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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Chose this cruise because it was going to Singapore , what a mistake , smell of sewerage everywhere , our toilet kept blocking up .Over crowded ,swimming pool was more like a bath tub .Had to wait hours to get on and off ship by tender ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was going to Singapore , what a mistake , smell of sewerage everywhere , our toilet kept blocking up .Over crowded ,swimming pool was more like a bath tub .Had to wait hours to get on and off ship by tender .Staff as usual were excellent hpwever management treated everyone lime cattle .Never again ,got charge for visa to Timor , only out about the day before we arrived there , then price went up 33 1/3 % overnight . Lined up everywhere for food , half the time couldn't get a seat when dining or for shows . Found most ot the staff who were higher up in rank rude and arogant . The ship itself is old , there is rust everywhere and bits were actually falling off .A lot of the facilities were out of order and were never fixed the whole time we were on the cruise . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose the Great Barrier reef 10 night discovery in a balcony room. The positives Housekeeping and entertainment were good with no issues. There are a few negatives The food particularly in the pantry was bland and dry. No ... Read More
We chose the Great Barrier reef 10 night discovery in a balcony room. The positives Housekeeping and entertainment were good with no issues. There are a few negatives The food particularly in the pantry was bland and dry. No variety unless you like curry or a roast. The breakfast options were a bit better. The waiters never came to us to offer a drink, They clean tables only. On Princess Cruises they routinely would ask if you wanted a drink. That counts for paid drinks as well. On that note, without the drinks package all that was included was water or watered down orange juice. The poocific explorer on some days there was a sewerage smell around deck 12 and even in our room. We notified reception and they sanitized our room promptly to their credit. Also they don't tell you at time of booking that the waterslides cannot be used at the reef. Travelling with a child we would have liked to have been informed. I think i will stick to princess cruises Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having downsized our large property after our children left home we’re now in a situation where we can spend money on traveling to the places that we have been dreaming about for years, the question was where to start first? Having done ... Read More
Having downsized our large property after our children left home we’re now in a situation where we can spend money on traveling to the places that we have been dreaming about for years, the question was where to start first? Having done a reasonable amount of Australia when our children were growing up, we decided that a trip to our local House of Travel in Motueka to investigate cruising was the best place to start. Friends and family had already been on Princess Line cruises with great feedback on how much they had enjoyed themselves. After seeing what was available to suit our schedule and what we considered to be the best value we decided on the Fiji Encounter with P&O and promptly booked and paid for our tickets. Excitedly we returned home and started further researching our dream breakaway only to be horrified by the online reviews of what seemed to be the holiday from hell so if you’ve just found yourself in this situation I want you to take a breath and relax, Pacific Aria is not five stars but be realistic you haven’t paid for five stars so if you board Aria with a determination to have a great holiday you won’t be disappointed. The ship; Pacific Aria is the smallest ship in the P&O fleet but still packs in all the features that you would expect on the larger ships just on a smaller scale. I would have to say that the Aria is not the greatest ship that I’ve traveled on after we encountered a few days of rough weather, neither of us suffers from motion sickness but there were onboard reports of our fellow travelers struggling with the conditions. Our advice would be to take a sea legs tablet the day before you depart and keep taking them for the remainder of your cruise if you’re concerned about seasickness. We had a balcony room on deck 10 and the condition of the room had lost a bit of its gloss from new and could do with a refresh up. Still, it was very clean, and our room Stewart’s were amazing at keeping it spotless. Again, the Aria is not five stars and we spent very little time in our cabin anyway. The restaurants and bars have faired better and still retain a lot of the original shine. Dining; This is where we feel that the Aria has been unfairly slammed the most in online reviews, so we took special note of what was on offer. The Pantry, is where you can eat as much as you like pretty much when you like and has a good selection on café type food it looked well stocked and clean we only had one quick lunch here and it seemed to be on par with other cafes that we’ve grabbed a quick bite at when in a hurry. In short nothing spectacular but by no means bad. The Waterfront restaurant is where you can dine for all three meals on sea days and has a varied menu with great service. We tried a bit of everything, and it was nicely prepared if slightly lacking in imagination. Again, they’re preparing a lot of meals and dealing with a lot of dietary needs, so we gave them a solid 7 for food and a 10 for service. Angelo’s is one of the two specialty restaurants onboard the Aria that is included in your fare and is well worth a visit. We dined there twice and sampled both menus A and menu B. Angelo’s has beautiful décor and good service. We gave Angelo’s an 8 for food and an 8 for the overall dining experience. The Dragon Lady; “Wow” This is not what we expected when we paid our fare, we would have to rate Dragon Lady as one of the best restaurants that we’ve dined at. This is qualified by over forty years of combined experience in the hospitality and service sectors. We gave menu A, a well-deserved 10 and Menu B a solid 8. Service was exceptional. We dined there on four occasions and would’ve gladly eaten there every night. This is the best GF menu that we’ve ever seen, anywhere! Just needs another GF dessert option on menu B. Salt Grill by Luke Mangan; This is billed as the best dining experience onboard P&O and is the only place where you have to pay an additional surcharge so we were looking forward to something special and at the risk of upsetting our Aussie brothers and sisters we were underwhelmed with both the menu and the service. The food is good, it’s just not as good as it’s hyped up to be and we found the service to be slightly arrogant. In fairness, I do have a GF diet so maybe some of the ingredients had to be removed from the dishes, but this wasn’t an issue elsewhere on Aria. We gave Salt Grill a 7 for the food and a 7 for service. Entertainment; this is where the Pacific Aria shines as the production shows held in the Marquee are world-class with slick choreography and singing which is supported by great lighting and sound. Our favorite was Johnny Balance the Comedian Magician who had us laughing so much that it hurt. Name that tune with Georgie, Cruise Director Cole’s morning Trivia, Bingo with Cameron, Pacific Popstar and the riotous Rock the Room were some of the other standouts for us. Unfortunately, the Ocean Bar is just not big enough for all of those wanting to participate in the fun. This is also where the Aria fell short with the themed parties that were a bit of a let down as we had visions of us dancing the night away in a grand setting, but full marks must go to Cole and his wonderful team. If you can’t find something fun to do on the Aria, we would suggest that you check your pulse. Music and Bars; There is a range of theme bars with matched live music that is of a high standard our favorites were Kawai and Ian Berry, but they were all great. As far as the bars go the Blue Room was the standout for us due to the excellent service and late-night coffees. It’s a great place to chill out reading with a premium coffee during the day or to enjoy live music and a cocktail in the evening. We would also like to rebuff the online nonsense regarding short poured drinks as the drinks that we watched being made were always prepared using the correct standard measures. Bar hygiene was also of a very high standard. We weren’t cruising with any children of our own and there was plenty on board, but we hardly ever saw them we can only assume that they were locked away in the engine room or having the time of their lives in the kid’s clubs and pools. Shore excursions; These were of an acceptable standard for us but we would suggest that P&O send some undercover team along from time to time to make sure that standards are being maintained our tour guides were great on the bus but left us to our devices once we arrived at our destinations. We found a lot more was on offer once we moved away from the group and went exploring on our own. The standout was the amazing cultural shows and singing. The only bad point was the tender trip into Port Denarau which took an hour in very hot and humid conditions. Overall, we had a great time cruising with P&O and would do it again on one of their bigger ships but in saying that the letdowns due to the size and age of Pacific Aria were expertly papered over by the outstanding crew. Pacific Aria is still a fun place to spend a value-packed holiday and a great introduction into the world of cruising. David and Gaylene, Motueka NZ. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
this cruise was amazing, coming with one side of the family it was a fantastic trip. Everyone was always occupied and the activities couldn't have been better. There were lots of shows to watch and parties to go to. Our room was a bit ... Read More
this cruise was amazing, coming with one side of the family it was a fantastic trip. Everyone was always occupied and the activities couldn't have been better. There were lots of shows to watch and parties to go to. Our room was a bit small, but our room stewards couldn't have been better. Every day there were great activities on for the whole family, which varied from White parties to Gatsby dance classes. The food in the pantry was pretty good, but could have been better if there was a bigger range. The pizza restaurant on level 8 served amazing food, and so did Dragon Lady (level 5), the only disappointing part was that it cost more to eat at these places.Our cruise travelled to Noumea, Maré, Lifou and Isle of Pines. This trip had been going smoothly until day 6 when the weather in Maré was miserable, as it was raining all day, when we reached Isle of Pines the following day (the last island) we were told that we weren't going to be getting off the ship due to the swell. The rocking of the boat was definitely noticeable throughout most of the trip but sailing with P & O Pacific Explorer was great!. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Our 1st cruise and I booked P and O because of their $1 deposit. I've seen and heard many negatives ,particularly the Pacific Dawn. I couldn't fault our cruise at all - and I can be hard to please. But I really think some ... Read More
Our 1st cruise and I booked P and O because of their $1 deposit. I've seen and heard many negatives ,particularly the Pacific Dawn. I couldn't fault our cruise at all - and I can be hard to please. But I really think some people just like to complain and whine about nothing. From our boarding to disembarking the crew were fabulous. I found the food great (if I didn't like what I got , I went and tried something else). The people that looked after our room were warm and friendly, basically at your beck and call They remembered mine and the kids names after 1st meeting us. Waiters serving us pre dinner drinks remembered from the 1st night what cocktail I liked. The evening shows are world class. I thoroughly enjoyed them every night. The activities, whether family orientated or for myself were plentiful and fun. I absolutely was in awe of everything. These holidays are really what you put in and make of it. My family and I had a fantastic time. The best value holiday ever. And if P and O is an entry level cruise , I can't wait to try another cruise line. But I would also book another p and o without hesitation My only and biggest regret...... I didn't book one long enough. As soon as I boarded I knew 4 nights was not going to be long enough. New cruise addict here! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have cruised P&O many times from Brisbane as we do not have a lot of options for local ships - until 2020 at least. We were blown away by the service of almost all groups on this ship. The folks running the Edge program are ... Read More
We have cruised P&O many times from Brisbane as we do not have a lot of options for local ships - until 2020 at least. We were blown away by the service of almost all groups on this ship. The folks running the Edge program are AMAZING, and everyone we encountered in the dining rooms / stateroom attendants/ restaurants were fantastic. Sadly there were too many issues with this cruise to recommend anyone travel on the Pacific Dawn. The water supply to our cabin was polluted (*see cabin info below). The food was ordinary at best - with the exception of Salt Grill which was amazing. My wife has coeliac disease, and sadly the labelling on items in the buffet was either incomplete or factually incorrect. An example was a soup at the asian area that said Gluten Free - but when I quizzed the staff I was told no - there is soy sauce in this. The waterfront restaurant made attempts to modify some dishes (dinnertime only) and these were of an ok standard. We had a lot of photos taken as part of a photo package, sadly when we checked the USB drive once at home only a fraction of the photos we selected were actually on this USB disk. This was heartbreaking as we had some wonderful dress-up shots taken of our children. I can only put this down to lazyness of the staff in the photo area. The ship is rusty and tired (it was sad seeing the rust hastily whitewashed over when in lovely Pacific Island ports) the eateries never have enough seating space and have comparably short open hours compared to Royal or Princess. Whilst the waterslides are great, they do not make up for the tiny pool or limited deck chairs on the Lido deck for a cruise with 500 children onboard. Unless you can only afford a 3 day trip from Brisbane or have never cruised before - steer clear of this ship. I took a $600 hit to the pocket by cancelling another cruise I had booked rather than sail on the Pacific Dawn - or probably with P&O - ever again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise as we had never been to Vanuatu before and this was the only cruise line which departs Auckland for this destination. We also have done two previous P&O cruises which have been ok. However the standards have ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had never been to Vanuatu before and this was the only cruise line which departs Auckland for this destination. We also have done two previous P&O cruises which have been ok. However the standards have dropped with much cheaper food lines. You can definitely see where cut backs have been made to the food which is presented. This was very dissapointing and would possibly prevent us from sailing with P&O in the future. Even in the sit down dining restaurants it was difficult to find something descent to eat. We also thought the ship could do with a good scrub down. The main viewing windows on the ship in the dining areas & restaurants were green from algie and looked disgusting. Surely there must be a way these can be cleaned as they bought the whole ship standard down. The staff were all pretty good though. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is now our third cruise, our second (and last) with P&O. Our first cruise was with P&O on our own and we weren’t impressed, but it was our first and a few years ago now so we thought we would give them another try. The money ... Read More
This is now our third cruise, our second (and last) with P&O. Our first cruise was with P&O on our own and we weren’t impressed, but it was our first and a few years ago now so we thought we would give them another try. The money grab of the century is probably the easiest way to explain it, no happy hours for drinks, no coffee card and the cocktails were so watered down that having 2 of them back to back had no effect at all, just lolly water. The ship is tired with outdated decor. The food was just ok, the Pantry (or pigs trough as we called it) was ordinary, little variety and didn’t change. The Waterfront was ok, but always rushed with a small menu which also didn’t change much. The language barrier was an issue at times also and when asking for certain items to be added or subtracted from a meal it was a bit of a lucky dip. The ship was so crammed with people it was very difficult most times to get a seat to watch any of the entertainment. We decided to try out the Salt grill, which was about $100 extra per couple, the food was very good, but the service was poor, getting the cooking of our steaks wrong and reaching across us often during service. (The Luke Mangan blurb in the menu also had spelling and grammatical errors, he would not be happy) We were unable to stop at 2 out of the 5 islands, I know this is out of their control, but at Conflict Islands the ship left immediately once the decision was quickly made at 9am, then sailing back slowly because of the extra time which made for a very bumpy ride. Many seasick for that next day. I had to go back twice where extra drinks were put against my cruise card, when challenged about it they said they yelled out to me but I walked away, mind you I then sat in the lounge where the bar was for the next hour or so, but nobody came over to me even though the same person was floating around taking drink orders, I had to sort it out, dishonest is a word which comes to mind. Ok, ok, ok, it can’t be all bad I hear you thinking! Well the production shows were very good, but because the Marquee theatre is so dated, their electronic screen, which is a big part of their show is stepped back behind the curtains and unless you sit in the front area, you can’t see it. This was often an issue because of the amount of people crammed onto this boat. Overall a terrible experience, my son and daughter in law came with us and have now asked us not to invite them on another cruise because of how bad this one was. Avoid at all costs, go for another cruise line if you can. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We had previously cruised with Explorer several times and hoped it would still be good. Unfortunately due to the high decibel noise of the (background) music at the venues daytime and evenings while waiting for a game show or trivia to ... Read More
We had previously cruised with Explorer several times and hoped it would still be good. Unfortunately due to the high decibel noise of the (background) music at the venues daytime and evenings while waiting for a game show or trivia to commence the sound was painful. This also continued at the same level for the singers and dancers shows Several people were unhappy and I spoke to the Cruise Director about it but was ignored. I also asked the sound engineer to turn it down a little and he said his instructions were to be loud as it encouraged people to join in. Unfortunately it just meant that after 10 minutes with my fingers in my ears I could not take any more and had to leave One Theatre show was actually offensive and I do not know how anyone can think that the background of a dirty padded cell with a bed and a woman tied to it being interfered with by several 'doctors' is at all funny Avoid the slumber show it stinks Other shows I had seen previously which was lucky as I could not take the much higher decibel level this cruise The cabin staff were great even when one was off ill the other did an excellent job. Tendering was hit and miss calling us down to join the queue when there was no tender there or in site meant we were an hour standing on the stairs instead of waiting in the lounges Dining was 'different' We always use the dining rooms but twice had to leave as there was nothing on the menu which we could eat and had a good meal in the pantry. The menu shows strange mixes of ingredients so instead of a fish or meat dish you would find evidence of the other item mixed in Unfortunately the one evening we both had the roast lamb it was awful, strings of grissle and fat and no meat whatsoever. Sadly after 8 or 9 cruises with P&O Australia I do not think I can risk my hearing again and will continue with the other companies instead Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Absolutely loved our time on board!! No, it is not a 5 star ship, but I didn't go on expecting that. We had beds to sleep in, a bathroom and a fridge and tv. Everything else you need is found on the ship. The guys who serviced our ... Read More
Absolutely loved our time on board!! No, it is not a 5 star ship, but I didn't go on expecting that. We had beds to sleep in, a bathroom and a fridge and tv. Everything else you need is found on the ship. The guys who serviced our room every day were friendly and very good at what they do. We ate mostly at the restaurant and loved our wait staff!! They had us in tears of laughter every night. If you go on this ship, ask to have Melvin's station!! Entertainment was great. Trivia shows were so much fun with Jim - he is hilarious! Katie, not so much, but Jim and Ashley are fantastic. They really know how to work the room. The production shows in the Marquee were very well done. Tip- when playing bingo, don't prematurely call "Bingo" or you will need to do the Chicken Dance in front of everyone Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Have cruised before on Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria and wasn’t disappointed So disappointed this time around Meals average No dress code in Restaurants and children in adults only area Great Gatsby party was such a let ... Read More
Have cruised before on Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria and wasn’t disappointed So disappointed this time around Meals average No dress code in Restaurants and children in adults only area Great Gatsby party was such a let down people dressed up waiting for the party to start just hanging around stairs etc The band played wrong era music rock and Beatles Then when they did the Charleston it was by record Back to school was fun Shows were hit and miss Cabins are ok plenty of space balcony was big enough for two but needs the refurbishment Two many costly extras that are free on other cruise line Edge a waste of money and Soda drinks packages use cans to fill the glass which was often warm or flat Our cruise was a great price so I wasn’t expecting too much but unfortunately I was disappointed with the food choices in the restaurants and didn’t match was on the menu to on the plate Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We picked this for a cheapie weekend away, and to check out Pacific Explorer having traveled on Carnival Spirit twice for a total of 17 nights and RCI Voyager OTS for 9 nights. We have always had balconies and will continue to book them ... Read More
We picked this for a cheapie weekend away, and to check out Pacific Explorer having traveled on Carnival Spirit twice for a total of 17 nights and RCI Voyager OTS for 9 nights. We have always had balconies and will continue to book them for longer cruises but as this was a shortie we decided to check out an ocean view stateroom instead. Lots of groups on board celebrating milestone birthdays, bucks, hens etc. Not many children evident, possibly due to being a 3 nighter. This was a Comedy Cruise, however we found most of the comedy to be pretty disappointing. Just the luck fo the draw on this I would say. Embarkation took about 25 minutes, no complaints. However, White Bay v.s Circular Quay is really a pain, particularly on the return as we were heading straight to work. Sailing away under the Harbour Bridge however is fantastic. Muster held indoors and seemed pretty well done. Indoors means you are more comfortable, can hear and so are more likely to pay attention. Our room # 8234 had a lovely big picture window but was certainly smaller than any we have previously been in and the bathroom is tiny. Both my husband and I commented that we would struggle with this on a longer cruise. We may have felt a little less confined if we had a balcony. It was adequate for a short cruise, and our attendants were lovely and did a great job of waving their magic wand over the room twice a day. Wish I could bring them home with me. The internal areas on this ship are lovely, certainly nicer than Spirit and perhaps even nicer than Voyager. I love how the evening party events are in the atrium and seem to draw you in from anywhere. Entertainment vibe was very good all over the ship. I feel P&O do this very well and seem to "get" Australians. Lots of lovely bay window nooks around the ship to curl up in for a chat or a read or just to people watch. These were a lovely find. External: pool deck fine, love the artificial grass on a lot of the outdoor areas, seems to make it less slippery. The adults' area at the back did not really appeal to us, it does not help that a smoking section is on the port side of The Oasis at the rear. We just could not really warm to it, but perhaps are biased after loving Serenity on the Spirit. The front adult area is lovely, with pretty lounges, but no permanent bar there and mostly unusable for the short time we were on due to the fact that it was usually too windy. (expected on moving ships at the front). Food: Pantry was OK, and I do like the fact that most of the food is served to you and not handled and coughed all over by everyone. I would rate it as 2.5 stars overall. I love the idea of three different styles of venue so that you feel that you are dining in a different restaurant each evening. I also liked the smaller more intimate feeling of them. Husband, however, felt that he prefers the larger MDRs on other ships. The fact that you have to line up and book on the first day however in order to get a table is a pain in the butt and for the life of me, I cannot work out how they cannot have a better system like other lines seem to manage. Big downside. Food was generally OK - good in the restaurants, in fact overall I thought the MDR was more consistently OK than the last time we were on the Spirit. Over the 3 days we had all dinners in one of them, 2 breakfasts and one lunch. All quite enjoyable. Drinks: Corona $AU8, cocktails about $AU12. Gym: very small. Lots of opportunities to pay extra for the usual things, including food, however we did not feel the need to spend extra on a 3 night cruise. Staff all very friendly and Explorer is a nice pick for a short trip getting away from it all. Would consider again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
P&O Australia have really dropped the ball on their service standards. We have recently returned from a cruise to Papua New Guinea, from Brisbane, return to Brisbane. Then stayed on the for the 4 night crossing to Auckland where she ... Read More
P&O Australia have really dropped the ball on their service standards. We have recently returned from a cruise to Papua New Guinea, from Brisbane, return to Brisbane. Then stayed on the for the 4 night crossing to Auckland where she will be based until August, This was marketed as a Comedy Cruise. Whilst the ship was very good and appeared in good condition we did have a plumbing issues in our cabin, outside on deck 4. The cabin was very nice and well planned with a 3 seat settee, plus a chair, but no fridge or kettle were provided. The shower is over a tub with very high sides. Could be an issue for those with mobility problems. It is too short for an adult to sit in, you'd have your knees up under you chin. There was very good storage and hanging areas. The former library in HAL days has been converted to the Blue Room bar. It is very nice indeed, but personally I miss the library. The library now consists of a small bookshelf on wheels, wheeled out each day in the Atrium. Given that the target market spend most of their time on cellphones this is probably understandable. The main area of disappointment is in the food and service areas, particularly in what is now known as the pantry, previously the buffet. Firstly the staff has been considerably reduced and the very competent Filipinos have been replaced by others, mostly Indian and Sri Lankan. .They are no where near as enthusiastic and helpful, and often they are quite surly. I must stress, the Vanuatuan staff are great, as usual. Tables take forever to be cleared, and then usually they are not even wiped clean, just a brush with a napkin to flick the crumbs on to the floor. This did improve near the end of the cruise, but was still not good. On the morning we arrived back in Brisbane my wife and I were in the pantry area before it was opened and you could clearly sea dirty tables, and goodness know when the carpet was last vacuumed. Given this was before most people has risen and after what I would have thought was nightime cleaning, I was very surprised indeed at the situation. There is also no one ensuring hands are sanitised prior to eating, first time I have never seen this on a cruise. As for the food, well cost cutting is very evident here. The pantry is no longer self service, the reason given was health related due to people coughing and touching food etc, and this I can understand. But I am sure the saving in food wastage must be huge also. It was noted how skimpy servings were. And if more was requested, the feeling was it was resented. Fish and chip section was great, except the fish I am sure, was the very cheap and nasty Bassa, and in very small portions. The roast section was great, and was my favourite. Why though, and this was something we heard a lot of people complain about, was why, on a ship marketed to Aussies and Kiwis, was there a Mexican and Indian section available every day, and yet our favourites of meat pies, burgers and pizzas were only available on a counter on the pool deck and had to paid extra for. And no sausage rolls or cornish pasties at all. This makes no sense whatsoever considering the market.. At breakfast there was no cold fish, salmon, kippers, herring etc, no porridge, and worst of all, and a major irritant for me, no freshly made omelets, only some revolting ones cooked on a large tray, not flipped, and cut into squares that tasted nothing like an omelet. On the sandwich bar, they were all ready made, you could not make up your own choice. There was only one type of cold meat available. And the rolls, sandwiches were full of mayo...yuk. There was no afternoon tea provided and If you returned late from ashore there was nothing at all to eat. In the main Waterfront dining room, any steaks were extra cost!!!. Beef Wellington $31, Eye filet, $36. Never ever seen this before. Lobster as an extra I can understand, but steak !!. A flank steak was offered, 3 very thin slices. In the two other free restaurants, Angelos, and the Asian, they were great, and we rotated our dining areas each night. Sometimes though, again, portions could be very small. But lovely ambiance. Servings generally, were very small everywhere, and for the first time on a cruise, I went up to the pantry for extra's on two occasions, as I was still hungry !. All in all there was very strong smell of cost cutting in all areas. Given we have not cruised with P&O Aust since 2014, this was our 6th cruise with them, the changes were very noticeable, No meetings for singles, LGBT etc, no meetings with Dr. Bill (The AA's), In fact not even a Sunday service, (I would stress none of these are my cup of tea !), But surprising never the less.. Thankfully, no art auctions either. That was a bonus !. But everywhere was the hard sell for Elemis beauty deals, it drove me mad. And why cannot a decent coffee, which is extra cost, be served in a decent cup and not a paper cup. (P&O claim they are Eco friendly) There is now loud music everywhere, the worst being around the pool deck in the afternoons. I don't mind music at all, but all does it all have to be so loud. I much prefer the softer music in her previous HAL days. I appreciate that P&O are aiming for a younger market, but the lowering of the dress standards in the evening dining areas was a bit much. Since when did thongs, singlet, stubbies, or thongs, beach shorts, t-shirt and beanie constitute "smart casual". Or thongs, sox, dirty tracky daks, t-shirt and beanie. The most outrageaus being a female in her 20's, wearing jeans with a bib, and being naked from the waist up, except for the bib !!. None of these were questioned or turned away in the dining room. That is just low life and not what we come to expect on a cruise. Sorry P&O Aust, you have lost us, the ship is lovely, the ship size is spot on, entertainment good, ports were great, cabin service superb, tenders crews, as usual top class, but as for the rest, ....NAH....I think it is Princess, HAL or CMV for us from now on. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Hi just got back from a p&o cruise on the dawn I think it’s time the ship had a up grade the floor in my cabin felt not to stable and there was a real bad smell around the ship Food was always the same entertainment was average.id ... Read More
Hi just got back from a p&o cruise on the dawn I think it’s time the ship had a up grade the floor in my cabin felt not to stable and there was a real bad smell around the ship Food was always the same entertainment was average.id write this on there Facebook page but it looks like they only pick the good comments. I think it’s time they up graded the ship and the entertainment and more things to do iv been on 4 cruises on this ship and found this one to be boring sorry p&o hopefully this review helps to make an improvement not so much bring it down after all people sacrifice for for mouth s years to go on a cruise of a life time . But I’m finding p&o it’s all about the turn around not what the people want hopefully this review improves things on the ship thanks ange Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
To give this review some context we are somewhat experienced cruisers having been three times on RCL, twice on Carnival and once on Celebrity, three of those cruises were for nineteen nights and the rest shorter. Pacific Dawn is an ... Read More
To give this review some context we are somewhat experienced cruisers having been three times on RCL, twice on Carnival and once on Celebrity, three of those cruises were for nineteen nights and the rest shorter. Pacific Dawn is an older and smaller ship than most we’d been on but after the refurbishment the interior of the ship is typical of most ships and in good condition. The ship had recently been affected by Cyclone Oma so there were more than the usual signs of surface rust showing, the crew were always painting whenever conditions allowed. Cruise ships are like aircraft they are constantly in use, a docked cruise ship is just eating money, so a quick turnaround is always the norm, this necessitates maintenance being done whilst a ship is on a cruise. Overall, we thought the Pacific Dawn was well maintained and in good condition considering its age. Our cabin was a suite (SA) on deck eleven, it was very comfortable, the carpets and everything that wasn’t nailed down had been replaced during the refurbishment. That said we aren’t 5 Star travellers, preferring budget airlines and better rooms in 4 star hotels instead of standard rooms in 5 star hotels. Without question the best thing about this ship are the crew, an amazing bunch of people, they were always, friendly, smiling and helpful. We ate in both the Main Dining Room and The Pantry as well as room service breakfasts on most mornings, the room service breakfasts were excellent as were some of the meals in the other two venues, however we felt that choices in the MDR were somewhat limited and seemed designed more to impress than please, a lady on an adjacent table received a turkey breast that was so tough she couldn’t cut it and it was replaced by another, somewhat better but still tough. Some of the meals were excellent, barramundi in filo pastry, Italian meat balls and lasagne with quinoa spring to mind, my wife who is less adventurous found most of the meals a bit too exotic and settled for soup and desert on many nights, she was obviously disappointed (her waistline wasn’t!) Here again the staff were excellent! Our experience in the Pantry was similar with their breakfasts quite good when we ate there but on occasions the food was pretty ordinary, on the first day I had an Asian dish with beef that was very tough, on another occasion they had a lot of cinnamon and sugar donuts which looked lovely but required some serious chewing to eat. On the other hand the fish and chips were excellent, the deserts were variable some good some not so good which pretty much sums up the food generally. The Pantry is an excellent concept as long as it is well staffed and in our experience it was, there is no doubt that having all of the food served from behind glass will limit the gastro problem as people can’t drop a spoon on the floor and put it back, taste food off the spoon and put it back etc etc as is sometimes seen in the traditional buffets. The eating areas are also divided into smaller areas which avoids that cafeteria feeling of some ships. We had drinks before dinner most nights in the Cocktail Bar on deck seven overlooking the Atrium, the service was good but they repeatedly ran out of martini glasses and had to serve them in a wine glass and a beer glass was no where to be seen. Pretty poor form for a cocktail bar. Like all cruises common sense is required if you don’t want to search for a table in the Pantry don’t go at peak times, the same can be said for going ashore by tender, after all it’s a holiday, will another half hour ruin your day? We didn’t go to any shows but we did go ashore in Alotau to the Cultural Festival which was excellent, didn’t in Kitava because it rained on and off, Rabaul was a fascinating place and really took some getting used to because people would come up to you, introduce themselves and thank you for visiting Rabaul, one of those situations that invariably invokes the “what are you selling response” but these people were genuine and a refreshing change to the usual run of spivs and hawkers you come across on shore visits. We also went ashore in Kiriwina and had a swim as well. All of the islands were worth a visit but be sure to have reef shoes, the coral can be very sharp, even on some of the beaches. Regardless of the ups and downs we enjoyed our cruise to PNG, there were a good range of people on board, a few children but overall a well-behaved and friendly crowd. Would we cruise again with P & O? Probably not, but we choose cruises by itinerary and when we booked this was one of few cruises going to PNG, that has now changed. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Having just returned from the Airlie beach cruise I thought i would share my thoughts on this cruise. 1/ Ship overcrowded, especially at meal times. 2/ The Pantry, worst food I have ever had on a cruise (and I have been on a few). No ... Read More
Having just returned from the Airlie beach cruise I thought i would share my thoughts on this cruise. 1/ Ship overcrowded, especially at meal times. 2/ The Pantry, worst food I have ever had on a cruise (and I have been on a few). No room to sit & P & O in their wisdom decide to shut half of it at dinner time to allow them to open a restaurant in the same area. The idea of the Pantry doesn't work, long ques waiting for servers to dish out the food. Take a leaf out of other cruise lines and revert back to Buffet style dinning. Same food virtually ever meal. 3/ Understaffed, trying to find a waiter on the pool deck is like trying to win the lottery. When you walk up to the bar you are not given receipts for drinks, so you have no idea what the staff are charging you. 4/ Ship is in bad need of maintenance, rust everywhere, stained floors, windows you cannot see out (dirty need cleaning or replacing) nearly all areas of ship had unpleasant smell. All in all a very disappointing cruise for our first & last cruise with P&O, we will be sticking with Royal Caribbean & Princess Cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
we thought a trip to our tropic north would be different.it wasn't.the ship was old,slow and badly maintained.entertainment was non-existent,day time events were old news and boring.day trips were uncomfortable,overpriced,and ... Read More
we thought a trip to our tropic north would be different.it wasn't.the ship was old,slow and badly maintained.entertainment was non-existent,day time events were old news and boring.day trips were uncomfortable,overpriced,and sometimes dangerous.the locals seemed indifferent to tourists,with no effort made to welcome us. our cabin was adequate,but badly in need of repair.balcony was covered in rust.sewerage smell evident early mornings. now the good news.food and dining was mostly first class.all venues provided plentiful and varied meals.beer was cold,and cheap(for a cruise).staff were all cheerful and helpful without exception.brisbane port experience was excellent and speedy. the shows provided were unvariably amateur,and improvised.bands were very good,but only performed for a limited time,leaving us sitting waiting for some live music for up to two hours.shore days were badly organised,with little to do.duty free was very limited in variety,with alcohol being the only bargain. all in all,not a trip we would repeat.we paid top dollar,and recieved little in return. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Departed Bne on Sat 16Feb - departure delayed due strong winds from Cyclone Oma. Instead of 2pm - departed at 10.30pm which meant we had to miss Noumea. Captain & all the crew were very helpful & because Bne Port was going to be ... Read More
Departed Bne on Sat 16Feb - departure delayed due strong winds from Cyclone Oma. Instead of 2pm - departed at 10.30pm which meant we had to miss Noumea. Captain & all the crew were very helpful & because Bne Port was going to be closed on the weekend, our cruise was extended by 3 days & we did get to visit Noumea. Some rough seas. We were on Deck 5 & water went completely over our window on a couple of occasions. But it was the best cruise because the Captain was constantly updating us & the Cruise Director & staff did their best. Free champagne on the Gatsby night & because we docked at Fisherman's Island, they provided free shuttle buses to the usual port. Food was good, loved the Pantry & always managed to find a seat. Tried Shell & Bones Restaurant & had lobster - delicious & only $29 extra. All in all the staff were wonderful & we got 3 extra nights for free. Entertainment in Theatre was spectacular. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I chose to do this cruise as I had never been on one before and thought a short one would be a good introduction. The overall cruise was lots of fun but there are some less than great things. This ship is the oldest and is about to ... Read More
I chose to do this cruise as I had never been on one before and thought a short one would be a good introduction. The overall cruise was lots of fun but there are some less than great things. This ship is the oldest and is about to be decommissioned, you can tell. The rooms look very tired and the colour scheme is so early 90's it sometimes hurts. But on the flip side, the bed was really comfortable and the shower was fantastic! The Pantry...This was really crap. The food that is included in your fare comes from here. Its fatty and made from low quality products. I struggled to find something that I wanted to eat. One dinner there was seriously nothing. I'm a dessert lover and often the desserts were really bland. The pannacotta was tasteless and the custard was so thin it wasn't even custard. The onboard activities were so much fun! Trivia and bingo were my favourite. The stand up comedians were also hilarious. The gym was basic but still very functional! I went every day. Now my number one peeve - up-selling of products! The seminars they run are a ploy to get you to buy something. I was really mad at this. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We travelled on a 4 night cruise on Pacific Explorer to Moreton Island and had a great time. The public areas on the ship have all been refurbished very nicely with modern touches. The cabin was more dated but still had plenty of room ... Read More
We travelled on a 4 night cruise on Pacific Explorer to Moreton Island and had a great time. The public areas on the ship have all been refurbished very nicely with modern touches. The cabin was more dated but still had plenty of room and was very clean. All of the staff were friendly and accomodating. Food overall was very good. We ate most meals in the Waterfront Restaurant and the food was of a high quality. 400 Gradi was also very good and the cafe and Ocean Bar were good for relaxing. The buffet was fine for casual eating although was always very busy. Kids club staff were great and my daughter enjoyed the activities. As she was under five I was given a pager so staff could contact me on at anytime which was a nice touch. My daughter also enjoyed the waterpark as the pools were too deep for small children. Themed nights were fun and we enjoyed making Gatsby headbands for the party. Although purchasing the photos on board is quite expensive, we enjoyed getting all of our photos taken at different backdrops and looking through them later. Overall, we had a really good time and I'd travel on the Pacific Explorer again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
After reading the previous reviews of the Pacific Explorer, I embarked on this cruise with a level of trepidation. My fears were unfounded - what we experienced were highly motivated and friendly staff, a small balcony cabin that was ... Read More
After reading the previous reviews of the Pacific Explorer, I embarked on this cruise with a level of trepidation. My fears were unfounded - what we experienced were highly motivated and friendly staff, a small balcony cabin that was perfectly adequate for a short cruise and great entertainment. Food quality was inconsistent - there were some standouts and some pretty average dishes - in our experience, the staff were more than happy for a meal to be sent back and swapped for something else and for multiple courses to be ordered. Nothing was too much trouble. We found the Waterfront and Angelo's to be the pick of the restaurants but Dragon Lady was ok too with some interesting dishes - my advice would be to try all three early. Menu in the Waterfront changed daily and half way thru for the other two. The speciality restaurants did book out on the first day so my advice would be to book for the entire cruise - you can always cancel or change a time later. This was a school holiday cruise but children numbers were booked and youth security was always on hand to deal with any unruly children. All in all high recommended given the price point - yes you have to pay for some extras but prices are modest and the fare is cheap to start with compared with the other lines. We had the drinks package - it is ok value especially if you get it on sale but found we didn't drink that much after the first few days. My only serious criticism is the lack in variety in on-board activities - lots of trivia and late night karoke but not much else. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Run down and no care as this ship is sold already, not a lot of activities to do during sea days that’s when the staff decide to show up and run them anyway. The air con in our room did not work at all (along with cabins beside us) we ... Read More
Run down and no care as this ship is sold already, not a lot of activities to do during sea days that’s when the staff decide to show up and run them anyway. The air con in our room did not work at all (along with cabins beside us) we told them on the day of getting on the boat and it took them 2 days to come forward and tell us the air does not work along these cabins floor 6 (evens side of the boat) we were given a portable air con that was noisey (rattling sound) and only cool when the air was directed straight at you, right above us was the kitchen very noisey all night. The restaurants on the ship were all fantastic the food was always of high standard and never disappointed and the staff were all welcoming and friendly except the guy serving the alcohol drinks in the pantry other then him all staff were great. Disembarking was terrible sitting in the marquee room for over an hour. If this was my first time cruising I would not cruise again, however I have been on the Carnival Spirit and know cruising is fun just a shame P&O don’t care about this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
First cruise and I was terrified due to negative reviews on here. Our review...well we are now hooked....an amazing cruise. We ate everywhere...enjoyed it all. The ships crew are constantly cleaning to keep the ship presentable. The ... Read More
First cruise and I was terrified due to negative reviews on here. Our review...well we are now hooked....an amazing cruise. We ate everywhere...enjoyed it all. The ships crew are constantly cleaning to keep the ship presentable. The entertainment is amazing. Attend as much as possible. All incredibly enjoyable especial the Maquee live shows. Entertainment crew hilarious Mathew Dom Pablo Miguel etc. We had the smaller cheaper cabins which were perfect for our budget and needs....hot showers were amazing. Many reviews complained about the interior being old....well I'm no spring chicken either any more but it's how you present yourself and this ship is no different....the decor is gorgeous. We did a few pacific Islands and pre booked our tours through the ship and had a great time being emersed in the culture and saw some amazing scenery. All our kids 3-17 attended kids clubs Turtle cove HQ and HQ+ and loved it experience. We also had EDGE packages. These were prepaid great for 7-25yrs. Our adults would probably pay per session next time as didn't get the value from pre purchasing. Thankyou from the bottom of our hearts for your passion to serve. Sad to see you retiring but hope to travel again with P&O and see some familiar faces. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We've done a few cruises now, the Pacific Dawn about 8 years ago, Royal Carribean and MSC so generally have the gist of cruising worked out. We know the Pacific Dawn is a bit old and dated but with an 8 & 10 year old chose the ... Read More
We've done a few cruises now, the Pacific Dawn about 8 years ago, Royal Carribean and MSC so generally have the gist of cruising worked out. We know the Pacific Dawn is a bit old and dated but with an 8 & 10 year old chose the ship for the convenience of sailing from Brisbane where we live and the promise of a recent refit. Except for a missing suitcase ship boarding went well and the ship itself wasn't too bad, what you would expect with clean rooms and generally clean ship. Once onboard there was the usual up sell of alcohol packages, services, shore excursions etc, no surprises. The ports of visit make this cruise good anyway but we were disappointed with general P&O way of doing things compared to the identical cruise we did with Royal Carribean, this time 3 years ago. While the boats and activities were similar, we sailed on the Legend of the Seas, RC just seemed more organised, communicated much better and the cruise went much easier. P&O's left hand does not know what its right hand is doing. In particular: Things we really liked about our recent Pacific Dawn 7 day Pacific Cruise: * Edge activities, ropes, zip line etc, kids loved it and team running it were awesome! * Waiters and room staff, as always they work so hard and are always friendly. * Food good although see below about seats and waiting. * Ports of call, good. Things we disliked about our recent Pacific Dawn 7 day Pacific Cruise: * Too much drinking and encouragement of drinking. On the first day we couldn't find the TV remote and the recurring P&O message about responsible service of alcohol kept playing but from what I witnessed the reality did not match the rhetoric. * Our room was near the main entrance and the music would flow straight through the walls. I get they're trying to keep the party going but at 11:30 at night when the music is still pumping and the kids can't sleep this is not much fun for us. * A lot more extra charges on P&O, extra for this extra that, even extra for some menu items within the standard restaurant which is part of the including price. * First in best dressed policy, getting seats at a dinner table was about booking the best tables early which we weren't informed about and ended up at a 7:45pm table, not ideal with kids. * We NOW know the Natural Aquarium at Lifou had to be booked even before boarding, would have been nice to have been told before the 1k trek in the blazing sun. Lots of us got caught out with this one. * Lack of seats at the 'Pantry' which is the main buffet eating area. * Arriving at Noumea at 3:30pm, not sure why, Royal Carribean on the same itinerary had us there in the morning. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We thought this cruise was great, relaxing, comfortable, affordable and we enjoyed it so very much. Only downfall was jewellery policy on the water slides. Our theme parks here in Oz do not have that policy so I enjoy the water slides. ... Read More
We thought this cruise was great, relaxing, comfortable, affordable and we enjoyed it so very much. Only downfall was jewellery policy on the water slides. Our theme parks here in Oz do not have that policy so I enjoy the water slides. Body jewellery is an upcoming thing and not everyone can take them out, so I think this policy needs reviewing. Staff were awesome and Bingo/trivia was a blast, so much fun and laughter. Theme night Gatsby was awesome. All in all fantastic.Crew were very friendly, helpful and our room was always clean. We did alot of relaxing on the deck under the shade, and the onshore tours were great. We winged it with all onshore stuff but it was great as we got to take a Buggy out in Noumea. This was an adventure driving on the opposite side of the road to Australia took a little getting used to for my hubby. Isle of pines is definately a place to go back too. Read Less
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