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8 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Having been on an earlier cruise on the Pacific Jewel we decided to do a longer cruise on the Pacific Aria. The ship was smaller and more intimate than the Jewel but parts were quite dated and we noticed an almost musty smell in our cabin. ... Read More
Having been on an earlier cruise on the Pacific Jewel we decided to do a longer cruise on the Pacific Aria. The ship was smaller and more intimate than the Jewel but parts were quite dated and we noticed an almost musty smell in our cabin. The service could not be faulted from the housekeeping staff, the entertainment, the restaurants and we felt the food was superior in the Waterfront to previous although not so keen on the pantry food. We were fortunate enough to be gifted a lunch at Luke Mangins Salt Grill and the steaks were absolutely the best we have ever had and would give them a 10+ We felt this ship being smaller was more rockier than previous but it may have been due to the weather. Special thanks to our Room Stewards Viddy and Elmer for helping us and making our stay just that ore special with their service. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Aria looked, sounded, should have been great. P&O have have always been our go to cruise line. Alas, no more, Pantry food was simply disgusting, almost inedible in general and whoever heard of turnips for every meal as veges! I hit the ... Read More
Aria looked, sounded, should have been great. P&O have have always been our go to cruise line. Alas, no more, Pantry food was simply disgusting, almost inedible in general and whoever heard of turnips for every meal as veges! I hit the wall 4 nights in where my body said no more. I simply couldn't eat any more bad food. The other restaurants were ok but helpings were small unless I paid for more! The cabin was good as was all the bars and public areas, though dated and tired. She is an older ship now.Staff were terrific too but entertainment staff targeted priorities at under 25's at the expense of the rest of us, who were the spenders. Watered down orange juice and watery cocktails and spirits also were a real low! This was the first cruise we were pleased to see end. Sad. I wonder why this great Cruise Line has dropped its quality so much. Money and savings I suspect. Still, we love cruising and will have to leave our dear friend behind and move up a level or two to get back the quality P&O always served in the past. Sad for Carnival, sad for us. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We were on board the Aria that left Brisbane on 4/1/19 bound for New Caledonia. We were very happy with all the staff on the boat, they were all marvelous. However, that was the only thing that we were happy with. I have mobility problems ... Read More
We were on board the Aria that left Brisbane on 4/1/19 bound for New Caledonia. We were very happy with all the staff on the boat, they were all marvelous. However, that was the only thing that we were happy with. I have mobility problems and use a walker. There were four lifts each end of the ship but on a regular basis 3 of the lifts would be in use by staff or out of order leaving only one lift for passengers. It would sometimes take 20-25 minutes for me to get in a lift and sometimes I was forced to carry my walker downstairs in order to get to events on time! We were very unhappy with the restaurants as well. The food in the Pantry on the 11th floor was ok but we could never get a seat (there were 5 of us) so we had evening meals in the Waterfront Restaurant and the food was not good. We wanted to try other restaurants but couldn’t because they were always booked out so we were not happy about that. Also, on other cruises (Princess etc.) we were able to go to the buffet late at night for light snacks, coffee or sweets etc. but on the Aria all the restaurants closed early (I think at 9 o’clock). Overall, a very disappointing cruise. I don’t think we will be sailing with P & O again! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Second cruise (First was also Explorer). Cruised wih my 5yo and myself. Cabin: 9205 Window cabin with unobstructed view, and a queen bed. This room had more than enough space for our 2x suitcases and drawer space for all our clothes. ... Read More
Second cruise (First was also Explorer). Cruised wih my 5yo and myself. Cabin: 9205 Window cabin with unobstructed view, and a queen bed. This room had more than enough space for our 2x suitcases and drawer space for all our clothes. The suitcases could fit under the bed, but there was plenty of space in the wardrobe for them to stand in so no need. Tv and fridge in room were used daily and both great. My 5yo packed a few toys and there was plenty of space for him to play with them on the ground in our room while watching tv in the evening. Ship: Becuase we done the Chrsitmas cruise, the ship was decorated beautifully with Christmas trees / decorations / gingerbread houses all over the place. We even had fake snow! Food – The Pantry: Food wasn’t too bad. Lots of options to choose from. Only ate at the Pantry during lunch time, so no comment for breakfast or dinner. It wasn’t easy trying to find seating, so that was annoying. Waterfront: Mainly ate here. Could not fault the food. Breakfast menu was the same every day, but enough options to choose something different every day if you liked. Lunch and dinner menus different every day. I enjoyed all of my meals at Waterfront. Dragon Lady: Went once, and never got around to going again. Not bad. Lukes: Yummy burgers and fries. Although you must pay, it is a nice area to sit and watch over the pool area or while a movie is on. Shell and Bones: Beautiful food (extra charge). This is just a sectioned off part of The Pantry, so it doesn’t feel very ‘restauranty’. Angelos: Did not use so no comment Entertainment: Attended four (free) shows in the Marquee, with every single one of them being amazing. The entertainers on board do a fantastic job! I was early to each show, so had no problem finding seats, but it does fill up fast. P&O Edge / Waterslides - did not use so no comment. Kids entertainment: Turtle cove – my son absolutely LOVED it. He would stay there all day every day if I let him. They had so much for the kids to do: face painting, games, songs, play stations, dancing, acting, everything. Service: AMAZING. Room stewards go above and beyond, always there if you need something or have a question. They make the kids feel welcome in an unfamiliar place. Bar staff everywhere I could not fault. Always greeting everyone with a big smile. Waiters in the Waterfront always lovey. Other passengers: A great mix of families / elderly / 20-30 year olds. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There is always a few disgruntled passengers, but it’s easy to ignore them! Money: Used Aussie dollars on all islands. I would recommend changing big notes ($50, $20) at reception on the ship to smaller notes before going on the islands. Islands – Noumea: Bought the hop on hop off bus ticket once we got off the ship. Spent the day at Lemon bay beach which was clean, beautiful with plenty of trees for shade. Lifou: Spent a few hours at the beach the tenders dropped us off at. Nothing spectacular, stayed a few hours and then went back to the ship for lunch. Port Vila: Booked an all day tour via Facebook. (Blue Lagoon Bus Tours). Our stops included Blue Lagoon, Rarru waterfalls, Mele beach bar for lunch and drinks, and then duty free before heading back to the ship. This tour was a 10/10. Would book again! Mystery Island: Spent all day at the beach. The most beautiful island we have been to. You don’t even need diving gear to see the fish swimming around the coral. Markets were amazing, and the locals were all beautiful people. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We were offed a good deal from the last cruise on the Jewel. I recommend taking the free booze cruise its well worth it. The ship is big and very clean there was plenty to do the staff on the entertainment side were very pleasant and ... Read More
We were offed a good deal from the last cruise on the Jewel. I recommend taking the free booze cruise its well worth it. The ship is big and very clean there was plenty to do the staff on the entertainment side were very pleasant and friendly. The guys doing the photos were also on the top of thier game. As for the food it was top notch especially Shell and Bones. We met some great people on board but thats what its all about meeting new friends. The entertainment was also brilliant especially in the black circus the adult show was outstanding and top grade. Our favorite is the bingo which we played daily. We even booked our next cruise onboard. Our room was a room with a window and very large one at that, the staff who looked after us were always there to help and made sure our room was as good as any 5 star hotel. I recommend tis ship anyday. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
It was good value for the money. The overall service was good. There was not much variety entertainment in the bars. There were 4 good shows. The others were somewhat poor and cheap. The talent quest was good and entertaining. The ... Read More
It was good value for the money. The overall service was good. There was not much variety entertainment in the bars. There were 4 good shows. The others were somewhat poor and cheap. The talent quest was good and entertaining. The Circus was good but I don't think it was good enough to have to pay $15 extra. I refuse to pay $20 for a Sauna. The ship was good for family and the young people. Would not recommend it for pensioners as it was very noisy and no dancing for older generation. It was cheap entertainment as there seemed to be a lot of Trivia in the Explorer Hotel. There was one Place the Sanctuary where it was quiet. But it was very hard to get a deck chair as it was popular with people who did not like the noise. I hated the piano player as he sang out of tune and no variety. I suspect that he might have just got a free cruise. I would not pay him any money. The guitar player was good also the Blue Room entertainment was good. Restaurants The food in the Waterfront was terrible they served what looked and tasted like tinned Spagetti. The service was excellent they tried hard to make me happy. The menu did not suit me. greasy deep fried and basic desserts. The only good meal at the Waterfront was omelette for breakfast this was nice and hot. Angelos this was good for one night. dessert was Tiramisu which was the best dessert on the ship. The next night we had Spagetti Bolognese this looked like tinned Spagetti or else cooked spaghetti with commercial tomato sauce through it with 2 tasteless meatballs the worst meal ever. The service on the second night was very slow even though I told the waiter we needed to be out early. I overheard several people complaining how slow the service was. I did have to ask to have my food served hot. I expect better meals in a Italian Restaurant. The The Dragon Lady and that was good on both nights. My top recommendation. The pantry had a good selection but mostly lukewarm and you had to walk around with your plate trying to get a seat. The tables were not cleared fast enough so you had to eat with dirty plates on the tables a lot of the times. Fish and chips were hot and good. They had Paela with Mussels and that seemed to be popular. I did not have any so I can not comment on the taste.I did enjoy the Indian dishes but sometimes lukewarm. The salads were good. Desserts I did not like cakes all tasted similar. The cabin was very squashy and I knocked my ankles a few times trying to get into bed but to be fair we did get the Cruise at a special price so we did not expect too much. We did get value for money. Cabin Stewards where exceptional. I loved Mystery Island and The Isle of Pines where we took a bus onshore for $20 plus $4 extra to see a cave. This was very good value and we had 30 minutes bonus all up 2.5 hours We had to stand in line for 45 minutes to get back on board. Not sure why it took so long as they other 5 ports did not have much waiting time. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This is the first cruise for my husband and I, and we were not disappointed. From the moment we arrived at the port in Brisbane to when we had to disembark, everything was perfect. We were lucky with the weather until the last 2 ... Read More
This is the first cruise for my husband and I, and we were not disappointed. From the moment we arrived at the port in Brisbane to when we had to disembark, everything was perfect. We were lucky with the weather until the last 2 days, but nobody can control that. We found all the crew friendly, helpful and professional, it couldn't have been better, they really have a big job to do, and they work long hard hours, but it never shows. We loved the food that was available, and good to see no buffet style eating, as it's more hygienic, and there was never a queue. I did overhear a male passenger having a whinge and was being quite rude to the poor fellow behind the salad bar, but really? Is it the end of the world if you didn't get enough avocado on your plate?? Some people amaze me. We lashed out and booked into Salt Grill on the first night, that was amazing. Highly recommend that. Bar staff and entertainment staff were great, there is no way you could come in this cruise and say that it was boring and you had nothing to do. I would recommend that you read the daily bulletin that gets delivered to your room each evening, telling you what's on the next day, because there is so much to do, it's a shame to miss out. Also purchasing a drinks package is recommended if you are that way inclined! It does take away the stress at the end and don't end up with bill shock! It was just my husband and myself on this cruise, but did see a lot of families with small children and they seemed to be having a great time. It's a great family holiday choice. We would definitely recommend the Pacific Aria to everyone. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We travelled in a group of 4 couples on this short cruise from Brisbane and had a very good time. The main entertainment was several comedy shows, some rated PG which were (usually) ok for children, and some R rated for the adult themes ... Read More
We travelled in a group of 4 couples on this short cruise from Brisbane and had a very good time. The main entertainment was several comedy shows, some rated PG which were (usually) ok for children, and some R rated for the adult themes and language. We preferred the PG rated shows, which showcased the quick minds of the comedians without the swearing. I think that the nature of the cruise meant that there were very few children on board. The shows were generally very good, and we really loved the gong show, where fellow passengers could have a crack at stand up comedy - what a surprise that was! But by far the best entertainment was the range of extremely talented musicians on board. A fabulous singer/guitarist at the Oasis setting the relaxing mood, the girl with the haunting voice at the Lido, the piano player in the Blue Room and the band (Alter Ego?) at Oceans Bar, who took requests and could play and sing anything! The musicians were all superb. Now the food - we all thought that the 'food court' style of The Pantry was a positive step up from the usual buffet and the food there was simple and tasty. It is hard to get a table here though and tables are not cleared very quickly. Breakfast at the Waterfront was pretty good, but other meals were a bit hit or miss. Angelo's (the Italian) was average and Salt was disappointing (both our fish dishes were overcooked). Service is generally slow. We were unable to get into The Dragon Lady even though we tried booking after lunch on the first day - so get in quick if you want to eat here. Drinks: Coffee is best in Oceans Bar. The mocktails were way too sweet so we ordered them with soda water to dilute them. (Refreshment package was well used). Favourite cocktail - Pink ginger cosmopolitan! Drinks seemed to be diluted later in the evening. Suggestion to management: Move the trivia to a larger venue - maybe the Dome? People were sitting on the floor! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Having previously experienced two other cruise lines and most importantly P + O's parent company carnival, this cruise was disappointing to the extreme. Ways in which this cruise was lacking: Very old ship that was renovated ... Read More
Having previously experienced two other cruise lines and most importantly P + O's parent company carnival, this cruise was disappointing to the extreme. Ways in which this cruise was lacking: Very old ship that was renovated being advertised as a 'new addition'. I only picked this cruise because I thought it was a new ship - wrong. It's a 20 year old ship that got renovated. Terrible toilet system. Vacuum toilets that doesn't flush if your poop isn't directly in the hole. Poop smell that wafts through the entire ship and cabins. The other reviews cover the poocific explorer extensively so I won't go into too much detail. Lets just say if your butt doesn't have a missile guidance system you're going to have a bad time. Terrible shows. Compared to shows on the other cruises the performances were dull and bland. The pacific performers only know how to lip sync and dance. Each show they put on is just a playlist with no plot. Some performances were canceled. Other's were only scheduled to happen once a night - 500 people auditorium with 2k people on board, not very good planning. Added on to the fact that there were no other activities in the evening apart from live music around the ship. Terrible food. The buffet closes at 9pm. At least on carnival you get a pizza stand that stays open all night long. Nothing here. You get a free soft serve machine on carnival. Here you get new zealand natural which you have to pay for every scoop. Their premium restaurant shell and bones is a joke and tastes awful. Nothing they fry ever comes out crunchy. They're just greasy and soggy. I ordered a papaya and pineapple fruit plate. The waiter came out with the plate went 'enjoy your papaya'. The plate had rockmelon and pineapple on it. The waiter then acted ultra confused when we said this wasn't papaya. Terrible room cleaning and state. Cost cutting everywhere. We had a empty tissue box space in the bathroom for days until we asked why... They told us it's now protocol to no longer give tissues unless you specifically request then. Our first set of sheets had yellow stains on them, when we asked them to change the sheets they asked us if tomorrow as okay... By the way religiously check your bill at the end of the journey. We had onboard credit and then spent more money than that. Eg Had $100 onboard credit. Spent 130. They charged our credit card 60 bucks so that if we had just left the ship we would've had 30 bucks onboard credit for no reason... Unlike other companies that give you photo packages... like Celebrity gives you ALL your photos for $300... P + O just sells it to you by the 1. 30 bucks each. Lets not forget their 'life studio'. Where they take your pictures for 20 minutes with no make up and minimal props then try to charge you 300 bucks for a negative or a cheap $6000 family photo package. TLDR: Don't pick this cruise line if you have any other choice. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I was travelling solo in a balcony cabin. Booking in via their web site & 4 phone calls to P & O took me 5 hours, 2 of the 4 people I spoke to over the phone told me they have a lot of problems with their web site. With hindsight ... Read More
I was travelling solo in a balcony cabin. Booking in via their web site & 4 phone calls to P & O took me 5 hours, 2 of the 4 people I spoke to over the phone told me they have a lot of problems with their web site. With hindsight I should have taken this as an omen early on & not booked with P & O at all. At check-in at the cruise terminal I was confronted by a loud aggressive male who aggressively snatched a small 330ml bottle of water out of my hand - apparently P & O are paranoid about passengers bringing their own liquid anything on board because P & O have the mindset that you wouldn't buy their overpriced liquids if you were allowed to bring your own on board - they are so paranoid that they have a luggage/bag scan that picks up liquids. In my trolley case I had a 'happy trip' gift wrapped 6 pack of lager so you can imagine what happened next, same aggressive white blokey demanded 'open the case!' (no 'please', no sense of humour, got deep psychological problems this bloke), the lager in it's pretty gift bag was confiscated & a female at a nearby desk who I felt sorry for, gave me a receipt to pick up package on morning of disembarkation from Charlie's Bar. I then proceeded to board & made my way to my cabin on deck 10. The cabin was quite pleasant, enough movable hangers for one person in double wardrobe, queen size bed, desk & chair, a bit of room to walk about, 2 chairs & table on balcony, bathroom very small but ok except usual crappy toiletries but I always bring my own (cruelty-free, natural & vegan) & wouldn't use their stuff. When I booked partly on-line I included a note under 'special requests' where I said "I am a vegan, I presume I can get some vegan food in one of the ships eateries, if not please let me know & I'll bring my own food" (I said this a bit tongue in cheek really) & there was a letter for me on the desk from one of the chefs who wrote under the heading (unbelievably) "Vegetarian", anyone who knows anything would know of course that there is a big difference between vegan & vegetarian, not just food but whopping difference in lifestyle. I never bothered contacting this chef who I think would probably be clueless & whom I wouldn't trust. I ate once or twice a day just in the Pantry because there you can serve yourself at the salad & fruit counters, I had same food every meal (cucumber slices, tomato slices or wedges, corn or peas, onion, lettuce and melon). It looked like at the hot food counter there were no separate containers of boiled potatoes, cauli, broccoli or any green veggies. In the Pantry dining area it was interesting watching the young female staff table-clearers who work efficiently & diligently who I imagine get wages & some would be sending most of those wages back to their families in their home country. I had a brief conversation with a couple of these young women. You could only get orange juice in the morning which was free, then they took the dispenser away, if you wanted orange juice any other time you had to pay. There were many instances where staff had their hand out for you to pay for something where you would think it would be free & included in cruise price. Entertainment & Activities: I did a couple of craft activities, origami & making a paper flower demonstrated by Tarryn in the Explorer Bar, the craft papers were free & I think all participants (25-35 of us) enjoyed the 50min workshops. The only entertainment I saw was The Tap Pack, 4 male tap dancers on stage who were quite good & pleasant in that they weren't lewd or crude in any of the spoken part of their act. I wanted to go swimming in one of the pools, where either side there is 2 hot tubs, the pool had a sign up "elderly (meaning over 55 which I am) people not allowed in the pool" then the standard safety cop out crap - how ridiculous this is, Dawn Fraser ("our Dawn") would not be allowed in a P & O pool because of their obsession with pettiness. I encountered another aggressive rude male - at the reception desk when I settled my $8 (I bought one Heineken lager) a/c, male said to me "$9" (no 'please'), I said to him "I was told it is $8" then he said "don't you want to give $1 to save the children?", I said "no thank you, I already give to save the children separately', I think the point is, apart from the aggressive attitude, passengers should be asked (politely) if they want to donate $1 or whatever $$amount & not have that money automatically added to their a/c without their knowledge, I think this beggars the question, is anything else being added to passengers a/c they didn't authorise. The gym is another issue, when I visited the gym there was no-one in charge just 6 or 7 males on the cycles. On the day of disembarking the system seemed to fall apart & people weren't disembarking in the order allotted to them, a bit of a free for all from deck 7 (quite a number of us sat around & didn't join the crush & dash & waited for the rush to ease off which of course it eventually did). There was no library on board. That morning I'd collected my confiscated gift wrapped 6 pack, P & O only alienate passengers with this & other pettinesses. After disembarking, it was good to see that the taxi system was organised & I was was very pleasantly surprised to find my taxi driver a female driver, very smartly dressed & very good driver, very pleasant. I was glad to be home Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
We had a great time. It wasn't our first visit to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, but this time we hadn't booked any shore activity. In Noumea we met, Lea a young woman who just started as a guide and we really felt welcomed. First ... Read More
We had a great time. It wasn't our first visit to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, but this time we hadn't booked any shore activity. In Noumea we met, Lea a young woman who just started as a guide and we really felt welcomed. First time, we went to countryside and we realized that there was much more to do than lemon beach. I strongly recommend her: her company is called OLETI TOURS, it is brand new, but she is already doing a great job. She is on facebook and really she made feel us so welcome, that I felt like passing the information. The rest of the cruise went very smoothly and we were so lucky with the weather. Great food, great fun and a truly relaxing experience. We are planning to do it again next year. The more cruises we do, the more we enjoy them, and it is also great to do more authentic excursions. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
It was sold to us by our Cruise sales person as a one off cruise and ship had been refurbished that's a laugh nothing to do daytime and if you drank you would have to get drunk to enjoy yourself.Need more words OK may things I could ... Read More
It was sold to us by our Cruise sales person as a one off cruise and ship had been refurbished that's a laugh nothing to do daytime and if you drank you would have to get drunk to enjoy yourself.Need more words OK may things I could write a book. Noise level at night in our cabin on the 9th level was so loud.Air Conditioning right through out the ship freezing cold and in our cabin no adjustment of direction of air flow so freezing at night.Cabin vacuumed once and dusted never, water stains on the table left all trip. Bathroom towels been there since the ship was built I think.Face washers still had someones hair on them.We asked for blankets because we don't like donas and our dog sleeps on better ones old as the Titanic that didn't fit the bed to small sown together down the middle.a disgrace Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
As we haven’t yet cruised (5th cruise) on the P & O Aria and it was leaving from Brisbane to a destination not visited before (Tonga) we decided to book an 18 night cruise. We were very satisfied with our room as it was very clean ... Read More
As we haven’t yet cruised (5th cruise) on the P & O Aria and it was leaving from Brisbane to a destination not visited before (Tonga) we decided to book an 18 night cruise. We were very satisfied with our room as it was very clean and comfortable. We like how the Staff in the Pantry dishes up your choices of foods, great infection control. Unfortunately the quality of the food provided in the Pantry was poor but the desserts were even worse being stale, tasteless and rubbery which is very disappointing, as we have always looked forward to the foods we don’t usually eat at home (eg. danishes, pudding, bun loaves etc). On the last 2 weeks of cruising I was enjoying the taste of crackers, cheese and dried fruit for dinner. The restaurants Waterfront & Angelo’s for dining were average but don’t order ice cream as it arrives defrosted. The Dragon Lady food was fresh and of good quality. The set out of the ship felt friendly and homely, especially around the Pantry and the pool area. The Entertainment proved in the evening was amazing and during the sea days the Dance Classes/Theme nights provided was totally enjoyed. Just shame about the FOOD! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I am going to cut to the chase, the only reason any people would give this cruise a good review is that they have either never cruised before and therefor have nothing to compare this against or they have no standards themselves! It was ... Read More
I am going to cut to the chase, the only reason any people would give this cruise a good review is that they have either never cruised before and therefor have nothing to compare this against or they have no standards themselves! It was second rate rubbish from start to finish. The food in The Pantry is appalling and I was served only one hot meal in 9 days!! Oh and do not waste your time complaining, they just do not give a hoot. My family and I could not wait to disembark, we have cruised before and this was total rubbish, but hey don't take my word for it, go ahead and waste $3000, I just did!! If you are a bogan you will love it, if you have an ounce of decorum, you will pay the extra and book with Princess Cruises as I intend to do so from now on. I hope this was useful to you. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Firstly, I thought i would start by saying I never usually write reviews but it is imperative that I get this out there to perhaps stop people from making a massive expensive mistake in booking a cruise with P&O! My brother picked ... Read More
Firstly, I thought i would start by saying I never usually write reviews but it is imperative that I get this out there to perhaps stop people from making a massive expensive mistake in booking a cruise with P&O! My brother picked this P&O for his 21st birthday. My whole family (plus others) came along. Between us we spent around 20k just for the bookings without expenses on the boat and I can tell you now, you couldn't give me 20k to go on another cruise with P&O again. It was absolutely the worst experience of my life. The cruise was meant to be a 7 night cruise to Noumea, Lifou and Port Vila. We set sail from Brisbane and upon boarding the ship we heard other passangers talking about a cyclone in Vanawatu. We thought this was a little odd as we hadnt heard anything and P&O didnt communicate anything so figured it wouldnt be an issue... How wrong we were!!!! About half way to Noumea the captian made the annoucement that there was infact a cyclone due to hit Vanuatu which could impact our itinerary but he would keep us informed. We were all a little frustrated but hoped that it would pass by the time we got there. Just before arriving in Noumea another announcement from the captian.. This was to inform us that the cyclone would be hitting Vanuatu and the catagory had been upgraded to a catagory 5. We were advised we would get one day in Noumea but we would miss out on going to Lifou and Port Vila and we would we would have to leave Noumea just before the cyclone hit and then the boat would turn around and head back to Brisbane... BUT.. they would take 4 days for the return journey! You can only imagine the disappointment and frustration we had over this annoucement. We arrived in Noumea later then the expected time and it was alomst nightfall when we arrived. Most places were already closed. We were then informed that Noumea had a public holiday on the Monday so therefore most of the shops/restaurants would be closed and most of the shore tours had to be cancelled because of the terrible weather. They couldnt dock the ship in the normal port so they docked in the shipping container wharf, not really ideal and certainly not attractive to look at. Noumea was a complete disappointment. To think we spend 20k to go to a town that was a ghost town. Hardly any shops were open, majority of restaurants were closed. As you can imagine the weather was also so awful raining, windy and cloudy. We boarded the ship really disappointed with the experience of Noumea only to be told the conditions on the way home were home to be rough.. this was an understatement!!! I can honestly say there were multiple times i was scared for my life onboard that ship! Because P&O had to make up the days, the captian decided to travel back to Brisbane doing approx 10knts. In cyclonic weather, winds up to 60knts, swell at 7m. It honestly felt like we were in a washing machine. I woke up many nights thinking the ship was going down. I was flung out of the shower which the crashing of the waves hitting the ship. All the restaurants on board were mostly booked up because of the extra days we had at seaso we had no choice but to eat at the pantry most of the time which is honestly the worst food. A few people on board got gastro from it. My parner said the food as his FIFO camp in better then the rubbish they serve. The few times we could get into a resaurant the staff couldnt even get the bookings correct and booked on the wrong dates and then were so rude and tried to blame it back on us. A complete diaster!! Because of the weather the pools had to be drained, the lifts were out of order so the poor elderly people had to try and get up and down the stairs with the boat rocking. so danergous for them. We were bascially stuck inside with very little to do unless you wanted to spend money on botox or gambling or you could watch a movie. P&O advertise the latest new release movies on their website.... I'm not sure if you would call the Notebook a new release considering it was released in 2004!! The entertainment and activites were a joke and mostly aimed at you spending more money. Most people got extremely sea sick because of the conditions, myself included. P&O offered sea sick tablets, AT $20 PER PILL!!! They couldnt have cared less how sick we felt as long as we were spending money they didnt care at all! Not once did they offer us a way to contact people back home to let them know we were still alive. The wifi on the boat was terrible, you pay so much money to use it but you have to pretty much sit in the reception area for it to work. Myself and others complained profusely and requested to take us back to Brisbane early as the conditions were awful. We were told this wouldnt happen as head office made the decision to keep us at sea. Bascially we felt like prisioners on the ship with no control over what was happening to us. The aircon on the ship was so cold and you couldnt go outside unless you wanted to be blown out to sea. Because of the rain parts of the ship flooded and the doors, openings had to be covered with towels. Some parts of the ship stunk of vomit because of how many people were sick. We were told they would not be refunding us as it states in their terms and conditions they are allowed to change route if the weather doesnt permit. Well P&O there are so many things you could have done to make this awful situation better or not happen at all. They could have made the decision to take us to a different route, anywhere else that didnt have a cyclone would have been great. They could have communciated to us about the cyclone before we boarded the ship and given us the option on what we would like to do given we had spent the money for a GOOD expereince.They could have offered all passangers a way to contact family to let them know we were safe (just). They could have offered freebies such as drinks or massage or at least something to make it a little better but P&O offered nothing at all. P&O knew this information before we left Brisbane but kept it quiet and decided to put our lives at risk by taking us straight into a cyclone. We should have been given the option before we boarded the ship to continue or not with the cruise. Had this information been communicated to us, we would have forfitted the amount we had spent to not go on the cruise. I would never ever recommend P&O cruises to anyone. I would highly recommended if you are thinking about doing a cruise to choose another company. I will be take my compliant with them further as this simply was not good enough in my view. My words of advice....DO NOT GO P&O!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I have travelled with P&O before and therefore I had fairly low expectations as I know they are at the low end of the cruising spectrum. But we still had fun on our first P&O cruise and so when friends asked us to join them on ... Read More
I have travelled with P&O before and therefore I had fairly low expectations as I know they are at the low end of the cruising spectrum. But we still had fun on our first P&O cruise and so when friends asked us to join them on another we decided to accompany them. I wish we hadn't gone!!.... P&O ignored the very public travel warnings advising all vessels.. including cruise ships NOT to travel into the seas around New Caledonia and Vanuatu due to dangerous weather conditions caused by Cyclone Donna. The passengers, including us, who contacted P&O the day before we were to set sail, the same day that the travel warnings came out, were advised that passenger safety was P&O's first priority and that we would be advised of any itinerary changes that would need to be made due to the cyclone. We knew and accepted that cruise ships often need to reroute and change the itinerary destinations due to weather conditions and so we began to laughingly call this our "Magical Mystery Cruise" and wondered where we would end up. What we DIDN'T expect was for the ship to try outrunning the cyclone in a vain attempt to keep to the scheduled itinerary. Especially when it had already been reported that the ports in those islands would be closed due to the cyclone. A senior crew member even admitted to one of our fellow passengers that they always knew the ship would never make it past Noumea. And yet they continued to sell onshore tours for those islands without a word. Refunds were eventually given for prepaid shore tours but were paid into our on board credit instead of cash back or back into our Visa account where it originally came from. We made it through awful weather conditions to Noumea where we docked in a cargo port for a day and a half (on a public holiday so nothing was open) before being told that the ship must leave immediately because it was too dangerous for us to stay. Instead of getting us all back home to calm seas quickly... the captain chose to draw out our trip back so they could still give us a 7 night cruise. One of these nights was terrifying when the ship obviously HIT something with a huge BANG and then listed at a severe angle for over an hour... bottles fell off of shelves and smashed... the bar staff had to try to hold on to the large coffee machine to try and stop it sliding onto the floor... both passengers and crew looked scared but there was no announcement from the bridge to let everyone know it was ok. It was obvious to everyone that the ship was not coping with the weather conditions, there were leaks everywhere and the next day the captain announced that he had to suddenly change course to prevent the ships rudder from further overheating!! I spent most of this "cruise" feeling either sick, anxious or terrified. P&O is still refusing to take any responsibility for this nightmare... even though I know they have received hundreds of complaints. Be very careful when you choose to cruise with P&O... it would seem that they are allowed to do whatever they want with you once they have your money... even sail you into a cyclone!!... DON'T expect them to try and provide you with an enjoyable holiday... It has been two weeks now, I am still sick and shaking and have had to seek medical attention as a direct result of this hellish experience... which I PAID for!!... Travel insurance will only cover me if I have any "out of pocket" expenses... I could have received a full refund of my fare if P&O had the common sense to cancel the cyclone cruise.... Or had given me the choice to cancel in light of the travel warnings. The response that I and probably hundreds of other upset passengers have received from P&O is basically..... You paid for a 7 night cruise and we delivered a 7 night cruise.. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it but that's not our fault. I wonder how many other companies would get away with this type of attitude and treatment of their customers. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Embarkation: Embarkation was painless. We arrived at Port Melbourne Cruise Terminal on Friday 16th December 2016 before midday, and joined the queue to get onboard. We were in the first group to be processed by immigration, so got ... Read More
Embarkation: Embarkation was painless. We arrived at Port Melbourne Cruise Terminal on Friday 16th December 2016 before midday, and joined the queue to get onboard. We were in the first group to be processed by immigration, so got onboard without too many queues. Our luggage however, was another story. As we had been upgraded twice after leaving home, all we had to attach to our suitcase was a folded paper label. Previously we have always laminated our cruise labels so they stay attached. But this time the inevitable happened, and it took a full day for the luggage to find us. Thought we were going to have to spend the whole 13 days in the same clothes!!! Review of the Pacific Jewel: On boarding this ship we were met by staff singing Christmas Carols, and the Christmas decorations made the ship feel very festive. The large atrium area was extensively decorated, and well set out with a Charlies Bar / coffee shop on one side, and the Pursers desk opposite. Also on the atrium level is a Chocolate shop, a Pandora jewelry shop, and a general tax & duty free shop selling everything from daily essentials to liquor. We were directed to our Stateroom 9190, checked out the room, then headed up to “The Pantry” buffet dining area for lunch. Acquainted ourselves with all the public areas. Entertainment: The Entertainment Cruise Director was Sandy Cadwallader, who was very professional and approachable. Sandy ran the morning trivia sessions, and these were always a heap of fun, and very entertaining. All of the entertainment staff were very good, and everyone seemed to work cohesively together. Unfortunately our travel agent did not inform us of the “themed” nights onboard, only that there would be 3 formal nights. So we were not prepared for the “Back to School” night, the “Black & White” night, or the “Gatsby” night. All of these nights were hilarious, and heaps of fun. However, formal nights were not full formal nights, and guys can get by without a suit, only need a long sleeve shirt and a tie with dinner trousers. Formal attire for women was extremely varied, but very neat casual would also fit the bill. Dining: For 1st time passengers on this ship, the “anytime dining option” has to be considered a nightmare. It took us the first 24 hours to realize we could pre book an evening dining time and a dining table, & were assigned table 259. Having sorted that out, we needed to check out how our caffeine addiction was going to be managed. The coffee in the self serve machines in “The Pantry”was semi bearable, but not good. The general coffee offered in the dining room tasted like ground up burnt coconut shells. That takes us to the Café on deck 5, where coffee could be purchased for $4.95 per cup. That was OK, but was going to be expensive over the course of the cruise. P&O have no such thing as a coffee card. Coffee: What they offer on Day 1 only is a “Beverage package”. This can be purchased for $25 per person per day, or 13 days work out to be $325 for 1 person. This ONLY included soda, tea, coffee, & juice blends. For the Premium package that add wine, beer, spirits and bottled water to the above list, the cost escalates to $89 per person per day, or $1157 for the 13 nights. Mind you, it does not stop there, for if you want to add Cocktails up to the cost of $15 to the list, you will be up for $105 per person per day, or $1365 for 13 nights. It also has to be noted, that you cannot just buy individual days beverage packages. It is all up front, or nothing, so if you want it, it is only available on Day 1. It can be purchased online before boarding for a slight saving. So, after getting over the shock of the Beverage Packages, and because I only drink 3 coffees a day, I chose to pay the $4.95 per cup. Being a frequent cruiser, I found these beverages charges exorbitant and unrealistic. You would almost need to have an intravenous line permanently inserted to absorb a premium package worth of alcohol and caffeine. Meals: The meals in the dining room were well presented, although not always hot. Choices were limited, and steak was an optional extra that had to be purchased separately. In comparison to Princess Cruises, the standard was lacking, and choices were not quite as described. As we had finally worked out how to choose a set dining time and dining table, we had a set waiter for the evening dining named Benedictus. We discovered that you could get a special cup of coffee from the small machine in the galley which tasted like real cappuccino coffee. But you had to request that it came from the galley, not the general coffee jug circulating in the dining room. Anyway, Benedictus looked after all our culinary needs for the 12 nights, and always managed to get us the “good” coffee several times each evening. Breakfast and lunch time dining: Once again different to Princess Cruises. Choices were “The Pantry” buffet on deck 12, or the Waterfront Restaurant on deck 7. The menu’s for both breakfast and lunch remained the same for 7 days running, when halfway through the cruise, they varied it slightly for the remainder of the cruise. Definitely have to say the choices were boring. Cereals were not on offer in the Waterfront Dining room, but found after day 7 that the waiter could find us some cheerio’s or cornflakes if we asked. Cereals were freely available up in the Pantry Deck 12. The only good parts about dining in the Waterfront restaurant was the special coffee, and after day 2 we found an excellent waiter with Jeffrey (table 199) who looked after our breakfast and lunch needs exceptionally well. Marquee Theatre: This theatre was set out over 2 levels with a seating capacity of 750. We have to say the evening entertainment was sensational, and far exceeded Princess Cruises. The enhanced computerization of the back drops for the entertainment group the “Pacific Entertainers” left us totally enthralled, and totally bewildered why other cruise lines like Princess don’t do the same. P&O has to be congratulated with this innovative piece of computerization. Absolutely sensational. The Pacific entertainers presented 4 productions over the 13 nights, plus were involved in quite a few other presentations. The quality of the other entertainers was also quite good. The Laundry: The public Laundry was huge, with a large number of dryers and washing machines available. Never heard a problem from anyone having to wait for a machine. Staterooms: Our stateroom was 9190, nicely appointed mid ship, with an ocean view. Unfortunately the window was dirty for the whole cruise, and it was difficult to see out off, but at least it let us distinguish night from day. Our stateroom stewards were Lasono & Virgilio, who were responsible for looking after us for the 13 nights. It was great to return to our room of an evening and occasionally find a new animal on the end of our bed. However, what we did miss was the evening chocolates on our pillows. Only about 5 times in the 13 nights did we see any chocolates left out in the stateroom. The bed mattresses were comfortable, especially when converted to a king size. However, the linen left a lot to be desired. On embarkation the sheets were “pilled” and uncomfortable, and even though the cabin stewards changed them when I reported the pilling, the new ones weren’t that much better. The towels and face washers were threadbare, and grey. The beach towels are well overdue for being replaced. The pillows in the room were flat and uncomfortable. Luckily we brought our own along with us, otherwise we would not have survived. A cake of soap for personal use was provided on embarkation, and was made to last for 13 nights (only a scrap left at the end). There was shampoo / conditioner in the shower, refilled once during the cruise. Internet: An internet package was available for purchase on Day 1 only for $89, HOWEVER, the internet service was deplorable. It could only be used in certain public areas of the ship, with absolutely NO coverage in the staterooms. Even in a public area, reception was hit and miss, with most times a miss. Suggestion: Don’t bother wasting your money on the ships internet, instead, you would be better getting additional roaming services on your private phone, and using that. Shore Excursions: The Shore Excursions desk is a tiny section at the end of the Pursers Desk, There are 2 shore excursion computers nearby where shore tours can be booked online. The tender service is a nightmare, however, I don’t know how else you could move 2000 passengers & staff on and off a ship any other way. Queuing for tender tickets, then queuing again when your number was called, tended to take the excitement off getting off the ship at each port. If you fore went queuing for tender tickets, then you had to wait until everyone else was off before you could try and find the exit, and this definitely would cut down your time on shore. Boutiques on Board: The Boutiques on board sell a large variety of merchandise, and surprisingly enough we managed to purchase a Mova Globe on the very 1st night onboard. (The last place on earth we expected to find one.) Souvenirs were abundant, as were clothing, jewelry, liquor and personal items. Tipping: For all P&O Ships based in Australia, tipping is included in the price of your cruise. We always choose to provide additional tipping to our Stateroom stewards and dining room waiters, depending on the quality of service provided. It is always a bone of contention to tip or not to tip, but if I get exemplary service, it will be rewarded. IN CONCLUSION: This was our first ever Christmas Cruise, and was a highlight of our cruising career. We were definitely not disappointed after running away from home to be on our own for Christmas, for we met many other couples like us doing the same thing. Many thanks to Cruise Director Sandy Cadwallader, & Captain Gavin Pears and all their crew for making our Christmas Cruise so memorable. We had a fantastic 13 nights, and will definitely cruise with P&O again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My wife and 12 year old daughter enjoyed our family cruise . This being my first and my wife had been on two others . Overall the cruise , staff and experience was an enjoyable time .I was a bit surprised to find that the extra things fo ... Read More
My wife and 12 year old daughter enjoyed our family cruise . This being my first and my wife had been on two others . Overall the cruise , staff and experience was an enjoyable time .I was a bit surprised to find that the extra things fo entertainment were charged . I felt the cost of a 20 second zipline ride was way over the top . My friend who cruised on another company had experiences like the zip line on his cruise and there was no charge .the cost of A$ 20 in my experience over charged . The rock wall climb was he same . On reflection cruising the pacific to the islands where there is a ship every other day meant the local people were a bit blaise' and gave the impression of ho hum too many too often . The places were beautiful and next time I would go in the opposite direction once ashore . Fantastic beaches but with 2000 other tourists its not as enjoyable . It was a very ralaxing time and the staff , food , cabin made a great time .One other thing I think needed a review was the the drinks package . There were three of us and to get three soft drinks we needed to take three swipe cards to the bar . There must be a better system . Great time and have no qualms in recommending it to other people . Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I found P&O Pacific Eden to be below expected cruising standard. Penny pinching in many areas. Coffee, ice-cream, pizza all need to be bought to get good quality, very basic items on a cruise. Same items are available in your cruise ... Read More
I found P&O Pacific Eden to be below expected cruising standard. Penny pinching in many areas. Coffee, ice-cream, pizza all need to be bought to get good quality, very basic items on a cruise. Same items are available in your cruise price, but are of very poor quality. Food quite boring and poor quality, expect if you can get a booking into one of the commercial dinning areas. Cabins good and cabin crew great. Small lounge areas with super loud music or quiz calling, could not have a conversation and also have music, just too loud. Bar staff good, wine and beer good. Mixed drinks and cocktails appeared very watered down, prices still high for duty free drinks. Entertainment and ok, saw different shows each night. Reception and Tour desk staff appeared bored with their jobs and had a pretty much, whatever attitude, only had one question while on trip and could not get any answers. Shore trips cancelled twice Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Boarding: Instructed to show up at 11am, we expected a gentle progress suggested by the red “Priority” notice on our E-ticket. It seemed everybody had an 11am date and 1500 people were trying to progress through registration, ... Read More
Boarding: Instructed to show up at 11am, we expected a gentle progress suggested by the red “Priority” notice on our E-ticket. It seemed everybody had an 11am date and 1500 people were trying to progress through registration, border control and security. Someone took pity on us and we were probably the 300th couple to board. The Room: Sold as a “suite”, our room was twice the size of standard balcony rooms and while having an en-suite bathroom, had no separation of bedroom and living space. Nevertheless it was pleasant, had loads of storage space and a little wardrobe – dressing room. It also had a Nespresso machine and a fridge. The balcony was large and populated by 2 sunbeds in disgusting condition and a relatively decent table and 4 chairs. We were greeted by our splendid room stewards Aime and Joshua who produced a bowl of fruit and bottles of water. The Pantry: The Pantry offers a variety of dishes from little “stalls” and we were able easily to find a table at which to enjoy them. We discovered subsequently that when in a port, the main “Waterfront” restaurant closes so The Pantry becomes the only lunchtime venue. On these occasions the whole place is hugely overcrowded and lunch becomes a bunfight. The Waterfront: A large and nice room aft, it is the main restaurant on board. At mealtimes there is a queue stretching past the lifts to get in. From our observations this is not because they are short of tables, but is a scheme intended to ease the workload of the wait-staff and galley. We found that by going straight to the Maitre d’ and saying we only wanted a table for 2, we were admitted immediately. The menus were interesting but the dishes themselves were only a chef’s impression of what the dish should be. Probably about 7 out of 10. Angelino’s and The Dragon Lady Respectively these are the Italian and the oriental themed eateries. No queues at the restaurants, but long queues to make the required bookings at the “Monkey Bar”. More intimate than the Waterfront we had some really good meals there. Probably 8 out of 10 Salt: This is the Luke Mangan inspired venue and is charged to one’s account. We went for a dinner and a lunch – the menu is the same but lunch is cheaper. We enjoyed our meals there and would give it 9 out of 10. Public spaces and bars: I thought the décor was generally of the Leagues Club meets RSL style. The Blue Room was the closest to “cool”, but it was occasionally spoiled by an entertainer with more volume than talent. The bar staff are competent and charming but are hindered by P&O’s strict cocktail recipes that deliver very watery drinks. Having tried the cocktails we stuck mainly to wine. There is a “Mix Bar” where one can get real cocktails, but at an exorbitant price. Drinkers beware! We took the $69 “Drinks Package” because we didn’t know better. This came to $138 per day or $1,380 for the trip. Outside of the Mix Bar “cocktails” are between $11 and $12 each, beers are between $5 and $6 each and most glasses of wine are between $9 and $11. The package only allows drinks up to $12 but does not allow one to buy bottles of wine. We could have saved money by putting bottles of wine – between $27 and $40each on our shipboard account; spending - say $90 per day – and stashing them in our fridge when not in use. Anyway, you do the arithmetic for your typical usage. Fellow Passengers: Because school was out there were quite a few children. Those we saw were well behaved but most were squirrelled away on the top deck and cared for by professionals. The Oasis Deck on 10 aft was barred to kids – very good idea. There were a lot of folk of pensionable age and a significant number of obese (some morbidly) people. P&O aim for the bottom of the market with very cheap accommodation and it shows. The somewhat slack dress code meant many blokes wore jeans , or worse – shorts after 6pm. On the other hand, most women made an effort. Don’t look for “cool” if you go P&O. Problems: The drain in our bath/shower was probably blocked by 22 years of hair and soap, so one was ankle deep in dirty water by the end of a shower. This was reported twice but totally ignored by the maintenance crew. The crew name badges were in a font so tiny that normal people could not read them. What is the point of P&O asking for crew plaudits if we had no idea who they were? Decent glasses of wine in the restaurants were priced beyond the $12 limit of the Drinks Package Conclusions: We took the cruise because it departed and returned to the wharf opposite our flat. I am not sure that would be sufficient reason to do it again. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
having taken 71 previous cruises some (not many) with P&O I can honestly say I was disgusted with the whole cruise.there were only two good things one was the comfortable beds and the other was Mathew on the cruise staff who will go ... Read More
having taken 71 previous cruises some (not many) with P&O I can honestly say I was disgusted with the whole cruise.there were only two good things one was the comfortable beds and the other was Mathew on the cruise staff who will go far if he moves to another line. second day in on our cruise to new guinea we ordered breakfast in the waterfront restaurant after waiting over one hour to have it delivered our party of 4 walked out and went to the joke they call the buffet. most nights the waterfront was crowded with people wearing thongs singlets and baseball caps and drinking from beer bottles.I may sound like a snob but surely people should have a little bit of self respect one night we were ENTERTAINED!!!!! by a table of 8 unsupervised 13 year olds shouting and throwing things around. meals had no taste whatsoever and 90% we returned half eaten. three of our party ordered fillet steak which was tough and inedible as was most of the meat on board. room service which is standard on nearly all lines was charged for I ordered morning coffee and was charged for a jug of hot water and a sachet of nescafe they didn't even give me the courtesy of brewed coffee. there was a charge for everything from bathrobes to burgers. room attendants would not take used glasses or cups from the room and on one occasion did not even bother to clean the room. trivia was pretty good but on two occasions with a room packed with people nobody turned up to conduct the trivia!!! getting ashore was a nightmare waiting one and a half hours to get on the tender boats. on the private island a barbeque was on shore which in nearly all cases is provided by the cruise line as an alternative to dining on board not here yet again another charge!!! all in all we were all glad to get home and I am pleased to say my next cruise is with celebrity a line that knows how to take care of its customers and gets them coming back Read Less
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