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11 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
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
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
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
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
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
Cruise was part of a package deal ,flying from Melbourne to Cairns.Pacific Eden is an easy ship to find your way around,the new facilities from bars,restaurants to entertainment areas are really tastefully done. Other parts of the ship ... Read More
Cruise was part of a package deal ,flying from Melbourne to Cairns.Pacific Eden is an easy ship to find your way around,the new facilities from bars,restaurants to entertainment areas are really tastefully done. Other parts of the ship including cabins are looking a bit old but everything worked well on the ship. Food was a disappointment,menus are average and in some restaurants don't vary much. Entertainment was good in the Marquis theatre and the bands in the bars were good. Good ship to cruise for families,with excellent clubs and facilities for children. Leaving the ship at Cairns was not well organized and rather congested. Overall good value for money and a good selection of port visits,especially Mystery Island and Noumea. For a small to mid size ship this ship is a great option if you want to combine it with a stay in beautiful Cairns and go to the barrier reef. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
As with other people, we were quite nervous as there were a number of negative reviews of the Pacific Eden and we had to fly to Cairns from Brisbane to embark. However the cruise was more than adequate with only some minor irritations. ... Read More
As with other people, we were quite nervous as there were a number of negative reviews of the Pacific Eden and we had to fly to Cairns from Brisbane to embark. However the cruise was more than adequate with only some minor irritations. Let's face it, life in general has minor irritations.. Positive: the basic rooms are bigger then the other p&O ships and this is a big plus. You can actually walk around and sit on a two seat sofa. The air conditioning was wonderfully cold. The entertainment was great with Alter Ego band absolutely fantastic. The shows were good with talented singers but I would have preferred more popular themed songs. (personal choice). We attended a lot of trivia. Get there early as they are very popular. Minor issues with strongly accented trivia hosts. hard to understand the questions. however great fun. food: no longer self serve but as far as I'm concerned this is a plus. People have complained that servings were smaller. Seriously!!! If you are hungry, go and get another serving. I don't know what P&O thinking is but letting the staff serve you means there is no chance of other passenger's dirty unwashed hands can contaminate the food.(I still see people leaving the toilets without washing their hands.) The cutlery is also wrapped up in a serviette for you. The pantry area is cleaned scrupulously each night. Angelo's and the Asian Lady? restaurants were good but bookings fill up fast. Shore excursions no more than average. Not enough tenders operating to get people on shore. (maybe all the rest were lifeboats. People were still waiting to get off at 11:30 in the morning. But all day stops so no pressure to return. some of the smaller first time places could not cope with the large influx of people. no taxis/buses available. no adequate shade. Costs of tours courtesy of P&O as usual price gouging. The four of us went to see the Second World War sites which was great and the scenic islands belied the terrible history. The New Guinean and Solomon Island people were wonderful. Heart warming to see whole island turn out waiting to display their culture for the visitors to see. would definitely go n Eden again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Well as all my previous reviews I try to keep things real giving my honest opinion of good and bad, the good news is there is not much bad to report here! a real pleasant surprise. First we have never considered a P&O cruise before, ... Read More
Well as all my previous reviews I try to keep things real giving my honest opinion of good and bad, the good news is there is not much bad to report here! a real pleasant surprise. First we have never considered a P&O cruise before, this is mainly due to the 41% ratings by previous reviewers, very offputting. We have mostly travelled with Princess.who regularly have 80% ratings. However never say never, we were made an offer on a suite which we could not refuse, embarkation was a breeze due to priority check in, took about 20 mins to suite. I did notice that even without priority check in the queues were moving quick, my impressions were they were very organised. Our suite was incredible, huge amounts of space inside and out, so good we eat breakfast on our balcony each day, a lovely perk. We were concerned about kids on board due to school holidays but there were only around 50 and were mostly well behaved. We found the food at the pantry very good, the watermark very good and Angelos very good. If I was to find fault it was not easy to eat healthy in the pantry, I had one choice per day, the rest pretty junky. There was much confusion regarding the Asian restaurant, on booking we were advised that Gluten free was not an issue, but upon checking at the restaurant we were informed that there were no GF option so it was back to the Watermark. My wife has a sweet tooth, but unfortunately requires Gluten Free, despite numerious little tasty afters, most days she was limited to ice cream or jelly! At night we eat at 5.30pm with no problems, however I think readers should be aware that if you are a 7.30pm diner you face long queues and can be sent away with a buzzer to await a table. You are in a different table each night so you don't really build any rapore with staff. Also as per other diners there does not seem to be enough drink staff, we were left on many occasions with a meal with no drinks. We solved this issue by buying a bottle of wine with our meal. There did not appear to have dedicated drinks staff. TIP You need to book the speciality restuarants in person as soon as you board, they do not answer the phones and get booked up quickly. The excursions were interesting, however we were unable to visit Kiriwani, although as stateroom passengers we had priority tendering this was nil and void because the ship had stopped tickets to get ashore, we sat along with 200 others in a very hot corrider which did not move for an hour so we gave up. Also very disappointing we could not get to the Conflict Islands due to swell, they did not have a plan B and sailed away shorty after arrival. Bars were very good and the service was excellent, I had a drinks package but unless you are a very serious drinker you will not get the full value of this. Cant' comment on the shows as we did not attend any but can say the entertainment in the Mix Bar was very good with acoustic and piano sessions very enjoyable. Kudos to the young passenger who played a few tunes on the piano after the show, very entertaining and must have took a lot of bottle! For people (like me) who want to stay in shape I was very impressed by the gym, it was never crowded and was larger than average. Disembarkation was again a breeze. So overall we had a great time and really cannot believe the amount of bad reviews this ship has had in the past, I definitely recommend it and as we speak we are trying to book another! best value cruise we have ever been on. Do not believe the bad reviews, you will not regret it if you go on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
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