1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. P&O Cruises Australia
  4. P&O Cruises Australia Cruise Reviews

271 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

Please enter your review.We Booked our cruise on the Pacific Dawn knowing that she wasn't a new ship and previously named the Regal Princess, so we were not expecting a shining new ship. Travelling recently on the Diamond and Sapphire ... Read More
Please enter your review.We Booked our cruise on the Pacific Dawn knowing that she wasn't a new ship and previously named the Regal Princess, so we were not expecting a shining new ship. Travelling recently on the Diamond and Sapphire princess ships we expected an older style ship. Embarkation was smooth and I was a bit shocked at the different type of cruisers to what we are used to as we usually cruise out of sydney and disembark in a foreign country. We were welcomed by the usual crew and shown to our mini suite on aloha deck. It was pleasantly nice and not too old looking. The balcony was large but due to the door opening out and not sliding it made for a small area to stand or sit. The room was larger than we expected and we were warmly welcomed by our steward. Due to a delayed sailing(should of left at 4pm) we missed our slot to leave and had to wait till 8pm to depart due to heavy ferry traffic in circular quay. So the party went on up on the deck above us so we decided to join everyone for a cocktail and a dance. The behavior of some of the drunken yobbos at this early stage of the cruise (we hadn't even left yet) I thought "I wonder how long some of them would last on this cruise". When we finally sailed out of the harbor we were on our way to enjoy the pacific dawn. An older ship built in 1991, but a nicer older ship. I heard a lot of comparisons to the pacific sky and sun and a lot of whining but I thought she was a fine looking ship and had no problems. My partner liked the ship and our travelling companions who were on baja deck liked it also. Our destination was the south pacific and the weather was a bit rough on the first few days, but the ship handled it well. There was plenty to do and the restaurants were nice. We ate in the traditional dining and booked for the same time every night and were designated the same table of 4 for the entire cruise. I was embarrassed by the drunken behavior on the first night and apologized to the wait staff who had to serve them and told them that all australians were certainly not like those yobbos!!! I believe when we got to noumea 2 of the passengers were thrown off the ship... The south pacific islands are beautiful. Noumea,Dravuni Island,Suva,Isle of pines,Yasa wa Irara,Mystery island and Port vila. Though they could of missed Suva and nobody really would of cared as I am sure They could find a better port to visit than this dirty place. My pick was Yasa Wa Irara which was picturesque and the people lovely. We decided not to do shore tours on this trip as we had done the islands before and just wanted to do our thing. There seemed to be a lot of problems on the ship, like the mini suites on the other side of the ship flooding one night during heavy rain and everybody standing in the corridor in their robes waiting for their cabins to be dried so they could go to bed(this was 1am),Thanks god our side was fine but i felt sorry for those with damp staterooms on the other side. We saw some shows and they were pretty professional, dancers were great. Spent a few nights in the new casino (playing poker machines as we don't have them in perth) so it was a bit of a novelty. Did a few quizzes and generally had a good time. The 21st November was my birthday and when we boarded the ship I had organized for some canapes to come to our stateroom at 2pm as we had 8 people coming for a few drinks. I checked 2 days prior to confirm the order and wallah!!!! on the day no canapes arrived. After much a do we finally received them at 4pm after 5 people had to leave...they lost the order and didn't really give a damn...... I spoke to the head of housekeeping afterwards and he said he would follow it up and let me know after the cruise......May 2008 and guess what....not a reply not a word....Very unprofessional people. Double and triple check if you order any special request items!!!! Generally, we had a wonderful time on an older ship but would not cruise on her again as the service staff were very average. Except for the wait staff in the palm court restaurant who were very professional and on the ball. What separates a cruise from other cruises is not the ship but the staff. The pacific dawn would be good starting cruise. I am sure that P&O think that most Australians will accept anything! They may find that this will have an impact somewhere down the track on their cruising public out of Australia. Disembarkation wa smooth until we arrived ashore in Darling harbor....What a mess, there were people still waiting to get on buses to the airport and their flights were in 45 minutes time. We had no transfer which was paid for and only when I jumped up and down were we given taxi vouchers and taken to the wrong hotel!!! Well i suppose that did leave a bad taste in our mouths and when we finally got to the four points sheraton we were exhausted. All in all we had a fab time, met some wonderful people, who we are still in contact with and are cruising again in feb09. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
This was our Honeymoon cruise; second cruise in total, first aboard the Pacific Dawn. Our first cruise was on the Sapphire Princess and we were told that we were spoiling ourselves as no other ship would live up to the cruise, and that was ... Read More
This was our Honeymoon cruise; second cruise in total, first aboard the Pacific Dawn. Our first cruise was on the Sapphire Princess and we were told that we were spoiling ourselves as no other ship would live up to the cruise, and that was true, but going on board the Dawn with that advice in mind, we were not dejected by the differences or age of the ship. Ship: Being 17 years old the Dawn shows her age in places, but there is nothing that we found to be overly an issue. There were patches of rust on our balcony, but we just looked passed these and were happy with the ship. There are a number of public room, and they really do have their own environment to them. The Dome went off at night but was a nice place to sit during the day and participate in Trivia, dance classes or other quiet activities. The Bengal bar was the more boisterous of location with louder activities organized here but the Promenade Bar is next door and much more subdued. All of these room were comfortable and clean. The International Show Lounge was great, being tall I loved the leg room to cater for the drink staff to serve you. Room: A few weeks before sailing we received a visit from the Upgrade Fairy (see it still happens) as were moved from a BA to an AB so were had a lot more room, were given all the perks of being in a mini-suite like priority check in and out, canapes delivered to the room free on formal nights, it was great. The room was massive and were thought that the furnishing were excellent. The only complain is that the mattresses on the bed were a bit old and could do with an update, but we were so tired by night time and we fell asleep really quickly. Our steward was great, even did towel animals when we asked about them. Meals: I have no idea how anyone could ever complain about the food on the ship. It was exquisite every night and day. The buffet was buffet food, but it was yummy and heaps of it. The drinks were yummy and the drinks stewards would ask once and then not ask again if you had said no, unless you called them over. Activities: Being our honeymoon we did less activities than others I guess. The ones we did do were great. On time, well organized and heaps of fun. We had one of our ports cancelled due to very very very bad weather and the use of the Tenders was unsafe, and within 30 mins we received a new day planner and it was full of FRESH, NEW activated, not just ones rehashed from other days. Staff: The staff were great, smiled, friendly and wonderful. Can’t really say much more. A few of them, Martin – Cruise Director- and others were telling us that the next cruise was their last one, and you could tell that they needed a break, but there were great. Entertainers: I always think that anyone who can sing and dance on a moving stage is a superstar! The shows were great, and the guest entertainers were good too. The comedian was telling jokes we head on the last cruise, but hey I guess there is only so many jokes you can tell. Ports: They were good, sad that we didn’t get to Mystery Island, but it was such bad weather that the Tenders would have been too dangerous so the Captain made the right choice. New Caledonia was a bid of a let down as a lot of stuff is closed on Mondays, the day we were there. Vanuatu was great shopping and markets. Overall: It was a great cruise, great ship and great staff. Little things could have been better. We never used the kids program but we never saw the kids so they were locked up….. I mean looked after well. We did get friendly with one couple with kids in the program and from what they said we were very impressed with both the program and the cost of baby sitting after hours. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
At first thought, this cruise was supposed to be a relaxing vacation doing not much at all and enjoying some good food and seeing different parts of the world. How wrong I was when I got on board and saw how much there was to offer. ... Read More
At first thought, this cruise was supposed to be a relaxing vacation doing not much at all and enjoying some good food and seeing different parts of the world. How wrong I was when I got on board and saw how much there was to offer. This boat went to the extreme with EVERYTHING and made you feel like you were a VIP. First day was spent going through a very thorough booking in process. All passengers were dropped off at the front door with signs posted to drop luggage off to the right of the doors before going inside to register your arrival with the check-in desk. The check-in lady we got was an older person who we thought very nice but in her absentmindedness forgot to give us an embarkation card with its number on but this problem was quickly rectified by another P&O staff member who ushered us through the doors to customs once notified of the problem. This same staff member also asked for a description of the person who checked us in due to us not knowing her name. Once onboard the boat it was time to find our cabin number. Being that there were 3 of us in tow, we were given a bunkbed configuration with three of the beds in operation, not the ideal situation I had in mind due to not sharing a bed with my husband thanks to the bunk bed ladder. I guess it meant I didn't need to fight for the quilt but was disappointed with the layout. The squeeziness of the alcove leading to the bathroom was of no help either when it came to getting my clothes out of the drawers which were inconveniently located next to the bathroom door making it a hazard if the door were to open suddenly, not very safe. The other unpleasantness was smelling the fish being cooked during the day and evening as the room was located on the same floor as the galley. These trivial matters were overlooked however once sailing was underway. The copious amounts of alcohol consumed on board in front of children was an alarming sight, it almost made it seem normal to do and was considered acceptable behavior to display, however inebriated a person was. This behavior was certainly displayed in a shocking matter the day of sailing where a family of 3 were kicked off of the boat in Noumea because the husband, who was intoxicated, tried to strangle his wife inside the cabin shared with their child. The child was so distressed about the situation they alerted staff to assist with the incident and were told the behavior was unacceptable and were subsequently told to fly home to Australia from Noumea at their own cost. One other passenger ended up in the brig for his drunkenness and was banned from alcohol for 48 hours. The food was exquisite and it didn't matter where you ate. The food in the buffet and the dining room gave you choice. The buffet in the morning at Cafe Del Sol had everything ranging from coffee, juice, cereal, fruit, yoghurt and toast to baked beans, grilled tomatoes, sausages, pancakes, eggs done three different ways and bacon. Lunch was no different for the buffet where choice came in salads, fruit, cold sandwiches and rolls, cheeses and crackers, hot choices too, all with a different theme for the day which continued into dinner. One day was Italian, the next Mexican, the next Asian style food from all parts, the next French etc leaving you with mouthwatering choices and many different dishes to try. It was the best way of experiencing world class cuisine in the one place. The only downside to eating in the buffet was the vibrations from the engines towards the back of the boat. It made it difficult for those suffering from sea-sickness to sit there and eat their food comfortably. The tendency was to try and get tables either side of the buffet area and more towards the middle of the boat to avoid feeling too much vibration. The dining room experience in the Palm Court Dining Room was a dream come true. Not only were we served by waiters who pushed in your chair (for the ladies) and placed your napkin on your lap, but they cleared the table, poured your water and bottled wines with precision and efficiency and delivered your meals after having reset your cutlery three times during the course of dinner. It was not unheard of to spend 1 1/2 hours dining getting through all 4 courses. Each course was small and the entire experience left you feeling very satisfied at the end of the entire evening - including dessert - without feeling stuffed like a chicken. Once again there were themes for the night and it took a real gastronome to appreciate the level of preparation that preceded each delicious course. There were alternatives for those watching their diet or for changing what items they did not wish to eat with the health and fitness centre making recommendations on those dishes which were friendly to the waistline and to general health and well-being, a conscious effort to ensure that diners were able to make informed choices about their meals. Many unusual things happened during the dining experience in the Palm Court Dining Room, such as the liquor cart which dispensed shots in cute metal P&O glasses of which you got to keep the glasses and if you were celebrating a special occasion, P&O assisted with celebratory cakes, balloons and rousing songs of Happy Birthday if that was the occasion. One lucky lass received a marriage proposal the first formal night in front of the entire dining room. The entertainment options were mixed and varied. On the one hand, if you were the type of person who enjoyed watching stage productions, learning how to dance a certain way for particular theme nights, doing circus tricks such as juggling and hula hoop twirling, karaoke or watching comedians then you would be in your element. For those of you into crafts there were many options. On offer were ceramics, t-shirt painting, quilling, earring making or flower making. Each item was unique but some came at a price. Ceramics and t-shirt making were the most expensive which most people shied away from due to price. I however did not and thoroughly enjoyed all of the crafts I attempted and finished. The theme nights were a slight let down. Three were had in total, one was 50s and 60s Rock and Roll, one was Country and Western complete with line dancing and one was Island Night. Out of the three, Island Night was the least silly and easier to dress up for than the others. It consisted of wearing a sarong or hawaiian shirt and a lei, drinking cocktails during the evening complete with light up glass and dancing with the band. The most ridiculous song played had all entertainment staff involved with many almost falling into the pool because of where they had put themselves to be seen by the passengers for directions to a new dance. One of the staff went a bit far with her dancing and caught the eye of the bass guitarist who raised his eyebrows. Some of the other entertainment was heavily influenced by gambling. If you were not in the casino playing tournaments, the tables or pokies, then you were paying for bingo tickets. The only entertainment not covered by those areas consisted of trivia games, board game challenges, marriage focused games (perfect match comes to mind here), playstation competitions or specific events such as the champagne waterfall, baked alaska parade, cruise fair and dancing in the Dome late at night. The childrens' areas I am unable to comment on as I was not using the facilities for my own children but one parent said that he left his 3 year old in turtle cove from 10am in the morning until 1am the following morning. When questioned about his motives, he replied he and his wife wanted to have their child with them on the cruise but clearly this was not the case as she was stowed away until all hours of the night, hence my reason for saying that they should be adults only cruises unless you are willing to be a responsible adult. All in all, the staff were amazing although Zoltina-J got up many of the passengers noses with her lame jokes, including myself, and it was confirmed that the other staff were unhappy with her also. The ports themselves went above and beyond what was expected although Ouvea could have been missed out altogether due to being a coral atoll. It was just a bigger version of the Isle Of Pines. Would not recommend visiting Noumea on a public holiday, everything was pretty much closed except for the expensive stores around Coconut Square and it was buyer beware with the items being sold upstairs and downstairs in the port terminal. The snorkeling in Isle Of Pines is something not to be missed. Nothing like being one with nature and swimming with tropical fish underwater. Would recommend doing the city tour and the country through the vendors themselves rather than paying exorbitant prices through P&O. Expect to pay big for extras such as spa treatments, floral arrangements, laundry, certain eating venues (ie The Steakhouse, La Trattoria, The Lido Grill etc), all drinks at pub prices with cocktails being extremely reasonable, photographs taken by the paparazzi at various prices for packages, gambling, shore tours, souvenirs, expensive jewelry, perfume, bags etc, watch for the special pricing that will come out every day and it could save you money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Check in and Embarkation: This was a quite process. I dropped my bags off at 11am and checked in with no line whatsoever. Because I had family with me, the girl I was travelling with and the rest of us went out for lunch and we decided to ... Read More
Check in and Embarkation: This was a quite process. I dropped my bags off at 11am and checked in with no line whatsoever. Because I had family with me, the girl I was travelling with and the rest of us went out for lunch and we decided to get on the boat at around 2:30pm. No lines through customs and extremely friendly people helping us out. We skipped the first p and o photo and chose to go directly on board. First impressions: After we got on the boat we went straight to our room where we found our bags ready and waiting. We did a quick look around the boat and were extremely impressed with the layout and decor of the boat. We had the life jacket drill which for my part of the ship was held in Connexions bar. This was quick and to the point and we were out of there in about 20 minutes..if that. We then proceeded on to the deck for the sail away party and to wave off family who were waiting below. We found our self a spot on deck 10 at the back of the boat where we could watch Sydney as we sailed out. We were very impressed with sail away and the party held and could not have asked for a nicer day in Sydney. Ports: We went to four ports - Noumea, Lifou,Vila and Wala. I had never been to any and going to Noumea as the first port I thought I was in for a bad cruise. I was very disappointed with Noumea, but made the most of my time there none the less. We had a great tour guide who drove a few of us around for $10 each, purchased independently after we had gotten off the boat. Lifou was gorgeous and after we got there I knew I would enjoy the cruise. This island did not have much, but it was lovely to see the views they had to offer. Everyone is so welcoming and it was nice to see a smile from all of the locals. Snorkeling here was great also and the water was beautiful. Vila was also great. I did zorbing in Vila which was an awesome activity that I would highly recommend. We did out duty free shopping here and I got some very cheap alcohol here. There is too much to see in Vila and so little time! Wala - Gorgeous, absolutely breathtaking. I can not say enough good things about Wala. It is a small island of about 200-300 people, who are all really friendly. The beaches are beautiful and the water temp was just great. I stayed in the water for about 3 hours, and did not snorkel but enjoyed swimming around none the less. Activities: I was pleased with the amount of activities going on, however not all appealed to me and my friend both being 20. During the times when nothing was on though we sun baked or swam in the pool or just hang out in the cabin watching movies on the t.v. I loved bingo which was on every day I think. There were also other fun things like the karaoke and games that were regularly on in Connexions. Service: The service was great. If I ever needed anything there was always someone to help out. The room was always kept clean, and there were fresh towels twice a day. Our room steward Murli was very patient with my friend and I as some days we did not leave the room until 12pm due to being at the night club all night. Stateroom: The room was great, we had an outside double cabin which was really spacious. I never felt cramped. Bars, Night Club and other venues: Connexions was a great bar to meet up with people and have some drinks and watch a show or game at night. I highly recommend this bar. Casbah seemed to attract an older crowd maybe 30's upwards so we didn't really use this bar at all. The Marquee was good with the production shows, the bar in there was also good. The Attic was great! My friend and I spend most nights here meeting new people and were often there until the lights came on. I was a little over the music by the end of it because it was the same every night, but we made the most of it and danced the night away. The Attic has lounge type chairs outside which everyone sat on when we needed air. I didn't use the spa because it was ridiculously priced and did not use the gym. Food: The buffet was average and did not have too much choice, however in saying that there are so many other things to choose from on the boat. We dined in the Waterfront restaurant quite a few times and the food was great! I was never disappointed with what I ordered. We were always seated quickly within 5 minutes maximum. We tried La Luna and this was probably my favourite meal on the cruise. It was $20pp which covered a 7 course degustation. It is Asian food and just delicious! I wanted to try their second menu but we never got around to booking it. We did not try the salt grill, but heard many good reviews and it was booked the whole cruise. There is a grill which opens at 3 near the buffet which you can buy wedges, pizza's etc from and that was also good. Only a small charge there. Entertainment: I found many of the production shows to be aimed more toward the younger age groups, but there were also many shows that I enjoyed. The pacific cirque was great, and the outside circus called Zyzygy (I hope I got that right) was also great, however one of the performers fell from a hoops/trapeze type thing and injured herself so the show stopped early. I didn't see what happened with her as I wasn't feeling too good that night, and started to feel really shaky after I saw she was hurt and bleeding so I had to go back to the room until they had moved her. The comedians were great and there was a big turn out to both. The comedy hypnotist was fantastic and had the crowd in stitches. Disembarkation: Was easy,I did not have to leave until 9:55, however they were ahead of schedule and we were off by about 9:30. We were through customs straight away as we had nothing to declare. In all, I had a fantastic time. I really enjoyed cruising on Pacific Jewel and would definately do it again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
The cruise was fantastic. We were in cabin A161, a mini-suite, on Aloha deck for a 12 night cruise on the Pacific Dawn. We departed from Brisbane and visited Isle of Pines, Suva, Port Denarau, Vila, and Pentecost Island. Cruise W011N. ... Read More
The cruise was fantastic. We were in cabin A161, a mini-suite, on Aloha deck for a 12 night cruise on the Pacific Dawn. We departed from Brisbane and visited Isle of Pines, Suva, Port Denarau, Vila, and Pentecost Island. Cruise W011N. The week leading into the the Pacific Islands were hit by a Cyclone. We were a bit worried about what may have happened to the Islands, mostly Suva, which was reportedly directly hit by the Cyclone. We were also worried about another Cyclone which was off the North East coast of Queensland. We were notified about 3 days before the cruise that there will be a delay of a couple of hours as the Pacific Dawn had to port at Fisherman's Wharf rather then in Port Brisbane (due to winds). We still had to meet at Port Brisbane and were bussed from there to Fisherman's Wharf. Checking in was easy. They took our bags, checked our passports, gave us our cruise cards and took us to a bus. We got on and everyone was in good spirits. We took the 20 minute bus trip to where the Pacific Dawn was waiting for us. We saw the ship when we got closer and a big cheer went up. We then passed through customs and had our photo taken by the staff and then again by security (linked to the cruise card). After that we were met on board by some staff and shown to our room. Our room stewardess was 'Marta'. She welcomed us with a glass of sparking wine and balloons and a 'just married' sign on the door. From our balcony we had a view of the side of a coal loader, however once we departed the view was fantastic. Shortly after our bags arrived and we unpacked before going to the top deck for the sail away. The horn is so loud. We had a few cocktails and dinner on deck before going to the show. The staff were: Captain: Neil Turnbull. Very funny man. Cruise Director: Zoltina-J. Good value, go with the flow and you will be fine. We set sail about 6:00pm and spent the next two days at sea. They were fantastic with good shows and entertainment. On the first night and some of the next day we had 4 meter swells. We were told they were considered fairly big, however as it was our first cruise we knew now different. The chairs being moved around on the deck above ours were a bit noise. This stopped about 11:00pm and stated about 8:00pm. I think it was the staff packing the chairs up and unpacking them. Our first port was Isle of Pines. This place is a postcard. Soft sand, clear water, heaps of fish. We snorkeled, swam, and sun-baked. I would go back at the drop of a hat. We had to be tendered to and from the Isle. This was only a 5 minute trip. It was a hot day and no one wanted to leave the Isle. The line got long for the tenders back to the ship near the end of the day and one girl about 12 years fainted. The staff made sure she drank water and got her onto the next tender (jumped the queue). I though people would have winged about her and her family going first, but no one did. The seas remained calm for the rest of the cruise mostly 1-1.5 metres (last day of the cruse was about 2 meters). The next port was Suva. There was no damage what so ever from the cyclone as it hit the other side of the Island. We did a tour of a village in the morning and this was fun and interesting. The bus trip was a bit of a white knuckle ride. The don't seem to bother with stopping at red traffic lights and seem to enjoy cutting cars off and beeping the horn. The town of suva is horrible. Do not waist your time and go to the CBD. It stinks, there are aggressive beggers and con artist. Things are over prised and there are alot of poverty. The best part of Suva City is the back of it. If I ever went to Suva again I would book an all day tour. Everyone was back on board and we were delayed by 2 hours from departing due to a problem with a propeller shaft. Ended up being a blown fuse in the electrics but they had to go through the whole checklist to make sure it was safe. The following port was Port Denarau. This was another tender boat port and it took about 20 minutes from ship to shore. Port Denarau is home to about 5 popular resorts. We looked around the main part of the town. The town was great that the locals were alot friendly then in Suva. The town is alot smaller and is targeted towards tourism. We went to the Hard Rock Cafe and got a 'starter' of nacho's. They were the size of a pizza and enough to feed the two of us. They would be about $12 Aust. The local beer (Fiji Gold) was about $2.70 a schooner and sent down well. A can of beer on the ship was about $5.75. The other drinks on the ship were about $9-$11 for a cocktail. They were all nice to try. The next port was Vila. This is a nice place, a good place to get souvenirs for the family and is where to get the Duty Free shopping (alcohol and perfume). We did an underwater walk in the morning which was great. Good photos with our underwater camera. The only thing wrong with this place is that every second car/van stops and asks if you need a lift back to the ship (Who would have though an aussie complaining about too many taxi's). The final port was Pentecost Island. This is home to the N'gol, where the boys/men jump from a wooden tower with vines strapped to the ankles. (like bungee jumping but they hit the ground). To watch this is something else. It was amazing. It isn't something you need to see twice in your life but is one thing I can cross off the list of things I wanted to see. Again it was amazing. The entertainment was amazing. The adult comedy in the dome was great and the guest performers were good. Jackie Love (a bit boring) and Ugly Dave Gray were the guest performers. Ugly Dave still has it, but no cigar. Funny man. My wife did the boot camp and said it was great. We then had two more days at sea and were back in Brisbane. We arrived a couple of hours late due to head winds. We were able to dock at Port Brisbane. Disembarkation was easy for us as we were in the VIP section (seats, tea, coffee, food) Other's not in suites were complaining that they had nowhere to sit why they were waiting to get off the ship. They would then get cranky as they could see us sitting down enjoying a cuppa, but hey we did pay twice as much as them. During the whole cruise we only met one woman who wasn't happy. I think it was more her then them. Her comments included "Why would you be on such a high deck, it moves too much. Queensland is superior over NSW. I can't believe there is Strawberry Ice cream in the baked Alaska, they should tell us that. The Captain is so-so. and The cruise is way too long." At the Virtual Bridge Tour she said the air con was too cold and reminded the poor presenter that the international standard is 24 degrees. Another time a different couple were watching a show and the lady had to go to the loo, she left her camera on the seat so people knew it was being used. Mrs fussy had to go and asked the husband if it was empty. She then had a go at him for saving the seat and made a complaint about it. Overall the cruise was fantastic, Everyone seemed to have a ball. One man who we got to know won the bingo jackpot and got over $13,000. He was a really nice guy and deserved it. There are too many pro's to mention. The cons are: 1) the chairs being moved were a bit noisy. 2) our fridge and hairdryer stopped working (most likely a fuse) we rang up twice but they weren't fixed. 3) They enforced the dress regulations in the restaurant but not in the rest of the ship. I feel they should be strict about this. I would go on another cruise on Pacific Dawn, however would choose a balcony cabin on B deck rather then a mini-suite on A deck. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Pacific Jewel Norfolk Cruise September Well this was the cruise that missed Norfolk Island due to the severe weather in the Tasman Sea. I have endeavoured to be objective in the review and hope that it may be of interest and even ... Read More
Pacific Jewel Norfolk Cruise September Well this was the cruise that missed Norfolk Island due to the severe weather in the Tasman Sea. I have endeavoured to be objective in the review and hope that it may be of interest and even assistance to those considering cruising on Pacific Jewel. Boarding at Wharf 5 Due to the intended redevelopment of the area the perfectly good terminal has been demolished and a temporary terminal installed further along the wharf. The terminal is quite adequate for the task and as usual P&O carry out the boarding of passengers in an efficient way. It is surprising how quickly almost 2000 passengers can be processed and boarded. Cabin This time we were in an obscured cabin on deck 8 (midship). The fact that we had a tender outside the window was no problem at all as far as light and yes we still had a view. The only small fault was that on tender days there was some noise as the tender was initially lowered. Room in the cabin was excellent for two even with the king-size bed. Cabin service was adequate but I would admit not to the same standard as we have had on previous cruises. This really is dependent on the Cabin Steward. Departure from Sydney This in my opinion is always one of the highlights of any cruise as it really is a wonderful harbour to sail out or in to. On this occasion we trailed Pacific Sun for some time before overtaking her. On Board Entertainment The entertainment on board was good and in many cases excellent. One has to bear in mind that you are not going to a Broadway Show Theatre, and that the entertainment staff have a limited area to work in and perform shows. There was as always plenty of entertainment and activities in all areas of the ship and to cater for virtually all tastes. On Board Speakers/Lecturers Again there was a good variety and on this cruise there was included a full set of lectures on Norfolk Island and the Bounty Mutiny. There were speakers on writing, along with dance lessons, craft lessons, and bridge lessons. The Destination speaker delivered a comprehensive presentation with photos and maps on the ports of call full of details needed to enjoy the days ashore. This was separate to the Tours Office presentation on what shore tours were available. All in all the presentations were good but my highlight was the History Speaker along with the Destination Speaker. These were excellent. Shopping on Board There are several outlets on board covering a wide range of items and let's face it you are not at "Westfield" you are on board a ship. Prices can be expensive for some items and most will be dearer than in the ports such as Villa or Norfolk Island but who just takes a cruise to shop on board?? Food on Board Okay so we all know that on a cruise you are sure to add a few kilos. This cruise was no different. You have to remember the number of people being catered for each day and that you are not dining at the 'Ritz'. You would really have to be a pretty picky eater if you found nothing to eat. Breakfast in the Plantation Buffett was great as you had plenty of time and a good variety to choose from. At times there seems to be confusion in the Plantation Room with averyone trying to get what they want to eat but a little patience and there is no problem. The Waterfront Dining Room served a more sophisticated and leisurely breakfast for those that wanted restaurant style dining. Lunch was again good with a great variety to choose from. Afternoon Tea in the Waterfront was a wonderful experience where you had a chance to eat from a small selection of cakes, scones, sandwiches with waiter service. Dinner is where the real choice has to be made. Plantation Buffett provided good food and a good selection. The Waterfront was for fine dining although the standard of service depended on where you were seated. For anyone wanting to celebrate a special occasion with a few friends try to book the Wine Room in the Waterfront. It is a terrific section for a small private function. The Salt Grill was another experience that I consider worth the $30 surcharge, but be careful some of the dishes have additional charges attached. Service excellent. The La Luna Asian Restaurant is truly an experience not to be missed. The surcharge of $20 is worth every cent. Eight courses and approx 2 hours for this taste of Asia. Best service on board. Of course there is the 'Grill' on the Lido Deck where you can purchase prawns, chips, wings, and Pizza. Also the Chocolate Cafe where again you can purchase light snacks, ice cream, juices, cookies etc: The coffee bar on Deck 5 in the Atrium has terrific coffee. Overall the service is acceptable although at times the service in the Waterfront is slow and some of the staff uncommunicative. If I was on shore it would have been cause for complaint as I would have paying much more and expected much more. Bars The 'Lido Bar' on Deck 12 caters for the pool area. There is the 'Casbah' on Deck 7 for a quiet intimate drink. 'Connexions' also on Deck 7 is much larger and also the scene for many activities. There is a bar in the 'Marquee' on decks 7 & 8 that provides drinks during shows. There are also other smaller bars scattered about the ship. Tea/Coffee Plenty of outlets providing tea and coffee. If you just want plain coffee for free there are machines on the Lido Deck that run 24/7. We always take out thermos travel mugs so we can slip up and get a hot drink and take it to the cabin, or the open deck 7. Extras Ok so there are areas and facilities that are not included in the fare. The Oasis, with a nominal daily charge that makes it well worthwhile if you are seeking a little rest and relaxation. The Aqua has great gym equipment but if you are not a fitness junkie use the $20 day pass for the steam, sauna, relaxation, and aromatherapy rooms, I found this well worth while. The Attic So it is not the Dome, but we found it a terrific little spot. The CD One of the most difficult posts to fill on any cruise ship is the Cruise Director. On Jewel for this cruise was Zoltina J. I know there are some out there that don't like her but in my opinion she fills the role with ease and certainly does the job with flair and passion. The same goes for the Assistant CD Bobby, and for all the Entertainment Department Staff. They all work their butts off to give you a great time on board. Just bear in mind that many of this department are working way after you retire and well before you awake each and every day. The Ports Noumea, One or two places in the town are well worth visiting. The Chocolate Shop, The Patisserie (both close to the terminal), and the Museum in the square has a wonderful WW1 exhibition along with a beautiful diorama scale model of old Noumea. For culture it is difficult to go past the Tjibaou Centre outside of Noumea. Port Denarau, Always a favourite when on the itinerary. Plenty to see and do in the area, including Nadi, and the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Then again you just browse around the shops or dine at the marina. Dravuni Island, A great stop for relaxation. The climb to the hilltop is hard but the view makes the effort worth while. This climb should only be done if you are fit and do not have mobility problems. Otherwise just stroll around the village and relax on the beach. Suva, The capital of Fiji and it has changed over the years. There is still plenty to do and see around the area and there can be some good buys in the shops, although prices have risen in the past couple of years. The market is an experience that stays with you. Nice to see the return of the greeting by the Police Band on the wharf. And the farewell from the band with the strains of Isa Lei drifting to the ship is something very special. Nukualofa, It is a long walk from the wharf into town, but it is an interesting one and there are plenty of shady spots to rest along the waters edge. The town is small in terms of shopping but again there can be some good buys if you look. I suggest you take a taxi into town $5. Vavau, I always enjoy a visit to this Tongan Port. The town has grown even in twelve months and there are some great eating spots. Shopping here can be good, particularly in the Duty Free shop in the middle of town. Port Villa, This was the unexpected stop in place of Norfolk Island. It was the first time I had visited Villa at night by ship. The shopping in Villa is well known; unfortunately the shops close early on Saturdays. Never the less there was shopping available and the markets opened up under torchlight. I understand that in no small way this was the result of intense emails between the Destination Speaker on board and the Chairman of the Shop Owners Assn. Certainly it was a very successful visit for the shops that opened. As the ship arrived even earlier than expected it took awhile for shops to open but as the night wore on several opened up to the delight of the passengers. The main reason for this unscheduled call at Villa was to replenish the Fire System Water Supply that was to be done during the Norfolk Island stop, hence it was never planned as a port stop in the normal sense. Disembarkation Again this is handled well. This time as in the past we opted for "Self-Assist" disembarkation that had us off the ship by 8am and on our way home shortly after. Beauty of this is that you still keep your bags with you on the final night for that last minute packing. Summing-up This was a most enjoyable cruise. The Jewel is a different ship to the Dawn. They may be the same to look at but they operate differently. It is unfair to compare one with the other. It is even more unfair to compare the Jewel with Princess Line, or the like as the fare cost is totally different and so is the style of cruise. After fifty years of cruising I would be more than happy to step on board Jewel at any time. Having travelled on some of the largest and most opulent liners in the world I consider that P&O offer great value for dollar on the fleet out of Australia. It is still the best value holiday you can get. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Embarkation: We arrived at Wharf 5 at about 11.30 am. Trouble free booking in our bags and waited about 5 minutes tops in the line to get to the counter to check in. Had our photos taken for our cruise cards. All good. Probably waited no ... Read More
Embarkation: We arrived at Wharf 5 at about 11.30 am. Trouble free booking in our bags and waited about 5 minutes tops in the line to get to the counter to check in. Had our photos taken for our cruise cards. All good. Probably waited no more than 15 minutes after that before our number was called to go on board. We were checking out our cabin by 12.15pm. First thing we did was head up to Turtle Cove kids club to register our 3 yo daughter. Remember to take child's passport and the passport of anyone you authorise to pick them up. They will make copies for you. Then we went back to the cabin and booked in for Luke Mangan's Salt Grill. You have to book in REALLY early for this. It was at this point that my husband realised that he had left his suit bag hanging on the door at home! Argh! No formal clothes! Fortunately, we had left plenty of time and his Dad was able to go back to our place to get it and bring it back to the ship. We told the Purser what had happened and they made special arrangements to get it to us. Thank goodness. Meant we got an awesome shot of his parents from Deck 14! Suit was delivered to our room just before departure. Phew ;) Muster was held at 3pm. I did overhear a Crew Member saying something rude about passengers to a crewmate. I made a complaint at the pursers desk which I believe was handled very professionally. One of the senior members of the Hotel staff came to see me in my cabin about the incident the next day and assured me it was being investigated. I certainly didn't let one off hand comment I overheard ruin my holiday. Sail away party was unfortunately short lived due to the weather turning sour almost as soon as we passed through the heads. Unfortunately the seas were rough for the next two days with 8 m swells and winds gusting to 100Kmh. I'd say almost half the passengers were down with seasickness and quite a few staff too. The Ships medical centre was the hot place to be! We had taken Kwells sea sickness tabs, including our almost 4 yo who took 1/4 tablet dose. She and hubby were fine. I was a little green if I got hungry, so kept crackers and green apples handy. Even though those two days at sea the weather was pretty awful, there was still plenty to do. I took up quilling and hubby went to other activities. Mooch loved the kids club, even though it had to be moved from it's usual home on deck 14. Luke Mangan was onboard for our cruise, which was a real priviledge. He gave a cooking demonstration on the first day, and we were lucky enough to have booked dinner that night. It was well worth the $30 per person. The wagyu beef was absolutely perfect. And the licorice parfait was delicious. You definately need to book almost as soon as you get on board. And just a tip, if you have little kids, find out when Island Night is as you wont be able to book the kids in kids club from about 6.30-8pm. Unfortunately this meant we had to cancel our second booking. :( Having a little one we mostly ate at the Buffet on Deck 12. We thought the food here was great. Lots of choices. I wasn't a fan of the scrambled eggs at breakfast, but you could get eggs cooked to order also. My faves were the hash browns at Breakfast, and the braised Lamb Shanks with mash. yumm. One night they even served Roast Duck. We also ate a few lunches at the Waterfront (a la carte) with our little girl, where we usually had a table just the 3 of us. Hubby and I had a few dinners there too and were always seated with lovely people and shared nice conversation with our fellow passengers. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. We partook in the music trivia most nights which was lots of fun. We even managed to win one night! We also watched all of the shows, and took our little one to watch too. She loved the Pirate show which was by far the most enjoyable of the cruise, but the circus show was a little scary (even for grown ups!)even thought the elephants were spectacular. The sit down comedy club was good as were the other guest entertainers. The Marriage Game and Liar Liar were hilarious! Zoltina J was in fine form and certainly made our cruise very enjoyable for us. If you want to see Pacific Circque, it is only on one night... so check your Pacific Daily. Get there about 45 mins + early and get a spot on deck 14 amid ships. DONT get a spot forward, near the spa like I did as the lights will shine in your eyes and you wont be able to see a thing :( The artists did put on short performances in the Atrium later in the cruise, but not the same as outside on the big rig on the deck. I wont go into great details of the Isle of pines as I am sure there is plenty of information out there already. The only thing I will say is get your tender ticket early, then go to breakfast. We got our ticket at 8.30 am and did not get called to our tender until after 12 noon. We were NOT happy Jan. Still we made the most of our time once we finally did make it to the island. Lifou was beautiful also. We took the Melanesian Enounters Tour. It was OK, we are glad we did something. Also, by doing a tour, you meet on board and get a priority for the tenders so we got off in plenty of time, thank goodness. The people are really friendly and this was the place to get your hair braided. My advise is to look around and watch the girls and the finished jobs before you choose who to go with. They all charge the same so might as well go with the best job ;) Noumea: We didnt book any tours through P & O. But we went on the green Tchou Tchou train which we booked at the terminal. It was sooooooo much fun. The locals waved and cheered everywhere we went which was really nice. Defintely would recommend that one! And it cost us less for the 3 of us that way, than for 1 if we had booked through P&O. We didnt get a drink and a pastry at the lookout, but what drink is worth $140??? I put my school girl french to use at the patisserie. Yum, Pain du chocolat! We hit the Duty Free up the hill form the ship and found the Scotch my husband wanted to be awsome value. They took it to the ship and we got it back on the last night before disembarkation. As most of you probably know, the Jewel encountered problems with her propulsion system and we were advised of this as we arrived back at the ship from Noumea. We were advised they had been working on her all day, she was not fixed, and they would continue to work throughout the night and hopefully we would depart 7am the following morning. This meant we would not make it to Poum/Emerald Bay and to make up for our disappointment, each passenger over 13 was given $50 on board credit. P&O put on Free buses to Citron Baie that night, which we took advantage of. Wasnt much happening there at night, unless you wanted dinner, but we had already eaten on board. Still it was nice to get out and have a look at Noumea by night. The next morning the Captain announced we would not be departing until 1pm that day. This meant we would be getting home 1 day late to Sydney. Any passengers who had forward travel arrangements made through P&O didnt have to worry, it would all be taken care of for them. Any other passengers had to change their own arrangements. To expedite this, free calls to shore and free internet was put on. Also claim forms were delivered to each cabin setting out that P&O would reimburse any extra costs involved with rearranging their travel. Again P&O put on Buses to Baie de Citron for any passengers who wanted to go. We thought that was really generous of them, as they charge $20AU each for those transfers in their shore excursion brochure. We just pottered around some of the stores and found a store called Style Co - a department type store. And bought some french label clothes for a bit of fun. We also went back the patisserie. ;) The trip home was smooth sailing. The Entertainment Team put on an extra show for us as the cruise was an extra night! Our little girl (almost 4) absolutely LOVED Turtle Cove. There was a newsletter delivered each day to our cabin about what was on the next day. It was open from 9-12 and then from 2 -10.30 each evening. If you wanted group child minding you had to let them know by 7.30pm and it was $5 per child per hour until 1am. They had lots of crafts and activities. They even practised for a Talent Show on the last day, which was lots of fun. On Island Night, they also had a family fun party. There were games for the whole family to participate in. I joined in the tunnel ball and our team won. Our Little girl also won the Limbo competition. She made lots of little friends and had a wonderful time. Never tears when we dropped her off, only when we picked her up cos she didn't want to leave! Disembarkation was smooth as anything, although we really had packed way tooo much and had trouble carrying everything. Customs took less than two minutes, and then we had the walk up the hill to Wynyard Station, which was easier than I expected. Despite all the dramas, we had an absolutely AWESOME time. We could not fault P&O or their staff for the handling of all the various situations. All the staff were friendly and professional at all times. We have booked another short cruise for next year to celebrate our Anniversary. Less than a year to go! Take me away P&O! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our first trip on the Dawn. The room was well maintained, the staff were always friendly. Fiji was beautiful the Fijians were always friendly and helpful. The tours were wonderful, waterfalls, snorkelling, canoe rides, shopping, ... Read More
This was our first trip on the Dawn. The room was well maintained, the staff were always friendly. Fiji was beautiful the Fijians were always friendly and helpful. The tours were wonderful, waterfalls, snorkelling, canoe rides, shopping, something for everyone, and we will definatly go back. The kids program for teenagers is not that good and there is nothing for them to do after 9 or 10 and not really catered for this age group. But I heard nothing but praise for the younger children's kids club. Will sail again with P&O Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We enjoyed most of this cruise and the ship appointments. (we actually left from Brisbane but this option is not available on the drop down list)THINGS WE LOVED: The ship itself, The pools, the waiting and entertainment staff, the ... Read More
We enjoyed most of this cruise and the ship appointments. (we actually left from Brisbane but this option is not available on the drop down list)THINGS WE LOVED: The ship itself, The pools, the waiting and entertainment staff, the special night at SALTGRILL..well worth the extra $40, the trivia, the bingo, the restaurant meals (rarely ate in the buffet so no comment), Our lovely steward LEVIN, our suite (we upgraded to one of the full suite on Aloha deck from a mini suite on B deck after reading another review in this section below. It was well worth it just to get the Nescafe espresso machine. The review on this forum re the noisy deck above the mini suites actually turned out to be very valid as we saw a woman come up onto the deck screaming at the kids for scraping chairs on the roof at midnight so I think we made the best choice to upgrade and not take a mini suite at all. Some of our kids loved HQ, the kids club, the older ones avoided the 15-17 year old HQ plus. I believe the age for the older club should be 14-17 as our 14 year olds didn't want to hang around in a place full of really young children.Things we wondered about: Why we only got one knife and fork with our room service morning breakfasts which were clearly ordered for two people, Why there was no coke machine or vending machine available for our 16-18 year olds so they could get a drink late in the evening when everything was closed except the nightclub. Why the shore excursions cost so much more than we could organise ourselves. Why the photos were so expensive when a far better option in this day and age would be to have them browsable and printable from a photo kiosk rather than having to cover the cost of thousands of photos no one wanted to buy. I'd love a dollar for every printed one they had to shred at the end of the trip, it would have covered my bar bill! NOTE: Have all photos viewable from kiosks and available for a $20 print fee and you'd sell a lot more P&O ! Things we hated: one family member had a queasy stomach and a touch of gastro.. nothing more serious than he gets at home. He asked for a tablet at the medical centre and was quarantined for 24 hours, missing out on the best day of the cruise with his children. He was completely fine and had no problem for the rest of the cruise. I understand the need for a quarantine if he was nauseous, vomiting etc.(all the symptoms of norovirus) but a 24 hr quarantine when he was just after a precautionary tablet was a bit of an overreaction in this particular case. Stock up on your own tablets because a visit to the medical centre for any reason will cost you... ! The cameraman who set up his camera right in front of us on Comedy Night when a simple roof mounted camera would have provided not only a better shot of the comedian for those at the back who couldn't see him but also wouldn't have blocked the view for those of us who could ! TIPS: take your own lanyard or be prepared to pay $7 or so for a "souvenir" one. Buy a photo on day one to get your USB drive and wait until the last day to buy any others. Do your own sightseeing shore excursions if possible. We had a local driver take ten of us to the mele cascades in Vanuatu for the same price two people would have paid to see the same sight via a ship-booked shore excursion. If more than four of you definitely book a regular table in the Palm Court restaurant if you don't like buffet food. Book at least ONE meal in SALTGrill. We found Duty Free cigarettes and alcohol much cheaper in Vila than on the boat. Visit Hideaway island and the Mele Cascades when in Vila. In Lifou walk over the hill (walk up towards the church on the left hand side of the beach along the road and take the first turn to the right to Turtles Next.. so much better for snorkelling but remember to wear reef shoes or boot fins as its not an easy access to the water. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Having only sailed on the Pacific Dawn four months prior (Xmas 2010), we knew what to expect. Once again we were sailing to New Caledonia and Vanuatu from Brisbane but with some different ports of call this time. The Pacific Dawn is ... Read More
Having only sailed on the Pacific Dawn four months prior (Xmas 2010), we knew what to expect. Once again we were sailing to New Caledonia and Vanuatu from Brisbane but with some different ports of call this time. The Pacific Dawn is apparently only a 3 star cruise ship but it is very comfortable, more than adequate and everything seems to function well. In fact, our cabins on both trips were equal to or better than most 4 or 5 star hotel rooms in regard to the cleanliness and amenities. Embarkation We drive up to Hamilton wharf from the Gold Coast which usually only takes 50 -- 60 minutes and we leave our car with Portside Parking. I'd recommend their services and they provide a shuttle bus to take you and your luggage around the corner to the terminal. Since we arrived quite early and before the crowds and queues, we only waited a few minutes until we were checked in. This was followed by a wait of just over 30 minutes before going into Customs and then on board. Cabin Our family of four shared an ocean view cabin on this trip, C179 on deck 9. The layout of two single beds with bunks above was a bit tight on occasions but had more room than an equivalent cabin we had on Sun Princess. Likewise, the bathroom was roomier and a better layout on Pacific Dawn and had much better wardrobe space. The cabins on the Dawn have bar fridges, something that the grander Rhapsody Of The Seas doesn't have! Facilities There's always plenty to do on Pacific Dawn. Both times we sailed on her were 9 night cruises and we were never bored. P&O go out of their way to ensure that there is plenty to keep passengers entertained on sea days, much more so than other cruise lines. During the day ... between eating (as there's plenty of that on offer!) we did the usual stuff like trivia, song competitions, deck games, juggling classes, new release movies, lectures, virtual bridge tour (very interesting), how-to classes or laid around the pool for some R&R. After dinner there's plenty of shows to choose from, movies, karaoke, Pacific Popstars competition, the staff talent show and The Dome nightclub. At times it can be quite hard finding time to catch up on sleep! On our previous PD cruise we weren't aware that there was access out onto the front observation deck from a hidden doorway on deck 10. We often went out there to sample the weather head-on. In a strong gale it's fun trying to stand up and hold on! We've been on ships with public areas that are slightly cleaner than Pacific Dawn. The windows surrounding the top deck don't appear to be cleaned very often and some of the upholstery in the buffet restaurant is grubby in places (probably due to little kids) but the cabins and indoor areas are fine. Dining We had afternoon tea (on sea days) in the Palm Court Dining Room. The tea was really nice, albeit a little weak, beautiful fresh scones (still warm) with jam and cream and petit fores and sandwiches. But be careful, afternoon tea is held for about half an hour or so from 3:00 pm and you may need to delay dinner to a later sitting. Comparing it to Sun Princess, Pacific Dawn doesn't have the string quartet playing but has much nicer scones! Most nights we had dinner in Palm Court at our usual table for the four of us. The waiting staff are always excellent, they try really hard and are always smiling. We even had some of the same waiting staff as on our cruise 4 months before. They often entertained us teaching us napkin folding techniques and did the odd magic tricks etc. On a 9 night cruise the variety on the menu does tend to get a bit monotonous but the quality is always excellent. Anyhow, who cares when someone else is cooking, especially when the standard of food and service is better than most restaurants on land. We rarely ate in the buffet as it can get busy at times and the visible gluttony can put you off eating! There's plenty of variety and I could always find things I really like. It all tasted great and was well prepared. I often read reviews where people make negative comments about buffet restaurants on ships. Maybe some people have unrealistically high expectations but I'd consider them to be above average compared to most buffet services on land. We need to keep it in perspective. Most of us wouldn't or couldn't prepare anything close to what they offer here and then there's no cleaning up afterwards. At Sea The Coral Sea crossing from Brisbane to Noumea was remarkably calm, barely even a visible swell. Our previous crossing had slightly more action which is always fun. Even the nights between Noumea, Mystery Island, Port Vila and Pentecost Island were reasonably calm. The day after we departed Pentecost Island the Captain announced that they were planning to scout around a tropical depression in the Coral Sea to avoid high winds and storms. As the swell picked up that evening, the absence of crowds of passengers around the buffet and restaurants indicated that many were confined to their cabins, either with seasickness or fear! The swell picked up to about 6 metres that night accompanied by a Force 7 gale. I remember being jolted awake and was amazed at how much movement there was. But after returning to bed from the bathroom in a sleepy daze I realised that the movement is not so noticeable when you're on your feet. This continued into the next day but it had reduced a bit. The official log of the cruise mentioned that seas were moderate to rough the previous day and confirmed the wave height was 6 metres. Fortunately it didn't affect us as we have never been seasick. At the Captain's Cocktail Party that evening he mentioned that he was aware of some movement of the ship and that the stabilizers were in operation. I'm glad he knew what was going on! Ports of Call Noumea: This was our first time to Noumea and we'd heard a few stories from passengers on one of our previous Dawn cruises recounting a violent encounter with some locals in Noumea one night so we were a little wary. To make the most of the visit we booked a P&O shore tour on board the day before to take a tour on the Tchou Tchou train. At $59 per adult it wasn't cheap but was well worth it. We had heard that there were several similar street trains (sometimes referred to as Bumble Bee trains) charging around $25 per head departing from the wharf area but we took the safe option. Our tour also included morning tea and lasted a little longer, around 90 minutes. We had quite a bit of fun with some of the other passengers during the tour, mainly at the expense of the tour guide ... an older pompous English lady with a very monotonous voice who had lived there for over 30 years. It was a great way to see the city, visiting a few lookouts, passing the grander homes, the back streets and plenty of the foreshore and beautiful beaches. Being Easter Sunday the streets were relatively quiet as not many shops were open. We stopped for about 20 minutes at the big cannon lookout where they served tea, coffee, soft drinks and a variety of very nice gateaus and petit fours. What better way to enjoy your stay in France!! The huge distant mountains, the biggest lagoon on earth, the undulating hills dotted with pines and the architecture make Noumea one of the prettiest cities I've ever seen. Mystery Island: Our second time here. It's a beautiful spot, very small and mostly unspoiled. It's possible to walk around the whole island in about 40 minutes. From the tender jetty, it's only a two minute walk to the other side of the island and a beautiful little bay. Most of the island is surrounded by a reef/atoll with waves breaking in the distance. The swimming and snorkeling areas are therefore in a lagoon, the white sand giving the water a quintessential tropical island aqua colour. It takes about 10 -- 15 minutes via tender as cruise ships need to anchor oust side of the lagoon. The water is very clear and teeming with brightly coloured fish. The island has a few huts on it where the locals from nearby Anetyum Island hold their market stalls. The only other structures are the recently constructed toilet block, the airport terminal (similar size to the toilet block!) and a radio tower. Air Vanuatu services the airport with twin engine propeller aircraft. The airstrip was carved out of the foliage by US Marines during WWII, so there's some interesting history here. The locals also sell freshly cooked lobsters for AU$10 each. Although several passengers bought and ate the lobsters we were advised that it was risky to have them cut in half as P&O couldn't guarantee the hygiene of the knives. We didn't hear of anyone encountering any problems after eating the lobster. Some of the local men have a really good band playing near the jetty, a few acoustic guitars and a thong-o-phone! They sing traditional spiritual tunes in brilliant harmony. A few classes of the school kids from a nearby mission also sing for the tourists and are very thankful of a few donations of Aussie dollars, they're really cute and funny! There's usually two small boys dressed as warriors complete with a bow and sharp looking arrow. They'll pose for a photo with you but make sure you give their mum a dollar or two or leave it in the tin. Overall, Mystery Island is a highlight of Vanuatu, it's an idyllic place to spend an hour or two or most of the day. Port Vila: We learned from our previous visit that we wouldn't go into town in a taxi but do a shore excursion instead. We were a bit disappointed on our visit a few months prior, it was a bit seedy in town and we saw a few drug deals going down. Although, we have since visited Bali on a cruise and the Port Vila CBD is a breeze in comparison! This time, we did the glass bottom boat snorkeling tour which was brilliant. Although the day was overcast, the brightly coloured coral fish were in abundance. The boat leaves from the port immediately behind the Pacific Dawn, about 2 minutes walk away. The 3 local guys running the tour were very helpful, informative and polite. Snorkeling equipment is included in the price of AU$59 and the snorkels appear to be hygienically treated before use. They offered refreshments of bottled water and Weston's (made in Brisbane) biscuits! There wasn't much to see from the glass bottom boat itself due to the weather but there was plenty to see while snorkeling in Port Vila bay, just off the Iriki Island resort in about 4 - 6m of water. The tour ran for about 90 minutes in total, the snorkeling for about an hour. In brilliant sunshine the snorkeling would be even more amazing. Pentecost Island: It was a real privilege coming to this rarely visited island. Ships only visit here for 5 -- 6 weeks each year during April and May so passengers can witness the ancient vine diving by the Bunlap people (original bungee jumping). We anchored close to shore and were the only vessel in the bay apart from a small luxury motor yacht sporting a roof top helicopter and a few jet skis at the rear. It was only a short tender ride to the jetty adjacent to the small mission village. The Bunlap people who live on the other side of the island are one of the few civilisations who still live traditionally without any western trappings. They wear grass skirts and wraps and were performing dances and singing. The mission people wear t-shirts, shorts and dresses etc. As we walked along a furrowed track through the village to the jumping tower, some of the kids had things to show the tourists like turtles, birds and a python. So most people have a pat, take a picture and drop a dollar or two in their tin. Nice people and very appreciative. Two days before we departed on this cruise we saw a National Geographic documentary about Pentecost Island so we felt very familiar and excited about our visit here. We even recognised some of the Bunlap elders from the doco and felt an affinity with them. As we got close to the jumping area some of the locals offered passport stamping for $2 each. I couldn't refuse this as the stamp featuring the vine jumping tower is a bit of a rarity. As the tower came into view on a steep slope in front of a large flat field with log seating, it felt almost like a religious experience. The tower was huge, made of logs and bamboo tied together with vine with various platforms sticking out at different heights. It resembled a giant crucifix! It was overcast, very warm and humid and some occasional light rain but nobody seemed to care. We found a position not far from the base of the tower and waited for quite a while. Up on the hill next to the tower the Bunlap people did continuous dances, singing and the strange whistle chanting. Eventually, a few men and adolescent boys walked through the crown of around 1,500 people ready to climb the tower. One Bunlap chap patted me on the shoulder on the way past and gave me a big smile and a thumbs up. I felt really special as I didn't see it happen to anyone else. Maybe I was in the way a bit! So cutting to the chase, the first to jump was a kid about 12 years old from the lowest platform. Just like the grown-ups do, he waved to the crowd, blew kisses, did a little gyrating dance and then leapt off ... followed by a loud crack as the platform takes his weight when the vines reach their limit. I can't remember how he landed but there was a loud 'Oooohh' from the crowd. He seemed to recover a few seconds later with some assistance from some of the men. The next to jump was a slightly older lad but he couldn't go through with it and reluctantly climbed back down in tears. The crowd really felt for him and applauded enthusiastically. Then one of the men did a slightly higher entertaining dive, complete with his dance and encouraging the crowd. He managed to just touch his hair on the cultivated soil in the landing area which apparently leads to a good yam harvest. By this stage, a handful of miserable people appeared to be leaving, some shaking their heads mumbling words to the effect of "it's cruel" or "it should be banned". Ok, it's a tradition that's been in existence for thousands of years so let's make them stop it because some boof-head passenger on the Pacific Dawn says so!! As the afternoon went on the senior jumpers leapt from higher and higher up the tower. By the time we headed back to the ship I was kind of relieved as it was getting more and more difficult to watch and I was glad that nobody got hurt. When we got back on board the captain made some announcements and mentioned that the nearby luxury yacht belonged to a famous movie star and his equally famous wife was onboard. What he was trying to discretely elude to was that it was Angelia Jolie. I lent my binoculars to quite a few passengers who swore they could see her. I could make out the name 'Plan B' on its stern and my son went to the internet kiosk to check it out. Apparently, 'Plan B' belongs to Brad!! Disembarking Very smooth, no complications. Just sad to be leaving and heading back to the real world! Overall, a very enjoyable cruise with lots of great memories and nothing worth complaining about. The staff were great, we had lots of fun and met plenty of nice folks. We would have no hesitation sailing on Pacific Dawn again. In fact, Christmas 2012 to Fiji on the Dawn is already booked. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
On the 30th of April 2011, I stepped foot onboard the pacific dawn. Would I do it again? OF COURSE! It was a fantastic cruise. Of course there were negatives but this in no way ruined the cruise. From the food to the crew to the people on ... Read More
On the 30th of April 2011, I stepped foot onboard the pacific dawn. Would I do it again? OF COURSE! It was a fantastic cruise. Of course there were negatives but this in no way ruined the cruise. From the food to the crew to the people on board it was just excellent. Embarkation was easy, picked up a tag, tagged my bag put on the conveyer belt and off it went. Try to remember to bring a pen as not many are supplied at all! That process took maybe 5 minutes at most! Then go inside where you will be amongst hundreds of other humans, though a little daunting it seemed to run quite smoothly. Collect a Green card and go into the line. Fill out the card while you wait too save you some time. When you get to the front of the line you will go to up to a desk and get checked in. Here you show your passport and your cruise card (Cabin key and how you pay for everything on board). They also take your picture so when it's scanned they know who you are...This is where you set up your credit card to the cruise card. Then you will receive a ticket saying when you will board. When it's called you just go to the customs area and have the green card. After this I went to the cafe too eat before my boarding number was called, the food there was quite good! I had the steak and eggs. Also there is an IGA next too it so you can grab some last minute things...I would grab some potato chips and some small snacks to keep in your cabin. Also you should buy a lanyard for your cruise card or bring one from home. I brought my own as I read about it before. There was a guy on the street selling some for $5 and some stores had them for $6-$8. You can buy them on the boat as well for $8. Don't get one with a plastic sleeve in my opinion as you have to take it out to get in your room and what not. They also have a hole already for the lanyard. I read that they did not have it before, now they do.Customs was a joke compared to an airport. When it's your turn you go through and hand that green card to some guy near the entrance. Then you are asked to wait in line to go through the metal detector and the x-ray for your onboard bags. You walk through and you are good to go! There was no sniffer dog; the bags were barely looked at so you could probably bring anything on board. She glimpsed at the x-ray monitor for less than a second when me and my brother went through.From customs you will walk through to the boat going up some stairs which I tripped on because my brother was in front of me and walking too slow, there will be a photographer to take your picture there against a blue backdrop. I read that photos cost about $20 on board so I decided not to. I regret it now because you get a free 1Gb USB stick which has a little ball with water in it with a cruise ship inside...so it moves! I loved it! Sadly you can only get it for the first two days and you have to buy the Embarkation photo. Then you will just walk up a ramp and get your card scanned to say that you are on board. This is where that picture of you from earlier is used. So make a funny face too try and make them laugh :)Then just find your way to your cabin. I was on deck 8. I went up the lift and looked at a map and figured it out quite easily. This boat is so dam easy to navigate you can't get lost! I got to my cabin and my luggage was there. My brother's was not yet there. Scanned my card and I was in my cabin. It was quite large, bigger than expected. We had a twin cabin that could be a 4 person cabin. It was an obstructed view it had one of the life boats in the way, but you could see 80-90% of everything out of the window. The TV was a little too small in my opinion it was about a 19 inch flat screen. There was a mini fridge but it didn't really keep anything too cold. We cranked up the dial to max and it still was not super fantastic for a cold drink but it kept it colder than room temperature which was good I suppose. We had a look at the TV channels they offered. There were three movie channels which repeated the same movie on the channel it's on over and over for the day. Then a channel which had sitcoms and other TV shows on it. For example how I met your mother, Glee, Cake Boss (which I fell in love with) and late at night they showed discovery channel type things. The other channels were a mix of kids channels, they had cartoons and other type of shows. Some days they would play a kids movie on one of them none stop till the next day. There was also a news channel but it was crap. Something like fox news but more "puffed up" news stories. I was probably the first person on the boat to hear of Bin Laden death. There was ESPN which played all day, don't expect any Australian sports. There was also a channel showing a camera which was on the front of the boat as well as channels with some information about the cruise and what not. The bathroom is very small, I hated the toilet as I am quite large and it was tiny. I clogged it twice. The 2nd time someone had to come fix it. I guess if you do big poops you should flush multiple times. The shower was alright and a decent size for what it was.Then we met our room cleaner Danzil or something like that. He was a young dark skinned guy did not speak to him much. He was telling us about the safety procedures and what not. He shows us the life jackets and what not. We had to go down at 1:30 to have a safety drill. The alarm went off and we went down with our life jackets. We had to line up single file, people who got their earlier got seats, we did not. The just explained what the rings mean and how to put the jacket on. Probably could of just stayed in cabin and they would of never have known no role checks were taken or anything. Then the sail away deck party started, there were some entertainers and drinks going around. You could also buy a plastic cocktail cup to take home for $5. They claimed they did not have any regular cocktail glasses but the next day they happen to appear on the boat. Cocktails were $9.50 and Carona's were about $7.70 and a gin and tonic was $6.50. I recommend everyone try the strawberry daiquiri and pacific island ice tea with red bull. Soft drinks were all $2.00, coke was only 330ml sadly, but you could buy regular 375ml Pepsi for the same price. The Pepsi was from Australia but the coke was imported from some Asian country. Carona's were from Canada. Most drinks are not from Australia thus they had a different taste to what you may expect. We first ate in the buffet, we ate there quite often. It was great food. You would line up sanitize your hands and get a tray with your knife and fork. I recommend grabbing two plates, one for salad and dessert and another for your meat or hot food. Then you go slowly around to the salad then the deserts then the meat/hot food. The salads were fantastic on the first day however the tomatoes were green. This greatly upset me as I love them! This improved after the first day however. The best thing on the salad section was the Caesar salad dressing. It was amazing; it had a strong taste of garlic and is just to die for. Best dressing for salad I have probably ever had! The salad bar contained all kinds of salad from cold Cous Cous to just plain lettuce.Moving on from the salad bar was the desert bar. This normally contained a tart which was filled with cream and some fruit on top often kiwi or rock melon. Then there were 2-3 different types of cakes some were great some just average, never bad however. Jelly was also available here. The jelly had some sort of fruit in it and was just to die for. The jelly was fantastic it was also available every day. Then you had bread rolls, which are baked daily. Though they are rather empty they are crisp on the outside and soft on the side. They were very nice. Sometimes there were other kinds of breads. Butter was provided with the bread as well.Next was the awesome part, the MEAT. I'm a huge meat eater. Too review everything that was there would take me forever. But here are a few things that were available throughout the cruise. Chicken schnitzel, roasted potato with skin on or off, creamy potato bake, beef pot pie, shepherd's pie, fish grilled, seared, fried, steamed etc, roast chicken, roast pork, lamb shanks, lamb skewers and much much more. There was also soup but I never tried it. There was a new soup every day. However people told me it was hit and miss, but it was normally good. This was the same for the fish, the first two days the fish was great other times just rubbish. At the end of the meat line there was a guy cutting fresh pieces of some meat, this could have been roast chicken or roast beef, it changed daily. Often this was fantastic. I only ever came here for lunch and dinner. They were pretty much the same sort of style all the time. I never woke up on time for breakfast; however I was told breakfast was amazing. On the last day I was brought some pancakes from there and they were too die for. I regret not waking up for breakfast now.Now for the dining room option, I only went here twice. Both times for lunch, I had the chicken focaccia as a starter and the rump steak and chips as a main and the apple crumble for desert the first time. The chicken focaccia was alright, a little plain but was nice, the steak was alright perfectly cooked but was a little dry, just not as tasty as it looked, and the sauce was very good. The apple crumble was small and it was nice just not enough of it. The second time I had the Caesar salad as a starter and it was quite a small amount maybe 3 or 4 cos lettuce leaves with some parmesan and crotons as well as the sauce. The sauce makes it worth it! Then I tried the cheese burger and chips, I took one bite of the burger and just stopped. It was horrible did not like it at all, almost a rotten taste. I skipped desert after trying the burger. I tried to come back one night for dinner but I was wearing shorts, they would not allow me in. So I never came back. I was wearing fairly presentable shorts they were quite long and black, very modest shorts, not like swimming shorts. Other things I should mention was that the food was never hot, it was just warm, I don't like that at all, I prefer nice hot food. When you order all three things they will bring all three of them and just replace it when you finish. They hold it over near your table where they stack the dirty plates to return. This is probably why it's not hot. Also the place is quite noisy as the waiters are always around you stacking plates and what not, they do it in little stations around the room and my table was right next to it. This was not a very nice experience. I never went to the Salt Grill as it was $40 per person and I just wasn't up for it. I did however go to the Asian banquet called La Luna which was $20 per person. It was not fantastic it was 7 or 8 courses of food. It was very spicy and I felt a lot of the food was leftovers from the night before in the buffet. Some of it was very nice like the pork belly and prawns; otherwise it's not worth going to. I will note that it was extremely spicy for some of the courses, to an extreme level where you are gasping for air.Then there was the grill, this was a late night food place which cost extra. The steak sandwich was AMAZING for $15 a kilo of chicken wings was $8.50, a kilo of prawns was $28, Chicken kebabs were $11 and there were chips but I am not sure how much they were...they may have been other things as well but they were not listed. The chicken kebab was the only real rip off. It was really just roast chicken shredded and put in a pizza pocket with some salad and tazaki sauce. The wings and prawns can also be purchased in half kilos at half the price. They were very nice. The prawns are completely peeled apart the tail and are cooked.Room service was $3 for delivery and they would get you salads, soups, sandwiches, pies and cakes as well as a few other simple things. All the items ranged from $5-$8 and were all quite tasty, I tried the cheese cake and Caesar salad. My brother tried the potato beef and bacon pie. There is also a complimentary breakfast for $3 which is toast, pastries, hot chocolate, juice and other such simple things. BUT I never got it. I ordered it on the first day but it never came nor did I receive another card to order it again. I just didn't bother was a little upset over it.Entertainment on the cruise was fantastic, motorcity town was fantastic, it was a show with Motown music. It had a lot of singing and dancing and it was pretty much the most memorable Motown songs you know of, so singing along was encouraged. Amazing performance I wish I watched it twice. I am also 18 and it's not remotely my type of music but I enjoyed it. Pirates of the pacific was also quite a good show, it was a lot of pirate music and it was fun as it got the crowd on stage and involved them in what happened. Was quite funny all families will enjoy this. I missed watching so you wanna dance. I did not hear anything about this so I assume it was not as fun. I also missed most of Boogie Shoes, I watched the last two or three songs. I can't say I enjoyed it as much as the others at all. Then there were three comedians on board. These shows were hilarious! One was all ages and two were 18 years and over. They were all quite rude to some level. But the one which was all ages also sang. He sang like frank Sinatra and it was a great show. The other two were extremely funny; you should bring two or three diapers it's that funny. There was also two laser shows and they were amazing, these were held in the atrium over viewable by three decks. Then also in the atrium there was acrobatics by some group from Columbia. When they were supposed to perform the ship was moving too much so it was cancelled and replaced by a laser show. They performed when we were docked at an island. They were just amazing. This is something everyone should see. Just breathe taking. Other entertainment was given to you in newsletters delivered to your cabin daily, these included trivia, jeopardy, cooking demonstrations, ping pong, dance parties and lots more. Most were quite enjoyable. The singing and dancing crew were just amazing, the girls were just gorgeous and everyone had some real talent. Also there is a show called pacific pop star where passengers qualify to be in through karaoke completions this was fun and hilarious. A guy I played poker with won it singing what a wonderful world. Also in the showroom they sometimes showed movies around 10:30pm and sometimes during the day at 1:00pmThe casino was quite small there were two roulette tables which were $1 chips, three or four blackjack tables, an ocean poker table, a three card poker table, a Texas hold em poker table and a crap ton of slot machines. I was mainly playing poker. The table is also electronic and is $1/$2 blinds. The casino also takes a cut of how much you win in the pot. You play with other players on the table not a computer. It was fantastic I could have stayed there the whole cruise. The people I played with were hilarious! The casino does take quite a lot from you however when you play. Tournaments were also organized in the newsletter, it took a minimum of six people to start one but normally you had ten players. Entrance was $30 the entrance fee is the reward for 1st and 2nd place. The casino takes $5 per player in these tournaments. With ten players the rewards are $175 for first place and $75 for second place. I came second in one. It was great fun. Also on one night of the cruise the dealer for blackjack will show BOTH his cards to you before you decided to hit or stay with minimum bet of $5. I did not play however. Bingo is also on board and at the end there was a massive $6,800 price pool for one game. Full tickets are $30 for 5 games. The guy who won the prize pool was a bit of a downer. He wasn't happy or excited at all and he was under 40! The worst thing on the cruise to me was the casino bartenders and waiters. The never came to the poker table to ask what you want to drink they also never cleaned it up until you left. There would be 20 bottles and glasses on the table and not a single one will be taken off. Also when you asked for a Carona with Lemon they would give you with lime. When you ask for a lemon they say there are none left, when someone just got one on their drink. When you complain enough you'll get the lemon.The first place we visited was Noumea this place well just ....sucked! It's a French city and is VERY VERY expensive. Expect it to cost more than Australia! This city is home to the world's largest lagoon. It had some amazing waters. When you get off the boat you will enter the terminal and you will find many local market stalls, don't buy anything! It's expensive and you will find it cheaper in Vila. Here you will also find tour guides. Do not book the Noumea Experience Bus. It is rubbish! You go on a bus and get picked up where ever you want in Noumea but the overload the bus. They say a new bus comes every 20 minutes but when we went we had to wait over 50 minutes for the next one. We request a refund and just went on a small mini bus type thing and it was just as good. Lemon bay is a great place to visit. We had a look around and weren't really impressed. Local's aren't that nice and may just ignore you if you try speaking to them. But what do you expect their French. I got a fruit smoothie from a store it cost me $9 and it had the longest straw I have ever had, it was over 50cm long! Was amazing to me. You will see a lot of pretty girls here as well; my jaw was dropped almost the whole time. Don't bother going to the casino it's about the size of a living room and is just slot machines.The next place was some island, I did not go here, you had to catch a tender boat to get there and I was a bit lazy to go, I also woke up a bit too late to go anyway.Next was Vila! This was a fantastic place. It's so cheap for anything you want! Once you get off the ship you will be hit by a huge amount of heat. It's hot very very hot. Then local taxi drivers will call out to you from a hill trying to get you to go with them. You have two options a bus or a taxi. The taxi's aren't your usual taxi's they are small little cars. They can be anything you could get into a corolla or a swift. They cost you $10 to get into town for how many people you want in there. A bus is anywhere between $1.50 and $3 per person to go. They aren't your normal bus either they are just vans. I heard that normally they wait till they get full before they go. But we just left straight away so maybe it's not the case. We paid $3 each to get to town and when we came back $1.50 each. Also there are no seat belts and no driving laws so expect a fun ride! Spare underwear is recommended. Also before the taxi's there is a huge market, try not to spend too much time here because the same things are found in town and are probably cheaper. You can also get a tour of the island for around $80.When in town you can visit duty free stores and other random stores, there is a lot to see and do. Duty free is fantastic. I got 1.1 liters of Jim bean for $11! Cigarettes are cheap as well if you don't mind rolling your own you can get 250 grams for $21 otherwise a carton is $35 or so. You can also find pirated dvd movies for around $5 each, not really worth it but you may want to bring a few home. Give the kids selling newspapers a dollar or two it'll make them very happy. The people are extremely friendly it has been voted happiest place on earth quite a few times. It's a very nice place. You can find billabong shirts for $10 and bags for $17. Also there are many nice shoes around for $20-$40. You really may want to buy something while here. Also there are fireworks around. They are so hard to resist try to not think about how to smuggle them onboard! If you get lost just as for help and the people will help you! Also I recommend you try kava, a local drink which makes you "happy". When you are going back on board you pass through a metal detector and your things get x-rayed again not much attention on the x-ray is noticed here. All crew members were fantastic apart the casino waiters and bartenders. On the deck it was fantastic they asked if you wanted a drink and gave recommendations and then got it for you. They would also clean your table when things are finished. You felt you were respected and treated well by all members of the boat. Getting of the cruise was like getting on, you go through customs and what not it was easy and quick. They did not even check my carryon luggage at all; you could probably bring some extra bottles of alcohol if you put it in your carry on. No sniffer dogs again and was very quick to get offThe cruise was fantastic I would defiantly go again, however I would like to experience other cruise lines as well to compare them. So though I enjoyed it I will probably not be back for some time as I want to see other ships. It's also very cheap so it's a great escape; there is a lot of kids on board as well. I went the week after the school holidays and still there were many people of all age groups. I hope my review has helped you pick P&O cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was my first cruise but I really enjoyed it. I guess these things are what you make of them and my partner and I are very social people, so we chatted to most people and got to know as many people as possible. We also tried to do as ... Read More
This was my first cruise but I really enjoyed it. I guess these things are what you make of them and my partner and I are very social people, so we chatted to most people and got to know as many people as possible. We also tried to do as many of the activities as we could squeeze in so aways seemed to be running from one thing to the next. The staff were wonderful Cruise Director David Pepper was great, as were the entertainment staff - Pee-Wee, Anthony, Karen and the others. The shows were brilliant!! Girt by Sea was an Australiana show which I thought would be cheesy, but it was so well done. The main singers were Charlotte Fortune and Neil James. Both wonderful and nice people to talk to socially. My favourite would be the Mentalist show by Phoenix. I saw his first show and it was so good I saw the same show repeated again. His memory is amazing and the way he can read people's minds is mind blowing. Highly recommended. He also was social with the passengers and he did some close up tricks for my partner and I and I'm still baffled how he does them! Loree from LA was a pianist/singer playing every night. Also brilliant. Food wise, Salt was lovely ($40 surcharge) but absolutely loved La Luna ($20 surcharge). The duck was amazing! The buffet one was okay. Went there mostly because it was easy. Get ready to put on weight! The night club was fun too. My only criticism was they closed down whenever the crowd dies down. I believe they should still stay open until a set time if there are still people that want to party there. Had fun in the casino, but the bar would shut before the casino did so you had to run up to the nightclub to get drinks. Very bizarre. First port was actually Airlie Beach but it's not listed here. First time I've ever been there. We just relaxed near this big public pool near the beach. Perfect day. Beautiful But overall, excellent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We just got back from our South Pacific Cruise and as I promised here is my review. But unlike normal I will endeavour to keep it on topic and for it to be concise and make sense. :) Embarkation: Was seamless and well organised ... Read More
We just got back from our South Pacific Cruise and as I promised here is my review. But unlike normal I will endeavour to keep it on topic and for it to be concise and make sense. :) Embarkation: Was seamless and well organised everyone at P&O was helpful and friendly even considering the weather was pretty average to say the least. I was surprised how quick it was actually. In no time we had found our cabin and on the top deck enjoying the sights of Sydney and welcome aboard drinks. The Sail away party was fun, going under the Sydney Harbour Bridge is definitely a great thing to experience, I was told there is 7 meters clearance for the Jewel under the bridge, it didn't look like that to us we recon less than 7 feet. Weather out from the heads was pretty bad 5 meter swell with the occasional 7 meter wave that night that kept you on your toes. I made the mistake of opening our balcony door that night to find myself very wet. We did make dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant that night and it was empty sea sickness was starting to take it's toll already. Trying to sleep was an experience it felt like I was undergoing a test for the NASA Space programme. My lady (a first time cruiser)was prepared she had a supply of sea sickness tablets she had got on-line from recommendations from a friend and she had no problems I would recommend them to anyone who suffers they are called "Sea Legs" from NZ and you can't get them here in Australia apparently. Anyway just take them before you cruise other people had taken other tablets that didn't help at all. I don't suffer so I didn't bother. Our Cabin: We were on Deck 10 at the front and had a balcony. I was pleasantly surprised heaps of room for to hang and store your clothes. I liked the decor, inside the rooms and the whole decor of the ship in general. Bathrooms were big enough. I am glad we didn't pay the extra for the full length balcony on deck 11. It just wasn't needed. The balcony's have two chairs and a table. Our Cabin Steward James was just the best friendly and quick and wow that man could make a wicked terry toweling animal. :). They deserve any tips you can afford to give them in my opinion. I don't think I would do there job for what they get paid and for the lengths of there contracts. Entertainment: Yes P&O do put on some great shows, the laser show was great(could of lasted longer but) there floor shows in the Marque Lounge are top quality. And the circus shows are top rate, We were lucky enough to have two troupes on board as the 1st were finishing there contracts and the new troupe were on there to practice for the next cruise. In essence we got to see two shows by two different acts. In my opinion P&O could maybe lift there game in regard to there bands they where rather repetitive with there song selections and really when needed on theme nights did not have the songs to match the occasion. They could really work on making there theme nights more known and talking them up a lot more. So everyone gets involved. The Island theme night was a good night as most got involved. My only other gripe would be the Attic night club being so small, what was P&O thinking having so much room for the fitness centre and a night club that you cannot swing a cat in. The DJ was good but. Dining: The Waterfront restaurant I could not fault. Ample food seconds if you wished. The Wine and Food Waiters were attentive prompt and pleasant. We tended to dine late but even when we forgot to book because of being to busy on shore. They always made room. The buffet we mainly only did for brekkie, on the rare occasions we did have to grab a quick meal I found the selection of fruits and salads great and the hot food ample. The Salt Grill was superb and well worth the extra $40 a head. We didn't dine at the LaGuina but I heard good reviews on that also. Just a few things I found a tad wanting, Lunch menu was great but dinner menu had no salad at all that you could order as a side i:e garden salad. also the Waterfront restaurant really does lack a restroom close by, it is a walk almost the length of the ship to go to the toilet. Minor things I know but i suppose if you don't mention it they wont know. Over all it was enjoyable and I can not fault the service and quality. Shore Excursions: We didn't do any P&O based shore excursions, as we tend to be a bit independent in that regard. We like to get a taxi for the day and see 3 times as much for the same price. I did speak to a few people who had done shore excursions with P&O and they had no complaints. Loved Mystery Island and Dravuni Island. Port Villa is the place to duty free shop. Isle of Pines would be great if it was easier to get around and explore the island (limited taxi's and transport for so many people). I had some great diving during my cruise. Funny Stuff: Two men got into a fight in the laundry over a washing machine and were put in the brig and let off at the next port. Apparently one guy was talking and didn't get his washing out of the machine fast enough for the other guy, this guy grabbed the other blokes washing out threw it on the floor and stamped on it and a fight broke out. His washing was still on the floor the next day and security in the Precinct of the Laundry Mat was increased to something akin to a visiting king. Day before we arrived home the weather had turned sour again (but not as bad as the way out) everyone on deck was watching a water spout out at sea and suddenly another one appeared and passed across the ships deck collecting a lady in a chair moving her 2 meters from her previous position and depositing her on her butt, with a what was that look on her face. Conclusion: I would travel with P&O again, I could not fault the service, the Captain was one funny guy and did everything as promised even swapping Nomeau for the Isle of Pines as we couldn't get there in time on our way out of Sydney from the bad weather. We got the Isle of Pines the last port of call which I thought was better anyway. Yes this ship is showing signs of age but they seemed to be trying to keep on top of it as there was maintenance being done every main port we went to. P&O just please fix your lifts on this boat people weren't happy about them at all. I didn't really care stairs are fine. All in all great times, great staff and top service and after all cruising should be as fun as you want to make it. Good work Pacific Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Have just returned from an 8 day trip to Noumea on the Pacific Jewel. After reading quite a few bad reviews was a bit apprehensive but needn't have worried as it was great. Food was good and plentiful, ship was clean, staff were ... Read More
Have just returned from an 8 day trip to Noumea on the Pacific Jewel. After reading quite a few bad reviews was a bit apprehensive but needn't have worried as it was great. Food was good and plentiful, ship was clean, staff were marvelous and so happy in their jobs, and we went to quite a few of the shows and were very impressed. We ate most of our meals in the Plantation Restaurant, which is self service, but there was so much to choose from. We ate a couple of times in the Waterfront Restaurant and the food was of an excellent quality. The ports of call were really good, Noumea, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. Take some money with you to the last 2 as the local islanders set up market stalls and sell souvenirs, food, coconuts and we could have even got a massage on Mystery Island. The weather was good and the water lovely and warm for swimming and snorkeling. If you are looking for somewhere nice in Noumea to grab a coffee I can highly recommend Le bout du monde, which overlooks Port Moselle marina just across from the morning market....they do a great cappuccino. One thing I would recommend is that you take a watch and/or travel clock as there aren't many clocks around the ship and as I had switched my mobile off, I was always wondering what the time was so that I wouldn't be late for any of the activities. If anyone wants any more information about the ship, I am happy to oblige. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
this will be short n sweet. But we travelled with our two young children aged 5 & 6 at the time. We flew to Brisbane the day prior to cruising, and i am glad we did. As we went bright and early for boarding, and we were on in time ... Read More
this will be short n sweet. But we travelled with our two young children aged 5 & 6 at the time. We flew to Brisbane the day prior to cruising, and i am glad we did. As we went bright and early for boarding, and we were on in time for lunch. The sail out party was amazing, and the entertainment crew did an awesome job of getting all ages involved and excited for the upcoming cruise. DINING: The buffet was great for the first day or so, then we became tired of it. It seemed like everything was the same, and not much variety. We then found the restaurant (Palm Court Dining) and it was soo nice to have a beautiful meal. The service was excellent. Alot of Australian companies could learn something from these people. So we dined at the restaurant nearly everyday for lunch and dinner. On the top deck, they do a lunch consisting of bread rolls filled with different fillings nearly everyday (except shore days). And the bread rolls are beautiful. ENTERTAINMENT Bingo was heaps of fun, and the commentators are sooo funny. the Casino has everything of a normal casino, with the exception of Keno. So it was good. We only seen two shows, and they were great. Next time we will try and see a few more. The shows in the atrium (circus etc) were amazing, and left us breathless. And the kids loved them. KIDS CLUB The kids absolutely loved kids club, and we couldn't get them out of there. The carers are amazing, and the kids loved them. They were so great, that the carers knew all the kids by name by the second day, which made the kids feel sooo welcome. The kids did shows that the parents could go and see in the theatre, and they thought that was great. TOURS I am glad we only did one tour, and it was pretty good. But on the other two destinations, we did our own thing. We saved hundreds of dollars doing our own thing. At Vila, we paid a local to take us to all the tourist hot spots for $150 for the day. He was great, and we seen everything that the tours were doing and more.. We also seen stuff that the boat doesn't tell you about, and it was amazing. The kids loved it, loved Turtle Bay, the local villages, the local schools etc. It was a real eye opener to see just how the other half live, so to speak. CABIN OUr cabin was neat and tidy, with heaps of storage. It was quite roomy considering there was 4 of us. During the day our steward (Johannes - who was amazing and so thoughtful) put the bunks up, so we had room to move. It was even better we had a window to look out day and night. The rocking didn't bother us at all, as we were on deck 6, in the middle of the ship. OVERALL We had a great time, although we wish the weather could have been kinder. We have now booked our second cruise on this boat for longer, two weeks around New Zealand. We only did a short 7nighter for the first cruise, just in case etc... I was told by the local travel agent and P & O person, that the Pacific Dawn is the better of all the P & O ships.. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We are two gay men in our fifties and we travelled with our girlfriends we play bridge with. We had upgraded a week before departure to two balcony cabins on Deck 10 and from the start it was the best cruise we've ever done. ... Read More
We are two gay men in our fifties and we travelled with our girlfriends we play bridge with. We had upgraded a week before departure to two balcony cabins on Deck 10 and from the start it was the best cruise we've ever done. Check-in was very quick and we were meeting our cabin steward, Jun, within about an hour of arriving at the wharf. Unlike other cruises we've done, he didn't ask us if we wanted our queen bed turned into two singles! He was smiley, charming and helpful from day one to day twelve. He even let the girls know where we were if they came around and we weren't home! The cabin was kept beautifully clean and tidy and he varied his cleaning times to suit us. I tipped him when we first got on the ship, halfway through and at the end. I asked him if we could have a bucket of ice brought to the cabin at about 3pm everyday and, sure enough, there it was. Extra glasses, more towels, whatever we asked, nothing was too much trouble. The balcony cabins on deck 10 have the metal bit from the railing down and although this blocks the view somewhat, we all still loved having our own piece of deck. We left the door open at nightand all you could hear was the slashing of the waves on the side of the ship. Heaven! There is plenty of cupboard space and the bathroom is also a good size. I had continental breakfast each morning in the cabin while my partner went up to the buffet - I just couldn't face the pig trough (as my partner called it) that early in the morning! The cabin breakfast is a great start with plenty of good coffee, hot chocolate, orange and apple juice, pastries, toast and honey etc. Most days we braved the buffet for lunch and I was really pleasantly surprised at the standard of the food, particularly the salads, fresh and crunchy. They also had what was probably the best beef madras curry I've had anywhere in the world on one day and on another a delicious NZ lamb stew. The staff were constantly replenishing and restocking and it was always piping hot. An issue in the past has been the lack of seating but as La Luna was open we usually took our trays in there but never had a problem finding a vacant table. We ate in the Waterfront Restaurant most evenings and as we preferred to eat later never had a problem booking the day before for a table of 4. Most of the dishes were delicious with some real standouts. The staff were unfailingly welcoming and charming and the service was efficient and timely, even though they were, as usual, really busy. The dishes arrived at the table at the right temperature and in the right order. The steaks were cooked perfectly but on one occaision I ordered a rump steak from the daily specials menu and it was so tough as to be inedible....just bad luck, as the others were all lovely. On night 2 we had our first experience of Salt. Yes, the food is good, yes the service is great, but not really the standout experience I thought it would be. Maybe I'm odd but I thought 5 waiters swooping on our table at once bringing our tapas starter was a bit over the top - there were arms and hands everywhere! The best part of the whole experience was Charmaine the maitre'd - what a lovely lady! On night 3 we ate in La Luna. Now this really was a great experience. The food was EXCELLENT! The staff were fabulous! And they worked together like a well-oiled machine. Charmaine is in charge here too and as one of the waitresses said to me they are like a family and it showed. They were all fun, efficient, knowledgable about the food and just great to be with. We were lucky that they changed the menu half way through the cruise, not because we were tired of the food, but because we ended eating there 4 times! On the last night we had a wonderful time with them all - a great ending. We missed Isle of Pines due to bad weather but the captain kept us all informed and these things happen. Mystery Island was beautiful with great snorkelling but Wala was a little disappointing - the locals were nearly begging, hated seeing the poor turtles in those little dish-pans and the snorkelling was ordinary. But saying that we also ate some great fruit and met some lovely Ni-Vanuatu. At Luganville and Port Vila we hired a vehicle and drove around both islands which was great - finding our own out-of-the way places. Champagne Bay was fantastic - and we were the only ones there. We met locals, toured one of their schools as we has a teacher with us, and went to a cattle ranch and got a guided tour as we have cows back here. So, to sum up, great staff, great food, great ship, great value for money. We've already booked our next one in October! Well done P&O! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I had read a lot of information regarding cruises on the internet. There was quiet a lot of negative comments that I filtered out as I decided to emabrk on my first cruise with my partner. He has cruised before, and told me it was great, ... Read More
I had read a lot of information regarding cruises on the internet. There was quiet a lot of negative comments that I filtered out as I decided to emabrk on my first cruise with my partner. He has cruised before, and told me it was great, but I had reservations. Well let me tell you about it. We arrived at Sydney airport to be greeted by P & O staff, we were taken to a bus and loaded on and out of the airport with barely enough time for a toilet stop. The service and speed was great. We arrived to the wharf, and after filling out forms, which I had to beg a pen off a fellow traveller, P & O , you should offer pens at this stage, but other than this very small problem, we were on the ship within 15 minutes. No queues, nothing. It was so highly organised and ran as smooth as possible. Every little bit of information we needed was in our cabin, and with a quick introduction by Richie, our brilliant minder we were off for the most relaxing 2 weeks of our lives. Our room was twice as large as I thought it would be, we had a small balcony. Everything we needed was there.And plenty of storage, we unpacked in to full size drawers and cuboards, ans stowed the suitcases away. The food was brilliant. The Waterfront restaurant was outstanding, very surprising quick service with escellent food. I was worried about the reservation system, but whether we mae a reservation or not we were always seated for dinner. the buffet was of an extremely high standard and was a great standby for the nights we could not be bothered dressing up for. Salt grill was absolutely amazing. I could never aford to eat at a restaurant like that at home. We went there 3 times. La luna was good, the service great, but I thought the food lacked a little. Overall I would rate the food expereince a 5/5. I did have one small concern, the rpice of the wine was a little expensive. As we were eating out every night, it would have been nice to have a bottle every night, but the budget did not stretch this far. So we had a couple of dry nights. The wine list was varied and interesting, but with the Katnook at $48 per bottle, $15 in Dan Murphys, I was a little miffed. Maybe I have expensive tastes in wine, but the cheaper Rothberry line that was offered at $25 per bolltle was not to my tasting. A little more range in Pinot Noir would be nice to see next time. There was so much to do on the ship. The activities were non stop. I chose to bake ont he back deck at the Oasis, and read for most of my activities, but for the busy minded there was so much to choose from. The shows were great, I loved the Juggler, magician,the ventriliquist the late night comedy shows. The musical shows were entertaing but as these do not really appeal to me I should not probably comment. I thought that they caould be of a slightly higher standard. Everon else on board seemed to love it. The circus show with the elephant puppets was fantastic. Not to the columbian and New Zealad trapeze artists. Absolutley world class. I loved the 4 shows we saw with their juggling and trapeze work. The laser light shows were also very entertaining. Ports:  Isle Of Pines. Totally beautiful relaxing experience Mystery Island. The best snorkelling and beatiful Island Port Vila OK Suva Dirty, you need to get out of town here and do a tour Port Denaru Lovely I loved my cruise. The ports were great, and even though we missed one due to bad weather I did not mind. I hardly felt the ship move during the bad weather. Either I am an excellect sea farer from way back, or the ship has an amazing stablising system underneath it. The latter I think. I will efinately be cruising again. I am addicted. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Pacific Jewel - Exceeded Expectations We thoroughly enjoyed our 14 day cruise to Fiji. This is the first time we have cruised with P&O and when we booked we had many reservations about this company after all the bad publicity a ... Read More
Pacific Jewel - Exceeded Expectations We thoroughly enjoyed our 14 day cruise to Fiji. This is the first time we have cruised with P&O and when we booked we had many reservations about this company after all the bad publicity a few years ago plus some of the reviews were not good either. Well, I can truly say that this was a fantastic cruise. Fun, relaxed, comfortable, interesting ports, and the weather was mostly kind to us - which definitely helps. The embarkation and dis-embarking process was the best we have ever experienced (this was our sixth cruise) - very smooth and took no time at all. The tendering at the different ports was also easy and a pleasant experience - I now wonder why it all seemed so difficult on our other cruises. On one Mediterranean cruise we waited in a long queue for 2½ hours to embark and the tendering was a nightmare!! Our cabin was comfortable - king bed (well, two singles pushed together), a large shower stall (bigger than other ships we've been on), bathroom itself was same size as other ships, which is fairly small, but with enough space for toiletries etc. cabin and bathroom all spotlessly clean. We'd been given an upgrade to cabin 10303, which was an inside aft and was in a great position right next to the Oasis deck. Our favourite spot during the sea days and the early evening was on a deck chair at the Oasis. Perfect! Our cabin was wonderfully quiet cabin as the Oasis deck and bar closed around 6.30pm. I'm sure we also had the best cabin steward on board! Aatish was wonderful. Food in both The Plantation and The Waterfront was generally very good - I did get one meal in the Waterfront that was not good at all but here was no problem about getting another. Service also in the Waterfront was a bit hit and miss - we did not eat at the same table each evening so had different waiters each time. The service for those who ate at the same table and same time each night was exceptional. (You could ask to be seated at a favourite waiter's table). Staff, without exception, was friendly and helpful and always smiling. It was a very relaxed, easy going cruise. The Captain was a very social man and his good humour and friendly attitude was evident throughout the ship. He called his crew "my beloved crew" and "my kids". His talk about the Pacific Jewel lasted about 2 hours and was brilliant - not to be missed - so informative and yet very funny. We were fortunate on this ship to be able to view the galley and to view backstage. We've not been able to do this before on any cruise and I loved seeing behind the scenes. The gym is very well equipped and both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the daily stretch classes and using the gym. The ports were great - my favourite was Isle of Pines - I guess I just wasn't expecting anything so picture card perfect. It was truly beautiful with white, white sand and clear aqua blue water....and as most passengers found their way to the snorkeling spot, we chose to stay beachside so had this unbelievably beautiful beach almost to ourselves. The other ports, Mystery Island, Port Vila, Port Denauru and Suva were all very interesting and each was quite different. We enjoyed them all. Sadly, because of the weather and seas we were unable to tender at Dravuni Island. (No matter, that will be my excuse to do this cruise again!) Can't wait to do another cruise with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We were 1st time cruisers so I can't make comparisons, but there's no need because we thought the Pacific Jewel was great. A few highlights: Service - staff were ALWAYS polite, friendly and well-informed. Not once were we ... Read More
We were 1st time cruisers so I can't make comparisons, but there's no need because we thought the Pacific Jewel was great. A few highlights: Service - staff were ALWAYS polite, friendly and well-informed. Not once were we fobbed off or rushed when we had questions. Everyone we spoke to seemed to enjoy doing their job. Everything was micro-managed so that we never waited more than 1/2 an hour to disembark or return, even on tenders. Amazing organisation. Being at sea - I loved being on the ocean, the roll of the ship and the fresh (sometimes very fresh - it was cold!) air Entertainment - what a talented crew! I went to every show and enjoyed them all. Also went to dance lessons, trivia, bingo...something for everyone. Food was very good at the Waterfront - service from our wine waiter Christian and waiter Roshan excellent. Food at the buffet was not quite the same standard but still good. A few things we found underwhelming: Cost of the Internet! Prices at the spa were ridiculous. There were a lot of sessions that were really sales pitches - for detox products and the like. Behaviour of some other passengers - cutting in queues and taking food from the buffet with their fingers (yuck). Only one laundrette for 1900 passengers! Unexpected pleasures: It was so easy to meet people. Walking the length of the ship several times a day going here and there - great exercise. Changing for dinner - I expected this to be a chore as we're pretty casual, but we found it made a nice contrast to everyday life. Overall: I'd always wanted to try a cruise and enjoyed it very much. However we did find 13 nights a bit long. For a first-time cruiser I'd recommend a shorter cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
So glad we took a chance as we had an awesome time. From the moment we walked on till 10days later as we disembarked it was 1st class treatment from all staff from Stewards, Reception Staff, Bar Staff, Waiters etc. Entertainment was top ... Read More
So glad we took a chance as we had an awesome time. From the moment we walked on till 10days later as we disembarked it was 1st class treatment from all staff from Stewards, Reception Staff, Bar Staff, Waiters etc. Entertainment was top quality, we struggled to fit everything we all wanted 2 do in. We were traveling in a group of 2 adults & 3 children, every1 wanted 2 do something different so it was a real juggle 2 satisfy every1's wishes. Buffet was gr8 4 breakfast but was a bit over it 4 lunch & dinner so it was off the Waterfront 4 those meals. Kids club was a bit ordinary 4 my 12y old (HQ) but our 2 kids under 10 seemed satisfied with what was on offer in Shark Shack. Other traveling friends had a kid in turtle cove (4yold) & he kept asking 2 go back whenever his mum took him out. Loved going 2 breakfast only 2 come back 2 the cabin 2 find our beds made, tidied room & wet towels had been replaced by fresh ones. After dinner our beds were turned down with a surprise every 2nd night or so, usually chockies or a towel shaped in2 an animal, kids loved going back 2 the cabin 2 find out what it was going 2 b. Rooms were bigger than I expected & there was heaps of storage 2 unpack our bags. We had 5 ppl in a 4birth cabin & there was plenty of storage. Having a fridge also was gr8 as we bought cans & poppers with us on board. All in all its what u make it, u can either walk around complaining or suck it up & enjoy the experience. Best part of the ship is Oasis Bar, every afternoon from 5pm is where u could find me, cocktail in hand, no kids, relaxing on a deck chair. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
My partner and I are both first time cruisers, booking the trip as a way to relax and unwind at the end of a hectic year for both of us. We had read fairly mixed reviews about the Pacific Jewel thus we boarded not really knowing what to ... Read More
My partner and I are both first time cruisers, booking the trip as a way to relax and unwind at the end of a hectic year for both of us. We had read fairly mixed reviews about the Pacific Jewel thus we boarded not really knowing what to expect, reminding ourselves to keep an open mind and to go with the flow. Embarkation was a fairly easy process. We were dropped off at Wharf 5 at 11:30 and by 12:30 we were checked in, through customs, into our room, booked into Salt and at the Plantation buffet for lunch. There was a bit of a snafu with our room at first. When we arrived, there was no key in the door. We hoped that meant our room was double booked and we'd be upgraded from an outside cabin to a balcony or mini suite. Alas, the people on the cruise before us had lost or left with the keys and new ones needed to be coded. It was a minor problem fixed up in no time by our accommodation steward, Adrian. Speaking of Adrian, he was just fabulous. A friendly and warm person for whom nothing was too much bother. We were extremely happy with the service he provided, and we will miss seeing his smiling face on the way to breakfast each morning and dinner at night. Unfortunately the same could not be said for the staff at Waterfront. We ate at Waterfront for a majority of our meals as the buffet was not really our thing. The service was very hit and miss. We were hoping to find a waiter we liked and book the same table each night, unfortunately that wasn't to be. I understand that the service staff work very hard, and very long hours, yet when we would make a simple request (Such as asking for tomato sauce to go with chips at dinner or Vegemite for toast at breakfast) it was as if we'd just asked them to cut off their own hands and these requests had to be made two or three times. I also had an incident at breakfast where one of the wait staff was bringing me my croissants. I saw him drop one on the way, and so I got a plate with just one croissant. When I asked for a replacement it took five minutes of explaining and arguing as to why I should get another. I know that sounds petty but it is a great example of how most of the staff at Waterfront just could not be bothered, or were too tired to care. At the opposite end of the spectrum, our dinner at Salt was just spectacular. We went on the second night of the cruise and spent the rest of our week talking about how good the steak we had was. The food and service there were equally amazing and definitely worth the money. We heard other people complaining about it, that they didn't like the ordering process or that the food was just average but I am pretty sure they were on drugs. Don't listen to those people, definitely go to Salt if you have the chance. We managed to see most of the nightly shows. I wasn't expecting much, a bit of school spectacular mixed in with RSL dancers but I was pleasantly surprised. The Pacific Cirque troupe was extraordinary and the shows put on each night by the Pacific Entertainers were of a high quality. The only lowlight for us was Danny McMaster. His show was very second rate. It seemed he hadn't learnt any new impressions since the mid 90's and after his third horrible racist joke within minutes we walked out in disgust. Unfortunately it seems that kind of humour appeals to most people and we were the only ones not laughing, so I'm sure he will continue to be booked. We had lots of fun on board the ship, having a few drinks and enjoying the sun and people watching. We tried as many different things as we could and made the most of our eight days at sea. A special shout out needs to go to Scooter the sports coordinator for his trivia each night. A good laugh and we managed to learn a bit about Canadian sports. The in-room entertainment was a bit interesting. They only seemed to play two movies, either Big Momma's House or Ocean's 11. It also only had BBC World News or Sky News UK which meant that we had no idea what was going on in Australia for the whole time we were away. To the ports. We didn't book any shore tours as we weren't sure what we were going to do. In Noumea we ended up booking our own ride on the tour train, which was good fun. At the end they dropped us off at Lemon Bay, a great place for a spot of lunch and to swim in calm protected waters. If you're going to Mystery Island or Isle of Pines as we did, I highly recommend taking a snorkel and aqua shoes with you. We had never snorkeled before but after picking up a cheap snorkel and goggles at K-Mart and aqua shoes at Target we thought we'd give it a go. Definitely the right decision. The water is so clear at Mystery Island and there's so much fascinating coral to look at. Isle of Pines had so many different types of fish, it was just amazing. Our only regret is that we didn't get an underwater camera to get some shots of the fish. Oh well, next time! Sadly our eight nights were soon up and it was time to leave. Disembarkation was very smooth. Our group's meeting time for disembarkation was 8am and we were off the ship and in a taxi with our bags by 10 past 8. All in all we had a fantastic time. There was plenty to do to keep us entertained, and we also had lots of time to relax. We deliberately had low expectations but they were more than exceeded. When it comes down to it, your cruise is what you make of it. Like I said in the beginning we kept an open mind and a smile on our faces and it meant that we had a wonderful week that we will remember forever.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Yesterday we arrived home from a fantastic holiday with our 22mth old darling son (hereafter refereed to as DS)on the Pacific Dawn cruising Week Fantastique. I have based this review around how the cruise fared as a 'toddler ... Read More
Yesterday we arrived home from a fantastic holiday with our 22mth old darling son (hereafter refereed to as DS)on the Pacific Dawn cruising Week Fantastique. I have based this review around how the cruise fared as a 'toddler friendly' holiday, as despite many many hours researching, there seems to be hardly any info our there recommending good family holidays for kids under 3! Dining: The first few days we dined at the buffet. We never had trouble finding a high chair, though unfortunately one person would have to sit at the table with DS while the other got some food, then swap over. This could be quite painful when sometimes it would take 15-20mins each to get through the buffet line. The main complaint I have heard about Pacific Dawn is the quality of food in the Buffet, and sadly I have to agree. The deserts are ok, but apart from that the food is nothing to rave about - similar to what you would get in a university cafeteria. There also wasnt much that DS liked to eat, so he lived off deserts and bread rolls. The one good thing is that there is always milk at the coffee station, so we visited there whenever we wanted to fill up his sippy cup with milk. Also I would alway pop into the buffet early in the morning and grab a bananna, a muffin and some yoghurt, and take it back to our room in case DS felt like an afternoon snack between meal times. However, once we discovered the Palm court Dining room we never went back to the buffet. The Food at the Palm court Dining room is amazing! At dinner there is a full kids menu including dessert. DS loved the chicken nuggets, pasta, pork schnitzel ad fish fillets, oh and the chocolate cake of course. At lunch you can order off the adults menu for kids - we usually got DS some chip, steamed veges, fruit skewers with yoghurt, or cheese, and some kind of dessert. At breakfast as soon as he was seated they always brought him a muffin or a Danish, then I usually ordered him weetbix, yohurt and fruit, or toast to follow (though nothing stopping you from ordering bacon and eggs for your little one if thats what they like!). But not only is the food great, the waiters are exceptional. They always had a high chair ready for him, always fussed over him (and remembered his name) and made DS animals and hats out of his napkin. Also a few nights DS decided to fuss while I was ordering, and they quickly rushed over and amused him while I looked through the menu. Even the supervisor made a fuss over him. They were amazing - I have never ever been so well treated at a restaurant. Our Cabin and the dreaded "Day Naps!" It is actually very easy to get your child off to sleep in the cabin, as there is a little 'nook' out of view of the beds. I happily sat there reading for 15mins while DS went to sleep, then once asleep we dragged out the portable DVD player and watched movies (with headphones) til he woke. Very relaxing, especially with a cocktail!On Board Activities: Although too young for kids club, DS was never bored. We went to the kids club everyday with him to give him a play( was wonderful), and there were also kids shows in the entertainment lounge. We also went swimming (as his is toilet trained), and he also just loved hanging out on lido deck playing with the other toddlers. Our favourite thing to do was to take all his colouring books and toys up to a booth in "the dome" at the front of the ship, and he would happily play while we watched the scenery. He also loved watching the shows at night - surprising for him as we usually have trouble getting him to sit still for more than 5mins! It was a wonderful holiday and he loved every minute of it! Ports: - just quickly as am running out of space Noumea - book a tchoo train ride in the terminal for $25 per adult, DS loved it. Lifou - Paradise! We walked with DS to the church on the hill, then spent the rest of the day swimming at the lovely beach right where the tenders pull up. Villa - Unfortunatelt cascade waterfalls didnt really suit a toddler, so we taxi'd it to the markets, and from there caught a water ferry to Iririki Island resort - for $35 we got use of the resorts beautiful pool, private beach, plus a lovely lunch. Just a side note us (the adults) loved it too - if you are considering the Pacific Dawn for a holiday with young kids then I have 2 words for you - do it! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I feel a lot of the things being said on here about the Pacific Dawn are quite harsh. I've seen many reviews complaining that you must pay for everything other than food and your ticket. If everything were included the price would go ... Read More
I feel a lot of the things being said on here about the Pacific Dawn are quite harsh. I've seen many reviews complaining that you must pay for everything other than food and your ticket. If everything were included the price would go up and people would complain about that.. Embarkation/debarkation was smooth and easy. Our cabin was a decent size and well cleaned everyday by our super friendly cleaner, the only problem I would point out is that the balcony was a bit dirty. But just ask someone to clean it for you and it's not a problem. The balcony is definitely worth the money. There's nothing like drinking a cocktail on your balcony watching the sunset :) The food in the buffet for dinner wasn't very good, the focused more on quantity than quality, but the breakfast and lunch buffets were good. Food in the dining hall was great, I can't fault it. The staff in the dining room were very grumpy and rude though, if we requested anything they got angry (my partner requested a second entree and the waiter frowned at us..). We had the $20 Asian set dinner one night, and I have to say it was excellent value for money and good quality food. We would definitely pay for that again. Cocktails were good, but a few of the bar staff were grumpy too. The staff at the coffee shops were super friendly though, and the coffee was really good for the price. The free coffee was terrible, but I think I'm a coffee snob haha. The shows were pretty good. Most of the comedians were terrible. They made a lot of jokes by embarrassing people in the audience (getting them up on stage when they clearly didn't want to, or calling them no fun when they said no, running up and screaming in people's ears to frighten them) which I didn't find funny at all. The gym was very small and shoved at the very bottom of the boat, which wasn't good. But they go boot camp,jogging and yoga on deck for a fair price for all you fitness nuts who don't want to be in the box of a gym. They did a lot of parties on deck and in the nightclub, which were heaps of fun ! Adults only trivia and karaoke/singing competitions in the nightclub were a lot of fun too. Bingo was really fun(even though you had to buy a pen haha), the jackpot went to one lady who won $6000 ! There weren't that many scheduled activities for younger people during the day, lots of quilting and how to lose weight/dealing with arthritis seminars. But that was ok, there were plenty of things for us to do later on in the day, it was nice to relax at the back of the ship in the adults only area during the day and do the night-time activities. Overall we had a great time and would book this cruise again in a heartbeat ! Some small complaints really don't outweigh the many good things, don't let the bad reviews on here put you off. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
If you really like to dress for dinner every night this is probably not the cruise for you it is definitely more casual than other cruises we have been on. This cruise was more on the relaxed fun and friendly theme. Embarkation was ... Read More
If you really like to dress for dinner every night this is probably not the cruise for you it is definitely more casual than other cruises we have been on. This cruise was more on the relaxed fun and friendly theme. Embarkation was good and also disembarkation at all ports good. Our cabin was probably a bit tired furniture wise but loads of wardrobe and drawers and lovely comfy bed the cabin steward was very good and every night fancy animals the monkey habging in the bathroom nearly gave me heart attack. The buffet was good and a good selection of food. The meat pies which came out at the end of lunchtime were to die for. The evening meals in The waterfront were restaurant were great and a varied choice our waiter Ross was fantastic as we always wanted to go see the show he made sure we did and always had a smile. The shows were excellent would have loved to see some of them again, The cruise director Willie was brilliant and all his gang. Take cardigans or jackets cos aircon a bit cold in some places especially the connexions bar but if you dance you will be ok. I do think some people dont know the meaning of smart casual and were quite scruffy. Had a great cruise highly recommended but definitely relaxed style. Ports of call good except Luganville nothing much there but probably unfair as the weather wasnt quite as good and we didnt go swimming or snorkelling but people that did were back on the boat before we got off. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Well we got back last week from our latest cruise, loved it , of course. We were very lucky in that with this cruise we visited 4 islands we had not been to before. We both loved the Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Pentacost and Santo. ... Read More
Well we got back last week from our latest cruise, loved it , of course. We were very lucky in that with this cruise we visited 4 islands we had not been to before. We both loved the Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Pentacost and Santo. The locals were, as usual, very happy to see us and put on some great cultural dances, songs etc. the weather was perfect, like a mill pond from the time we left Sydney, the only tiny bit of swell was on the second to last day on the way back to reality. The Jewel is a big ship, at 73,000 tonnes, so it does take a bit to toss it around. Embarkation was very smooth, about 20 mins from entering the area. Cabins were quite nice, very clean and our cabin steward was great. Free dining was not a hit with us but after the second night, Rossen, the maitre'd booked our table 117 for the whole cruise and from there we had no problems. The meals were very good and of 4 star quality. The table waiters were also great and made dining a bit of fun. We were a little disappointed with the dress code of some people and also the noise, some of this was caused by the staff singing birthday greetings and what ever. This got quite rowdy at times so conversation was not possible. On the food front we only had one complaint, I ordered the 200 gm beef burger for lunch one day, it consisted of a dry toasted roll, one slice of tomatoe, a piece of lettuce, a slice of beet root, half a onion thickly sliced and of course the pattie. There was no sauce etc. it was very dry. If you had got it a a burger shop you would have sent it back. Deffinately not seen by chef Patrick. The circusbwasba very big disappointment and might as well not have been there. The shows were not bad apart from a segment in "Girt by sea" where the lead singers were very flat and tone deaf. All in all though a very good cruise, we met some lovely people and my wife even brought home money, very unusual:-) the drinks were on the expensive side, but the trip is cheap so they have to make money somewhere. Will do it all again next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click