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332 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

I welcome this lovely classic ship to the Australian market. It is great to have more choice in itinerary and vessel. Ship The ship is a good size and the public spaces have been thoughtfully redecorated and cleverly designed- many ... Read More
I welcome this lovely classic ship to the Australian market. It is great to have more choice in itinerary and vessel. Ship The ship is a good size and the public spaces have been thoughtfully redecorated and cleverly designed- many delights in store for the passengers (Pax) to discover. Love the adults only, smoke free Oasis furnishing and hey- who needs a wave rider or slide to enjoy a rest, read and dip in the tiny pool? Having said that I have many criticisms, most relating to staff training and one structural. Structurally, the Marquee show lounge is poorly designed feeling cramped with many poor sight lines, but strangely suitable for the style of productions now offered. These shows were absolutely on the money- rich costumes, interesting themes and integrated technology. I was able to work out where I was most comfortable and thus adapted to the Marquee- I certainly don't ask the Aria to adapt to me as some passengers seem to ask :) Regarding staff training, this was apparent everywhere I ventured, and I expected this in Aria's first week as a P and O ship especially as they changed the design and content of most of the usual company Pax offerings. Faces looked confused and solutions were hard to come by as staff were not well equipped to give proper explanations or offer other options for passengers. Food I agree with other reviews that food services almost always displayed the most visible and lowest performing staff and passenger experience. Given this is the greatest risk for a vacation cruise, it is a wicked problem for P and O. Until they have to time to iron out the bugs of the cold food in the Waterfall and the untrained and poorly supervised staff in the specialty surcharge restaurants and Pantry I suggests you become a pleasant and assertive customer and make your wishes really clear. I voted with my feet, and never returned to the Waterfront. The weather being tropical we dined under the stars a few nights, taking our fresh and hot Pantry meals just outside to the tables on this deck overlooking the Oasis pool deck- priceless. The Salt Grill was great, but I really question the surcharge, it is double the other cruise companies charge. I had breakfast each morning as room service, and took to checking the tray in case of omission- the room service door menu was crazy hard to understand and needs serious revision- but the food was hot and tasty- try the cheese platter or charcuterie plate once or twice as they were really well done. Ports The location calls were excellent, and especially liked the overnight in Cairns at the city terminal, and a really welcoming visit to Hamilton Island -perfect for a 7 night voyage. As an observation, it would be nice if Port owners would come up with humane terminals where air-conditioning and passenger flow actually worked. Oh Brisbane- glorified cargo shed and long meandering walking up stairs...would pay to look at how air terminals work and contain/entertain passengers. Cabin We snaffled up a great deal for a suite and boy it was lovely! Space, location, facilities and special treats like wine and canapes, afternoon tea in the suite, Nespresso machine, complimentary water and soft drinks in the fridge, a great veranda with sun loungers in total privacy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We found that it was relaxing. The food in the Pantry, as others have said, lacked variety. What was there was good, but needs to be changed. There also should be some simple food for lunch (proper sandwiches, made to order). Cabin ... Read More
We found that it was relaxing. The food in the Pantry, as others have said, lacked variety. What was there was good, but needs to be changed. There also should be some simple food for lunch (proper sandwiches, made to order). Cabin staff were excellent and everyone else we dealt with were mostly friendly. Some of the areas they did seem bored. Overall we enjoyed the shows and entertainment and would go again. We travelled by car to port. Embarkation and disembarkation was as good as can be when dealing with Port Authorities. We arranged our own shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I cruised wife my wife on a 3 day comedy cruise and we both had a great time. In fact it was the best holiday we had out of the five in 2015 including a cruise on the Diamond Princess. The cabin is larger than on most ships and most ... Read More
I cruised wife my wife on a 3 day comedy cruise and we both had a great time. In fact it was the best holiday we had out of the five in 2015 including a cruise on the Diamond Princess. The cabin is larger than on most ships and most have a bath tub. We love the decor and ambiance of the ship with many pleasant area for relaxation. Make sure you dress up for Gatsby night as the ships decor is fantastic for your Gatsby photos. The only real down side was the quality and service of food. The food in the Dragon Lady and Angelo's was below par and the service in the Waterfront was very slow with inexperienced staff that resulted in long lines or cruisers being given a buzzer to return later when a table was ready. Everybody I spoke to except one said that they were enjoying the cruise and I made a point out of always asking. I would recommend the Eden to cruisers looking for a good relaxing holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Just got off the Eden, so many people complaining about anything and everything...Its a smaller ship, the reason i booked it i dont like the huge ships, if thats not what you want dont book a small ship easy. Getting on and off were a ... Read More
Just got off the Eden, so many people complaining about anything and everything...Its a smaller ship, the reason i booked it i dont like the huge ships, if thats not what you want dont book a small ship easy. Getting on and off were a breeze no waiting around very organized. The only complaint i would have is the Pantry, food boring and not good and Angelos very limited menu and only 1 pasta dish at an italian?? wasn't impressed with it, thankfully no cover charge on my cruise. Service was great, room stewards, bar staff ,restaurant staff all great. No problem with the toilets, lifts or waiting for anything. Drink waiters constantly there refilling as needed. The refurbishment looked great. I thought the shows were great, never been a fan of the dancing and singing shows but these were really good, great costumes and scenes. The comedians on the cruise were also great. The parties in the Dome were always a good night. You get out of a cruise what your willing to put in. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I got exactly what I was expecting and I think sometimes people have unrealistic expectations of cruising. We were on the Loyalty Islands cruise December 2015. We booked last minute and got a really good deal. We usually travel with a ... Read More
I got exactly what I was expecting and I think sometimes people have unrealistic expectations of cruising. We were on the Loyalty Islands cruise December 2015. We booked last minute and got a really good deal. We usually travel with a teenager but this time it was just the two of us. This ship is perfect for a relaxing couples cruise. Because it is smaller, there is less to do than on the larger ships. This suited my partner perfectly. Personally I like a bit more entertainment so prefer the larger ships but that is not meant as a negative. Unlike others I liked the pantry. I don't understand complaints about lack of variety. If you are a fussy eater who doesn't like different cuisines, you might be limited but I found there was plenty to choose from and particularly liked being able to just have a sandwich. I found that the pantry stopped me from overeating. We ate in the MDR most nights and enjoyed it. Tried Angelo's. I didn't really rate it as anything special and actually preferred the dining room. I was glad there was no cover charge for it. People we met on the cruise enjoyed dragon lady but we couldn't get in. We took the drinks package. I think it was borderline worth it for me but a good deal for my partner so that evened out. At least we know up front what our bill would be - saved us from the bill shock we got on our first cruise! I think the ship is nice. I like the wrap around deck on 6 which is where our room was. I thought it would be noisy having people outside the window but we barely noticed anyone there at all. The staff were lovely, particularly in the bars/lounges. I would go on this ship again but if I was taking our son I would go on a larger ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
My family and i sailed on the second cruise for the Eden, and i was pretty worried after reading very negative reviews from the previous cruisers. I don't know what ship they were on because I was pleasantly surprised and the ship was ... Read More
My family and i sailed on the second cruise for the Eden, and i was pretty worried after reading very negative reviews from the previous cruisers. I don't know what ship they were on because I was pleasantly surprised and the ship was fine. Good even!! The ship was clean, including public spaces and bathrooms. Of course if you inspect anything closely enough you'll find something wrong, but there were always people around cleaning up. The food was better than i expected. The pantry does have a decent selection, despite what other reviewers have said. I think the trick is to try different things, instead of going to the same counter every night. I never ate the same thing more than once. Salt grill was great, easily the best food on the ship. I found the staff to be 99% fantastic and helpful. Most were extremely friendly and i did not think they were lacking in training. Someone mentioned a lack of drinks lists and receipts - I saw both. There was norovirus and this was unfortunate but is a fact of life. I thought it was dealt with well by staff who stepped up disinfecting efforts and closed the pools. All in all a good holiday! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We cruised aboard the Eden in December, our 10th P&O family cruise. We are a family of 4 with a 16 year old son and 14 year old daughter, both of whom don't like the "kids clubs". It was a bit of a comedy of errors when ... Read More
We cruised aboard the Eden in December, our 10th P&O family cruise. We are a family of 4 with a 16 year old son and 14 year old daughter, both of whom don't like the "kids clubs". It was a bit of a comedy of errors when we first boarded with none of the pass keys working in our cabin doors. however the staff at reception were helpful, polite and professional. Being an ex-HAL ship P&O had a number of challenges. Firstly HAL does much of it's catering from packages whereas P&O prefers to cater from scratch. This means both the Eden and Aria have very small galleys and the difficulty is preparing the different needs of individual restaurants. Thus no Chefs Table (one of our 2 peeves on the cruise). However, the food we ate whether it be at The Pantry, Waterfront, Angelos, Dragon Lady or Salt Grill was spectacular. Only once did I receive cold food and that was at The Pantry one breakfast, easily fixed. Our cabin was comfy and the layout perfect as one child was in a moon boot and couldn't climb the ladder to a bunk. The couch converted to a full size bed. Loved the new bathrooms with bath. The new shows are spectacular. They are clever, engaging and have the true wow factor. Our other peeve, and this sounds elitist, is that they forgot to invite us to the meet the officers do. As it is the only thing we get for free from P&O I was quite miffed however things were made up to us. Norovirus occurred on our cruise. Thank you to those fellow cruisers who continuously filled up your water bottles from the water station and refused to wash your hands. Thankfully The Pantry also has a dedicated water station where you can take a glass bottle of water from and back to your table. A quick note, more waiters are needed in the Marquee during bingo. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
What are people complaining about. Some people must be so hard to please. Staff are great, cabin ,suit was very good with all the trimmings. The Pantry was more hygienic than a buffet, no one touching the food and no one piling up ... Read More
What are people complaining about. Some people must be so hard to please. Staff are great, cabin ,suit was very good with all the trimmings. The Pantry was more hygienic than a buffet, no one touching the food and no one piling up their plates to leave anyway. Restaurants were more than adequate, so was the water front Entertainment was ship quality not Broadway, what do you expect now. Remember how much the staff is getting paid and how many hours worked, they do their very best to please ! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was my first cruise so I dont really have a benchmark. However, I set out not expecting much as I was told that P&O is at the lower end of cruise lines. We totally enjoyed our cruise and the faults I will mention were really quite ... Read More
This was my first cruise so I dont really have a benchmark. However, I set out not expecting much as I was told that P&O is at the lower end of cruise lines. We totally enjoyed our cruise and the faults I will mention were really quite minor. Cabin Balcony cabin was quite roomy and very clean. Balcony is small but functional. Bathroom was clean and everthing worked. Better than I expected. Bars All good and the prices for drinks were reasonable. Some bars charged more than others and I didnt quite get that. Entertainment Theatre is smallish but didnt see anyone having to stand. Seats a bit uncomfortable. Shows were good - Bev Killock was awesome. A few more movies would have been nice. Pool area Probably the bogan and kid hangout of the boat. Not a major problem but turned us off using the pool a bit. Food Pantry was OK if you got the food when it first came out. Bit of a zoo at breakfast. Waterfront restaurant food was average and didnt bother again after the first night. Room service was cheap but food was cold. Salt, the Luke Mangan, was over rated and not worth the surcharge ($49pp). The high tea, however, is a must at $20pp. Luna was an unexpected jewel. The food was awesome and rivalled the best city restaurants. At $29pp I wouldve gone again if we had time. Overall You get cheap rooms but pay for a lot of extras. Ship is not too bad for its age and I didnt notice much roll with the waves. Odd tip! Im very tall and except for the corridors had few problems with ceilings. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our first cruise and we couldn't have been happier. The ship did show age in some areas, but this didn't mean our experience was affected. The Pantry offered food of club food standard which was fine when chasing a ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we couldn't have been happier. The ship did show age in some areas, but this didn't mean our experience was affected. The Pantry offered food of club food standard which was fine when chasing a quick meal. The Waterfront, Angelo's and Blue Dragon offered great quality food for breakfast, lunch and dinner with good service levels. P & O edge was a disappointment, not what was indicated by promotional material or what was initially advised. Crew really put in a great effort at all times to give us an experience of a lifetime, and trying to get into the Christmas spirit. At times you could tell they were still trying to learn, particularly around thier seamanship when tendering. All in all though we had a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We have just returned from our third P & O holiday, and the Christmas Cruise on the Pacific Eden was very special - the friendliness and service of all staff was excellent, and made us feel immediately 'at home'. Our cabins ... Read More
We have just returned from our third P & O holiday, and the Christmas Cruise on the Pacific Eden was very special - the friendliness and service of all staff was excellent, and made us feel immediately 'at home'. Our cabins and lounge areas were always clean and well-maintained and extremely comfortable, and the meals in our favourite Waterfront Restaurant were exceptional - we had the same two Waiters for most of our meals, and their attention and efficiency were outstanding - their sense of humour made our time most enjoyable. The menu was extensive and varied, servings were ample, delivered hot, and with minimum delay - most impressed! Having sailed on this ship when it was the Statendam, we were amazed at the recent refurbishment. The unfortunate virus problem, which has received considerable passenger comment and media exposure, did affect one of our party, but we were satisfied that all care and corrective action was taken in a professional manner. The variety and quality of the Entertainers was good, and we especially appreciated the Christmas Eve Spectacular, the quality of the Eden's Pop Stars, the violinist Patrick Roberts,and the final night Song & Dance show - top class! All in all, a very memorable Christmas celebration - thank you P & O.! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Overall an enjoyable experience. We travelled as a group of 10 with ages ranging from 19 to 90 on the Pacific Jewel from Melbourne visiting New Caledonia and Vanuatu. This is my third time traveling on the Jewel and my 6th cruise.We ... Read More
Overall an enjoyable experience. We travelled as a group of 10 with ages ranging from 19 to 90 on the Pacific Jewel from Melbourne visiting New Caledonia and Vanuatu. This is my third time traveling on the Jewel and my 6th cruise.We chose this ship because of the convenience of sailing from Melbourne, our home port. The ship is okay. What you expect from a 3 star ship. The embarkation and debarkation process was very smooth. We got priority check in due to traveling with three elderly relatives. We had an oceanview cabin, midship on deck 9. Our cabin attendants looked after us very well and we had everything we needed. For breakfast and dinner we dined at the Waterfront restaurant on most nights. Food was very nice and service was excellent. For lunch, we ate from the Pantry. Good selection of food. Like the fact that it's not self-serve like on other ships. Dined at the Salt Grill on our final night to celebrate my son's birthday. The food was exceptional, in fact most of us couldn't eat it all. Highly recommend it. Worth the $49 surcharge pp. We participated in most nighttime activities. The deck parties were a highlight and a lot of fun. The themes were Back to School, Bianco and Gatsby. The adult game shows were a lot of fun too. The staff work hard on audience involvement. The entertainment in the Marquee theatre was excellent as well. Two late night adult comedy shows and a range of Broadway style musicals offering something for all ages. The band, Exito were excellent as was the piano player in the Orient. We did two shore excursions booked through the ship; scuba diving and jet boating both in Port Villa. Both were excellent and I can highly recommend. At the other ports, we did our own thing or booked tours off the ship- way cheaper. In summary, we all had a great time. I firmly believe that it's up to the individual to choose to enjoy themselves. Some passengers appeared to spend most of their trip complaining about practically everything which is a shame seeing they're in the fortunate position of being able to afford a holiday. My advice is stop focusing on weaknesses because you'll always find them and focus instead on having a good time. Count your blessings! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We cruised on the Pacific Aria for Christmas. We had a wonderful time. Everything was great. Staff & crew were friendly and helpful. Our cabin & balcony was much bigger than we expected and our bed was very comfortable. We did ... Read More
We cruised on the Pacific Aria for Christmas. We had a wonderful time. Everything was great. Staff & crew were friendly and helpful. Our cabin & balcony was much bigger than we expected and our bed was very comfortable. We did have a fridge in our cabin and yes it was cold. Everything was spotless and very tidy. Our cabin stewards were really great. Always greeted us with a friendly "Good Morning" and a smile. The restaurants were really lovely, the food was always hot & very tasty [plenty of it, never felt hungry afterwards]. We didn't mind having to line up to book Angelo's or the Dragon Lady restaurants. We loved the new idea in the pantry for lining up for food. Much more hygienic for everyone. Great selection and very tasty. All the shows were great. We thought the renovations of the ship were really lovely, very posh and classy. The shops had a great range of different items to buy, not too expensive either. The ports & shore excursions were great, loved the free time to just wander around & shop. The only downside was the whingers. We have cruised many times on different ships, but never have we heard so many people whinge, moan & criticise the ship, crew, meals, shows & restaurants. In our opinion, it is obvious they don't like to be out of their comfort zone, so instead of them annoying other people like us with their comments, maybe they should just stay home or holiday some other way. We would certainly recommend the Pacific Aria to our friends and family for a lovely restful holiday, minus the whingers we hope. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Overall we very much enjoyed out trip. Have not done much previous cruising so not comparing, as many others seem to be doing. We were very well looked after with embarkation/disembarkation with wheelchair assistance. Cabin was very neat ... Read More
Overall we very much enjoyed out trip. Have not done much previous cruising so not comparing, as many others seem to be doing. We were very well looked after with embarkation/disembarkation with wheelchair assistance. Cabin was very neat and tidy and the cabin stewards we had were very very good. The Pantry provided everything we could have wanted, and though its the same basic theme every day, the actual offering in each place changes so its actually not the same day in day out. The food there was very good, and the staff always willing to try and help as much as possible. We did have some weather issues and the itinerary for Cooktown was changed, but for us that made no difference as we were not planning to take the tender in anyway - and P&O can't control the weather. Probably the only disappointment was the Waterfront rest. on the Christmas Day dinner. It did seem a bit disorganised, and we would have liked a glass of wine with our dinner but there didn't seem to be any drinks staff around at all. Apart from that though it was a great trip. I think it really is what you make of it - we were just happy to be travelling, relaxing, and being looked after with no cooking to be done etc. I did hear some complaining it was not as good as other cruises they had done. There were still some teething issues going on, but nothing in life is perfect. We certainly did not have any issues as others seem to have had with their cabin, we were very impressed with the staff and we loved the Pantry. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We decided to do a NYE cruise as it was on our wish list to cruise to celebrate a new year. It was great that Jewel was sailing to and from Melbourne as this not only saved us money but also time in not having to travel to Sydney ... Read More
We decided to do a NYE cruise as it was on our wish list to cruise to celebrate a new year. It was great that Jewel was sailing to and from Melbourne as this not only saved us money but also time in not having to travel to Sydney first. We have cruised with P and O (Aust), Princess and NCL. This cruise was our 5th cruise in the last 2 years. Check in was fast and efficient. Without question the quickest onboarding of any cruise we have done (Sydney, Singapore, Venice). We have cruised with P and O (Pearl) twice previously. Overall this cruise was value for money and we had a great time celebrating the arrival of 2016. Staff. We have found that staff on P and O are terrific. Very engaging and very helpful. Of the 3 cruise lines we have used, the staff on Jewel were equal to the best. Food. Food in the Waterfront restaurant is generally good. Occasionally a "less than average" dish will arrive. Staff are obliging in replacing if unacceptable. We love the concept of "The Pantry", however the food quality was below expectation and "hype" following the recent launch of this "new" concept to Australian cruising" (similar approach to this style of dining was on NCL Jade in May 2016) A couple of specifics, toast always dry an rubbery, sweets always similar (a " pudding", a couple of block type cake, some small tarts, and jelly ("Jello"). The Asian dining was okay, sandwiches (big bread, small fillings) Meats, okay but limited options each day. Seating in The Pantry is most times hard to acquire. The high benches not much good for older passengers. Entertainment On our cruise was good. However, why do 18+ comedians think their show is funny if you overuse the "f" word. We had a female Hawaiian comic that was funny, without having to resort to this style, however the same could not be said about the male comedian. It is sad if this is their only style of comedy. The Pacific entertainers were very good, and the variety of shows keep us interested and wanting to come back the next night for more. Dancers and female lead vocalist were excellent with the male vocalist very good. Ship condition. Jewel is now approx 26 years old and is showing some real "wear and tear". If P and O want to keep Jewel in service, they need to spend some real money on the public areas. Walls are chipped and marked, furniture is "tired" (wear marks, chipped edges, "soft" cushioning etc.) There is a lack of indoor seating on Jewel in the main public areas. It was very difficult to get a seat in the Atrium, Connexions or Orient. The Dome on Jewel is dissapointing relative to the size and seating on Pearl. They could use level 6 to provide additional seating and better bars. At the moment this area is "boarded" up, only being used for advertising. Cabins are a good size, but as with the general condition of the ship, the room furniture and fittings require updating/refurbishment. Showers are a good size. Plenty of storage for clothes. Onshore arrivals. This was an "Aussie" based tour. We were very impressed with the local volunteers in Burnie, Port Lincoln, and Portland. All the local volunteers were happy and excited to have us visit their town. Most provided free shuttle services around the town. Overall, despite an aging ship we had a great time. Some people need to appreciate that P and O are not the Cunard line, but then neither are their prices. Great value for money. We will continue to support P and O as we consider them above Princess and close to NCL in value for money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I just got back from an 11 night cruise on the Pacific Aria. Embarkation was smooth and easy. Hopping on the ship I noticed it had been done up very nicely. The staff were 95% friendly. One or two sour faces, but that's life. ... Read More
I just got back from an 11 night cruise on the Pacific Aria. Embarkation was smooth and easy. Hopping on the ship I noticed it had been done up very nicely. The staff were 95% friendly. One or two sour faces, but that's life. Food was excellent. Waterfront was not like the Jewell unfortunately, but the other options such as the Salt Grill, Dragon Lady and Angelos were all fantastic and a massive step up. Those lines at the Pantry everyone was talking about? Sorry, no idea what the problem is, the most people in front of me for the entire cruise was 2! Stop whinging! :) I was on level 5, with a window. Rooms were kept clean and tidy. No complaints here either. Toilet was blocked twice, but reception were quickly on to it. We had the cocacola package deal, well worth it if you like soft drink. If youre worried about too much ice, just ask for less, or better yet.. none! I did the fly-boarding, highly recommend that! Also the Sleeping Giants zipline.. very unorganised, and I missed out on half of it, but overall it was ok. My advice.. Stop reading these reviews, look for the positive (theres a lot of it!), and enjoy your holiday! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
After reading the terrible reviews and having terrible pre-cruise customer service, I was dreading taking my mother and my aunt on the Pacific Aria for an early 80th birthday present. We had even arranged an early departure and ... Read More
After reading the terrible reviews and having terrible pre-cruise customer service, I was dreading taking my mother and my aunt on the Pacific Aria for an early 80th birthday present. We had even arranged an early departure and alternative itinerary so all was not lost. however to our great delight the experience was great from start to unfortunate early finish. The service on embarkation was excellent and we were quickly in our very nicely appointed balcony rooms. There was evidence that they had had some problems with flooding at times but clearly they had been working hard to rectify things. We were very pleased with the rooms and while not perfect my very short elderly mother and aunt managed the shower with not too much trouble given well placed hand grips. The decor of the ship was lovely. We have recently been on a Silversea cruise and it was superior to this. The restaurants were varied. The Pantry is not my thing (like a mall food hall) but it seemed to satisfy many. I could not understand why many chose that over the Waterfront which was extremely comfortable and the food was good - not always great but perfectly acceptable for a cruise restaurant (and I am an extremely fussy foodie). Angelo's and Dragon Lady were also ok - some dishes were fantastic and some ok. I would have liked to see more green vegetables. The star was Salt Grill which was expensive but worth every penny. I have eaten at michelin star restaurants whose food and service was not as good. The entertainment was not amazing and is certainly an area that could do with more focus. We enjoyed the pool areas although often used the main pool area due to lack of cover on the Oasis deck. But drinks service was excellent on both. I did find there were a lot of extras and these added up quite quickly which may take some passengers by surprise. However I still felt it was value for money. Unfortunately my mother took ill which meant we experienced the medical centre. This was excellent with fantastic caring medical staff and when we needed to disembark early, the service of the P & O team to assist us was unsurpassable in what was a very stressful time. This included assistance with disembarkation via tender boat, with people to assist at Port Denarau including arranging transport for us to the airport. Thank you all. We did meet a lot of people gathering up negative feedback to pass on after the cruise. No doubt these are some of the people writing reviews and they seemed to be spurring each other on. This was interesting as I am often said to be an uncompromising and difficult customer, but any negatives I found very easy to accept in the wake of excellent service and lovely surroundings. If things were as bad as people have written on previous cruises, I can only congratulate P & O for their fantastic response to address matters early. I would recommend they improve their PR team and call centre team as the one negative I do have is that my pre-cruise communication matched the reviews. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Like other cruise critic folk I read many reviews prior to my cruise. 95% were negative, thus I had reservations going in.... First thing I'll say to all those 'haters' is you get what you pay for! Don't expect to ... Read More
Like other cruise critic folk I read many reviews prior to my cruise. 95% were negative, thus I had reservations going in.... First thing I'll say to all those 'haters' is you get what you pay for! Don't expect to pay a total of around $1k for a 12 night cruise with all you're accomodation and food provided and expect 5 star everything. If you want that go to a high end resort - pay the standard $1k per NIGHT (not including food!) and you'll get you're 5 star experience. P & O clearly states they are a 3 to 3.5 star cruise. Boarding the ship was seamless in consideration of the volume of people. As we stayed in a suite - yes I paid the extra! I will agree that our 'priority' checkin didn't seem to count for much but we were there early anyway so found ourselves on board approx 1.5hrs after arriving at the Brisbane wharf. All good here. Our room was fantastic (again - what you pay for), it was clean, spacious, had plentiful storage, comfortable king bed, nice balcony, etc. paying the extra we also received many extras. Refer to their website for the long list. The less you pay the greater the likelihood of not as good of an experience. Such is life. Our room attendants were 1st class and did a fantastic job under adverse conditions. I work with people who put in less than half the hours you guys do each week and they are constantly tired, whingy, and generally depressing to be around. You were both like a breath of fresh air. Thank you! Again, I disagree with the negative food reviews on board. Starting with The pantry - the variety is more than sufficient. Does it really hurt you to have to maybe consume the same thing twice during a cruise?? The quantity - if they don't give you enough the first time go back for more. It's all you can eat! Also the quality is not as atrocious as what people make out. It's average and what you would expect for the layout. Waterfront - didn't go much as we were happy with the pantry but always had good food and friendly service. Dragon lady - didn't try it. The grill - when you're craving a pizza or burger it was always great. Salt grill - incredible experience all around. Can't fault the food, service and nice quiet ambience. No it's not expensive as some people have stated!! For a 3 course meal like that you'll be paying 3 times as much at other fine dining restaurants around Oz. There were always many spare tables too because people didn't seem to want to pay/get dressed up a bit. Also for those that said they were somehow still hungry after a marquee performance - room service is available 24/7. Pay the measley fee and eat that in the comfort of you're own room....without pants!! Public areas are all very modern and inviting. Love how there are little 'escapes' for couples. Shopping options good, entertainment a plenty. Don't understand how people can be bored or have nothing to do!! They have thought of everyone from a 1 yr old to an 80 yr old. At the end of the day I went on the cruise to see Vanuatu and Fiji - the ship came second in order of priority but you can't complain of the numerous things to do onboard...it's what you make of it. Sure beats sitting in a plane or car. All staff very friendly, welcoming and generally nice. Considering the time they spend working away from home and family averaging 12 hr days, it's truly incredible. Issues I had were sleep! I'm a fairly light sleeper so I was always sleep deprived. Kids running around on the decks till all hrs of the night was the main reason. I don't think this is P&O's fault more just bad/lazy parenting. People slamming cabin doors....again not P&O's fault just selfish people not thinking of others. Spa prices were too high! Massage and facial for my wife and I cost over $600. It's a shame because I would of loved to get more done but the costs of all treatments I just couldn't justify. A few rude tourists whinging about small things also annoyed me. Be grateful you are able to have this cruise experience where many around the world are not. Lastly, I found the ship quite rocky even on calmer days. Just a heads up if you struggle with sea sickness!!! Otherwise all good!! Fantastic experience both on and off the ship, I feel blessed to be able to have done it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This is my second cruise on Pacific Aria and a great improvement on my first cruise (which was the ships second sailing under P&O). BOARDING Well organised and went smoothly. SHIP LAYOUT The ship is much nicer than other ... Read More
This is my second cruise on Pacific Aria and a great improvement on my first cruise (which was the ships second sailing under P&O). BOARDING Well organised and went smoothly. SHIP LAYOUT The ship is much nicer than other P&O ships. A few funny things in the layout: - Bottom floor of atrium is odd, needs something down there other than internet/computers - Restaurant - needs a bar just outside the door - Salt Grill lounge - seems wasted space - Dome - needs to be used for more than just the night club (see comments on trivia below) SAIL AWAY We left late (4.30pm) so sailaway was brief before going to the restaurant for dinner. ENTERTAINMENT - SHOWS There has not been a show every night (one night had nothing in the show lounge but a movie): - Day 1 - Welcome aboard show - Day 2 - Off the charts - - Day 3 - Hypnotist, Anthony Laffan (Guest) - Very good show - Day 4 - Angus & Matilda (Guest) - Day 5 - Twice upon a time - Interesting show, artistic dance, I would not watch again - Day 6 - Marriage Match show (passenger participation) - one show only - Day 7 - No show - Day 8 - Side Show Alley - A dark version of a circus show, I found a little depressing for a cruise - Day 9 - Ace McDermott (Guest) - Day 10 - Michael Young (Guest) - Day 11 - The velvet rope Just my opinion, but I feel the older P&O shows are better than the current ones. You could watch them a few times, they had good songs that you could sing along with, etc. DINNING I have not had a problem with dinning, we have always managed to get a table and quick service with good food, etc. Some passengers have complained about things like no table cloths, small tables, waiting times in dinning rooms, etc. The Pantry is working well - I prefer it to the buffet. ACTIVITIES Trivia has been very well organised and fits in well with dinner times. However most trivia is held in the Ocean Bar which is too small - should think about moving it to the Dome, which is not really used for much. Most of the other normal P&O activities seem to be running well. PORTS / SHORE TOURS Other than Mystery Island being cancelled due to cyclone Ula, we have had no issues with ports or shore tours. We visited - Port Vila - Port Denaru - Suva - Mare LOYALTY No Captain's Club party or Officers Party (for other than Suite passengers) for frequent passengers :-( Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
As a seasoned cruiser, being on no fewer than 9 cruises over 15 years, on all different lines, I decided to write this review. These are my thoughts and what I feel is a balanced review. I was a bit apprehensive to go, as P&O I do ... Read More
As a seasoned cruiser, being on no fewer than 9 cruises over 15 years, on all different lines, I decided to write this review. These are my thoughts and what I feel is a balanced review. I was a bit apprehensive to go, as P&O I do find get negative or poor to average reviews. We are a family of 5, married couple with 3 children Miss 15, Miss 13 and Mr 4. We decided to have a quick 3 night cruise on the Jewel, as it worked with our busy lifestyle, and hadn't been on a P&O ship in over 10 years. As our most recent cruise was on Carnival Spirit,(March 2015) this would be a good comparison to do my review on. We drove from Adelaide, arrived Early into Port Melbourne at 10:30am. Picked the 12 midday embarkation option. We proceeded to the dock @ 10:45am, thinking we are way to early, but no, we pretty much walked on the ship just after 11am! We were welcomed on board and asked if we needed any help, but declined. Cannot complain about the service. On embarkation, we did the usual tour of the ship,( my favourite part!) and although the ship is getting old, was very impressed with the décor, condition and cleanliness of the ship, say compared to the Spirit. I actually expected much less, so it exceeded my expectations already. Constant refurbishments has kept it modern as can be for a ship of this age and design. We had 2 x inside cabins one deck 11 and 1 x deck 10. Not ideal, as we booked so late on a special price, but you get what your given. Our cabin is small, but clean and adequate. Everything was in our room, eg, pacific daily, kids club info,beds were great. Cabin stewards introduced themselves to us and gave great service. Our beds were arranged incorrectly, asked to bed changed. Done straight away. Our room steward did a great job, very efficient and made up our room in an acceptable time and turn down @ night. Dining. I was looking forward to the Pantry as it is a new concept. It has its pros and cons. These are my personnel thoughts and observations Let me explain... Pros; Less food variety = better quality food, Yes. Food hot, Yes. They serve the food to you. This eliminates many food safety issues, but also stops people piling food onto their plate. Remember, you can go back as many times as you want. Cons; You have to retrain yourself on how to eat at the Pantry. Instead of choosing 20 items to pile on your plate each day, ( at a normal buffet, for example) just pick one or two. On the 3 night cruise I struggled to visit each station at the Pantry over lunch to experience all the offerings unless I double and tripled up. I would not travel on a cruise any longer than 7 nights max with the pantry as it will get boring really quickly. Modern fit out, with chairs, but some too tall for kids like my 4 year old. Hard to get a seat at peak times (especially for a family of 5) The Pantry has very tight opening/closing times witch I did not like. Waterfront restaurant was excellent in comparison to the empire on the Spirit. We booked each day for 6pm dinner as a family. No issues with trying to book. Could either ring to book (yes they answered straight away) or rebook after dinner when leaving. Service was always fast and efficient but lacked personnel service, a little robotic. Food quality was good to great, reasonably hot. Food choices were plentiful and enjoyed the everyday food options and the share plates. highlight for us was the chicken share plate (this changes each night) and I recommend the chicken wings in the bucket. As good as on land. We only did breakfast once in the dining room, a bit average and didn't go back . Didn't try lunch in the Waterfront as ran out of days! My wife and I, did Salt Grill one night. Excellent food, great service. For $50 a head a fair price. To eat this quality, and amount of food on the main land would be twice as much. Entertainment was good, with enough options to meet most peoples needs in a ship that's not designed for that many things on at the same time. The shortcomings of an older ship trying to keep up todays standard. The new Bianco, Gatsby theme nights are slick, and much more upmarket than ever before. Comedy shows were great, highlight was the passenger comedy show with no more than 10 separate acts, with possibly the funniest and bizarre things I have seen in a long time. Production show Dejav was new and fresh. I suspect the older crowed would hate it, but I've had to put up with Piano Man, big Band etc same production shows for years. Thank god for new LCD screens now do away with props. No more anchor band, all now a distant memory. I suspect they can introduce new production shows monthly if they had too. Still plenty of other live music groups to choose from within the ship. The kids had a great time, but the two older did prefer the Spirit. Mr 4 year old couldn't wait to get to kids club. In summary, we had a great time on the Jewel. I think P&O get a bad wrap, but I don't understand why? Yes it's not 5 star, but I knew that going on. It was value for money and delivered a great product. I'm grateful for any cruise and lucky that we have the opportunity to cruise. Would I cruise on the Jewel again, probably not only because we like to experience as many ships as possible. We would however, book with P&O again if the price and itinerary was a good fit for us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Sailed from Sydney to Kangaroo Island on Jan 9, 2016 for 8 nights. This was our 4th cruise (also been on Princess and Royal Caribbean). Cost about $25 from our hotel near Chinatown in the CBD to get to the terminal (no public ... Read More
Sailed from Sydney to Kangaroo Island on Jan 9, 2016 for 8 nights. This was our 4th cruise (also been on Princess and Royal Caribbean). Cost about $25 from our hotel near Chinatown in the CBD to get to the terminal (no public transport). Very efficient embarking and disembarking procedures. This was the smallest of all the ships we had been on but it did not disappoint. Entertainment on board was excellent. There was a variety of musical acts in the various bars so could always find something of interest. The band AlterEgo was excellent. They played just about anything you could imaging and were real entertainers. The dining was different from any previous cruise. Did not know if I would like the Pantry dining, but it was fine. I actually liked that only the servers could touch the food/plates/tongs etc. Much like a food court in a shopping centre. Salads were numerous and all excellent. The options seemed a bit repetitive at times, but it was all ok. Not first class food but certainly not bad. My biggest suggestion to P&O about the food would be to figure out how to keep it hot. Often the food was only warm. The Waterfront dining was first come, first served basis. Difficult often to get a table. I kind of missed the dining experience with the same waiter and getting to know the same people at my table as is generally the dining experience on other lines. Also tried Dragon Lady and Angelos. Both were fine. Both of these restaurants were included in the price of the ticket which surprised everyone as according to the information, they were extra. Don't know if this will continue or not. Food overall good, not excellent, although there were some standout dishes. Disappointed in having to buy pizza/hamburgers/hotdogs etc in the food outlet by the pool. This should have been included. Cabin: had an internal with 3 adults. Plenty of room. Also plenty of hanging space and drawers. Probably the biggest we have had. Shampoo and conditioner supplied in dispensers in the shower - could have saved myself some space in my bag. Laundrymat on each floor (I think). $3 for wash, detergent included. $3 dry. Only 2 drinks packages offered: $7/day for soft drinks only: $79 premium with everthing included up to the value of $12/drink (this included barrista coffee, mocktails, wine, beer cocktails). Would have bought a package that was in between the two with maybe wine/beef/coffee/mocktails as they have on other ships. Overall: great trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was our 6th cruise with P&O Australia which have been mixed in among 8 with Princess. We rate this the best we have had with P&O. We had read a lot of negative reviews about the Eden but went aboard with an open mind and were ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise with P&O Australia which have been mixed in among 8 with Princess. We rate this the best we have had with P&O. We had read a lot of negative reviews about the Eden but went aboard with an open mind and were very pleasantly surprised with what we found. The public areas which have undergone refurbishment were superb. The decor was different to what we had previously experienced and it was obvious a lot of thought and planning had gone into what P&O was wanting to achieve. The lounge and bar areas were beautiful. Inside, we loved the Ocean Bar, Mix Bar, the intimate Blue Room and the Dome. While outside, the Lido deck with its retractable roof and the adults only Oasis deck at the back of the ship also very good. All of these were part of the refurbishment and the atmosphere of each was very relaxing. The Oasis can get hot during the day as there is not a lot of shade so we best enjoyed it towards the end of the day. The shopping areas were also very nicely refurbished. We thought the overall dining experience was very good. We had read complaints about the Pantry concept but we were very happy. We found the variety was very good with choices of Indian, Mexican, Malaysian, seafood, salad, meat, sandwiches and rolls and of course, desserts. It is like a food court arrangement and each of these "outlets" had different offerings for lunch and dinner each day. There was virtually no queuing and no problem finding seating. Salt Grill was excellent as usual and we found the Italian restaurant, Angelos and the Asian restaurant, Dragon Lady also very good. Possibly the service in Angelos was a bit quick as our three courses were over and done with in about 45 minutes. The service was very friendly and efficient however. We had mixed thoughts on the Waterfront restaurant as we had an excellent meal on one night but another was fairly average. We are not seafood eaters so that probably narrowed our choices somewhat. It would be beneficial, for those like us, if the nightly menu was displayed beforehand to see if it would be worth our while to choose to dine there that night or not. We did a P&O arranged tour in each of our four ports of call with only one being where the ship could dock at a pier. The following is something P&O could work on. On our visit to Kangaroo Island in particular, the tendering arrangements were a very unorganised. Our tour tickets had a tender colour and number already allocated but we found ourselves still on the ship an hour after our designated meeting time. Once our number was called and we reached our tour bus, we found there were people who had been waiting for an hour for us and others, to arrive off the ship. It would make more sense if people on the same tour, as close as possible, could go ashore at the same time. This will also be fed back to P&O in their survey. Overall though, all our tours were very good with our tour out of Portland to visit the 12 Apostles, outstanding. The entertainment was overall, pretty good, even though the Entertainment Director seemed aloof and then seemed to be missing in action for the middle part of the cruise. We mainly enjoyed the production shows. The staging with the sound and lighting effects being excellent. One show called Twice Upon A Time, although well staged, was weird. We didn't understand what was going on and it had a very "dark" beginning with what seemed a lot of bombing, fire and death going on. Some people were walking out within the first 10 minutes or so. We later later discovered it was about the Apocalypse and how life regenerated. There needs to be some introduction at the beginning to set the scene because as it was, the show is straight into death and destruction with no end in sight, thus maybe being the reason for so many early walkouts. The absolute highlight was the crew. Just outstanding. The huge majority show so much pride in what they were doing. We came across so many who remembered our names and bar staff who remembered our preferences. Crew on all levels made us feel most welcome and were happy and cheerful and wanted to ensure we were having a great time. They achieved that and we cannot thank them enough for their efforts. This is not a perfect world and although we can only compare with Princess, there will always be an occasional issue. It's how they are dealt with that counts. P&O is not Princess and it is not marketed to be. We really enjoyed this cruise and will be back for our 7th time without a doubt. We expect the occasional problem no matter who we cruise with and probably some of the negativity surrounding P&O and the Eden was warranted early on. If that was the case, P&O and particularly the crew, have done a great job in correcting what has been wrong and no doubt will continue to improve even more. Future cruisers can only benefit from this but we have got to say that our expectations were more than exceeded and were indeed very pleasantly surprised. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was my 5th cruise with P & O and I had been made unsure by so many negative comments on cruise critic.... not so for me and my travel buddies. the departure was delayed due to bad weather on the previous cruise... P & O ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise with P & O and I had been made unsure by so many negative comments on cruise critic.... not so for me and my travel buddies. the departure was delayed due to bad weather on the previous cruise... P & O could not have been better. notified us as soon as possible and kept our travel arrangements the same but gave us complimentary transfers to Darling Harbour to while away the time until boarding. Room was smaller than anticipated but clean and comfortable.. we had three sharing a balcony on level 9. Yes the room was a little tired and certainly not refurbished but it was all we needed for our cruise... Room staff were very friendly and obliging... couldn't ask for more. Food in both the Pantry which I personally enjoyed as it is much cleaner than the old buffet style of eating... less waste too... so much to choose from, Curry,Asian, Mexican, Salads - Gourmet, Wraps and Sandwiches, Seafood and Meat dishes as well as the Sugar bun.. you could go back as many times as you wanted.. different main course for lunch and dinner... The Waterfront Restaurant was small but the food was beautiful and staff very friendly... you get back what you give... we commended two of our waiters for a Proud award they were so good..Just wish we could have had the same table each evening... and that they had enough staff and time for the waiters to do their small tricks they way they used to... my only down was the entertainment . everything else was great. 4 good shows that we enjoyed over the course of the cruise. lots of bands and groups playing in the bars etc around the ship but we do like our main theatre shows... This is a smaller ship than I am used to but not much of the usual on board activities organised.... Overall, we all enjoyed our cruise and felt that it is what you make of it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
The main reason I am writing this review is to ease the minds of future passengers. When reading reviews you need to keep in mind the majority of the people that write them are the ones who have had a horrible experience very few write ... Read More
The main reason I am writing this review is to ease the minds of future passengers. When reading reviews you need to keep in mind the majority of the people that write them are the ones who have had a horrible experience very few write them if they had a great time. Overall I had an amazing time and accounted only small issues which I will explain below. Entertainment: I go onto cruises for the entertainment and activities and this ship exceeded my expectations. Alun the cruise director is a stand out, funny and a great performer. The daily schedule is jam packed full of different activities to do the only issue is how do you fit it all in? I previously sailed with the Jewel just over 2 years ago and there were hardly any activities through the day, so I am happy for this improvement. If you are a fan of trivia you will love this boat as you will get up to 5 different types of trivia a day. The bands were so talented with Alter ego party band being the stand out. I enjoyed the theme nights with the Gatsby night being my favourite. Although the night club is a great area the dj plays only music geared for passenger under 25. Even though I love dancing to most music I could not stand just the R&B genre and had to leave the floor when he decides to play very crude songs. The singers and dancers are very talented but the shows themselves could be improved with better stories. Food: Overall the food was very enjoyable and a wide variety. On this cruise the restaurants included was the Pantry, Waterfront, Dragon Lady and Angelo's I can not complain about all that choice. The food portions in Waterfront may be on the small size but that was not a problem for me as it meant I could try all 3 courses instead I would only be able to fit in two. And after a full lunch you could not fit in more. However the service from one waiter was very poor. The Dragon Lady was such a stand out with amazing decor, food and service. Regarding the pantry I thought it had lots of choices of foods, even though some were quite plain as they dull down some flavours to appease the masses. It is a pain now there is now self service in the pantry but I understand the reasons for it. If you compare the amount of free food options to other cruise lines yes there is less options but what is given on p&o is very satisfactory and amazing variety no need for more. Just remember p&o has small ships. Yes the p&o market is geared towards families and younger people. I was very impressed though on this cruise there were no drunk problematic people on this cruise (I'm sure this is not the case on all cruises) I do suggest if you are an older cruiser not going with family to only cruise on long cruises with p&o. Though this type of cruise suited me perfectly. Shore Excursion at Moreton Island: My Main disappointment was with Shore excursions team. I did not see them helping with the dispatch on the ship or on shore. Lucky I can work out where to go, but I'm sure there would be people that would get lost and confused how the process works if you have not cruised before. My friend had a tour booked and when he got to the Tangaloma resort they said his tour was booked out. the question is how can it be booked out if he has a ship bought ticket, again it would be helpful to have shore ex there to help with issues like this. I went on the Kayak ship wreck tour, my suggestion is don't go on it. if you want to see the wrecks do the snorkel tour, or hire your own kayak. It is only a short walk to the wrecks from the dock and you can plainly see them from there. Overall it seems like the Eden has improved the problematic areas from the first few cruises. There are always going to problems that occur on any trip try to push them aside and enjoy the rest of your cruise Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I have just arrived home from a four night cruise to Moreton Island on Pacific Eden. To be honest, I was quite nervous after reading some of the reviews! Here are my honest thoughts. Overall, we enjoyed our cruise. My experiences on ... Read More
I have just arrived home from a four night cruise to Moreton Island on Pacific Eden. To be honest, I was quite nervous after reading some of the reviews! Here are my honest thoughts. Overall, we enjoyed our cruise. My experiences on board and the staff were 4 star, but the ship's appearance would be only be 2 and a half stars. The renovated public areas, shops, bars and restaurants have all been refurbished to a high standard, the staterooms remain unrenovated and look a little tired, although the bed was quite comfy. The worst part of the cabin was the shower curtain - really gross! Pacific Eden is a small, older ship and it shows it's 23 years along the passageways and corridors as the walls look worn and outdated. The outside of the boat looks tired too, the painting already looks patchy and in need of redoing. Not that inviting really. Other issues are: lack of shade in the Oasis adult area. It is way too hot out there and nowhere to escape the sun, seriously, with the high incidence of skin cancer in Australia, I can't understand why there is no shade provided. The other issue is too few public restrooms on board for the number of people on board, it was quicker to run back to our stateroom! We had quite good meals on board, they arrived at the right temperature,reasonable serving size and presented nicely. The Pantry appeared crowded at times, but I did not mind the food served there and it was good that only the servers handled the food. Mind you, the hand sanitising upon entry was not policed with any force, which I didn't understand given the bad publicity. The menu selection is not as varied as other ships, but that was okay with us. The crew members were all friendly and keen to do their best for you, they worked hard and I hope P & O appreciate their efforts. The coffee was great, only $3.50 should your caffeine fix require an espresso each day. The singers/bands performing on board were all fantastic. Since this was a budget cruise, I didn't expect too many extras, like those enjoyed on Celebrity or Princess. No free hamburgers or icecreams on board, but that was okay, as my fare was considerably cheaper. Having said that, the spa charges seemed ridiculously overpriced - more in line with the 5 star cruise lines. I could not justify their fees to book anything. The tender process at Moreton Island was really slow and drawn out. We got our tender tickets at 9.30 and didn't get across until 1.30. People booked on tours were given preference for the tenders, oh well, we got to relax and read that morning. It was annoying at the time... I felt the cruise/entertainment director needed to take a more public profile and mix in with the passengers as we hardly saw him. It would have been helpful if he made announcements throughout the day re activities, happenings etc. I know things are listed on the daily paper, but it would be helpful to be reminded of what's going on. We had an enjoyable time away all in all. I probably wouldn't go on a longer trip on the Eden as I prefer a bigger and more modern ship, however, for a short long weekend cruise, I would consider Pacific Eden. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
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