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44 P&O Australia Cairns Cruise Reviews

The objective of our first cruise was to get to places best accessed from the sea and to return to past haunts: the destination, not the journey. Thanks to the reviews on this site and elsewhere we had a good idea of the ship and how ... Read More
The objective of our first cruise was to get to places best accessed from the sea and to return to past haunts: the destination, not the journey. Thanks to the reviews on this site and elsewhere we had a good idea of the ship and how things worked and did not have to figure out much from zero. The destinations worked out well, we had great snorkelling on Conflict Is, Kiriwina and Gizo. Lots of tropical fish, even if the coral not as spectacular as what we saw in Fiji. Paying an outrigger canoe on Kiriwina worked well to take us away from the landing beach where coral was badly damaged. Dive Gizo took us to their private island 20 minutes from the main harbour, with good snorkelling and diving and a delicious local lunch of grilled fish and veges. Tooling around in a dugout canoe made me appreciate how much easier modern watercraft are to use. Going back to Rabaul after it was wiped out by the 1994 volcanic eruption was an eerie experience. The pre-arranged day-long Paivu Tours tour was well run and much cheaper than the ship offerings. In Honiara we just hired a cab outside the harbour with an arranged itinerary and fixed price and kept ahead of the ship's tours. Hand-crafted carvings were plentiful in Kiriwina, attractive woven bags best on Conflict Islands, and other nice carvings in Honiara near the museum and on the wharf. The demonstration village at the end of the market path in Kiriwina is very interesting and well done but lamentably sparsely patronized by the cruisers. All traders accept Aussie dollars, but local currencies are easiest for them. Tender operations for the shore visits were run very efficiently, we did not waste much time queuing. The main unexpected issue for us was that the ship's decor, services, activities and catering are pitched to please the two main groups, 70+ and bogans. The decor and food (except Angelo's) are straight out of the 1980s. Common areas are rather garishly fitted out, the unabashedly downmarket Casino being the worst. Some of the adjacent bars have the atmosphere of a 1920s Shanghai brothel. Entertainment is also aimed at the above two customer groups: ho-hum stage show, bingo, comedy based on four-letter words, rounded out by snake-oil merchant "health" offerings and discount sale of plastic sandals. Service is fine, staff are attentive and cheerful, sometimes a bit forced cheerful, clearly acting on instructions. Sharing a table at restaurants greatly facilitated booking and allowed us to meet many interesting people from all walks of life, some real off-left-field experiences. Food presentation was very attractive in all restaurants, and service was also good with just a couple of minor hitches. We found the portion sizes perfect, unlike much chatter on the Internet. Food quality did vary markedly, though. We were thoroughly impressed with the food at Angelo's. Authentic Italian flavours and meal preparation, not drowned in heavy sauces, were well paired with good varietal wines. Management and the chef deserve a medal. The Waterfront was a mixed bag, ranging from some very nice meals (eg, a tasty vegetarian burrito) to some poor ones (eg, veal schnitzel and a so-called swordfish salad that had practically no fish in a mound of cold tomato-flavoured spaghetti). Breakfast was pretty well what one could have at the Pantry, but served with much more ceremony over much longer time. The classier environment in the restaurant was the only drawcard. The Dragon Lady showed less extremes in food quality, but the meals were uniformly very pedestrian implementations of the Asian originals, as it used to be done in last-century Oz. It was a major pain to order wine at the restaurant, as they are weirdly unprepared for such an option. The restaurant décor was far too dark and the faint blue lighting neither functional nor atmospheric. The advertised menu of the Salt restaurant was too boring for us to spend extra money on, with little apart from heavy dishes of red meat. The Pantry was very functional with good basic choices and a good range of seating and attractive decor. Some offerings like the battered fish were excellent in their own category, a great lunch to repeat paired with lots of fresh salad. The dessert menu, however, is stuck in the last century with boring sponge cakes and jellies. We wanted to spend the extra money on the reportedly impressive culinary experience at the Chef's Table, but could not get in. The quality of coffee was appalling in the Pantry and at the Waterfront, the latter's brewed offering no better than the Pantry's instant with reconstituted milk powder. Only two outlets of espresso coffee on the ship, with just adequate quality, were insufficient at this day and age. There is just no excuse for this with the availability of espresso vending machines. In all, though, it was a relaxing holiday. We organized our own shore activities based on info from the Internet and had a great time. The ship was a pleasant and convenient means of transport, and once we sussed the restaurants there was good food to be had. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We arrived in Cairns 5 days before our departure and enjoyed relaxing and touring of few notable place before boarding the Pacific Eden. Boarding was smooth and went without a hitch the staff I. The terminal kept everyone informed and made ... Read More
We arrived in Cairns 5 days before our departure and enjoyed relaxing and touring of few notable place before boarding the Pacific Eden. Boarding was smooth and went without a hitch the staff I. The terminal kept everyone informed and made the process of boarding going through customs etc a breeze. Once on board we walk around making our self farmilar with the ship until we were called to our lifeboat drill. Although she is an olde ship the Eden is very tidy our cabin was on level 6 and was roomy and more than meant our needs every thing was in working order to and we virtually had no outside noise at all despite there being a smoking station about 50 mtrs from our window. It was cleaned everyday and turned down every evening.As far as the eating went we chose to have breakfast and lunch in the pantry every day and were surprised by the amount of choices. The food was first class and the staff were more than helpful with your requests. We choose dinner in all three free restaurants but for nd the menu more inviting in the Waterfront but could not fault the food in the Dragon Lady or the Italian one. Entertainment and activities we great the daily news letter let us plan our day as to what we were going to do especially on sea days. We chose on 2 shore excursions as we both prefer to do our own thing when travelling in new places. The snorkeling at Conflict Islands was first class the array of marine life and coral is as good as we have seen. The WW11 tour in Honiara was excellent made better but the guide we had our bus who kept us informed of everything as we toured around. As far as the service on the boat went we are not real big drinkers so we did not purchase only drinks packages as such. But we found the service was slow in peak times and got a little bit over serviced in the quiet times. The staff were always friendly and would have a chat when appropriate. They work extremely hard and should be congratulated on there friendly manner. All in al this cruise was great value P& O seemed to have nailed the entertainment side as the crew they have headed up by Pablo were sensational and always smiled and made light of things to keep the crowd entertained. I would definitely sail with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our second time on Eden - the first time was two years ago and we loved it which is why we returned. If anything the ship was better second time around. Beautifully furnished, spacious, friendly and attentive staff - could not ... Read More
This was our second time on Eden - the first time was two years ago and we loved it which is why we returned. If anything the ship was better second time around. Beautifully furnished, spacious, friendly and attentive staff - could not fault it. The food on the whole was good, tasty and beautifully presented. Temperature appeared to be a problem with many meals lukewarm at best. Waterfront (the main dining room) has a great menu with something for everyone. Dragon Lady was great but Angelos not as good. Drinks are a reasonable price, and again a great selection. Our cabin (deck 4 oceanview midship) was spacious and spotlessly clean. Itinerary was great - I wasnt sure about visiting NewGuinea and was actually talked into the cruise but we thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone. We were not able to tender to Gizo Island due to rough seas but full marks to the Entertainment team for putting together a great day at sea at short notice. Cruise was ex Cairns - embarkation very easy, well organised. Disembarkation just as easy - we were off the ship and in our hotel within 30 minutes. Disappointed that Pacific Eden had been sold on but I have been told Pacific Aria is exactly the same so will have to find out for ourselves (hopefully soon!) Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This cruise was suggested by Flight centre to accompany our trip to Cairns. We chose to pay extra to have a cabin with a balcony however we were the last cabin at the rear of the ship which was a big mistake. Not only did we have the ... Read More
This cruise was suggested by Flight centre to accompany our trip to Cairns. We chose to pay extra to have a cabin with a balcony however we were the last cabin at the rear of the ship which was a big mistake. Not only did we have the extra rocking from the propellers and the noise of the engines but we had to contend with the noise of the chairs being dragged along the deck early in the morning. No chance of a sleep in. Every area had music playing at a higher level than was necessary. We felt that shore tours were too expensive and no prior knowledge that to attend the dining rooms on board required a long pants dress code for the men. We were in the tropics so long pants were the last thing on our minds to wear. The area that you could eat at wearing shorts left a lot to be desired. The food in this area was disappointing to say the least. We were able to find some extremely good bar stewards but the drinks we ordered were not the same throughout the ship hence we tended to get them from one area. The highlight for us was the people we met which made our holiday a better experience. As this was our first cruise we would not be booking another with P & O due to this experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Just back from our first P&O cruise and was pleasantly surprised by the experience. Having cruised many times on other lines we were aprehensive about P&O as they don't have the best reputation. I don't usually ... Read More
Just back from our first P&O cruise and was pleasantly surprised by the experience. Having cruised many times on other lines we were aprehensive about P&O as they don't have the best reputation. I don't usually write reviews but after reading the last two reviews I just had to write a reply. The last two reviews i noticed were written by 1 time reviewers who have just joined C.C. this year and were on the same cruise as my wife and I. Firstly the food in the pantry while not gourmet, it was certainly edible. The last reviewer lost weight proberbly because they serve you food and you can't pile up your plate as you can at buffets on other lines. We ate in Dragon lady, Angelos and the Waterfront and all were very good. The music and the musos in all the bars were very good. We went from bar to bar every night and never struck a bad show. We go and see bands and singers every week at home and these entertainers on board were fun and all very talented. I will go as far as to say that a few of the acts in the bars were better than some of the main acts we have seen on other lines. We went to see the Tom Jones tribute act and while not being a fan he was o.k but as i said we are not fans so it was not really to our liking. I don't know how old the reviewer who said the music was too loud is, but my wife and i sat as close to the bands as we could and never were we unable to talk to each other (we are in our early 60's). Yes shore excursions are expensive but they are with any cruiseline you travel with, you either do them or you don't, it's up to you. The ship is older but it is very well maintained and stylish in it's overall appearance. Loved the size and intamancy of the many public bars and areas, especially the blue room. This cruise certainly changed my opinion of P&O and we will concider them in the future if we see an itinerary we like. Daz. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We did the Eden cruise departing Cairns on 27 July to New Guinea. We are sorry that P&O has sold this ship on, as we found it to be a delightful, smaller ship. We hope her sister ship, Pacific Aria, will be as good when we sail on ... Read More
We did the Eden cruise departing Cairns on 27 July to New Guinea. We are sorry that P&O has sold this ship on, as we found it to be a delightful, smaller ship. We hope her sister ship, Pacific Aria, will be as good when we sail on her in the future. The ship had a lovely "happy" feel to it - the staff all seemed to be genuinely happy. (This is in contrast to our last cruise on Golden Princess! It did not have a good feel at all). I was a little concerned about what to expect, having heard that P&O had bought her from Holland America line and the ship's age. No need to have worried - we just loved this ship. (We are disenchanted Princess cruisers and this ship has restored our love of cruising). It has a fairly stylish decor (as opposed to the fairly garish one of Pacific Dawn). The fixtures and fittings are great and we just loved the layout. It has so many little bars/relaxing areas tucked away. This makes for being able to sit and relax with a drink, without crowds in large areas. Great coffee is also available at these areas, so no need to wait 20 mins at the ice cream area for coffee (as on a previous review). It also had a "quiet room" where we enjoyed being able to sit quietly and read. Each night there are different musicians in the above bar areas. If you have a favourite area, you can just stay put there, as the musicians all move around during the evening. We found the quality of the music excellent although a little too loud at times. There were 3 theme nights and it was great to see so many people dressing up for the them. The crew-provided entertainment was very good - particularly choosing the best "towel animals" and the music trivia "play". The Entertainment Director was excellent - the best we've had on any cruise. We had a fairly calm cruise but unfortunately on the morning of our arrival at Kitava Island, the wind had come up and it was too strong to put the tenders out. We did a local tour of Alotau which we organised ourselves and found this excellent. We also took donations for the children (as we had read on prior reviews) such as band aids, pens, pencils etc. so we were a bit sad to have missed Kitava for this purpose. You can barter for some of the baskets and wood products on Kiriwina (& Kitava if you get there) Islands but if you go to Conflict Island (which we did love) there is no bartering and the prices are higher. We had hoped to try the Flying Fox with Edge, but unfortunately it was too windy for that. Food: I too would suggest booking at Waterfront at 6.15 or 6.30 pm so you can go to 7 pm shows. Food there was excellent and the waiters great. We were thrilled to be able to get a table for "two only" whenever we wanted without "grumbling" from wait staff (again on recent Princess cruises). Food at The Pantry had a good selection, although we did have the usually heard grumble that it needed to be hotter. Our (second) visit to Salt Grill was excellent. We will do that again!! We didn't go to Dragon Lady but friends did and they enjoyed. We went to Angelo's on our last night and were disappointed. I have to say I think there was something drastically wrong that night as the waiters and the atmosphere was not good. I suspect this may have been a one-off, and we will give them another try in the future. We did a shore excursion at Conflict Island on a glass bottom boat. I have to say I was very disappointed with this. We were in the queue well before the appointed time but our group of four were the last aboard. They obviously over-booked this session as the last two people really couldn't see much at all as they were sitting too far out from the viewing window. We did enjoy the commentary from both a marine biologist and a native gentleman giving us the history of the island. If you are doing this excursion, make sure you get at the front of the queue. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Hi everyone My daughter and I have returned back to Cairns after 7 days on the Pacific Eden for her voyage to PNG for my daughters 13th birthday and it was absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, the weather prevented us from docking at Kitava ... Read More
Hi everyone My daughter and I have returned back to Cairns after 7 days on the Pacific Eden for her voyage to PNG for my daughters 13th birthday and it was absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, the weather prevented us from docking at Kitava which was terribly sad for the locals as many of us on board had donations for the children. However, the rest of the trip was just awesome. The staff went above and beyond for us and I cannot thank them enough for their sheer hard work and hospitality. Too often, I see complaints about cruise ship service, however all I saw were extremely hard working staff who do very long days but always have the energy for a chat and smile. Massive thanks to Adam Mark and Ruby at P&O Edge for their fantastic efforts, you sure made my daughter smile, especially after arranging for her to meet the Captain for her birthday :) She was absolutely shell shocked that her dream to meet the Captain came true :) Matthew, well words cannot justify just how utterly awesome and brilliant you are! Our cabin stewards Rothy and Cazy, you work so hard and we thank you so much for looking after us! Neil, Shaun and so many others, you made our holiday just the best. Sadly this was out last trip on the Eden as she is being sold but we hope to see you on another cruise line next year. Cheers and all the best! X Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Apart from one restaurant, dining is ‘food hall’ standard at best. Fatty, overcooked, unappetising, food, luke warm on cold plates and in some cases inedible. Nothing ‘fresh’ or nutritious. Been on many cruises, this was first one ... Read More
Apart from one restaurant, dining is ‘food hall’ standard at best. Fatty, overcooked, unappetising, food, luke warm on cold plates and in some cases inedible. Nothing ‘fresh’ or nutritious. Been on many cruises, this was first one ever that I’ve lost weight!! Musicians in the bars etc below the standard of our local RSL and buskers in the mall. Played like they’d never been together before, didn’t even know the words! Good points - destinations in PNG were inspiring. On-board stage entertainment team, cruise director/ assistant cruise director excellent. Also vast variety of fun activities on sea days. On this experience, will never cruise P&O again - I’ll stay with Royal Caribbean Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Wanted to visit PNG. Wouldnt go again. Ship is very old and a number of cabins flooded which meant people had to be moved. Some of the children were very badly behaved bombing and jumping in the pool which made it impossible to swim. ... Read More
Wanted to visit PNG. Wouldnt go again. Ship is very old and a number of cabins flooded which meant people had to be moved. Some of the children were very badly behaved bombing and jumping in the pool which made it impossible to swim. Kids running around through the public rooms. the Youth controller did her best but she couldnt be everywhere. Salt Restaurant was very expensive and then you had to pay again if you wanted shellfish or crayfish. Disembarkation was chaotic and people had to wait for up to an hour and a half to collect their duty free alcohol. The organisation of disembarkment for shore tours was hopeless and conducted by people wearing red tshirts who were curt and unhelpful. Drinks were very expensive compared to other cruise lines. The cabin stewards were helpful and so were the dining room staff. The Pantry is basically food court quality. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We choose our cruises for the availability of when we want/can cruise and also very importantly, the destination. My brother had previously sailed on the Eden and had a wonderful experience on their first ever cruise, so I had no qualms ... Read More
We choose our cruises for the availability of when we want/can cruise and also very importantly, the destination. My brother had previously sailed on the Eden and had a wonderful experience on their first ever cruise, so I had no qualms about sailing on her, even after the negatives I had read on this site and Facebook. We do like our privacy and time on our own so we chose a suite for our accommodation, the fact that P&O are a cheaper cruise line than others we have cruised with, we were able to afford the extra for our suite, the suite amenities were excellent, the perks included; free laundry, room service breakfast, separate dressing room with ample cupboard space, priority embarking, disembarking and tenders. We ate in all of the restaurants except for Salt and enjoyed every morsel we ate. The Waterfront had a good selection and we always found something that appealed, we ate there for breakfast and lunch on most sea days. We also ate in the Pantry, but not as often although what we did eat there we couldn't fault, when we did choose to eat at the Pantry we usually took our meals back to our cabin and ate them there, I think seating can be a problem there during peak times. Salt Grill had very tasty burgers, hot dogs, pizza and my husband scoffed a whole bucket of prawns to himself, all for a nominal fee. Both speciality restaurants served gourmet food and the service was excellent, both menu's changed half way through the cruise. It is a good idea to book all your restaurants at the beginning of the cruise, quite a few people who didn't book were turned away during the cruise as the Waterfront was booked out. On the first day we went straight to the Monkey Bar and booked for the whole cruise. Plenty of on board activities, we participated in a few Trivia contests, Bingo and had a dabble in the Casino, the duty free shopping was also good, they had daily sales on watches, hand bags, wallets, jewellery, perfume and makeup. For the first time on a cruise I utilised the Spa, having my eyebrows and eyelashes tinted, waxing and a hair treatment. All of these services were excellent and a very reasonable price, although I did choose to go on days when they had discounts. All of the public areas, bars and seating areas were lovely, we found all of the bar staff to be friendly and we never ever waited more than a few minutes to be served. Entertainment was very good, we didn't go to all of the shows as some didn't appeal, but what did see was very entertaining. All of the ports we visited were amazing, we did the Alotau Cultural Festival in the morning and then my husband went on the Milne Bay WW2 tour in the afternoon. Kitava is a beautiful untouched island, no actual tours but the locals take you across to the smaller island on their sail boats, or you can take a walking tour to the skull caves. In Rabaul we did the half day Volcanic tour and it was fantastic, it included a visit to the Volcano Observatory, perched high on a hill where you get a fantastic view of the port and the Eden, it also takes you to the base of the volcano that blew in 1994, it is acutally a Caldera (super volcano). We didn't do a tour on Gizo, we had originally booked the Sanbis Resort tour but it was cancelled so we just walked around had a drink at the hotel and purchased some souvenir's. Honiara we walked outside the port terminal and picked up a tour with Manahem tours, excellent, it cost 100AUD for the both of us, we had our own tour guide and driver in a late model van which was air conditioned, they also supplied water and coconut water, they took us to where we wanted to go, which really appealed to us. We came across a few serial whingers on the cruise, who were never going to be satisfied but you get that on any cruise. All cruises are what you make of them. P&O go out of their way to help, we met a lady who's luggage went astray, (Virgin was her airline and they couldn't care two hoots) it didn't turn up until our last port Honiara, the ship sent a crew member to the airport there to collect it for her, they also let her choose some clothing and items from the shop for free. It seems her luggage was put on the wrong flight and sent to Canada!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We had heard some not great reviews of P&O, but loved the idea of PNG as a destination. We have cruised four times before and we thought P&O was great. We loved the Australian feel of the ship, the smaller size, awesome ... Read More
We had heard some not great reviews of P&O, but loved the idea of PNG as a destination. We have cruised four times before and we thought P&O was great. We loved the Australian feel of the ship, the smaller size, awesome entertainment, great dining choices, and great kids club. We chose to eat in the Waterfront or specialty restaurants for most meals where we found the food really good. Service was mixed....some people were very attentive and others not so much. Salt really was exceptional and worth the surcharge. We are vegetarian and always found at least a couple of options we could choose. The Pantry was okay and I liked the Asian and Indian stations. Sometimes seating was hard to come by. Everything we ate there was delicious. Our kids loved going to Kids Club each day and did all the Edge activities as well, which were huge highlights. We were lucky in that we were able to get to each of our 4 ports in PNG. Tendering service was slow the first day (it was rough), but more efficient the other days. We thought the entertainment was really great with a variety of bands, singers, and productions each night. The main areas of the ship were modern and bright. I particularly loved the soft loungers by the pool and the comfy seating on that deck. We were super impressed with our first cruise experience with kids and would definitely sail with P&O again. You can read our full review of our itinerary here: https://www.5losttogether.com/papua-new-guinea-cruise-tips-ports/ Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The ship & cruise were much better than I anticipated. I researched previous PNG cruises but there was not a lot of information available. The ports were Alotau (docked) Kitava Kirawina & Conflict Island (all tender). Best to have ... Read More
The ship & cruise were much better than I anticipated. I researched previous PNG cruises but there was not a lot of information available. The ports were Alotau (docked) Kitava Kirawina & Conflict Island (all tender). Best to have PNG Kina for purchases & donations to local schools,midwives, guides etc. There were no shore excursions on Kitava & Kirawina. The locals walk a long way to from their village to the beach to see the "rich" people off the ship & the children are happy to sing & dance. All the people appreciate donations of kina & colour pencils, books, games etc for the children. We had a midship oceanview cabin on deck 6 which was good. Close to everything. The Waterfront, Angelos & Dragon Lady Restaurants were reasonable. The nightly shows were average. Staff were friendly & helpful. I have been on many different cruise lines & I would rate this ship well below Celebrity & Royal Caribbean & slightly below Princess. It is however good value for money & well above Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Local friends of ours found an amazing promotional rate for this short term cruise and so we decided to join them. We were a little apprehensive as we had heard the line had a reputation for party makers and could get a little rough but ... Read More
Local friends of ours found an amazing promotional rate for this short term cruise and so we decided to join them. We were a little apprehensive as we had heard the line had a reputation for party makers and could get a little rough but our cruise was nothing like this. Embarkation was quick, friendly and efficient as was disembarkation - which was also the most relaxed we have experienced with a nice late morning departure. The ship is obviously quite old and my guess is it is an old HAL ship as it has a gorgeous complete promenade which is very wide and a great quiet spot to watch the ocean from. We were in an inside cabin which was a decent size with plenty of storage. The bed was very comfortable. I didn't like the shower design and the water temperature was very inconsistent (read boiling or freezing), while we were lucky our friends and others experienced numerous pluming issues and many of the public toilets were often closed. The interior public spaces had obviously had a refit and were the decor was superb - especially in the dining and bar areas. Dining was reasonable depending on where you ate and what you ordered. Typically we found simple dishes like salads, roasts etc done very well whereas Asian dishes in particular tended to be very ordinary. Make sure you get reservations for the main dining room and the complimentary specialty restaurants. We loved the Italian, thought the Asian was just ok (but liked the space and service). The main restaurant was a nice area especially for lunch. The buffet was an interesting concept more like a food court, unfortunately we found the food to be plain and didn't eat here very often.Service was very good throughout. Our only port was Fraser Island and unfortunately due to mechanical issues we didn't make it but the ship gave everyone obc as compensation and most found it fair and there were very few complainers. In fact by mooring in Hervey Bay we got to see whales and dolphins while enjoying a few "complimentary" beverages due to our obc. Entertainment was reasonably good, the singers and dancers were enthusiastic and the stage design and costumes were some of the best we have seen. Unfortunately there is no live orchestra but there were plenty of live musical acts around the ship. The guest comedian was not funny at all unless you simply like to hear swearing replacing punch lines. There were more activities on this ship than any other we have been on (and I thought NCL was amazing in this aspect). You could not have been bored. There were numerous parties held, trivia, arts and crafts lessons, silly sports and loads of dance classes (which we loved). This ship was great for those who like to do things or socialise. 2 pool areas, full promenade deck, crows nest bar, multiple restaurants and several bars made it a fun ship to explore. Would probably try again but still concerned by its reputation out of the bigger ports on longer itineraries. Think we were lucky with our fellow passengers (very few troublemakers). Bravo to the wonderful crew (proves inclusive tipping doesn't detract from service levels and if anything improves them) and the well designed ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The Eden left out of Cairns where we live. Very handy. We did the same Cruise last year and really enjoyed it. The Eden looks very modern. Our balcony cabin was spacious, even the balcony itself had a nice size. We just wish they ... Read More
The Eden left out of Cairns where we live. Very handy. We did the same Cruise last year and really enjoyed it. The Eden looks very modern. Our balcony cabin was spacious, even the balcony itself had a nice size. We just wish they had sun lounges on it and not the chairs. Beds were very comfortable. Our cruise was the comedy cruise and it was fun, although I think 22.45 is a bit late for the show. Food at the Pantry was excellent. The Waterfront restaurant was a bit disappointing. Some food was cold or only lukewarm. To book a table at the Dragon lady or Angelo`s you can only do it on the same day you want to dine. If you come after 8.30 am its already booked out. We missed out every day. The same with Waterfront Restaurant. Its any time dining but its better to book otherwise its full. We only got offered 17.45 or 19.30. That was really annoying. Open dining and you still get times when you have to show up. They wait 10 min and your table is gone if you are running late. In the Pool area we had some problems with children. 15 kids were screaming, splashing and jumping into the hot tubs. No room for Adults. This was the story every single day. No parents watching and the Youth security girl was not really into it. We even pointed out that babies were in the hot tubs with nappies. She said yes its not very hygienic. There is a big sign, no nappies in pool or Spa. The Adults only area would have been great but no shade whatsoever. They really need to consider putting a shade sail over it. At the normal pool area they can close the roof by bad weather. Aircon was a bit too cold in some public places. The Bianco white party was a bit disappointing this time around. It was only the sail away party for 2 hours this time starting at 16.00 usually its a night party with great music and Drums. We like the Eden and already booked for 2018 out of Cairns again..... Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
After reading some horrendous reviews re Pacific Eden, we were not sure what to expect, but we embarked on our Cruise, leaving Cairns, on 2nd. September 2017, with an open mind. We thoroughly enjoyed the Cruise, and can recommend ... Read More
After reading some horrendous reviews re Pacific Eden, we were not sure what to expect, but we embarked on our Cruise, leaving Cairns, on 2nd. September 2017, with an open mind. We thoroughly enjoyed the Cruise, and can recommend it highly. We have cruised many times, first on P & O, but would certainly consider cruising again on this Ship. So many folks, I believe, deliberately go out of their way to look for negative things to say, (us Australians are very good at this), and then tell all and sundry, and whoever wants to listen. We did not find "food not suitable for human consumption", "dirty mouldy bathrooms", "unpleasant staff", etc. etc. etc. We found all staff very pleasant and obliging, our oceanview room very pleasant, and the dining, whether Panty, Waterfront, Angelos, and especially Dragon Lady, very good. Don't read all the negative reviews, book your trip, and enjoy yourselves. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Pacific Eden has just returned from a multi million dollar refurbishment, mainly of the public areas. The results are stunning. Fresh and vibrant colours and quirky but interesting artworks. I was expecting something of a much lower ... Read More
Pacific Eden has just returned from a multi million dollar refurbishment, mainly of the public areas. The results are stunning. Fresh and vibrant colours and quirky but interesting artworks. I was expecting something of a much lower standard (which would have been fine as it is a P&O ship, not Princess or Cunard after all). Upon first boarding it was hard not to say "wow- that is nice" upon entering every new public area. Boarding in Cairns - efficient (although we had priority as a suite guest, the queues were well controlled and moved quickly) The Suite (10011) - the largest most spacious cabin I have ever been in. Plenty of room around the beds, coffee table that converts to a dining table inside and balcony dining table for 4 as well as two loungers, Large ensuite with spa bath, new looking carpet (the rest of the furnishings were still a bit dated but this did not bother me as overall the impression was good). Public areas (bars, lounges, dining rooms, auditorium, atrium) - all refurbished and a delight to be in and to walk around (pictures attached) Food - generally of good standard. I can see some people would complain about certain specific meals but if you choose wisely from the menu the quality was generallly great with just a few misses. The specialty restaurants were all great but hard to get a booking for some unless you are a suite priority booking passenger or prepared to queue at 6.30am each day. No need for bookings at the main restaurant Waterfront. We just rocked up and got a table straight away when we did not have bookings elsewhere but recommend you do so at 5.15 or 7.15pm which is the two main sitting times (although it is available at any time during the dinner and breakfast and is open for lunch on sea days. Chef's Table - I would highly recommend, especially early on in the voyage as this then introduces you to the chef and maitre' d and can unlock doors for the rest of the trip. 7 course degustation of very high quality food and wines with generous pours (virtually bottomless top shelf wine for the whole 3 hours) at just $99 pp. There was room for plenty more Chefs table bookings on our cruise - it is held subject to 12 bookings per night but was only held on about every 2nd night due to lack of demand on our voyage Entertainment - the 3 main musical acts we frequented were all fantastic and played often in a variety of venues. Highly Strung (similar to the Coors), Willowspeak (solo accoustic guitar with a wide variety of pop songs and a great personality), and Karowayova (sp?) a Kiriwina local who has moved to Australia and has the most divine singing voice and some great songs she wrote herself. The ship's singers and dancers and band were also very good - better than most cruises I have been on. Itinerary - Alotau - Least favourite of the stops but still interesting. It was Commemoration day public holiday so the shops and markets were closed until midday but still plenty of things to see within an easy walk of the ship. Hundreds of private tour operators touting for business just outside the wharf, a few nice bars to sit and relax nearby in the resorts. Kitava - unfortunately turned into a sea day due to poor weather Rabaul - Great stop. We did a private prearranged snorkel tour with Rabaul-Kokopo Dive. We were picked up at the ship, had a high speed boat trip close past the volcano to a dolphin area (35 minutes) to be towed beside the tenders amongst the playing dolphins with supplied snorkel and mask, then taken to a sunken WWII Japanese zero plane wreck still in good condition just below the surface. Some of the clearest water and most interesting unspoiled coral you will find anywhere. Dropped off at their HQ for lunch at Rapopo Resort and we stayed relaxing at the resort until a tender took us back to the ship just before final boarding. Others in our group took a half day bus tour with them to see the highlights of Rabaul. If you have nothing planned, again there are hundreds of private tour operators touting just outside the terminal Kiriwina Island - Due to the steep drop off from the fringing reef, we anchored about 100 metres from shore. An impressive sight with the ship so close to the beach that the ship's wifi even still worked fine on the beach. A large friendly local community greeted us warmly with local markets, performances, escorted village walking tours etc and again great snorkeling on the edge of the reef in crystal clear waters. This was the best stop for picking up a wide variety of crafted souveniers (although we missed Kitava which could have been equally as good). Best to use Kina and if you have too many Kina remaining for the remainder of the itinerary, they were very eager to exchange Aussie Dollars at a very good exchange rate 2:1. Conflict Islands - this would have turned into another sea day due to the strong SE wind, but the island has just completed a new floating 320 metre pontoon jetty on the Western side out over the coral reef, and we were the first ship to try it out. A big thanks to the captain who positioned the ship off the jetty with the bow and stern thrusters all day (too deep to anchor) and gave us the chance to experience this amazing coral atoll island. It is privately owned by an Australian conservationist, so they preferred Aussie Dollars (exchanged for vouchers to buy food drinks, etc when you step ashore). Great beaches, plenty of shade, a nice walk around the whole island (about 5 KM) where we got to see how rough it was at the Eastern wharf and why we would not even be there were it not for the new Western wharf. Food was so-so (purchase BBQ, stale buns etc) but purchase drinks readily available and lots of extra activities to purchase if you were looking for other things to do. Doini Island - Much smaller than Kiriwina so a more intimate setting with very friendly locals selling their (more limited) wares. Lots of school children performing dances and singing with a pleasing very generous amount of donations coming forth from the cruise passengers (last stop so a chance to offload any remaining Kina). Well developed bar with toilets and a small gift shop at the tender wharf for resting and listening to a local band playing. Good snorkelling off the easiest access beach of the cruise (no fringing reef to get over, just a lot of isolated bombora reefs, mostly unspoilt and close to the surface) Disembarkation - The Cairns terminal is very small so baggage claim can be congested, and due to the large number of passengers buying wooden and shell artifacts, customs was very busy with a long queue. It is fine to bring wood and shell products back into Aus as long as they are clean and free of any visible signs of insects. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
It was quite difficult to learn much about this cruise itinerary before we went as it is relatively new so this may be a long review but hopefully will be helpful to others. Firstly the ship was great, I have cruised on many cruise ... Read More
It was quite difficult to learn much about this cruise itinerary before we went as it is relatively new so this may be a long review but hopefully will be helpful to others. Firstly the ship was great, I have cruised on many cruise lines and although P&O is certainly a budget line, my friends and I had little to complain about. Dining - the pantry was not bad, not great but satisfactory, typical buffet food. A good selection although the desserts were pretty awful. We really only ate there for breakfast and lunch. The Waterfront was very good, sometimes wonderful. Angelos was so popular that you had to queue to book in from about 7.30am which I did once. I can't say it was great, it was ok but I wouldn't bother again, I thought the Waterfront was better. We never got to the Dragon Lady. Rooms- we three friends had three separate rooms, two inside cabins and I had an outside with window. All were good and spacious, only issue was no fridge but the cabin attendants brought us ice when requested. Also note that the inside cabins had normal showers but the outside cabin had a shower over the bath. The bath had a high side, I managed ok but for anyone older or not so agile it could be a real problem. Staff- all the service was good, some was amazing. Entertainment - mostly wonderful. The first night we walked out of a show with hip hop type dancing (shows our age lol) but in general it ranged from ok to fantastic. Loved the comedian Andre King (a kiwi so of course he was great) and Demo. Laughed until we cried sometimes. Marius the entertainment director? Was the best ever, he only had to open his mouth to have us in stitches. He is now on a break and starting on the Pacific Explorer on Oct 4? so catch him if you can. So now to the itinerary which is the hardest thing to find information on. Alotau - we took the shore excursion to the cultural festival as there didn't seem much else available. I think it was the right choice and we had a good time. I enjoyed the cultural displays, especially the children. There was also a guy singing upstairs in the cafe who was world class. Seriously good. I had fun taking a ride on one of the war canoes (20kina /$10) which felt a bit unstable but a great experience. The bus took us past the town and market and doesn't allow you to get off, but it was a bit intimidating anyway and far too hot so we didn't mind missing that. I'm sure you can just do your own thing and walk to town from the boat but didn't look very appealing and was so humid. Kitava - unfortunately the sea was too rough to anchor and tender us in so we missed this port. So we had a day at sea and they put on extra entertainment including a murder mystery show which was extremely entertaining. The captain (Nick?) was very good at keeping us informed about what was happening and their efforts to anchor. While it was disappointing to miss this port I would rather the ship and everyone was safe. Rabaul - we took the volcano tour which I thought was excellent. We visited a coconut oil factory on the way and saw how this is produced. I wasn't too pleased initially as usually these stops on shore excursions involve the hard sell, but surprisingly they gave us all a free bottle of coconut oil and no sales pitch at all. Then to the volcano observatory which has amazing views, who would have thought PNG was so beautiful? Then to the hot springs which flow into the sea. If you have been to Rotorua you will recognise the sulphur smell. What surprised me was how hot the sea was because of the springs, like a very hot bath. Good view of the still smoking volcano too. Locals here were selling their wares but weren't pushy. We then went to a village and got to walk through a tunnel created by the WW 11 Japanese. This tour was great, our guide Ceslyn spoke good English and was very knowledgable. Be warned it is very hot in Rabaul though. Kiriwina- this was a lovely island with a lovely beach. Sadly commercialism has very quickly spoiled it. You could not get away from the hundreds of people hassling you to buy something. Men would latch onto you trying to be your "guide" even though no guiding was necessary. We took lots of school supplies etc for the schools and kids and that was quite satisfying but they just wouldn't leave you alone. We made the mistake of not wearing our swimming togs under our clothes and of course there were no changing facilities. We kept trying to find a private spot to change to no avail. We decided we would try to hold towels around each other as we changed. This just attracted more attention with all the locals standing around to watch and then a kind local lady volunteering to hold up the towel as well! Imagine it, 3 middle aged ladies trying to change, we gave up and went swimming in our clothes. Even there we weren't safe, with a young lad trying to get us to change Aussie dollars for Kina while we were swimming and he didn't understand our explanations that we didn't have money on us right then. I wonder if P&O (which must have some arrangement with the locals) could have a word and encourage less hassling. I would have liked to buy things here to support them but it just became too overwhelming and we retreated to the ship. It was a good place to give donated goods for the schools and kids though. We had trouble leaving this port as the anchor got stuck. It took over an hour to get it up but again the captain kept us informed and I guess that is part of the adventure of these very remote destinations. Conflict Islands - this stop is one of the Conflict Islands and was a beautiful resort called Panasea. It was too rough to anchor on the usual side but the resort has built A floating jetty on the other side of the island and we were the first ship to use it. It was still pretty touch and go it seems and the ship had to use its thrusters throughout the day to stay there but boy it was worth it. My friends went on the glass bottom boat excursion and raved about it. They saw sharks, turtles and all sorts. I snorkelled for ages, such a beautiful beach and I saw a stingray hiding under the sand. Got rather sunburnt but definitely my favourite island. We walked across to the other side of the island to where the resort was and it was the most amazing blue water I ever saw (and our side was already amazing). There were lots of water sports available on the island, I could easily have spent another day there. Doini Island - we were getting worried now, as we had been told this was another resort like Panasea where there were no locals. My friend had a huge bag of school supplies still to distribute and this was the last island so she was worried that she would have to carry it home. Well it was a resort, but there were heaps of schools and individuals doing performances and collecting donations so it worked out well. We loved the energy and enthusiasm of the kids and there was no hassling at all. The resort had a bar and entertainment and you could use Kina or Aussie dollars. The weather was not great, I met a couple of ladies who had snorkelled all over the world who said they had found a snorkelling spot that was one of the best they had seen. Not sure if I found the right spot but the sea was pretty rough and murky so I gave up. There were some big red flying ants on this island which we didn't like but otherwise was a great stop. So a few tips I wish I had known: We each took 180kina ($nz85). It was too much really, we weren't wanting to buy much but ended up donating quite a bit and then changed the rest at Western Union Cairns (a short walk from the ship) but lost quite a bit in the exchange. Wish we had taken less but you do need some Kina. Please don't try to buy stuff off the locals with Aussie dollars, they can't use it and end up desperately trying to change it for Kina. There seems to be no cellphone reception at all after Rabaul, so no contact with home in Kiriwina, Conflict or Doini despite the ships daily newsletter suggesting there may be. Take school supplies and gifts for the kids but try to avoid plastic junk or sweets. There are no rubbish systems or dentists on the remote islands. If you are thinking of doing this cruise, don't hesitate. May be challenging for less able bodied, but we saw a lady with a walker managing to go ashore each port and I saw an elderly lady on two walking sticks being walked down to the beach by her husband with her mask and snorkel in hand! The passengers were a better sort than those on my last P&O cruise up the Australian coast, no Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi chants so I guess the itinerary attracted more travelled customers. And PNG was more beautiful than I had imagined and the local people were lovely (kiriwina excepted). You will love it, we did. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
6-24 August. Leaking old ship poorly maintained. During the voyage constant leaks could be seen coming from overhead Water Tanks (so we were told). Drying machines and buckets were placed in hallway (Deck 9) We were told some cabins had ... Read More
6-24 August. Leaking old ship poorly maintained. During the voyage constant leaks could be seen coming from overhead Water Tanks (so we were told). Drying machines and buckets were placed in hallway (Deck 9) We were told some cabins had damp carpets which they were trying to dry. On route to Komoda Island 16 th August the ship suddenly lurched to port (mid morning)causing concern to many passengers. The ship scraped along a coral reef so passengers were told. In the Waterfront Dining area we were finishing breakfast, suddenly cupboards and shelves were opened and china and utensils flew across the floor. Staff appeared from the galley, and started trying to sweep the broken china together. All looked very shocked, along with many passengers finishing their meal. There was a poor follow up P.A. about an hour later with an explanation “ the problem was caused due to an outgoing tide and the narrow channel the ship was in”! Constant maintenance, painting, welding etc. caused the walking deck (deck 6) to be blocked off in places. The Pantry eating area (deck 11) had water from the adjacent swimming pool wash into the food area when the ship leaned over suddenly. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I have been reading reviews of Pacific Eden for over a year now, & based on our recent experience, I believe P&O have addressed all of the issues people were complaining about. We did the 7 night Nov 4th PNG trip from Cairns, ... Read More
I have been reading reviews of Pacific Eden for over a year now, & based on our recent experience, I believe P&O have addressed all of the issues people were complaining about. We did the 7 night Nov 4th PNG trip from Cairns, & stayed on for the 4 nights back to Sydney. It's one of the best cruises we have taken. The ship is just beautiful! Yes, there are signs of age if you go looking, but there are so many lovely areas . The Blue Room, the Ocean Bar & The Dome all beautiful places to enjoy a drink, as well as many other smaller nooks. We found the drink service to be great-we rarely had to wait more than a few minutes to get drink service-I have waited much longer on The Solstice many times. The drink staff were very friendly & happy to have a joke & a laugh. First impressions of the food in the restaurants was that the portions were small, however I always had plenty to eat. My husband is a big eater & often asked for a main course for his entrée as well as his main, & there was never a problem with him doing that. We like to eat late & never had a problem getting a table in The Waterfront around 8pm. We ate at Angelo's once, & Dragon Lady twice & really enjoyed all meals. We did the Chefs table one night & it was fantastic! ($99pp) We had 8 courses, matched with wines, & the chefs came out & explained their inspiration for their dishes-also a couple of lovely gifts came along with the evening (no spoilers!). I found The Pantry to be quite ok the couple of times we went there, but my husband wasn't a fan (I suspect due to the lack of greasy unhealthy kiddie food). He did take a liking to "The Grill" & was particularly keen on the Meat Pie & Mushy Peas, which I must admit was VERY good & for just $3 kept him happy, so I was happy too. We loved our Cabin, it was very comfortable,& no problems at all. Of the PNG ports... Sometimes confronting , but mostly delightful. Some great swimming & snorkelling, lovely people, amazing scenery, & throw in some interesting WWII history & its a truly fascinating learning experience! We loved The Eden & will quite happily travel on her again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We choose this cruise as it was not your average destination & we wanted to experience a different culture & people. The ship sailed from Cairns Aust. We live in Central Victoria. So right from the get go we were up for extra ... Read More
We choose this cruise as it was not your average destination & we wanted to experience a different culture & people. The ship sailed from Cairns Aust. We live in Central Victoria. So right from the get go we were up for extra costs of air fares & hotels. If we flew up on the day of the cruise & there was a problem with flights then we could have been in deep doggy do doos. The prudent thing was to go to Cairns the day before= flights + hotel +3 hours in a plane. Not actually complaining about that. But the cruise. The Eden is a rebirthed ship. We had an inside, deck9 cabin. Not badly appointed. However & this was a 1st for us......no refrigerator. We had to order one through reception & could only have one if one was available. Went to have a shower. I live on property with only tank water. My pump put out a lot more pressure than what we had on board. 2nd night in during the wee hours there was a lot of loud noises that was coming from some machinery near our cabin. it was that loud & sounded like something was breaking down that after a while I was almost ready to report it to reception, then it quietened down. I made mention to our steward the next morning. He was unaware of anything but later in the day he told me that it was an ice machine(must have been a big one). if P&O are aware of these things you would think that they would inform you of this & maybe discount the cabins that are effected by the noise. A POINT of INTEREST for all serving & ex service members. We only found out about this after we had a serviceman's meet & greet on the 2nd day. You are entitled to some sort of cruise discount or on board credits. The cruise companies don't tell you but apparently they're there .Good on you P&O & Princess. I'm 4 cruises up now & it's the 1st I heard of it Food: No real complaints, I ate well, good variety, The main restaurant, 6.5/10. prefer to have set dinning. In port the restaurant was not open for lunch. Had to deal with the buffet or as they call it, the Pantry. Can get very crowded on port days & hard to find a table to sit & eat. Good idea, prefer this over the buffet style eating. No contamination by passengers with less than adequate personal hygiene, if you know what I mean. Main gripe with the food: the wife like a lot of people is gluten free. While meals in the main restaurant was not an issue, as she was able to pre order the next days meals. But up in the pantry, especially port days, when we came back from ashore at lunch time to have a bite to eat......there was next to nothing to eat ashore.....the selection of gluten free was very limited to say the least. I did talk to another passenger who was also GF & she was having a terrible time trying to get something to eat. I explained to her about pre ordering at the restaurant. Don't know how she went, but someone other that me should have explained to her. Maybe P&O could have assisted her before embarkation. Other disappointment: The theatre: Seats looked OK, until you sat down. on the hard side & after an hour or so show they were very uncomfortable. Also seating was a bit low: obstructed view from people in front of you & if they were moving around due to the uncomfortable factor it only compounded the situation. The cruise director: after each show it was the same old tiresome lines night after night. The shows were good & enjoyed them. The ship's staff rated highly, particularly our cabin steward. nothing was a hassle for him. I should mention ....Duty free......alcohol & cigs. Very limited in what they had in the way of alcohol & even though I no longer smoke it doesn't hurt to bring some home for those that do. But no Smokes at all. It was as though this cruise only had left overs from previous cruises. Last word on the ship: embarkation & disembarking in Cairns was via a steep gangway. My wife had cellulitis & hard for her to walk far let alone up or down a steep gangway. & a young lady behind us who has had numerous hip & knee replacements due to childbirth problems struggled badly. God knows how the elderly faired. PNG: 4 Stops. Alotau, Kirawina, Katava & Conflict Islands Alotau was the highlight of our trip. We organised our own private tour. We visited a bush school & bush village. We were welcomed & made to feel very special, as they don't normally have visitors. They welcomed us into the village with a ceremonial welcoming & the students sang us a song that they had practised for weeks. We brought them a heap of gifts for the school as they have absolutely nothing. We then travelled to another 2 villages, where we were given displays on traditional activities. We also took gifts to these villages. The only other activities in Alotau was a cultural & canoe festival. We didn't experience this as we had our own tour while it was on. I didn't hear many favourable reports on this from other passengers. Kirawina & katava . Not much there. swimming, snorkelling & markets. The markets consisted of villagers selling their wares. Conflict Islands, was more of an activity stop, not much interaction with natives One thing that struck me about PNG & this is only my own personal opinion. Tourism has ruined it. Everyone is after your money. people from kids up that want to take you somewhere & show you things to canoe rides, photos or any activity. They see the cruise ships come in & its one big cash cow. I'm all for helping people out & that's why we took gifts to the places we went to or buying the odd carving which might help out. In conclusion, would I use P&O again.....yes.... Would I sail on the Eden or its sister ship the Aria....No Would I go back to PNG.... Yes but depending on where in PNG. I would research the ports of call first. If it was anything like Kirawina or Kativa then the answer is No Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
My review will be judging this cruise compared to the 20+ other cruises I’ve taken on nearly every other cruise line around the World. The cruise itinerary took us to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. I found it difficult finding ... Read More
My review will be judging this cruise compared to the 20+ other cruises I’ve taken on nearly every other cruise line around the World. The cruise itinerary took us to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. I found it difficult finding cruise reviews for this itinerary, so I hope this helps those looking to do a future cruise to these ports on P&O. I believe the only other large cruise line to visit these ports is Princess. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Very good. P&O uses an e-ticket and allows you to select a preferred time range to check-in. It took me less than 15 minutes to complete the check-in process and there were no lines. Disembarkation is similar to other cruise lines. It was organized and totally completed in about 2 hours. Once my category was called, it took about 20 minutes to go through immigration/customs. The only negative was the long wait for taxis. This is not a cruise line issue, but a port location issue. Cairns does not have enough taxis to satisfy a large number of people disembarking the ship within two hours. The Ship: The Eden is a refurbished Holland- America ship. It has a very similar layout and configuration as a Holland-America ship, but a more modern style and interior. It offers basically the same options as other ships in the 1500 passenger ship range. It does not have the on-board options as the mega-ships like water shows, ice rinks, etc. It simply does not have enough space. It does have plenty to offer including an adventure park with zip-line, climbing wall, obstacle course, pools, sports, games, etc. There are several bars with different themes, Movie Theater and large auditorium for shows. Restaurants and food: It has the traditional large dining area with open seating called the Waterfront serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food was OK and acceptable for a mid-range priced cruise. The dinner menu usually had an ethnic set menu each night like Chinese, Japanese, Australian, French, Italian, etc. In addition, there were several other options that varied each night. The informal "buffet" restaurant was called the Pantry. It included a new concept with ethnic food stations like Mexican, Asian, Indian, European, sandwiches, desserts and American/Australian. The food is served by the cruise staff (definitely more sanitary) so no self-serve buffet lines . I enjoyed the variety of food, but like most cruise buffet restaurants, the food is OK but less than average taste. There are three specialty restaurants, two are free and one requires a supplement charge (AU$49). The Dragon Lady has Asian cuisine and is excellent. Angelo’s has Italian cuisine and is also excellent. Reservations are a must and should be booked ASAP on the first day. They fill up fast. I ate half my dinners in these two restaurants. The third specialty restaurant is the Salt Lick and requires a surcharge. I tried to get a reservation, but it was fully booked. I heard it was really good. My recommendation, try to have your dinners at Dragon Lady and Angelo’s and breakfast/lunch at the Waterfront. I am not discouraging eating at the Pantry, especially if you want convenience in a casual setting. Entertainment: The production shows had relatively small casts, but were entertaining with good staging. They also had two magic shows and two musicians the other nights, which were well done and entertaining. P&O offered all sorts of activities during the day, more when at sea. Wine, beer, booze tastings (surcharge), spa related, games, contests, movies, lectures and exercise. I would rate the entertainment average for this size ship. Shore Excursions: I normally do not book cruise sponsored shore excursions. I prefer independent sightseeing when in port, but I decided to book P&O shore excursions for this cruise. I was not familiar with these ports and did not know if there would be independent options available. These ports do not get many cruise ships and P&O has only been visiting these ports for two years. I was happy with the P&O excursions, but some were more pricey than the independent options. Alotau: P&O arranges a culture festival only available to cruise ship passengers. I would highly recommend this one if interested in the PNG tribal cultures. There were eight different tribes dressed in traditional outfits and included dancing and singing. In addition, there were three war canoes you can ride for AU$10. P&O arranges shuttle buses to/from the cruise ship during the morning in port. You can come and go as you please. There is not much in the town itself. The small fishing port area is colorful and with the adjacent local market. There are also a few war memorials. I took an afternoon excursion to two traditional PNG villages. More costumes, singing and dancing along with lectures on the culture and way of life. I enjoyed both shore excursions. There were also WWII history tours. Kitava and Kiriwini: We try to tender into Kitava, which looked beautiful, but the seas were too rough. P&O decided to go to another island close by called Kiriwini. This I imagine took some real logistic work by P&O given the short notice and it worked out great. Kudos to P&O and the Captain for making this call. Kiriwini was equally beautiful. No P&O shore excursions offered here. Just a beautiful beach and excellent snorkeling and lots of locals selling food, souvenirs, arts and crafts. The whole island comes down to the beach when a ship is in port. There are a few sights like a skull cave you can hire a local to show you and a few local villages. But the real attraction is the beach and clear, warm, calm water teaming with tropical fish and colorful coral. Local boys will take you on an outrigger canoe rides. Rabaul: The sail into Rabaul is spectacular. The ship passes several volcano (one active) and into a protected bay surrounded by mountains. There is not much to the town, but it has a colorful market. I took the volcano tour, which was OK. There were independent tour agencies at the dock that charged much less than P&O. The volcano tour goes to the volcano observatory for a great view of the town and surrounding volcano. Then to a village near the base of an active volcano where WWII airplane wrecks are located. The village people (not to be confused with the YMCA guys) dance and had cooking demos. The next stop was near the base of the active volcano and hot springs. The ocean water in this area is very hot due to the natural hot springs. This was the highlight of the tour for me. We made one more stop at a village next to a Catholic church. There are souvenir markets at each stop. P&O also offered a WWII history tour. Gizo: There were several P&O shore excursion options. I selected the Kennedy Island excursion, which was basically a boat ride to/from Kennedy Island, a tiny remote coral reef ringed island where American President John F Kennedy swam to after his PT boat sank during WWII. This is a great option if you want to snorkel or just relax on a beach and swim. The Gizo hotel built a nice hut with lounge, bar and flush toilets on the island. They also arranged entertainment with local teens dancing in traditional Solomon outfits. You can walk around the island in 10 minutes. It is about a 20 minute boat ride from Gizo. I think it is possible to negotiate a ride to Kennedy Island independently, but I believe most independent boat operators take you to another island much closer to Gizo. Dive Gizo arranges independent scuba and snorkeling excursions. Since I had a P&O shore excursion, I had no issues getting on the second tender to shore and could spend the whole day there. Apparently most of the independent travelers had to wait two or three hours to get off the ship due to rough seas slowing the tender process. In fact, I praise P&O and the Captain for allowing us to go on shore. It was rough enough to make it marginal on the safety side. These tendering delays reduced the amount of time on shore for many. Upon arrive in Gizo, there were locals dress in native outfits playing music and singing. You can walk from one end of the town to the other in 15 minutes. The main street is lined with shops and a local market. After the Kennedy Island tour, I walk to the end of the town and had a drink at PT109, the name of Kennedy’s WWII boat. It has a deck on the waterfront with a great view and ice cold beer. The Gizo hotel across from the tender dock also has a nice restaurant and bar overlooking the harbor. Independent tour companies had tables at the tender dock, most offering transportation to local beaches for the day. The best beach area is roughly an hour drive from Gizo. Honiara: This was the only real city we visited on this cruise. I heard they have a McDonald's. I didn’t see it or a Starbucks (thank God). There are several historic WWII sights, a few museums and a large local market that are a short walking distance from the dock. Guadalcanal was the location of one of the most gruesome WWII battles. 7000 American soldiers and 24,000 Japanese soldiers died during a six month period on Guadalcanal. There are numerous memorials and historic sites near Honiara and on Guadalcanal. The WWII war tour was one of the more popular P&O shore excursions. P&O offered several excursions, I took a culture tour to a local Polynesian village. The tour was excellent. We drove 45 minutes get to it and all the villagers came out to greet us in their native dress. We toured the village and they explain their way of life and traditional Polynesian ways, which included local food and dancing. The village is on “Red Beach,” where the Americans first landed on Guadalcanal during WWII. There are also several nice beaches less than 30 minute drive west of town. Some have WWII wrecks and most have an entrance fee. The most popular is Mbonge beach. I did not see independent organized tours at the dock, but there were several taxis waiting that can be hired for the day. Most independent travelers walked around town. If hungry or thirsty, the Point Cruz Yacht Club is only a few minute walk from the dock and locate on the water. In summary, I would recommend the P&O Eden and this cruise itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Papua New Guinea Island Encounter We'd taken a cruise on Aria earlier in the year and due to poor cabin selection had a horrible time. As a result of the complaint we made we were offered, and took, $1200 credit with P&O as ... Read More
Papua New Guinea Island Encounter We'd taken a cruise on Aria earlier in the year and due to poor cabin selection had a horrible time. As a result of the complaint we made we were offered, and took, $1200 credit with P&O as compensation. PNG had always been somewhere that had interested us so we used the credit to book a suite on the seven night PNG cruise out of Cairns. Six weeks after we'd booked, at what we thought was a fair price, P&O had another sale. Booking cruises is luck of the draw. If we'd waited we would have paid $1300 less for the suite and received $350OBC plus beverage package for two of us (we travelled with a friend). $2000 is a BIG difference :( Anyways, to the cruise. We flew up to Cairns from Brisbane on the morning of departure. As we'd booked a suite we were able to check-in right on 11. First warning. If you have any issues walking up steep slopes then you might have a problem walking up the gangway. My partner had an operation on his knee the week before and the long steep ramp was very difficult. We were able to go straight to our cabin - 10054 - where we were met by our cabin attendant Myron. After the Oz Day cruise disaster I was very careful with the cabin selection and 10054 was perfect. It was mostly under the overhang of the pantry. We're not sunbakers so this suited us perfectly. Myron showed us everything in the room. Priority tender tickets were in an envelope with explanation on how to use them. There was a full size bottle of bubbles in the fridge. Fruit basket. We didn't have three of everything - glasses, cups etc but they were there when we came back from lunch. He explained that they would put the sofa bed out each night while we were out. The suite was really nice and a great size. Easily enough room for the three of us, even with the sofa bed folded out. It's tired though and needs a refresh badly. The arms of two occasional chairs in the room were covered in that ingrained dirt that builds up after 20 years of hands rubbing them. Yuk! The veranda furniture is pretty nasty for a suite. The cushions were dirty, the table corroded. Time to be replaced P&O. The bathroom had a full size bath and it was super clean - I've seen pictures of grotty silicon and grout but ours was spotless. Shower temperature was an issue the entire cruise. It was very difficult to have a warm shower. It was usually cool, with a burst of scolding every now and then. We talked to a couple of neighbours and we all had the same issue. Our suite also had an 'extra' safe. There was a small one in the wardrobe but also a newer larger one attached to the cabinet right next to the tv. Very weird! Ports. Alotau - we are not ship's shore tour people but it was too hard to go private so we booked the Milne Bay Historical tour. Expensive for a couple of hours but super interesting. Each minibus had their own guide. Ours, Fabian, was a great guy. Very proud of the history of Milne Bay, something he didn't know much about until P&O started to cruise to PNG. It was a common theme everywhere we visited - P&O was bringing great benefit to PNG. Our friend and I left the tour at the war memorial in town (my partner went back to the ship as he worked all week) and we walked back to the ship. We are fairly intrepid travellers but I didn't feel hugely safe in Alotau. Lots of groups of men, youths and boys sitting around pretty much doing nothing that aren't giving off the most friendly vibes. I suppose I wouldn't like thousands of people descending on my suburb either. We spent a couple of lazy hours at the Alotau Waterfront Lodge before heading back to the ship. During the late afternoon a cultural group performed on the dock - drumming, singing and dancing. Kitava - The priority tender tickets worked a treat. Hint - if you have them, walk down the hall to the embarkation steps, not force your way down the steps thought the people who are waiting. If you don't fit at the end of the tender queue your first on to the next. Most of the tenders in the morning were greeted by a large pod of dolphins that was hanging around in the channel right near the jetty. The locals have set up an endless row of stalls in the shade behind the beach. They all sell pretty much the same carvings and baskets but it is all quite nice. There were a number of little enclosures with groups of children in them singing and dancing. They were from local schools or churches. Each one had metal drum in front for donations - goods or money. I took a boat over to Uratu to snorkel. It was 5 kina each way for whatever boat you got on - sailing or paddled. The water was beautifully warm but the snorkelling was pretty ordinary. It was a beautiful day so I didn't really care. One of the small sail boats capsized and seven passengers ended up in the water. My partner was in the tender that picked them up. No injuries, just wet people. It was a nice place to just hang on the beach. Long, hot tender queue to get back to the ship. Kiriwina - Another spectacular day and a gorgeous place. The ship anchored very close to the jetty. Cliffs along the coast in one direction, stunning white sandy beach in the other. We didn't race off here so need to use priority tickets. Similar to Kitava along the beach but behind it is a large 'oval' and then a short walk away a village. A local - John - started talking to us while we watched the performance by a large group of young guys (very funny, the locals were screaming with laughter, all about fertility with some very obvious phallic references - warning to those easily offended) and kind of hung around most of the day. He watched our bags when we went snorkelling. Eventually the sell happened and we bought a couple of carvings. Who knows if they were a good price. We didn't care. He was a nice guy. I gave him a Wheels magazine I had with me and he as very chuffed. John said his son would love it. Long hot tender queue to get back to the ship. Conflict Islands - After we left Kiriwina the captain asked us all to do an anti-rain dance as the two forecasts he had for the Conflict Islands weren't too flash. It was fine when we arrived but as windy as forecast. They sent a tender in to check the jetty on the island. It was borderline but they decided to get us ashore with the exception that anyone with mobility issues couldn't go. It was just too bumpy getting on and off the tenders. I decided to go over early in case it eventually got too windy and again flashed the golden priority tender ticket. We were the first Eden cruise to land on Conflict Islands and the first to visit all four ports. The atoll and its islands are privately owned. Panasesa, the island that you visit, is very manicured and every comment we heard was that it was the favourite visit. I'm going with it was because there was no-one trying to sell you something. I did a circuit of the island and then took a tender back to the ship. The skipper of the tender took four goes t get us alongside. I've taken a lot of tenders, in some very ordinary conditions and never seen anything like it. He was hopeless. We gave him a round of applause when we were finally tied up alongside the tender platform. The three of us pretty much went straight back over. Our friend and I had booked the snorkelling trip and my partner just went over for a walk around and a swim. The snorkelling trip was great. We both wish it had been longer. We took a very wet ride in a small skiff to a larger boat from where we got into the water. It had a platform that lowered down into the water to make it easier to get on and off. They offered hot and cold drinks before and after we got in the water. The snorkelling was pretty good - some ok coral, plenty of fish, warm water. The rest of the cruise. Food - we ate everywhere but Chef's Table. The Pantry - we like the concept of The Pantry but agree that the seating in the space needs to be rethought, especially the low tables. They just don't work. We tried most outlets and have no complaints. The Mexican was a hit as was the sandwich station. My poached eggs were perfect each time I had them. For anyone who complains they have to remember they are on P&O, not Celebrity. Dragon Lady - as advised when we were boarding the ship we booked three restaurants straight away. Dragon Lady, Salt and Angelo's. You were limited to three. I saw no evidence of any priority for suite guests as advertised. The serving sizes in Dragon Lady are even smaller than they were in January. We said it then and I'll say it again - it's a good idea that hasn't got the execution quite right. Soggy sweet potato chips. A brulee that was more like a mousse. Nevertheless we enjoyed it enough to make another booking as we left as the menu was changing mid-cruise. Salt - a very strange experience. We arrived and got a very strange greeting. Did we have a reservation? Sure did. I looked at the list on the desk and pointed to our reservation that had been marked off. Someone else had come in and said they were us! Having an extra table obviously threw them. Service was weird. We had multiple people asking the same question. When my medium rare steak arrived it was well done! They took it straight back but by the time the second steak arrived the others had finished their mains. Then despite saying that I didn't need more vegetables or mash it arrived. At least we didn't get charged twice! Angelo's - what a let down. We liked Angelo's last time. Not this time. Sat in table right at entrance. Rushed through our meal like nothing any of us have experienced before. Servings so small they wouldn't even qualify as tapas. The cheese 'platter' was hilarious. Entertainment Production shows - the only one we didn't like was Twice Upon a Time. It was weird. We like dance but the dancing and singing left us cold. We didn't go to any of the other shows. Lounges and bars - we liked the duet that played around the ship and The Edens who played in the Blue Room. We thought Alter Ego were terrible (were they just crew members moonlighting as a band?) and did not get Spencer Chester at all. Was his act that he couldn't sing or couldn't play piano? Obviously plenty did get him as the bar was full every time he played. Everything else Myron and Michell kept the cabin spotless. Made very good use of the unlimited bottled water. Loved the officer's cocktail party - we talked to the Staff Captain for the whole event - super interesting guy. I've never commented on a captain before but Gavin Pears was great. Very visible. Was always stopping to have a chat. It was very obvious that the crew really liked him. Embarkation and debarkation were both painless. We didn't make use of the suite lounge in Salt and just sat out by the pool until we left the ship. It took longer than we'd thought it would getting off - an hour from walking down the gangway to getting in a taxi. By the time we got to the airport they were calling our flight. We really enjoyed the cruise. Eden is a nice ship but is already showing wear only after just a year. The cushions on the loungers around the Oasis just look dirty. The cabins need refurbishing. Get rid of the dumb spa baths and replace them with proper big showers. The verandah furniture on suite balconies looks lost, and cheap, in that huge space. We enjoyed it enough that we're now investigating a Solomon Island's cruise with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We, a couple, have just returned from the P&O Pacific Eden cruise to Papua New Guinea. I read lots of bad reviews before departure, but decided to go with an open mind. I now believe the world is becoming overrun with wingeing people. ... Read More
We, a couple, have just returned from the P&O Pacific Eden cruise to Papua New Guinea. I read lots of bad reviews before departure, but decided to go with an open mind. I now believe the world is becoming overrun with wingeing people. We had an absolutely wonderful trip. The ship, the crew, the food , the company we met on board, the weather were all fabulous. Nothing to complain about at all. The beverage package that came with our fare was an unexpected bonus. We dined at every restaurant except Chef's Table and could not fault the food or service. There were lots of children on this cruise, but all were well controlled and we didn't see them often. The islands we visited were not touristy and we got an idea of the native lifestyle. Don't believe the bad reports.... This is a very good value holiday""" Thanks P&O... Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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