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275 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

My wife has always had major reservations about cruising but considering it was the year of my 40th birthday she decided to treat me and our daughter to a cruise. We then managed to convince the rest of her family to come with us and ended ... Read More
My wife has always had major reservations about cruising but considering it was the year of my 40th birthday she decided to treat me and our daughter to a cruise. We then managed to convince the rest of her family to come with us and ended up with 4 cabins all together. Lets just say that we didn't have any expectations about P&O or cruising at all. It was all new. We have been to Africa twice, New Zealand twice for skiing and various places in Australia for vacations. I have also travelled around the USA twice before. This 7 day South Pacific cruise ended up being the best family holiday we have been on. It was affordable, had a great itinerary, great facilities on board, good entertainment and incredible staff. It helped that the first 6 days were like sailing on a pond. I couldn't fault P&O and their staff though. Our cabin steward and waiters made us feel like we were the only ones on board and the kids club staff were great too! Large oceanview cabin with big window. This was the perfect size for the three of us and offered a good sized living area with comfy bunk beds and writing desk, great sized wardrobe and storage, smallish bathroom with a great sized shower. It was clean, comfortable and a great place to escape to at the end of the day. I would have preferred a bigger cabin with a queen sized bed and a pull down bed over a couch like I've seen in some other cruise ships and maybe next time I'll go for a balcony. The door on the fridge cupboard wouldn't stay shut. Otherwise it was great! Food was amazing and we found that alcohol was very affordable. Pacific Dawn is a good size ship. We didn't feel like we would get lost on her but there was so many things to do as well. Ports of call were great (not long enough) but a great introduction to South Pacific culture. We ended up organising our own tours off shore which worked out much cheaper. Brisbane needs to do more to entice cruise ship companies with its portside facilities but otherwise i couldn't fault the cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Just got back from our first cruise. In spite of the weather being average the cruise was great. From the time we got to the dock to the time we reached are cabin the whole process was completed in 1,5hrs. Our luggage arrived to our ... Read More
Just got back from our first cruise. In spite of the weather being average the cruise was great. From the time we got to the dock to the time we reached are cabin the whole process was completed in 1,5hrs. Our luggage arrived to our cabin in quick time also. Was greeted by are cabin steward,Toto, service was outstanding he really looked after us and ensured any queries we had were dealt with straight away he also follow up. Meals were great did become a bit boring by day 10 we sat around and guessed what was for lunch today. Plenty of bars and lounges to sit around and while the sea days away. Photos the ships crew take are OTT $30.00 for two photos. Aqua Sauna and Steam Zone prices again OTT. The Gym was excellent used it every other day. Duty Free Shopping on board "dear" becomes cheaper closer to the end of the trip 40-50% off. Don't buy up early. We did are duty free in Villa. Kids are well catered for even though we had none we did not see the kids that much during the day so they must have enjoyed the entertainment provided. Night life plenty to do, one of the highlight's was Pacific Cirque the show was fantastic. The Pacific Entertainers led by Sandy who loves BINGO they also did a great job. The Marquee seating is uncomfortable. P&O need to rip it out and put in more comfortable seating. Be prepared to spend up to $400-$500.00 on drinks this included bought coffee it was better than the free at least you got a chocolate with it.Drinks range from approx $7.00-$12.00each. The Art Auction did not impress myself I thought what was on offer was pretty ordinary and I did not see much chance of them increasing in value. Water front Restaurant service was outstanding I have only experienced that type of service in high end restaurants. Salt Grill, was put off by the cover charge of $22.00 this was the only priced advertised at the front door it would have been nice to see the meal prices also at the front. La Luna did not try as the girls were not into Asian Food. The service by all staff was outstanding. When you got within one meter of a crew member they greeted you, they always had a smile on their face. The crew made up for any shortfalls the ship weather threw up. The Bar Staff I got to know some of them quite well and got talking to them were they lived etc. Make a point of filling out the Proud Forms it helps the guys for Promotion and earns the another Proud Badge. Leaving the ship once we docked back home. We were off the ship and in a Taxi within the hour of docking. In summary value for money did not have to lift a finger P&O and team ensured we sat back and relaxed. Will we do it again you bet next time we are taking the whole extended family. Thanks P&O and Team, lots of memories came flooding back from are time in the islands back in the 80s. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Just back from a week on the Pacific Dawn, 4 of us in a quad cabin, parents and teens aged 13 and 15. We have cruised 3 times before, including the Royal Princess. I am not usually one to make the effort to write reviews as I tend to ... Read More
Just back from a week on the Pacific Dawn, 4 of us in a quad cabin, parents and teens aged 13 and 15. We have cruised 3 times before, including the Royal Princess. I am not usually one to make the effort to write reviews as I tend to feel they can be very biased and unfair to judge on one experience - good or bad. However, the negative reviews I have read on this and other sites that nearly put me off booking this trip and need addressing. The Quality of the Food, service and accommodation were of a standard well in excess of the price paid. The surroundings and entertainment were wonderful. The circus show in the Atrium was of a standard I would happily pay for ( even when watching it made me shut my eyes and wish it was over in case the girl spinning fell down ). Anybody who does not appreciate the fact that P & O can only provide so much for the low price, and the extras are user pays, is just not adding things up in their heads properly. We went out in a cheap Mexican restaurant in Brisbane the day before and it cost AUD$100 for horrible food on plastic plates. Marriott Hotel @ AUD$350, I honestly think that some people are living in the past, prices of ingredients have gone up yet the prices of this cruise have gone down. All the cost cutting measures the reviews moan about are just common sense to keep the price affordable. It was a fantastic week and I can honestly say anyone considering this holiday option should not be put off by the reviews that pick on silly niggles. They are always easy to find if you look for them. So why look??. Teen club was really great, girls were entertained and monitored by the youth staff, to a high level that meant they had more freedom than they could ever have at home. They felt grown up and trusted and have both learnt a lot from dining in either family table, or groups of friends in the dining room. The waiters treated a table of 13 year olds with the same service as the adults and the kids all responded well to that. No-one bothered to even lunch in the Buffet after seeing the Waterfront option. I can honestly say if we had not made the effort to spend some of the time with them, we would have only seen them to sleep. Entertainment was fun and well done, Entertainment Director Zoltina-J was very polished, professional and amusing, James Bustar was extremely funny, show team well worth watching - its not West End but then its free and optional. Later shows are always less busy, but all well worth attending. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and well practised, all as described and no hassles. I think P & O Pacific Dawn offers a holiday that exceeded all our expectations and I can only say - give it a go - all the extra spending is optional, most of the things on offer are good or equal value to shops at home. Photos are good quality and if you want a portrait its 5% of the cost of the professional one we had done earlier this year. Add up a hotel rate each day, entertainment and 3 four course meals a day for each person - it soon adds up! Value for money, this is a family holiday the kids will remember for a long time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We have only started cruising this year, this is our third cruise and all on the same ship as it is based out of Brisbane which is closest to us. We have done two 7 day cruises Feb and Aug 12 and one 12 day cruise in Oct. Where can I ... Read More
We have only started cruising this year, this is our third cruise and all on the same ship as it is based out of Brisbane which is closest to us. We have done two 7 day cruises Feb and Aug 12 and one 12 day cruise in Oct. Where can I start, check in can be a bit chaotic for newcomers, however that is ok once you are in line it goes along smoothly. Unlike air travel I recommend to arrive four hours prior to departure, that allows you to stow your bags, enjoy lunch and explore the ship before the mandatory emergency drill exercise. We were travelling as a family of 7, two adults and a 12, 10, 6, 4 and 2 year old. Once onboard get all your admin out of the way, that is register the children with the relevant kids club. On our 2nd cruise the boys could not wait to get in so excited where they (same for cruise no 3). The staff there are very friendly and very good. The food was excellent. I love the silver service in the Waterfront Restaurant, the menu is great and such a variety of choices. At lunch my wife likes to go to the buffett on deck 12 so I go along, but if I had the choice I would be in the dining room again. The last cruise we did we had a wedding anniversary and a birthday, cakes and champagne each night, what a treat. The cabins were great, room enough to move and as we do not spend much time in there anyhow it was more than suitable. The pool on deck 12 were unfortunately not heated, this did not stop our children, poor dad though who had to follow the younger ones into the pool. Once in the tropics however the water quickly heats up. The shows are great, however some could be more spontaneous. Celebrity heads had the same charachters, they should realy change them every cruise. The stops were excellent and I liked the concept of exchanging francs on board for New Caledonia and Fiji dollars. Vatus for Vanuatu we purchased on land. With regards to Vila it can be a bit daunting arriving there with all the drivers and co. yelling to get your business. Just find one you are comfortable with and agree to a price you feel is fair. They do have a large sign too that indicates the fare to the city centre. Overall all our cruises have been excellent. Next month we will go on the Pacific Pearl and we are looking forward to it. Ports on 12 nights were Lifou, Mistery Island, Port Denarau, Suva and Villa. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Firstly we has some rough weather, actually very rough, apparently very unusual for this time of the year. We were 3 hours late out of Brisbane, 3 hours late into Noumea, we missed Lifou and port Villa, but made it to Champagne Bay, all ... Read More
Firstly we has some rough weather, actually very rough, apparently very unusual for this time of the year. We were 3 hours late out of Brisbane, 3 hours late into Noumea, we missed Lifou and port Villa, but made it to Champagne Bay, all due to bad weather. But we had a great cruise. To be fair we went on a cruise to be on the ship, not really minding where we went, we hadn't really intended to get off and had no tours booked.On the Friday before we left P and O made a decision to embark from fishermans island instead of Port Side. Firstly I received a text, then a phone call, then an e-mail and there was a note on the Facebook site. Rumours ran riot as to why. There was a very strong wind warning for Brisbane and this was the reason given. With all the extra effort P & O had to go through for this I don't think it would have been a decision made lightly.Embarkation - we got to port side around 1.30pm for our 2pm check-in. It looked chaotic, but it actually was very smooth. We had to fill in a health questionnaire and immigration form. We then checked-in. We had our photo taken, given our cruise card and sip information and Pacific Daily, and a boarding number. When our number was called we went through security and onto a bus for a ride over to fishermans island. This was a little difficult as we had hand luggage and had to carry this on our laps, with handbags, etc. when we got to fishermans island it was through immigration (if the immigration lady had a personality it would have been lonely - she was very rude and felt sorry for people from overseas who may have received this treatment from an Australian. Then through security (checked our had luggage for alcohol as I had bottles of mineral water) and onto the ship. We went straight to our room, and our luggage was waiting. Our room steward Peter introduced himself and asked if we had any special requests. So by 3pm we were on board and unpacked. Even though it was a late check-in lunch was still provided. We ate a snack at the Plantation restaurant (the buffet), which was beautiful. Sail away party on the top deck and we were off.Cabin - we were in cabin 10163 deck 10, balcony cabin. The cabin was spotlessly clean, well equipped and of a good size. The bathroom was good with a shelf and two cabinets behind the mirrors. There was plenty of hanging space, a lot and coat hangers, and heaps of draws. We stacked our suit cases under the hanging space. There is only one power point so I would recommend taking a power board and we took an extension cord as well as my husband had a C-Pap machine. Our Cain was cleaned twice a day, with fresh towels if you wanted them. We had towel animals, and chocolates at turn down each night.Food - we ate at the Plantation Restaurant for all of our meals. This suited us, and what we wanted. It was great to be able to try a little bit of everything. I tried food that I have never tasted before and would never order in a restaurant because I didn't know if I would like it our not. Breakfast - there were a large number of cereals to choose from, then cheese and cold meats, juice, fresh fruit (beautiful) , toast, and then Danishes (oh I am going to miss them). Then there was the hot food. Scramble eggs, sausages, potatoes, bacon, porridge, boiled eggs, baked beans, fried eggs, pancakes. Tea, coffee, milk and water was also available. My husband likes his coffee, and was very happy with the (free) coffee, Nescafé. There was a large variety of teas. The tea, coffee and water was available all the time. Lunch - there was usually a different theme every day, for example Mexican, Asian etc. you started with salads, individual items, then made up salads eg. Coleslaw, potato salad, and pasta salad. Then there were two different bread rolls made up, followed by cheese and cold meats and fresh fruit. Then the deserts - yum! There was always jelly and an assortment of other deserts. They were small, but I thought this was good as you could have a selection. Then there was the hot food, there was always a large selection. Over the cruise we had different flavoured rice, casseroles, enchiladas, stir fries, pasta dishes, roast meat, and lots of other things I can't remember now. Dinner - again this started with salads, followed by cheese, and crackers, then fresh fruit, deserts, bread rolls and hot food. There was always veggies, pasta, a meat dish, fish, roast meat and a special dish. We found the food always fresh and hot. It tasted lovely and there was a lot of flavour. Most of the time we had no trouble getting a table. Night time was harder as part of the restaurant was divided off for the Asian speciality restaurant, which I didn't think fair. When the weather was good it was nice to eat outside. For the sail away and island night they had a BBQ on the pool deck. We also got some snacks at The Grill, here you can pay for extra things like pizzas, hamburgers, chips etc. we got a late night snack of chips which was $2 for a large bowl. There were also two coffee shops. A coffee was $3.50, iced coffees $4 and large cookies were $2. There was also the New Zealand ice cream - ice cream cones, sundries, milkshakes. At $9.50 for a large (regular really) thick shake it was a bit pricey. Entertainment - wow. The shows were fantastic. Night 1 was a little show just giving you a taste of what was coming in the days ahead - Pacific Entertainers comedy, and pacific cirque. Night 2 was a Motown performance. This was great, considering how much the boat was moving (I couldn't walk in a straight line) I don't know how they managed to dance so well, with high heals on! Night 3 was the comedian/magician he was really good. Night 4 was the pirate show, this had audience precipitation and was great. Before the show started all the little kids walked through all dressed up like pirates singing a pirate song. Night 5 was the singing game show (you didn't have to be able to sing, just have some knowledge about songs) where you could win a cruise. This was also the night the Pacific Cirque performed this was incredible to say the least. DONOT miss this show. The best spot was deck 6 in the atrium. This was the highlight of the entertainment. Night 6 was the crew entertainment. This was good and ok. The Pacific Cirque and Pacific entertainers performed again and some other acts by the crew. It was really rough so they all did really well. The last night was the final of the karaoke, we missed this, not our thing. All of the shows has a 7.30pm and 9.30pm time slot. We usually got there about 7pm for the early show and had coffee or cocktails. Our entertainment director was Gemma, she was fantastic. Always full of energy, and smiling and happy and loved to tell us a story after each show. I actually spoke to here ashore in Noumea, and even off duty so to speak, she was still happy to have a chat.Ports - well we were 3 hours late into Noumea due to and weather and it was wet and windy when we got here. All the tours had been cancelled except for the sunset bus tours. Unfortunately by the time everyone got off the ship and the tours got away it was basically dark, then it rained, so there was not much to see. People I knew who went on the tour were not happy and got half their money back. We got off for a walk on "solid" ground. We walked up and around the park and had coffee in a small cafe in the park 'Lannexe' it was lovely, the people were very friendly. They take australian dollars, but no coin and change in given in pacific franc. Coffees were $7 each. We then went to the 'Casino' the local supermarket for some supplies. It was very busy, dirty and very expensive. They take australian dollars, but who new the exchange rate, and change in given in francs. We bought 2 packets of Pringles, two small packets of nuts, and a 6 pack of small bottles of mineral water = $30 australian, a bit much I think. Anyway we know now. Admittedly we only went into the centre of town, but for the short time we had there I would not get off again. The place was dirty, and the people rude. Maybe out of town it was different, but we did not get the chance to see. We then had Lifou cancelled due to bad weather. The captain decided to head to port villa straight away and try and beat the weather there, unfortunately we didn't get there in time and were unable to berth. Disappointing for some, but not really that bad. I think it was a hard decision for the captain to make, but he had to think of our safety. We then headed to Champagne Bay. Some of the passengers were really happy with this as it is a beautiful spot. A tender port. The water was warm and inviting. Many passengers snorkelled. The locals were lovely and very friendly. They had a marked set up with sarongs, jewellery, and other clothes and souvenirs. The weather was overcast and humid. It was nice on the pool deck for the afternoon and a swim (yes the water was a bit cool).It was island night tonight with a BBQ and entertainment by the pool, the later entertainment had to be moved into the dome nightclub, a bit disappointing, but unavoidable.Other Entertainment - there was lots to do or nothing if that's what you wanted. There were exercise classes and spa treatments and the gym, which all cost extra. There was bingo, martini classes, wine appreciation classes, a lot of weight loss and cosmetic classes, trivia, karaoke, origami, dance classes, knitting classes, art lectures and art actions, a virtual bridge tour and a cooking lecture and tour of the galley, there was an afternoon, early evening and late night movie on the big screen on the pool deck, there were also a lot of games on the pool deck, unfortunately most of these were cancelled due to the poor weather, and a lot more I can't think of. Lounges - we loved the dome. It was great sitting in the comfy lounges looking out over the front of the ship. Hubby even had a nice doze there one morning. We also liked the area outside the orient bar, the oasis (adults only) and outside the coffee shop on deck 5. It was lovely on the pool deck. The pool was open twice, but even though it was a bit rocky you could get out of the wind and sit in deck chairs or at table and chairs and watch everything going on. There were alway wait staff here to take you orders for drinks of coffee.Drinks - a xxxx Gold (in a can) was $5.50. A corona was $7.95 and cocktails were from $9.95 to 11.95. Coffee (speciality) $3.50. Duty Free - because we didn't stop in Port Villa there was a rush on duty free alcohol. Some items sold out. It is a lot cheaper than Australia, but apparently cheaper in Port Villa. Some people very VERY upset they had run out of some items, but it wasn't anyone's fault we didn't stop in Villa, and maybe they shouldn't have left their order till the last day. The 'special' market as not that cheep. I couldn't see too much difference in prices. Some must have as there as a lot of 'bad' behaviour here (the older cruise lady can get quite pushy when there might be a discount available). Duty free perfume wasn't that cheep. My perfume is a $20 cheaper in Australia not duty free. There were brand name handbags and surf wear, but I couldn't tell you if this was cheep or not.Photos - there were photographers taking photos at varies places. The photos are then displayed and you can purchase them or not. There were photos for embarkation, sail away party, getting off the ship in port, and formal nights, island night, cowboy night and pirate night, you get the idea. We took advantage of the portrait sitting and got some beautiful photos. They were $30.00 each or buy 4 and get the 5th one free. The other photos were about $20, but there were a lot of package deals available. I also purchased a lovely 'pacific Dawn' phot from for $12.50. There we two types of complaints in this area, some said they were trying to take your photo ALL THE TIME or there wasn't enough people taking photos. We had outer photo taken as many times as we wanted. Yes they asked if your photo taken but if you didn't you could politely decline and that as fine. They were not pushy or rude. The photography people were great. I had a problem with my own camera and they were very helpful in trying to fix it. Unfortunately it couldn't be fixed, yet they didn't push any products on me.Shops - there was lots of souvenirs available and they were pricey. There was also snacks, chips and lollies, again pricey. The post cards were 50c which I thought was ok. Staff - fantastic is the only way to describe them. Our cabin steward was lovely. He was very good and always smiling and happy. He gave us good advice and looked after us. The bar staff were also great. They have fantastic memories and would always remember your drink. They never spilt anything even in the rough seas, I guess they were used to it. The reception staff were great. I think they may have had to put up with a lot of complaints but they were still smiling and happy to serve you. The captain was continually given us updates as to the weather and our situation. The cruise director was lovely and the wait staff in the Buffett great. The whole time we were sailing staff were cleaning, walls, handrails, toilets, floors, tables all being cleaned all the time. We had been told there was a few people confined to cabins on the previous cruise because so illness, but there was no sign of it on our cruise. People were sea sick, a different thing.We didn't have any children so didn't take advantage of the children's club. Apparently there was 350 kids on board, but we didn't see that much of them. Disembarkation - this was easy! A few days into the cruise we were asked if we had any special time for disembarkation, we filled in a form, and received a letter telling us of our disembarkation time, and luggage tags. We put our luggage out the night before. We got up in the morning, collected our duty free, had breakfast, collected our carry-on luggage from our room, and met in our designated area. We waited here and then given the ok to leave the ship. We 'clocked' off with our cruise cards, made our way to our luggage, which was all lined up neatly, through immigration and customs (just had to walk through) and we were off. So easy. I think it might have been that easy to embark if we had been able to get on at port side.In closing we had had a great cruise. We ate, relaxed, were entertained, and enjoyed ourselves. Yes we had bad weather, but you can't control that. We didn't get seasick, we were prepared. We had started taking Avomine two days before we left and every day on the ship. Some people said it did not work, but they didn't start taking them till they were sick. A few people have made so really bad complaints about Pacific Dawn. I had read them before booking and was really worried. I shouldn't have been. This was a cheaper cruise. Yes the ship is a little tired and yes things on board are expensive - they are on all shops. But the staff were fantastic. We had tissues in our cabin, lots of fresh clean towels, hand towels, face washers and beach towels. The food was lovely, I can't imagine how they feed that many people every day. The food was fresh and inventive, tasty and hot. The ship was also very, very clean!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Let me start off by saying I was the last person who thought i would be going on a cruise but i have to say it was the most amazing thing i could of done! Once you get onto the ship there is nothing left to do, just sit back and relax! you ... Read More
Let me start off by saying I was the last person who thought i would be going on a cruise but i have to say it was the most amazing thing i could of done! Once you get onto the ship there is nothing left to do, just sit back and relax! you don't have to worry about checking into hotels or anything! We went on a 4 night cruise on a P&O Australia boat called the Pacific Jewel. It only had one port of call and that was Morton island, just off Queensland Australia. Let me start by telling you about the ship, We forked out and got a window room and it was great! lots of room and very neat and tidy(not to mention the amazing view), It was plenty off room for me and my partner even a nice size bathroom. We were on the 5th floor and i prob wouldn't go any higher then that as it was perfect because you couldn't really feel any rockiness at all. After i finished unpacking we went from one side of the ship to another to check it out and it exceeded all my expectations. The ship was tidy and well looked after. There was an array of bars, dining options, and boutique shops, not to mention the extensive selection of entertainment. My first stop was the buffet for lunch and i was instantly impressed with the spread. They had everything from roast dinner to Indian cuisine, hamburgers and chips and also a fresh fruit bar and a dessert bar. After lunch i headed back to my room and found the daily news paper so i started planning my day. There so much to choose from that there was not enough hours in the day. Anything from art to cocktail making classes(i highly recommend doing the cocking making class at mix bar), live shows, dance classes and more. One of the highlights for me was watching Beyonce on the big screen on top of the deck. I also participated in the on board trivia and karaoke which seemed quite fun for everyone. At night we chose to dine in the on board restaurant which had a lovely reoccurring menu available everyday accompanied by a menu of daily specials that changed everyday. This makes every dining experience different everyday. So in conclusion the pacific jewel provided an excellent first cruise experience. I would have no hesitations recommending this ship to my family and friends and anyone else who is thinking of going on a cruise with P&O. I love everything that it had to offer and it made my 21st birthday a very memorable time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Just got back from the Pacific Dawn's first cruise to Papua New Guinea. PNG is a great addition to the cruising agenda, and considering it was a maiden trip, everything ran pretty well, after a false start in Townsville. After getting ... Read More
Just got back from the Pacific Dawn's first cruise to Papua New Guinea. PNG is a great addition to the cruising agenda, and considering it was a maiden trip, everything ran pretty well, after a false start in Townsville. After getting on the ship, we received a letter saying that the Townsville call would now be at Magnetic Island - it appears the shiny new cruise terminal in Townsville isn't suitable for Pacific Dawn which would appear to be a bit of cock-up! However after 2 hours of trying to start tendering the whole thing was called off due to rough weather and we missed the stop all together. In contrast PNG went well. A rapturous welcome in Alotau at their new port (which was officially opened when we arrived) and a great day at the Canoe and Kundu Festival. The Prime Minister of PNG came to town to welcome us (and he did the same at Kiriwina Island, the first time he'd ever been there) and the locals were genuinely excited about the advent of cruising. The port has a few 'supermarkets' selling souvenirs, and there was a small market on the wharf. I recommend getting Kina in Australia, as the service on the ship was slow, and there are only 2 bank branches in town which saw people queue for up to 45 minutes to change their AUD. The town is close enough to the wharf to walk, but it's a long hot walk. I recommend the Battle of Milne Bay war memorial about 5 minutes walk from the centre of town back towards the ship. Kiriwina Island was another friendly stop, although the tender service brought some complaints with some passengers waiting nearly 3 hours to go ashore, despite a very short tender ride. This may get better with experience at this port. Good snorkeling, friendly locals and crazy Trobriand Cricket are highlights, however the souvenirs and crafts were pricy ($250 AUD for a wooden bowl anyone?) and some of them appeared to be mass produced elsewhere. Again this may improve with experience. The scenic cruising through the China Strait (Kawanasausau Strait) is worth getting up early for, and Doini is a pleasant spot. A small resort opens it doors, and coped pretty well with 2000 visitors although the tiny shop got a bit manic. They have built shelters near the beach, again with reasonable snorkeling and set up a couple of temporary bars and BBQs. Beer is about K12 ($5) and sausage on bread is K10. The main area has a good bar and some limited seating (although it got occupied for most of the day by those of limited mobility). The 'highlight' is a walk to the skull cave (about 1 hours walk, or 30 minutes if you get a ride on the tractor-pulled wagon each way - free, but infrequent). The last part is steep and decent footwear is required. Allow plenty of time to get there and back because the tenders won't wait. The ship was well presented, and P&O have lifted some aspects of their game in the 2 years since I last cruised with them. The cabin steward was more helpful, the food in the Waterfront Restaurant was better and more interesting, and the crew in general more cheerful. There is still evidence of on-going reductions in service in some areas to save money though - fewer waiters in the bars, no afternoon tea anywhere (unless you pay at the grill). The last night jam session by all the various performers on the ship is highly recommended. All in all, PNG is a great addition to the cruising calendar, and things will improve with experience although they were by no means bad even on the first cruise to the area. Highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Hello fellow cruisers, my husband and I joined the Pacific Jewel mainly to have some quality time with relatives who live inter state, and it was their first cruise. I have to say that P & O have certainly upted the anty..........the ... Read More
Hello fellow cruisers, my husband and I joined the Pacific Jewel mainly to have some quality time with relatives who live inter state, and it was their first cruise. I have to say that P & O have certainly upted the anty..........the food especially in the Waterfront ( Main Restaurant) of an evening was some of the best we have ever had, and we have cruised many times and with other companies. We were also looked after as though we were royalty by a lovely husband and wife team. The Jewel certainly has as much to offer as other more current ships, being that she is 23 years old. The entertainment was top class, the out fit is terrific, our balcony on 10th was closed in, so if you expect to see anything sitting out there, you need to request a railing balcony. My main gripe for writing this review gets back to the Spa and it's deals that rip people off. I enjoy attending some of the lectures and seminars relating to weight loss and eating sensibly etc as I do look after myself but am always open to new suggestions. Whilst on the Jewel I attended a lecture and consequently decided to have a body analysis for $40. This followed up by me choosing to lash out and purchase a series of pills and potions from the Elemis spa@home Range to the tune of $500. The lass who ran the seminars was very nice, took my email details and I took hers, with the promise of further information regarding diet and foods to eat to assist in becoming more Alkaline. I guess what I am warning you all, is that these pills and potions made no difference what so ever, and after returning home and emailing her and getting no response I gave up. As my husband would tell you, I am a soft touch, however I believe the ship should be monitering these products that are sold onboard, and become a bit more up to date as to the success rate before taking peoples money, and as I did suspect, there is no follow up once you disembark. Apart from that we did thoroughly enjoy our cruise, and would go back to a little P & O cruise from time to time. Cheers kerlin   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Cruise card When you go through check in you get given a cruise card. You can set this up with either your credit card, debit card or cash. If you choose credit you get charged 1.5% for whatever you spend on board. I chose debit, which ... Read More
Cruise card When you go through check in you get given a cruise card. You can set this up with either your credit card, debit card or cash. If you choose credit you get charged 1.5% for whatever you spend on board. I chose debit, which works well because at the end of each day on board they hold the amount you’ve spent on your card so they can make sure you have enough money. You can also scan your cruise card in at the kiosk and it shows you a record of how much you’ve spent each day and what you’ve spent it on. It’s really hand to check this each day to make sure you’ve been charged for all the right things. Servicing of the room When you first arrive at your cabin you will be greeted by a lovely staff member that will be servicing your room each day. They make up your beds, give you fresh towels and clean your room and bathroom. They will also tell you where you have to meet for you emergency drill. Most people aren’t paying attention when this is said, but if you don’t hear where you are meant to meet, refer to the chart on the back of your door which should have an A, B or C letter and will tell you where to meet. Don’t forget to take your life jacket to the emergency drill (your jacket will also have the same letter that is on the back of your door). Pacific Daily Every night you are delivered a newsletter called the “Pacific Daily” that outlines what will be on the next day on the ship. It includes the theme, any specials, and a detailed time outline of the day’s activities. I found that a lot of the activities during the day were more orientated for children and families and the older generation, and the night things were orientated for young adults. I found that there was so much to do at night that it clashed a little bit and you couldn’t possibly do everything. Food The buffet is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner and there are always a multitude of foods to choose from. It is hard not to already have a full plate before you’ve reached the end of the food trays. There is free water, tea and coffee (all available day round). The food there does get very boring very quickly, and if you are looking for something a little bit more fancy try the Waterfront Restaurant on Deck 7. It is FREE to eat here, you simply just need to book in advance. We had a group of 14 that we had booked in for dinner every night at 8pm. You can also book for lunch. The service and food there is 5 star. You get to choose 3 courses off a huge menu and you can order more if you are still hungry. You are served bread rolls and water and the wait staff are readily available for you to order drinks. I ate at the buffet for most breakfasts and lunches, and had 1 lunch and all my dinners at the Waterfront. It was definitely worth it. Amazing food, quality service and a beautiful setting with fantastic staff. There is another restaurant on board, called the Salt Grill which you have to pay for to eat at. Considering the service at the Waterfront I didn’t bother. The Deck There are 2 pools, a big screen, 2 spas and plenty of deck chairs out on the deck to enjoy. If the weather is bad though it isn’t very pleasant and can be quite windy when the ship is out at sea. It is a good place to meet up with people though and a good place for tanning and getting some fresh air. Photos Each day they take professional photos of everyone on board. This is usually out the front of the restaurant and also around the ship and at the docks when you get off on the islands. These photos are then displayed on deck 7 and are available for purchase. The photos are $20 each for the casual theme photos and $30 each for the professional formal photos (all are taken by the professional photographers on board). There is also an option to buy a USB stick at the start of the cruise and you get $10 digital copies of your photos but be aware, you have to pay for the photo first (so its $20 or $30 + the $10). I bought a couple while on board as the photos are amazing! Drinks The easiest thing to spend your money on is drinks (as these aren’t included). Most cocktails are $9.90 which is reasonable, and you can get a pacific island ice tea for $11.50 (which has a lot more alcohol in it). In the long run I figured out it was cheaper to buy the ice teas as they are better value for the alcohol. Just try to be wary of how much you are spending each day/night as it adds up quite quickly! There are 2 bars on Deck 7 to drink at – The Orient and The Promenade, and various other bars on decks around the ship. Night Club Pretty much every night on board is a party/clubbing night. The Dome is the night club on board and it has a big dancing floor and bar. It is up the front of the ship. Each night they have a band playing up there after dinner and then later in the night a DJ comes on. Café For afternoon tea or a snack there is a café on Deck 5 (reception level). They serve pots of tea for $3 and macaroons, biscuits and slices for $1-$3 each. It is really good value if you want something to tire you over until dinner. There is also a New Zealand Ice Creamery on board (charges apply) outside the front of the buffet. The Islands - Tours Noumea (New Caledonia): To be honest, Noumea is it bit of a dumpy place. The shops look run down and there isn’t really that much to see. When you first get off the boat at the dock there is a big building with markets all upstairs. These are worth a look. There are musicians playing also which are lovely to listen to. If you have booked a tour you simply wait to the left of the building when you get off the ship. The tour I did was the Segway adventure, and it was $105. It was well worth it. You get driven to another part of Noumea, and get taught how to ride a Segway (which is a great experience). You ride along Anse Vata Beach and go all the way to Lemon Bay. You get to taste local chocolates and local gourmet delicacies. It was a really fun tour and good way to see more of Noumea without being couped up on a bus or in a taxi. Maré (New Caledonia): is a lovely little secluded island, and to get to the island you have to get on a lifeboat which takes you ashore. You then have the option of walking around an exploring the small number of markets; or getting on a bus and going to Yejele beach (where most people go). This is a white sand beach with beautiful crystal waters and you can snorkel, swim or just chill out and sun bake. The beach was pretty packed with people off the boat but there was still plenty of room to explore. I saw lots of beautiful tropical fish while snorkelling, but unfortunately a lot of the reefs have died and are damaged due to the rising sea temperatures. Port Vila (Vanuatu): You arrive at the dock, to the left you can walk all through a very long line of markets with lots of souvenirs and flower leis (which are great to purchase for island night); and to the right is where you go to wait for any tours you have booked. The tour I picked was paradise kayak and snorkel experience. You are driven by a bus through the town of Port Vila (which is very interesting in itself – if you wish to explore this you can get a taxi to take you around). The bus arrives at Mele Bay, on another part of the island, and you are greeted by lovely staff and get in a kayak to paddle out to a little sand bar not too far away. The kayak is fun and there is a glass hole that you can see through into the water. When you arrive at the sand bar you can go snorkelling. There are a lot of beautiful tropical fish to look at and sea. Marquee Shows There are several different shows on in the marquee during the cruise. These are a must see. They are fantastic, show off some amazing talent, are well put together and full of laughs. I missed out on seeing some of the shows due to clashes with dinner, etc. but if you get a chance try to go to each show. Theme Nights On my particular cruise there were 3 theme nights: Country and Western, Pirate Night and Island Night. These tend to stay pretty consistent (as I’ve had a friend do the same cruise several times). I packed costumes in advance which in turn saved me a lot of money. It is a lot of fun to get dressed up. Most other nights were either smart casual, cocktail or formal. So pack a suit if you’re a guy, and a few classy dresses if you a female (you may want to throw in a long formal dress for formal night). Karaoke & Pop-Stars Each night they hold karaoke and/or pop stars in the Orient pub. Karaoke is more for the amateurs, and you get to pick out of a big book of songs. Be aware that there is not much modern music and it is mostly all the old classics. For pop stars you have the same song selection, but you are competing against people for a chance at performing in front of the entire boat on the last night in the Marquee. This is more competitive and designed for people that have a passion and talent for music, although everyone is encouraged to participate. Wi-Fi The Wi-Fi on board is very expensive at about 75c per minute! You can access this from your phone, tablet, laptop or from the computers available on board. I had international roaming activated on my mobile, but the maritime rates (when you are at sea) are very costly ($4 a minute for calls, $1 for each text and $15 a mb). I recommend either telling people you will be out of touch with them until you get back or just sending the odd text. Out of Noumea, Mare and Port Vila, Port Vila was the only place I could get reception (with lower rates of $1 a minute for calls, and 50c for texts). General Tips - I definitely recommend buying reef shoes and your own snorkel if you intend to go snorkelling at any of the islands. Most snorkelling tours include at least the mask and snorkel, but not always a pair of flippers. If you want to save luggage space I recommend taking reef shoes instead of flippers. - The experience of being at sea is quite different if you’ve never experienced it before. The boat moves around quite a bit and if you’re not used to it you may experience sea sickness. It is best to bring your own purchased medication (from the chemist) on board so as to save money. I purchased Avomine which was good as you take it at night (so any drowsy effects don’t matter) and it is in your system during the whole day. I took one each night and didn’t feel sea sick at all. I think everyone’s experience is different; but it can simply help to not think about it too much and just try to have fun. - There is the option of purchasing duty free alcohol on board and you can also purchase it at Port Vila. Apparently it is cheaper in Port Vila. If you buy on board, be aware that they pack it in a cardboard box without any packing. I bought 2 bottles and when I got off the boat (as you collect it when you leave) the 2 bottles clinked together and 1 shattered. I recommend opening up the box and putting an item of clothing between the 2 bottles to avoid this. - Also, the cruise I found was a party based cruise with lots of young adults on board (I am 23 so that suited me fine), but if you are not up for the party lifestyle then this cruise may not be for you. - Make sure you have plenty of cash on your card for spending (e.g. drinks, photos, tours, etc.). Altogether, including 3 shore tours, 6 photos and a fair amount of drinks each night I spent around $760. It was all worth it though!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
I went on this cruise early this year with my two parents. (me being 16) My parents had both cruised with p&o prior to this and were extremely keen to go again and luckily they brought me along this time. I literally had the best 12 ... Read More
I went on this cruise early this year with my two parents. (me being 16) My parents had both cruised with p&o prior to this and were extremely keen to go again and luckily they brought me along this time. I literally had the best 12 days (10 nights) possible. Everything and I mean everything was incredible. After reading the reviews recently just to see what had been said I honestly would swear everyone must have traveled on a different cruise ship. or then again maybe I just don't try to look for the negatives in every situation and don't complain about every little thing. So hopefully this gives you an honest review from a different perspective then a rich couple that would fault them for not supplying any one billion dollar wines. I couldn't fault it, there was always something to do. From day one there was constant entertainment, and extremely good talent may I say. The circus acts, were better then any circus i have attended, the productions were also better then any i had seen before. The night life was perfect. There was always something happening, whether it be the themed dress up nights, watching a movie on the big screen with your friends, participating in dance offs under the stars, for the young people like me getting together with the other kids club members in our disco area or for the adults a bit of night clubbing or even some speed dating. The hygiene couldn't have been better, with sanitizers available in every section, rooms cleaned twice if not more every day (with cute new animals made out of towels) by some of the loveliest people i have ever met (huge shoutout to dave for being the best person we could have had asked for) and as for the meals and everything they were to die for. The buffet was better standards then half of Australia restaurants and was free, and dining in at the waterfront area (also free) was lovely and yet still free. Every staff member on that cruise made you feel welcome, whether it be making you cute roses out of napkins, saying hello to you every time you walk past, or generally just making everything as fun as possible ( and another shoutout to all the kids club staff members that made us all like a family in the time we spent together, for allowing me to make new friends that I still keep in contact with, for making new experiences every day, for just making it the best holiday I could ever ask for.) All the islands we visited were all so unique in their own ways and Mystery Island was picture perfect, as well as Isle of Pines and all in all everyday was a new experience and I made memories that I will never forget. I highly recommend if you have any children/teenagers to travel with P&O because if they are anything like me this will be one of the greatest holidays they could have. And you may be able to tell I am not usually one to leave reviews for these types of things, but after all of those negative reviews it was about time that P&O actually had a review that could not even half explain to others how incredible it really is. And I for sure will make sure when I am old enough to do these things, that I will travel on this same ship.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
we had a $500 budget (plus $75 room credit you have allocated to you) we ended up spending $998. what to allow money for: photos - we purchased 6 all up costs around $200 including SD card and $8 souvenir frame (I love photography and ... Read More
we had a $500 budget (plus $75 room credit you have allocated to you) we ended up spending $998. what to allow money for: photos - we purchased 6 all up costs around $200 including SD card and $8 souvenir frame (I love photography and found them excellent quality- get Vladimir to take them on COCKTAIL DRESS night- we are very proud of them. Buy LANYARDS for everyone prior to leaving, for all access cards or for 6 will cost you around $36-$40 buying them onboard as opposed to $10 in cheap shop. Buy a couple of cowboy hats/check shirts, pirate hats/costumes from cheap shops prior to leaving - lei & grass skirts & coconut boobie covers pretty cheap on the islands and nice souvenir purchases for island nights, pirate patches only $3-4 on board but with many kids can add up- so planning is good on your wallet. ALCOHOL is pretty cheap- allowance PER ADULT is 2.25litres to take home ONLY (we purchased 3xcaptain morgan rum and a grouse scotch for $50). IN NOUMEA get the cheapest bus ride - we paid $15 each on explorer tours but to get the little train was $39-$49each and went to the same boring places. The Casino supermarket across from the port in Noumea has normal priced drinks and about a block to your left of Port is a French bakery (pastisserie) with nice french delicacies. you can buy souvenirs as soon as you get off the boat, thought it was a bit expensive there. ALL 3 ports TAKE AUSTRALIAN DOLLARS AND GOLD COINS but we found nowhere accepted the kids saved up 50c/20c silver coins ($80 worth-so had to change on the ship) IN LIFOU - again a disappointment. the water was beautiful, we paid $15 per person to snorkel in a lagoon (no snorkel equipment provided) was pretty ordinary, kept scraping my legs til they bled on coral and we didn't venture out more than 15 metres and stayed for 20 mins. When we walked back we found almost the whole cruise swimming FOR FREE on the island facing the boat- it was superb- even sea turtles could been seen not far from shore (will add pictures below of lagoon and free beach). We walked up to the church which was the only other interesting thing to do on the island. my advise here is spend up big on the tours in PORT VILA: amazing activities here, first you have to get through a scary mob attack from all the drivers offering you different prices to be your driver for the day THEY DO ACTUALLY wait for you though. we spent $100 for 6 of us to be taken from Port to hideaway island $15 per head for adults and $10 for kids, snorkel equipment is available to hire, (a nice little snorkel spot) and then back to port. A guy called Joseph was our driver, less rabbley than others. Another group of people paid $200 for 13 people in a bus to same place and another shady bloke offered us $60 for the same trip. It IS a BIT SCARY initially but security and police are there too. But the people are just trying to get business for their families so just understand that there is no bad intent. We went on a glass bottom boat snorkel experience for the afternoon HIGHLIGHT of the trip we handfed the fish, they provided snorkelling and flipper gear and we were dropped approx. 100 metres from shore and had a magnificent 2 hours - no sharks etc $59 per adult and $29 per kid but was soooo worth it. My 19yr old son and girlfriend went on horseriding adventure $79 per person (maximum weight 110kilos) and 12-18yr olds have to have guardians- had an great time rode bareback on the horses through lagoon and he has never ridden a horse before. so was well pleased with experience. Definitely worth putting your money into these experiences and there are at least 37 activities to do. YAY PORT VILA !!! The shows onboard were way beyond expectations, the show staff were so grounded and approachable and take majority of the passenger activities onboard so you get to have a chat and pictures with them etc. THE KIDS activities were very well organised and the staff were amazing, I did not use the shark and turtle shacks as drop off areas as many parents did but we wanted to spend holiday with kids but if I wanted to I would not have hesitated as it was really really well organised, my daughter joined in the kids onboard night parties everytime they were on and still felt part of the group. ,Waterfront restaurant in a MUST. iT IS FREEEEEEE breakfast, lunch and Dinner (however you must book for dinner extension 3463 and 3063 for next day bookings- can only book 1 day ahead) there is a phone in your cabin so as soon as ship sets sail try to get a booking for the evening. and the STAFF ARE MAGICAL ! Plantation Restaurant is fantastic- you are not paying for it and you cant expect to have 5star quality on the cruise price but with that said it caters for almost everyone. For breakfast they have 4 different types of eggs cooked, bacon, pastries, fruit, cereal, pancakes etc... people who complain need to fork our more $$$ for more expensive cruises, we ate there almost every morning and lunch. Coffee is bloomin awful BUT you can pay for a great coffee down on DECK 5 at the café - staff aren't as friendly but can be coaxed to smile ;) My son got enganged and paid for dinner at the SALT GRILL restaurant $49 per person and was in raptures with the beautiful food and restaurant was FIRST CLASS. They have a chinese restaurant La LUNA that we never got to, but that is apparently lovely too at $29 per person. THE CLEANERS on the ship are fantastic they work quietly in the background keeping everything in shipshape. PLEASE THANK them as without them the passengers would be grubs. sorry but its true Deck 12 is where a lot of people party, sunbake, swim and drink cocktails throughout the day and there really is plenty of room and a big screen there for movies, NRL etc. You can get a card for the kids to allow 6 mocktails for about $30 and the kids loved the novelty. Adult cocktails, get island tea cocktail couple of dollars dearer but greater alcohol base, the bottle of cabernet merlot was $25 (forgot the name) gorgeous hubby and I had 5 bottles over the week. bingo costs up $30 for 5 games NOT FREE. LAST COUPLE OF TIPS: sea sick and motion sickness medications are a must, take a couple of packets of salt and vinegar chips, or salty crackers to help with sea sickness (pringles from shop were $6.95each) take a couple of slabs of water bottles an a bottle or 2 of soft drink (definitely adds up at $2.75 per can), purchase a mosquito spray with 20%deet in it for the islands (expensive on board).. rooms were fantastic but think middle of ship better for the movement factor and midship deck 10 you get your own balconies. T Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We travelled as a family of four and thoroughly enjoyed our cruise! We had an oceanview room on level 9 with four bunk beds which was fine as we were barely ever in the room. Our cabin steward was lovely and we couldn't praise him ... Read More
We travelled as a family of four and thoroughly enjoyed our cruise! We had an oceanview room on level 9 with four bunk beds which was fine as we were barely ever in the room. Our cabin steward was lovely and we couldn't praise him enough! When we were in the room, we enjoyed being able to look out of our window at the sunrise/set and there was always a lot of excitement waking up and opening the curtain to check out our next port of call. I couldn't imagine being in a dark room for 7 days so definitely recommend the oceanview. We dined in the buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch mostly, as it was easy and had lots of healthier breakfast options. At night we dined in the waterfront restaurant every night at the same table and had the most wonderful waitstaff, not only did they provide exceptional service but they were very knowledgeable and every night they gave us a run down of activities we may enjoy. The food was always delicious in the waterfront restaurant and there was quite a lot to choose from. The entertainment was great, although some of the shows were on really late.. even after 11pm! we struggled to stay up for these ones as there often wasn't a lot to do in the hours leading up to it. The trivia is a lot of fun! We went to a lot of these and enjoyed them all, even though we never won. The cocktails were great and alcohol prices were reasonable. We also purchased a lot of photos as the quality of them was amazing! Favourite area of the ship was probably the oasis area at the rear of the ship, its so nice to lay out and hear the sounds of the sea! Ports: NOUMEA we did a ship organised tour and none of us really enjoyed it, Noumea just wasn't for us LIFOU lovely for swimming but take your own snorkelling equipment VILA was amazing! we did a ship organised Zego tour and had the time of our lives! would definitely do it again. Tips: Take your own water/soft drinks on board as they are good to have in the room and to save money Purchase a lanyard before the cruise from a dollar store as they are heaps cheaper Make sure you wear sunblock even if it doesn't seem that hot, there is less pollution when at sea so it is easier to get burnt. Coffee's from Charlie's bar are amazing, don't bother with the bland Nescafé at breakfast Take your own bug repellent and some ports have a high risk of dengue fever etc Take post it notes and a pen to leave notes to each other in the cabin so you can find each other :) I felt I just had to write this review after reading so many bad reviews, but I think you need to go in with an open mind rather than having high expectations. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and found it to be excellent value for money. We are already looking forward to our next cruises! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We did a B2B the first cruise was 10 days to PNG and the 2nd was 7 days along the QLD coast but due to bad weather we went south overnight Sydney and the Newcastle and Tangalooma. Embarkation was quite drawn out mainly because of staggard ... Read More
We did a B2B the first cruise was 10 days to PNG and the 2nd was 7 days along the QLD coast but due to bad weather we went south overnight Sydney and the Newcastle and Tangalooma. Embarkation was quite drawn out mainly because of staggard check in but also because of the demographics of the cruise. On the 2nd leg embarkation was a breeze with little to no lines. On the first leg the baggage drop off line was approx 200 pax long. The demographics of the two cruises was markedly different. On the first leg were mainly more mature passengers whilst on the 2nd leg was the standard family crowd. This made an interesting contrast as a substantial number on the 1st cruise were what I refer to the Princess crowd, who had difficulty adjusting to the P&O routine especially with regards to booking/confirming your dinner time in the MDR. We had no issues as we knew the routine, but many evenings I noticed a large crowd in front of the MDR to book their next evening meal. The routine is that once you have booked on the first night they will pencil you in for the following evening at the same time, but not necessarily the same table. Sail away unfortunately was a bit of a dud due to no crowd engagement. The 2nd cruise was a bit more energised but I have seen a lot better crowd participation. It needs to be said though that I found both cruise Directors we had boring. The cruise overall was still good fun although we missed out on the last two stops due to bad weather. Our first stop was Alotau, we just walked to town and experienced it. I also found a Westpac Atm and withdrew some local currency. The bank also had established a point at the pier to exchange money. Taxi back to the the ship was only five kina. The next stop was a tender stop but due to bad weather many people stayed on board. We hoped off and the local people were very friendly. Our third stop was Rabaul. This place is amazing, it had so much history that you can not take it in in one stop. We organised a tour and I look forward going back again. If you have a chance go to the Japanese submarine base and snorkel there if the water is calm. The next two stops had to be cancelled and we had 4 sea days in a row, which were quit relaxing. The shows and guestperformers were very good, one of the guest performers was from PNG. The ship also had two clergyman on board who held several services to commemorate the fallen during WWII. We travelled with five boys 14, 12 , 8 , 6 and 3 . The oldest was a cabin potato and did not engage but all the others went to the various kids club and had a great time. P&O still has the best kids club we have encountered so far at sea. We ate most of the time in the MDR for breakfast and dinner. It is a la carte, however you can mix and match and order more than one entree or main course or dessert if one desires. Not that I did this as I was trying to loose weight. The gym on deck 2 is small and basic, certailnly not as good as on other ships and the running and walking track on deck 14 is good, however many other passengers are oblivious to your presence and will just stroll in the middle of the track or walk in front of you, so be aware. Cabin service is still good, however they no longer have an evening turn down service, which is a disappointment. We attended the chef,s table which was superb, well worth the $95 for an 8 course meal plus all your wines and La Luna - Thai, which was very good too for $29 meal only. On the 2nd leg the hotel manager realised that we were B2B cruisers and we received suite standard service incl bathrobes and slippers, invite to the senior officers cocktail party and afternoon drinks with canapes brought to the cabin on sea days and priority tender tickets and disembarkation. Our two youngest boys also received a special mention at the captains club having sailed 9 times with P&O and Princess. Overall a very good cruise, the Pacific Dawn is a family ship and whilst some people are critical of it I find for the money we pay it is good value. I certainly plan to do more B2B because it is so much more relaxing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
The good and the bad What a nightmare to get on the ship, arrived at white bay terminal and no signs or directions given by staff as to where the luggage goes, then we here "have your passport and green card ready when you get to the ... Read More
The good and the bad What a nightmare to get on the ship, arrived at white bay terminal and no signs or directions given by staff as to where the luggage goes, then we here "have your passport and green card ready when you get to the window", what green card, ask a staff member and reply " you will get that at the window" a child who already has a green card asks if she wanted to get us one, of course it was handed to her by the same staff member who refused us,,,, ON THE SHIP Yep, they always try and sell you drinks, but that's there job - if you say no, they don't harass you. Didn't have much to do with the captain however my thanks goes out to the crew, from house keeping, waiting staff, kitchen hands and the like, you guys really made those sailors dressed in there whites look good. A SPECIAL THANKS Goes out to Marie who looked after 10288, thank you so much for the towel animals, my sons face lit up every time we opened the door when he saw a new animal you had made. FUTURE CRUISE SALES Bah !! she just fobbed us off. TENDERS well organised PORTS Don't stay on the boat, get off and see the Islands, the locals are friendly and helpful FOOD Excellent, DRINKS BE WARNED, for children take powdered hot chocolate or something as there is little choice for the kids ENTERTAINMENT Excellent DISEMBARKMENT A bit the same as boarding, goto the marquee for disembarkment talk, was made VERY clear that NO notifications would be made, meet at designated time in designated room, no one knew what to do, the other meeting room had notifications. CREDIT CARD I feel P & O should waive their 1.5% credit card fee as a credit card registration is encouraged at the time of check in, not to mention the time save by staff not having to deal with cash on the ship. OVERALL A pleasurable first cruise,Thank You to all who made it so yes we will do it again soon   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I love this cruise. Had a great time but it went way too fast. Lots of storage area in drawers and bathroom was a reasonable size. We had our room steward who was Marie and she was fantastic, always friendly with a smile and treated us ... Read More
I love this cruise. Had a great time but it went way too fast. Lots of storage area in drawers and bathroom was a reasonable size. We had our room steward who was Marie and she was fantastic, always friendly with a smile and treated us like family. Marie I hope you enjoy some family time in a few weeks then back on to a job you love. We enjoyed eating at the plantation room and watching the collingwood and carlton football match on the big screen. HAD LOTS OF GOOD TIMES ON THIS CRUISE AND ALL THE PEOPLE INCLUDING CREW WE ALL AMAZING My only problem would be the availability of free drinks for children except water or juice at breakfast. My son likes a warm hot chocolate and the coffee machine didnt make them. I loved going to the Isle of Pines and Mare was gorgeous with crystal water. Lifou had a lovely island atmosphere which are not included in the port list below   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My first cruise and certainly wont be the last. Boarding the ship was good got our boarding number and sat down and about 5 minutes later we were give a priority boarding ticket and got on the ship in pretty good time. Got to our cabin ... Read More
My first cruise and certainly wont be the last. Boarding the ship was good got our boarding number and sat down and about 5 minutes later we were give a priority boarding ticket and got on the ship in pretty good time. Got to our cabin which was clean and well presented, Our Cabin steward ( IVON ) showed us where everything was and was very helpful. Our cabin was tidied up and bed made every day, Food on the ship was excellent there was so much to choose from.  The quality of the food was excellent apart from the prawns which were bland. The Plantation Restaurant on the top deck is where we mainly ate and had no trouble getting a table anytime we turned up.Staff were brilliant, could not do enough for you, Breakfast was excellent cereals, bacon ( Plenty of Bacon ) Boiled eggs,scrambled eggs, fried eggs,sausages, and the list goes on in the hot department so much that if you had a bit of everything you would need 2 plates, pastries, fresh fruit, yoghurts, toast and jams too much to type about and you can have as much as you can eat. Lunch, salad rolls, chicken rolls, meat rolls, pastas, fruit really something for everyone covering all tastes. Dinner anything and everything from Roasts, hot vegetables of every kind you could think of, Jellies, custards fruit all kinds of dishes to suit all tastes, and the staff were friendly and chatted and were always smiling. Around the ship there were so many different activities to choose from. Duty free shops on board Liquor was cheap, $27 for a litre of Bundy put a smile on my face. Jack Daniels 1 litre was $36 The perfume on board seemed to be a little dear comparing with what you see in the shops especially since its supposed to be duty and tax free. A bottle perfume that my Wife likes was $127 on ship and we got it at a chemist in Airlee Beach for $99 so figure that one out. Plenty of room to party op on the main deck 2 small pools but big enough for a dip. Big screen on the deck was awesome while sitting back having a drink or 4 !!! Alcohol on board i thought could have been a little cheaper i was paying $9.50 for a can of Bundy and Cola around the same price as in the pubs but being on a ship where you have limited access to buy it i think should have been a little cheaper. 2 coffee shops on board that served every type of coffee you could think of, alcoholic ones as well. Waterfront Restaurant which you had to book which is covered in your cost of cruise was nice,went there once was nice selection of meals. Mobile drink trollies and waiters made sure you never waited for a drink. We met some nice people on the cruise and we usually sat and joined 2 or 3 tables together on the top deck and always had a waiter there they tended to gather around and join in on the jokes and conversations. Found getting on and off of the tenders where we stopped to go to land, good Found that the shore trips we got though P&O to be a lot dearer than if we had paid when we got to the shore. I have seen a lot of negative reports about the Pacific dawn on here, but for me it was a excellent trip with really few complaints. 10 out 10 for the crew on board.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We were not sure what to expect after reading a few reviews of "Pacific Dawn", however, we were pleasantly surprised overall. Embarkation and dis-embarkation were a breeze. Our balcony cabin no. 10264 was compact but functional ... Read More
We were not sure what to expect after reading a few reviews of "Pacific Dawn", however, we were pleasantly surprised overall. Embarkation and dis-embarkation were a breeze. Our balcony cabin no. 10264 was compact but functional with a walk-in-robe and heaps of storage space. Carpet was in good condition and may have been updated at time of last ship re-fit. Weather may quite good so we spent sometime on the smallish balcony. We returned late night to a rather annoying noise in our cabin's ceiling. We reported the problem early next morning which drew a response from maintenance within 10 minutes to assess the problem. The problem was fixed later in the morning. A big thank you to all concerned. There was a good mix of all ages on-board, however, it is considered that the night time entertainment was geared towards the 55+ age group which we fit into. There were 4 specialty shows on a 7 night cruise all of high quality. The highlight of the cruise was the "Chef's Table"-an almost 4 hours gastronomic delight of food with wine and it was worth every cent of the $95 charge. 3 Chef's Tables were held but it is recommended that you immediately book upon embarkation. The only slight complaint was the location which lacked privacy. The foodies package at $199- which included dinner at Salt Grill and a few other goodies was considered good value. The food at Salt Grill did not disappoint. A wine tasting course was enjoyable and more entertaining rather than educational. 6 different wait staff put their slant on the wines. Food in the "Waterfront" restaurant could not be considered fine dining but it was top quality bistro type meals with good variety. Service was generally good and there was only 1 night that there was a long delay between main course and dessert. At no time, did we feel rushed between courses. The only complaint was Anytime Dining which was anything but. It was anytime dining from 5.30pm to 6pm or anytime after 8pm and bookings were required most nights for the following night. I have a sneaky feeling that people who did not book were seated between 6pm and 8pm without difficulty. Overall, it was not a big problem as we certainly didn't starve. We did not book any P and O shore excursions so we able to comment on same. All staff were always smiling and very helpful. All in all, it was a great cruise and have no hesitation in recommending the "Pacific Dawn" for a short and good value holiday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Had a great cruise. We have a 2 and 6 year old. When the 2 year old got tyred and started crying waiting in queues to depart, a staff member came and helped us get out slightly quicker which was very good. We have cruised once before ... Read More
Had a great cruise. We have a 2 and 6 year old. When the 2 year old got tyred and started crying waiting in queues to depart, a staff member came and helped us get out slightly quicker which was very good. We have cruised once before (honeymoon), and this cruise exceeded our expectations. The staff we absolutely brilliant. The staff at the Waterfront restaurant were friendly and attentive. Many would make linen squirrels for the kids, and some even did card tricks at the table. The maitre'd and supervisors at the Waterfront are very professional. The consistent great service at the Waterfront restaurant was amazing. The food is probably only 2-3 star, but you could order many dishes, there is one set menu every night, and one that changes every night, the choice was superb. I didn't expect 5 star food because the Pacific Dawn's cruises are quite cheap. The no set times for dining at the Waterfront suited us very well, and the maitre'd helped us twice when we had forgotten to book, (we dine early so we were probably lucky). I have seen criticisms regarding 'pay for this' pay for that', but considering the cruise is so cheap, if you want an ice-cream anytime or special espresso coffee anytime...pay up! There was ice cream available for the kids/adults at every dinner so what's the problem?! The buffet was very good, we tended to only use this for lunch, and 2 brekkies, once again good choice but 2-3 star quality (as expected). The shows were great. Stephen the art auctioneer was very professional and friendly (like all the staff!). Our 6 year old only went to kids club twice for 1/2 hour each time, there didn't seem much for them to do there, so we just let her be with us, some parents were dropping off crying kids then taking off, we're not into that... Just to finish, staff were consistently friendly and helpful, I never once had a problem with them understanding English (like I see in some other reviews). We will be booking again for next June, can't wait :) Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
All the staff were friendly and helpful and made you feel special. Alcohol, hand sanitizes were located in all the food queuing areas. Food was plentiful with an excellent variety, especially the deserts. Must try the Salt Grill ... Read More
All the staff were friendly and helpful and made you feel special. Alcohol, hand sanitizes were located in all the food queuing areas. Food was plentiful with an excellent variety, especially the deserts. Must try the Salt Grill restaurant, great food at a realistic price. Wow, entertainment now that was the strong point of the cruise with an amazing band called "The Alter Ego" and the on board entertainment crew held excellent productions. Special acts including Nathan Foley and the comedians were great. Even the cruise Director Alun and Joanna sang and had the ship rocking. Overall the ship was clean and well maintained. Tip, don't drink too much on the first day of your cruise as there were a few sore heads the next day. I spoke to a couple who had 20 cruises under their belt from all over the world. They said the entertainment on P&O is unbeatable and beats the rest hands down. Coin operated washing machines and dryers mid ship on the 10th floor. 3 x $1 coins for washer and dryer. Packet of powder $1. Don't do your washing on the last day as you'll be lucky to get a machine. Ensure if you have a Suite or Mini Suite you get a priority boarding pass on check-in as they forgot to issue me with one. The only disappointing thing is the pricing at the spa, massages and treatments are very expensive. My wife and I had a great time on our first cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My husband and I went on a 7-night cruise on the Pacific Jewel, from 29th June till July 6th 2014. We had a truly wonderful time! This was my husband's 8th cruise and my 5th, but our first on the Pacific Jewel. Embarkation was very ... Read More
My husband and I went on a 7-night cruise on the Pacific Jewel, from 29th June till July 6th 2014. We had a truly wonderful time! This was my husband's 8th cruise and my 5th, but our first on the Pacific Jewel. Embarkation was very smooth and we were on board by 11:30 and ready to start exploring. The ship was in great condition and all very clean. Our room, which we chose specifically to be as close to the middle of the ship as possible so as to minimise the effects of any potential bad weather, was fantastic. We had an oceanview room, and it was quite spacious for a standard room. There was plenty of storage, even in the bathroom, where there were shelves all along one side of the vanity. The bed looked like it might not be that comfy, as it went down in the middle of each side, but it was actually lovely to sleep on, and the pillows were great too. Everything was very clean. I am quite fussy about cleanliness, and it even satisfied my semi-OCD self! ;) The cruise director Alun was hilarious. His morning "trivia mayhem" was a real highlight. We hadn't laughed so much in ages! Tasha in the entertainment staff was absolutely lovely, and we always enjoyed activities she ran. The Pacific Entertainers and Pacific Cirque were all amazing, and evening performances were wonderful - very talented people! Probably the only thing that was not fantastic was the food. It wasn't terrible, but just was not as good as some of the other food we have had on other cruises. On the Pacific Sun 6.5 years ago, the desserts in particular were to die for. Desserts on this cruise, both upstairs at the buffet and at the Waterfront, were not very appealing to look at and didn't taste that great either (with one or two exceptions). The service was excellent, however, and our waiters at dinner every night were absolutely wonderful. Extremely friendly, quick service, made it very special. We had a lovely relaxing time and will definitely be back! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was the first cruise my wife and I went on. Before I review this cruise, let me just say that in our experience on board, there are some people (usually from overseas) who are impossible to please and some of them have written unfair ... Read More
This was the first cruise my wife and I went on. Before I review this cruise, let me just say that in our experience on board, there are some people (usually from overseas) who are impossible to please and some of them have written unfair reviews of Pacific Dawn. Is the ship perfect? No. Is it in need of some attention? Yes. In fact it is due for a major refit this November for those who want to know. Having said that, for what it is and for the price, this ship certainly held up to expectations. The crew were (for the most part) very helpful and attentive. Our cabin boy (man) Julius, was funny, friendly, always smiling and there was nothing he couldn't do for you. We often stopped to have a chat and found out that he spends eight long months at sea and doesn't see his wife or three small children in all that time. I take my hat off to him and all the workers on board, as it must be very tiring. And yet, they still manage to smile and say hello. The ship itself is huge, with lots to see and do. We were on board for 9 nights and we still didn't experience everything. I have read people complain that the entertainment is boring. Well, I am here to tell you that we saw all but two shows and only one of them was so-so. The rest were professional, entertaining and a delight to watch. The musical productions were second to none. As a Drama Teacher myself and having seen many performances over the years, these were right up there. Apart from the regular free dining areas, there are some fantastic restaurants on board. Not to be missed is Luke Mangan's Salt Grill and the Asian Restaurant. But if you are pressed for a penny, then the meals offered in the Waterfront Restaurant and Plantation Restaurants are as good as any pub or bistro meals and certainly mainly appetizing. Be aware though that many of the deserts are pre-prepared and a bit bland. Be careful also to understand that the Waterfront does not offer the same level of sophistication as Salt Grill and some of the cuisine we tried was questionable (one was even objectionable). I have also read people complain that you have to line up for everything and that there aren't enough Tenders. Really? What did you expect when 2000 people all want to go ashore at the same time. I actually think that the system they had in place with colored tickets (early bird catches the early boat) works really well and we never waited more than 45 minutes (one European couple we met couldn't wait for five). As for the number of Tenders. There are four operating all the time and it doesn't take very long to move 120 people per boat to shore and back again. The Tenders may be old and a bit rough, but they do the job and we were very excited for the experience the first time we went ashore. After that, it became routine. My question to people who went on the cruise and could not wait 45 minutes without complaining is this. Did you have something better to do while you waited? Grow up and stop complaining. Geeeesh! One couple who had obviously been on many cruises arraigned us over coffee one morning in the Atrium and started railing on about how awful this cruise was and how they have been on many cruises and how in Europe this and that would never happen. They sat there, glued to the same seats every time we walked by, scrolling through their iPads, no doubt reporting every little speck of dust or every time they felt hard done by or had to wait more then five seconds for their coffee, etc. They never smiled and scoffed audibly and grumbled whenever we were unfortunate enough to have them waiting behind us. I said before some people are hard to please and then there are these two toffee nosed grumpy bums. Oh brother. So when you read some negative reviews, take this into consideration. There were some things that I think are worth complaining about, however. Top of my list is the outside windows. They looked like they had not been cleaned in months and had streaks and stains and splash marks all over them. It was so bad in places you could not make out any details in the ocean or of the islands. I know they have a quick turnaround, but if they can find time to paint over the rust when at port, then surely they can clean the windows in the Plantation Restaurant and the Dome, two places we frequented. After all, the view is supposed to be one of the highlights and being forced to go top deck when it's cold just to take a look at the ocean or a sunset was not ideal. Over all we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and would definitely go again. We are planing to go on the new ship Aria in 2016 in fact. It is very difficult to give a ship or a cruise a realistic score as there are some things which are very annoying and many things which are brilliant. I have given a score which I believe reflects accurately our overall experience, taking into account the price we paid, which given everything you get, is very reasonable indeed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
While I feel the Dawn is aging, she has a charm all her own. My husband and I did the Barrier Reef Discovery cruise. Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef was on our bucket list. We booked our cruise online with P & O, which proved to ... Read More
While I feel the Dawn is aging, she has a charm all her own. My husband and I did the Barrier Reef Discovery cruise. Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef was on our bucket list. We booked our cruise online with P & O, which proved to be quick and easy. Bookingshore tours was a breeze, and when we entered the cabin our tickets were waiting for us. Embarkation process was really easy and quick. We were lucky enough to be given priority boarding passes by a lovely lady working there. Embarkation started at 10am and were were in the dining room having an early lunch by 11am. Upon arrival at our balcony cabin, we were greeted by our cabin steward, Emil, who made us feel at home with his lovely smile and friendly demeanor. Our bags were in our room along with our shore tour tickets. Emil made sure we always had everything we wanted and his serivce was exceptional. Our room was very functional, and the balcony was just what we wanted. Maybe a tiny bit small, as it was difficult to move chairs at times. Bathroom was small, as is to be expected on a ship, but was spotless and very clean. Bed was comfy, my bad back problems didn't happen. The food was brilliant, Salt Grill, amazing, La Luna, fantastic, Waterfront restaurant was great, but felt very portion controlled.  Plantation restaurant, yummy. All food was so fresh and tasty. All staff and crew cannot be faulted in their customer service. The entertainment was fantastic, with great singing and dancing. The Atrium was a hub for muscians, we drank many a cocktail while listening to great selections of music from pop to classics to jazz, blues and rock and roll. All public areas were spotless and well maintained. I cannot fault anything at all on this ship...we had a ball and have booked again for 2016. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Hi Everyone, My wife and I travel overseas all the time , never before on a cruise. I really did not care if I went or not but was sort of pushed into it. We left Brisbane late, no surprise as I was sure that the cruise was a dud and ... Read More
Hi Everyone, My wife and I travel overseas all the time , never before on a cruise. I really did not care if I went or not but was sort of pushed into it. We left Brisbane late, no surprise as I was sure that the cruise was a dud and not for me. Well that night I went to bed after a good feed at the restaurant and 2 beers, woke up 9 hours later after the best sleep, the reasons are plain to me, no neighbours, no phone calls and no boss. The cruise was great, the food was great, the service was great and the entertainment was the best fun,(thank you Willie and the team). All I can say is that you have paid the money and did not enjoy the cruise it is probably your own fault and do everyone a favour, including yourself, stay at home because if you cannot find something to do and don't know how to enjoy life I am sure you already have the answer. Happy sailing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our first cruise and my partner and I where very pleased with everything on offer. To start with, we got a steal on the price. for 2 adults and a toddler we payed just under $2400 for what started as a 10 night cruise. (wound up ... Read More
This was our first cruise and my partner and I where very pleased with everything on offer. To start with, we got a steal on the price. for 2 adults and a toddler we payed just under $2400 for what started as a 10 night cruise. (wound up being 11 but I'm not complaining) Secondly the whole process and all our dealings with P&O prior where both clear and simple. Embarking was one of my few gripes. They request that you select the dime that you would like to board to make boarding easy but in the end we booked our boarding time as 11-11:30am and we only got on the ship a little after 1pm. I only had one other problem and that was the fact that the lifts at the front of the ship were slow and one out of the three had been out of order for over a month. other than that everything was as imagined or better. The ship: This ship is an old one and its age does show in places, this does however add to the charm of the occasion. As a whole the ship is well thought out and easy to get around. The staff: Every staff member on board was friendly and approachable and easy to get along with. The wait staff are by far the most incredible taking every step to ensure they remember everything about you and do everything they can to make your Dinning a synch. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
I recently booked this cruise for four people, two of whom have never cruised. I recommended a window cabin, however about ten days prior to sailing I was contacted by P&O and asked if I would like a cabin upgrade to balcony for ... Read More
I recently booked this cruise for four people, two of whom have never cruised. I recommended a window cabin, however about ten days prior to sailing I was contacted by P&O and asked if I would like a cabin upgrade to balcony for $200pp. The caller stressed there were only a few available and I was on a short list. I decided to take up the offer on behalf of ourselves and our friends. When we joined the ship I was bitterly disappointed to find that the balcony was really no more that a hole cut in the ships side and views were extremely limited, as was the space. Had the caller described the balcony I would not have paid the extra. All I was told was that it was on Deck 10. I did not have chance to look at the ships layout as I was not at my computer. I feel P&O was not entirely honest. So make sure you get precise details if offered an upgrade. We always enjoy a Dry Martini when cruising, however when I asked for one at the Connextions bar I was told I could not choose my gin,Tanqueray, only Gordons. I declined. I reported the matter in writing asking Why this was so? I never received a reply! I later had one at the Oasis bar where it was served in a plastic glass and was not very cold. Princess Cruises do the best Martini's to date. Staff are excellent and work very hard. In the Plantation dining area tables are not cleared very quickly, probably due to a shortage of staff as there are only approximately 700 to the 2000 passengers. There is no afternoon tea, unless one pays for it and no late night snack, unless one pays for it. Food in general is good, on par with the QM2 I would say. Sushi would be a nice choice though! Entertainment was very good and the on-board singers and dancers excellent! Dress is controlled to a certain extent and although no swim wear is allowed in dining areas some girls were flaunting this by pulling on a pair of shorts over their wet cozzies. The Waterfront restaurant does not allow shorts in the evening, except on certain nights such as "Island Night". I do not think crumpled jeans, T shirt and thongs are an acceptable form dress on cocktail nights or any other night. But this was allowed. Maybe too hard to enforce, although other lines do. Overall the cruise was enjoyable and except for my cabin and martini I was overall satisfied.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
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