not and I lay the blame square at the feet of the cruise Director. He has now received the razzie award from me. The show itself was just amazing. Talking more about cruise Director Pablo (who). He has a 14 day cruise (ok one day lost in Singapore). He has three events to plan - back to school, Bianco and Gatesby) and four major production shows. Now why on earth does he try and squeeze everything in at the back end. Bianco and Gatesby back to back and then he failed to schedule a production show because he left it too late. One a seven day cruise, cruise directors squeeze it all in, but on a 14 day cruise he and his boss Alun (since he is on board he can take some responsibility too) fail even in such a simple task. Now the band Alter Ego, great, then the group with the two violinist, just amazing (their name currently eludes me) and some of the guest entertainers were great too. One added group of entertainers where the complaining passengers and the ones spreading rumors. The rumors got better and better the longer the cruise went. For the record I will now correct these rumors. No passenger punched a receptionist. No Russians had a fight on the Lido deck and went to the brigg. No 67 passengers left the cruise unhappy in Darwin and no 250 left unhappy in Airlie Beach. It does not cost $1,000 to visit someone in sick bay. There were others but these were the funniest ones. The waterpark opened up in Darwin, unfortunately after 60 minutes a passenger had an incident, they were at the bottom of the slide and another passenger slid down and could not avoid them and she hit her head. For safety the slides were closed as the light mechanism at the top of the slide had turned green even though the previous slider had not yet excited. The slides stayed closed for the next two days after which they reopened. The slides were great fun and is good exercise too. Another thing I forgot, for the first week we received a Blue Edge card so I finally managed to climb the funnel (two thirds at least) walk the plank and go to the crows nest. Myself and my friends had a great time, we really went with the themes, dressed up during cocktail nights, had the right close for the various theme nights, as did many other passengers. It is so nice to see so many passengers engaged. That is what I like about cruising with P&O they do themes so well, better than any other line and I have been on many (RCL, Princess, HAL, Carnival). There were some teething issues - you will always have them after a major refit, but overall it was an excellent cruise, I will certainly do it again when the opportunity presents itself. Now I have rated some areas below excellent such as the gym, unfortunately Deck2 is just not a nice location. Embarkation was slow and we know why so that was ok, and shore tours, I explained why, he lost a lot of goodwill. Otherwise though it was great and I look forward meeting some of the wonderful staff again on my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
My husband and I went on our first cruise onboard the Pacific Aria on a four night cruise to Hamilton Island to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary We felt that four days would give us a feel as to whether we liked cruising or not. ... Read More
My husband and I went on our first cruise onboard the Pacific Aria on a four night cruise to Hamilton Island to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary We felt that four days would give us a feel as to whether we liked cruising or not. Based on this cruise, we feel that we will be doing more cruising in the future. The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and was very well organised. We chose a cabin with a balcony as many people had suggested this to us and this was a good idea. We were on deck 10. The room was great - it had everything we needed. The dining selections on the ship also were good although the signature restaurant - Luke Mangan's Salt did not impress us at all. We had better meals at the Waterfront restaurant and Dragon Lady. The service was exceptional especially by our cabin steward who smiled all the time and knew our names after the first day. There was something for everyone on this cruise. You could do as much as you liked or as little as you liked. Contrary to other reviews on this ship, it was clean and well maintained. The crew were forever cleaning. Give it a try and don't read too many of the rotten reviews. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We had a wonderful cruise on board the Pacific Eden. The ship had lots of places to sit and to relax and big windows to watch the world go by. We had lots of things to do on board. The food at the waterfront Restaurant was lovely and had ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise on board the Pacific Eden. The ship had lots of places to sit and to relax and big windows to watch the world go by. We had lots of things to do on board. The food at the waterfront Restaurant was lovely and had plenty of choice . I am on a Gluten Free diet and I was given the menus each night for the next day. The food was very tasty. As for the Pantry it was great and we never went hungry. The Entertainment from the pacific Eden Dancers & Singers were fantastic. They did 4 great shows. The shows were first class. The crew were always friendly, helpful and happy. The same goes for the Cabin stewards and Dining staff. The cabin was clean and tidy and we enjoyed having towel animals on our beds, or hanging from the ceiling. The shore excursions were great and without doing the tours we wouldn't have seen as much. It was disappointing not to be able to go to Kangaroo island. That s why we booked this cruise. You cant change the weather. We will fly next time. One thing it would of been nice if we had seen the Captain and to Welcome us all on board. Thank you very much P&O. We would cruise on the Pacific Eden in the future. we are a family of 3 adults. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I travelled on the Pacific Aria in January 2017 and had a fantastic time! We did an 11 night cruise out of Brisbane, departing mid-January and stopping at Noumea, Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Port Vila and Santo. I like to plan ahead ... Read More
I travelled on the Pacific Aria in January 2017 and had a fantastic time! We did an 11 night cruise out of Brisbane, departing mid-January and stopping at Noumea, Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Port Vila and Santo. I like to plan ahead and read extensive reviews before I travel, so in order to make this review as detailed as possible, I’ll divide it into sections. Background: I travelled with my husband and a group of friends – five couples, making ten of us in total. My husband and I had cruised once before, on the Pacific Dawn back in 2012. One other lady in our group had cruised once or twice before and the rest were all first-timers. Ages range from mid-twenties to early thirties. FOOD AND BEVERAGES We thoroughly enjoyed the food on board – I don’t think I had a single meal that I didn’t enjoy. We mostly went to the Pantry for lunches and the other restaurants for dinners (I’m not a breakfast person, but I understand from my friends that the French toast in the Pantry was great but the bacon could have been crispier). Dress code in the restaurants varied. The Pantry stayed casual all day, including dinner, while the restaurants were mostly smart casual. Personally, I would have liked the dress code to be upheld a bit more. The Pantry: Much prefer this to the traditional buffet. Staff were happy to put more or less on your plate if you asked. Very much enjoyed Hook's fish and chips and the Mexican station as well. Delicious! I was disappointed by Sugar Bar and didn't think much of the offerings there. It was fairly obvious that there was one basic cake mixture that was used for every item, with different flavourings and toppings each day. Not much of an issue as the desserts at the restaurants were excellent, so I saved my desserts for dinners, rather than lunches. Several friends raved about the curries but I didn't try them myself. Waterfront: The food was enjoyable, but a little bland. I found the menu a bit limited as well. I would choose the Pantry over the Waterfront as the food was comparable (if not better), there was more variety and it was so much quicker and easier with no need to dress up. Service was excellent. Dragon Lady: The menu here changes halfway through the cruise. This isn’t my usual choice of cuisine but I surprised myself by enjoying the food thoroughly. Décor is lovely and service very good. Angelo's: We ate here twice and again, the menu changes halfway through the cruise. The staff were all fantastic and very welcoming, and the food was excellent. I love Italian food and have high standards – I highly recommend the spaghetti and meatballs and Italian sausage and potato soup. I would happily pay to go to Angelo’s off the ship. Salt Grill: Excellent! The wait staff are (maybe a bit too) attentive and the food was incredible on both occasions that I ate here. The chocolate tart with honeycomb and bananas was sublime - I ordered it both times, it was so good! Absolutely worth the $49 cover charge but they also did a lunch for $39 (same menu) on the last two days, as well as a high tea (I can’t remember the price for the high tea but the menu looked yummy). Enquire early about these because although I didn’t see either the lunch or high tea advertised anywhere, they did book out. Chef's Table: If you like good food, run, do not walk, RUN to the Monkey Bar the second you step on board the ship and book your spot on the Chef’s Table. They only offer this on shore days and only sit 14 people per night, so places are limited. I cannot rate the Chef’s Table highly enough. You start off with canapes and prosecco in the lounge, then move to the table for a further seven courses, all with wine pairings. The Executive Chef came in and spoke to us about how he runs the kitchens on the ship – he was very enthusiastic and obviously loves what he does. Our waiters were friendly, professional, helpful and recognised us around the ship during the rest of the cruise. This was easily the best meal I've ever had – each course and wine pairing were perfection. The Grill: Friends told me they enjoyed the burgers they had and felt they were well-priced at $3. I had a pizza and thought it was average – not much topping and a bit bland. Probably the worst meal I had on board. Drinks: Drinks service was excellent and I was very pleased to see Fruit Tingles at $12 – I pay $18-20 for these normally! Most cocktails were around $12-18 which I thought was reasonable. The boys were drinking VB or XXXX, but I know there was a wider range than that. Each of the restaurants had different wine lists and we felt that there were a lot of good options. I was very impressed by drinks staff in bars and at the Marquee. They were able to take multiple orders and key cards and always remembered which lanyard and drink belonged to each person. However, we ended up taking our cards off our lanyards before handing it over because if the drinks spilt at all, your lanyard ended up wet. THE SHIP Embarkation and disembarkation both ran very smoothly. No issues at all. I was very impressed with the condition of the ship and the obvious care that goes into it. We saw people cleaning the interior (including scrubbing each and every wall and surface) just about every day of our cruise. I liked the decor and the quirky artwork around the bars and in the Pantry. The rooms were clean, there was plenty of storage space and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the rooms were large enough to include a couch (our last room on the Pacific Dawn was very small in comparison). It was fairly easy to find our way around. The weather was very calm apart from one day, so we didn’t have much motion at all. Obviously it has a lot to do with the weather at the time, but I don’t think the Aria rocked nearly as much as the Dawn did. Staff were all friendly and very hardworking. I think I only came across two staff members who seemed to be in a bad mood every day, other than that everyone was lovely and provided excellent service. ACTIVITIES There were a lot of different trivia sessions each day which were a lot of fun. We loved ‘Name That Tune’ every night in the Ocean Bar and so did a lot of other people – it was standing room only every night and people really got into the spirit of it, singing along and cheering loudly for correct answers. The three theme nights were great and a lot of people got involved. Back to School night was probably my least favourite because it was pretty much just the band playing in the Dome and people dancing. Costumes ranged from actual school uniforms to the more revealing schoolgirl costumes and everything in between. White Night was basically a big party held on the Lido Deck with live music and dancing. We had a lot of trouble finding men’s white trousers (without paying a fortune for something that my husband isn’t going to wear again, unless he gets called up for the Backstreet Boys Reunion Tour) and thought that shorts weren’t allowed during the evenings, but there were plenty of men wearing white shorts. Gatsby night was a lot of fun, but a lot of people got involved and there wasn’t really enough room in the Mix Bar for everyone so there were a lot of people standing around the edges and unable to really get into things. The entertainment was a bit hit and miss. I enjoyed the comedians (neither were for the easily offended) and the hypnotist, as well as some of the musicians, but some of the other performers were not to my taste. We did a bourbon tasting class that was excellent and friends enjoyed the cocktail making class that they did. These classes were always full and looked like a lot of fun. While I didn’t use the gym itself, I did go to the (additional fee) yoga classes. Not the best yoga classes I’ve ever done, but good enough that I went back. I also did their ‘Yoga on the Beach’ session on Isle of Pines, which was beautiful. For the purposes of this review, I asked my husband for feedback on the gym facilities and he told me he was pleasantly surprised by the range of machines available in the gym. I was told that dumbbells were the only free weights available for obvious reasons (not being a gym goer in the slightest, I’m not entirely sure what those obvious reasons are though, so I just smiled knowledgably; perhaps you will have more insight) and there was plenty of cardio equipment, including treadmills, cross-trainers, bikes, spin-bikes and a rowing machine. Another bonus is that the gym is on Deck 11 at the front of the ship, so you get some great views. The day spa looked great, but I didn't book in for anything as the treatments were all significantly more expensive than day spas I've been to on shore. They also kept trying to upsell their pseudo-science skincare/weight loss treatments. SHORE DAYS Noumea: Much improved from the last time I was there, when it was very run down. We did the Wine and Cheese Tchou Tchou Train tour and enjoyed it, as well as a Hop On, Hop Off bus tour that we booked from the cruise terminal. Very friendly locals. Isle of Pines: Friends loved the snorkelling here. I didn’t do any tours, but it was a lovely place to walk around. Beware of food costs here – if you don’t want to eat at one of the roadside tents, there’s a hotel/restaurant which charges $11 for a plastic takeaway container of fries. Mystery Island: Again, no shore tours here but it’s a lovely island to walk around and relax on. More good snorkelling here too. Port Vila: I did the Waterfall Eco Tour and it was fantastic! It included a nature walk where our guide told us all about the plants and what they were used for which was really interesting. The waterfall was beautiful and I appreciated that they had round inflatables for those who weren't confident swimmers. Santo – I did two tours here. The Blue Lagoon was beautiful but very deep and was daunting to some of the weaker swimmers as there wasn’t really any edges to hold onto and it is incredibly deep right from the edge. The Village and Firewalking tour was excellent – probably the highlight of my trip. We went for a walk down the street as well and the locals were very pushy about taxi rides and tours (apparently it was the same in Port Vila). As you leave the ship, there were lots of groups asking for donations and some of them were more aggressive than others. I felt very uncomfortable at first, but the second day, when I was more prepared for it, was much better. If you’re looking to buy duty-free alcohol, Vanuatu is your best bet as it’s much cheaper than on the ship. Things that could be improved but in no way affected my enjoyment of the cruise: • The rooms were a bit dated, especially in the bathrooms, but they were clean, tidy and spacious. • Other reviews mentioned that the shower is over the bath and to be honest, I read those and thought people were just being overly fussy. However, the bath is much deeper than I expected and I had to hold on to the hand rail every time I stepped in or out. If you have mobility issues, be sure to let P&O know well in advance so you can make other arrangements. • The Pantry needs more tables and needs to do away with the low coffee tables. It’s hard to eat anything other than a sandwich on those! Also, the wire baskets used by some of the stations need to go. They’re lined with paper and it’s impossible to use a knife and fork with them. • None of the restaurants had the capacity to sit ten people at one table apart from the Waterfront, which had one ten-person table. We tried to book six- and four-person tables (well in advance) and were consistently told that the only bookings were at 5:15pm or 8:00pm, despite clearly seeing that the restaurant was nowhere near full at other times. • Enjoyed the New Zealand ice cream bar but felt that it was overpriced (although I understand this is probably out of P&O's control). The muffins and cakes here were delicious but too big. We frequently saw people leaving half their muffin as it was too big to finish. I'd rather pay less for a smaller cake that I can finish but obviously that doesn't make as much money. • Karaoke was held most nights in the Ocean Bar. Now, I love karaoke, but it was very difficult to pay attention to the shows in the Marquee when someone was mutilating Wonderwall 20 metres away. Overall, thoroughly enjoyed this holiday, as did the vast majority of the other people on board. P&O will always be a low-cost cruise line and as long as you don’t go in expecting champagne on a beer budget, you’ll have a great time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Thank You to Pacific Eden P&O and all the staff for the great experience we had. I was a bit nervous going because some of the negative reviews. What will the staff be like? Will we get good service considering we be stuck in the ship? ... Read More
Thank You to Pacific Eden P&O and all the staff for the great experience we had. I was a bit nervous going because some of the negative reviews. What will the staff be like? Will we get good service considering we be stuck in the ship? Will the negative experience stop us from future cruising since this is our first time? What will the food like? However, I don't know what's the negative reviews talk about. These people must be very hard to please! I find our experience was very positive. From the fist time we step on the boat, we were greeted with a welcome on board smile. The rooms Stewarts Sammy & Sarmijan greeted & welcome us & introduce themselves. We was treated with courteous in the restaurants and the pantry. Infect every staff members on the ship was very courteous & polite. They really make an effort to make sure we feel welcome and enjoy the cruise. The entertainment was great. We love the comedian show. The food was terrific. They always change their menus. Overall it was a very enjoyable experience & we got no hesitation to cruise with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Went on this cruise with my family, to Airlie Beach and Surrounds, the destinations were beautiful, and the staff onboard were incredible kind and patient. Being my first cruise, honest to say it was relaxing and the seas were calm, ... Read More
Went on this cruise with my family, to Airlie Beach and Surrounds, the destinations were beautiful, and the staff onboard were incredible kind and patient. Being my first cruise, honest to say it was relaxing and the seas were calm, however on the last day it was a little choppy. Food was good, some variety, in the major restaurants the culinary techniques could be a little more sophisticated. Drinks prices were at a reasonable price. The parties were outstanding! Very lively and talented performers on the ship, especially the musicals performed, they were magnificent. Bianco and White Parties were such fun! Mixology classes/ Tequila Tastings are a must do, especially if you are hungover from the night before from the incredible parties, as was I, it really helped wake me up! We made incredible cocktails, and the best thing was that we got to drink them too! Cabins were neat and clean. But we were hardly in our room because there is so much to do and see when your onboard. Service: Shoutout to Ajay and Andrew the two cabin stewards on our level were always positive and so kind! Overall I loved cruising onboard the Pacific Aria, and I am planning another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My husband and I went on our first cruise for our 10th Anniversary and it was absolutely amazing. Check in went smoothly, even though they were very busy, the staff were very polite. Embarkation went well, we only had to wait 20 mins ... Read More
My husband and I went on our first cruise for our 10th Anniversary and it was absolutely amazing. Check in went smoothly, even though they were very busy, the staff were very polite. Embarkation went well, we only had to wait 20 mins for our group to be called. Staff were great and all very helpful! Housekeeping were very helpful and friendly service, no request was too much. Always saying hello to us as we walked down the hall. Our cabin was just what we needed. We spent more time out and about than in our cabin. Couldn't get the aircon to work though. Food: Plantation food at dinner was a bit meh, but breakfast and lunch were great. Waterfront was lovely. Waiters were very efficient... but felt like they were hovering for our plates as it was so busy. Disembarkation went very well also. We had such an amazing time, next time we will take the kids!! The best holiday we've ever been on. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We had an absolute fantastic time of the Jewel. There were 22 of us in total adults and 12 kids aged from 15- 19. We dinned at both the Pantry and the Waterfront restaurants, service was excellent,, we had the same waters at our table. A ... Read More
We had an absolute fantastic time of the Jewel. There were 22 of us in total adults and 12 kids aged from 15- 19. We dinned at both the Pantry and the Waterfront restaurants, service was excellent,, we had the same waters at our table. A few of us dinned at the Salt restaurant, can highly recommend. The kids had Edge passes and had a great time from zip wire, rockwall climb, segway, lazertag etc. The kids club certainly caters for all ages. Shows were great. The Island stop off were a fantastic day out, the clarity of the water is amazing. We all said if you were bored or hungry it was your own fault. The Photo crew did and awesome job, we took out the photo package and now have a lot of memories. We had a wonderful Christmas holiday Thank you to all the staff on "The Jewel" thanks for the memories. Graves Family Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We, a group of 5 just came back from the most enjoyable 6 nights on the Pacific Jewel. After reading some of the quite horrendous reviews I was expecting the ship to be 1) So run down that it needed to be decomissioned 2) the food so bad ... Read More
We, a group of 5 just came back from the most enjoyable 6 nights on the Pacific Jewel. After reading some of the quite horrendous reviews I was expecting the ship to be 1) So run down that it needed to be decomissioned 2) the food so bad we would all die 3) the staff so unfriendly that we would be in tears and 4) be so bored that we would want to jump overboard...I am pleased to say that none of the points above were close to being a reality. I really do believe that cruise passengers are some of the most snobbish and pretentious travellers going and some of them just like to moan and whinge at the slightest thing, they then take this small thing and to hear them speak, let it ruin a completely good holiday. Some passengers also hold a grudge for the entire cruise e.g if they have one thing go wrong at the start then they just pick faults with everything..anyway, enough of me bagging of my fellow cruise passengers. Embarkation was a breeze, we were on the ship in 20 minutes and off the ship in 5 minutes. I have sailed with Holland America preivously on a cruise around the Med and found that the Pacific Jewel had a much nicer "spirit" than our HAL ship. I figured this was because of the more diverse age ranges. HAL do cater for a much older crowd and being only 50 we were the youngest on the HAL cruise, not on the Jewel, we were right in the middle with a great range of all ages which actually gave the jewel a lovely vibe. There was always music going on somewhere, somebody singing, people dancing, Karaoke, quizzes etc..In this area I dont see that there was anything to complain about. We didnt go to the main theatre to see a show but i did walk in there to grab some crisps and it did look very nice. Now the food. I had read reviews where people said that The Pantry food would be inedible, no variety and just plain awful..this is definately NOT true..If you cannot find something to your liking in the Pantry then you just are not looking close enough. My only minor piece of feedback, the Indian food was too salty. We ate at the Pantry at lot and found it to be great. We also ate in the Main Dining Room and were pleased with every meal that we had there. We did eat at the Salt Grill once and it was awesome. The steaks were beautiful, and for only $49 for 3 courses it was such good value as well.. We stayed in the Mini Suites on deck 11, which is under the Lido Pool and the Pantry, and yes, it could get a bit noisy but i bought ear plugs and only had to wear them 1 night..Our other travellers int he nextdoor suite didnt find the noise bothersome at all..The mini suite we had which was 11144 was excellent in size, so roomy, big walk in dressing area, great sized bathroom, excellent storage, a big huge console desk and plenty of room to walk around between the couch and 2 chairs and coffee table..Balcony was a bit skinny but it was still great..All in all the mini suite was excellent..You also get a few perks with the mini suite, Priority Checkin and disembarkation as well as Priority Tendering. The also serve canapes to your room in the afternoon. We had 3 ports, Port Lincoln, Adelaide and Kangaroo island.. We had great weather for every port and they were all excellent, especially Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. Adelaide is such a lovely city to walk around in with its old buildings and wonderful parklands by the River. Kangaroo Island is just maginificently beautiful. We enjoyed our Ports very much. This is an older boat, being built in 1990 but she is kept in good condition and of course being 26 years old she is quite obviously not going to be as modern as some of the newer ships so I get quite confused as to why people try and compare her to a new ship, its a bit unfair to be honest as P&O do not position themselves at the luxury end of the market. If you like a friendly cruise with decent food at a great price then I don't think you can really go past the Jewel, we had a lovely time and you can either decide to have fun or decide to moan and whinge, we definately decided to have fun..How often do you get the chance to get on a lovely boat and sail around the ocean being looked after! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
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