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333 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

We travelled in a group of 4 couples on this short cruise from Brisbane and had a very good time. The main entertainment was several comedy shows, some rated PG which were (usually) ok for children, and some R rated for the adult themes ... Read More
We travelled in a group of 4 couples on this short cruise from Brisbane and had a very good time. The main entertainment was several comedy shows, some rated PG which were (usually) ok for children, and some R rated for the adult themes and language. We preferred the PG rated shows, which showcased the quick minds of the comedians without the swearing. I think that the nature of the cruise meant that there were very few children on board. The shows were generally very good, and we really loved the gong show, where fellow passengers could have a crack at stand up comedy - what a surprise that was! But by far the best entertainment was the range of extremely talented musicians on board. A fabulous singer/guitarist at the Oasis setting the relaxing mood, the girl with the haunting voice at the Lido, the piano player in the Blue Room and the band (Alter Ego?) at Oceans Bar, who took requests and could play and sing anything! The musicians were all superb. Now the food - we all thought that the 'food court' style of The Pantry was a positive step up from the usual buffet and the food there was simple and tasty. It is hard to get a table here though and tables are not cleared very quickly. Breakfast at the Waterfront was pretty good, but other meals were a bit hit or miss. Angelo's (the Italian) was average and Salt was disappointing (both our fish dishes were overcooked). Service is generally slow. We were unable to get into The Dragon Lady even though we tried booking after lunch on the first day - so get in quick if you want to eat here. Drinks: Coffee is best in Oceans Bar. The mocktails were way too sweet so we ordered them with soda water to dilute them. (Refreshment package was well used). Favourite cocktail - Pink ginger cosmopolitan! Drinks seemed to be diluted later in the evening. Suggestion to management: Move the trivia to a larger venue - maybe the Dome? People were sitting on the floor! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Sure the ship is old despite a recent refurbishment, but for the most part the cruise was awesome. Our cabin (2 adults and 2 kids on bunks) was cramped and dated - but who is going to spend more than 8 hrs locked in a cabin apart from ... Read More
Sure the ship is old despite a recent refurbishment, but for the most part the cruise was awesome. Our cabin (2 adults and 2 kids on bunks) was cramped and dated - but who is going to spend more than 8 hrs locked in a cabin apart from sick and anti-social types? The free food at The Pantry was more than adequate - about the same standard as a Westfield food court. Lunch on some days had fantastic roast lamb and veggies - as good as you'll get at an Australian pub. Luke's Food had the best burgers I have ever had - and for $5 a pop it was great value. I recommend buying the alcohol drinks package if you are a keen drinker. I easily drank more than the $700 extra I paid. There is no limit if you have that little red sticker on your cruise card... just keep drinking! The bar and room staff are sensational. Mostly Filipinos and Indians. Wonderful, wonderful people. Ladies, be VERY WARY of booking beauty treatment at the Elemis at Sea spa. My missus (along with many other women on board) was ripped off. Literally highway robbery and very, very misleading and dodgy. I was enraged to see an engineering officer physically and verbally abuse a small Filipino deck cleaner in full view of passengers. If you are visiting Port Vila be aware that bus and taxi drivers are aggressive and very much in your face at the disembarkation point. Very scary for the elderly and small children. Having said that, Port Vila is an interesting cultural experience. Noumea is visited on a Sunday and EVERYTHING is closed on shore (apart from a few stores in the Asian quarter and a few cafes at Lemon Bay). The highlight of on-board activities was the morning Cruise Director's trivia with Zoltina J and Rory. A great pair of characters. Assistant Cruise Director Rory (from Hull in Yorkshire) is a laugh a minute. Very funny and a humble, approachable guy. BEST: Drinks package, Lifou, Luke's burgers, bar and room staff, and Rory from 'ull. WORST: The thieving rip-off at Elemis at Sea. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
First of all I wanted to put it out there that after reading some ridiculous reviews from previous passengers I was sceptical about having chosen the Pacific Explorer. I booked for my Partner and I that are both white collar workers with ... Read More
First of all I wanted to put it out there that after reading some ridiculous reviews from previous passengers I was sceptical about having chosen the Pacific Explorer. I booked for my Partner and I that are both white collar workers with well-respected jobs and our 4 children. I had previously sailed 2 years before on the Pacific Aria and only had it to compare to but was again impressed with almost everything. I have laughed at many of the bad reviews now and don't know what people expect from 20 year old ships at less than $200 a night. Some people complaining about the weather, food and rooms are seemingly delusional. I worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years and the food was as good as all the 4 star establishments. The ship itself was 20 years old which was information available to the public on the P&O site. The public areas were refurbished very well like the Aria and only the cabins were the original decor from 1997. The decor in the restaurants, bars and pool areas was tasteful and well designed. There was plenty of seating in the public areas such as decks and bars. The cabin (9124), although a little dated (fitting for the 90s when it was built) was clean, neat and comfortable. The towels were replaced twice a day and the beds refreshed as needed. Towel animals and chocolates were put in the room nearly every night. The air-conditioning was able to be controlled and the shower pressure was great. No problem with the hot water and the bar fridge was great to store the cans we took on board plus unfinished white wine from dinner! The dining was by far the best experience- and I say that being someone who is a great cook and is used to quality food. The Pantry has a big selection of food outlets offering daily changes to the menus and fresh food for lunch and dinner. The Waterfront restaurant was the A la-carte dining choice with several changes to the menu while on-board and daily cuisine specials. Great for brekky, lunch and dinner if you want more formality. We dined 3 times at the asian fusion Dragon Lady and I cannot fault anything there. A truly unique and delicious dining experience! The Italian restaurant Angelo's was also fantastic for free and has lovely food and hilarious staff. My bottle of red wine was served standing in a high heel shoe and the kids loved the giant pepper grinder! We had 6 people on the ship and all 6 loved the food, including my fussy self! The entertainment was of a high quality and very well put together. On the second night at sea the weather was a bit rough and one show was cancelled for the staff safety but they put it on in their own time before we disembarked so no-one missed out! Some of the most interesting shows I have ever seen before and suits a wide range of tastes. Service in every area was remarkable! The room stewards, F&B staff and cleaners were all polite, well-trained and carried out their jobs efficiently. We didn't go on any shore excursions as it was a bit costly for the 6 of us but the ports we stopped at were all fun and gorgeous. Noumea seems a little desolate and boring but all you need to do is jump on the bus and you find some lovely small beaches to spend the day at. We travelled with 4 kids aged 7,11, 14 and 16 and they can't wait to go on another cruise. They loved the food choices and felt like royalty at the service. I would definitely go again and will be looking at another cruise for the adults when we get married!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Having cruised on P&O in the past...Jewel..Dawn...Pearl.. I them went to Princess, Royal Carribean looking for a bit more wow factor... bigger fancier ships. I was intrigued with the new P&O brand, but reading all the revues of ... Read More
Having cruised on P&O in the past...Jewel..Dawn...Pearl.. I them went to Princess, Royal Carribean looking for a bit more wow factor... bigger fancier ships. I was intrigued with the new P&O brand, but reading all the revues of the aria I wondered if I was making a mistake. Guess what ? I loved it. I had an inside cabin which I could not fault ,the cabin crew were great. loved the lay-out of the ship ..plenty of nooks and crannies to get out of the way . the bars on the ship were great .. very intimate with plenty of live entertainment. the food on the ship was good.. did Luke Mangans, Chefs table (great) and Angelos and Dragon Lady twice each. Found Angelos and DagonLlady very good ,menus were very safe but good.. wondered why I spent money to go to Luke Mangans. The pantry I could take it or leave it.. limited choices... I still prefer buffets. Entertainment in the main theatre was good.. enjoyed the comedian .. Steady Eddie. Our ports of call were Hamilton island and Cairns (over night) with a flying visit to Willis Island. All in all a great cruise...I"ll be back!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Short 3 day cruise with a group of ladies. We had read many negative reviews so we weren't expecting much but were pleasantly surprised. The renovations of the previous Dawn princess are just beautiful! Very tastefully decorated ... Read More
Short 3 day cruise with a group of ladies. We had read many negative reviews so we weren't expecting much but were pleasantly surprised. The renovations of the previous Dawn princess are just beautiful! Very tastefully decorated throughout all public areas including around the pools. Whilst the cabin was small it had a balcony and was maintained very well. Our cabin stewards were wonderful and nothing was a problem for them. Overall the food was excellent. We dined in the Waterfront, Angelos and a Taste of Salt (degustation) which was an extra cost. As it was a Food and Wine Cruise Luke Mangan was onboard and cooked and served our first course in Salt which was lovely! There were several cooking demonstrations from various celebrity chefs which were a lot of fun. The Pantry Buffet was excellent and the food was delicious! We only had time to attend one show at night which was great and the music around the ship was very entertaining. The Pacific Explorer staff were all extremely helpful and always happy and smiling and interacting with guests. Activites throughout the day were many and varied. We were also lucky with the weather which was beautiful for the 3 days! Only a couple of things were disappointing: not enough deck chairs, particularly in the adults only areas, I think this is due to the addition of the waterworks section which has taken away a lot of the seating areas. Also, I hate to mention it, but the plumbing is still a problem. The first two days were fine but by the third day the sewerage smell was permeating both indoor and outdoor areas. Such a shame because apart from there we couldn't really fault the Explorer an will be happy to try another short trip in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We booked this to celebrate my brother's 21st birthday. I didn't have high expectations because I have heard from other family members that P & O isn't as good as other cruise lines. I was pleasantly surprised. This ... Read More
We booked this to celebrate my brother's 21st birthday. I didn't have high expectations because I have heard from other family members that P & O isn't as good as other cruise lines. I was pleasantly surprised. This ship was refurbished earlier in 2017 so the decor was fresh and modern in the public areas. We booked an Ocean View Cabin and thought it was a decent size. The bathroom was on the small side, but most are. The bed was not very comfortable though. The Pantry Buffet was excellent for a cruise buffet. We dined mostly in the Waterfront Restaurant and liked it. The Grill also offers cheap eats of good quality. A pulled pork burger was $3 and they were delicious. There were a lot of classes you could take but they cost money. We spent most of our time doing the free trivia sessions. Bingo is $30. The night entertainment was really good. We saw a mind reader and then 'Slumber' and 'Seven'. All good shows. The live music really impressed me. Chris and Jazzella were fantastic. If you want to spend time away from children then be mindful not to go in school holidays! Kids everywhere! This ship has an 'Oasis' area at the Aft but you need to get there early in the morning to get a lounger. There's only two small spas that take 5 people. This was disappointing. There is only one small pool on the lido deck and was full of kids. We tried the waterslides on our port day and they were really good. If you want time in the pool I suggest using it while everyone is in port. We took a tender at lunch time over to Airlie Beach. We've all been before so we had a quick look around the town and then went back to the ship. The staff were quite friendly and the coffee was good at Charlie's Bar (and reasonably priced). Don't pay to use the Thermal Suite at Elemis. It's a rip off. It's a sauna and steam room with heated stone seats. Nothing fancy. We've got that included on Princess Cruises before. Overall, we would go on another P & O, however, I'd like to try a different ship that has a pool in the adults only area. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We had a great time. It wasn't our first visit to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, but this time we hadn't booked any shore activity. In Noumea we met, Lea a young woman who just started as a guide and we really felt welcomed. First ... Read More
We had a great time. It wasn't our first visit to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, but this time we hadn't booked any shore activity. In Noumea we met, Lea a young woman who just started as a guide and we really felt welcomed. First time, we went to countryside and we realized that there was much more to do than lemon beach. I strongly recommend her: her company is called OLETI TOURS, it is brand new, but she is already doing a great job. She is on facebook and really she made feel us so welcome, that I felt like passing the information. The rest of the cruise went very smoothly and we were so lucky with the weather. Great food, great fun and a truly relaxing experience. We are planning to do it again next year. The more cruises we do, the more we enjoy them, and it is also great to do more authentic excursions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Invited to go on cruise by friends. No kids. Seven day cruise up the Queensland coast. Embarkation and disembarkation very well organised. The ship is showing some signs of age but that's to be expected. Did not affect our ... Read More
Invited to go on cruise by friends. No kids. Seven day cruise up the Queensland coast. Embarkation and disembarkation very well organised. The ship is showing some signs of age but that's to be expected. Did not affect our experience in any way. Some people complained about the windows, but seriously, it would be hard to keep them spotless and you could still see the view. CABIN - Oceanview on Level 5. It was very clean and a good size for two adults. Bathroom is small, but functional. Water always hot and strong flow. Plenty of storage in both bathroom and cabin itself. Loads of hanging space and pull out drawers (approx. 12 drawers). Cabin safe was easy to use. Our cabin stewards were friendly and looked after our room very well. Loved my towel animals! DINING - we dined mostly in 'The Pantry' but also sampled 'The Waterfront', 'The Grill', 'Shell and Bones' and 'Salt'. The Pantry has LOADS of variety, both healthy and not so healthy. I found the quality of food to be very nice. Breakfasts especially. Presentation and cleanliness was well maintained. Staff are constantly clearing tables. Staff serve the food to you at each outlet which I personally prefer to an open buffet. Be warned: 'The Pantry' does get terribly busy at peak times with queues for food. However the lines do move quickly, so not a major issue. Once we realised this we simply shifted our eating times. To avoid peak times, arrive before 7am or after 8am for breakfast, after 1pm for lunch and 7pm onwards for dinner. Otherwise check out 'The Waterfront'. We had a couple of breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner here. Food was lovely and came out very quickly. 'Shell and Bones' was yummy and really well priced, but the absolute BEST meal I had on the ship was a lunch at 'Salt'. OMG!! And for only $40pp such a bargain! 'The Grill' was also another food choice. Yummy house made pizzas which you can take away or get delivered to your room. They also offer hot chips, hot dogs, burgers and nachos. Nominal price for these items. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES - Plentiful and varied. Willie and Lauren do a fantastic job. Christian and Sean also deserve applaud. Sean does a "Name that Tune" show every night. Get in early to secure your seat. Very popular show and loads of fun. SERVICE - varied around the ship. We found the majority of staff friendly. 'Charlie's Bar' on Level 5 was the ultimate favourite place for us. Fast in service and SUPER friendly! They open early for coffee. Service at other bars appeared to be slow, but I wonder if that was for RSA purposes. As soon as bars open in the morning, some cruisers start drinking alcohol. Good luck to them, I admire their stamina. PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS - Good chance to stretch your legs a bit more. Tender boats can get rough depending on weather. Recommend booking a car direct with rental company if you want to explore a bit further or visit more than one tourist spot during your day. Waaaay cheaper and more flexibility than going on tours. GETTING AROUND THE SHIP - Take the stairs. You have to counteract all that eating and drinking somehow. I cannot fault P&O in any way. What they do, they do very well! My only negative was being stuck on a ship with some rude, inconsiderate cruisers. Really people, you're on a holiday where EVERYTHING is being done for you. How can you not be HAPPY! I may or may not go on another cruise, not sure yet. But I'm glad I did it and would suggest it to others. Well done P&O!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The Eden left out of Cairns where we live. Very handy. We did the same Cruise last year and really enjoyed it. The Eden looks very modern. Our balcony cabin was spacious, even the balcony itself had a nice size. We just wish they ... Read More
The Eden left out of Cairns where we live. Very handy. We did the same Cruise last year and really enjoyed it. The Eden looks very modern. Our balcony cabin was spacious, even the balcony itself had a nice size. We just wish they had sun lounges on it and not the chairs. Beds were very comfortable. Our cruise was the comedy cruise and it was fun, although I think 22.45 is a bit late for the show. Food at the Pantry was excellent. The Waterfront restaurant was a bit disappointing. Some food was cold or only lukewarm. To book a table at the Dragon lady or Angelo`s you can only do it on the same day you want to dine. If you come after 8.30 am its already booked out. We missed out every day. The same with Waterfront Restaurant. Its any time dining but its better to book otherwise its full. We only got offered 17.45 or 19.30. That was really annoying. Open dining and you still get times when you have to show up. They wait 10 min and your table is gone if you are running late. In the Pool area we had some problems with children. 15 kids were screaming, splashing and jumping into the hot tubs. No room for Adults. This was the story every single day. No parents watching and the Youth security girl was not really into it. We even pointed out that babies were in the hot tubs with nappies. She said yes its not very hygienic. There is a big sign, no nappies in pool or Spa. The Adults only area would have been great but no shade whatsoever. They really need to consider putting a shade sail over it. At the normal pool area they can close the roof by bad weather. Aircon was a bit too cold in some public places. The Bianco white party was a bit disappointing this time around. It was only the sail away party for 2 hours this time starting at 16.00 usually its a night party with great music and Drums. We like the Eden and already booked for 2018 out of Cairns again..... Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We picked up a very good deal as a "grab one" deal just 3 weeks before we set sail. We flew into Brisbane, transferred to the Port and had a very easy embarkation. (Great Start! Never having cruised before we were not quite ... Read More
We picked up a very good deal as a "grab one" deal just 3 weeks before we set sail. We flew into Brisbane, transferred to the Port and had a very easy embarkation. (Great Start! Never having cruised before we were not quite sure what we were getting ourselves into and I must admit to some trepidation - namely that it would be a little like a floating retirement village. We were on level 6 midship and it was ideal for convenience and stability.The cabin was compact but storage was excellent and with a window it did not feel too closed in. Au contraire- the spread of demographics was huge and there certainly appeared to be something for everyone. We enjoyed the food (too much), the bands, the nightly shows,(very slickly presented) the crew were fabulous and the ship was large enough that we could always find a quiet space to lounge with a book if we wanted to. We enjoyed ourselves - would likely take a little more time in choosing next cruise and vessel but really had a happy time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
After reading some horrendous reviews re Pacific Eden, we were not sure what to expect, but we embarked on our Cruise, leaving Cairns, on 2nd. September 2017, with an open mind. We thoroughly enjoyed the Cruise, and can recommend ... Read More
After reading some horrendous reviews re Pacific Eden, we were not sure what to expect, but we embarked on our Cruise, leaving Cairns, on 2nd. September 2017, with an open mind. We thoroughly enjoyed the Cruise, and can recommend it highly. We have cruised many times, first on P & O, but would certainly consider cruising again on this Ship. So many folks, I believe, deliberately go out of their way to look for negative things to say, (us Australians are very good at this), and then tell all and sundry, and whoever wants to listen. We did not find "food not suitable for human consumption", "dirty mouldy bathrooms", "unpleasant staff", etc. etc. etc. We found all staff very pleasant and obliging, our oceanview room very pleasant, and the dining, whether Panty, Waterfront, Angelos, and especially Dragon Lady, very good. Don't read all the negative reviews, book your trip, and enjoy yourselves. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I have only been on premium cruise lines and had never considered the local P&O line but wanted to experience a few days away with my daughter and two grandsons at a reasonable price. It was with much excitement that my boys first saw ... Read More
I have only been on premium cruise lines and had never considered the local P&O line but wanted to experience a few days away with my daughter and two grandsons at a reasonable price. It was with much excitement that my boys first saw the ship and the excitement continued for the entire cruise! Yes, I've been on nicer ships with better food and more spectacular decor but guess what... we had a great time. We booked a mini suite so that we could all be in the same room with a balcony and it was a perfect size. Sure the bathroom could do with a revamp and if you looked closely much needed upgrading but we simply didn't care. Pros: - We loved all the food we had, I can't remember one thing that I didn't like. We only ate at the Waterfront Restaurant and the Pantry. We had breakfast at both places but preferred the Waterfront as it was much more relaxed. - The kids clubs were fantastic. Turtle Cove for my 5 year old and HQ for my nearly 12 year old worked out perfectly and we hardly saw the kids they loved it that much. - The drinks were a reasonable price and we could easily buy a bottle of wine and take it back to our room - or take the unfinished bottle from dinner. The wine glasses supplied were gorgeous and much nicer than the more expensive cruises I've been on. - The Gatsby night was simply fantastic. So many people dressed up. Much, much more fun than those stuffy "formal" nights on cruise ships and P&O are on to a winner with this theme. - Photographs. A few photos were taken around the ship and then we had some more formal ones taken on the Gatsby night. The lady taking these was lovely and the photos turned out exceptionally well. We were absolutely blown away by these. Cons: - There was a sewerage smell at the back of the ship, nothing too bad and it didn't affect us but not sure how that would be on a much longer cruise. - The Pantry restaurant was incredibly busy with long queues at times and it was hard to get a table for the four of us. You'd have to secure one and sit there while others got there food which meant that none of us actually ate together and someone was always off getting food. The food was great though and one day we just took our plates back to our room (which was directly under the restaurant) and ate it on our balcony. Certainly going to the Pantry once the main crowd had gone is a better idea! - Disembarkation. We were told to go to the Casino but no one came to tell us where to go. There were lots of people sitting around waiting and finally a barman said that all the staff had left! So much for priority disembarkation - we all had to queue up with everyone else. - Muster Drill. This was an absolute disaster. It was set for 3.30 pm and sail away was 4 pm. By 4.10 pm we still hadn't had our drill, we'd all been sitting at our muster station waiting for goodness knows what. We all missed sail away due to this and I for one was extremely unhappy! I love being up on top for sail away, waving goodbye etc. Very badly organised and I hope this is not a normal thing of P&O. - Noise from above the cabin. We were directly under the Grill which was open until late at night which made getting to sleep difficult. To sum up the, yes the Pacific Jewel is a little old and tired. Yes, it's in a different league to the new flash ships but what it lacked in appearance it more than made up for with friendly service, prompt attention to any problems, reasonable cost, and overall family friendly cruising. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Being first time cruisers, we did not really know what to expect and reading other's reviews I anticipated the equivalent of 3star hotel accommodation and dining. We found our ocean view room spacious, very clean and comfortable with ... Read More
Being first time cruisers, we did not really know what to expect and reading other's reviews I anticipated the equivalent of 3star hotel accommodation and dining. We found our ocean view room spacious, very clean and comfortable with plenty of storage. Plenty of real coat hangers are provided and we had spare drawers after unpacking. Cabin crew were friendly and efficient but we really didn't need any extra services from them. The Pantry was a bit like a food court, which we usually avoid, but we only ever lined up for a couple of minutes and were able to either find quiet seating or take our meals outside to less crowded spots. I was pleased to find vegetables readily available along with lighter meal options. There really is something for every taste and the food is quite pleasant and fresh. We also ate in the Waterfront restaurant but not till the third night for dinner because we had neglected to book for an early sitting which suits us best. That's a lesson learnt for next time! Most of our dishes there were pleasant, some very good and a couple a bit ordinary. Drinks throughout the ship were at pub prices with the best mixed drinks found in the Promenade bar. We enjoyed the atmosphere created by the newly refurbished public areas, quite quirky and cruise ship opulent. For us it added to the fun as did the excellent musicians throughout the ship. We had not expected such a high standard and found we often had to stop for a listen or a bit of a dance. Another surprise was finding the cruise director really funny in all his performances and presentations. That man sure knows how to ham it up! We had prebooked a scenic flight at Airlie Beach and made our way to the designated meeting point with five minutes to spare only to be rushed to the tender and being told that we almost missed our excursion! The crew were friendly and efficient in getting us there but perhaps there is an issue with the administration side of things. There were many activities on offer during the two sea days but we did not participate as we wanted to catch up on reading. The cocktail mixing class that I did want to join was fully booked early in the day so I missed out - another lesson learnt for next time. One problem we did encounter due to the busyness of almost back to back activities in the public areas was to find a quiet comfortable area to chill out, read, draw or write. Perhaps better knowledge of the ship would have alleviated this. Overall this cruise gave us the experience we wanted namely to find out if we want to take a longer cruise. We learnt that we probably need plenty of shore days and less days at sea to enjoy cruising. So we have already booked a medium length overseas cruise that gives us just that. P&O provided us with a very pleasant, relaxing learning experience at a very reasonable price. I would consider a similar cruise with extended family and/or a group of friends who want some quality time together without anyone having to go to a huge effort, as often happens, and without it breaking the bank. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We did the 4 night Sydney to Auckland cruise. We purchased a super cheap ticket and did not expect a lot for our money. We had an interior cabin and I expected the room to be super small and awful but was pleasantly surprised as it was ... Read More
We did the 4 night Sydney to Auckland cruise. We purchased a super cheap ticket and did not expect a lot for our money. We had an interior cabin and I expected the room to be super small and awful but was pleasantly surprised as it was more than adequate. We paid for extras as and when we wanted them which made the trip more fun. Can recommend the café coffee and cake and it was worthwhile to pay $17 for a great Steak meal. Most of the staff were very pleasant and helpful - just one or two who were offhand. One word of warning for the people who like to play Pokies though. The machines are not regulated to Australian or New Zealand law which means they do not have a Return to Player percentage available to players. This is dangerous for the player.... Enjoy by all means but don't expect to get a pay out very often. There are things that could have been better but for the price point we couldn't complain. P&O is a great starting point and recommended for first time cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Firstly let me say how wonderful all the crew were. Our cabin crew were so helpful friendly and efficient. Food overall was delicous except for shell and bone we ordered the cold seafood platter the seafood was not good watery tasteless ... Read More
Firstly let me say how wonderful all the crew were. Our cabin crew were so helpful friendly and efficient. Food overall was delicous except for shell and bone we ordered the cold seafood platter the seafood was not good watery tasteless and tough. Why they have no salads on that menu is beyond me. We also had the high tea please p&o advertise this better for it was the best high tea i have ever had,unfortunatly people we spoke too had not seen anything about it and missed out. Yes you have renovated. Sorry to say the loo's missed out. Being a little short i found it nearly impossible to see much of the shows so i think the marquee might be needing a upgrade. What i did see was excellent. Our cabin was old but clean but definitly needing a little reno. Overall we loved our short little cruise and are looking forward to our next cruise on the eden. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
It was quite difficult to learn much about this cruise itinerary before we went as it is relatively new so this may be a long review but hopefully will be helpful to others. Firstly the ship was great, I have cruised on many cruise ... Read More
It was quite difficult to learn much about this cruise itinerary before we went as it is relatively new so this may be a long review but hopefully will be helpful to others. Firstly the ship was great, I have cruised on many cruise lines and although P&O is certainly a budget line, my friends and I had little to complain about. Dining - the pantry was not bad, not great but satisfactory, typical buffet food. A good selection although the desserts were pretty awful. We really only ate there for breakfast and lunch. The Waterfront was very good, sometimes wonderful. Angelos was so popular that you had to queue to book in from about 7.30am which I did once. I can't say it was great, it was ok but I wouldn't bother again, I thought the Waterfront was better. We never got to the Dragon Lady. Rooms- we three friends had three separate rooms, two inside cabins and I had an outside with window. All were good and spacious, only issue was no fridge but the cabin attendants brought us ice when requested. Also note that the inside cabins had normal showers but the outside cabin had a shower over the bath. The bath had a high side, I managed ok but for anyone older or not so agile it could be a real problem. Staff- all the service was good, some was amazing. Entertainment - mostly wonderful. The first night we walked out of a show with hip hop type dancing (shows our age lol) but in general it ranged from ok to fantastic. Loved the comedian Andre King (a kiwi so of course he was great) and Demo. Laughed until we cried sometimes. Marius the entertainment director? Was the best ever, he only had to open his mouth to have us in stitches. He is now on a break and starting on the Pacific Explorer on Oct 4? so catch him if you can. So now to the itinerary which is the hardest thing to find information on. Alotau - we took the shore excursion to the cultural festival as there didn't seem much else available. I think it was the right choice and we had a good time. I enjoyed the cultural displays, especially the children. There was also a guy singing upstairs in the cafe who was world class. Seriously good. I had fun taking a ride on one of the war canoes (20kina /$10) which felt a bit unstable but a great experience. The bus took us past the town and market and doesn't allow you to get off, but it was a bit intimidating anyway and far too hot so we didn't mind missing that. I'm sure you can just do your own thing and walk to town from the boat but didn't look very appealing and was so humid. Kitava - unfortunately the sea was too rough to anchor and tender us in so we missed this port. So we had a day at sea and they put on extra entertainment including a murder mystery show which was extremely entertaining. The captain (Nick?) was very good at keeping us informed about what was happening and their efforts to anchor. While it was disappointing to miss this port I would rather the ship and everyone was safe. Rabaul - we took the volcano tour which I thought was excellent. We visited a coconut oil factory on the way and saw how this is produced. I wasn't too pleased initially as usually these stops on shore excursions involve the hard sell, but surprisingly they gave us all a free bottle of coconut oil and no sales pitch at all. Then to the volcano observatory which has amazing views, who would have thought PNG was so beautiful? Then to the hot springs which flow into the sea. If you have been to Rotorua you will recognise the sulphur smell. What surprised me was how hot the sea was because of the springs, like a very hot bath. Good view of the still smoking volcano too. Locals here were selling their wares but weren't pushy. We then went to a village and got to walk through a tunnel created by the WW 11 Japanese. This tour was great, our guide Ceslyn spoke good English and was very knowledgable. Be warned it is very hot in Rabaul though. Kiriwina- this was a lovely island with a lovely beach. Sadly commercialism has very quickly spoiled it. You could not get away from the hundreds of people hassling you to buy something. Men would latch onto you trying to be your "guide" even though no guiding was necessary. We took lots of school supplies etc for the schools and kids and that was quite satisfying but they just wouldn't leave you alone. We made the mistake of not wearing our swimming togs under our clothes and of course there were no changing facilities. We kept trying to find a private spot to change to no avail. We decided we would try to hold towels around each other as we changed. This just attracted more attention with all the locals standing around to watch and then a kind local lady volunteering to hold up the towel as well! Imagine it, 3 middle aged ladies trying to change, we gave up and went swimming in our clothes. Even there we weren't safe, with a young lad trying to get us to change Aussie dollars for Kina while we were swimming and he didn't understand our explanations that we didn't have money on us right then. I wonder if P&O (which must have some arrangement with the locals) could have a word and encourage less hassling. I would have liked to buy things here to support them but it just became too overwhelming and we retreated to the ship. It was a good place to give donated goods for the schools and kids though. We had trouble leaving this port as the anchor got stuck. It took over an hour to get it up but again the captain kept us informed and I guess that is part of the adventure of these very remote destinations. Conflict Islands - this stop is one of the Conflict Islands and was a beautiful resort called Panasea. It was too rough to anchor on the usual side but the resort has built A floating jetty on the other side of the island and we were the first ship to use it. It was still pretty touch and go it seems and the ship had to use its thrusters throughout the day to stay there but boy it was worth it. My friends went on the glass bottom boat excursion and raved about it. They saw sharks, turtles and all sorts. I snorkelled for ages, such a beautiful beach and I saw a stingray hiding under the sand. Got rather sunburnt but definitely my favourite island. We walked across to the other side of the island to where the resort was and it was the most amazing blue water I ever saw (and our side was already amazing). There were lots of water sports available on the island, I could easily have spent another day there. Doini Island - we were getting worried now, as we had been told this was another resort like Panasea where there were no locals. My friend had a huge bag of school supplies still to distribute and this was the last island so she was worried that she would have to carry it home. Well it was a resort, but there were heaps of schools and individuals doing performances and collecting donations so it worked out well. We loved the energy and enthusiasm of the kids and there was no hassling at all. The resort had a bar and entertainment and you could use Kina or Aussie dollars. The weather was not great, I met a couple of ladies who had snorkelled all over the world who said they had found a snorkelling spot that was one of the best they had seen. Not sure if I found the right spot but the sea was pretty rough and murky so I gave up. There were some big red flying ants on this island which we didn't like but otherwise was a great stop. So a few tips I wish I had known: We each took 180kina ($nz85). It was too much really, we weren't wanting to buy much but ended up donating quite a bit and then changed the rest at Western Union Cairns (a short walk from the ship) but lost quite a bit in the exchange. Wish we had taken less but you do need some Kina. Please don't try to buy stuff off the locals with Aussie dollars, they can't use it and end up desperately trying to change it for Kina. There seems to be no cellphone reception at all after Rabaul, so no contact with home in Kiriwina, Conflict or Doini despite the ships daily newsletter suggesting there may be. Take school supplies and gifts for the kids but try to avoid plastic junk or sweets. There are no rubbish systems or dentists on the remote islands. If you are thinking of doing this cruise, don't hesitate. May be challenging for less able bodied, but we saw a lady with a walker managing to go ashore each port and I saw an elderly lady on two walking sticks being walked down to the beach by her husband with her mask and snorkel in hand! The passengers were a better sort than those on my last P&O cruise up the Australian coast, no Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi chants so I guess the itinerary attracted more travelled customers. And PNG was more beautiful than I had imagined and the local people were lovely (kiriwina excepted). You will love it, we did. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Having sailed with three different companies (Carnival and Princess previously). I found the P and O Pacific Explorer to be a decent ship overall. It has some plumbing issues, which does taint the experience at times. I never had any ... Read More
Having sailed with three different companies (Carnival and Princess previously). I found the P and O Pacific Explorer to be a decent ship overall. It has some plumbing issues, which does taint the experience at times. I never had any issues with my toilet blocking, but I did here of others who had. The annoying aspect was having the public toilets blocked on many occasions alongside experiencing some unpleasant smells outside on occasions. That being said, it was overall a pleasant experience. Although the staff were not as friendly as I have experienced on the other cruise lines, they were not unpleasant. The decor of the ship was amazing in many ways due to the recent refurbishment. The Bonded Bar and Blue Room (bar/nightclub) were the stand out. A big hi and many thanks to Denzel in the bonded bar for his exceptional service and pleasant demeanour. :) We experienced a stormy night on the first night and she was rocking around a lot. The Captain did an excellent job to navigate the ship through this however. He was very professional and informative throughout the entire cruise. A credit to him and his team. The food was better than Princess and Carnival lines in my opinion. Particularly in the restaurants. I'm not a big fan of buffets, but it was a good standard as buffets go. The Italian and Asian restaurants were immaculately designed with great food to match. The best however, was the 400 Gradi restaurant which dished up the most amazing pizzas and baked eggplant parmigiana!!! Garlic focaccia out of this world...Well worth the extra expenditure at least for one night. Pizzas were approximately $10. I would recommend getting the drinks package if you are partial to a few drinks. I found I easily drank more than the daily fee ($79). Beers were between $6 to $8.50 a stubby. Spirits ranged from $7 to $17 and Cocktails were mostly $12 (which is the limit per drink on package, so most cocktails were inclusive...bottoms up I say). I also highly recommend the Love Riot show! Fantastic experience with dazzling acrobatics and dynamic performers. Bravo guys. The gym was a little tired I must say :( All up I would sail again on the Pacific Explorer. Give it a go guys. Everyone has differing opinions of course (as you can see by the reviews). You get what you pay for I always say. P and O are not a high end cruise line it must be remembered. They have done a great job in my opinion, minus some issues as mentioned above. Thanks P and O Happy and safe travels to you all. :) Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose the cruise for a get away in the sun...The cruise was very good...except for Noumea. We docked on a Sunday and everything was closed. Not good when you have 3 very active boys (grandchildren) who had been at sea for 2 ... Read More
We chose the cruise for a get away in the sun...The cruise was very good...except for Noumea. We docked on a Sunday and everything was closed. Not good when you have 3 very active boys (grandchildren) who had been at sea for 2 days...Ended up taking a bus ride for a few kilometres and walked back to port. Mare is very expensive..no local buses or transport to the beach which is 30 mins in bus away from dock and a cost of $30.00 per person return. We had researched and someone said that there was a beach about a1km to the left of the dock. The people were correct with this advice but when we arrived you had to limb down a cliff ( about 8 meters high) to get t the beach. This would have been fine for fit young people but I am in my late 60's and just recovering from a total hip replacement so back to the boat we went. Very Disappointed. Suva we hated..it was very unattractive and not a lot to do. Vila we hired a taxi from the gates of the port $150.00aud for 5 hours for 7 people ( Good Value) and went to swim with the turtles...Absolutely amazing spent about 1 1/2 hours there feeding and swimming with these amazing animals then the driver took us to the Blue Lagoon where we spent about 3 hours swimming here. Both places were not offered by P & O which surprised us both were fabulous and we are really glad we did not miss the experience. The boys are still talking about the turtles. In Denaru we hired a taxi again and went towards Suva spending the day at some beautiful beaches snorkeling and swimming.. Isle of Pine..what can we say...beautiful...beautiful..beautiful. Dravini Island was great. WE saw a sign offering boat rides around the island and went..great experience....the locals here were very helpful..the children beautiful...IF YOU ARE GOING HERE THEY WOULD APPRECIATE BOOKS AND SCHOOL SUPPLIES as these are very expensive for them to buy and they really were thankful for money and donations. Must commend the Pantry on their service and their food handling ...it was great as so many people on the cruise were sick with flu coughs and colds. We had an enjoyable cruise ..was worried as we had many negative reports before we went but all in all it was good. Would go again on P & O... Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We found the ship in good order the room was nice and the stewards did a good job we tiped and left timtams, Dining was good at the"Waterfront restaurant"their service was frendly and prompt,The Pantry was ok food was a bit ... Read More
We found the ship in good order the room was nice and the stewards did a good job we tiped and left timtams, Dining was good at the"Waterfront restaurant"their service was frendly and prompt,The Pantry was ok food was a bit repetitive and lacked fresh salards and when busy it was hard to find a table, staff there were not that frendly. We had 2 kids in the kids club 12/14 staff were fantastic to say the least 10/10 great job thanks, however we found the location was for us inconvenent being on the top back deck as the only access being along the side of the open ship or Vir the pantry, with the 1am finish we did not feel comfortable with our kids useing this access and felt it to be almost unsafe especially late night.Coffees shops frendly great, entrainment fantastic, "Willy" Great, funny 10/10, Port Villa a waste of time "harrassed by drivers at the port in the market and town non-stop "terrible dirty". Noumea closed and expensive, lifou frendly,beautiful.There was a lack of staff for service overall.Shoping good prices,We would cruse again the kids loved it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
\The ship set sail,people lined the decks to watch as it headed out to the high seas. Everyone was excited to be on their way, to experience a few days aboard a liner, well known for its excellent crew, and its entertainment. ... Read More
\The ship set sail,people lined the decks to watch as it headed out to the high seas. Everyone was excited to be on their way, to experience a few days aboard a liner, well known for its excellent crew, and its entertainment. People gathered on deck 12 for their first drink, plus a chance to relax with a cigarette, and chat with others who were their fellow travellers. The cabin we had accommodated 3 people nicely, with plenty of drawers, and wardrobe, space,so clothers were quickly upacked and put away. Meet our cabin crew who were the nicest people, and often surprised us with chocolate or a note,even animals made out of towels in the evening. Clean towels were provided every day, and the only thing I would have wanted was an extra blanket. Though on asking was given 1, but could have done with another. We ate mostly in The pantry, where one was overwhelmed by the variety of dishes,and much tasting went on as we tried different dishes . On the 1st night we were lucky to get a table at The Salt restaurant which was just wonderful, the waiters and waitresses were attentive, pleasant and the food wonderful, and experience not too be missed. The one thing that is needed is a self service coffee machine on deck 7. which also has a smoking area. But, to get a coffee to enjoy with a cigarette, one has to go to deck 5 or 12, It would be good to have one there, too for those of us who like to have our last coffee while tucked up in bed. I found the movies, far too loud, these are screened on deck 12, and it was hard to hold a conversation, when a movie was showing. The entertainment was excellent, something to suit everybodys taste. Casual attire for the daytime, and a more dressier attaire for evening, ensured that everyone had a chance to dress a bit more formally. The shore excursions were so so , we did not book any before hand but rather made our own arrangements as we set foot on each Island, thus the money went straight to the person. Hop on hop off buses are available and are great, look out for one at each port, free, and the driver will point out different landmarks etc, and even take you on further to see some sights, if the bus has only tourists on it. I did not enjoy the Waterfall restaurant, preferring The Pantry, but that was my choice, and I know others enjoyed both, so try it out, you may like it. wear good footwear, as many steps will be climbed during the day, as often elevators are slow, and faster to walk up, if able too. don't buy too much at the beginning of trip, as you will find that sales start a couple of days before the end of the voyage.,Service is great,and a smile to those who bring you your drinks etc, goes a long way. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Singapore was amazing. We lined up for quite a while to get on the ship. Our cabin was very hot to start with but the air con was fixed on the second day and was much better. The food in the buffet was okay, the restaurants were also ... Read More
Singapore was amazing. We lined up for quite a while to get on the ship. Our cabin was very hot to start with but the air con was fixed on the second day and was much better. The food in the buffet was okay, the restaurants were also okay. The shampoo in the bathroom ran out on the third last and was never refilled (not that we asked them to, but they should have noticed you would think). The service desk were very abrupt and seemed to not really want to help you at all. The staff in the bars and food area were all very polite and smiled every time they saw you. Did a shore excursion at most stops and was rather underwhelmed given the cost. Watched most of the entertainment which was quite good, I'm not really one for watching these but my friend likes them so I went too. I enjoyed most of them. One pool was opened two days after we left and the other the following day. Given swimming is one of my fav things to do this annoyed me a bit. It was also hard to get a seat in a shady area as they allowed people to set up for the day meaning unless you were up with the crows and claiming a spot you had to sit out in the heat (which I can't bear). Despite all this I did very much enjoy the cruise as these are all little things that in the big scheme are just a little annoyance. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I decided that I wanted to take my partner on a holiday. This cruise departed on her birthday so thought it would be a good introduction to cruising as neither of us had been on a cruise before. 7 nights from Brisbane to the Barrier Reef ... Read More
I decided that I wanted to take my partner on a holiday. This cruise departed on her birthday so thought it would be a good introduction to cruising as neither of us had been on a cruise before. 7 nights from Brisbane to the Barrier Reef stopping in Hamilton Island and Cairns. I got a great deal on a Oceanview Room during P & O 7 day sale so I booked it. I then read many reviews on the Pacific Aria and started to regret my choice as they all seemed to can the ship and the company. We were early to arrive at the embarkation point in Brisbane but could easily drop off our bags and then head off for breakfast prior to boarding. The check in process was easy with friendly staff eager to answer our (probably) dumb questions. Once on board we were greeted by friendly staff that always had a smile. I did get a few good tips from reviews and booked into restaurants for dinner as soon as I got on the ship. I ate in the Waterfront Restaurant the first two nights which was good but then stuck to The Pantry the other five. Both places had reasonable meals, not five star but then I didn't pay 5 star price for the cruise. Some of the furnishings in The Dome were worn but still useable. The cabins were clean and tidy and more than spacious enough for the two of us. Room attendants came twice daily to service it. The entertainment was good, shows every night as well as themed parties. There were plenty of areas where you could relax for a drink and the 18+ only pool area was a great place to hang out and get some sun in relative quiet. I would advise anyone booking on this ship to do so, but remember, if you pay budget prices, don't complain if it is not up to your five star expectations. Would I go on this ship again, hell yes. I was looking for somewhere to hide to go on it's next journey. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
After all the other cruises to the usual islands (Fiji etc) we thought this one might be different and off to New Guinea we went. Overall the ship, the crew and the food was great. Not much waiting for service in any of the ... Read More
After all the other cruises to the usual islands (Fiji etc) we thought this one might be different and off to New Guinea we went. Overall the ship, the crew and the food was great. Not much waiting for service in any of the Restaurants.However one big thing is very annoying. The tender service. Any swell and the visit to an island is off. The mooring of tenders to the ship is very slow and tedious and if you have any handicap forget it. The stairs to the tender are challenging NO wheelchair access is possible. The crews for the tenders are slow and waiting time of an hour or two is the norm. That cuts your time on the islands back and it can become a short visit. The shows were good but beware of the extras. There is nothing that you can get for free. Alcohol, soft drinks, ice cream etc costs extra. Would we go on the Aria again? Yes, but we would look at where it goes and make sure that we could step ashore without the tenders. Overall a very friendly ship, happy crew and happy passengers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I booked this trip to New Guinea for my husband , myself and two other couples. We are from different walks of life (Retired bank manager and wife , retired orchard owner and wife and my husband a retired rail worker was in management ) ... Read More
I booked this trip to New Guinea for my husband , myself and two other couples. We are from different walks of life (Retired bank manager and wife , retired orchard owner and wife and my husband a retired rail worker was in management ) I was very worried after reading many negative reviews. Please do not take any notice of the negative reviews. We were all very happy with our experience. Let me cover a few items. 1. The cabin (we all had ocean view balcony ) was very spacious and clean at all times . Plenty of room to store bags under beds and more than enough cupboard and drawer space. Our allotted cabin person was a lovely young man who could not do enough for us at any time. All couples tipped him at beginning and end of trip. 2. The ship itself. Lovely . There were a couple of areas where chairs were peeling ,but overall in nice condition. We especially enjoyed drinks in the Blue room before and after dinner . This area had an upmarket feel about it . Also we seemed to be able to get a seat most times (apart from nights of overflow eg Motown and Beatles night ) The pool area was nice to relax around . It was a little difficult at times to get seating but guess this happens on all cruises ! It is annoying when there is seating with belongings on and no-one around for an hour or so. (Not sure there is a solution to that rude behavior ) Of a morning sometimes we would all meet at The dome we could generally get seats there together and it was quiet of a morning. 3. Restaurants (book early for all bar Pantry ) They were all very nice . We had no complaints . Dragon Lady set out like private dining . We loved and it was really worth the surcharge for Salt by Luke Mangan. We wished we had pre-booked another night there. Luckily having read previous reviews i knew to pre-book. Waterfront was also nice as was Angelo's. The pantry was adequate and we had no complaints with the odd breakfast and lunch there. Tea and coffee available 24 hrs a day from there. 4. Plenty of activities available . We didn't participate in a lot but enjoyed what we did. The girl running bingo most amusing. I especially enjoyed the lectures by a lecturer on board . You can do as much or little as you like. 5. Entertainment. Most enjoyable. Especially a piano bar guy Spencer Chester . He was a scream and so entertaining . One night he had us all singing (and there was an aged population including us ) Living next door to Alice with expletives and all . Hilarious and so entertaining . Another night was a motown night with a few singers and band all excellent. One particularly amazing entertainer was a young lady from Kiriwina Island . Ka Weyova . She was unwell on the night we saw her but she still had us ladies in tears with beautiful voice. My husband and I ran into her and her mum later in night and she was more than gracious chatting to us with her mum. Truly first class entertainment. 6. Shore tours I had booked our own private tours so cannot comment on ships. The ports were all interesting . Make sure you take goodies for littlies. The thing they loved most we took were books of stickers and tennis balls. Tenders used worked well apart from one rough day. It was a bit slow but understandable due to conditions. We did not get to Kitava as too rough but we did not suffer unduly. 7.Staff Most staff were gracious, helpful and smiling. 8. Embarking and disembarkation. Fast and efficient. Our friends bags were not there at end . But we waited patiently and they turned up. To sum up . At around $250 per night for accommodation, meals and entertainment.you could not get better value. The clientele were mixed age from young to older. Did sit with a few whingers complaining but i soon put them in their place. While it is no five star hotel it is certainly comfortable and excellent value for money. And that was the view of myself, husband and our travelling companions. Only rated all 4 stars as there is no such thing as perfection always room for improvement . Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We are a family of 3. Mid-thirties with an 11 year old son. I booked this cruise on a whim without doing much research at all, I just knew we wanted a holiday and it had to be in the School holidays as hubby is a teacher. Leading up to ... Read More
We are a family of 3. Mid-thirties with an 11 year old son. I booked this cruise on a whim without doing much research at all, I just knew we wanted a holiday and it had to be in the School holidays as hubby is a teacher. Leading up to the cruise we were all excited, if not a little nervous. I read so much information and opinions on cruises that my head was spinning a little and at times I was a little worried. One thing I have learned from this is that everyone's opinion is subjective so you're only really going to know if you go and experience it your self. Embarkation: This particular voyage left from White Bay Terminal in Sydney. I booked the holiday through Flight Centre who organised the flights through P&O so we had next port guarantee but I was still a little fretful on the day leading up to travel. We had no issues however and the 9am flight from Adelaide was a dream run. (I did hear over the cruise that the people leaving on the 7am flight from Adelaide weren't so lucky and were delayed 6 hours!) In the future I will not fly on the 'day of', this is one lesson learned (thankfully not the hard way for us). The terminal was busy but getting on the ship was a fairly seamless if not tedious affair (but it always feels tedious waiting when you're excited about something). Room: We booked an interior room as I was doing it as 'cheap as possible'. For a place to stay for 10 nights for 2 adults and an 11 year old it was quite adequate. We had a triple which had 2 singles and a top bunk above one. There was lots of drawer space and a cupboard with plenty of hangers supplied. I was able to store our 3 suitcases (one inside another) and one with our beach gear (snorkels, fins and reef shoes) in the cupboard though there was plenty of room under the beds for these I had just read to keep everything off the floor in case of sewage issues. Speaking of that, the cruise prior to this one had reported quite severe issues with the toilets both in the public and private areas of the ship. I am pleased to report that we didn't experience anything of such nature. There was a letter that went out about a serviceman doing maintenance daily in the rooms to ensure correct system running and as I said no such issues experienced by us. People we met on the 2nd day told us their toilet had issues before we even left the harbor on the 1st day and that evening but thankfully it was sorted and they didn't have that issue again. Overall I found the size and layout of the room fine for us. I did hear some complaints about the size of the room from seasoned cruisers. The bathroom was fine, but I did find the showers a bit too cool for me (i like a hot shower) but the pressure was good. In the future I think it would be worth booking a balcony for us, not so much to enjoy in the room but as a private place to sit back and relax away from the crowds. Also a side note we were on deck 8 about 4 rooms from the front of the ship. We didn't find the movement upsetting at all, until it was a little rough on the last night. Mainly the occasional thud and shudder as the ship hit a trough which worried my son a little but didn't keep us from sleeping. Public Areas: All the public areas were amazing. Well decorated and my husband and I often remarked how comfortable the seating was everywhere. We enjoyed the comfy nooks in the windows when you could get one. With 2000 passengers and school holidays these places were often crowded and I am very glad we only had one out of 10 days that made being outside not pleasant. The main pool area was always super busy and alive with activity, from trivia times, to movies, to dancing, to golf etc (this also meant that often getting a sun lounge was nigh on impossible and the pools and spas were overflowing with people. My son and I really enjoyed the water slides which were easy to get to and we never had to wait long to use them. Having a child who wasn't keen on spending much time in kids club meant we didnt get to experience the adults only pool areas much if at all. I did hear they were often just as full as the main pool however. Our favourite public areas was the Explorer Hotel. Lots of cozy seating and fun activities on frequently (trivia, karaoke, pictionary, board games etc). The waiters were good in there, keeping tables cleared and your drinks flowing. Kids Club: My Son was in the HQ (11-14) He found it a little daunting on his own and struggled feeling comfortable so didn't attend much but it looked great to me. Dining: Booking dinners was easy. At the start of the cruise I went to Angelo's and booked a table at the Waterfront. If we decided we wanted to try somewhere else we just let them know and canceled the booking for that night. We had dinner at the Waterfront most evenings. We thought the food and service was great and the menu changed everyday. The pantry was good. We never found the food was too cold as many others have experienced. Getting a table wasn't always easy but sometimes we took our food and ate outside. There was some recurring staples at the food places but many new things to try each day too. I loved that there was fresh fruit (the pineapple was really yummy) and though there isn't 24hour food available I was never hungry waiting for something to open. We had dinner on our 2nd night at Angelo's because I had read some good reviews but all in all I wasn't impressed. Hubby felt a bit pressured to order something different than I did by the waiter and didn't enjoy his meal. I had also read that the 'Dragon Lady' wasn't that great but by some encouragement from friends we made on board we decided to give it a go and actually loved it. Just a shame I had been put off so we didn't try it until the 2nd menu. We did book it for the last night as well because we enjoyed it so much. We tried a pizza from 400 Gradi near the end of the cruise and it was alright, decent price but nothing to write home about to us. Entertainment and Activities: Enjoyed the Trivia on board. Would have liked to see an area for games all the time where you could meet up with people and join in if you were at a loose end. Proper dancing classes too would have been fun. The shows in the Marquee were alright. Some thing to do for an hour but if we missed it we weren't too disappointed. Didn't attend Love Riot as it isn't really our thing. The Live music was great and Anthony Hughes who often played in the Atrium or Explorer was great to listen too. Service: One word really 'WOW' Take my hat off to the hard working guys and gals who keep everything running smoothly. The best part for me was walking around and having conversations with the staff who were all so nice and friendly. Ports and Shore Excursions: This particular cruise stopped at 5 ports and we were so unbelievably lucky to be able to get to see them all. Noumea: Booked a shore tour through P&O before the cruise. It was 3 hour excursion which included a jet boat thrill ride to Duck Island and back, some time on Duck Island to snorkel and explore and a couple of sun lounges with umbrella to chill under. The boat ride was fun and the driver catered to his crowd. Snorkeling was ok there. We went back onboard the ship for lunch and then headed out to look at the town of Noumea in the afternoon. I didn't like it much and found the products in the shops really tacky and over priced. Lifou: Booked the Jinek reserve pass for the AM session so this meant we were on the 1st or 2nd tender which was great. Jinek was AMAZING. Easy to get down to the water by some steps and it was like snorkeling in an aquarium. When we finished that we wandered around the island and visited the Church and the caves where we had fun jumping into the underground body of water. Getting back on the ship took a fairly long time so Tender could have run a bit better. Port Vila: Booked a private tour through FB prior to leaving. Sadly the tour operator had a death in their family the day or 2 before we were there so we were met by his Brother in law who had it sprung on him he was going the tour and the things that had been planned weren't organised. We did however get driven to the Blue Lagoon, which was super beautiful and fun, The Turtle Sanctuary, which I admit I wasn't a fan of (over-priced and I didn't like the whole set up) and Tanna Coffee (lovely coffee). Enjoyed wandering the markets outside the ship set up by locals before we headed back to the ship. Mystery Island: Beautiful Island. Was fun to walk around and explore. Tried fresh coconut for the 1st time and had the most delicious mandarins that had been grown by the locals on their home island. Sadly we didn't have the nicest day weather wise (all the locals were rugged up complaining it was cold) but still an enjoyable day. Tender worked a lot better that day as there was another boat running than at Lifou. Isle of Pines: Our favourite destination for sure. Just wandered down the beach and found a quiet spot away from the crowds. We spent the day snorkeling, spotting some turtles which we were able to film with the Go Pro. Just an enjoyable day on a white sandy beach in the warm sunshine. Tender worked well this day again. Disembarkation: Leaving the ship was an easy experience. The night before we had our bags packed ready to go with colour coded labels. We had a spot and time to meet the next day and leaving the ship happened in an orderly fashion. Overall for our first cruise experience we had a great time and found it very relaxing. I would do it again and would recommend others give it a go. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
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