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1,385 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

Please enter your review.We Booked our cruise on the Pacific Dawn knowing that she wasn't a new ship and previously named the Regal Princess, so we were not expecting a shining new ship. Travelling recently on the Diamond and Sapphire ... Read More
Please enter your review.We Booked our cruise on the Pacific Dawn knowing that she wasn't a new ship and previously named the Regal Princess, so we were not expecting a shining new ship. Travelling recently on the Diamond and Sapphire princess ships we expected an older style ship. Embarkation was smooth and I was a bit shocked at the different type of cruisers to what we are used to as we usually cruise out of sydney and disembark in a foreign country. We were welcomed by the usual crew and shown to our mini suite on aloha deck. It was pleasantly nice and not too old looking. The balcony was large but due to the door opening out and not sliding it made for a small area to stand or sit. The room was larger than we expected and we were warmly welcomed by our steward. Due to a delayed sailing(should of left at 4pm) we missed our slot to leave and had to wait till 8pm to depart due to heavy ferry traffic in circular quay. So the party went on up on the deck above us so we decided to join everyone for a cocktail and a dance. The behavior of some of the drunken yobbos at this early stage of the cruise (we hadn't even left yet) I thought "I wonder how long some of them would last on this cruise". When we finally sailed out of the harbor we were on our way to enjoy the pacific dawn. An older ship built in 1991, but a nicer older ship. I heard a lot of comparisons to the pacific sky and sun and a lot of whining but I thought she was a fine looking ship and had no problems. My partner liked the ship and our travelling companions who were on baja deck liked it also. Our destination was the south pacific and the weather was a bit rough on the first few days, but the ship handled it well. There was plenty to do and the restaurants were nice. We ate in the traditional dining and booked for the same time every night and were designated the same table of 4 for the entire cruise. I was embarrassed by the drunken behavior on the first night and apologized to the wait staff who had to serve them and told them that all australians were certainly not like those yobbos!!! I believe when we got to noumea 2 of the passengers were thrown off the ship... The south pacific islands are beautiful. Noumea,Dravuni Island,Suva,Isle of pines,Yasa wa Irara,Mystery island and Port vila. Though they could of missed Suva and nobody really would of cared as I am sure They could find a better port to visit than this dirty place. My pick was Yasa Wa Irara which was picturesque and the people lovely. We decided not to do shore tours on this trip as we had done the islands before and just wanted to do our thing. There seemed to be a lot of problems on the ship, like the mini suites on the other side of the ship flooding one night during heavy rain and everybody standing in the corridor in their robes waiting for their cabins to be dried so they could go to bed(this was 1am),Thanks god our side was fine but i felt sorry for those with damp staterooms on the other side. We saw some shows and they were pretty professional, dancers were great. Spent a few nights in the new casino (playing poker machines as we don't have them in perth) so it was a bit of a novelty. Did a few quizzes and generally had a good time. The 21st November was my birthday and when we boarded the ship I had organized for some canapes to come to our stateroom at 2pm as we had 8 people coming for a few drinks. I checked 2 days prior to confirm the order and wallah!!!! on the day no canapes arrived. After much a do we finally received them at 4pm after 5 people had to leave...they lost the order and didn't really give a damn...... I spoke to the head of housekeeping afterwards and he said he would follow it up and let me know after the cruise......May 2008 and guess what....not a reply not a word....Very unprofessional people. Double and triple check if you order any special request items!!!! Generally, we had a wonderful time on an older ship but would not cruise on her again as the service staff were very average. Except for the wait staff in the palm court restaurant who were very professional and on the ball. What separates a cruise from other cruises is not the ship but the staff. The pacific dawn would be good starting cruise. I am sure that P&O think that most Australians will accept anything! They may find that this will have an impact somewhere down the track on their cruising public out of Australia. Disembarkation wa smooth until we arrived ashore in Darling harbor....What a mess, there were people still waiting to get on buses to the airport and their flights were in 45 minutes time. We had no transfer which was paid for and only when I jumped up and down were we given taxi vouchers and taken to the wrong hotel!!! Well i suppose that did leave a bad taste in our mouths and when we finally got to the four points sheraton we were exhausted. All in all we had a fab time, met some wonderful people, who we are still in contact with and are cruising again in feb09. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
I traveled on the Pacific Dawn with a group of 12. Overall I had a great cruising experience. Even though we had cyclone gene completely mess up our itinerary! Service I found the service to be great most of the time, room was cleaned ... Read More
I traveled on the Pacific Dawn with a group of 12. Overall I had a great cruising experience. Even though we had cyclone gene completely mess up our itinerary! Service I found the service to be great most of the time, room was cleaned twice a day. Dinning waiters entertaining. Entertainment I would say mediocre, there is only so many lame trivia games with lame prizes you can endure. There were a few great production shows! the themed nights and music was good. Bingo was the highlight! What is that saying?? Best to make your own fun! Night life Although some say the dome gets repetitive. its a cruise, theres one club, deal with it. The dome was fantastic, party until 4am every night. Island night they had a deck party, unreal they should host more of these during the length of the cruise! Staterooms The staterooms are clean, great size, plenty of storage, large window! Food buffet- good food but to repetitive. exactly the same thing every day for 10 days straight. horrific, only good for a quick meal. palm court - the food was great, changed everyday, great service! however, free style cruising needs to go. highly annoying having to reserve your table everyday, especially when you eat at the same time every night. Also creates long queues and our table was rarely ready on time, usually had to wait another 20 mins outside the restaurant. alternative dining - pizza and gelato was nice, steak house, didn't dine there, didn't fancy paying $20 to eat in the buffet with people walking in and out when the palm court looked alot more appealing. Ship The Pacific Dawn is a great ship, Although just another hand me down I finally feel like P&O have a ship unlike the converted looking cargo ships they acquire in the rest of there fleet. She has great public spaces, her dining room, atrium and dome being the highlight. Her exterior is grand and elegant. The pools are deep and of a good size. good layout to. Cost Although P&O pricing has reduced in the past couple of years I feel for there product they are over priced. As they sell four berths for the same price as other cruise lines (with a similar product) sell there twin berths for. Best to save a little more and fly to other lines Passengers There were 1800 passengers aged between 18 and 30. Not many kids at all as the cruise left as school started up. Overall It was great met alot of people, would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Hello all, To be a cruise critic, I would think that one would have needed to be on more than four cruises, but my cruise on the Pacific Dawn was one with some differences, that I wish I new about before I booked. So for you with a similar ... Read More
Hello all, To be a cruise critic, I would think that one would have needed to be on more than four cruises, but my cruise on the Pacific Dawn was one with some differences, that I wish I new about before I booked. So for you with a similar mindset this is for you. Dinning.. The freestyle concept with P&O (aust) is new, having been on the NCL (wind) which had several different venues to eat, on the Dawn it was very much smokes and whistles, to explain, the palm court offered passengers really the only individual dinning room available, which was unique in its venue, that you could go sit and be waited on with an ever changing menu. The cafe De Sol was on an upper deck and served the same food as the Palm Court (during dinner) but as a buffet style arrangement, having to serve yourself was OK but then to find a seat was another matter. Other dinning options was the Italian Pizza Restaurant, with a very limited menu, average pasta, just two choices and fair pizza. In the evening a section of the Cafe De sol is transformed into the Steakhouse, here there is a $20.00 surcharge for a nice piece of steak, really not much more as the service by the waiting staff is great throughout the ship. So to sum up, and a passenger who looks forward to the whole dinning experience on board, it is with regret that I have to say that I've certainly had a more favorable dinning experienced on other ships. Entertainment.. Another enjoyable aspect to cruising that both my partner and I enjoy is the nightly entertainment in the international show lounge, this also was fair, the band backing the artist was to my taste average, and the performance from the artist including the Pacific Dawn Troupe was tired most of the time. Surprisingly as this rebranded ship has only been sailing since Nov 07. The other entertainment on offer were ceramics, ballroom dancing, flower making classes and the casino. There was no dedicated cinema it was a screen in the show lounge, great sound but average picture. Staff.. All the staff onboard were terrific, our cabin steward was very accommodating. And the Staff in the Palm Court equally so. Though one word of warning to couples who have enjoyed the Freestyle concept of dinning previously, If you feel that you have made a dinner booking to sit at a table for two to enjoy a romantic night together, or a table for four to enjoy a meal with some newfound friends, think again, on not one occasion were our request met. If P&O are advertising this ship with this style of dinning available it needs to be fined tuned to say the least. For the smokers on board, you are not allowed to smoke in your cabin, as a smoker this is for me not a problem, but many passengers who would have preferred to have indulged in there cabin would have been lumped with a $300.00 cleaning charge, after a warning, at the end of their vacation. And as far as other areas for smokers you are allowed only to smoke on the Port side of deck 7 (Promenade) and the port side of the Casino/Sports bar which all have very limited seating available. For the non smokers this was a welcome change, but imagine the smokers. After all I have said it was a nice relaxing holiday, but would I cruise with P&O australia again, well let me put it this way, it would be great for first time people interested in cruising. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
I was looking forward to this cruise as i was about to celebrate a BIG one and as the Dawn was previously the Regal Princess expected it to fulfill my "dreams" - it did except for the food. We flew to sydney from Melbourne on day ... Read More
I was looking forward to this cruise as i was about to celebrate a BIG one and as the Dawn was previously the Regal Princess expected it to fulfill my "dreams" - it did except for the food. We flew to sydney from Melbourne on day of embarkation and friends picked us up at the airport, drove us to the cruise wharf where we were going to leave our luggage and book in later in the day as the ship was still disembarking passengers. The staff said we could book in then (approx. l0.30am and ship did not set sail until 4 pm) and return whenever, go on board and have lunch - we were very surprised at this, but we were able to check in within a few minutes and had no further worries. When we returned later in the day we just walked on!!!! Our cabin was a little larger than expected, very clean and welcoming - had large queen size bed, pristine linen. The ensuite area was certainly larger than expected particularly the shower area(big enough for two people), large hanging space for clothing, many many drawers, safe and even room to store luggage. we used the area outside the ensuite as a dressing room because of the amount of space we had. After unpacking we went off to explore the ship and was certainly impressed with all lounges, bars and public areas. There are plenty of comfortable lounge chairs, etc. around to use , but did find the "Dome" area (nightclub at night) lounge area during day, was a little short of seating around the viewing area from the front of the ship. Great music was played here each evening until approx. llpm when the disco started. There are a couple of other spots on the ship where you can listen to relaxing music during the day and early evening and enjoy a glass of wine or coffee - whichever is your preference!!!!! The theatre was well set up for floor shows, which we enjoyed, but found some of the entertainers on board only ok. This area was also used for showing films. Our biggest disappointment was the food - actually couldn't believe it was of such a poor standard. On embarkation night we were served (my choice) grilled chicken, vegetable, etc. it was so BADLY presented, so dry, tasteless that i was just stunned - couldn't eat it so thought would try a desert, but unfortunately this was just as bad. Hopefully better luck the next day, but no it was just the same. I personally love pasta, but even this was hard, tasteless and took one mouthful and pushed it away. (at a cooking demonstration we were told that we would be having smoked salmon pasta that evening -very special!!!)am still looking for the salmon. Honestly all that was in the pasta was a small piece (no bigger than a teaspoon) sitting on top . Could go on telling you about the food but at least the soup was ok and the fresh bread rolls/butter were great (i lived on these most of the cruise ) The above all took place in the dining room, which i must admit is a very nice room and the stewards were great. Tried the buffet a few times, but all i will say about this is - think mess hall food. Didn't try the steakhouse as i thought if the food is so bad generally why pay for a bad meal there. Hamburger bar: had a hot dog here, (which i do generally enjoy, actually i love them) was terrible, tasteless. Pizza bar; Didn't try this one as people we met said it was only ok. Afternoon tea was a joke - it was only on for a half hour. you are served a scone (i thought it was either small bread roll/damper, shortbread biscuit and a cake. then comes along a small dob of jam, smaller dob of cream and eventually either tea or coffee. (think the stewards serving this had had a bad day as it certainly was not smiley time) Needless to say my friends and myself never bothered venturing there again, nor did a lot of other people we spoke to. As we had been to the ports before on other cruises we Didn't bother with the shore excursions, just got off the ship to have a walk on land and to have a chat with the locals and buy some duty free alcohol in villa which is cheaper than on the ship. There was plenty of activities to keep you busy if this is what you wanted to do, but i was quite happy reading a book, enjoying the sunshine, relaxing on a deck chair and watching the water go by. Disembarkation is done very well with the luggage out the night before and leaving the ship by color code (you get a different color depending on what time you have connecting flights, etc. to catch) We are able to go into a lounge have coffee, etc. and just relax till you leave the ship which is certainly much better than a few years ago where you sat around for hours waiting to disembark and hopefully could find a seat. Summary: this is a lovely ship, clean, plenty of lounges, and different areas to spend time in, listen to music, enjoy a drink at one of the many bars, play the pokies if you wish, watch a movie and live shows. there are plenty of outside decks to be able to walk around and enjoy the ocean air, the crew are very friendly (most of the time), courteous and our cabin was always 100% - even though we hardly saw our steward. I would love to sail on the Pacific Dawn again, but only if i knew that the standard of food would have improved, as i feel that this is a very important part of a cruise, as you look forward to meeting your old and new friends at dinner, having a lovely meal together, talking about the activities of the day and what a new cruise day holds for you all. Just hope that P.& O. are not cutting costs on their cruises by down-grading their meals. (Have previously sailed on Pacific Princess many times and their food was 110%) Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
This was our Honeymoon cruise; second cruise in total, first aboard the Pacific Dawn. Our first cruise was on the Sapphire Princess and we were told that we were spoiling ourselves as no other ship would live up to the cruise, and that was ... Read More
This was our Honeymoon cruise; second cruise in total, first aboard the Pacific Dawn. Our first cruise was on the Sapphire Princess and we were told that we were spoiling ourselves as no other ship would live up to the cruise, and that was true, but going on board the Dawn with that advice in mind, we were not dejected by the differences or age of the ship. Ship: Being 17 years old the Dawn shows her age in places, but there is nothing that we found to be overly an issue. There were patches of rust on our balcony, but we just looked passed these and were happy with the ship. There are a number of public room, and they really do have their own environment to them. The Dome went off at night but was a nice place to sit during the day and participate in Trivia, dance classes or other quiet activities. The Bengal bar was the more boisterous of location with louder activities organized here but the Promenade Bar is next door and much more subdued. All of these room were comfortable and clean. The International Show Lounge was great, being tall I loved the leg room to cater for the drink staff to serve you. Room: A few weeks before sailing we received a visit from the Upgrade Fairy (see it still happens) as were moved from a BA to an AB so were had a lot more room, were given all the perks of being in a mini-suite like priority check in and out, canapes delivered to the room free on formal nights, it was great. The room was massive and were thought that the furnishing were excellent. The only complain is that the mattresses on the bed were a bit old and could do with an update, but we were so tired by night time and we fell asleep really quickly. Our steward was great, even did towel animals when we asked about them. Meals: I have no idea how anyone could ever complain about the food on the ship. It was exquisite every night and day. The buffet was buffet food, but it was yummy and heaps of it. The drinks were yummy and the drinks stewards would ask once and then not ask again if you had said no, unless you called them over. Activities: Being our honeymoon we did less activities than others I guess. The ones we did do were great. On time, well organized and heaps of fun. We had one of our ports cancelled due to very very very bad weather and the use of the Tenders was unsafe, and within 30 mins we received a new day planner and it was full of FRESH, NEW activated, not just ones rehashed from other days. Staff: The staff were great, smiled, friendly and wonderful. Can’t really say much more. A few of them, Martin – Cruise Director- and others were telling us that the next cruise was their last one, and you could tell that they needed a break, but there were great. Entertainers: I always think that anyone who can sing and dance on a moving stage is a superstar! The shows were great, and the guest entertainers were good too. The comedian was telling jokes we head on the last cruise, but hey I guess there is only so many jokes you can tell. Ports: They were good, sad that we didn’t get to Mystery Island, but it was such bad weather that the Tenders would have been too dangerous so the Captain made the right choice. New Caledonia was a bid of a let down as a lot of stuff is closed on Mondays, the day we were there. Vanuatu was great shopping and markets. Overall: It was a great cruise, great ship and great staff. Little things could have been better. We never used the kids program but we never saw the kids so they were locked up….. I mean looked after well. We did get friendly with one couple with kids in the program and from what they said we were very impressed with both the program and the cost of baby sitting after hours. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Hi all we left a cold Melbourne for Sydney on a Qantas flight booked through the on line agent we got a great deal $49 return with transfers to the wharf included. Qantas had a new check in system which made it hard we actually sat on the ... Read More
Hi all we left a cold Melbourne for Sydney on a Qantas flight booked through the on line agent we got a great deal $49 return with transfers to the wharf included. Qantas had a new check in system which made it hard we actually sat on the plane for an hour before leaving as they miscounted us gettin on the plane but we had plenty of time so no worries there, got to Sydney and picked up the coach to the wharf the beauty of this is that they put your cases straight on the ship so no lugging cases around. We were surprised to see no long lines for check in the system is much better now you get given a card with a number and when it is called you go on board much much better. We went straight to are cabin and met our cabin steward who seemed very nice she said if we needed anything to let her know,.the cabin itself was very nice a good size bathroom, and everything was spotless,no complaints at all. went into the main dining room for dinner its a nice place and we did tend to eat there most nights as we liked the idea for meeting different people every night, the food was fine there is always something to please every one. We did enjoy the trivia every day and even won once mind you we sat with another couple that were very good so thats how we ended up with a clock each. we met other people from the boards on the ship which was very nice and we even got a private galley tour from Fabio very interesting, the islands we had been to before. All in all it was a good cruise only one thing marred it and boy was it a big on, if you get allocated cabin D169 beware lovely cabin shame about the noise, first night it made very loud noises, went to the pursers desk to complain they sent the carpenters up to fix it, they put four wedges of wood in different parts of the cabin, great we thought fixed no went to bed exhausted next night only to find same noise, went to pursers desk again only to be told sorry they couldn't do any more, they did send up ear plugs the next day ,which didn't impress, so went to tell them this only to be told well maybe you should see the ships doctor and get some sleeping pills from him (I don't think so) any way in the end the solution was to give us a inside cabin to sleep in of a night on deck five then we had to go back to deck eight to our outside cabin for the day time not ideal but at least we got some sleep, would we go on the Pacific Dawn again no we prefer the Pacific Sun Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
I travelled with a friend on Pacific Dawn over the Victorian School holidays (September 08)and it was a last minute decision to book. My friend came from the UK and we decided that it was time for him to experience a cruise. I have ... Read More
I travelled with a friend on Pacific Dawn over the Victorian School holidays (September 08)and it was a last minute decision to book. My friend came from the UK and we decided that it was time for him to experience a cruise. I have travelled with quite a few cruise companies including: P&O UK, Princess, NCL, RCCL, Seabourn and Swan Hellenic. My last cruise was a month on Seabourn, so I had low expectations for this trip compared to my last. Embarkation was easy, and straight forward. However once through the immigration and security it was a long wait to actually board the ship. This was due to the photographs that are used in conjunction with the ships security, and not the ships photographers (although they were there!) Our cabin was A125 which turned out to be a disabled cabin on the inside of A deck. It was spacious compared to other cabins that I saw during the cruise. This cabin needs some work done on the carpeting and the inside and was showing it's age. However saying that, it had two beds, plenty of wardrobe space and a massive shower (for the disabled guests) I had travelled on this ship previously as Regal Princess and didn't find getting around difficult. It was nice to see that most of the rooms had undergone some renovations, most noticeable was the "dome" where the banks of slot machines had gone and replaced with a small stage. Our first experience of dining was the buffet on Deck 12, I would never normally use this, as the Palm Court is a much better option. Today was embarkation day so had no choice. The line stretched for ever, and took around 30 mins to actually reach the food. The food is probably the only major disappointment on the trip. The buffet food is something that you might have experienced at school once. However that evening the dinner in the main dining room was ok. The food never really got any better throughout the whole trip, and was probably the worst aspect of the cruise. One thing that annoyed me beyond anything else was the constant selling by waiters... did we want a kilo of prawns for $10? Did we want some naff glasses? Did we want to purchase this or that.... It became a joke after the first night. P&O in the UK (well certainly the last time I travelled with them) does not offer this continuous bombardment of selling. The ports of call for me were the best part, Noumea we took a ships tour and did a jetski around a small island, great fun and worth the $99 we each paid. The other smaller islands were a great opportunity to swim and relax on the beach and to experience some culture. The drink prices on board were expensive compared to other lines, and unlike other large companies they did not offer a "soda card" which is so useful if you don't drink booze. I had an issue with one of the waiters who refused to serve me 6 cans of coke to take back to my cabin. Eventually he let me, and I made a complaint to one of the bar managers. He basically told me that I was lying and this would have never of happened. This annoyed me no end.. I don't drink that much, and to be told that I was lying was very unprofessional. However it didn't spoil the holiday, and I forgot about it after a couple of hours. If you wanted food outside of normal dining hours it was possible, unlike other lines, they charged you for it. I didn't mind paying for the icecreams or at 1am for a hamburger (only once!!) but I found it not as "inclusive" as some cruise companies. We tried the steakhouse once and paid AUD$25 for the meal. My steak was huge, and cooked to perfection, however not worth the money paid. The cruise as I mentioned earlier was during school holidays, most of the kids were well behaved, although there was a huge youth security and other security guards. Kids did hog the spas and other things, and after 11pm there was no where for them to buy a soft drink. P&O need to look at this very carefully. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Pacific Dawn  - September 2008 South Pacific We have been very pleasantly surprised Pacific Dawn is one of two ships that P&O Australia (not to be confused with P&O UK) currently have based in Australian waters. The other being ... Read More
Pacific Dawn  - September 2008 South Pacific We have been very pleasantly surprised Pacific Dawn is one of two ships that P&O Australia (not to be confused with P&O UK) currently have based in Australian waters. The other being Pacific Sun. Late in 2009 the Pacific Dawn's sister ship Pacific Jewel joins the fleet as does another new ship Pacific Pearl bringing the total to four. These plus the two Princess ships Dawn Princess and Sun Princess which are also based year round in Australia has finally given us Aussies and Kiwis some decent choices and some great new itineraries including circumnavigations of Australia without having to fly 1000,s of miles to find a good cruise. There are some  problems though as many people get confused between the two "Dawns' and the two "Suns' .Two different cruise lines with two different standards.  Also P & O Australia is not connected with P & O in the UK who operate the Oriana, Aurora and Arcadia amongst others. However all three lines as well as Cunard , Seabourn and Costa are all marketed here by Carnival Corporation's local office ,it can get confusing! P & O Australia has had some bad image problems in the past with old ships , a pretty bad on board "party" atmosphere, bad service and in the last few years here in Australia a lot of bad press about an onboard death and underage drinking. The cruise line has been working wonders to turn this around Anyway we digress back to this 'Explorers Cruise" on board Pacific Dawn Pacific Dawn was the old Regal Princess and was moved to Australia a couple of years ago. The day of sailing the ship was late. We latter found out this was due to encountering rough seas outside Sydney. Consequently the sailing was delayed by about four hours The cruise line has their arrivals and departures at Wharf Eight Darling Harbour. The plus side is you get to sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The down side is the lack of facilities and in this case with a lengthy boarding delay lack of information. Why there is no electronic information sign board at the terminal for situations like this is puzzling.We were at the pier about midday dropped our luggage off at the well signed luggage drop point and joined the queue to check in.  This is where P & O fall down. Although the check-in was handled quickly and efficiently there was no offer of an apology re the late departure. We were told boarding should start about 12.30 apart from that there was no information. The terminal is very basic with about 20 rows of plastic chairs and a very tiny outside coffee bar selling tea, coffee and sandwiches. Many people were milling around in a fairly small space waiting for boarding to commence, us included. 12.30 came and went, 1pm came and went, 1.30 pm came and went. No announcements and no movement. Finally they allowed 200 of us into the customs hall in a long queue. Here we stood again for 40 minutes with no chairs and quite a few elderly people. Two P & O staff walked around but did not offer any information or assistance. We would call this "how to put your passengers off side without really trying!" There were many tired and very irate people at this stage. The cruise line, just like airlines, should realise that one of the most important things people need during a delay is information. If we had been told boarding was delayed by two hours we would have headed back into the city for lunch rather than be squashed in a crush of people. We hope P & O Australia have addressed this as its really a very bad start to a holiday and casts the ship in a bad light and puts passengers in a foul mood Finally onboard and our foul mood slowly improved. We think nothing beats sailing out of Sydney's magnificent harbour and with a cocktail in hand we were out on deck watching the city glide past and we sailed out past the heads and into the South Pacific The Ship The ship is in fact a delight. For those princess devotees you would be at home as the dEcor throughout, the carpets, and indeed the staff uniforms are Princess The public rooms are spacious, our inside cabin was huge with a large walk-in wardrobe, very comfortable bed, good linen and even the pillows were great. We had a delightful cabin stewardess who worked so hard. and always had a talk with us. What was also great to see were a number of Pacific Islanders employed as waiting staff. The ship operates in Australian currency so we did not have to sweat on the exchange rate of the US dollar. If you could pick up a cross section of the Australian population and plonk 1800 of them onboard Pacific Dawn this is exactly the people on board this cruise. All ages groups including, surprisingly as this was outside school holidays, about 50 children. Word of Warning, during the Australian school holidays they can have over 500 children on board. The Public areas are great and very stylish with loads of likght coloured wood venners. We loved the martini bar Crooners and the main restaurant is very good dEcor wise. The service at times was a bit hit and miss. You would wait longer to be served with a drink than say on Princess or RCCL Out by the main pools it was more like I'll get up and go to the bar than a waiter come to us.This ship is rated about 3.5 stars so what we were seeing was what we were expecting and in most cases our expectations were exceeded. The highlight room for us is "the Dome" which is situated on top of the ship overlooking the bow. Daytime this is a great place to come and read a book. Early evening a great place to have a pre dinner drink and night time becomes a great night club. This room is one of the best public rooms we have experienced on any cruise ship. On the sister ship Pacific Jewel we believe this area is the spa and the gym. Please note for any Berlitz World Wide Cruise guide readers that the information on the dome is wrong for Pacific Dawn  The quality of the food in the buffet was good and we never had a problem getting a table by ourselves for lunch or breakfast, We only ever ate in the restaurant for dinner. Here most nights we had one of the very few tables for two. Its sort of two sittings combined with dine when you want. We think they are still fine tuning that. The waitress who looked after us at dinner was delightful and boy did she work hard. Her offsider was sometimes good sometimes not so good.  The menu choices we enjoyed but some nights we felt like we were in an RSL club . Plain roasts or a chicken kiev which was served with french fries. Other nights the kitchen surprised us with really good food. P&O Australia have recently revamped all the menus onboard. We are sailing on the ship 14th August for a three night weekend gourmet cruise from and back to Sydney so we will be very keen to see if there has been an improvement Entertainment was average. The pirate show was a bit kitsch but a fun night. One annoying aspect was the way the"  look at us arn't we glamorous" young dance entertainment staff hogged the best deck spots by the pools most days There was a hosted "friends of dorothy" the first evening at sea and we made some good friends here who we would meet up with for a pre dinner drink most nights William thought the gym was great and had a good work out each day and we both really loved the two spa pools on the back deck. That of become an adults only area by default and it was a great place to sit and soak The Library was very disappointing. It was obvious that this had once been an American ship aimed at Americans. No offence to our American friends but there is only so much American politics we can read! There had been absolutely no effort at all by the cruise line to stock non-fiction books that would appeal to an Australian or New Zealand audience. Even all the travel guides were about Alaska, the Caribbean and Europe. Nothing about the South Pacific or where the ship is now based. It will be interesting when we are back on board in August to see if this has changed Talking of appealing to Aussie and Kiwi audiences the dreaded art auction (we personally hate them ) again  there was no representation of any New Zealand or Australian artists. There are many good one and famous ones. The days that these auctions took over the atrium we retreated to the Dome. The Ports This cruise was to Suva, Port Denarau , Dravini Island and Savu Savu all in Fiji, then scenic cruising past Tin Can island Tonga, then to Vavau and also Nuku'alofa in Tonga before  Noumea in New Caledonia before heading back to Sydney Suva, we were four hours late due to our late departure. The highlight was having the Fiji Police Band marching up and down the pier as we arrived and docked. That was sensational. As for Suva, well we can say we have been there. Port Denarau. This is a purpose built resort and gated residential area near Nadi.  A number of five star hotels and a very clinical harbourside shopping area . We would recommend doing what we did - take a cab into Nadi and wander up and down the main street and soak up the atmosphere or get the shuttle bus round to one of the five star hotels and relax by the pool. The beach here is not very good. We don't paying for shore excursions preferring to go off and do our own thing Dravini Island - This would fit most people's idea of a South Pacific Island. Beautiful beaches crystal clear warm water palm trees and a small village. It was a Sunday so village life centred around the church service. A delightful relaxing enriching day Savu Savu we loved this small village and bought some great dvd's for $1 each. Yes they did work Tin Can Island - we sailed past this black looking place Everyone had been encouraged to mail postcards to be posted from here. The ship puts them into a big tin can and someone from the island comes out to collect the can. On our day the water was too choppy so the can was left floating. Our postcard finally arrived home in Sydney three months latter! Vavau - a long cruise up the channel to the anchorage point  We took the tender across and found the local souvenir and money changers were only just starting to set their stall up dockside Tongan Time!. There is currency exchange available at the little Western Union branch about five minutes walk from the dock We hired a taxi, the car was an experience in its self but the driver drove us around for a couple of hours and was obviously very proud of where he lived. The evening sailing just before sunset down the channel and out through the sea entrance was stunning Nuku'alofa we were up just on dawn and watched the most astounding sunrise as the ship steamed toward the very low island on the horizon. The pilot boat looked like the African Queen! We docked at the Queen Salote wharf . Tonga does not get many cruise ships and apart from a few trestle tables with people selling local trinkets there was nothing else. We got a taxi and settled on $15 into town. When he dropped us he insisted on $15 US it was the only time we felt very ripped off. The local markets are fun and we bought two really beautiful fresh flower leis to wear at "Island Night" that night Noumea , fantastic is all we can say you feel like you are back in civilisation. The cruise terminal is excellent The range of tours on offer are great. Don't buy on board but buy at the pier as they were all about half what the ship's tour office was charging. We had a great afternoon at Bay de Citron swimming and relaxing on the beach. There is an atm machine a short walk from the pier tho now we believe the ship has an atm on board Back home to Sydney. We were up before dawn to watch us sail in past the heads. Disembarkation was easy and the complete opposite to the disastrous boarding 16 days before. We were back home within fifteen minutes Did we enjoy this cruise. YES Will we go back on Pacific Dawn again YES and we hope P&O Australia maintain the standard and the hardware and not let the bean counters cut things back Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
At first thought, this cruise was supposed to be a relaxing vacation doing not much at all and enjoying some good food and seeing different parts of the world. How wrong I was when I got on board and saw how much there was to offer. ... Read More
At first thought, this cruise was supposed to be a relaxing vacation doing not much at all and enjoying some good food and seeing different parts of the world. How wrong I was when I got on board and saw how much there was to offer. This boat went to the extreme with EVERYTHING and made you feel like you were a VIP. First day was spent going through a very thorough booking in process. All passengers were dropped off at the front door with signs posted to drop luggage off to the right of the doors before going inside to register your arrival with the check-in desk. The check-in lady we got was an older person who we thought very nice but in her absentmindedness forgot to give us an embarkation card with its number on but this problem was quickly rectified by another P&O staff member who ushered us through the doors to customs once notified of the problem. This same staff member also asked for a description of the person who checked us in due to us not knowing her name. Once onboard the boat it was time to find our cabin number. Being that there were 3 of us in tow, we were given a bunkbed configuration with three of the beds in operation, not the ideal situation I had in mind due to not sharing a bed with my husband thanks to the bunk bed ladder. I guess it meant I didn't need to fight for the quilt but was disappointed with the layout. The squeeziness of the alcove leading to the bathroom was of no help either when it came to getting my clothes out of the drawers which were inconveniently located next to the bathroom door making it a hazard if the door were to open suddenly, not very safe. The other unpleasantness was smelling the fish being cooked during the day and evening as the room was located on the same floor as the galley. These trivial matters were overlooked however once sailing was underway. The copious amounts of alcohol consumed on board in front of children was an alarming sight, it almost made it seem normal to do and was considered acceptable behavior to display, however inebriated a person was. This behavior was certainly displayed in a shocking matter the day of sailing where a family of 3 were kicked off of the boat in Noumea because the husband, who was intoxicated, tried to strangle his wife inside the cabin shared with their child. The child was so distressed about the situation they alerted staff to assist with the incident and were told the behavior was unacceptable and were subsequently told to fly home to Australia from Noumea at their own cost. One other passenger ended up in the brig for his drunkenness and was banned from alcohol for 48 hours. The food was exquisite and it didn't matter where you ate. The food in the buffet and the dining room gave you choice. The buffet in the morning at Cafe Del Sol had everything ranging from coffee, juice, cereal, fruit, yoghurt and toast to baked beans, grilled tomatoes, sausages, pancakes, eggs done three different ways and bacon. Lunch was no different for the buffet where choice came in salads, fruit, cold sandwiches and rolls, cheeses and crackers, hot choices too, all with a different theme for the day which continued into dinner. One day was Italian, the next Mexican, the next Asian style food from all parts, the next French etc leaving you with mouthwatering choices and many different dishes to try. It was the best way of experiencing world class cuisine in the one place. The only downside to eating in the buffet was the vibrations from the engines towards the back of the boat. It made it difficult for those suffering from sea-sickness to sit there and eat their food comfortably. The tendency was to try and get tables either side of the buffet area and more towards the middle of the boat to avoid feeling too much vibration. The dining room experience in the Palm Court Dining Room was a dream come true. Not only were we served by waiters who pushed in your chair (for the ladies) and placed your napkin on your lap, but they cleared the table, poured your water and bottled wines with precision and efficiency and delivered your meals after having reset your cutlery three times during the course of dinner. It was not unheard of to spend 1 1/2 hours dining getting through all 4 courses. Each course was small and the entire experience left you feeling very satisfied at the end of the entire evening - including dessert - without feeling stuffed like a chicken. Once again there were themes for the night and it took a real gastronome to appreciate the level of preparation that preceded each delicious course. There were alternatives for those watching their diet or for changing what items they did not wish to eat with the health and fitness centre making recommendations on those dishes which were friendly to the waistline and to general health and well-being, a conscious effort to ensure that diners were able to make informed choices about their meals. Many unusual things happened during the dining experience in the Palm Court Dining Room, such as the liquor cart which dispensed shots in cute metal P&O glasses of which you got to keep the glasses and if you were celebrating a special occasion, P&O assisted with celebratory cakes, balloons and rousing songs of Happy Birthday if that was the occasion. One lucky lass received a marriage proposal the first formal night in front of the entire dining room. The entertainment options were mixed and varied. On the one hand, if you were the type of person who enjoyed watching stage productions, learning how to dance a certain way for particular theme nights, doing circus tricks such as juggling and hula hoop twirling, karaoke or watching comedians then you would be in your element. For those of you into crafts there were many options. On offer were ceramics, t-shirt painting, quilling, earring making or flower making. Each item was unique but some came at a price. Ceramics and t-shirt making were the most expensive which most people shied away from due to price. I however did not and thoroughly enjoyed all of the crafts I attempted and finished. The theme nights were a slight let down. Three were had in total, one was 50s and 60s Rock and Roll, one was Country and Western complete with line dancing and one was Island Night. Out of the three, Island Night was the least silly and easier to dress up for than the others. It consisted of wearing a sarong or hawaiian shirt and a lei, drinking cocktails during the evening complete with light up glass and dancing with the band. The most ridiculous song played had all entertainment staff involved with many almost falling into the pool because of where they had put themselves to be seen by the passengers for directions to a new dance. One of the staff went a bit far with her dancing and caught the eye of the bass guitarist who raised his eyebrows. Some of the other entertainment was heavily influenced by gambling. If you were not in the casino playing tournaments, the tables or pokies, then you were paying for bingo tickets. The only entertainment not covered by those areas consisted of trivia games, board game challenges, marriage focused games (perfect match comes to mind here), playstation competitions or specific events such as the champagne waterfall, baked alaska parade, cruise fair and dancing in the Dome late at night. The childrens' areas I am unable to comment on as I was not using the facilities for my own children but one parent said that he left his 3 year old in turtle cove from 10am in the morning until 1am the following morning. When questioned about his motives, he replied he and his wife wanted to have their child with them on the cruise but clearly this was not the case as she was stowed away until all hours of the night, hence my reason for saying that they should be adults only cruises unless you are willing to be a responsible adult. All in all, the staff were amazing although Zoltina-J got up many of the passengers noses with her lame jokes, including myself, and it was confirmed that the other staff were unhappy with her also. The ports themselves went above and beyond what was expected although Ouvea could have been missed out altogether due to being a coral atoll. It was just a bigger version of the Isle Of Pines. Would not recommend visiting Noumea on a public holiday, everything was pretty much closed except for the expensive stores around Coconut Square and it was buyer beware with the items being sold upstairs and downstairs in the port terminal. The snorkeling in Isle Of Pines is something not to be missed. Nothing like being one with nature and swimming with tropical fish underwater. Would recommend doing the city tour and the country through the vendors themselves rather than paying exorbitant prices through P&O. Expect to pay big for extras such as spa treatments, floral arrangements, laundry, certain eating venues (ie The Steakhouse, La Trattoria, The Lido Grill etc), all drinks at pub prices with cocktails being extremely reasonable, photographs taken by the paparazzi at various prices for packages, gambling, shore tours, souvenirs, expensive jewelry, perfume, bags etc, watch for the special pricing that will come out every day and it could save you money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
EMBARKATION: We lined up at check in at 1415pm, Check in had already commenced. After 45 minutes we were checked in and then only had to wait another 10 minutes to board the boat. So that was no big deal with the small kids 3 and 5 ... Read More
EMBARKATION: We lined up at check in at 1415pm, Check in had already commenced. After 45 minutes we were checked in and then only had to wait another 10 minutes to board the boat. So that was no big deal with the small kids 3 and 5 handling that one quite well. CABIN. We had three cabins one of them a 4 berth with 2 kids. The staff were friendly although were few and hard to find apart from out steward, Who gracefully apologized on the tardiness and stained sheets which were promtly changed. However the boat had no spare queen size dooners for us, Just two singles nothing could be done there despite booking over 6 months ago. Word of advice you will need to request these in advance on your bookings. Towels and anything that was requested through our steward was done effortlessly. Air conditioning was absolutely terrible and too hot. Most nights we were up on deck till late to cool down. Crew did nothing to look at the situation either. DINING: Upon boarding, despite being 330pm the lunch buffet was open as well as the grill (which normally charges for meals). We used the Waterfront Al-la-carte for all evening dinners. Out waiter and Maitre'd were fantastic with reasonably fast service. Ashame on the quality of food. Lines were not too long, however you can reserve your table in advance. Theyr only take reservations for two sittings. Up to 615pm for the first sitting and no earlier than 730pm for the second sitting. We tried the Salt Grill for lunch which attracted a $20 service charge. We did not think much of it, either the food quality or service which was slow and not friendly at all. The only queues we found we at the pool bar at peak times it was very slow to get drinks. They could have had a lot more sales had their been staff. There was no waiter service visible for the pool and lounge area either. DRESS CODE: Despite being cocktail dress. Only about 80 percent dressed to the applicable (suite and cocktail dress). On other nights when it says slacks for men, about half still went dining in their shorts and thongs. Even women did their part to dress down as well. Nor did I see any enforced dress code in place either. CHILDRENS CLUB: (Turtle Club was used) The fact that the kids only wanted to spend their time there and not with us, and tantrums ensued when we couldn't take them there eg at meal times, speaks for itself. They loved it. There was a full program to keep them amused. ENTERTAINMENT: Quite good, eg the circus performances whether it be in the Marqee Lounge, Atrium Lounge or out on deck. And those Elephants look so real it promted our 6 year old to ask where does he sleep as he cannot fit in our cabin. How sweet!!! There could be more trivia options throughout the day. Rather they all seemd to be in the evening and overlapped at times. The Pacific Daily (whats happening each day) seemed rather cluttered and hard to read. Layout was not all that clear. DISEMKARKATION: This is where the reception staff were caught short and offered inconsistent advice. Despite our severe frustration with them (my only encounter with them) we got to disembark early with our own luggage within 45 minutes after docking. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Overall our cruise was great. 11 Nights departed May 5th and returned May 16th 2009. Met some amazing people and had a great time. Ports we're great, cabin stewards were great, bar staff very helpful.PROS- Night time shows and theme ... Read More
Overall our cruise was great. 11 Nights departed May 5th and returned May 16th 2009. Met some amazing people and had a great time. Ports we're great, cabin stewards were great, bar staff very helpful.PROS- Night time shows and theme nights were great success- Food was incredible(be prepared to put weight on)- Casino staff were so nice and would help you understand the game- Comedy Club so hilarious as with Majority rules trivia- Different games like deal or no deal, sea horse racing and liar liar are awesome and very entertaining.- Bingo a huge success and very worthwhile for the jackpot winner at the end.- Very informative about shore tours etc- The daily newsletter was great outling the port to come and customs, currency, language etc- Cabin Steward was so great (wanted to take him home and leave the bf)- Karaoke was an experience and a half, worth checking out- Prices of drinks were fairly priced, same as you would pay in pubs and club and alcohol content is stronger. All the drinks i had the alcohol could be easily tasted and very strong.- Formal Nights are great,nothing like dressing up. We had 2 on this cruise.- Spa reasonably priced- Gym limited to workout more than weights training. Depending on how much you can lift.- Quick by thorough safety brief.CONS- I hate that the dining is buffet or dining room. Its so hard to get into the dining room if you don't call up first thing in the morning. The buffet area vibrated alot when eating and often you'd have to catch your drink before it fell off the table and this had nothing to do with rough seas.- Entertainment staff acted as though they were superior to all the paying guest during their freetime hanging out by the pool.- Photo prices are expensive but the professional photo's on formal nights look amazing and you are not obligated to buy.- Maybe it was just us but we couldn't get to the front of the boat. Only look out through the dome.- Spa and Gym can only be accessed via 1 set of elevators- Hairdryer isn't real great.Our cabin was outside twin. We were on the 10th floor and at the very front of the ship.Being so high up and the first cabin at the front we felt the seas when they were rough. If i had an afternoon sleep i would lay in the middle of the two single beds to ensure i didn't roll out which nearly happend a few times.Overall the cabin was great and our cabin Man Viddy was Incredible, i loved him so much that i wanted to bring him home.Bathroom obviously are small and makes it hard to shave your legs and what not but you manage.Wasn't very noisy in the cabin either but when you walked outside of the cabin it was i think mainly to do with being at the front.There are heaps more pros but i cant think of them all as there is so much to do onboard.P&O make cruising special and that is why i continue to travel with them. I have cruise number 3 book for NYE this year and i am very excited for it.We also had Getaway on Board and the episode will be airing on Channel Nine 6th August 2009.I hope you find my review helpful and happy sailings!!!   =)Our First Port was Luganville, when we arrive we were docked at the port and the weather was great for being May. We opted to walk around the markets and up to the Main street. I noticed the women and children were very friendly to me but sometimes felt as though the men would look straight theough you as if you were insignificant. The locals obviosly love when the boats dock here seeing as though they put on little concerts and have their little stores. I noticed the main street was what i expected, just do't expect too much. I didn't buy anything at this port just donated money to the local schools and the selected few children that i thought were deserving. I didn't do any shore tours here however a nice couple that we met onbaord got a group together and hired a Taxi to take them to Million Dollar Point or Lookout and they said it was really good. The driving on this country may surprise you as they all drive basically New Hilux utes and have anywhere from 1-20 people in the back. PORT VILA - Well this was a good port and has plenty of shore tours to choose from. Before our first tour we thought we would walk the markets just to look and then go to our designated meet area for our off road Buggy Adventure. Well i guess the markets cannot be explained until you see them but its a long stretch off round over crowded with stores trying to sell souvenier items, hair clips, leis and clothes etc. This is great as i found that the price on one store would be double another so it really pays to look around. The downside is long line of Taxi's. The scream and yell at you and do all they can to get you to get in them. They will almost hit you and drive like maniacs, funny to watch though. Ok so shore tour number 1 - off road buggy adventure - was great but left a little disappointed. The brochures warns of muds and unless its been raining its really only alot of dirt and dust but still great fun. The session was divided into 2. So you can switch drivers half way through and have a break. I found the steering was the hardest part and was very tough and actuall hurt my arms but would def do it again and i would recommend it as it's a great experience. Seeing as though the ship was docked at port we returned to the ship after tour 1 to shower off the dirt and change have lunch and head to tour number 2. Second Shore Tour - Parasailing - Was Amazing, although i have a terrible fear of sharks and this worried me. I was told by people that when they went parasailing they actually seen a shark and this worried me dramatically. So first thing when i got on the boat ready to be harnessed up i asked whether i would be dunked in the ocean? This however prompted the boat driver to be smart and scare me. I still went up though. Whilst be harnessed up i was nearly blown off the boat. I went in the air for about 10 mins. I loved in and did not see any sharks or get dunked in the water. After the tours ended we walked the markets again and brough a fair bit of things from clothes to items for island night and different things. We didn't however make it into town into duty free as the town is a fair way in. I do advise allow time to do this shopping if its something you want to do. Maybe do it first thing in the morning and shore tours after lunch. Friends brought cheap ipods, cameras, jewellery, alcohol and other various things. ISLE OF PINES - This amazing place is stunning. It was the second time i had been here and i love it as much now as i did 4 years ago. Its like the picture from a postcard. The water is so blue and incredible. Because i have a big fear of sharks i never go in the ocean, this is the first time i ever swam in the ocean and i loved it. The first time i went to this island there wasn't much to do except snorkel. There is now a resort and paddle boats, kayaks to hire etc. Wild dogs are a massive problem, 4 yrs ago i did not see one dog, this time everywhere, they seem friendly but still i'd be careful. As for seasnakes i didn't see any and neither did anyone else that i spoke to. They do warn about them here especially but 2 times to this island now and i haven't see one. Mystery Island - WAS CANCELLED DUE TO BAD WEATHER!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
I flew from Sydney via Auckland to Papeete and had 4 days at the Manava Suites before embarking on the Pacific Dawn to cruise back to Sydney. I can recommend the Manava Suites. The hotel is new (opened in March 2009) and I was ... Read More
I flew from Sydney via Auckland to Papeete and had 4 days at the Manava Suites before embarking on the Pacific Dawn to cruise back to Sydney. I can recommend the Manava Suites. The hotel is new (opened in March 2009) and I was upgraded from a superior room to a one bedroom duplex. It was like a one bedroom apartment with a lounge room and kitchen downstairs and a bedroom and bathroom upstairs...very nice. The hotel also has a magnificent infinity pool claimed to be the largest in Tahiti. The only negative was the restaurant - expensive food and drink but then it's Tahiti and everything is expensive there. I got the hotel shuttle to the ship - it was much cheaper than a taxi but it was driven by the rudest driver I have ever come across - he wanted to drop me off at the ferries rather than the cruise ship. When I pointed this out to him he did quite a lot of swearing in, what I assumed was French, under his breath. He really was creepy and I was glad to get out of the bus. Embarking was odd. I followed another couple to the end of the wharf where there was a gangway for passengers and a lot of crewing sitting around. No one knew what to do with us and so we just stood around looking at our bags until I asked someone to carry mine on. At the top of the gangway (on the ship), they still didn't know what to do with us especially when I told someone that I was sick and needed to be tested for swine flu. Finally after a lot of fluffing around, I had a picture taken, got my cruise card and the nurse took me off to the Medical Centre to be tested - not a nice test at all! After about 20 minutes, I got the all clear - no swine flu although I didn't really care because I felt dreadful and unfortunately was sick for the entire cruise. I had originally booked an ocean view cabin on deck 10 however at the last minute was upgraded to deck 11. I really loved my cabin. I have never been aft before - always at the front, so this was a pleasant change. My bed was very comfortable and the water pressure in the shower was amazing - better than what I have at home. I was only a few steps from the back deck where the spa pools were located. I didn't think much of my cabin stewardess. She basically had nothing to do in my cabin because I'm a neat freak however I did ask her for ice every afternoon. I got it 3 times in 16 days so I can't tick the box for good service from her. With respect to dining, I had most of my meals in the dining room. Although every night, just before closing time, I snuck up to the Buffet to get my cheese and biscuits to eat whilst watching the movie in my cabin. I also had a nice meal with some Cruise Critic people in the Steakhouse however I did not think it was worth paying an additional $25 for. Of particular note was the Greek salad and poached salmon at lunch time. Every time I had the salmon, it literally melted in my mouth - I couldn't get enough of it. The lunch menu also had some very yummy desserts. There were a number of vegetarian choices and I enjoyed quite a few of them even though I'm not vegetarian myself. By the end of the cruise, I was sick of the dining room and sick of the menu. If you didn't like the daily specials, the regular stuff was there day in, day out. I didn't buy any drinks but people were complaining about the cost of alcohol on board. I didn't notice it stopping people from drinking though. I had dinner with a couple and after 12 days on board, their bill was already $1,700. I hate to think what it was when they got off! The waiters seemed to work hard but for some reason that I couldn't fathom, the service was ordinary and so slow. It took a long time to get fed and a number of my friends stopped eating in the dining room because of the length of time it took to eat. Breakfast always took at least an hour and the toast always came late. Several times towards the end of the cruise, the waiters were putting dirty tablecloths back on the tables. Not very impressive. I regularly went to Le Patisserie for great coffee and yummy cookies. This was also an interesting spot to sit and people watch or watch the ridiculous Art Auctions. Why on earth would P&O put out paintings for auction with a $56,000 reserve price? I went to a few shows, some I liked and some I didn't like. Syd Halen was quite boring at the beginning with a lot of old, stupid jokes but became very entertaining with his juggling act at the end. I enjoyed Tony Pantano and Jackie Love's performance was average up until she sang a medley of Piaf songs which was utterly brilliant. I loved The Dome at the front of the ship. This was a great place to read in the morning whilst the sun shined through. I noticed quite a number of people having snoozes in this area both in the morning and in the afternoon. Unfortunately I had to cancel a few of my excursions because I was sick and I did not get off the ship until our last port, Port Denarau - Dravuni Island was cancelled due to purported bad weather on the home stretch which never actually eventuated. Our ports of call were Moorea, Bora Bora, Pago Pago, Apia, Savu Savu, Suva and Port Denarau. The onboard lectures were good. Sam Leon, a Life Enhancement Lecturer, was motivating and Peter Anderson, the astronomer, was interesting. We had a night of viewing aft on deck 10 but the weather wasn't good to us; we followed up with another night underneath the bridge on deck 10. Again it was a little cloudy but we did manage to see some star clusters and the area was great because there was not a lot of light. The final night of viewing was a disappointment because again it was cloudy but no one from P&O bothered to turn up with the binoculars. Peter did his best with his laser and we were able to see a few things of interest. I have been to Liars Club on other ships and it was always really funny. Liars Club on the Pacific Dawn didn't disappoint....it was hilarious and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Trivia was a very interesting activity and was well attended however it really brought the worst out in people. This was primarily caused by a team who constantly won the quizzes with very high scores. My team actually won 3 times but I'm convinced it was because we were in port and the "other" team didn't show up. I was surprised towards the end of the cruise when this particular team won (again), and people near me were actually booing them. One lady told me that she'd been to the Pursers Desk to complain (don't know how true this is). I think I'll always remember the Pacific Dawn just for the trivia! There was a good range of in-cabin movies and many were shown on the big screen in the International Show Lounge. I watched quite a number, e.g. Gran Torino, Castaway, He's Just Not That Into You, Nim's Island, Australia, Revolutionary Road, Yes Man, Bolt, Marley & Me, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, New in Town, Ghost Town, South Pacific, Night at the Museum, Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Mamma Mia, Sex and the City and Ice Age. Disembarkation: I wasn't allowed to get my passport back until after arrival in Sydney - this was because I had embarked in Tahiti. So I had to report to The Dome at 0645, collect my passport and get it stamped by Customs. It was not orderly and there was a bit of sitting around waiting for Customs to get their act together. Finally, I was able to eat a quick breakfast in the Buffet before going to the Show Lounge for disembarkation. My deck was called quickly and I got off the ship at around 0800. I collected my bag immediately and walked to Wynyard station to get the train home. I'd just like to add some observations regarding being a solo passenger. The solo get-together was nearly always held in the middle of the day - I found that I was usually doing something and so never was able to make it. I would have preferred a solo get-together in the evening before dinner, when you are at a loss for dinner companions. Also I'd meet people and then never see them again. I actually met some people on the way home on the train that I'd never seen on the ship! I also didn't like the huge dining tables - I always seemed to be seated at one with 10 people. It is so difficult to talk to everyone on a table of 10, you seem to be yelling across the table to be heard. I found the tables of 6 were best and whilst I requested this, I didn't always get it. Apart from that the ship is lovely. It is easy to get around and has many nice public areas to sit in. I didn't spend much time by the pool because I was sick and of the times I did go out to the pool found the area too smoky. As I mentioned earlier on, I was sick for the whole cruise and that was certainly bad timing and bad luck for me but aside from that, I felt it was an average cruise, not worth the large amount of money I paid for it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Woke up at 3am on the day of the cruise. Packed and ready by 4am.Stopped and had a quick bite to eat at Mcdonalds at Devonport, saw the Spirit of Tasmania come in(I was getting motion sickness just by looking at it.Arrived just before 8am ... Read More
Woke up at 3am on the day of the cruise. Packed and ready by 4am.Stopped and had a quick bite to eat at Mcdonalds at Devonport, saw the Spirit of Tasmania come in(I was getting motion sickness just by looking at it.Arrived just before 8am at Launceston Airport for a 9am flight(need assistance so that's why they want you there early. Flight took us to Melbourne where we waited for 3/4 of an hour before another flight that took us to Sydney.12:40 PM the plane landed in Sydney.We then went downstairs to get out baggage off the carousel(I forgot to put the P&O TAGS on the suitcases, no matter,Went outside the terminal to catch a taxi to wharf 8.The people just ahead of us at the taxi rank had their P&O tags,that's what made me remember that I had forgot to put them on at the luggage collection.The cost of a taxi was $45 including a toll,thank heavens the taxi had air conditioning. Arrived at wharf 8 outside the terminal, we weren't the only one's who didn't have tags.P&O baggage handlers then took out suitcases, we were shown the direction to the terminal, once in there,a nice lady assisted me with getting me a wheelchair and taking me to where the disabled passengers are processed.A young man took our tickets and passports(Stephen went with him) came back a few minutes later and wheeled me into another section of the building, there we were processed by security had our passports checked,then over to the TRS desk,I could only claim for the digital video camera,not the SD card or the I-pod, although I did have proof of purchase, and bought items during the 30 days of departure,apparently,it would have been better if I had all items on one invoice(sheesh) Had our photos taken before boarding the ship,can't say that I looked stunning,I looked awful.... up and into the boat... had our photo's taken for the cruise card and then we were inside the boat..... we had our first "ding" We then proceeded to our cabin D103, very spacious and lots of cupboard space.When I look back... we didn't need half the clothes as I washed 3 times for both of us. Wash was $3 and dryer was $3 and a box of fabric softener just a $1. Had lunch in the buffet, we were famished,had a lite salad and fruit for lunch. Muster was just a little after 3pm, took about 15 Min's.Got our sail-away drinks just after the muster(mock-tails, they were yummy) got to keep the P&O plastic tumblers.Went to the back of the ship for sail-away(just above the spa).The boat began moving slowly and we were on our way. Marvellous sailaway, under the Harbour Bridge.... On the foreshore I counted 3 brides, but I heard that there were 13.... must of been a great day Sun was shining.... warm afternoon.Past the opera House and headed out to sea. Stephen and I went back to the cabin to unpack, meet out cabin steward Nelson.I don't recall what we did after that... we were too tired to explore the ship any further.Oh now I remember... just out of the heads...saw a dolphin riding the bow waves,it was getting on dusk so we just made him out. Day 1 at sea:Slept okay, took phenergan the gentle roll, rocked us to sleep.Wandered down to the Palm Court Dining room for breakfast.... we had breakfast and lunch nearly every day.We would of went there for Dinner, but we never took the opportunity,(note to self, anytime dining on your cruise card rolls eyes in head).I spent my time on deck 7, promenade deck, as I am used to having a window open at night for fresh air. Made a few purchases just minor things at first,Big swell/roll feel a lot of movement in our cabin and walking the corridors,its amazing how your cabin "groans" in the early hours of the morning.Took ginger tablets and panadeine as I had a blinding headache, due to the fact that I hadn't eaten for more than 12 hrs.Went to lunch.... still movement, I tried to focus on something else, but eating wasn't one of them.People at the table said I looked "green" still had a blinding headache,was helped back to my cabin by a fellow cruiser who most friendly.(I came across some wonderful people on this cruise)Went to the medical center around 4:30pm... first 1 there... told the nurse my symptoms and gave me a "shot" and avomine tablets, was told to go straight to my cabin as the injection would make me feel drowsy. Day 2 At Sea:Went to the shore tour desk and had booked the glass bottom boat in Vila,exchanged $100 forXPF. And a word in your ear new cruisers::: lean closer......DO NOT GIVE money to cabin stewards,we were generous and gave more than we should have. I know I know..... tips and advice on the cruise board went out the window with me, wait till the end of the cruise and tip those that gave you good service, and not during the cruise. I had removed Stephens gratuties but not my own.... I'll know better next time. Tipping didn't get better service of the cabin steward......I'd be happy for some fresh towels and ice.... even though I waited patiently till after 12:30(when were at lunch) it would have given him time to do that. At last, we sighted land... doing a happy dance!!!Doing a shore tour at 10 am when we arrive in Noumea.What a shock to the system!!!!! from coming from a cool temperate climate, and then hitting the "heat of the tropics" was just too much for Stephen and I.we welcomed being inside the ship has air-con.There in port we were greeted my natives singers and dancers....... it was touching it bought tears to my eyes.Did the city highlites tour tour guide was Helen and the Driver, Pascal.... thank heavens the bus had air-con. What I noticed in Noumea, was the traffic, not a breath of wind,didn't see anydogs and for that matter any bird life.... maybe it was just too darn hot for beasts and men.It really needs rains....and more rain....Noumea is not a place I would like to retire.Did the green train at 2pm,broke down.... or was that meant to happen, I really don't know........... I could have kicked myself as the train took the same route as the bus tour.All I know was that we wanted to get back to the ship and have a nice tepid shower.Had the Spring Chicken for lunch(really quite bland, much like hospital food). Over night at sea after leaving Noumea.... ready for Lifou 4th Dec:Had a relaxing footspa yesterday,note to self... when I get home make time for a pedicure. Day 5 stopped at Lifou had breakfast, got our tender tickets at 10 am... finally left at 11 am.Spent an hour at Lifou,pretty rocky walking up a dirt path, its really only for goats,hard for me to get down to the beach.Apparently, others did snorkling on the other side of the island and serveral people were stung blue bottles.Got a few knik-naks from the small market at Lifou then back on the boat ready to have lunch. Gave a guy $5 then 1's that work the tender boats for helping me on and off the boat....couldn't thank me enough, I smiled,it was well worth it. Day 6:Vila had breakfast and left the ship around 8:30 to have a look at the markets,no sooner had we gotten out of the gate then a throng of taxi drivers were in our face.When I said no... and shook my head, a young man he would do us a tour of the village and the falls... not sure which one Cascade on Mele Falls.Negotiated a price before we got in the taxi $80 or 8,000 vatu...where's a man when you need one.(Men are so good at fixing up our mistakes)So "hot" even with the windows down.... our self proclaimed tour guide was Joel.He took us too a village of about 3,000 people....the kids came running up to the car and gave us flowers that they had picked from the bushes, and in return, expected lollies. Funny that.....seems the tourists believe in giving the children lollies in return for some flowers.If I had known, I would have bought pencils and school note pads...its terrible seeing the children exspecting lollies,it ruins it for them and us. Got back to the ship at 10:30am, in time for our 11am shore tour.This was done with P&O.We were -along with others, ushered into a dilapitdated mini bus,(sorry, telling it like it is)For our glass bottom boat tour.Arrived at the jetty were the glass bottom boat was(looked very much like my Dad's prawn trawler) old and and smelly... not like the other glass bottom boats we saw that day. I had to climb down steep steps into the boat, another elderly couple whom I could see had knee replacements,struggled as well. Its a pity the P&O couldn't have organised a better boat for us. Willie the Captain,and Alice our tour operators were pleasant and helped everyone sort out the gear they wanted.Looking thtough the glass bottom boat,seeing all the dead coral looked a graveyard, Willie and Alice told us that there had been a cyclone a few years back, and the reef was slowly growing back.Even Stephen got into the swing of snorkling, he enjoyed it so much, that he wants to do it when he gets back....(maybe even dive for crayfish one day). The tour went for nearly 2 hours but when we got back to the jetty there was no-one there to pick us up.(Was busting to go to the loo)So Stephen and I walked about 100yards to the road to hail a taxi(I wanted to do some shopping in Vila.....but Stephen, bless his heart was concerned for my welfare)Gawd!!! they have some mad drivers in Vila, and drive on the wrong side of the road... no caution is exercised for other motorists or pedestrians.Its a case of he who hesitates is killed!!!!Got in a taxi.... back door wouldn't stay open.... as I was getting in...so Stephen held the door while I got in.We thought the taxi driver was taking us for a ride when he pulled into the local servo to fill up with fuel.I found Vila just as dirty as Noumea... so dry and some much needed rain to green up the place wasn't forth coming. Got back to the markets at the wharf, told the taxi driver to drop us off 500vatu..so Stephen and I were walking on the gravel close to the markets when this mini van came to close and nudged me....I was stunned and a little shaken up, but not hurt(later that day... I felt mild to moderate pain, so took some panadeine).I can't really blame the workers at the wharf... for going slow on the job, its stifling in that heat. Sailaway at 6 pm from Vila had a French Navy Vessel bid us farewell.A day is not enough,Can I be brutally honest for a moment...Its like the population HAS TO BE FRIENDLY to the tourist, their hearts weren't in it....which made me feel awarkward.Felt the natives were very wary of us,it takes time to win trust. Sat 5th Dec:Woke up to find that toilets wouldn't flush(isn't it always the way.... when you get the urge to go) so went down to 7, only to find that that toilet wouldn't flush either. How embarrassing. 3-4 hours later, we could all flush,cause was someone had put something in the toilets affecting 3 sections of the ships vaccum system.We could us the fwd toilets but no other toilets.Bought as bingo dabber.... thinking I was going to play bingo,never eventuated. Had dinner at the Steakhouse that night....a lot of shuddering was going on... and rocking...I didn't enjoy the food, took too long to get served,booked a table for 8pm... lucky to get served by 8:30-8:40pm,certainly not worth $25 pp. Today at Wala, Stephen went, took some photos.He said it was nice and the natives were the friendliest people, wish I had gone. Sun6th Dec :Rough weather tonight,waves and wet on deck 7, had the safety officer come and closed the area. Mon 7th Dec.. Had breakfast then lunch,played the pokies $20 went in, and $37 came back!!First time in days I saw the stars. Overall comments:Wait staff in Palm Court Excellent.Coffee down on deck 5 Excellent(Patisserie)...Alwin a most attentive waiter new us by name with a warm smile he greeted us.But most of all we had some very considerate cruiser's who would go out of their way by opening doors and standing aside the elevators.But although we didn't do all that there was to offer in the Pacific Daily,we did enjoy the show on Monday evening.This cruise was more than I had envisaged....was mind boggling to all my senses. Never assume all P&O staff are friendly or attentive,(pursers desk)they may never see you again you are just another passenger to them,1 lot off, the next lot boarding. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
As much as I enjoyed the cruise (being my maiden voyage), I was a little miffed about the selling of everything from the time we got through customs until we returned to brisbane. Photo before you went on board $29.90, gown and slippers in ... Read More
As much as I enjoyed the cruise (being my maiden voyage), I was a little miffed about the selling of everything from the time we got through customs until we returned to brisbane. Photo before you went on board $29.90, gown and slippers in the cabin $25.00, bottled water in cabin $2.50, (but beware it comes up as $2.95 on your itemised expenditure sheet each time you open one), shore trips at up 3(three) times the price of going ashore and finding the same thing for yourself, prawns with your dinner $10.00 half kilo, steak $25.00 minimum, pizza $7.00 and up, ice cream $2.50 and up, stop when you cant get anymore in the cone/cup or your mouth, duty free cigarettes and alcohol that you can't have until the last day, (then they tell you about the limit of smokes you are allowed back in australia), art auctions with prices of some pieces that would pay for a house. Then on the last day or two the sales start in the atrium, to bloody late we spent all our money on everything else. But my biggest whinge is the price of a can of coca cola. $2.50. Not for a can of coke made in australia @ 375mls but for a can of coke made in vietnam @ 330mls and clearly marked (not to be sold outside vietnam). Now i realise that these ships and the cruises are designed to make money and P&O proudly state the this ship is based in australia and has been for some time and probably will be as long as she stays afloat, but how about supporting the local economy as well, or bring the price back to reality. Enough whingeing, apart from the above i have never enjoyed myself so much as a maiden cruiser, the food was great (more than you could eat in ten lifetimes), the service was brilliant (espcially in the main dining room on deck 7), and there was usually something to do somewhere on the ship, or just relax and let the world drift past while downing a drink or 2 and or chatting with new faces. Even the odd nana nap to recharge the batteries was called for. My personal opinion is a 8/10 to P&O for putting on a great cruise, so much so that we are going to go again in a couple of years. They (P&O) need to back of with the hard sell and some of their pricing, otherwise brillint. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
In retirement one can indulge oneself and the idea of a cruising long weekend focusing on food and wine was very appealing. Although we usually cruise on new ships, we chose to overlook the fact that the Jewel is 21 yrs old and went for ... Read More
In retirement one can indulge oneself and the idea of a cruising long weekend focusing on food and wine was very appealing. Although we usually cruise on new ships, we chose to overlook the fact that the Jewel is 21 yrs old and went for the enjoyment of sailing in and out of Sydney Harbour and eating good food. On that basis we had a good cruise but not everything was good. Not having sailed with P&O before, I was amused at the snaking line to book-in - disorganised compared with other lines. We, the passengers were blamed because everyone got there earlier than the 3 pm embarkation time that was stipulated! We were one of the early birds and were on by 3.15 pm. Our CABIN was a good size with large shower in the bathroom, plenty of drawers and nice decor. We were lucky enough to have hot showers each day because some on deck 10 were not so lucky. On reading about the Degustation Dinner on Sunday night with limited availability, we immediately went to the Salt Grill to book. No one was there and CONSTANT phone calls to Reservations all afternoon proved fruitless - no-one ever answered. After dinner, we went to Salt Grill again only to be told that it had been booked out by 3.15 pm. How was that possible?????? That was not the only thing we could not get into - the wine tasting and coffee presentation on Saturday was also booked out. We finally got into the coffee appreciation talk, only by sitting in the cafe for 1 hr on the Sunday. While it was excellent, we found that the only way to get good seats or even get in was to go 30 mins early or queue for similar time. We also really enjoyed the Blue tongue beer tasting and yes, we grabbed a seat 1 hr before it started! The FOOD in the Waterfront Restaurant was excellent on Fri and Sun evening. As good as any 5 star ship or good restaurant. The restaurant is light with modern decor. The service at times both ordinary and very good. However, I cannot same the same for the food in the Plantation Buffet Restaurant. It was very poor quality, variety and quantity. The atmosphere is drab, the carpet filthy and the tables and chairs showing their years of service. The ENTERTAINMENT was excellent. The shows in the Marquee were 5 star and SZYGNY (don't know if the spelling is correct) were outstanding with their performance in the Atrium and on deck Those three major aspects of the cruise made for an enjoyable time BUT the ship is old on the outside - rust just gets painted over and there are areas on the inside that have obviously not been refurbished and look very tired or old fashioned. The CASBAH lounge, PLANTATION, the POOLS and the TOILETS fit this category We will probably not sail on the Jewel again - we prefer newer ships. The service was very ordinary. One time I asked for a Tonic Water and got Solo Lemon! The cabins were not serviced till 2 pm - that is poor. Overall, I enjoyed the three days but that was enough for us. The concept of the 3 day cruise is excellent but I dare not consider what a 14 day cruise might be like. The service and general organisation needs to improve if P&O are ever going to improve their overall rating. Carnival and P&O listen - give us OZZIES newer ships and better service so we don't have to fly around the world. We deserve it!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This was a short cruise so I will attempt to make the review equally as short! We took this cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary and it was the first cruise without our children so while normally we would also look at a cruise from the ... Read More
This was a short cruise so I will attempt to make the review equally as short! We took this cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary and it was the first cruise without our children so while normally we would also look at a cruise from the kids perspective we can't this time. The ship was berthed in Darling Harbour and had a departure time of 8pm. We arrived around 5pm and were checked through in around 10 minutes. Other passengers we spoke to said it took them around 45 minutes to an hour so it really was pot luck for us to get through so quickly. Just as we have seen before the baggage drop off and check-in process works well here. The kids shooed us away and onto the ship around 6pm (still hardly anyone in the terminal) and we decided to head straight to the dining room so we could make it up on deck for the sail-away. The dining room is fresh and modern - as it should be after a refit - and the service was efficient and the food was good. My wife has a severe allergy to some foods but this presented no problem and she was shown the menu for each of the next nights so she could pre-order. The sail-away was exciting with the Pacific Cirque doing their spectacular show as we slipped our mooring and sailed straight out and under the Harbour Bridge. As we sailed past the Opera House a magnificent fireworks display was started on a barge just for us finishing with a "BON VOYAGE" in sparklers. That was awesome and totally unexpected. Our cabin was very nice. It was an oceanview with a very large window. The cabin is laid out nicely, the wardrobe was a good size and there is more drawer space than you could ever use. The safe worked easily and there is a good sized fridge. A wide variety of movies and shows were available on the TV and the 'moving map' display was OK. I was very happy with the bathroom. The shower recess was tiled and had a nice strong shower which was height adjustable and could also be hand held. (We had to laugh...the room was shown on our ticket as a double. We asked for the single beds to be converted and they just got pushed together. So we still had single sheets on the bottom and single doonas and the beds drifted apart. It was more funny than actually annoying). We went for a wander and quickly discovered how easy it is to get lost on this ship, I couldn't put my finger on why but it just seemed a lot harder to find your way around than on other ships. The decor and colours make the ship feel fresh and vibrant but it lacks the elegance that we have come to associate with cruise ships. We caught the comedian / ventriloquist in the Marquee lounge that evening and he was first class. The following nights had the Runaway to the Circus show and then the Aussie tribute show. Both of these were OK. The Marquee lounge itself is a good venue, we thought the upstairs seats were a better choice than downstairs. The Pacific Cirque performers put on a wonderful acrobatic and trapeze show in the atrium. If you have these guys on your cruise do not miss this show! (and get a seat upstairs). We didn't use the Internet on this cruise but the cost seemed the same as other cruises (i.e. expensive) and we had expected to be able to keep in touch with kids via the mobile phone facility called MCS but for some reason the phone we had wouldn't connect, yet this was the same phone we used on the Sun Princess with no problem. Bottom line is don't rely on this to be able to keep in touch with family. We had breakfast and lunch in the Plantation buffet and were happy with what was available. Coffee and tea (including herbal varieties) and iced water was available from machines. Something I did not expect was to have to pick over plates, cups and cutlery that hadn't been washed properly. This happened with breakfast and lunch both days we were there. I have never had to do this before. On a more pleasant note the food in the buffet was nice, we never had a problem finding a seat and the panoramic view outside made for a very pleasant time to chat with other passengers. Briefly back to the Waterfront dining room where we had dinner each night, P&O are using the "anytime dining" approach instead of set sittings. I think I definitely prefer the set sittings. You know where your table is so there is no big queue while you wait to be seated each night and you also get the opportunity to get know your waiters, it just seems nicer...maybe I'm just getting old. Disembarking was pretty non-eventful. We were one of the first to disembark and were off by 8am (after a 7am arrival) but the latest departure group wasn't until around 9.50am. It seems if you had carry-on baggage you could depart earlier, otherwise you had to wait until your colour was called. Something I missed was not having any updates from the Captain, we never heard from him. Normally you can't shut them up!!! Maybe it was because it was just a short three night cruise but it was something a number of passengers commented on. To sum up, would I sail on the Pacific Jewel again?....yes. Some things could be better, but....the crew were friendly, the food was good, the cabin was excellent and we had a great time which is why we cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We recently took the 3 night cruise just to have a weekend away. No more with P &O - they describe this as a sampler - if we were first timers this would be the first and last cruise we would be taking. Ship is below 3 stars in ... Read More
We recently took the 3 night cruise just to have a weekend away. No more with P &O - they describe this as a sampler - if we were first timers this would be the first and last cruise we would be taking. Ship is below 3 stars in ambience, decor, furnishings and service. It certainly has the Luke Mangan Salt Grill restaurant on board and this was excellent and fantastic value for another $30 per head but getting a reservation was like winning the lottery. It could only take 35 or so at a time because of the kitchen's capability so can you imagine what it was like with a good percentage of the 1900 passengers trying to book. The same thing happened at the main restaurant also - below capacity because of the kitchen's ability to cope, and sending people up to the buffet instead. ( A much cheaper way of catering to the masses too I might say). No flower arrangements, no grand staircase and a lot of singlets, tatts and thongs on board. Queues at everything all the time. Martini classes were excellent but again could only take 45 people so one had to get there about 45 minutes before to ensure getting in. Staff were most obliging but there are not enough of them. Cabins are serviced once a day only. Also had a problem in being downgraded from a guaranteed balcony cabin to an ocean view as the cruise was overbooked. This was apparent at check in which took 45 minutes to an hour and remember, no customs or immigration required. Never again with P& O. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My family (wife, 4 boys, mum & dad) enjoy cruising and were on the lookout for a good deal on the new addition to australian shores the Jewel. This cruise Noumea, Vila, Lifou & Wala. Check-in was effecient, usual photographers ... Read More
My family (wife, 4 boys, mum & dad) enjoy cruising and were on the lookout for a good deal on the new addition to australian shores the Jewel. This cruise Noumea, Vila, Lifou & Wala. Check-in was effecient, usual photographers getting in the way and holding up progress, they get a bit shirty when you refuse a photo you could take yourself and have no intention of purchasing. We have sailed previously on the Pacific Dawn twice, but no others to give comparison. The rooms (inside quad) were as expected, luggage delivered efficiently, quite clean, no complaints other than one cupboard under the fridge required a folded up piece of paper to hold it shut due to a broken lock. This was not fixed and with twin 4 year old boys it proved a bit of a pain keeping it closed as it is in the entrance to the room, it wasn't a problem for the cabin steward as it wasn't in his room. Our steward was well mannered and polite, did what was required but nothing extra, on our first cruise we were spoiled with the most wonderful steward and maybe compare others too much to him. My parents shared the other room with my two older sons. The top bunks have mattresses only suitable for children, I slept two nights up top and paid for it with a very sore back. As the rooms were not adjacent they had another cabin steward who I would describe as similar to ours, nice but not worth tipping (which I don't understand why they wouldn't strive to excel as they could more than double their meagre wage with gratuities). In the jewel the top bunks don't fold down as they do on the Dawn, they pull down under tension, you need to apply quite some force to pull them down. One night my 8yr old son returned to his cabin about 9.30 only to find his bed not pulled down so he slept in the lower bed (my mothers). When my parents retired after a late show they were unable to pull down the bed, so being unassuming country people who don't complain, mum had an uncomfortable sleepless night sharing a single bed with my son. When my father mentioned to the steward about the bed in the morning he said 'I couldn't pull it down', he seemed unconcerned but polite and needed my father to suggest he organise a maintenance person to look at it whilst wondering what value he received out of the $20 he gave this person on the first day. On the dawn we had ice buckets in our rooms that the stewards would fill every day, this was not practised on the jewel and seemed too hard for these stewards, so we got our own, I had to get my own glasses almost every day for the room if you removed them from the room and had staff clear them in some other part of the ship. Most of these are minor things but contribute to enjoyable cruising. The food in the dining room was excellent as was the service, we ate dinner every night there, I saw no need to pay for dinner in other parts of the ship when food of such quality was available with no charge. We mostly dined there as well for lunch, good servings, enough variety and very good quality. Didn't dine there for breakfast, preferring less formal atmosphere of the buffet where food was mixed generally not hot enough but plenty of choice to satisfy most. I wish the cooks would learn that most prefer bacon closer to crispy than raw. The entertainment was good, sports co-ordinator excellent only complaint periods of nothing happining then three things I would like to do at once. Reception staff cold, bar staff excellent albeit a long wait to get a simple bottled drink when all are making cocktails. Wine basic but very expensive, cocktails reasonable, tap water sometimes tastes like they got it from a swimming pool, softdrinks expensive, watered down orange juice only available in thimble sized cups lukewarm at breakfast, what do they expect children to drink on a hot day? - Take drink on board with you. Captain is a true professional, you always feel well informed and in good hands. Kids club staff excellent, kids club poor, very poor when compared to the Dawn. I went for a sauna every day on the Dawn (complimentary) the Jewel wanted $140.00 - no thanks. The Jewel has replaced an airy comfortable multipurposed area in prime position top floor front of ship ie the Dome on the Dawn with a gym and massage parlour where you can treat yourself to a $300.00 massage. This obviously is used but I never saw people queued up three deep to use these facilities, don't know too many people who go to the gym for the view. The Dawn had a late night movie on just about every night in the show lounge - one on the Jewel in 10 nights. P & O have one hand reaching for my wallet the whole time on the ship, I paid for my ticket and its inclusions, make shopping, art auctions, glamour photos etc available but dont shove them in my face or pressure me to spend money. Shore tours are outrageously expensive. Providing adults only areas is good but charging for them is greed. We stopped at Wala a beautiful island with equally friendly lovely people who live very basically but are proud of their home. I was a bit disappointed at P&O's hungriness for cash by setting up stalls on the ship flogging softdrinks for people to take ashore, whilst the same drinks are available on shore with locals selling them out of eskys, surely on a non commercialised island with no shops and a local people of little means they could let the local people make a few more dollars, if they any sense of fairness they would give them the drinks to sell for allowing us to share their beautiful home. We had a good holiday, the sister ship the Dawn offers more to us as a family but now sails out of brisbane offering repetative 'done it once dont need to do it again' cruises. Will we go the Jewel again? Only for a real, real good deal on a cruise offering different destinations. Will probably look at some visiting ships in the near future Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
January 19th, 2010 Pros: We attended the cruise leaving Sydney on the 9th of Jan 2010, which ventured to Noumea, Lifou, (new Caledonia); Vila and Wala (Vanuatu). All the staff where very helpful, friendly and fantastic in their areas of ... Read More
January 19th, 2010 Pros: We attended the cruise leaving Sydney on the 9th of Jan 2010, which ventured to Noumea, Lifou, (new Caledonia); Vila and Wala (Vanuatu). All the staff where very helpful, friendly and fantastic in their areas of expertise, however didn't show this until half way during the cruise. The decor and refurbishment of general areas and cabins was splendid and theme the ship. Ports selected in Vanuatu were brilliant and featured a culture like no other. Tours in Vanuatu ports were also excellent. The WALA tour, which was not connected to PnO and run by locals on the island themselves, was the best tour by far (and also the cheaptest).The chocolate bar was wonderful, a quite place to chill out and staff were lovely. Room size, bathroom size and cabins overall were slightly above average. Luke Mangan's restaurant was absoultely the highlight of our stay onboard, divine food, presentation and layout, and service in there was exceptional. Entertainment was above average, I wouldn't agree to say broadway but it was very good. Cruise director was pleasant, down to earth and funny. Cons: Unfortunately this cruise was a slight disappointment, especially since it's only one month old. Service in the waterfront restuarant was poor. Service was slow and table seatings at awkward hours. Our company actually moved tables the third day. It was a fantastic decision because we met a brilliant group of waiters and waitresses, who did their upmost to accomidate us and our large crowd. Menu was repeitive, although portion sizes were decent. The buffet was a disappointment, as the menu up there similiar everyday. The ship, sadly, wasn't aimed towards the Australian market dispite their efforts. Unlike pervious PnO cruises, there was no BBQ, no theme nights, no Aussie music, no staff from Australia. It is important that cruising in Australia and on an Aussie ship can be relateable and this was not the case with no entertainment staff being Australian. Our bathroom toilet became clogged the third day; it was fixed instantly however a newly renovated ship shouldn't have these hiccups. Also, many toilets around the ship were often out of order, especially ones needed regularly on deck 12 (pool deck). Lack of staff in bar areas, we found ourselves at the bar ordering drinks for most of the cruise. Obviously costs cut meant removing needed staff. Leaks from the ceiling in the dining room. Biggest downpoint was the air conditioning not working until the day we got off the ship. From previous cruising experience, (this was our tenth cruise), we know the ship should be constantly cold with air conditioning working. This was not the case here. Room air con didn't work either. After being on a cruise with 2000 people (crammed into crowded areas) and after visiting such humid ports in the middle of Summer, air con was NECESSARY! There was a smell that came most nights after 10pm in the corridors that resembled sewage. Tours were limited in Noumea and Lifou, and these two ports were not very appealing and unattractive ports on our itinerary. It seemed like the passengers on board, especially with young families, thought PnO was a good babysitting serivce and at every opportunity let their children run riot. Shows often disruptted by kids jumping on seats, talking loudly, screaming (and I'm not referring to innocent babies, more like 5 to 12 year olds). The onboard circus seemed a definite highlight however during one of the shows a female performer fell 3m from the hoop in the air face first after not being harnessed. It was dealt with professionally and in a respectful manner, however why wasn't there a crash mat or harnesses attached to the stage? Not good Occupational Health & Safety, especially for an Aussie ship. Overall: We enjoyed ourselves with a relaxing holiday and made the best out of the what we were given. It was a good family holiday but we were expecting more with the hype. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Check in and Embarkation: This was a quite process. I dropped my bags off at 11am and checked in with no line whatsoever. Because I had family with me, the girl I was travelling with and the rest of us went out for lunch and we decided to ... Read More
Check in and Embarkation: This was a quite process. I dropped my bags off at 11am and checked in with no line whatsoever. Because I had family with me, the girl I was travelling with and the rest of us went out for lunch and we decided to get on the boat at around 2:30pm. No lines through customs and extremely friendly people helping us out. We skipped the first p and o photo and chose to go directly on board. First impressions: After we got on the boat we went straight to our room where we found our bags ready and waiting. We did a quick look around the boat and were extremely impressed with the layout and decor of the boat. We had the life jacket drill which for my part of the ship was held in Connexions bar. This was quick and to the point and we were out of there in about 20 minutes..if that. We then proceeded on to the deck for the sail away party and to wave off family who were waiting below. We found our self a spot on deck 10 at the back of the boat where we could watch Sydney as we sailed out. We were very impressed with sail away and the party held and could not have asked for a nicer day in Sydney. Ports: We went to four ports - Noumea, Lifou,Vila and Wala. I had never been to any and going to Noumea as the first port I thought I was in for a bad cruise. I was very disappointed with Noumea, but made the most of my time there none the less. We had a great tour guide who drove a few of us around for $10 each, purchased independently after we had gotten off the boat. Lifou was gorgeous and after we got there I knew I would enjoy the cruise. This island did not have much, but it was lovely to see the views they had to offer. Everyone is so welcoming and it was nice to see a smile from all of the locals. Snorkeling here was great also and the water was beautiful. Vila was also great. I did zorbing in Vila which was an awesome activity that I would highly recommend. We did out duty free shopping here and I got some very cheap alcohol here. There is too much to see in Vila and so little time! Wala - Gorgeous, absolutely breathtaking. I can not say enough good things about Wala. It is a small island of about 200-300 people, who are all really friendly. The beaches are beautiful and the water temp was just great. I stayed in the water for about 3 hours, and did not snorkel but enjoyed swimming around none the less. Activities: I was pleased with the amount of activities going on, however not all appealed to me and my friend both being 20. During the times when nothing was on though we sun baked or swam in the pool or just hang out in the cabin watching movies on the t.v. I loved bingo which was on every day I think. There were also other fun things like the karaoke and games that were regularly on in Connexions. Service: The service was great. If I ever needed anything there was always someone to help out. The room was always kept clean, and there were fresh towels twice a day. Our room steward Murli was very patient with my friend and I as some days we did not leave the room until 12pm due to being at the night club all night. Stateroom: The room was great, we had an outside double cabin which was really spacious. I never felt cramped. Bars, Night Club and other venues: Connexions was a great bar to meet up with people and have some drinks and watch a show or game at night. I highly recommend this bar. Casbah seemed to attract an older crowd maybe 30's upwards so we didn't really use this bar at all. The Marquee was good with the production shows, the bar in there was also good. The Attic was great! My friend and I spend most nights here meeting new people and were often there until the lights came on. I was a little over the music by the end of it because it was the same every night, but we made the most of it and danced the night away. The Attic has lounge type chairs outside which everyone sat on when we needed air. I didn't use the spa because it was ridiculously priced and did not use the gym. Food: The buffet was average and did not have too much choice, however in saying that there are so many other things to choose from on the boat. We dined in the Waterfront restaurant quite a few times and the food was great! I was never disappointed with what I ordered. We were always seated quickly within 5 minutes maximum. We tried La Luna and this was probably my favourite meal on the cruise. It was $20pp which covered a 7 course degustation. It is Asian food and just delicious! I wanted to try their second menu but we never got around to booking it. We did not try the salt grill, but heard many good reviews and it was booked the whole cruise. There is a grill which opens at 3 near the buffet which you can buy wedges, pizza's etc from and that was also good. Only a small charge there. Entertainment: I found many of the production shows to be aimed more toward the younger age groups, but there were also many shows that I enjoyed. The pacific cirque was great, and the outside circus called Zyzygy (I hope I got that right) was also great, however one of the performers fell from a hoops/trapeze type thing and injured herself so the show stopped early. I didn't see what happened with her as I wasn't feeling too good that night, and started to feel really shaky after I saw she was hurt and bleeding so I had to go back to the room until they had moved her. The comedians were great and there was a big turn out to both. The comedy hypnotist was fantastic and had the crowd in stitches. Disembarkation: Was easy,I did not have to leave until 9:55, however they were ahead of schedule and we were off by about 9:30. We were through customs straight away as we had nothing to declare. In all, I had a fantastic time. I really enjoyed cruising on Pacific Jewel and would definately do it again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We enjoyed ourselves with a relaxing holiday and made the best out of the what we were given. It was a good family holiday but we were expecting more with the hype. We attended the cruise leaving Sydney on the 9th of Jan 2010, which ... Read More
We enjoyed ourselves with a relaxing holiday and made the best out of the what we were given. It was a good family holiday but we were expecting more with the hype. We attended the cruise leaving Sydney on the 9th of Jan 2010, which ventured to Noumea, Lifou, (new Caledonia); Vila and Wala (Vanuatu). Positives: All the staff where very helpful, friendly and fantastic in their areas of expertise, however didn't show this until half way during the cruise. The decor and refurbishment of general areas and cabins was splendid and theme the ship. Ports selected in Vanuatu were brilliant and featured a culture like no other. Tours in Vanuatu ports were also excellent. The casacdes tour in Vanatau was absolutely brilliant and honestly well worth seeing. If in Vila, book the tour to Mele waterfalls. The WALA tour, which was not connected to PnO and run by locals on the island themselves, was the best tour by far (and also the cheaptest). The chocolate bar was wonderful, a quite place to chill out and staff were lovely. Room size, bathroom size and cabins overall were slightly above average. Luke Mangan's restaurant was absoultely the highlight of our stay onboard, divine food, presentation and layout, and service in there was exceptional. Entertainment was above average, I wouldn't agree to say broadway but it was very good. Cruise director was pleasant, down to earth and funny. Negatives: Unfortunately this cruise was a slight disappointment, especially since it's only one month old. Service in the waterfront restuarant was poor. Service was slow and table seatings at awkward hours. Our company actually moved tables the third day. It was a fantastic decision because we met a brilliant group of waiters and waitresses, who did their upmost to accomidate us and our large crowd. Menu was repeitive, although portion sizes were decent. The buffet was a disappointment, as the menu up there similiar everyday. The ship, sadly, wasn't aimed towards the Australian market dispite their efforts. Unlike pervious PnO cruises, there was no BBQ, no theme nights, no Aussie music, no staff from Australia. It is important that cruising in Australia and on an Aussie ship can be relateable and this was not the case with no entertainment staff being Australian. Our bathroom toilet became clogged the third day; it was fixed instantly however a newly renovated ship shouldn't have these hiccups. Also, many toilets around the ship were often out of order, especially ones needed regularly on deck 12 (pool deck). Lack of staff in bar areas, we found ourselves at the bar ordering drinks for most of the cruise. Obviously costs cut meant removing needed staff. Leaks from the ceiling in the dining room. Biggest downpoint was the air conditioning not working until the day we got off the ship. From previous cruising experience, (this was our tenth cruise), we know the ship should be constantly cold with air conditioning working. This was not the case here. Room air con didn't work either. After being on a cruise with 2000 people (crammed into crowded areas) and after visiting such humid ports in the middle of Summer, air con was NECESSARY! There was a smell that came most nights after 10pm in the corridors that resembled sewage. Tours were limited in Noumea and Lifou, and these two ports were not very appealing and unattractive ports on our itinerary. It seemed like the passengers on board, especially with young families, thought PnO was a good babysitting serivce and at every opportunity let their children run riot. Shows often disruptted by kids jumping on seats, talking loudly, screaming (and I'm not referring to innocent babies, more like 5 to 12 year olds). The onboard circus seemed a definite highlight however during one of the shows a female performer fell 3m from the hoop in the air face first after not being harnessed. It was dealt with professionally and in a respectful manner, however why wasn't there a crash mat or harnesses attached to the stage? Not good Occupational Health & Safety, especially for an Aussie ship. Basically a floating RSL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My husband and I have cruised two times before, but previous cruises were out of the USA on Carnival cruises. If I was to compare the P & O Cruise to those, there would be no comparison. These were definitely better, but having said ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised two times before, but previous cruises were out of the USA on Carnival cruises. If I was to compare the P & O Cruise to those, there would be no comparison. These were definitely better, but having said that we did have a great time on the Pacific Jewel. Embarkation - This was a fantastic experience for us. We got priority boarding, not really sure why. We were on Deck 11 so maybe that was it. The only complaint I have about Sydney's terminal is that there wasn't really too many places to sit. I think they need more chairs around, especially for the more mature crowd. Plus it wasn't really very 'nice'. I say this because other terminals seem to be a lot nicer in decor and newer I guess. Anyway, I don't know how we managed this, I think just in the right place at the right time, but suddenly we were headed onboard the ship and we were the first ones on. I don't know what happened with the people behind us but we were the only ones on the ship for about 15 minutes. Nobody behind us. How exciting! We were greeted onboard and it kind of felt like royalty. The ship was impressive and the decor whilst loud was really really nice. Our Room - We headed straight there so we could watch others boarding. We had a balcony cabin on the left side of the ship (sorry don't know what this is called). Our cabin was huge compared to the other ships we had been on. So much cupboard space and drawer space. The queen bed was great. I have never had the problem with two singles put together like others have commented on. I only have two negatives about the room. The first was that if your cupboard door came open like ours did a couple of times, whilst someone was in the bathroom, they couldn't get out. Luckily for us my husband and I were almost always together in the room so noone was stuck in there for long. The second was that the aircon was hot for all of the trip. It was fine the first day only but that night was horrible. We complained about it on many occasions and they came to look at it many times. On the 4th day finally a tech came and said that it was set to 24 degress and that was the lowest it goes to even though the dial said it could go colder. Why bother having a temp gage if you can't change the temp? Our cabin steward was fantastic and well worth the tip we gave him. More about tips later. Dining - Ok I am not a fan of anytime dining. You don't get to know your waiters and they don't get to know you. Plus there are almost always lines waiting to get into the dining room. Mind you they moved quite quickly but I still prefer having the same table each night. The food was great in the Waterfront. I never had a problem with it. Always hot and fresh. We generally prefer to go to the dining room than eat in the buffet. Just because we don't like having to search for a table and then get up and down all the time. Much prefer the service. Getting drinks in the Waterfront was horrible. We always had to ask for the drinks server who didn't always come. One time they asked everyone at our table for drinks except for us. When we had set dining, our drinks waiter knew what we wanted and it was either waiting for us when we arrived or not long after. I missed that. Menues were pretty repetitive but delicious none the same. A few items were changed each day for variety. Also be prepared to pay for all your drinks. I think they should offer a drink with the main meal or offer a soft drinks card. The Salt Grill was delicious and I wished we had gone back there a second time. We actually had our meal there on Valentine's Day. I thought it would be decked out especially for it but it was no different to any other time which was a little disappointing. The buffet area was beautifully done with valentine hearts everywhere. The food though was outstanding and I have to recommend the gnocci and the chocolate dessert. Yum! Worth the $25 extra we paid per head. Staffing - Didn't notice a lack of these anywhere like other reviews I have read. There was always a drinks person wandering around taking orders or with a tray full of the drink special. We don't drink so didn't really affect us much but I did see them everywhere. Tipping - Tips were automatically added each day to our account but you can have them removed and tip as you see fit. This is what I did and what I recommend. I don't see the point of tipping people who don't do good or exceptional service. I noticed though that after October 2010 tipping will not be automatic anymore which I think is a much better idea. Entertainment - I thought the shows that we did see were great. The only issue I had with some of them is that they were very very late and we missed them because of this. Like the comedian. Some of the shows were at 11pm or later and we never were able to keep our eyes open at this time. The first night the circus show was at 10.30pm and I thought this quite late too especially for the kids I saw with their parents all bleary eyed waiting for it to start. Fallon - the singer they had I disliked from the start. Great singer but about 15 years older than his photo in the daily paper. Wore tight pants and shirts unbuttoned and seemed really sleezy. Told old old jokes and didn't appeal to me at all. The older crowd seemed to love him though. The other singer/comedian was great and well worth seeing. Jokes much better. Magician was good too, unless you have watched the show on TV that shows you how all the tricks are done! I was really disappointed with the ice carving. Didn't get to see it because they did it down on the deck (same level as the crowd watching) so you couldn't see it unless you were in the front row. The deck above was totally filled with people and again you couldn't see unless you were in the front row. They should have put the guy on a stage and then everybody would have been able to see no matter where you were standing. We loved the trivia games. They were funny and fun. We even won a few prizes. I don't have much to say about the ports as we didn't go on any excursions. Just too expensive and our main goal on the trip was to enjoy the cruise. We found on past cruises that we were rushed when we did the excursions and were amongst the crowds waiting to get off the ship, especially when there were tenders and we didn't feel like doing this, this time around. Having said that, the waters in the ports looked amazing and seemed like everyone was having a good time. The Health Spa - Yes, the prices were terribly high. But here is a tip. We went to the art auctions each day as they often had a special going and one day they offered a hot stone massage for $70. You can't beat it. Pros - We had a blast. Loved the food. Especially the Salt Grill. Also the lamb rogan josh was delicious on the lunch menu. Rooms quite big. Cons - Aircon didn't work well. Take a fan if you get hot at night. The sell sell sell attitude. Everything seemed to cost extra. All in all we loved this cruise. Heck we love any cruise. Go with an open mind and you will enjoy. Don't sweat the small stuff. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Please note Port of embarkation was Brisbane. We recently cruised the south pacific cruise from 6th March till 11th March 2010. This was our seventh cruise (second with P&O, first one with the Sun) and it rated as the second worst ... Read More
Please note Port of embarkation was Brisbane. We recently cruised the south pacific cruise from 6th March till 11th March 2010. This was our seventh cruise (second with P&O, first one with the Sun) and it rated as the second worst overall. Although we had a great time the ship is in bad need of being upgraded, the ship had buckets collecting water leaks in all sorts of places. We paid extra for a mini-suite (first time) and we lost power on 2 occasions, both times it took 1.5 hours for someone to turn up to rectify the problem. The staff are quite friendly, however, we found with the anytime dinning that the waiters were not as good as on ships with set dining times. We previously cruised on the Sun with set dining and it was the best service we had experienced. On the Dawn you can make a dinner reservation and we did for the same table each night, we had the same waiters Made and Maria and they were great. The service by them was great, however, the food dished out by the kitchen was not. As previously stated this was our second least enjoyable cruise and unfortunately it appeared that any non meat on a dish was prepared too far in advance, eg potato gratin, came out cold, the potato had gone grey and tasted grainy. The meat on the dishes was always cooked good, however the fish was always overcooked and the steak on the lunch menu was always well done. The pavlova was disappointing, whipped meringue on a plate and touched lightly with a torch. The production shows were great and of a high standard compared to other shows we have experienced. The guest comedian was also highly amusing and also sang and played the clarinet and saxophone, Baker Street was a highlight. The ship saw some pretty rough weather, especially the last night, but the Dawn seems to feel the weather a lot more than other ships with movement the entire cruise so if you get sea sick make sure you take medication, otherwise you can buy tablets on board. The ports- Lifou and Villa were most enjoyable, make sure you walk over the hill at Lifou to snorkel. Noumea is a big let down. We didn't book any tours through the cruise ship as most things are twice the price. We got off in Noumea and for $15 got about an hour and a half tour of Noumea, near the end the driver told us not to be in the city after 6 as it turns into a ghetto. At 5:15 all the shops had their garage doors half way down already. So be careful if you decide to stay after this time as the ship doesn't get in till around 3pm. We ate at the buffet only out of necessity, ie. If we missed the dining room opening times. The buffet only has two lines as it is all in one section instead of being segmented like other ships and the queues are usually long and for some reason moves incredibly slow as people seem to take soooo long to pick up a piece of food and place it on their plate. We didn't hear anyone speak highly of the buffet and the food on it wasn't enjoyable. Breakfast was the only meal that seemed to be served fresh. One last tip be careful of signage in the shops claiming 30% off, as it isn't. I had an argument with staff as this sign was suddenly placed with the watches and when i went to purchase it was for full price and then the staff told me it is 30% off high end prices??? I assume this means 30% of the maximum retail price? Needless to say I didn't purchase the watch. We were advised that the ship will be in dry dock in May so we hope it is for an upgrade, as for P&O advertising Australia's first superliner (Yeah, we get a second hand ship that almost 20 years old), it seemed as though the Pacific Sun had more open spaces than the Dawn. Anyway in the future we will be flying to Sydney and cruising with Royal Carrabean or Holland America or one of the other cruise liners now coming to Australia, not only are they cheaper their ships and food are superior, why P&O are still so expensive is a mystery. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
The cruise was fantastic. We were in cabin A161, a mini-suite, on Aloha deck for a 12 night cruise on the Pacific Dawn. We departed from Brisbane and visited Isle of Pines, Suva, Port Denarau, Vila, and Pentecost Island. Cruise W011N. ... Read More
The cruise was fantastic. We were in cabin A161, a mini-suite, on Aloha deck for a 12 night cruise on the Pacific Dawn. We departed from Brisbane and visited Isle of Pines, Suva, Port Denarau, Vila, and Pentecost Island. Cruise W011N. The week leading into the the Pacific Islands were hit by a Cyclone. We were a bit worried about what may have happened to the Islands, mostly Suva, which was reportedly directly hit by the Cyclone. We were also worried about another Cyclone which was off the North East coast of Queensland. We were notified about 3 days before the cruise that there will be a delay of a couple of hours as the Pacific Dawn had to port at Fisherman's Wharf rather then in Port Brisbane (due to winds). We still had to meet at Port Brisbane and were bussed from there to Fisherman's Wharf. Checking in was easy. They took our bags, checked our passports, gave us our cruise cards and took us to a bus. We got on and everyone was in good spirits. We took the 20 minute bus trip to where the Pacific Dawn was waiting for us. We saw the ship when we got closer and a big cheer went up. We then passed through customs and had our photo taken by the staff and then again by security (linked to the cruise card). After that we were met on board by some staff and shown to our room. Our room stewardess was 'Marta'. She welcomed us with a glass of sparking wine and balloons and a 'just married' sign on the door. From our balcony we had a view of the side of a coal loader, however once we departed the view was fantastic. Shortly after our bags arrived and we unpacked before going to the top deck for the sail away. The horn is so loud. We had a few cocktails and dinner on deck before going to the show. The staff were: Captain: Neil Turnbull. Very funny man. Cruise Director: Zoltina-J. Good value, go with the flow and you will be fine. We set sail about 6:00pm and spent the next two days at sea. They were fantastic with good shows and entertainment. On the first night and some of the next day we had 4 meter swells. We were told they were considered fairly big, however as it was our first cruise we knew now different. The chairs being moved around on the deck above ours were a bit noise. This stopped about 11:00pm and stated about 8:00pm. I think it was the staff packing the chairs up and unpacking them. Our first port was Isle of Pines. This place is a postcard. Soft sand, clear water, heaps of fish. We snorkeled, swam, and sun-baked. I would go back at the drop of a hat. We had to be tendered to and from the Isle. This was only a 5 minute trip. It was a hot day and no one wanted to leave the Isle. The line got long for the tenders back to the ship near the end of the day and one girl about 12 years fainted. The staff made sure she drank water and got her onto the next tender (jumped the queue). I though people would have winged about her and her family going first, but no one did. The seas remained calm for the rest of the cruise mostly 1-1.5 metres (last day of the cruse was about 2 meters). The next port was Suva. There was no damage what so ever from the cyclone as it hit the other side of the Island. We did a tour of a village in the morning and this was fun and interesting. The bus trip was a bit of a white knuckle ride. The don't seem to bother with stopping at red traffic lights and seem to enjoy cutting cars off and beeping the horn. The town of suva is horrible. Do not waist your time and go to the CBD. It stinks, there are aggressive beggers and con artist. Things are over prised and there are alot of poverty. The best part of Suva City is the back of it. If I ever went to Suva again I would book an all day tour. Everyone was back on board and we were delayed by 2 hours from departing due to a problem with a propeller shaft. Ended up being a blown fuse in the electrics but they had to go through the whole checklist to make sure it was safe. The following port was Port Denarau. This was another tender boat port and it took about 20 minutes from ship to shore. Port Denarau is home to about 5 popular resorts. We looked around the main part of the town. The town was great that the locals were alot friendly then in Suva. The town is alot smaller and is targeted towards tourism. We went to the Hard Rock Cafe and got a 'starter' of nacho's. They were the size of a pizza and enough to feed the two of us. They would be about $12 Aust. The local beer (Fiji Gold) was about $2.70 a schooner and sent down well. A can of beer on the ship was about $5.75. The other drinks on the ship were about $9-$11 for a cocktail. They were all nice to try. The next port was Vila. This is a nice place, a good place to get souvenirs for the family and is where to get the Duty Free shopping (alcohol and perfume). We did an underwater walk in the morning which was great. Good photos with our underwater camera. The only thing wrong with this place is that every second car/van stops and asks if you need a lift back to the ship (Who would have though an aussie complaining about too many taxi's). The final port was Pentecost Island. This is home to the N'gol, where the boys/men jump from a wooden tower with vines strapped to the ankles. (like bungee jumping but they hit the ground). To watch this is something else. It was amazing. It isn't something you need to see twice in your life but is one thing I can cross off the list of things I wanted to see. Again it was amazing. The entertainment was amazing. The adult comedy in the dome was great and the guest performers were good. Jackie Love (a bit boring) and Ugly Dave Gray were the guest performers. Ugly Dave still has it, but no cigar. Funny man. My wife did the boot camp and said it was great. We then had two more days at sea and were back in Brisbane. We arrived a couple of hours late due to head winds. We were able to dock at Port Brisbane. Disembarkation was easy for us as we were in the VIP section (seats, tea, coffee, food) Other's not in suites were complaining that they had nowhere to sit why they were waiting to get off the ship. They would then get cranky as they could see us sitting down enjoying a cuppa, but hey we did pay twice as much as them. During the whole cruise we only met one woman who wasn't happy. I think it was more her then them. Her comments included "Why would you be on such a high deck, it moves too much. Queensland is superior over NSW. I can't believe there is Strawberry Ice cream in the baked Alaska, they should tell us that. The Captain is so-so. and The cruise is way too long." At the Virtual Bridge Tour she said the air con was too cold and reminded the poor presenter that the international standard is 24 degrees. Another time a different couple were watching a show and the lady had to go to the loo, she left her camera on the seat so people knew it was being used. Mrs fussy had to go and asked the husband if it was empty. She then had a go at him for saving the seat and made a complaint about it. Overall the cruise was fantastic, Everyone seemed to have a ball. One man who we got to know won the bingo jackpot and got over $13,000. He was a really nice guy and deserved it. There are too many pro's to mention. The cons are: 1) the chairs being moved were a bit noisy. 2) our fridge and hairdryer stopped working (most likely a fuse) we rang up twice but they weren't fixed. 3) They enforced the dress regulations in the restaurant but not in the rest of the ship. I feel they should be strict about this. I would go on another cruise on Pacific Dawn, however would choose a balcony cabin on B deck rather then a mini-suite on A deck. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My sister, niece and nephew and I were very excited to go on our 7 day cruise to the South Pacific. We didn't care even when the Pacific Dawn had trouble at the Brisbane dock - we were on holidays! We did care when we woke up to the ... Read More
My sister, niece and nephew and I were very excited to go on our 7 day cruise to the South Pacific. We didn't care even when the Pacific Dawn had trouble at the Brisbane dock - we were on holidays! We did care when we woke up to the announcement that due to more trouble we would now miss Noumea. It was worse when we got home and was told this had been ongoing for months. The $50 per person credit was a joke especially when the kids didn't get it as they were under 13. When I asked why we were told that it was because they didn't pay as much. That's not true as our cabin cost the same for four people regardless of age. Overall we had a good time - after all your holiday is what you make it. We had a fabulous time on Lifou - I highly recommend the forest grotto tour and in Vila - we did snorkelling from the semi-submersible in the morning; Eskasup village tour in the afternoon and still managed to do some duty free shopping and visit the markets. The food on the Dawn was very average. The dinner menu was very limited and the buffet meals were very poor. My sister and I got food poisoning - very bad combined with the movement of the ship. The drinks were overpriced when you could get them. We only managed to get wine service in the dining room one night out of the seven - the staff would ignore you or were too busy. The only free coffee was via a Nescafe machine on the pool deck and it was terrible The staff service was OK overall but I wouldn't suggest you ask for help with the internet - you won't get any. They also tended to direct you to other departments e.g the pursers desk said we could get extra copies of the daily letter from the cabin steward and vise versa BUT the worst part of the cruise was that for the last two days the water was undrinkable. At breakfast in the dining room just before disembarkation we were served water that looked like someone had put off milk in it. We noticed all the tables still had full glasses. Three stars for P&O ships is highly over-rated and overpriced. My experience is not unique as I discovered by talking to other cruises. My husband and I are planning a cruise and my only criteria is that it is not P&O. You get much better service on the 4 star cruises for around the same money. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
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