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332 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

Just back from our first P&O cruise and was pleasantly surprised by the experience. Having cruised many times on other lines we were aprehensive about P&O as they don't have the best reputation. I don't usually ... Read More
Just back from our first P&O cruise and was pleasantly surprised by the experience. Having cruised many times on other lines we were aprehensive about P&O as they don't have the best reputation. I don't usually write reviews but after reading the last two reviews I just had to write a reply. The last two reviews i noticed were written by 1 time reviewers who have just joined C.C. this year and were on the same cruise as my wife and I. Firstly the food in the pantry while not gourmet, it was certainly edible. The last reviewer lost weight proberbly because they serve you food and you can't pile up your plate as you can at buffets on other lines. We ate in Dragon lady, Angelos and the Waterfront and all were very good. The music and the musos in all the bars were very good. We went from bar to bar every night and never struck a bad show. We go and see bands and singers every week at home and these entertainers on board were fun and all very talented. I will go as far as to say that a few of the acts in the bars were better than some of the main acts we have seen on other lines. We went to see the Tom Jones tribute act and while not being a fan he was o.k but as i said we are not fans so it was not really to our liking. I don't know how old the reviewer who said the music was too loud is, but my wife and i sat as close to the bands as we could and never were we unable to talk to each other (we are in our early 60's). Yes shore excursions are expensive but they are with any cruiseline you travel with, you either do them or you don't, it's up to you. The ship is older but it is very well maintained and stylish in it's overall appearance. Loved the size and intamancy of the many public bars and areas, especially the blue room. This cruise certainly changed my opinion of P&O and we will concider them in the future if we see an itinerary we like. Daz. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Yes I know I said we would never go back on the Jewel unless it was free... but this cruise was SO cheap we couldn't resist! Ha ha. And boy are we glad we did! We paid NZ$800 (twin share) for 10 nights to Fiji and Tonga and also ... Read More
Yes I know I said we would never go back on the Jewel unless it was free... but this cruise was SO cheap we couldn't resist! Ha ha. And boy are we glad we did! We paid NZ$800 (twin share) for 10 nights to Fiji and Tonga and also had around $250 of freebies each (inc AUD$100 room credit, free Wifi, free $5 icecream daily each, free dinner at Salt Grill for 2, free soft drinks package each) plus a discounted drinks package for $33 p/day p/person discounted down from $79. How can you say no with that kind of past passenger offer? That was through an email promo through P & O. And aimed at Past Passengers. We booked directly through the P & O NZ website. And we got a room upgrade from the cheapest interior to an interior room on 11 just a few steps away from Oasis. So no balcony required for us, we just went to Oasis when we wanted to sit outside. This cruise was fabulous. SO much better than the one in May! It seemed like all of the issues we had were addressed. Every.single.one. Unbelievable. And the food was warm and hot! And not overcooked! Yay! (read my earlier review on here). Staff were all great. Especially the ones in the Cafe on 12. Eager and helpful. A huge turnaround from the last cruise on the Jewel. The Oasis didn't smell like an old unwashed Dim Sum restaurant either! Auckland is such a breeze for embarkation and disembarkation. The staff work very hard to ensure a stress free and easy process. Full credit to them. We had no issues. But my nice new suitcase has a massive dent but these things happen. I can't believe how different this cruise was from the last one. We were so apprehensive as the last one was *really* awful. Seriously. Our faith has been restored and can't wait to go on another again. Tours: We did one tour in Tonga. The half day one to the other side of the island of Nuku'Alofa. Was around $49 each from memory. Went to a resort. Was pretty basic (no pool) however we saw numerous humpbacks jumping and breaching from the shoreline. Was amazing. Far away but you could still see them quite well. Take binoculars and take a snack with you as chips were like $10 a pack from the bar there. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise as a taste tester to see if we liked and could handle cruising. Being our first experience we went with an open mind. We got a cabin on Deck 5 toward the front of the ship. Our Room Stewart Martin was great, serviced ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a taste tester to see if we liked and could handle cruising. Being our first experience we went with an open mind. We got a cabin on Deck 5 toward the front of the ship. Our Room Stewart Martin was great, serviced our room well. The meals/food on the ship were great. I particularly liked the Waterfront Restaurant. Meals there were nicely presented and tasted good. Although I must say many of the staff working here seemed either overworked or just plain disinterested in being there. There was no friendly chat and/or jokes/performances like I had been told they do on other cruiseliners friends and family had been on. We ate at The Pantry a couple of times and some of the choices here were good, others, not so. I guess it is whatever floats your boat! We did eat one night at the Salt Grill. Great food and excellent service from our drinks waiter! Entertainment was good. One of the entertainment staff, Miguel, was great particularly at Bingo and one of the trivia sessions we saw. The comedian Matt Elsbury was very funny. The ship looks a bit old and tired. There is only one swimming pool and it was continually full of kids, so nowhere for adults to swim in peace. The adults only deck is at the back of the ship with awesome views, but right below the kids club outdoor play area, so don't think it will be peaceful! Overall for our first cruise, we liked it and have already started looking at our next one. We didn't do any shore tours as we only stopped at Airlie Beach and due to the fact that we had to holiday in school holidays, with me being a teacher, prices were a higher than in off peak/non-school holiday times. Cons of the profession I guess. We get plenty of holidays but its always the most expensive time to plan a get away! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Food; 4 stars really excellent given this was an inexpensive holiday where the quality was much better than most average pubs/restaurants around town. We are Italian, cook well and are generally fussy about quality so I think we can say... ... Read More
Food; 4 stars really excellent given this was an inexpensive holiday where the quality was much better than most average pubs/restaurants around town. We are Italian, cook well and are generally fussy about quality so I think we can say... It’s not the best food but it is definitely good. Ship public areas: it’s beautiful. The interior designers have nailed a contemporary comfortable classic look. Again not 5 stars but really excellent 4 and1/2 star. Entertainment: 5 star! Brilliant. One performance had me up asking for an encore. I’m not a fan of the musical genre we prefer dance, modern circus, and theatre but the shows onboard are fantastic. We have been on a Celebrity cruise and P&O in the uk and these were so much better. Cabin: 3 star .....interior cabin 9197. Small and sad with mattresses which were a lower in the middle but after getting a sore back they replaced it with a hard mattress which was better. Bathroom small but functional. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our first family cruise. We have two teenagers 16 and 14. My husband and I really enjoyed the whole experience. However I did feel there was a lack of things to do for the teens especially in the evening. Out of the 10 days 6 ... Read More
This was our first family cruise. We have two teenagers 16 and 14. My husband and I really enjoyed the whole experience. However I did feel there was a lack of things to do for the teens especially in the evening. Out of the 10 days 6 evenings were adult only shows. While there are other things happening at the same time options are much the same karaoke or trivia. The things they could go to they did enjoy. However we felt each thing didn’t last long enough 45 mins was the average. In order to secure a seat you needed to arrive at least 20 mins before. Which leaves you stuck with no seats for anything else. There seemed a massive shortage of seating anywhere there was anything on. Shows at 7 pm and 9pm were packed and many standing. Getting a seat in explorer hotel forget it. We seem to spend most of the night hunting for seating, some nights just giving up and going back to our room. The activities on board that the teens enjoyed cost extra laser tag Hover ball archery and mechanical ball only happened at time slots on varying days and they needed to be booked a day ahead. Table tennis tournaments my son loved , except when he waited for the advertised teen tournement to be told it was only for hq members( kids club) yet in the daily good times there was no mention of having to be in kids club. If your kids like to spend time in kids club then I think it would be ok although my daughter did go once and said it was quite boring and activities were very young. I would cruise again but without the kids as we spent a lot of time trying to entertain them. Bingo was great fun and Marius was an absolute joy and brightened our day. Only down side at $30 a go for the family was $120. The session is 5 games. Would like to see bingo extended maybe instead of two sessions a day one longer session. The entertainment team were outstanding and a real asset we can’t fault any of them. We ate at the pantry breakfast lunch and dinner and visited 400 grandi for pizza eat in and take out. The pantry food we found to be nice. I’m vegetarian and there was enough variety. The only downside is by the time you have found a seat often food is luke wArm. I didn’t like the sweet bar much and found the cakes to be quite dry and the taste the same. The pastries however for breakfast were a huge hit. Drink wise. My hubby and son got the soft drinks package $75 and my daughter and me the one that included coffee and mock tails water and soft drinks. $250 We found these to be well worth it. Hubby was undecided if to go for alcohol package, he was only one drinking. He brought individually and prices are standard a Vb was $6.5 and bourbon and coke $9. He ended up spending a lot less than the package so worked out well. Our cabin was better than I thought it would be after reading past reviews. We had a balcony room and the kids in one next door. They are basic but adequate. The room stewards do an amazing job and they were very clean and accommodating for extra blanket towels etc. the only negative I had ,was the double bed was two singles pushed together which were different heights. And one was rock hard and I had a bad first night as I suffer with chronic pain. But then hubby and I switched sides and he didn’t mind the very firm side. The other side (bed) was very comfy. Every where you go you see staff cleaning I was really impressed at the level of cleanliness. Toilet attendants are always around and everything shined. Bannisters were polished and hand sanitisers are located around food areas. Getting on and off the ship was very smooth and the longest we queued for a tender was around 45 mins, but mostly was quicker. Getting on at the start was smooth and problem free and likewise getting off was easy and quick and well organised. Shore tours we only did one through p and o which was jinek bay passes for snorkeling. I recommend you order them on line before departing as only 200 people a day are aloud in. And was amazing experience. We arranged our own tour through Viator for Port Vila which great. Although Port Vila is a little intimidating with the locals trying to get you to use there taxis etc. once we found our guide the day went very smoothly. The main pool area we only used once but the water was pleasantly warm for winter. The kids did use the water slides but got stuck half way down and felt they were more suited to younger kids. The main pool area was very crowded most of the time with young kids and my two felt they would have like to have gone to the adult only area. I didn’t use the adult area as I felt bad the kids had to be splashed and crowded by young kids and we wanted to hang out together. They did visit the gym and said it was adequate but basic. We didn’t usterlise the onboard spa but think maybe if we travelled without the kids we may do. Overall we had a good time. But not something I’m in a rush to do again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We travelled as a family of four (2 adults and 2 teenagers) and this was our 4th cruise and our 2nd one with P&O, the previous one being 10 years ago. EMBARKATION – We arrived at the cruise terminal in Circular Quay at 11:30 ready ... Read More
We travelled as a family of four (2 adults and 2 teenagers) and this was our 4th cruise and our 2nd one with P&O, the previous one being 10 years ago. EMBARKATION – We arrived at the cruise terminal in Circular Quay at 11:30 ready for our 12 noon check-in, and were ushered through straight away. 30 minutes later we were on board (and it would have been even quicker had it not been for a delay at the customs counter, which required information from all our passports having to be re-entered manually). We were really impressed with how efficient the process was. CABIN – We were booked into a quad share ocean view cabin on deck 6. As expected it was compact and cosy – okay, it was tiny! However, we were pleasantly surprised with how much storage was available to us and we were easily able to stow away all our clothing and other belongings without having to have any clutter on the desk etc. There was enough room to store our 3 large suitcases, 1 mid-sized case and 2 smaller carry-on cases under the 2 lower berths. As recommended by other members on this page, we took along a couple of suction hooks to use in the ensuite – these were very handy. Our cabin attendant was a real legend – he was always very cheerful and friendly and kept out cabin spotless. Nothing seemed to be any trouble for him. INTERIOR PUBLIC SPACES – All of the lounges, restaurants etc are very tastefully decorated and we loved the large window seats. Unfortunately, so did everyone else! Given the size of the ship though, a lot of the lounges felt too small and it was often difficult to find somewhere to sit. This was particularly so on one sea day when the weather was rather inclement and 2 of the bars were closed for private functions. I understand most of the public spaces were refurbished when P&O took over this ship. This was obviously not the case with the Marquee Theatre though as the upholstery on those seats is definitely in need of being replaced and, surprisingly, all of the drink trays in the seats were very sticky from previous passengers’ drinks. They obviously don’t get wiped down regularly. I say surprisingly because everywhere else on the ship was so spotlessly clean. The seats were comfortable enough though and neither of these issues hampered our enjoyment of the shows. FOOD & BEVERAGES – We ate in The Pantry, The Waterfront, Angelo’s and Dragon Lady and found the food in all of them was hit and miss. In fact, we were a little disappointed to find that overall the food quality had gone down compared with our P&O cruise 10 years ago. Sometimes the meals we ordered were overcooked and dry and other times they were cooked perfectly and delicious. In any case, the food was always nicely presented, we didn’t go hungry and I didn’t have to cook for 10 days! We made dinner reservations on the first day for the whole cruise and then decided after the first 2 days that we would prefer a later dining time. We were able to change most of them without any trouble. As far as the beverages go, it would have been nice to see more variety in the range of non-alcoholic drinks available. Other than water, it seemed the only drinks available for children were sugary, fizzy drinks and 3 sickly-sweet mocktails. On previous cruises, including our previous P&O cruise, our children have drunk non-alcoholic pina coladas and other similar drinks and we would happily have purchased them this time had they been available. All the waiters and bar tenders across the ship provided a superb service – always prompt and friendly. ENTERTAINMENT – The Entertainment Team, led by Joanna (Cruise Director) and Andy (Deputy Cruise Director) were brilliant – all very quick-witted with huge personalities. The banter between them all and between them and some of the passengers was entertaining in itself. We went to all the evening shows and enjoyed them all, whether they featured the production cast or guest entertainers. The musicians on board were all very talented and a joy to listen to – our favourites were the Pacific Showband and pianist, Anthony Quimby. DISEMBARKATION – We were horrified to find out on the second to last day that we’d been given a disembarkation time of 7:35am! That was way too early to get up on the last day of our holiday. However, we went to Reception and they willingly changed it to 8:30 for us. Phew! Disembarkation was just as smooth and efficient as embarkation. Overall the service provided by the crew was fantastic. All the crew we encountered seemed to genuinely want to do whatever they could to ensure we had a good holiday. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I recently got back from a cruise to New Caledonia on the P&O Pacific Eden. The cruise was so relaxing and we really enjoyed ourselves and would recommend this cruise. Here are just some things that I wish I had known before ... Read More
I recently got back from a cruise to New Caledonia on the P&O Pacific Eden. The cruise was so relaxing and we really enjoyed ourselves and would recommend this cruise. Here are just some things that I wish I had known before boarding. Dinners: We had read all the reviews that said we should book all restaurants on the first day and now I also strongly recommend it to you as we heard grumblings that people didn’t know and had to wait for seats. What I wish I had known before making the bookings is the ships activities and show times. We booked for 7:15pm every night but there were so many activities that took place while we were eating that we missed them with no option to change our bookings due to everything being booked out. I personally would do a 6:30 dinner next time. Dinner at the Waterfront changed every day with a theme every night (Italian, German etc). Angelo’s and Dragon Lady only changed once, at the halfway point. Port Tours: Noumea has the most options for port tours but now having spent the money to book though the ship I would strongly recommend booking once you get on shore. The port building has many options for tours but at 1/3 the cost offered on the ship. Additionally you could just get a cab (you will need to get some cash) to The Meridien hotel in the south of the city, here you will find excellent beaches and food plus you can hire paddleboards, canoes, and snorkelling gear. Maré: There is truly nothing to do if you don’t get the bus “tour” to the other side of the island. You will be stuck with nothing but a craggy rock shore and about 3 stalls selling crafts. We did, however, see a manta ray at the jetty. If you don’t’ want to get the bus then stay on the ship and enjoy yourself there. Chateau Royal Spa: The Shore tour we organised though P&O was the Chateau Royal Spa at a cost of AU $149. P&O advertise it as a 2 hour spa experience but in reality we only got about 40min in the spa once we got there and had to change we were then told that we needed to be out and dressed so that we can spend 40min sitting in the hotel lounge waiting for the “French sweets” which was some macaroons and mini cakes. I would recommend making your own way to the spa and then you can spend as long as you wish in the water; the spa cost is about AU $40-$50. In addition, the spa has very strict rules on what swimsuit you can wear and if you are wearing anything other than lycra short shots then you will be forced to wear a loan pair. Board games: I am a big board gamer and I was excited when I heard they run board games on the ship. I reality though this is just a time slot every morning when they put out a few copies of chess, backgammon and monopoly. Now this might be fine for some but I was hoping for more, there isn’t even anyone to organise groups of players. If board games are your thing then I would take some with you. Soft Drink Package: The drinks package is advertised as Pepsi products however I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to also get Coke, diet Coke and Coke No Sugar (Zero). Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My daughter, grandson and I recently went on another short break cruise out of Auckland. We did this cruise last year and loved it so decided to go again and were especially looking forward to seeing the recent renovations onboard. ... Read More
My daughter, grandson and I recently went on another short break cruise out of Auckland. We did this cruise last year and loved it so decided to go again and were especially looking forward to seeing the recent renovations onboard. We got a mini suite again but this time but on the opposite side of the ship as our last room was a bit noisy in the evening as it was under the Grill. This time we were under Shell and Bones and it was very quiet - no problem at all with any noise. (Last room was 11164, this time 11163). Food was really good in both Waterfront Restaurant and the Pantry. We had breakfast every morning at the Waterfront and found this to be very relaxing. We had two evening meals in the Waterfront and one in the Pantry - all enjoyable. We actually got a table early in the Pantry before it opened and that made for a much more relaxed dinner there. My grandson (12) again loved the HQ kids club and spent a lot of time there. We did the gatsby dance lesson and that was great fun. We also walked around the entire ship and only used the lift once, on formal night. My exercise tracker showed that I'd walked up over 120 flights of stairs in three days so I was happy with that given that I'm 61. I must mention the shows which were much better than last time. The production and staging was fantastic and we absolutely loved them. Our room steward was wonderful and made up the sofa bed each night and then back to a sofa for daytime - something that didn't happen on the last cruise. We also had really good bathroom supplies including beautiful top brand body lotion, shampoo and conditioner etc. Last time we didn't get these quality products. We didn't find any hard sell or having to pay extra for everything (as was said in previous reviews). We enjoyed the trivia quizzes and other free entertainment put on for us. It was a great surprise as well to find we could buy unlimited wifi for only $19 for the three days. Great to keep in touch with family while away. Overall we really couldn't fault our cruise. Yes the Jewel is getting an older ship but it is generally in great condition for a short cruise out of Auckland. So much so that my daughter and her husband are off again in July and my husband and I in August. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Travelled with a group of friends, we chose this cruise as one of the travellers had never cruised and this seemed a good opportunity to try it out. Aria public areas are beautiful however the cabins could do with being refurbished, ... Read More
Travelled with a group of friends, we chose this cruise as one of the travellers had never cruised and this seemed a good opportunity to try it out. Aria public areas are beautiful however the cabins could do with being refurbished, curtains old and hanging off windows, bathroom tiles and tap ware very old looking and shower curtain torn and very old looking. Beds were very comfortable and sheets and towels were clean and fresh. No pool towels in room and no tissues which was disappointing. We ate in The Pantry, Waterfront and the Italian restaurant (we could not get booked for the Dragon Lady), food in general could have been served warmer but was tasty and plentiful. Thought drinks prices were reasonable and we loved the Ocean Bar, staff in bars and restaurants were always pleasant and efficient. Entertainment was not great and one of the entertainment staff was quite rude (Dominic), he publicly pulled me up during a trivia game for apparently saying an answer “too loudly”, my thoughts on this were “the prize is for a an ice cream voucher, so who really cares who hears another person saying n answer. On a positive note Stephen from the entertainment team was great and kept everyone entertained no matter what he was hosting. Oasis outdoor area was great and never too busy, we enjoyed dressing up for Gatsby and Bianco parties. Embarkation and dis-embarkation was very quick and done efficiently. Weather stopped us getting ashore at Hamilton Island however that couldn’t be helped. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We just returned from an 8 day cruise on the P&O Australia Pacific Explorer to New Caledonia for 8 nights from Sydney in May 2018. Unfortunately we had so so weather, ending with a stomach churching bigger than forecast 6m slop from a ... Read More
We just returned from an 8 day cruise on the P&O Australia Pacific Explorer to New Caledonia for 8 nights from Sydney in May 2018. Unfortunately we had so so weather, ending with a stomach churching bigger than forecast 6m slop from a low off the NSW coast that delayed our arrival into Sydney and made sleep difficult. This was our 5th cruise in 4 years having sailed on Carnival Spirit, Sun Princess (twice) and the Dawn Princess, and we wanted to see what P&O was like in Australia given the party reputation and there was a great special on when we wanted to travel, and we would earn points with Princess. Overall, the standard of service was similar, the average age, younger, there were more physical and youth activities available. The ship had a more Aussie feel, and entertainment content was more Australian. The included food value seems to be lower than Princess, with the option to pay for more expensive food options – eg Prawns or steak. This possibly leads to lower fares. The Pacific Explorer is the refitted Dawn Princess, and having sailed on the ship before and its sister ship, the Sun Princess, we were very familiar with the ship layout. The refit appears to have focussed on the lounge areas, bars, dining rooms and youth plus the addition of the P&O Edge attractions and water slides. Apparently there was also some new engineering updates made. The lounge areas and dining rooms have been nicely updated in Australian contemporary styles, with a variety of new chairs and lounges in the bars. Every window alcove is now a chair or lounging area with cushions. Compared to Princess ships, we no longer felt we were in an American hotel. It felt Aussie. There were very few structural changes, so there are a few odd things such as where the rotating doors have been removed in the Blue room, but it now has a stage as well as a dance floor. However we were disappointed to find that the library had become a youth lounge. We did note that The Marquee, the main performance venue, had not had a refit. The upholstery on some of the chairs is becoming worn. We managed to get an Oceanview room, which appeared to be about the same size as internal cabins we’ve had on this class of ship. Clearly most of the cabins remain the same as before the refit. Unfortunately we ended up with a cabin very forward, which made for interesting rides during the bit sloppy sea. The video system is not play on demand as on the Sun Princess, but the content is mostly Australian which was a pleasant change. The dining experience was quite different, with no set dining tables that we could discern. The best option would be book all dinners shortly after boarding, as we found many venues booked up, or only had share tables available. The food was good quality and well cooked in general, although prawn fans will have to pay for the privilege – we had King Prawns in the The Pantry on the last lunch only. The lack of set tables means it is harder to get to know dining companions and serving staff, so more like the Princess Anytime dining experience. This is probably more the expectation of modern cruisers. In The Waterfront we were surprised to find only 3 starters, 3 main course dishes + 3 dishes that could be either entre or main course included in the fare that changed daily. There were a number of other options which could be purchased. In Alferedo’s there is a longer set menu with an Italian theme with a dessert cart, and the Dragon Lady has a modern Asian menu, although all desserts are western which was a bit of clash. None of the main restaurants are going to server more expensive dishes such as steaks or prawns. You need to pay for this at one of the other venues, and we didn’t go to them. The Pantry on deck 14 has had a bit of a refit, with a new colour scheme and what look like plants on the tables (but closer inspection shows them to be plastic). There are number of themed food stations pus salad and soup bar. This means most food is served to patrons, avoiding issues of a buffet, however adding communication issues with staff! Some of the staff just don’t understand how to dish up some of the food in a reasonable way. The food was ok quality for this style of service. The cakes varied between good and bizarre. For some reason they were unable to make decent donuts. As usual it is impossible to make a decent cuppa using the non-boiling water provided. All the bars also server espresso coffees but you pay per drink, same as for alcohol and soft drinks. The Espresso coffee was acceptable. Watch out if you get a cake at Charlie’s Bar on desk 5 – they charge for those! We didn’t use room service – you pay extra for it compared to the free service on Princess. On Princess Cruises we seen 3 different passenger group profiles. IN all, there is a leaning to more mature passengers. We’ve seen a broader age range of a 2 night cruise from Brisbane to Sydney, a generally more mature age range on a winter South Pacific cruise where we , in our mid 50s, were amongst the youngest, but both cruises were mostly from Australia/NZ, and a much wider agen range and broader nationality range on a NZ cruise. On this late Autumn non school holiday P& O cruise there was a much broader range, with about 20 young families, a few young adults, but still significant number of retirement age. There also was a wider ethnic profile. We didn’t witness any stupid behaviour, although we didn’t attend most of the late night parties. The standard of entertainment was very high, possibly higher than on Princess, and the shows were Australian produced, so more accessible. Of the 2 production shows we saw, only 1 had a live band. The volume for all production shows was very high and constant, which I don’t think is necessary. Rather than having 2 signers and 8 dancers, the group had 2 signers who could dance a bit, 2 dancers who could sing, and 6 dancers. Other entertainment were a magician, and the Cover Girls, the ship band, who also played jazz in the Blues Room, and some other soloists and duos. The crew were similarly capable to Princess ships, with stewards and dining staff being generally capable and friendly. We didn’t make use of the youth and children’s services so can’t comment. We didn’t make use of P&O Edge & water slides so can’t comment. We didn’t use the Casino either, but we did note that it has much more tables and machines than on the same class Princess ship. Generally boarding, tender and disembarkation procedures were similar to Princess. At check in you are able to link your ship board account with a credit card, something you can do pre-check in online with Princess. Tours were similar, perhaps with some higher activity options than princess. We were able to book online prior to cruise. There is an online wifi accessed application making the daily schedule available on your mobile device. Changes prior to and during the cruise were well communicated. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Pacific Explorer was very familiar as been on it previously as Dawn Princess, some changes made to appeal to younger patrons with two slides, water area for kids and usual P&O activities ( that need to pay extra to enjoy). The ... Read More
Pacific Explorer was very familiar as been on it previously as Dawn Princess, some changes made to appeal to younger patrons with two slides, water area for kids and usual P&O activities ( that need to pay extra to enjoy). The entertainment crew were excellent. Joanne was cruise director and Rory deputy ( had them in the past on other ships), new staff on entertainment crew but they were all very good. We went in a group of 6 ( 3 couples ) and are all seasoned cruisers, and all impressed overall with P&O - they have improved so much since a few years ago. I think the only crap ship now is the Pacific Dawn - even staff new of this. Off course it wasn't perfect and as some have said the restaurant food is a bit hit and miss and the Pantry can give out cold food, and we had two bad steaks at the Waterfront. But with 4 places to eat at no extra cost you cannot really complain, most of the time the food is quite good and service is pretty good ( Pantry is so busy at breakfast and lunch, but that is similar on Princess and Royal Caribbean). Entertainment at the theatre ( come early or miss out - a bit like Princess - chairs looked like original from when ship was made) was very good and even the magician was good ( Jack Black) as he combined comedy into the act. We were lucky we were put in a larger cabin ( disabled - unused), but other couple had a broom closet. Bathroom had some mould under shower on floor. Most laundries had one or two broken down washers or driers, you need to look early to get your washing done - purchase coin tokens at reception $3. Bring your own washing detergent. We just hang clothes up to dry in room - crank up heat as you leave room in the morning and dry when you come back at night. Overall the price was great for what you get, you can pay a lot more for Princess, Royal Caribbean or Celebrity and now Carnival also is more expensive and get a bit more but P&O go to places others do not go and very hard to beat the value. Ports Noumea - OK if first time , but most seasoned cruisers have had enough of this port. We just walked around and went to the Museum ( cost us $3 for over 60y each, but need to take New Caledonia money) - it was much better than we expected and large inside, some signs in English - beware is closed in middle of the day. Had good wak around area again up to the church, around the bay area etc and a few coffees. Lifou - Walked up to the old church to the right about 1km max. and looked around just to warm up for swimming. Large turtle in the water at the beach, lots of snorkelling around it and then usual swimming and fish spotting. Port Vila - Water taxi into town ( still $5 each - hard to negotiate prices in the morning), then walk around and off the duty free grog shop - prices still cheaper than ship BUT ship prices have dropped dramatically - it is now only about $1 cheaper on most drinks on the island ( however can buy 2 litre Jim Beans and 1.75 Jack Daniels that are not on the ship, which makes it so much more a bargain). Island duty free delivers to ship so no need to carry around. We then went across to Irikiri Island now that it is open again after cyclone - It is now $20 to get onto island and you now only get $10 back for spending but drinks are very expensive - food not too bad, used to get $20 back for food. But can used the facilities on island for free - we went snorkelling. Lovely just to walk around island and take pictures. Mystery Island - Island is getting more and more huts and more and more islanders trying to hire out equipment and tours etc. Their were blue bottles in the water ( first time seen on island in 10 visits) and lots of people got stung, lots of vinegar dispersed by P&O first aid ( one of our group was stung and had large sting marks on her shoulder). BUT the fish were fantastic, most fish we have ever seen and coral was great also. It would have been worth the sting. Isle of Pines - went for a long walk to the end of the beach ( near whalf) and then along the bay, then up to the old prison again. Lovely island pictures taken as usual, didn't bother going swimming as nothing could be like Mystery Island and been around Sacret Rock many times. Other couple with us went swimming after lunch and said it was OK but not like yesterday. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
So here is my full review of the P&O Pacific Eden 10 night cruise 'Discover Vanuatu'. It's quite long and detailed, but for a first time cruiser (like I was) hopefully this provides enough information to know what's ... Read More
So here is my full review of the P&O Pacific Eden 10 night cruise 'Discover Vanuatu'. It's quite long and detailed, but for a first time cruiser (like I was) hopefully this provides enough information to know what's what. Starting embarkatiom: this was easy and simple. Check your bags in when you get to the port and then wait around for embarkation start. Pretty straightforward going through the basics. Children get a wrist band to wear the entire cruise with your lifeboat station number. I think this is a great idea.(As I went with myself and my 3yr old son) Once you're on the boat someone will help direct you to your room if you need it. And either your bags will be waiting outside your door or delivered shortly after. Disembarkation is very easy as well. Put your bags outside your room the night before and wait around the next morning until it's your turn to disembark. Plenty of time to eat breakfast and get organized before having to leave the ship. Collecting your bags is straightforward as is customs. And then you're out to either wait for your organized airport bus or whatever your doing. We had an oceanview cabin on the bottom deck (4). Personally I would choose the bottom deck again as it was generally quiet with no foot traffic other than occupants of the same deck. The cabin is a pretty decent size and included a bath. Bed was comfy. Aircon/heating. Couch with t.v. I was quite happy and comfortable in our room for the duration of the cruise. Decor a little outdated but honestly it's a minor detail and didnt contribute to my opinion. The room stewards are beautiful and very happy. You can choose to have morning and turn down service. I choose both and am happy I did as was nice to have a clean room both morning and evening. Food: There are 3 sit down restaurants. I'd reccomend booking for your entire cruise either the first day or second day if you plan on choosing this dining option. Bookings arent required but you may have a wait time if you decide eating there last minute. You also don't have to show up if you've changed your mind regardless if you've made a booking. There was the Waterfront, Angelo's and Dragon Lady. I cant provide much info about these as I only dined at the waterfront once. But it was a lovely experience and you get waited on fully (they even pour your water for you). It had a good menu for children and adults which changes daily. I preffered eating in the Pantry. It's made up of different eateries, each with their own menu which changes daily for lunch and dinner (breakfast was usually the same). There was Indian, Mexican, Asian, soup bar, salad bar, a roast and hot veggie bar and a desert bar. All the food was pretty good for the price you pay. Just like the food you'd get at home (Adelaide). I'm sure there are definitely other cruise ships with much better food tho. Not a lot of options if you're lactose and gluten intolerant. Although there is milk alternatives for your coffee and tea. In saying that I managed to always find something to eat even if it was just a plate of assorted veggies and salad (not complaining as I love salad and veggies). Dining is not 24/7. There is food available outside dining times if you want to pay. Personally I never did because why would you when you can wait an hour for the buffet to be open again. Entertainment: Again I can't comment on this much as I preffered to go out onto the decks away from everyone. But there is always something on. You get a 'Good Times' newsletter each night which tells you everything that's going on the following day. Plenty of options that also looked very fun. So if you are interested in that I'm sure there will be something for you to do. There was 2 pools, an adults only which was never really busy, and the main pool. Usually this was closed on sea days as it was too rough for people to go swimming in, but on port days and the sailing away parties (embarkation day and the day before disembarking) it was open and generally full of children as there was a lot of children on the cruise. They hound you the first couple of days to go through the spa and gym, I always said no and they soon learn who to latch onto and who to leave alone throughout the cruise. This was probably the most annoying thing I encountered throughout the cruise. Kids club: If you have children this is a good option for you. The kids club was great and my son quite enjoyed going there. You get a newsletter for the relevant group (turtle cove for under 5yrs is what I'm detailing this on), so you can see what and when you want to send your kids. The activities were fun and my son won a few things and made a lot of keep-sakes. The staff were also very lovely and great. You get a pager so if something does go wrong they can contact you instantly. I give a lot of praise to P&O for their kids club. This was free and available from 9am - 12pm. 2pm - 10pm. There is an option for late night babysitting which cost extra. I never used this tho. I never did any shore excursions through the ship as I wasn't interested in this. And personally id rather spend my money on the island as there was a lot of on shore tours being offered by the locals. But there is a lot of options for tours for each destination if this is what you want to choose. The only time I booked through the ship was on Marè as I'm not sure of there is an option on the island to purchase bus tickets to the beach (which is really all there is on Marè). So for convenience, get the bus tickets for Marè on the ship. You get over by tender, which is about a 10min boat ride from ship to jet. There are a few stalls with the locals selling knick knacks. The beach is beautiful and there are a few markets there mainly for hairbraiding and massages. Local food and some packaged aussie food and fizzy. I'd reccomend Reef shoes on this island. Port Vila: Ship docks at the port and there is a maze of stalls selling various items. Once you get past that immediately you get hounded by the locals trying to pull you to their taxi serices. Even though you need to do this to get around, I found this to be incredibly overwhelming and daunting and had no idea what to do. Eventually I got a taxi driver who was lovely. It's something you need to do only once to know how to do the next time. Organize the price before you go. They generally do fair prices. I paid about 200$ aus for a full 7hour day of touring. I'd reccomend Tanna coffee, The secret garden, the hidden waterfall. But just ask your taxi driver which is what I did. They're honourable and want you to enjoy your time there so will show you good places. Also duty free is probably the best here so make sure you go. Mystery island: again you get the tenders over to his island. Beautiful place. Takes about an hour to walk around the full island. Wear reef shoes and bring your snorkel gear. The beaches are idyllic and can easily spend 4 hours relaxing in the sun and water. Markets stalls are there to buy things with. I found a lot of the same stuff to be on all of the island markets. Isle of pines: not much here, you get the tender over and there is a short walk to the beach for snorkeling. Not much room to sunbathe or anything. Beaches are like what you see on a postcard tho. Absolutely stunning. Not many markets here. Just enough to buy a souvenir. Also a few stalls with some local food to buy. Easy enough to navigate yourself by walking. Just follow the crowd. There were locals advertising tours. I didnt do this but i noticed a few other passengers stopping to do this. Noumea: you dock at this port and get off at the terminal building. I purchased a hop on hop off bus ticket on the boat but I'm pretty sure you can get cheaper on the island. Tonnes of locals offering all sorts of tours so you wont be lost for something to do here. If you're unsure just ask. The locals in the terminal were incredibly helpful. Tonnes of market stalls upstairs to buy all kinds of things. This was probably the easiest place to navigate and feel confident in, even if you've never left your street at home. Wonderful place. Would definitely reccomend the HOHO bus ticket as I found this the easiest way to see all of Noumea and not miss out on anything. Well I hope I covered all bases. I know this was painfully long but I would have definitely appreciated such a detailed review before I went on my first cruise, so hopefully this can benefit someone. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We just came back from Noumea and New Caledonia 7nts cruise on the Pacific Eden and can say we were really impressed. Thank goodness we didnt listen to some of the reviews online as our experience was really a good one. The balcony cabin ... Read More
We just came back from Noumea and New Caledonia 7nts cruise on the Pacific Eden and can say we were really impressed. Thank goodness we didnt listen to some of the reviews online as our experience was really a good one. The balcony cabin was the biggest one we have ever been in (this was out 4th cruise)and ample room for all our clothes and was really roomy and the beds were amongst then most comfortable beds we have ever tried. Good one P & O ! The entertainment got better as then cruise went on (especially Steady Eddie and Andre King a comedian was terrific but a live band for the theatre would have been better than pre-recorded music. The only real negative was the temperature of the food - it was warm to cold nearly every meal which was disappointing but the Pantry gave a good selection of dishes and the fish and chips on board were fantastic (the only thing that was hot). We had dinner in Angelos (Italian complementary restaurant) and it was really first class and the food was much hotter in there and we would recommend it to anyone. Overall we were greatly surprised and happy with our holiday cruise. The stateroom attendants were terrific and the staff overall was really helpful. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Embarkation We got to the port very early so I cant complain that we had to wait a while, even so, once the ball got rolling it was smooth and seamless. The Ship My previous cruise was on the sister ship Sun Princess so the layout ... Read More
Embarkation We got to the port very early so I cant complain that we had to wait a while, even so, once the ball got rolling it was smooth and seamless. The Ship My previous cruise was on the sister ship Sun Princess so the layout was very familiar and I had no trouble in finding my way around. The public areas were spacious and well appointed most of the time but certainly peak times at any location and it does get cramped most notably "The Pantry" and both of the show lounges. Its an older ship and even after the recent upgrades there are signs of wear but not enough to cause any concern. There are a lot of dining options to pay extra for and some of these are located in the worst places, one of them on level 8 which prevents you from accessing past the restaurant on that level, instead you need to go up or down a floor to get past which can be a pain. Dining Let me start by saying that I went on the cruise with very low food expectations and ended up finding it satisfactory, you simply cant compare P&O food to other cruise lines without also considering the price you paid for the cruise. There are a lot of options to spend more and seemingly a lot of limited repetitive choices to help sway the cruise cards towards those options. I didn't visit any of the "pay extra" venues but there were many times in the free venues where I struggled to find a meal option that I was looking forward to or really enjoyed. There were some dishes that I did enjoy but often there would be elements to the meal that were just not right, the dry crumbed turkey fillet which would have been great with a gravy or sauce or the Lebanese chicken skewer with "homus" which would have been great if only the homus didn't have the consistency of soup or the canolli that had a great filling but was left too long before serving and lost it's crunch . I got the impression that its a new menu, they were constantly asking what we thought of our meals or if there were any problems and to be fair they were happy to try to please or offer another meal if we hadn't eaten much. I found Dragon Lady to be the pick of the free venues. A word of advice with either Angelo's or Dragon Lady, book the day before or you may not get in, the Waterfront, we never bothered to book and never had a problem getting in. Entertainment / Activities I'm not interested in the cabaret style shows so didn't bother too much to watch them but the comedy magic act (Jack Black) and the 2 comedians (Garry Who and Jarred Fell) all put on very entertaining shows. Service Again, consider how much you paid for the cruise and adjust your expectations accordingly, I cant say I had bad service at any time but definitely some stood out much more than others, the girl serving coffee on level 5 who was quite possibly the friendliest cruise staff I have ever encountered and our room stewards Daniel and Vincent were as good as any cabin staff we have had on any cruise line. On the other end of the scale though there were some who didn't do any more than they had to. Ports Our itinerary included 4 ports, Santo, Pentacost, Vila and Lifou on 4 consecutive days, Pentacost being the only port we hadn't visited previously was a real thrill to see and the locals quite literally risk their lives to entertain us with their land diving, it is hard to see it as anything other than pure madness combined with pure bravery and definitely something you wont see elsewhere Kids club My 2 kids almost 13 and almost 14 used to love kids club but for some reason they have developed a thing where they think they will have more fun without it, while I am sure they are wrong with that thinking I cant make much comment on it as they didn't go beyond the initial signing in. Overall P&O offer a very competitive option tailored to the Australian market and they are good at it. Compare them to other cruiselines and you will find a lot of little extras missing but as a general rule no other cruiseline is as cheap and no other cruiseline understands how to entertain Aussies quite as well as P&O do, To be completely honest, if they were not cheaper there is no way I would choose them but like all cruiselines you need to consider the entire package. they are cheap, visit some unique ports, have a younger more energetic crowd and they know how to entertain their audience, their service, food options and luxury touches fall way short of all other cruiselines servicing Australia and if the above reasons are not enough to make up your mind its kind of good too have the "limited luxuries" so you will appreciate them more when you go on the more up market cruiselines next time Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Our cabin was clean and there was a short wait for our luggage to be delivered to the room but we had no concerns. Good times pamphlet was easy to read with lots of interesting activities to ... Read More
Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Our cabin was clean and there was a short wait for our luggage to be delivered to the room but we had no concerns. Good times pamphlet was easy to read with lots of interesting activities to do. Waterfront restaurant had good food and was easy to get into with and without a reservation. The Pavlova dessert was AMAZING. Highly recommended even for the $9 price tag. Seven / Let's Misbehave / Rock shows were awesome - very talented entertainment staff always great shows. just magnificent. I love walking along the promenade deck except when portions are roped off and you have to detour back inside the ship to continue the lap and when you have to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke (that definitely ruins the experience of walking around the ship and enjoying the seas air and views). Breakfast is always the worst meal of the day on cruises but breakfast under this new Pantry layout was DISGUSTING. The hot food (bacon, eggs, etc) were always cold and waiting in line for toast made it even colder. It is really difficult to get seats in The Pantry and the food is getting even colder by the time you find a seat. if you stay away from hot food and lines even the cold breakfast foods like yogurt and fruit were inedible. The Pantry is so chaotic - people walking every which way and people walking through the food area when they are leaving. no hand washing was enforced and broken soap dispensers was ignored by the staff. The staff were very slow in cleaning the tables in The Pantry which led to less tables being available and it was difficult to get a staff members attention is you wanted them to come clean a table for you. This was also noticeable around the ship as large stacks to used plates and cups were seen every including in elevators and under stairs. It may be a cruise ship and staff are there to pick up a lot of items but people can be sucks pigs leaving their leftovers everywhere. The Pantry at Lunch was not much better - too chaotic and too difficult to get seating for terrible tasting food. i recommend avoiding The Pantry at all costs. The opening times of the Pantry was awful. if you wanted a snack outside of The Pantry opening times there was nothing available unless you were willing to pay extra money. No sweets on offer between lunch and dinner times except the $5 a scoop ice cream. also the Pantry only offered Apple & Orange Juice with breakfast after than you could not get any drinks other than tea and coffee in the Pantry. No staff available to ask about getting other drinks with lunch?? the watersides were fun but lots of rules and issues about earrings. we took off our big earrings and went on the slides twice but then suddenly they changed their minds and we could not slide with any earrings in even small sleepers that were not going to come undone. make up your minds. many children were unsupervised as well and very pushy when trying to get past you on the stairs up to the slides. 18+ area was nice except for a couple of very loud annoying drunk women cackling away for 4 days and people hogging the hot tubs for many hours & not sharing. getting drinks was a slow process sometimes especially if you wanted to ask the bar tender any questions who would answer 1 then serve somebody else. Mock tails were never mentioned on any menus and had to be asked for specifically and then the bar tender would walk away to serve someone else without waiting for our order. Swim towels available in the rooms was much more helpful than other ships where you have to search for towels yourself and then walk back to the pool you want to use. Spa services are so expensive! $39 for an eye brow wax and then they try to sell you a special brand of face toner and cleanser for $60 each. what a rip off. Dinner at the Dragon Lady was excellent. Dinner at Angelo's was lovely, though the portion sizes were a bit small. getting drinks around the ship were sometimes a but confusing, the menus all said Pepsi / Pepsi max drinks but when you asked for Pepsi the staff looked at you blankly and said they had Coke / Diet Coke. also for non coffee drinkers it's difficult to get a non coffee drink. the menu only offered coffee flavored drinks and when a Iced Chocolate was asked for the staff would still make an Iced Chocolate Mocha even though they promised a non coffee Iced Chocolate. they even seemed confused when asked for a simple hot milk drink. entertainment activities was mostly fun though the paper flower making class was a bit ridiculous. the teacher did not explain / show the steps very well and when you asked for help or for her to repeat the steps she was slow at acknowledging us. learning the steps for the Gatsby flash mob was fun but when the time came for us to do the dance in the Atrium it was far too crowded and not enough space for the steps we were taught including Charleston kicks. it became very claustrophobic on the dance floor. we were promised confetti at the end of the dance which did not occur. The photo department...terrible photos and terrible prices! we are all dressed up in Gatsby outfits but the photographer cut off our fingers and outfits and was bamboozled when we had our own poses already chosen. all they want you to do is stand in the same spot every time and then they don't really check if you have closed eyes. the new digital kiosk system can make finding your photos easier but each staff member trained differently or incorrectly gives you different information. e.g. 1 staff member said you can only order digital copies from the kiosk and physical copies you had to find yourself in the many boxes of mixed photo graphs where another said you could order digital and physical copies from the kiosk (but after i had already spent 30 mins or more searching through the multiple piles of mixed photos for any photos of my group). shore excursions... we went to Moreton Island and we booked the snorkeling tour and the feeding the Dolphins tour. we were told to get a tender at least 90 mins before our tour time to make sure we didn't miss the tours but then we were so early for the tour that we were waiting for an hour for our tour to start. we were also not given enough information and were not told to dress in our swimmers before hand. once in the wet suit snorkeling was a beautiful experience. highly recommend. afterwards we had to wait for our next tour. so had a late lunch and a beach swim but still ended up waiting for many hours before the Feeding the Dolphins tour started at 5pm. the tour size was enormous! at least 100 - 200 people. we then had to wait another 90 mins while a buffet was served (which we could not eat as we had had lunch not long ago) & a dolphin presentation was held, before we even saw a dolphin. then we were joined by another 100 people from the island who wanted to feed dolphins before were were allowed to line up and grab our fish to feed to the dolphin. once in the water it was a very quick few seconds where the dolphin snatched the fish from your fingers a photo was taken and you were pushed back onto the shore where P&O staff were waiting to rush you on-board a boat to tender you back to the ship. lots on long waiting time for a very quick experience and then being rushed back onto the ship. shopping on-board ship is the usual clothing and jewelry - it's fine as long as you fit into small/medium sizes, anything bigger than a large is not catered for. it's all very expensive even when 50% off. i do enjoy cruising but there are a lot of little things that made my Pacific Explorer Experience not perfect. 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Sail Date April 2018
While the cruise itself was very good there are a few things that I was disappointed about, the first being the smoking area. Why do the cruise ships allow smokers to smoke on the promenade deck? The promenade deck is advertised as a ... Read More
While the cruise itself was very good there are a few things that I was disappointed about, the first being the smoking area. Why do the cruise ships allow smokers to smoke on the promenade deck? The promenade deck is advertised as a place to walk around the deck to get some exercise, yet every time we attempted to go for a relaxing walk, we had to walk through the smoking area and the fumes followed us all the way down to the stern of the ship. Smokers should be put in a place where they do not effect anyone else except themselves, in fact I would think that these days the WHOLE ship should be smoke free. If that is not possible than they should be set aside somewhere down the back of the ship or up near the smoke stack away from where anyone else can be effected by the fumes or even given a room with an exhaust fan to get rid of the fumes. As a non-smoker and particularly an asthmatic I find the fumes offensive and can’t stand the smell. This was made worse when I witnessed a woman smoking outside our room, well outside the smoking are, and butting out the stub on the railing and then throwing the butt overboard. The second problem was housekeeping on the last day. We were requested to vacate the room by 0830. So we scheduled our breakfast and morning activities around that time. We returned to our room at 0730 only to find that the bed had been made. While it’s good that housekeeping was on the ball, it has a tendency to create a potential problem. What if we need to use the bed, for a quick nap or something else. I don’t think that the next guest would have appreciated it and then if they had not changed the linen, the they would need to remake the bed anyway. I would have thought that it would be better to wait until after the scheduled vacate time of 0830. As soon as housekeeping saw that we had left our gear in the room, they should have moved on because it was obvious we were coming back. I am aware that there is a lot to do during the changeover of passengers, but that is the problem of the cruise line, NOT the passengers. Lastly, while this is not a big concern, we were not given an activity newsletter on the first day so we had to get it from reception, while not a huge problem I find this a bit slack. We have done several cruises with other cruise lines and this is the first time I have had any complaints. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We completed a back to back 10 day Kiwi Explorer cruise with an Easter cruise on the Pacific Jewel. We are regular cruises and Celebrity is our favourite line but we have also cruised on Royal Caribbean,Holland America, Cunard and ... Read More
We completed a back to back 10 day Kiwi Explorer cruise with an Easter cruise on the Pacific Jewel. We are regular cruises and Celebrity is our favourite line but we have also cruised on Royal Caribbean,Holland America, Cunard and Princess, recently completed a cruise on the QE last month. Timing is everything in regards to embarkation as we arrived later in the day and we found we were the only guests at checkin. The ship is well maintained for her age, yes you will see rust on the outside as it is a ship. The decor is very pleasant and they are in a process of re carpeting throughout the ship. We had an ocean view cabin of good size and a good bathroom layout. I have read many reviews of this ship on this website and comparisons to other cruise lines are unfair as in most cases you get what you pay for and we found this cruise line has no other to compare in this part of the world. We enjoyed the food at the pantry and Waterfront Dining Room. Everyone we met who dined at Salt Restaurant said it was a great dining experience. I found the coffee venues made the best long black’s of any ship I have been on and had a good range of cakes at Charlie’s Bar. There are many music venues on the ship and were well attended during the evening, we were amazed at how many different music entertainers they had on board. We enjoyed all the ship’s Production shows. Everyone we met was enjoying their cruise on this ship and we would have no hesitation in booking another P & O Australia Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Just returned from our short cruise. It was very enjoyable and relaxing. We have cruise before on the carnival legend but this was our first time on P & O. We booked interior cabin which was very nice and had everything we wanted. The ... Read More
Just returned from our short cruise. It was very enjoyable and relaxing. We have cruise before on the carnival legend but this was our first time on P & O. We booked interior cabin which was very nice and had everything we wanted. The cabin steward took great care of cleaning the room everyday including night turn down. Dining was adequate we really enjoyed The Pantry, which is the name of their buffet. Especially the Indian and Mexican food stand. For dinner we tried both the Dragon Lady - asian and Angelos - Italian. Both restaurants were very nice. Also ate at Waterfront - the main dining restaurant for lunch on of the day. Food was disappointing. Only a short cruise so there was plenty of activities to keep us entertained. The comedy and night shows were very entertaining. Our 6 yr old really enjoyed the kids club and pools/watersldes. It was great sunny weather but we managed to find lounge chairs to enjoy. Overall a great cruise and highly recommend to anyone considering especially first time cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was our 11th cruise, the others being on Princess around SE Asia, the Med, NZ and Australia. I never wanted to try P&O believing it was an entry level cruise line. Couldn't have been more mistaken, while the food ... Read More
This was our 11th cruise, the others being on Princess around SE Asia, the Med, NZ and Australia. I never wanted to try P&O believing it was an entry level cruise line. Couldn't have been more mistaken, while the food isn't anywhere near the quality of Princess, everything else was either on par or better. The decore of the ship has the most comfortable feel of any ship we've been on. The bars and dining rooms made you feel at home, the crew were genuinely friendly and helpful. With only 1200 odd passengers, you never felt crowded, The Waterfront restaurant was easy to walk up and get a table with very little wait time, the Pantry was ok. Unlike some other cruise lines The Aria was casual and not stuffy with ridiculous formal nights, there was a Great Gatsby night for those interested in dressing up. The entertainment and cruise director were on the money, the guest comedians and production shows were good (cancelled last 2 nights due to weather) The cabin (window) was huge, 2 TVs a couch and even a bathtub! The Gym was well appointed and the Dome had marvellous views The 7 night cruise to Cairns (2 nights) and Hamilton Island were terrific. The Cyclone in the Coral sea cause a slow trip back to Brisbane with large swells, the captain made the trip as comfortable as possible. Would I travel with P&0 and the Aria again? Absolutely Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Originally we were thinking to hire a campervan and drive to KI stopping along the way at various sites, but when I checked the availability for short cruises, this one turned up as a viable alternative to a self drive and far cheaper. ... Read More
Originally we were thinking to hire a campervan and drive to KI stopping along the way at various sites, but when I checked the availability for short cruises, this one turned up as a viable alternative to a self drive and far cheaper. I read many reviews before booking, many of them unfavorable to the old girl, Pacific Eden, so my expectations were not high. Having cruised with Celebrity the last 3 times and Norwegian Pearl on KISS Kruise 7, I understand there are certain levels of ship and accommodations. The booking process was easy and printing e-tickets and bag tags all straightforward. We were allocated a 1.30pm boarding time and we arrived around 12pm and still got straight through and on board in about 20 mins. Cabin 5083 was set up with 2 singles and 2 bunk singles where a sofa would normally be. We were 2 adults and 2 boys 12yo, my son and his friend. We had requested a queen and the room steward would have made the change for us but we decided to stay with the singles. The cabin was reasonable size with a window type porthole. Plenty of wardrobe space and draws, suitcases slide under the beds. Small curtains that extended about a foot and a half at the base of each single bed served no purpose and looked silly. The curtain that was at the entrance to the room was good as it gave a bit of privacy for bathroom and dressing area. Bedding and towels were very good, almost new I would say. Bathroom amenities we OK and in refillable dispensers in the shower. I didn't know which was the shampoo and which was the body wash as the printing had washed off! Overall the bathroom was functional and although quite old still reasonable looking. Toilet function was fine. Shower over small bath and water temp was mainly good and pressure high enough. Overall the cabin was fine but dated and could use a refurb. Picky people might point out the rust around the window and other such signs of age, but my wife thought it was quite rustic, both metaphorically and literally! Pac Eden is not a big ship, but for 4 days and a smaller passenger list it provided more than enough options for what we wanted. Virtually all the internal guest areas, bars, restaurants, theater, and lounges had been refitted with contemporary decor and looked really good. Outdoor areas including the 2 pool areas were all fine the decks clean and always a bit of ongoing maintenance here and there, but no water or other issues were encountered. The main pool area had a small pool by most standards and 2 hot tubs one of which was out of use for last 2 days. Most of the time the usable tub was full of kids as the pool wasnt that warm and the weather in low 20's. Plenty of chairs and lounges usually available. The adults pool area was not very well frequented, and could have used more shade covers. The kids clubs were just standard level of fitout, a bit small and our boys didnt use them at all. P&O Edge was a big area at the bow end and provided a program of activities which the boys took up on the last day. For $130 they got to do rope walks, flying fox, mechanical bull, laser tag and ride segways. As they enjoyed all the activities I thought it was quite reasonable value. They also got a lot of fun out of playing table tennis on the pool deck and soon they had organised comps with the other kids. Mostly the guests ages would be averagelate 40's- 50's and quite a few over 70's, and there were not that many kids on board but the ones that were seemed all to be well behaved. Now to the food, this is what I enjoy about cruising, especially the variety of restaurant options. We are not big foodies and are not big eaters but we do like variety and quality and Pacific Eden delivered both in spades. Waterfront restaurant is the main dining room. We ate there 1st night and it was quite good. You will have to pay a little extra if you want a steak, but the other options were all pretty good. We ordered all 6 desserts which we shared and they were all delicious. The Pantry really appealed to the kids. Its a bit different to the casual dining on other ships, but I thought the concept worked quite well. Variety of stations including Indian, Mexican, Soup and Salad, Carvery, Pasta and Asian noodles. Sandwiches at lunchtime, 2 dessert stations and fruits always. This was our go to for lunches, and the boys also had 2 dinners there as they loved the stir fry, In my opinion the quality and taste was above average and if we tried something that wasn't to our liking, well just go and try something else! wasnt always easy to get a seat at peak times, but we never waited too long and the serving lines moved quickly. Portion sizes were not what I would consider small. We had breakfast the first morning at the pantry and it was ok, but opted for Waterfront thereafter which was much better, except for the toast which was always cold. The orange pancakes and the eggs florentine you couldn't fault. Service could be a little slow at times but overall quite good. Specialty restaurants, we went to all 3. Angelos was fantastic, I enjoyed a birthday dinner of top quality, and the waiters led the whole restaurant in a happy birthday song. There were 2 other birthdays and 2 anniversaries that all got the same special treatment. Service was excellent and the decor contemporary styling with lots of pictures of Sofia Loren on the walls. What a gorgeous woman she was! The kids had the spaghetti and meatballs and it was superb. I enjoyed a veal cannelloni with wild mushroom sauce which was exquisite. I cant remember the desserts but they were polished off quickly! Quality wines but not a huge selection by the glass and reasonably priced. Dragon Lady was equally good and real fun experience due the the waitresses ever smiling faces. Nothing was a problem. We dined late that night and they just wanted to bring us pretty much everything on the menu. We tried most of it and all was great especially the fried chicken. Luke Mangan Salt was the highlight. Efficient and knowledgeable waiters, a nice clean feel to the place, and exceptional food. $59 extra is worth every cent. We both had steaks which were outstanding, although a little rarer than the medium. Truffle mash a delight. For dessert a combination of my 2 fave desserts, apple crumble and creme brulee which worked a treat. All in all a delightful experience and one that exceeded our expectations. I cant understand some reviewers knocking the food. Either Pac Eden chefs have made a huge improvement recently or some people are just hard to please. Bars, always an important aspect of any cruise! So no drinks packages on a 4 day cruise. Oh how I miss the drinks package. I like my Vodka Martinis and on this cruise you will get served up Smirnoff or Absolute depending on which bar you go to. For me its got to be Belvedere or Grey Goose and they wanted to charge me $32 for one of those which was outrageous. So I mainly stayed with the Absolute martinis from the Mix Bar for $15 and the bar staff at the blue room made a decent Long Island for $15. Most cocktails around the $12-$15 seemed decent value and usually tasted nice and not under poured. Theatre entertainment was surprisingly good. We saw 3 shows and the standard of the singing and dancing reasonably high. The last night party jam in the Dome was great fun. Jazz musos in the Blue room were smoking and the duo acts around the bars also good standard and fun. Kangaroo Island was wonderful but you would need 3 days at least to see everything. We went to Remarkable rocks and Admirals Arch. Both amazing sites. Seals were plentiful. Up close encounters with an Echidna and Kangaroo crossing the road in front of us. Lucky I wasn't going too fast! Overall a lovely place and one we will go back to stay for a week. If you want a hire car go to KI Connect car hire. $80 per day for a new Mitsubishi was good value. Tenders onto the island was 10 mins but it got a bit choppy on the return boat and we were on the water for 45 mins which starting to get a bit of a pain and the pilot wasnt at all communicative about the delay. Oh and the casino was small and had a bad feeling to it. As a punter, the odds were unders on 3 card poker and the grey table covers were quite depressing. I usually do all right on previous cruises and the casino atmosphere on Celebrity is way better and way more fun. I kept a $5 poker chip as a souvenir reminder of how I turned $500 into $5 on Pacific Eden. Overall this cruise exceeded our expectations, and for 4 days/nights it was hard to fault given it is a 3.5 star ship at best. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this four night cruise as a different way of getting to Auckland. We paid A$350.00 each. It was great to arrive refreshed and already on New Zealand time. We were fortunate to experience fairly calm seas and good weather. The ... Read More
We chose this four night cruise as a different way of getting to Auckland. We paid A$350.00 each. It was great to arrive refreshed and already on New Zealand time. We were fortunate to experience fairly calm seas and good weather. The Comedy shows were good at night. There wasn't a great deal happening during the day. The pools were closed for half of the time due to the swell. The two small spa pools were always open. We plan to do this trip again and I would take more to do with me e.g. books, crafts etc. It was an excellent holiday to unwind and for us to disconnect from the Web! The Internet packages were expensive and connection not the best. Suited us just fine! There were very few children on board but kids' movies were played on the pool deck's big screen during the day. This definitely didn't cater for the majority! Most kids were running around and not watching anyway. The Adults Only area at the back of the ship solved this problem but there's no pool there. Bingo is not our thing BUT when the jackpot is $3,800.00, everyone is IN ! It was very entertaining. Don't miss it. The mostly friendly Staff often didn't have English as their first language and several times we were pointed in the wrong direction which wasn't a major deal. I'm hoping to do this trip once a year! It sure is cheap as chips! TIP: We had 24 hrs in Auckland prior to flying back to Sydney. Our recommendation is to get off the ship in Downtown Auckland, walk next door and jump on the ferry to Devonport. This is a 10 minute ride across the harbour and you will find yourself in a sleepy seaside village with great shops, cafes, beach for swimming, fishing, walking tracks. There's plenty to see. The return ferry ride was about NZ$12.00. There were a couple of tours available and also a ferry/movie ticket combo. Do your homework! Getting to Auckland airport from the City is easy. Catch the SkyBus or share an Uber. Be aware of peak hour traffic as this will extend your trip significantly. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I loved this cruise. I love the Aria because of the Oasis Deck, plenty of seating, the bar, the adults only pool, just up the stairs to the pantry for lunch. My only negative about the whole cruise was that the food was only ever lukewarm, ... Read More
I loved this cruise. I love the Aria because of the Oasis Deck, plenty of seating, the bar, the adults only pool, just up the stairs to the pantry for lunch. My only negative about the whole cruise was that the food was only ever lukewarm, but that wasn't enough to turn me off. I would go again. Can't wait to cruise on her again. Beautiful, gentle lady of the sea. We followed a cyclone to the islands and the ship handled it very well. The stabilizers did the job in the 5 metre swell. We hardly felt any swaying or bumping on Deck 4 midship. The lovely young Captain kept us well informed regarding weather conditions throughout the entire cruise. I have cruised on Pacific Dawn before, but Aria is by far the better ship, she ticks all the boxes. Only one thing to make it 5 star, bring Willie Lee over, he's the best cruise director ever Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
As a disabled person permanently in a wheelchair it was ultimately a very good 7 day cruise. The staff on the ship and at the wharf were excellent and very helpful, the food was NOT cold and the variety was very good when you worked ... Read More
As a disabled person permanently in a wheelchair it was ultimately a very good 7 day cruise. The staff on the ship and at the wharf were excellent and very helpful, the food was NOT cold and the variety was very good when you worked out how the system operated. The accessibility cabin 8106 was very well designed and operated well with a good size. Fellow passengers all treated me with respect. It must be recognised, however, that a person in a wheelchair is not at their same eye level and sometimes they don't see you and that can cause accidents. When I entered the lifts I always said "mind your toes" However, to properly make it really worthwhile, P & O (Australia) needs to take more account of disabled people and pay attention to such people moving around the ship. There were also others in wheel chairs and on walking frames and crutches and we talked to each other so my review comments are not isolated.. Particularly the urgently must alter the doors to swing at the front of deck 12 instead of a wheelchair person having to wait (endlessly) and then rely on fellow passengers to open and hold them safely for you. Safety and Life Boat drills also need better explanation. Would we go again? - not sure unless there is assurance that P & O fully recognise and cater for disabled people - and there is a growing population of us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Having been on the Aria for my first cruise a few years ago, I had no qualms about cruising on her again. There have been a few changes since my first cruise and they are all great. The worst thing about my cruise was the rude and ... Read More
Having been on the Aria for my first cruise a few years ago, I had no qualms about cruising on her again. There have been a few changes since my first cruise and they are all great. The worst thing about my cruise was the rude and complaining cruisers. The rooms are clean and very comfortable, even though my room this time was in a terrible spot we still had great service and felt spoiled and comfortable. anyone who complains about comfortable beds, lovely clean linen and twice a day room servicing doesn't deserve to receive it. The food in the pantry is plentiful and varied if you can't find something to suit your tastes you are too fussy. Service on the ship is lovely with the occasional grumpy attendant but are you happy everyday? The weather turned nasty on us on the last two days but we still received the same service and never felt like we were unsafe.There is always something to do, see or experience, so much so that I have never been able to do everything I wanted to as i like to relax as well. The price was excellent as i purchased on a special and can not imagine getting a better holiday with everything included for that price anywhere. Thanks again for another fun week. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Ideal sailing from Adelaide for our family group of 7. 2- 65+. 2 - 88+. 2 - 57+ and 1 - 35. Have sailed on Eden twice before and really like her. Embarkation was very smooth and we were in our cabins by 11.45 and having lunch at ... Read More
Ideal sailing from Adelaide for our family group of 7. 2- 65+. 2 - 88+. 2 - 57+ and 1 - 35. Have sailed on Eden twice before and really like her. Embarkation was very smooth and we were in our cabins by 11.45 and having lunch at Waterfront by 12. We had treated ourselves to a suite and loved it. Good space, very comfy bed and a very large balcony with table and 4 chairs as well as 2 sun lounges. However major problem with air conditioning and the spa bath which took too long to fix. In the end we were compensated with cash. Found the reception staff to be less than apologetic and they failed to keep us updated with repair progress. Nevertheless putting that outside we sampled all the included food venues. Dragon Lady and Angelos couldn’t be faulted. Waterfront also was more than adequate. The Pantry continues to improve. Loved the fresh prawns for lunch. The whole pantry concept is one I approve of. Have found the food has improved from our first cruise. The servings are more than enough and mostly the temperature of the food was good. Great show in Marquis Lounge which had people dancing and singing in the aisles. Crew worked hard and were wonderful with my 92 yr old mum. Disembarkation was a shamozzle with long queues. Tricky with wheelchair. Will we cruise again on Eden? Absolutely. She is a ship that looks and feels like a ship should. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
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