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271 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

My husband and I cannot speak highly enough of the cruise on the Pacific Dawn. Balcony was excellent. Service was outstanding in all areas from room service to the entertainment. We arrived home wanting to cruise again to which we did only ... Read More
My husband and I cannot speak highly enough of the cruise on the Pacific Dawn. Balcony was excellent. Service was outstanding in all areas from room service to the entertainment. We arrived home wanting to cruise again to which we did only to be disappointed on the Aria. We will go on the dawn again. Everyday we participated in some activity from going on the tender boats to the various islands and at night enjoying the karaoke and shows. Love the trivia. Food was absolutely beautiful. Staff were fantastic and so friendly. what more can I say it was an amazing cruise. Thank you for all the wonderful people we met. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Usual P&O White Bay port - extra $20 each way by taxi from Sydney. I think most people on the ship paid very little since it left as school went back and workers returned, so the value for money was excellent. Drink prices were as ... Read More
Usual P&O White Bay port - extra $20 each way by taxi from Sydney. I think most people on the ship paid very little since it left as school went back and workers returned, so the value for money was excellent. Drink prices were as expected from last cruise - glass of wine for $8, beers from $5.75 to $8.00. On board duty free alcohol prices reasonable ( we went to Port Vila which kept them lower ), but as everyone knows you buy at Port Vila for cheapest. Was on Jewel 2 years ago so everything was much the same. The Cruise Director is now Alun ( last time was deputy and was much funnier then ), there seemed to be a lack of structure with the shows. The morning show was ridiculous - just sit around and talk about nothing and try to make jokes of everything they think of at the time. Joanna was deputy cruise director and she was the one with the most talent for making up jokes and running things. Cabin was fine except for freezing air conditioning - reported three times and no action - noted previous passenger had shoved paper into outlet to try and direct air away from bed - we left it in. Food in Plantations was good - no complaints - even had ice cream in evening ( but still lack of basic desserts like apple pie or pavlova etc). Entertainment by ship dancers was good and singers were fine, other guest entertainers were fine also. Ship was late into Sydney due to engine problem on way back, this caused lots of problems for many passengers ( and cost P&O heaps I bet ). Tender service was a problem as usual especially at Champagne Bay ( we missed Dravuni Island due to weather so we went to Champagne but arrived at 10am or so and everyone was up and wanting to get off first ). Some people were taking 20 tickets at a time so even if you were early you were in for a wait. Overall we enjoyed the trip, most cruises have some problems but really for the price it's great value and a safe way to travel. Also noted that the gym had been reduced in size by 50% since last trip. Pick your times carefully if you want to use it.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We went on a short cruise to visit friends of ours who live near Newcastle. It was a short four night cruise, but the cost worked out cheaper in comparison to flying there for all of us etc. Anyhow I had not been on the ship since its ... Read More
We went on a short cruise to visit friends of ours who live near Newcastle. It was a short four night cruise, but the cost worked out cheaper in comparison to flying there for all of us etc. Anyhow I had not been on the ship since its last refurbishment and must say I was very pleasantly surprised in what I saw. Especially the LIDO deck. The new furniture, the big hammocks and lounges just make this place a great area to hang out. Pleasantly too that often a hammock was still available or would become available. They have also changed their smoking policy again. I do not smoke but heard many smokers complain that they had removed smoking from the LIDO deck. Smokers can now smoke again on Deck 12 LIDO but only forward starboard side. Waterfront Restaurant has also undergone changes and you now have varieties of tables and seating ie there are some high set tables now vs the normal dining tables and chairs.The decor has also changed. We traveled in an inside cabin deck 9 aft. The cabin was fine and my wife loves the space P&O ships have, there is a lot of hanging and storage space. They have also included the Edge activities now and you so many passengers ziplining or doing other activities. You do have to pay for these which is a shame, I would like to see them included in the fare, but they do use professional staff for a lot of the activities. Food was great we mainly dinned at the waterfront and on a few occasions at the buffet. We had high tee once for$20ea. in the Salt Grill. Certainly an experience and more than enough sweets and little sandwiches and a glass of champagne. Kids club like always was great, We had one in Turtle cove and one in Shark Shack. Embarkation and Debarkation went very smooth with no hiccups. Cabin was cleaned well and steward was friendly and attentive. They had three production shows and a hypnotist. I like the production show and they actually had three sessions per evening so sufficient seats were available. Overall a wonderful experience. . Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I have cruised before, many years ago, but my husband had never been on a ship. I cannot fault anything on the cruise. On the day of our departure, there was a computer crash at the terminal, which made getting on board very slow. We ... Read More
I have cruised before, many years ago, but my husband had never been on a ship. I cannot fault anything on the cruise. On the day of our departure, there was a computer crash at the terminal, which made getting on board very slow. We arrived for our alloted time at Station Pier, and, because my husband has some walking problems, the staff member at the dock suggested we wait for a wheel chair. We eventually got a wheel chair and once boarding started again, was whisked off with others to board quickly. We were taken up to our cabin, where we met our cabin steward, who looked after us exceptionally. All the staff we came in contact with were pleasant and helpful. It made a very happy and relaxing holiday. I was happy with the standards on the Pacific Jewel, and have booked another cruise late next year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I'm 19 and this was my first cruise, I travelled with my parents and we stayed in an interior cabin. Before the cruise I did some research on the ship and found some poor reviews in this site, so I thought I might of been in for a ... Read More
I'm 19 and this was my first cruise, I travelled with my parents and we stayed in an interior cabin. Before the cruise I did some research on the ship and found some poor reviews in this site, so I thought I might of been in for a poor time, I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the cruise immensely. Embarkation: For this cruise there were delays in the morning from difficulties getting luggage and supplies off the ship and stowing new luggage and supplies. These delays meant that there were large lines when dropping off baggage and checking in but luckily these delays didn't have much effect on boarding time and we were on ship when scheduled. The Pacific Dawn was launched in 1991 but you wouldn't know that from its look. The Dawn has received a number of refurbishments since launching in Australia in 2007 to keep it looking modern and fresh and it reflects it's Australian clientele. Food: The main À la carte restaurant requires bookings for dinner as it gets quite busy. The menu for breakfast remains the same throughout the cruise. The lunch menu changes daily but may repeat over the length of the cruise. The dinner menu has some staples every night (Steak, Burger, Lasagne) but has half a dozen entrees, mains and desserts that change each night. Service was always quick and staff were always friendly and helpful. The buffet serves a wide variety of foods of a good to very good standard. For breakfast there is a full cooked breakfast in addition to cereal, yogurt, fruit, porridge, toast and pastries. For lunch and dinner there is a variety of salads, pre-made sandwiches/wraps/rolls, cold meats, soup, asian and indian foods as well as roasts, veg and assorted meats and sides. Cabin: We stayed in an interior cabin on Deck 10 at the front of the ship. The room was in good condition and larger than I was expecting. Our cabin stewards would clean the room twice daily and very helpful if you had any issues, questions or just wanted more towels. On-board Activities: There was a large variety of activities on sea days, and a smaller number of activities of port days. Activities included a variety of trivia (general trivia, sports, music), bingo, art auctions, table tennis, arts and crafts sessions, wine tasting, martini and cocktail making sessions, movies on the top deck, cooking demonstrations and galley tours, karaoke, game shows with crew (celebrity heads etc). Shore Tours: I didn't do any of the P&O shore tours. They are expensive but there is a large variety of tours and they all meet standards set by P&O and the ship will wait for you if you are on a P&O tour that runs late. Entertainment: There was a wide variety of entertainment over the cruise. There were theme nights that were held on the top deck or in the Dome if there is bad weather. these included an Island party, Country and Western Night. There was a magician and a couple of comedians that performed either family shows in the theatre or adults only shows late at night in the dome nightclub. The nightclub would run until 3AM. Throughout the afternoon and evening there was also live music on the top deck, in the atrium or in some of the bars and this included Bands, acoustic duos and a pianist. Over the cruise there were several production shows, these production shows are of incredible quality and are family friendly, high energy, fun and playful and sometimes feature audience participation. The shows cater to everyone featuring hits from the 60's, 70's and 80's through to current offerings. These shows are not to be missed. Disembarkation: We had an early disembarkation time as we had flights to catch. Disembarkation was run very smoothly with clear instructions and directions on where we were to meet, what we needed and were we were to disembark from. The Pacific Dawn is a wonderful ship to travel on and P&O have a great understanding of their clientele and their needs to provide the best experience for your holiday. I'll definitely be travelling with P&O again, both on the Pacific Dawn and on their other ships. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I have done 17 cruises all over the world and loved this cruise, It was short and the entertainment was the feature of this cruise. I had an upgrade to an outside cabin which was large and comfortable. The food in the Plantation Bistro and ... Read More
I have done 17 cruises all over the world and loved this cruise, It was short and the entertainment was the feature of this cruise. I had an upgrade to an outside cabin which was large and comfortable. The food in the Plantation Bistro and the Waterfont Reateraunt was of a good standard and the service was good.There were many good things such as good coffee availible 24hrs bars were excellent with boutique beers at good prices. Shopping was reasonable with reasonable prices. There were mant families and young people on board which was a change to the floating nursing homes that many cruises are. Entertainment was fantastic and in all areas. The ship was showing her age but was not a problem. P & O waqs well organised and embarkation and disembarkation was not a problem. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
fistly we flew to Singapore - stayed with our son who lives & works there. We have cruised on pride of America around the Hawaiian Islands, a short cruise of South Pacific on sun princess, & lastly celebrity millennium from hawaii ... Read More
fistly we flew to Singapore - stayed with our son who lives & works there. We have cruised on pride of America around the Hawaiian Islands, a short cruise of South Pacific on sun princess, & lastly celebrity millennium from hawaii to Australia via the Tahitian islands. I wasn't sure P&o jewel would come up to our expectations, but it did. We are not demanding people, and we have an open mind. The ports of call is what attracted us, and we enjoyed every shore excursion that we booked with P&o before leaving. To come all this way & not see the. Likes of borobudur ancient temple, ancient temples of northern Bali, to walk with a guide & see the Komodo dragons in the wild, the Timor Leste - venturing up to the mountain & hinterland, alotau & ku du drum festival & markets, and lastly the swim in the aqua blue waters of doini Island. We are understanding persons, do not grumble or complain & hence we enjoy everything & I noticed by doing this the waiting staff in the waterfront restaurant looked after U.S. Very well, of course we tipped them on the last night. Not sure where will cruise next year? - we are seriously of flying back to Hawaii for a bit of stand up paddling on the waves, and possibly fly over on Hawaiian airlines to Las Vegas & Grand Canyon tour. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
the dawn may be an older ship but she was spotlessly clean. The service of all staff was fantastic. The activities on the food and wine cruise were excellent, especially the martini making class and the food and wine matching course. The ... Read More
the dawn may be an older ship but she was spotlessly clean. The service of all staff was fantastic. The activities on the food and wine cruise were excellent, especially the martini making class and the food and wine matching course. The food was excellent, even better that I didn't have to cook it and the variety was excellent. A fantastic way to celebrate turning 40 with friends. Highly recommend for a fantastic priced get away! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
1st time for us on the Pacific Jewel, we have been on the Dawn and Pearl before and also have sailed with Princess, HAL, Carnival and RCL. The ship was just recently out of the refit in Singapore where it had amongst others the Pantry ... Read More
1st time for us on the Pacific Jewel, we have been on the Dawn and Pearl before and also have sailed with Princess, HAL, Carnival and RCL. The ship was just recently out of the refit in Singapore where it had amongst others the Pantry installed. We were travelling in a group of 22 people with a mixture of children12 of all ages 5 to 16 and 10 adults of various ages between 35-66. Some have had some previous cruise experience with my wife and our children being the most cruised family amongst our group. Embarkation went very smooth most of us had 9:30 check in and where on board the ship at 11 onwards. Food/Drinks: Naturally the first step was drop of hand luggage in the cabin, and off to the Pantry. What a pleasant surprise to the old Mensa style and what a great experience. There are so many varieties of seating availability that you never feel crowded also the various food stations are great. There is enough variety on board for a seven night cruise that you can not taste it all unless you have multiple servings and eat there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We mainly ate in the pantry during lunch although we did eat in the MDR on a couple of occasions too for lunch as my wife likes the mussels. Breakfast was half and half and dinner mainly in the MDR. Although some of us did the Chef's table, which I can highly recommend, for $95 including all your wines it is a culinary experience. We also had dinner at Salts on the last night, again the food was delicious and the service outstanding. Some of our friends joined in on these events and the overall comment from all was that the food and service on board was great. On a side note with regards to booking a table, which you have to do on the first night that you dine in the MDR, after that they have your preference and will pencil it in, also you do not have to rebook at the MDR, you can just use the phone in your cabin to confirm/book your table. Drinks are similarly priced to what you pay in Australian pubs/Bars there is sufficient variety on board. Fortunately P&O is priced in Australian dollars as are Princess Aust and Carnival Aust as the lower Australian dollar does have an impact now if you are on a ship that charges in US dollars. Entertainment: The main shows were great, both the production shows and the guest entertainers. They no longer have the Pacific Cirque due to I believe a recent accident and acrobatic performance is now under review. The new shows are great, although we do miss some of the older ones, but one should not be nostalgic. There is enough to do on board the ship during the day to keep oneself entertained, just check out the Pacific Daily that is delivered each night. The specialty nights was Bianco, which was a great night, unfortunately due to the weather it was below decks. Whilst they still have sort of Western and Pirates, these are no longer main events and more just for a good photo opp. They are to be replaced by Gatesby and back to school theme nights. We also had two formal nights which are a great opportunity to get dressed up, I like putting on my Tuxedo for these and my wife enjoys very her formal attire and so did most of our friends. The Jam session on the last night in the Atrium was also great fun and well worth it. Overall the standard of the various bands/musicians was good. I would have loved to spend some more evenings in Connexions but it was a bit cold there (aircon) and my wife preferred the Atrium. Service/Cabin Steward/Cabin For our family we had to inside cabins deck 5 forward. They were find for our needs and the nice thing about the P&O ships is that their cabins are very roomy and there is enough space to put things away. In April we sailed on RCL VoS and found that the cabin space was insufficient for four people. Our room steward was excellent and we also had evening turndown service. The cabin was clean and everything functioned well. All our friends were satisfied with their cabins and steward service. Ships Crew/Staff My wife and I were fortunate enough that we were invited to the Senior Officer's cocktails party. P&O used to have a captain's club but due to so many repeat cruisers they had to cancel this as they would have required at least three to four sessions as they can no longer fit everyone in. We have done about 15 cruises with P&O and Princess and received an invite. I do not know what the exact qualifying criteria is so I just mention what we have sailed. During the event I met some of the head office staff from P&O that are involved in the children's program and as we have five boys on board they certainly valued my opinion. During the Bianco night I also met the Food and Beverage manager and we had a great chat (till 2am). I also met the Cruise Director and found him to be engaging with the passengers. Overall the ship staff were friendly, more friendly I must say than what I have experienced on some of the other liners. Kids club We had children in all clubs and were therefore able to give a good assessment of the activities. Turtle Cove and Shark Shack were excellent and the boys and girls in our group had a great time there. HQ and HQ plus not so much and that was due to the location of their club on Deck 2 vs the Dawn and Pearl having it on the upper decks. Consequently the teenagers did not get involved as much in their groups as what they previously have been involved in. Another bonus for P&O is the dedicated youth security they have that are easily identifiable and that keep a close eye on the children, I firmly believe that P&O excels in this area and have the best kids club program. What we very much like is how they also take the children around the ship and have various activities in the show lounge just for them. Carnival has this too to an extent which is great. Islands/Ports Noumea We have been to Noumea several times so did not plan an excursion. Our younger boys went with our friends and did the Tchou Tchou train and my wife, my oldest son and myself went to the shopping mall at Port Plaisance. My wife loves it there because there are several French boutique shops that have the right sizes for her without alterations. And sometimes you can pick up a great French bargain - although on this trip she made a slight error, she thought the bathing suite set her back $25 when it was actually $250, something about her mixing up the exchange rate. Best of all she came and checked with me and my son, as we were enjoying French wine (myself he had a coke) and snacks whilst she was shopping, on the price and I stated the correct amount - she just though I was joking. Whilst in Noumea and you want to do Tchou Tchou or bus, just check if it is more advantageous paying in dollars or XPF. The tour salesperson was great, she stated to me at present you are better off paying in A$ vs Francs (and she was correct- so thank you) Mare Again the weather was rainy but we still hoped off and took the bus to the beach where everyone goes, certainly a great beach to swim and snorkel and I would like to go back here under better conditions. The son did come out for about 45 minutes and the water was turquoise. There are some local selling various things so you can buy souvenirs etc. Don't try and walk to the beach unless you are a good walker because it is prob at least a 60 minute walk one way and then you have to get the right turn off to the beach. Vila Again an overcast day, so we just went down town in a water taxi, enjoyed the local culture, did some shopping sat in a café and then went back. Friends of ours and their girls did the snorkelling tour organised from the ship and they said they had a wonderful time. We have been to Vila before and therefore decided not to do too much because of the weather, we know we will be there again soon as most cruises to the SWP have a stop in Villa. On board shopping They now have a Pandora's store on board (if you are into that) overall there are sufficient shops etc and the lolly shop certainly was a favoured one. We have cruised sufficient time now that we are just happy to browse. The photo shop was fine and we did purchase some of the photo's as they look great and is a good memory. At least the quality of the paper used seems to be better than what we had on RCL recently. Disembarkation Again very smooth even though we had to get off at the grain terminal as the wind was too strong to allow the ship to dock at Portside. Overall This was an excellent cruise - would I do P&O again, without a doubt. Friends of ours who where first time cruisers have already booked their next cruise wanting to do the Melbourne cup and the others that were first time cruisers have seen the benefit of a cruising vacation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Wow were to start! I loved my first ever cruise on the pacific dawn in 2015. I couldn't have had a better time. Seriously I would go back tomorrow if I could. I was well looked after by the room stewards and waiters at the restaurant, ... Read More
Wow were to start! I loved my first ever cruise on the pacific dawn in 2015. I couldn't have had a better time. Seriously I would go back tomorrow if I could. I was well looked after by the room stewards and waiters at the restaurant, there were a heap of activities to chose from I tried to get as many done as I could. Off board was as good as on Board I enjoyed every bit. I did the island hopper cruise and don't regret it one bit!!!!. Great money value if you ask me and definitely a great opportunity. Fantastic for the kids and they also cater well for the adults with multiple bars,comedy shows, bingo, casino so much more. And it's also great for the gym heads out there because the ship has a running track around the top deck and a gym as well and a spa just to top a great day off!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Having endured the worst of yet another cold Melbourne winter my wife and I found ourselves more than ready for a mid year escape. We hadn't previously considered a cruise however fortuitously an advert for P+O popped up on screen ... Read More
Having endured the worst of yet another cold Melbourne winter my wife and I found ourselves more than ready for a mid year escape. We hadn't previously considered a cruise however fortuitously an advert for P+O popped up on screen whilst looking at holiday options. We followed the link to the many specials on offer at the time and booked ourselves a 7 night Pacific Island cruise departing from Brisbane. Being new to cruising we figured the duration was not too onerous and we could simply put it down to experience if we didn't like it. Thankfully, the experience turned out to be nothing but positive. From the well sized cabin to the excellent choice of restaurants and variety of cuisine on offer we simply had a ball. Both crew and passengers alike were friendly and seemingly shared the same intent to have a great time every moment of the day and night. Its fair to say we have come home for a rest after enjoying the various entertainment that is on offer from first light to well into the night however that was our choice and those seeking a less stimulating cruise could equally sit back and relax the days away. If I had to fault anything, it would be the boarding process. Despite having allocated boarding times it seemed to involve a lot of queuing and waiting. In the scheme of things though this was a minor problem and it was soon forgotten. When on board, everything else was well run and timed to perfection. Without a doubt our first experience of cruising was brilliant and we cant wait to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I really wanted to take the time to write this review about the pacific dawn after reading so many negative comments. We have just enjoyed a fantastic holiday which for is after travelling the world extensively, was all positive. I was ... Read More
I really wanted to take the time to write this review about the pacific dawn after reading so many negative comments. We have just enjoyed a fantastic holiday which for is after travelling the world extensively, was all positive. I was actually quite scared after reading all the comments here about pacific dawn yet we loved it. My three year old was treated like a prince, I actually had blissful moments alone just staring at the sea and my husband had a great time around the pool deck listening to live music with a beer. We met a great variety of people - all lovely - no yobbos at all as I have previously read on this site. The entertainment was fantastic- ports of call were as expected after doing my own research and the food was brilliant. I'm celiac so can not be more grateful for the beautiful gluten free food the chefs and wait staff bent over backwards to provide for me. There was a variety of people from young to old and I'm between. My little boy wouldn't stay in the kids club yet not from lack of the gorgeous staff and fun activities. It was a family holiday so we were happy to be together. After all the negative reviews I really have to say you simply get what you pay for. We grabbed a bargain with a free upgrade to level 9 with an oceanview cabin and it was great. The whole shop is immaculate regardless of the fact it is older and no it's not five star or brand new. This did not affect our time on this boat at all. The beds are comfortable. The staff are extremely happy, beautiful people who will do anything for you and even made my little boy towel animals every night. A glass of wine is $8 for a house merlot yet that's the same price you pay at a restaurant. Plus for a bargain holiday with all food provided what do you expect. The theme nights are good fun. The photos are ok yet expensive plus a hassle to find but hey. That's part of the deal. The whole cruise was actually a really beautiful experience. Something I recommend everyone to do young old or in between. There really is something for everyone. I loved the freedom of being at sad and having no phone or internet yet if you want it there is an Internet cafe. All the food outlets that charge a fee are extremely reasonable. We were so happy with the restaurant food we only went for an ice cream or coffee here and there. The activities on board are what they are. Either get involved or don't. We loved the children's family nightclub dance and the pool deck parties. And no we didn't go wild yet I really loved we could hang out together as a family in the fresh air as we sailed off from noumea with a glass of red. It's a really happy holiday and the fact you can just get in and relax with children is heaven. So for me no whinging to share. We will grab another trip on p&o anytime. Thank you for everything pacific dawn. We truely appreciate your efforts to make our holiday a great one. Stop thinking about it and just book it. You might even grab yourself a last minute pack and go deal like we did. Oh and the tours on the boat are expensive so do your research and plan ahead or book your own. Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our second cruise on the Dawn and the best so far. Loved the port and island visits, especially Rabaul with its volcanoes and WWII history and the white sand, unspoilt tropical islands that have only been visited by cruise ships since ... Read More
Our second cruise on the Dawn and the best so far. Loved the port and island visits, especially Rabaul with its volcanoes and WWII history and the white sand, unspoilt tropical islands that have only been visited by cruise ships since 2013. It's a fairly innocent friendly culture and I'd suggest going there before it becomes more touristy because 42 cruise ships from various lines will visit next year. We had perfect weather until the last day heading back to Brisbane. It was hot on shore so bear that in mind. Our Italian captain gave a two hour virtual bridge presentation in the Marquee - extremely informative and entertaining. He also gave daily updates on position, weather and the ship's progress. On board were an academic and his wife with strong connections to PNG and they delivered fascinating lectures about culture and history,also hosting daily feedback sessions after port visits. Id say to P&O "more of this please." The background was important because there ins't much info on the internet and even the Lonely Planet guide I borrowed from the library had very little island info because the islands are such a new destination. We walked into town at Alotau where a major war canoe festival had been held a couple of days before. Many visiting islanders were still there and my boat-loving companion enjoyed inspecting their outriggers and showing pictures of the trimaran he'd built. Then we went out for a 10 kina paddle on a war canoe...very fast! We had lunch at the Imperial Hotel with lovely grounds to the foreshore - about $15 a head for fish and chips. We enjoyed the local marks, buying mangoes and small bananas. At a major supermarket in town we bought packs of PNG coffee and beans which can be taken home. Our island visit to Kitiva next day was magical, especially the grass skirt dancing by children outside their elementary school and the 5 kina boat ride across to a small island. Seawater was clear and warm but I was stung by a sea lice on my thigh - no problem in healing over a week though. These people are isolated and don't have much and some passengers knew to bring colouring books, coloured pencils, educational sticker books etc. Bought a colourful stripey shoulder bag for 20 kina and gave money to the school donation box. We were looking forward to Rabaul and had prebooked a $90 half day Pauvau tour. Not a P&O tour which cost $30 more but not good value when we heard other passengers stories of paying $20 dollars outside the port gate for 4 and a half hours on a PMV with boarded in sides. We went to the volcano observatory, Yamamoto's bunker, the museum next door, the old airstrip and looked across the sulphur coloured water to the volcano. We also visited a hidden Japanese tunnel and by chance saw pods of dolphins offshore, and saw the prison camp tunnels too. But we didn't go to the hotsprings or get a chance to climb up the volcano (which would have taken a while). We finished up at the town market. A man on the ship had grown up in Rabaul and it brought a tear to his eyes to see the area totally laid waste by the 1994 eruption. There is still volcanic ash everywhere. Kiriwina next day had the biggest souvenir market - buy your souvenirs there because there are not so many at the last stop. I had fun jamming on a small drum with locals on a few stalls - mats on the ground really. Just wasn't sure about the import restrictions on wood products - they would have been fine - and there were no drums on sale the next day. Bought a lovely solid pig for 10 kina which was a better price than the official covered craft market near the jetty. Doini Island was the tropical fantasy come true. White sand, waving coconut palms, turquoise and aqua water. There's a small low key resort with a thatched roof restaurant/bar on the jetty. Lots of entertainment with church, school and family groups all dressed up, singing, drumming and grass-skirted dancing. They attracted quite a few donations. The resort owner has placed benches under cover and has planted more trees along the shoreline for shade so that's a bonus. It's just lovely. I want to return on the same or similar cruise because my partner got a cold and missed the last two stops, just staying in bed, so I took lots of photos for a virtual tour and also brougtht back freshly opened coconuts so he could drink the water. Take cold and flu tablets - those bought on board were $27! Now for the ship. First time around we had a balcony cabin on 10. This time we were on deck 5 OH which we both loved because of its proximity to the lifts, Atrium for iced water and purser's desk, and for travelling up to the Marquee. It's a great location I'd choose again. Entertainment was not quite as good as previously. Lead singers not quite as good and the Beat Boys had finished their contract. They really rocked the Orient on the last cruise. The new young Soundblasters band hasn't got the blues and rock mix, a bit too middle of the road, but the lead singer, 24, is very talented and will go far. The Circus Idiotus comedy/music/mime duo was brilliant. Bianco night got off to a late start and some of us went and walked away. The after video showed it was eventually rocking. Gatsby night was huge fun. We'd been taught a Chraleston routine at dance class that afternoon and were told to perform in a flashmob at 10.30pm. It was a hoot! We tended to eat at the Waterfront because we enjoy the relaxed three course meal with a variety of choices and the chance to buy a bottle of wine for $27 and take it away. Plantation seemed to attract more of the pig out type of diner. In all we had a wonderful time. Next time we go I'll leave booking right to the end because prices dropped considerably several weeks before for the cabin category we had. One final word about the new premium drinks package at $79 a day. I looked at the terms and conditions and it doesn't seem good value. It only covers cocktails up to $12 so Long Island Tea at $16 is not included. It doesn't include bottles of wine and there are strict rules about finishing one drink before ordering another. Heard that one young woman asked for another drink, was told she had to finish the one she had first so she drank the rest quickly and was reported for skulling, with a warning placed on her card. I don't see the value with all the shore visits. Maybe it's for the beer and spirits with coke mob who just want to drink all day and night but for the average passenger it doesn't offer value in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was me and my wife's 16th cruise between P&O, Princess and Carnival lines, so we know what to expect from P&O. We had cruised before with friends or relatives or just by ourselves, This time it was different we took my 83 ... Read More
This was me and my wife's 16th cruise between P&O, Princess and Carnival lines, so we know what to expect from P&O. We had cruised before with friends or relatives or just by ourselves, This time it was different we took my 83 year old (never cruised before) father and booked a deck 8 ocean view 8174 triple cabin that we shared. I thought it might be a bit squashy in the cabin, but far from it, their was plenty of room, bearing in mind we have never shared a cabin before and don't spend much time in the cabin, and too boot it was the history making 5 Ship Spectacular going to Newcastle, Eden, Sydney and Tangalooma, all these ports we haven't been to before, excluding Sydney, it was a seven day cruise with only 2 sea days. Embarkation was the usual drop bags and line up, 12.30 pm was the time we booked thinking that their wouldn't be many people left to get on board, wow were we wrong, the reception center at portside was full, but the process was pretty quick and we were onboard within the hour, well done I thought. We ate at the waterfront restaurant most nights for dinner after booking a table during the day, my wife is Coeliac and can only have food that contains no gluten and once again the waiters went out of their way, we shared the table with other friends we met onboard, it was great. breakfast we had in the Plantation restaurant, the large variety of breakfast was served ranging from corn flakes to bacon and eggs, dad had enough bacon by the 4th day and he went back to his wheat bix. With our new friend we met on board, we all went to trivia, karaoke ( not long enough should be 2 hours), and dad even went to the Dome for the comedian, that's after the show in the marquee lounge. the ports were good the first stop was Newcastle, we just caught a free council bus around the city limits hop on hop off anywhere, 2nd port was Eden, this is a nice history spot, some of the best volunteers I have come across, well done Eden! once again caught the $10.00 return bus around the city sights etc. Then the big moment the 5 Ship Spectacular morning was coming up, dad suggested to get up at 5am in the morning so we could see the other ships forming for the V and other formations, I wasn't keen on getting up that early, but what the heck you only live once and that should shut him up for a while, we got up on deck 14 at 5am and WOW the whole area was full of people watching the ships "form" up, what a sight, we stayed their for hours until the Dawn led the other 4 ships in to the harbor, I am glad the old fella talked me into it, it was fantastic, just goes to show you have got to get involved. We met most of the waiters on board, with a special mention to our bar flaring waiter Ed from the Lido Pool Bar he was our favorite. (don't miss the bar flaring the guys are very good and entertaining), talking about favorites the Cruise Director Willie would be the best CD on any ship we have sailed on, well done Willie!, everything from the fireworks in the harbor, the resident band, comedian, entertainers was fantastic. whatever you do and if they have it again on the last night, go to the show that the entertainment crew put on it the Atrium it is sensational. We dressed up in Bianco white gear for the white night, we dressed up in the gangster night with the gangster hats and all, bloody good nights don't miss em. We went in the tenders, we met new friends, we never went hungry, we had the sft drink package, we had a good room, after Almo our room steward cleaned it up daily (haha) We went in a lot of the activities that were offered, we kept away from bingo, broke even at the casino ( that's what I told the wife) and had a bloody good time, in fact we have booked again in June with some friends that we met on board. Thank you P&O!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I have worked in Administration for many years but have not been working for the past 3 years. I am currently looking to get back into Office Administration. I have been on many holidays within Australia and overseas and I have been on 2 ... Read More
I have worked in Administration for many years but have not been working for the past 3 years. I am currently looking to get back into Office Administration. I have been on many holidays within Australia and overseas and I have been on 2 cruises. I Love Pacific Eden she takes 1500 passengers so is smaller than the other ships in the P&O fleet. I was very happy with her layout both indoors and the Lido deck and the adults only Oasis deck and the crew were wonderful. Yes a few hiccups but mostly due to weather conditions making tenders hard to set up. So happy to have been apart of her 2nd cruise and to have joined in the celebrations of 5 ships and the fantastic fireworks display on the Harbour. I have not any reason to complain nor did I find anything wrong. I would like to mention that our cabin was great no problem with our beds that were more than comfortable. The Pantry is devine and food choices are plenty. It wasn't repetitive in the food that was out. The only time that would've been was breakfast. You can only have so much for breakfast. We never had a problem getting a table when dining from The Pantry, some days we ate inside and other days we took the meals outside to eat. The Waterfront Restaurant was a popular choice for passengers and we dined there twice on both occasions the food was lovely, nicely presented and the service was brilliant. 1 thing to remember is that you can order 2 entrees if you can't decide on 1, same with mains and desert. We had the opportunity to dine in at Dragon Lady and Angeloes without charge. Dragon Lady restaurant I managed to have dinner there on 2 occasions and both occasions the food was nicely presented and the taste was great food was also hot. Again I couldn't complain about the service. Angelos we went to once and again the food was nice and hot and again the service was extremely good. It is nice that with all 3 restaurants that we went to the service was the same at all of them so nice to have your chair pulled out for you and your napkin placed on your lap, certainly makes you feel special. Now for the pool areas both were always clean as were the pools themselves it was easy to get a lounge. I just wish there were more of the curtained lounges on the ship on the Oasis deck as it was hard to get 1 of them as they were very popular. I love the Oasis as it is great to get away from the main noises of passengers if you want time out but want to be outside soaking up the sun. Staff were always asking if you wanted anymore drinks and were always happy and polite as they were in all areas on the ship. No matter whether they were serving you or just walking past you in the corridors or passing on the stairs. Entertainment was of a high quality in the Marquee and the seats were comfortable and were very popular events with passengers. The 18 plus Comedy nights were hilarious and both nights the Marquee was packed. There was 1 show that I didn't like that much and that was Twice Upon a Time. The band Alter Ego was really good and definitely knew how to get the passengers involved and made sure everyone had fun. It was also good to have lunchtime entertainment on the Lido deck by various artists. Karaoke was a good night I just wish we'd gone there from the night it started as the nights we did sit in on it, it certainly was a fun night. As was every night that Alter Ego played for the crowd. The Theme nights being Bianco White Night, Gatsby, Back to School and Vegas Pool Party were all very good. I did notice that more passengers were involved in Bianco and Gatsby than the other parties. I can't report on the children's clubs as I didn't have any children in them, but I did go and look at them and they looked clean and the staff in them seemed to be very happy and friendly. At ports with tenders being used were mostly without any problem, there was 1 where the Captain apologised for the delay but due to the weather he had to change tender sides and was trying to keep the ship level for safety. Then there was a medical emergency which caused a further delay. It was a shame but at least we got off at the island. Other than that 1 time the tenders were fine. I had to fly to Sydney from Melbourne so of course I had to arrange the transfer from the airport to White Bay Cruise Terminal this was a lot more organised than on my 1st cruise last January. The transfers were very well organised for the transfer back to Sydney airport. The cost was $18 per person each way. Both embarkation and disembarkation both had a couple of little problems in organisation. I can fully understand embarkation due to it being a busy day for 5 Ship Spectacular. But I feel that disembarkation was a bit of a shambles for no reason the queue was extremely long and I'm not sure what caused this, but it's a minor problem as I didn't want to leave the ship At no time did P&O state that the entire ship was getting an overhaul. I was always aware that the public areas were getting the overhaul and they are fantastic. Yes there are a few cosmetic issues that they were working on whilst we were on shore days. For example a roof was painted on walk a round deck 6. There was nothing different as far as issues that didn't also occur on Pacific Pearl in January 2015. I have no hesitation to sail again on Eden and I have got a cruise booked on Aria on the 15th August 2016 for 18 nights for Polynesian Passage. If I hadn't been happy on Eden I wouldn't have hesitated in cancelling my cruise on Aria. Happy Cruising Everyone and Thank you P&O for yet again another value for money relaxing and enjoyable cruise. Hurry up August Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Here’s my experience! :) I’m 24 and this was my first cruise and my first time going out of Australia. I went with my two best friends, one whom had already been on the same cruise, and the other had already been to Vanuatu. We ... Read More
Here’s my experience! :) I’m 24 and this was my first cruise and my first time going out of Australia. I went with my two best friends, one whom had already been on the same cruise, and the other had already been to Vanuatu. We departed from Brisbane, and I had parked my car at portside parking, it was affordable and convenient. Check in was easy and didn’t take long, we were the stowaways, so check in was around 12-12:30pm I think. You get your picture taken and you receive a cruise card which is your everything once you’re on the ship! It’s your room key and your money. You put cash onto the card or you can set it up with a debit or credit card. I used cash. There are computers near the reception desk to check your balance. Once we were on the ship, I remember being really nervous and excited! Shortly after boarding, we had to assemble in our designated areas in a case of emergency; ours was the casino, with your life jacket to listen to instructions of what to do in an emergency situation. Your stewards inform you once you get to your room where you have to go etc. After that was finished it was time to explore! We headed straight for the top deck for the sail away party and a few celebratory drinks! It was magical, leaving Brisbane and seeing the city and the beautiful blue water. It was fun going underneath the bridge and the horn sounding (it was so loud haha). Drinks At first I had XXXX gold beer that was about $6 from memory; you just swipe your card. Spirits from $7 to $9. Cocktails from $10 to $20. We were lucky enough to be able to purchase an alcoholic beverage package. It cost around $70 per day and you can only buy it on the 1st or 2nd day of the cruise and it’s for the whole duration of the cruise. So I paid $480 (approx.), the deal is unlimited drinks, to the value of $12 (which is perfect, beers, cocktails and spirits are all within this range), only one drink at a time and you cannot buy for other people. DEFINITELY BUY THE PACKAGE IF IT IS AVAILABLE! It saves a lot of money. When you are kicking back on the deck having a cocktail, a glass of wine with dinner or several, or in the Dome having a night out dancing and enjoying a rum ($8-$9), it all adds up. I definitely got a benefit out of the package. Great job P & O for offering it! Oh and this package includes, coffee, bottles of water (not the big ones in your room though) and soft drinks. There is also a soft drink package for like $50 (from memory), unlimited soft drink, great if you don’t drink alcohol or for the kids etc. The Ship I’m use to the sea because I love fishing and going out on boats etc but I did take quick eze on two occasions (one when we first boarded and one on the way back to Brisbane – the weather was so rough!) It was easy to navigate around the ship, elevators were slow though because of the amount of people obviously, so we would take the stairs often, great exercise though to burn off the delicious food and beverages! On the first day we did the treasure hunt, had to go to multiple places on the ship and get staff to sign off, then once completed, cards were drawn out and people won prizes. Some great prizes hey, I ended up winning a massage to the value of $120. AMAZING! The beauty place is expensive but if you’re into pampering yourself or even Botox, it’s all available at a cost. Room We were on deck 10, inside room (no view). Loved it, great choice. And not far from an elevator too. It cost us each $780 approx. Food The plantation is a buffet style restaurant – we used this for breakfast or for a quick bite to eat for lunch sometimes (they prepare rolls and sandwiches etc and we use to just take them with us). However, this is at the back of the ship and my gosh you can feel the waves haha and you can see the ship going up and down, I was a bit queasy eating here but if you went out on the balcony (if you could find a seat) it was enjoyable, the fresh air made it better. The Waterfront Restaurant was our favourite place to eat. Breakfast was only ok, a bit unorganised. Lunch was alright, the same again. However dinner was amazing! We booked each night for 8pm, you can choose to share a table with strangers or just get one for your group. I loved the menu and there is a huge variety. Entrée, main and desserts are available and you can choose whatever and how many you want! All included in your cost. Staff We were soooo happy with majority of the staff, our stewards were fantastic and polite (everyone says good morning and afternoon). They made us several towel animals haha. But the most memorable (they helped make our trip amazing) were our waiters in the Waterfront restaurant. Elma and Mervyn, we wrote them great feedback on the cruise and tipped them. We asked to sit in their area every night. You will definitely find staff that remember you and make you feel welcomed! Activities Plenty to do! I thought that I’d be relaxing on the deck all the time sipping away on cocktails, tanning for the whole duration! Oh no! There are soooo many activities to do during the day and night! It was fantastic. You get the daily schedule the night before and we were actually planning our day out so we could attend certain things and schedule it around meal times etc. I like golf and they actually had chipping and putting games, just a bit of fun. You do can as much as you like or as little as you like, it’s really up to you. And certain things are repeated so you can go another time. The big entertainment shows were good, singing and dancing stuff. The staff are so talented!! I love the comedy nights (adults only), celebrity heads, I can’t remember the name of it but it was a game where 4 staff had to tell us the definition of word and we had to guess who was correct – it was so funny! Willy the entertainment director is hilarious haha. There’s even a casino with roulette, poker, black jack and poker machines. They have bingo too! Big jackpots as well. Shore Tours We pre-reserved ours. Two stops we used the gangway and in Lifou we had to use Tender boats to get on shore. They were easy and quick for us. Noumea – was the first stop – think we got there at 3pm and had to be back on the ship on 9pm We used their currency which is Franc and you can exchange money on the ship or in Noumea when you get off. In Noumea is a better exchange rate. I was a bit disappointed in this place, we didn’t go out of the town, we stayed in the middle and walked everywhere, went to see the churches etc, hardly any shops were open (siesta or something or maybe people are broke and heaps of shops are closed), I tried some kind of beef mince spring roll which was nice, oh and the main park has free wifi, youll see heaps of locals chilling around, that’s why probably . We did the night chou chou train – which departed at 5pm or so and it arrives in time to get back on the boat, It was great, you get to see all the different bays and stories etc – and you get a quick snack and drink Lifou – We used the Franc again, got there in the morning and think we had to be back on by the afternoon (can’t exactly remember) When you get on shore there are markets set up and food, I had a Panini and fresh coconut. Oh and also tried their Number One beer (that’s what it’s called haha) tasted like a mid to me We walked to the church up on the hill, amazing views, great panoramic shots Definitely pre-reserve the jinek bay snorkelling at Lifou. There are limited places and heaps of people missed out. It was beautiful! I loved it. We took our own snorkelling gear and reef walkers (you can hire them but I wouldn’t) make sure you have a waterproof camera, some awesome photo opportunities Port Villa – Used Australian money, you got the day to enjoy it had to be back on the ship by 4pm or so. In the harbour it is sooo beautiful from up on the ship. When you get off the ship, you go to the right to go wait for the shore tours (it’s not far). You go to the left to go into town. We did the Ocean Walk shore tour, that was great, I was nervous at first but it was excellent. Just make sure you take your waterproof camera though, the people take photos which you can buy but they also take pictures on your camera for you. You get to feed the fish and touch sea cucumbers etc I loved it. Now haha when you want to go into town, be prepared to be shocked! You are immediately confronted by the taxi men who want to take you. We paid $10 which is good. The driving is insane! You’ll understand once you’re there haha. We got dropped off in the main street and walked to the duty free shop! We bought our alcohol and they transport it to the ship for you and you collect it on the last morning of the ship. We then went to the Jungle Café which has free wifi when you purchase something! If you wanted to connect to the world, you could go here. I tried there tusker beer and I really liked it. MOST IMPORTANTLY (well for me anyways) haha People have lizards and they put them on you and charge you to take a picture! I’m so glad my friends warned me, I was freaking out! My eyes were peeled for these people and multiple times I screamed when they approached haha, although there was a beautiful green one! I admired it from afar haha I’m not sure if it was lack of sleep or what, but I was very keen to get back on the boat. It was maybe overwhelming, the markets are packed and the shops with food and souvenirs and people. Word of advice, buy souvenirs from the town and not at the markets near the ship. It is much much cheaper to buy in town. E.g. fake Oakley sunnies cost me $5 from in town. At the markets near the ship they wanted $25. On the way back to the boat, we got a water taxi – I loved it! Paid $15 for the three of us. I love the water and it was beautiful. Once on the ship we were on the adult’s only deck, sipping cocktails, watching the sun setting, waiting to sail away (watching people running back to the ship who were late hahaha). Other After vila it’s like a two day journey back to Brisbane – and wow, was it choppy! You could absolutely feel it and every now and then the whole ship would shudder. In the waterfront restaurant, the cupboards and draws were opening and closing, that’s how rough it was. Crazy! On bad weather days they close off the top decks and the side decks for safety reasons obviously. Oh and deck 7 on one side is the smokers deck or there’s one up on deck 13 in a corner near the Dome. The dome is the night club. The DJ was pretty terrible for the first few nights, but then the last two nights he actually let a good song play. Oh KARAOKE! There are some talented people, I tell you. My friend and I sung on the first night after a bit of Dutch courage haha but karaoke is on every night. Bars There are different bars, different vibes etc. You’ll work it out which one you enjoy the most. TIP! If you are on the top deck and the bar near the pools is BUSY AS! Go to the dome and get your drinks there, so much quieter, quicker and not far to walk. Parties We had a white party, Gatsby and back to school. Every night is just a big party really, if you want it to be. On these themed parties, staff come out and dance for a bit Although we did speak with an older couple who were staying on one of the upper decks and they could hear the music. So keep that in mind when booking. Gatsby was the BEST! Definitely dress up, it is good fun. Photos There is always a photographer out and about. Before you get on the ship you can get a picture, when you get off on every shore tour, on cocktail nights and on party nights. Definitely get your photos taken and then go check them out. E.g It costs like $120 for 4 pictures, get one free. Plus many many more options. It’s pricey but hey, some of the pictures turn out amazing! And a great way to remember the cruise! Getting off/Duty Free Items We had to collect our duty free at 6:30am I think, we had breakfast afterwards though You get a time and place to meet to get off the ship, ours was ahead of schedule and was easy as. Finding our luggage was easy too. All of this is explained in booklets that you receive the night before Overall The company I had, my two best friends, definitely made the trip! Everything else was amazing and I’m definitely going on another. I’m going to do the New Zealand cruise. :) Go on a cruise and enjoy it! I hope you have just as an amazing time as I did. It caters for everyone! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Here’s my experience! :) I’m 24 and this was my first cruise and my first time going out of Australia. I went with my two best friends, one whom had already been on the same cruise, and the other had already been to Vanuatu. We ... Read More
Here’s my experience! :) I’m 24 and this was my first cruise and my first time going out of Australia. I went with my two best friends, one whom had already been on the same cruise, and the other had already been to Vanuatu. We departed from Brisbane, and I had parked my car at portside parking, it was affordable and convenient. Check in was easy and didn’t take long, we were the stowaways, so check in was around 12-12:30pm I think. You get your picture taken and you receive a cruise card which is your everything once you’re on the ship! It’s your room key and your money. You put cash onto the card or you can set it up with a debit or credit card. I used cash. There are computers near the reception desk to check your balance. Once we were on the ship, I remember being really nervous and excited! Shortly after boarding, we had to assemble in our designated areas in a case of emergency; ours was the casino, with your life jacket to listen to instructions of what to do in an emergency situation. Your stewards inform you once you get to your room where you have to go etc. After that was finished it was time to explore! We headed straight for the top deck for the sail away party and a few celebratory drinks! It was magical, leaving Brisbane and seeing the city and the beautiful blue water. It was fun going underneath the bridge and the horn sounding (it was so loud haha). Drinks At first I had XXXX gold beer that was about $6 from memory; you just swipe your card. Spirits from $7 to $9. Cocktails from $10 to $20. We were lucky enough to be able to purchase an alcoholic beverage package. It cost around $70 per day and you can only buy it on the 1st or 2nd day of the cruise and it’s for the whole duration of the cruise. So I paid $480 (approx.), the deal is unlimited drinks, to the value of $12 (which is perfect, beers, cocktails and spirits are all within this range), only one drink at a time and you cannot buy for other people. DEFINITELY BUY THE PACKAGE IF IT IS AVAILABLE! It saves a lot of money. When you are kicking back on the deck having a cocktail, a glass of wine with dinner or several, or in the Dome having a night out dancing and enjoying a rum ($8-$9), it all adds up. I definitely got a benefit out of the package. Great job P & O for offering it! Oh and this package includes, coffee, bottles of water (not the big ones in your room though) and soft drinks. There is also a soft drink package for like $50 (from memory), unlimited soft drink, great if you don’t drink alcohol or for the kids etc. The Ship I’m use to the sea because I love fishing and going out on boats etc but I did take quick eze on two occasions (one when we first boarded and one on the way back to Brisbane – the weather was so rough!) It was easy to navigate around the ship, elevators were slow though because of the amount of people obviously, so we would take the stairs often, great exercise though to burn off the delicious food and beverages! On the first day we did the treasure hunt, had to go to multiple places on the ship and get staff to sign off, then once completed, cards were drawn out and people won prizes. Some great prizes hey, I ended up winning a massage to the value of $120. AMAZING! The beauty place is expensive but if you’re into pampering yourself or even Botox, it’s all available at a cost. Room We were on deck 10, inside room (no view). Loved it, great choice. And not far from an elevator too. It cost us each $780 approx. Food The plantation is a buffet style restaurant – we used this for breakfast or for a quick bite to eat for lunch sometimes (they prepare rolls and sandwiches etc and we use to just take them with us). However, this is at the back of the ship and my gosh you can feel the waves haha and you can see the ship going up and down, I was a bit queasy eating here but if you went out on the balcony (if you could find a seat) it was enjoyable, the fresh air made it better. The Waterfront Restaurant was our favourite place to eat. Breakfast was only ok, a bit unorganised. Lunch was alright, the same again. However dinner was amazing! We booked each night for 8pm, you can choose to share a table with strangers or just get one for your group. I loved the menu and there is a huge variety. Entrée, main and desserts are available and you can choose whatever and how many you want! All included in your cost. Staff We were soooo happy with majority of the staff, our stewards were fantastic and polite (everyone says good morning and afternoon). They made us several towel animals haha. But the most memorable (they helped make our trip amazing) were our waiters in the Waterfront restaurant. Elma and Mervyn, we wrote them great feedback on the cruise and tipped them. We asked to sit in their area every night. You will definitely find staff that remember you and make you feel welcomed! Activities Plenty to do! I thought that I’d be relaxing on the deck all the time sipping away on cocktails, tanning for the whole duration! Oh no! There are soooo many activities to do during the day and night! It was fantastic. You get the daily schedule the night before and we were actually planning our day out so we could attend certain things and schedule it around meal times etc. I like golf and they actually had chipping and putting games, just a bit of fun. You do can as much as you like or as little as you like, it’s really up to you. And certain things are repeated so you can go another time. The big entertainment shows were good, singing and dancing stuff. The staff are so talented!! I love the comedy nights (adults only), celebrity heads, I can’t remember the name of it but it was a game where 4 staff had to tell us the definition of word and we had to guess who was correct – it was so funny! Willy the entertainment director is hilarious haha. There’s even a casino with roulette, poker, black jack and poker machines. They have bingo too! Big jackpots as well. Shore Tours We pre-reserved ours. Two stops we used the gangway and in Lifou we had to use Tender boats to get on shore. They were easy and quick for us. Noumea – was the first stop – think we got there at 3pm and had to be back on the ship on 9pm We used their currency which is Franc and you can exchange money on the ship or in Noumea when you get off. In Noumea is a better exchange rate. I was a bit disappointed in this place, we didn’t go out of the town, we stayed in the middle and walked everywhere, went to see the churches etc, hardly any shops were open (siesta or something or maybe people are broke and heaps of shops are closed), I tried some kind of beef mince spring roll which was nice, oh and the main park has free wifi, youll see heaps of locals chilling around, that’s why probably . We did the night chou chou train – which departed at 5pm or so and it arrives in time to get back on the boat, It was great, you get to see all the different bays and stories etc – and you get a quick snack and drink Lifou – We used the Franc again, got there in the morning and think we had to be back on by the afternoon (can’t exactly remember) When you get on shore there are markets set up and food, I had a Panini and fresh coconut. Oh and also tried their Number One beer (that’s what it’s called haha) tasted like a mid to me We walked to the church up on the hill, amazing views, great panoramic shots Definitely pre-reserve the jinek bay snorkelling at Lifou. There are limited places and heaps of people missed out. It was beautiful! I loved it. We took our own snorkelling gear and reef walkers (you can hire them but I wouldn’t) make sure you have a waterproof camera, some awesome photo opportunities Port Villa – Used Australian money, you got the day to enjoy it had to be back on the ship by 4pm or so. In the harbour it is sooo beautiful from up on the ship. When you get off the ship, you go to the right to go wait for the shore tours (it’s not far). You go to the left to go into town. We did the Ocean Walk shore tour, that was great, I was nervous at first but it was excellent. Just make sure you take your waterproof camera though, the people take photos which you can buy but they also take pictures on your camera for you. You get to feed the fish and touch sea cucumbers etc I loved it. Now haha when you want to go into town, be prepared to be shocked! You are immediately confronted by the taxi men who want to take you. We paid $10 which is good. The driving is insane! You’ll understand once you’re there haha. We got dropped off in the main street and walked to the duty free shop! We bought our alcohol and they transport it to the ship for you and you collect it on the last morning of the ship. We then went to the Jungle Café which has free wifi when you purchase something! If you wanted to connect to the world, you could go here. I tried there tusker beer and I really liked it. MOST IMPORTANTLY (well for me anyways) haha People have lizards and they put them on you and charge you to take a picture! I’m so glad my friends warned me, I was freaking out! My eyes were peeled for these people and multiple times I screamed when they approached haha, although there was a beautiful green one! I admired it from afar haha I’m not sure if it was lack of sleep or what, but I was very keen to get back on the boat. It was maybe overwhelming, the markets are packed and the shops with food and souvenirs and people. Word of advice, buy souvenirs from the town and not at the markets near the ship. It is much much cheaper to buy in town. E.g. fake Oakley sunnies cost me $5 from in town. At the markets near the ship they wanted $25. On the way back to the boat, we got a water taxi – I loved it! Paid $15 for the three of us. I love the water and it was beautiful. Once on the ship we were on the adult’s only deck, sipping cocktails, watching the sun setting, waiting to sail away (watching people running back to the ship who were late hahaha). Other After vila it’s like a two day journey back to Brisbane – and wow, was it choppy! You could absolutely feel it and every now and then the whole ship would shudder. In the waterfront restaurant, the cupboards and draws were opening and closing, that’s how rough it was. Crazy! On bad weather days they close off the top decks and the side decks for safety reasons obviously. Oh and deck 7 on one side is the smokers deck or there’s one up on deck 13 in a corner near the Dome. The dome is the night club. The DJ was pretty terrible for the first few nights, but then the last two nights he actually let a good song play. Oh KARAOKE! There are some talented people, I tell you. My friend and I sung on the first night after a bit of Dutch courage haha but karaoke is on every night. Bars There are different bars, different vibes etc. You’ll work it out which one you enjoy the most. TIP! If you are on the top deck and the bar near the pools is BUSY AS! Go to the dome and get your drinks there, so much quieter, quicker and not far to walk. Parties We had a white party, Gatsby and back to school. Every night is just a big party really, if you want it to be. On these themed parties, staff come out and dance for a bit Although we did speak with an older couple who were staying on one of the upper decks and they could hear the music. So keep that in mind when booking. Gatsby was the BEST! Definitely dress up, it is good fun. Photos There is always a photographer out and about. Before you get on the ship you can get a picture, when you get off on every shore tour, on cocktail nights and on party nights. Definitely get your photos taken and then go check them out. E.g It costs like $120 for 4 pictures, get one free. Plus many many more options. It’s pricey but hey, some of the pictures turn out amazing! And a great way to remember the cruise! Getting off/Duty Free Items We had to collect our duty free at 6:30am I think, we had breakfast afterwards though You get a time and place to meet to get off the ship, ours was ahead of schedule and was easy as. Finding our luggage was easy too. All of this is explained in booklets that you receive the night before Overall The company I had, my two best friends, definitely made the trip! Everything else was amazing and I’m definitely going on another. I’m going to do the New Zealand cruise. :) Go on a cruise and enjoy it! I hope you have just as an amazing time as I did. It caters for everyone! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
What a pleasant surprise to join a small ship after years of travelling on mighty ships...no crowds. The new layout and set up of the pantry ..thank god they got rid off the pig trough and one could be served fresh food uncontaminated ... Read More
What a pleasant surprise to join a small ship after years of travelling on mighty ships...no crowds. The new layout and set up of the pantry ..thank god they got rid off the pig trough and one could be served fresh food uncontaminated by dinners tasting samples. I must admit that some of the selections need tweaking a bit and maybe an aussie grill.. steak ,cutlets ,sausages etc with some classic sauces maybe baked potato to accompany would be great. Queues are hard to get by with when every one wants to eat at the same time but I found that if not in a hurry...god im on a cruise and don't have to be any where in a hurry...the wait was less after lunch and the food refill was great ..loved the Chinese fresh veg stir fry and the salad and fruit bar. Bar service was great and all the staff certainly stepped up considering they were on a "new ship'' The service could not have been more help full. Our cabin was spotless and serviced every day. I think that the Ship was well refurbished and suited the market and price range but I was disgusted with the flammable paint tins used as ash trays ..very tacky and even though I am not a smoker I felt that the smoking areas were dismal and treated the smokers as second hand citizens. On one occasion I called a staff member over , in a brown uniform, to extinguish an ash tray that was starting to catch fire. Would have hated to see what happened if no one was around to see a the ash tray. All up though a great trip Brisbane to Cairns return and looking forward to my next cruise with P&O Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My husband and I spent our first wedding anniversary on this ship. And I couldn't have asked for a better mini break. We had a ball, and can't wait to get on another cruise. We were lucky enough to meet and have luke Mangan cook ... Read More
My husband and I spent our first wedding anniversary on this ship. And I couldn't have asked for a better mini break. We had a ball, and can't wait to get on another cruise. We were lucky enough to meet and have luke Mangan cook for us. His food was as incredible as I had imagined, actually, even better. Angeleos was also delicious, and as it was free I certainly couldn't complain, even though so many reviewers on here have. The Pantry, also, terrific. For the amount of food they serve, I am still surprised how fresh, and delicious it was. The room was dressed beautifully, comfy bed, great air con, fantastic balcony! After reading these reviews I am shocked at how many people could not understand that the staff, new to a new ship may also be figuring things out. I now take my hats off to them again as they no doubt copped a lot of grief from so many whinges only days before my boarding. Absolutely opened my eyes and I cannot wait to get on P &O again!! Special thanks, and appreciation goes out to the staff on this ship, who have given me some of the most wonderful memories. I had the pleasure of meeting some of the loveliest bar tenders, wait staff, and the lovely ladies at reception, and of course, the crazy and hilarious house keepers. You guys are doing an awesome job. The boat looks incredible. Considering we were only on this ships second voyage I can't wait to see how incredible your boat will be next time I hop on!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We decided to take our adult family on a Cruise for Christmas. We booked 2 Balcony Cabins, one for our 18 and 20 year olds and the other for our daughter and her husbad. We also booked a mini suite for my husband and myself. All 3 ... Read More
We decided to take our adult family on a Cruise for Christmas. We booked 2 Balcony Cabins, one for our 18 and 20 year olds and the other for our daughter and her husbad. We also booked a mini suite for my husband and myself. All 3 cabins were on level 11. From the moment we boarded we were so happy with how we were greeted, which included Carolers, the Christmas decor and just how beautiful everything looked and how friendly and helpful the crew were, which remained throughout the cruise. We then went to our Cabins, and we were so happy when we entered each one, so clean with lovely decor and furnishings. We were greeted by one of our Room Stewards and she bought us a glass of champagne each, we had a lovely fruit platter all laid out as well. We loved the entertainment, we got right into the theme parties, bingo, live shows. Comedy acts etc there was something for everyone. The bartenders in all the bars were friendly and we got the premium drink package which we found to be great and would do again and highly recommend, the barman made wonderful cocktails, We used the DaySpa and bought a package for each of us to have unlimited entry to the Thermal And Relaxation Rooms, which we all loved. We each had a bit of pampering with massage, manicure, deep shaves etc beautiful facilities. The lido deck was wonderful as too the other decks includung the adults only areas. All the ports of call were wonderful as too the shore excursion, if I had to pick a favourite it would be Mystery Island but loved all the other ports as well. We found the food was of a high standard, with plenty of choice. The only issue/negative we had was on christmas night at Christmas dinner, it was a bit chaotic, the Christmas Ham that was on the menu was now not available at the 7pm sitting and was the only time we were not satisfied with the quality of the food nor customer service. It was a bit disappointing that happened on Christmas night. My husband and I were pleasantly surprised throughout the cruise with the complimentary treats we received in our suite, particularly on arrival, formal/cocktail nights, Christmas Eve where a beautiful platter of christmas treats and a bottle of champagne was delivered to our suite. All our family had a wonderful Cruise on the beautiful P&O Jewel, best family holiday ever and would love to Cruise on the Pacific Jewel again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We wanted to give our family a Christmas present they would love and remember - we feel we did this on the Pacific Jewel 12 night Christmas Cruise. From the time we boarded the Pacific Jewel in Melbourne to the very end, we had a ... Read More
We wanted to give our family a Christmas present they would love and remember - we feel we did this on the Pacific Jewel 12 night Christmas Cruise. From the time we boarded the Pacific Jewel in Melbourne to the very end, we had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. We are a family of 6 - ages from 18 through to early 50s. We booked 3 cabins - a balcony cabin for the 18 and 20yr old siblings, a balcony cabin for our daughter and son in law and a mini suite for us. All cabins were on Deck 11. When we boarded we were greeted with very welcoming crew, carolers and loved the Christmas decorations in the Atrium. From this moment we were happy with what we saw and felt. We then made our way to our cabins - opened the door and wow, so clean, loved the décor and furnishings inside and on the generous deck. We had a lovely fresh fruit platter in our room and then we met the lovely Joy, one of our Room Stewards, who welcomed us with a glass of champagne. We went to look at the Balcony Cabins our other family members were booked in - again so happy with the décor, furnishings and how clean they are. The beds were very comfortable. All cabins were generous in size as too the bathroooms and the hanging and storage provided in all 3 cabins were fantastic and more than we had expected. We got the Premium Beverage Package for the Cruise, I highly recommend it as very few drinks are over the $12 limit for drinks in the package, it also included soft drinks, tea, coffee, bottled water etc. A Cocktail was our first drink from the Lido bar - the staff all wearing Christmas hats and all very friendly and had huge smiles. We then enjoyed the Sail Away Party, lots of music, dancing, drinking, people swimming, kids on flying fox and we were only just leaving the Port of Melbourne. This atmosphere of fun and activities remained throughout the Cruise. You really could do as much or as little as you wanted. Activities for all interests from physical activities through to entertainment, trivia, bingo, movies - on the outside bigscreen or in the marquee, lazing on deck chairs in numerous parts of the ship including the wonderful adults only section The Oasis, or even on our own Deck from our Cabin. We loved the Theme Nights and we all dressed up for the Back to School Night, Bianco White Party and Gatsby. I would recommend people organize their costumes prior to coming on the boat, as, although there were some props and costumes available to buy on the boat, there wasn't much in quantity or range. But we had bought our own, so that didn't affect us. The onboard entertainers helped everyone with dance moves and having fun. 2 of the theme nights were held on the Lido Deck from 9.30 and the Gatsby was held in the Atrium. Loved all 3. We did a tour of the Dayspa on day 1 and the 6 of us bought a package that gave us unlimited entry to the Thermal Suite, we used this a lot and enjoyed the different steam, sauna, shower and meditation rooms and ended each in the exclusive Relaxation Room with a glass of champagne. We also each indulged in at least 1 pamper package each - from a hand massage and manicure, facial, massage and for the guys shave to end all shaves. This dayspa was beautifully set up, clean, amazing facilities and very helpful and friendly staff. I wouldn't hesitate to use these services again, should I cruise on the Pacific Jewel in the future. We also did the Titanic Experience at sunset - beautiful and again the staff were wonderful. We loved the barstaff in the Casino Bar, this was the bar we used when we were in the Marquee either for Bingo or watching live shows, we did attend this area a fair bit, the barstaff got to know us by name and knew where we preferred to sit in the Marquee. We enjoyed the entertainment provided and the adult comedy nights were a big hit with us. The productions the talented entertainers put on were very good and they also mixed well with the passengers after shows. The staff at Reception were again helpful and happy. We loved the 5 Ports we visited. Unfortunately only because of poor weather in Lifou, this was the Port we saw the least of but that is no ones fault, just mother nature. We all snorkeled at Isle of Pines and loved it, we snorkeled again at Mystery Island - what a piece of Paradise that is. We went in a water taxi in Port Vila and went to the local shops, and then when on a pre-booked tour on a barge around the Lagoon. Loved that, found it so interesting, the tourguide was very good. The people of Vanuatu are so friendly, would love to go back. We were in Noumea on Christmas Day and because of this we didn't book any tours, we didn't know how much would or wouldn't be open or operating. We however, were amazed at the welcome we got in Noumea from the cultural performers who welcomed the Pacific Jewel as we were docking, then through to the markets, where people were friendly and had some lovely local goods to buy, we then went for a walk around Noumea and because it was Christmas it was relatively quiet but we enjoyed what we saw and we would like to go back one day. The crew were very helpful and informative as to how we would disembark - sometimes by tender, othertimes through the gangway. The only negative we had was unfortunately at Christmas Dinner - they had arranged 3 seatings for Christmas Dinner with bookings to be done in person about 48 hrs earlier. The sitting times were 5pm, 7pm or 9pm. We managed to book a table for the 6 of us at the 7pm sitting. We arrived promptly at 7pm and the Waterfront Restaurant was very busy. After being shown our table, we were given the menus (we had pre-ordered and organized through the chef what we were having as 2 of our party had special dietary requirements, this order had been confirmed as all good just the night before). Unfortunately, things didn't go to plan and what we had organized we were told wasn't available and the staff member allocated to our table was probably the poorest in customer service skills we had met on the boat. We were given things we hadn't ordered and also couldn't eat, then just before we had finished, they must have realized their error and we were getting complimentary mince pies and other goodies but because of the need to leave for the next sitting, none of these could be enjoyed. We were also told when one of our party ordered a Moscato - they were out of Moscato and also Lemonade. If there is one thing in our Cruise I would suggest P&O improve on that would be big event/occasion dinners like Christmas. We generally found that the food and number of places to eat on a day to day basis to be good, quite a good range, quality and service. The whole boat was immaculate, not once were even the Public Toilets a mess. There were plenty of hand sanitisers around and always saw a crewmember wiping rails, vacuuming etc. Even though there was this negative on Christmas Day, I am not going to let one negative experience takeaway from the overall excellent quality and friendly service we had on there. Thank you P&O Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Now as AverageJo said.... Let's clear things up! We read so many negative comments on here, we were about to cancel the trip and lose our money, thinking the lost money would still have been a better outcome. Well thank goodness we ... Read More
Now as AverageJo said.... Let's clear things up! We read so many negative comments on here, we were about to cancel the trip and lose our money, thinking the lost money would still have been a better outcome. Well thank goodness we gave it a go. Those whingers and whiners out there.... yep, we saw some of the issues you raised. Did it interrupt or negatively impact our experience - definitely not. I would hate to live in a world where the negative holds the power. This ship and crew gave us our best holiday ever.... EVER. And yes, we were told there is so much better cruises out there. Well if there are, we can't imagine much better. The staff who work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week... were always happy, accommodating, friendly and approachable. The Pantry food was good and yes, on a lengthy trip might start to get boring.... but then you have at least 4 other places to eat!! And the best was the Waterfront of us - 2 adults and 2 kids under 12. The service, food and experience were great. Then there was the entertainment. With the split up of port stops, we always have something to do.... or if needed nothing to do! The floors shows were amazing, the kids club fantastic, the gym was excellent, the pools great, the bars wonderful. Well done to all the staff on board. Stuff the negatives. It's a mindset! There were odds and ends that could be improved - i.e free kids ice cream. But, when you stop at a place like Suva.... and see the people and how they live.... and then get on board to a twice serviced room (internal too and still great!), with food at your beck and call, with friendly staff all around you, with entertainment for all, with tours and beautiful beaches, and at a very reasonable price for 4 people ... seriously how could you complain? It was our best holiday and we would definitely recommend this cruise ship. Thanks to all the staff on the Aria.... especially those behind the scenes - the chefs, engine room staff, maintenance staff, bag collectors etc. Well done to you all and thank you. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My Husband & I were excited but a little anxious about heading on a planned P&O trip due to the regular negative feedback people had left on P&O Facebook page! We decided it will be what we make of it! Sorry about the essay ... Read More
My Husband & I were excited but a little anxious about heading on a planned P&O trip due to the regular negative feedback people had left on P&O Facebook page! We decided it will be what we make of it! Sorry about the essay but our trip was 98% positive keep reading! Here is our review: We have just returned from comedy 'taster cruise' off Melbourne on the Pacific Jewel. We were in a level 5 'budget' cabin after purchasing a deal from scoupon. Our cabin was fabulous, easy to get to, clean, comfortable bed, tidy, good view & had everything we needed. Even the cloth shower curtain didn't get stuck to you (as they do.) Our room stewardess Liza was most attentive & made sure our every need was met! Her towel art- very cute & clever! Note: Tip your steward in person! In fact, all of the staff couldn't do enough for you, most of them loved their jobs! The entertainment/shows/bands were all great & there was a huge variety of things to do included in your ticket price!! Yes you had to pay if you wanted to do bingo, casino, some craft, & adventure activities (if you didn't everyone's ticket price would be higher!) There was so much to do at times there wasn't time to stop without 'missing something!' Now for the food..... I am a chef & we found the food to be good. The Pantry is a novel idea for a buffet, it allows for a variety of food without a single queue everyone lined up in. Indian, Asian, fish/chips/pizza Mexican, Roast, salads/soup/ sandwiches & of course dessert!! In 3 days I wasn't able to try everything, however the food we had was hot, tasty & better than the 'buffet slop' some places dish up. We were quite annoyed at the constant whinging & comments about the food onboard!! Folks you need to remember the chefs are feeding 2000 people every meal sitting for a DAILY budget of at a guess $15-$20pp at most!!! What do you expect?? One thing I will say is I hope they change variety of dishes more often on a longer cruise. However, like I said above, because we were there only 3 days we didn't have to eat the same thing twice (unless we wanted to!) The Waterfront restaurant was available unlimited (you could eat here every meal if you wanted) for a 3 course meal breakfast/lunch/ dinner for no addition cost. I would describe this as 'formal dining' with budget A La Carte food. You needed to book a table in this restaurant which had staggered times (the booking process was a little clunky & could use a little work)- more complaints heard (again how many meals do you think chefs can prepare at once!) The service was fabulous and staff were almost too attentive, the meal's we had were served quickly, were nice & presented well. The steak was cooked med/rare but was chewy, however it wasn't eye fillet or scotch so difficult to make tender!! The other courses spot on! Overall we had a positive experience & really enjoyed ourselves. We have picked up lots of tips for a longer cruise next time! As for all the 'negative Nancy's' out there you're never going to be happy as you clearly want champagne on a beer budget!!! Remember you get what you pay for! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We departed on the 11th of January 2016 for a relaxing cruise. The first thing we noticed was the ease of getting on the boat, unlike an airport there was staff everywhere to help with luggage, fill out forms and give you advice. A great ... Read More
We departed on the 11th of January 2016 for a relaxing cruise. The first thing we noticed was the ease of getting on the boat, unlike an airport there was staff everywhere to help with luggage, fill out forms and give you advice. A great start. Once on board we received exceptional service from all staff who appeared to actually enjoy their jobs. Our cabin was fine 5th deck interior ( a result of booking very late) Our cabin steward Floraliza was pleasant and hard working keeping ours and I suspect 19 other cabins spotless. The food was first class the entertainment very good with plenty of activities to keep you occupied if you need it. The thing that surprised me most was the price of things. Drinks were pretty much on par with restaurants, coffee $3.50 for a cappuccino, cocktails $12 - $18. The shops selling every day items (bandaids, sunscreen first aid etc. were resonable. I expected everything to be hugely marked up. Duty free alcohol was on par with Port Vila prices maybe a couple of dollars more. Overall we had a great trip and will cruise again. Suggestion: Names on tags of staff and guests could be more prominent - makes it easier to say hello for those of us with bad memories for names. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We just got back from this cruise (our first experience with crusing and I'm hooked). We were quite worried given the negative reviews, however, it was a fantastic experience. Embarking was quick and easy, our cabin was perfect, ... Read More
We just got back from this cruise (our first experience with crusing and I'm hooked). We were quite worried given the negative reviews, however, it was a fantastic experience. Embarking was quick and easy, our cabin was perfect, almost every crew member we encountered during the trip was friendly and helpful, there was only 1 bucket catching a leak during the whole cruise and I only noticed it because of all of the previous reviews. We enjoyed the shows and the live music (particularly Sibling Rivalry in the Ocean Bar - don't miss them). 7 out of 8 elevators were in service (unlike previous reviews). The shower isn't difficult to work (yes there are 2 knobs - one for temperature and one for the flow of water - not rocket science). Spas were working (but always full of kids). Washing machines and driers were working and everything was very clean. Being a smaller boat there are less activities, but we were never bored and neither were the kids. There are a lot of things we didn't get to do. The only small complaint I would have is with the food - it was often very good, but it was also a bit hit and miss. Some of the dishes had an unusual flavor. I didn't eat the same thing twice unless I loved it so much and wanted more - there was plenty of variety. I saw that there had been complaints about the ship rocking due to being smaller - apart from the 1st night when we had 53 knot winds, I didn't notice it and didn't see anyone else feeling unwell. I drank tap water the whole time from the bathroom in our cabin - it was clean and tasted good. I can't wait to go again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
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