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121 P&O Australia Romantic Cruise Reviews

We won this cruise for 2 at Gosford RSL so we started out ahead, included premium drinks package. After reading reviews here I upgraded our cabin from Ocean View Room to a balcony cabin as my wife is a late sleeper and I could sit ... Read More
We won this cruise for 2 at Gosford RSL so we started out ahead, included premium drinks package. After reading reviews here I upgraded our cabin from Ocean View Room to a balcony cabin as my wife is a late sleeper and I could sit outside without disturbing her. Cabin was 11068 on deck 11 and I was concerned that we would get noise from the pool deck toilets which were above. As it happened we got no noise from above but some through the cabin door as we were directly opposite the lifts and stairs. Going from Sydney was great as we only had to get a shuttle bus from the Central Coast and we had a good view of the opera house before departure. It was great that we didn't have to worry about number of bags and their weight. We arrived before our boarding time but porters came and got our bags ane we were efficiently boarded and could get into our cabin immediately. The wife thought that the cabin was small but in the end it did have enough storage space for us and the layout was well thought out with the twin beds being comfortable. We had 2 large suitcases of the thinner variety which went under the bed easily. Our 5 smaller bags were collapsed into the suitcases when empty and we did bring extra hangers which wasn't really necessary. Cabin staff were great and there were several nice touches such as the towel toys and our choice of room cleaning times. We were too busy with the departure party too book specialty restaurants and in the end dragon lady disappointed us with the description of ramen chicken which ended up like KFC. Waterfront and shell and bones were both good but special mention goes to Luke's above the pool deck where we went back 6 times for lunch/ dinner. We also used the Pantry for breakfast and I discovered the healthy corner. Wait staff were Filipinos which was great and we did get too eat some Filipino specialties. For us the band entertainment was the highlight. We didn't have time to go too the shows, too busy with the live band dancing and Karaoke. Real highlight was when the Karaoke machine wouldn't start and the live band just continued on for a couple of hours doing the Karaoke. We attended both the Bianca and Gatsby Parties and had fun at both. One disappointment was weather related where we could not land on the 2 small islands. We got prompt refunds and bonus 75$ though which meant that they gave me money when leaving the ship. The tourist train in Noumea was good and we bought all our souvenirs and french wine at the supermarket. Also had a good Sushi lunch! The up-sell was annoying and we avoided most of it. Lifts were also difficult to use and we often used the stairs. Drinks were good, especially the cocktails. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My Fiance bought this cruise for my 50th birthday. We departed from Singapore on 25/08/19. Singapore is a magnificent place by the way. The first thing we noticed was that the ship was not the gleaming white vessel depicted in the ... Read More
My Fiance bought this cruise for my 50th birthday. We departed from Singapore on 25/08/19. Singapore is a magnificent place by the way. The first thing we noticed was that the ship was not the gleaming white vessel depicted in the brochures. On deck 12 there are large windows which are held in by steel bracelets. These brackets in places were rusted through and effectively were holding nothing. The carpet outside our room was marked and stained and the hallway smelt musty. There was also an odour of raw sewerage which remained inside and outside for the rest of the cruise. This smell was disgusting. The carpet in our room was frayed, wet and musty. The carpet had to be lifted and dried with a blower. The shower had active mould growing around the top. The shower vent was rusted as was the outer wall. Fittings were missing off the toilet and the toilet brush was disgusting. At night our cabin door squeaked constantly to the point that we had to jam paper in it to quieten it. In some toilets cisterns were not secured to the walls. One tap was covered in duct tape to stop a leak. Some of the doors in public toilets were swollen from moisture and smelt bad. Every day they would incinerate rubbish which would cause black soot to fall all over the back of the ship including in your drinks, food and clothing. All of the windows on the ship were filthy - even at the start of the cruise. The cabin walls are incredibly thin and you can hear everything going on the next cabin. Activities are tailored toolder people. The pool is tiny. Damien Mullin (Elvis) was very good as was the comedian Stephen Whiteley. The rest of the entertainment was so so. There was plenty of food but the same thing was served many different ways. Eg todays roast became tomorrow's stir fry the sandwiches on the third day. The staff were friendly but even their enthusiasm does not not make up for the tired old tub they work on. The ship had been dry docked in Singapore for 14 days for maintenance so it must have been bad before. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The following includes some activities/pitfalls to avoid or be aware of on P&O cruises overall the Pacific Explorer was a fun ship with some great people looking after you but P&O need to supplement their discounted fares so be ... Read More
The following includes some activities/pitfalls to avoid or be aware of on P&O cruises overall the Pacific Explorer was a fun ship with some great people looking after you but P&O need to supplement their discounted fares so be aware they are not happy just charging the cruise price they need to extract more to remain profitable. I’d estimate based upon prices and upsell pressure their looking at making $500 to $1000 per guest so add that to your cruise price when factoring in the cost. They also operate under a first and second class citizen model. Unless you book your tours with them or book a suite you’ll have to wait up to two hours longer to disembark at destinations which use tenders. That’s 10-20% less shore time if your a second class citizen. Then there’s the continual upsell it starts before you leave with about 20 messages in your cruise application about insurance and then they start abusing your personal email address with multiple messages even after you update your cruise app to reflect you do not need insurance. I got insurance for two people for less than what they charge for one. Before you jump in about it not being fit for purpose my wife is from overseas so we had to submit to the French embassy for a visa and they approved the visa with the level of travel insurance we had. The level of cover was not basic it was greater than the P&O offering in many areas. So only a rich fool would use the insurance offered by P&O. Then you get to your room and there’s two robes and an umbrella on your bed. Don’t break the seal on the plastic or you just incurred $75. All up there is close to $100 of “optional” up sell items in your cabin on arrival. Choosing your cabin. Deck 10 is probably the best others all have problem areas like deck 11 below pool deck, deck 9 above casino etc. remember level 7 has most of entertainment so avoid above and below. Now the departure process. If you don’t know you can drop your bags off at anytime so don’t drag them around as you visit the opera house or tackle the hills of the rocks area. They do have a lot of people assisting at checkin so it goes quite quick and usually you can get on before your allotted time just check when you drop your bags. Next the food I have seen posts ranging from its pigs slop to rave reviews. The range and preparation is good but there is a lot of lower grade cuts of meat so the food is just ok. It’s not top restaurant quality but it’s ok and you won’t go hungry. You also have to remember their catering for 2000 plus people and aim at the lowest common denominator so no strong flavors. Even if it’s Garlic Mushroom soup you’ll struggle to taste the garlic. We tried to eat dinner at the specialty and main restaurants as the taste was better but still some cheaper cuts and lack of strong flavors. We avoided the buffet for dinner but for a family it’s pretty good with kids with finicky tastes. You can go back as many times as you like no need to create a Mixed food mountain enjoy the taste of each separately and take your time. As soon as you get on board go down and book your restaurants for dinner on level 6 for the whole cruise you may miss one free drink but you’ll be better prepared for the rest of the trip. Dragon Lady and Angelos change menu about mid cruise so book one early and one late to sample the full range of their offerings. The entertainment is fantastic great musicians, shows. and entertainment but often too little of appeal is on at the same time so everyone is trying to get to the same thing. If you want to enjoy a show I recommend you get there 20 minutes early even for entertainment in the pubs as there won’t be a seat but one will open up in 15-30 minutes in the pubs if you can wait and stand for that long. Staff well there’s three categories and a specialist group. The people who look after your room are super friendly and happy to help with anything. The entertainers who on the whole are great professional and upbeat in the face of a number of rude and drunk people. Then there’s the general service people in the restaurants and shops. Most of them are very nice the rest rude arrogant, racist non service people. If you hate people that much change industries don’t continue in customer service. But the most annoying people of all are the photographers. Whether your trying to board the boat, relax on a deck chair, enjoying the departure party, your dinner or getting off at a departure point. They are there and get grumpy/disappointed if you say no thanks. They continually block passage ways, arriving piers, stairs, kick you out of chairs when listening to entertainment all so they can gouge money. Now 30 years ago before the iPhone, Samsung et al, I got the idea and need for a ship photographer but now I can take 100 snaps filter it down to 5-10 and get them made into prints wall hangings, coffee cups, plates, mouse Mats, T-shirt’s, a picture book, or even a glowing plastic replica of the moon with the photo etched in. I don’t need to be interrupted all the time by a predatory photographer who tries to sell me the print at a higher cost than the GDP of a small West Indies Island. $80 for three small 6x4 prints if you take advantage of the onboard discount. Ports of call if you are docking to a pier it’s busy for first 30 minutes but then it’s easy to get off the ship. If your stops involve using tenders you may as well give up for the first hour or more. Each tender takes about 15 to 20 minutes at least and cannot operate in rough waters. They use multiple tenders but are restricted by single point loading and unloading bottlenecks. Consequently they land about 6 boats each hour. Each holds about 100 people so with 2000 people on the boat that’s 3 hours to get them all transferred. No wonder so many stay on the boat. Next year they take on a bigger ship of 2500 capacity. Tenders are a 2000’s solution to a 2020’s world I’d cancel if I had a cruise with three tender stops again. The Shore Tours they do have a lot of them and the more popular ones book out very quickly so if you have your heart set on one book it early and suck up the high price tag. The sales pitch is all based on fear. “If you book a tour with us and your late we’ll hold the boat for you if you book with others you’ll miss the boat”, or my favorite which I think should be referred to consumer affairs “we have insurance so if something happens your covered if you book with the local providers they don’t so you won’t be covered”. So none of the local tour providers have insurance you know this for a fact? And it appears they are saying your travel insurance won’t cover you if you use a local tour provider. At the time of writing oxygen was still free but I’m sure P&O corporate are working on a way to charge you for that. I researched the price of food and drink before I left and it was probably a year old but most of the prices have gone up by about 10-15% some exceptions. CPI is running at 1-2% but in keeping with their pirate ancestors P&O can increase costs by 10-15% in a year or so. My wife forgot her conditioner so $8 for a small travel size bottle on board. 1st Lesson gentlemen the free shampoo conditioner is not the same so do not suggest that 2nd Lesson double check you have everything. Bottled water $5 a bottle with two bottles laying in wait in your room not for free but you guessed it upsell break the seal and your charged. Not all the food and drink is free and what is and what isn’t will surprise you. I had the premium drinks package and soft-drinks package which includes soft drinks and alcoholic drinks up to $13 but not tea or coffee and 600ml bottled water was free at the bars but I had to pay for water in my room. Now specialty ice cream you pay for but they don’t have any ice cream unless you buy the specialty ice creams so parents expect To pay $5-10 for an ice cream for your kids. No soft serve machine like all other buffets in the world. There is an Italian restaurant in the list of free restaurants but you can’t get pizza you have to buy that at a specialty pizza restaurant. You can’t bring water on board in your luggage but can bring 12 cans of soft drink each. Confused I think that’s the intent so you drop your guard and pay for something that’s not included in your package. Time to talk about the boat. It’s has seen better days despite this pig having a fresh coat of lipstick in about 2009 and a tidy up in 2017 it’s showing it’s original manufacture date of 1997. It sort of looks like they just paint over the rust and everything has this rough bubbly finish hiding the imperfections. TV’s and other appliances in rooms don’t work with quick turnarounds they don’t seem to have time to fix things. You will need a masters in Electrical Engineering to be able to work out how to switch on and off your lights in the cabin. On a positive note the public areas which have high traffic appear well maintained as with the deck chairs and cushions. There is a lot of things to do with most tastes catered for but with 2000 people all looking for privacy or a unique experience this isn’t going to happen. Repeat together “yes we are all individuals”. Finally check your bill. I had the drinks packages but still had charges for soft drinks on my bill totaling about $20 Luckily it was easy for me to get them removed but what if you didn’t have a drinks package how would you go trying to argue you didn’t incur those costs. I also had a charge where they over charged my wife $15 for a charge but couldn’t prove it so had to suck it up. Seemed a common complaint with many people saying they had additional items added to their bill. I think they make an extra $15-30,000 per cruise from these types of overcharges if you use my example and don’t get them rectified. In summary a cruise on the Pacific Explorer is overall a nice vacation nothing special. Adjust your thinking before you come even with drinks packages it’s not an all inclusive holiday. Also check if your happy to be second class or want to pay the extra for first class, also P&O don’t have any loyalty packages so you don’t loose anything by trying other providers so try the others next time. The use of tenders it’s past their use by date only use ports with pier facilities or have one tender stop maximum. Check your cruise and change accordingly. If P&O changed but one thing it would be free or at most cost price water in your cabin you shouldn’t profiteer from water and most importantly it would improve the demeanor of your customers who feel like P&O are breaching the Geneva Convention by charging so much for water. Positives Cabin and Entertainment Staff Good Adults Only Areas Boarding Process Rest and Relaxation Areas Food preparation Negatives Continual Habitual Up Sell Prices and Unregulated Increases Bland food not matching ambience and service Photographers Bottled water policy/price Deceptive tour sales Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Here is the short version of my review. My longer detailed version is below. If you are a first time cruiser with no expectations and you are looking for an average cruise on an average ship with an average crew the pacific dawn is ... Read More
Here is the short version of my review. My longer detailed version is below. If you are a first time cruiser with no expectations and you are looking for an average cruise on an average ship with an average crew the pacific dawn is perfect for you. However, if you are an experienced cruiser with expectations for anything above the bare minimum I would absolutely avoid this ship and this cruise. Long version: this was the first time my wife and I had ever cruised with P&O and it will be the last. We paid a little bit more with Holland America but we had a much better experience! I can't say anything was really TERRIBLE about P&O and the Pacific Dawn but there was nothing above the bare minimum either. There was rust in our cabin and on the outside of the ship. The ship is 28 years old and it is dated and worn out. Half way through our cruise some of the toilets on the lower decks started to back up and smell really bad. Our bed was nice but the pillows we were given were terrible. The crew were nice enough and were never rude but most of them never went out of their way to learn our names or give us anything above the bare minimum. The food was not bad but it was very average. We were not impressed. P&O also charges 5 dollars or more for all the extras (ice cream, hamburgers, hotdogs etc) the only food they don't charge extra for is the food served at breakfast, lunch or dinner The on board entertainment was not bad but again, it was very average. Their "library" is a mobile book cart and the selection is extremely limited. The TV in our room wasn't on demand. If you wanted to watch something you had to plan your day so you wouldn't miss the movie. Now for the positives: P&O does not charge that daily gratuity fee which is very refreshing. Additionally, not every show or every meal were terrible but overall, both the shows and the meals were just average. They did offer a free kitchen gallery tour which many other cruise lines charge upwards of 50 dollars for. That was neat. Also our room stewards really did a good job taking care of us. Some of these complaints might seem petty but as experienced cruisers we just expected more and were disappointed. But as the old saying goes, "You get what you pay for". P. S. Full disclosure, after we disembarked in Singapore P&O claims they are putting the ship in dry dock for 12 days and renovating everything. Unfortunately we weren't on board the ship again to see the results. Read Less
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
Sail Date July 2019
Before traveling we read many negative reviews about this ship so our expectations were quite realistic. It was a taster cruise to see if I could handle the seasickness and being on board for days in a row. We had an amazing time and ... Read More
Before traveling we read many negative reviews about this ship so our expectations were quite realistic. It was a taster cruise to see if I could handle the seasickness and being on board for days in a row. We had an amazing time and could find little fault. For the price we paid, we didn't expect the highest quality food or the most luxurious accommodation but our meals in the specialty restaurants were fine. Yes the serves were small, but extra dishes could be ordered. I loved the smaller serves, compared to the huge meals served in most restaurants everywhere these days. The staff were amazing. Nothing is too much trouble. We found the entertainment to be excellent with something for everyone. I am sure there are more glamorous ships on offer but we went with an open mind and a positive attitude and enjoyed the whole experience. On this comedy cruise we laughed our way across the Tasman. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Exceeded expections: The choice of restaurants, quality of food and service was outstanding. The entertainment, shows and bands were exceptional - thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were wonderful, particularly our cabin stewards. ... Read More
Exceeded expections: The choice of restaurants, quality of food and service was outstanding. The entertainment, shows and bands were exceptional - thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were wonderful, particularly our cabin stewards. The ship has been updated and decor is very tasteful. The fitness centre was well equipped with a great outlook The spa was excellent The shore excursions were extremely well organised with very little waiting time for the tenders One third of our time was absolutely terrible - sleeping! The Queen/Double bed, unlike the fabulous Princess Cruise Line mattresses, were two ancient, rock hard, collapsed 'canoes' shoved together with a ridge down the middle. By day 3 I had severe pain down my leg and spent the rest of the cruise sleeping across the bottom of the two beds as it as the only part that had any support at all. Absolutely disgusted with the bed and will never ever travel on P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date April 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
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
Sail Date March 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
Sail Date January 2019
Everything went perfectly on the cruise, went on a 7 night from melbourne around australia. The service was excellent, the atmosphere was excellent and was worth the money. We had a balcony cabin, Our cabin was abit tight but thats ... Read More
Everything went perfectly on the cruise, went on a 7 night from melbourne around australia. The service was excellent, the atmosphere was excellent and was worth the money. We had a balcony cabin, Our cabin was abit tight but thats probably because i didnt know what to expect. The dining was perfect, weather it was the free buffet or the fine dining restaurants. The entertainment was really good. Didnt expect so much but was really happy. There was never a dull moment. Either in the day shows or the adult comedy shows or even sitting at a bar having a few drinks. I went with my partner and i advise couples to get the ultimate romance package. Very good value. The shore tours are good but have to book them in advance to get a good one and be prepared. But once again i cant stress enough the great service from all staff. Thank you guys so much for the wonderful journey Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Embarking from Port Melbourne ,fantastic ,as was Disembarking..So fast.Cabis old but cannot compalin as it was comfortable and only spend part of time there.Always cleaned and room cleaning people such as Prince and Mary very good on Deck ... Read More
Embarking from Port Melbourne ,fantastic ,as was Disembarking..So fast.Cabis old but cannot compalin as it was comfortable and only spend part of time there.Always cleaned and room cleaning people such as Prince and Mary very good on Deck 10 evens. Food is disgusting ,All Asian and Indian ,everything has flavouring ,even baked beans,,,,,,,,,Chicken ,ham and beef etc always dry,,given a few more days ,you could light it up with match as it is very dry. Had to go to bar outside of PANTRY to get orange juice even though there was abar in the PANTRY. then we had to queue up outside at bar where Pool is to get an orange drink ,but P and O made sure plenty of alcohol available in PANTRY.,,No Mocktails,,It seems that the P and O mob want us to live on watered down alcohol drinks. No bodt coming around to ask if we wanted drinks when we were in the PANTRY,,COFFEE is so gross,Better coffee available at Service Stations better than this RUBBISH, Same old problem with TABLES,Have to have someone sit at table while partner goes to get small meal then the one at table has to go and get something over and over again,,,,WHY aren't there Trays so we can put 2 meals on it and save not being able to have meal with each other,,,,,,,,,,,,Staff always overworked but very good at jobs. laundry,you have to have Australian dollars to use Washing machine and Dryer,$3 for washing machine ,$3 for dryer, which you get dollar coins from Level 5..Detergent machines not working,Have to go to level five for a $1 packet. Feel sorry for staff there as they are doing great job with we passengers and extra work load,Artists in longes played same music every day of cruise,Cant they learn different songs ? Mathew and other guy doing trivia etc very good,bingo expensive and no one to show how to play it.No body at hand cleaning stations to make sure people disinfected Hands at events,,,,,,,,,,,,Just lucky no Virus going through ship.Staff at Waterfront very good ,but menu repeated over and over again.Staff wonderful there.TOURS,some not worth it especially the one at akaaroa where you go to hilltop pub, Pies etc cold when the Tour bus arrives and pastry items have to be warmed up,,WHy no Baimarie there at Pub,they know buses coming,Wated time there.Wellington Tour also disappointment,,Went to Look out and spent short time there and then went to Botanical garden Rose Garden,,,,,Jus a eating place and coffee place then just few minutes to see the small garden,NOT WORTH PAYING FOR.,The train trip through gorge pretty good.as is walking tour in Hobart, on our Hobart ticket ,it said to go through Terminal and go outside to meeting point,No one there.Tour guides decided to have people meet in the TErminal and no signage to let people know where new meeting area was,Considering tours are not free from P & O ,there should be a better system,Just a Pole and sign naming Tour would suffice.If doing Tours ,find some one who has done them before as you will be disappointed some times.,,,,,,,No seating in the various some times so have to stand up.............P & O seems to be Alcohol oriented and not interested in non drinkers...........Emergency Medical of patient occurred,Announcement over PA went over and over again ,took a long time for Emergency Team to arrive to level 11.The patient had to be airlifted to Helecopter,The Captain crew and Helecopter crowd fantastic doing this job,..........Standard of P & O gone down as some of Photo people arguing with Cruisers and wrong information given by Tour manager at Marquee,and they argue about iD required even though announcement says what is required,,,,,,So few thing required by P & O to make Cruise more enjoyable but it seems that P & O believe that we will cruise with them and accept what they dish up.........We are not Asian so please put more European food in Main dining room, Seriously ,the food is disgusting,,,,,,,More Pasta etc would be great but get away from Asian food ,So much waste when people cannot eat it. ,,,,,,,,pHOTOS bad systm.photos not discounted and supposedly P & O do recycling and proud of it........Seems strange that all Chemicals and paper gone into printing photos then the unwanted photos shredded,Would be better to sell photos very cheap and have photos bought then shredded,I Dining area ,there are high Stools and benches for people,Too high for Kids and people with hip problems..Just a matter of time when somebody falls from these stools. We have been on Princess and P & O before but would not go with them again and would not recommend P & O to anyone now,Pacific Dawn was great many years ago,,, as I have mentioned ,P & )O taking us for granted,,,,,,,,,we went on tour of Galley,We followed the guy down escalator ,kept walking up escalator then through,revolving door,,and back into Waterfront restaurant.no signage or explanation of how galley works or of amount of food consumed of galley tour,Not a word spoken Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
What a wonderful time!! The food, the service, the entire experience - from start to finish - we loved it all! Even though it was our first cruise and we were told by some others that there were fancier cruises out there, for us it was ... Read More
What a wonderful time!! The food, the service, the entire experience - from start to finish - we loved it all! Even though it was our first cruise and we were told by some others that there were fancier cruises out there, for us it was just spot on. Be sure to read the TIPS below for some helpful hints re:this ship, but the following might answer some general questions. The staff? So helpful, friendly - just such lovely people - from servers, waiters, entertainers, activity hosts, security - they just made the cruise so special for you. The food? The Pantry had great offerings - and this from fussy eaters. Additionally, three great, included restaurants provided an up-market pace. The Dragon Lady offering a range of Asian cuisine from different countries was a fave. Irrespective of venue, the service was was wonderful and helpings were endless. We didn't try the non-included restaurants as we just didn't see the need, but a fellow cruiser raved about the Salt Grill. The crowds? There were families and kids on board but we didn't often see or hear many youngsters; same as there our fair share of baby boomer / grey nomads, but they seemed to party just as hard as their younger counterparts! I think the ship was pretty full but we didn't notice - the occasional wait for a barista coffee, but everything else was reasonable. The entertainment/activities? There seemed lots to do for all ages - sample pages from Good Times pic attached. Towel Animal Parade was a huge surprise (pic attached), as were the Sit-Down Comedy shows (definite crowd pleasers, some R18+ and ID checked). Production shows pretty good; trivia; activities; etc. Plenty to do!! Prices? We were amazed how reasonable things were - $4/$5 for barista coffee & frappe's, lots of cocktails for $12 (some $15-$17), $6.50-$8 for a beer, it was even cheaper for the NZ ice-cream on-board than it was on land in Cairns! All except - bottled water - that was ridiculous, and the photos were expensive, but they were very professional and looked it, so, probably cheaper than land prices. TIPS - water and tea/coffee stations available 24/7 - take a travel mug &/or water bottle so you can take drinks easily from the Pantry back to your room or around the ship; - different spa vouchers & offers were given to rooms daily through out the cruise (most days) - fill out the free raffle tickets in your embarkation booklet but for the spa ticket only tick the areas you actually might use (not what you are 'interested in'); - consider the drinks package - although prices are reasonable, you just tend to drink more than you normally would (even/especially non-alcoholic ones); - check what times tours are leaving so that you can avoid those times yourself for getting on/off at ports; and take a back pack / bag when you go - if taking food off the ship and they see it you're up for hassles - most evening show times tend to be 7pm & 9pm so if booking restaurants consider accordingly - most shows went for ~45 mins - If queuing for a show, level 7 starboard door tended to open first; - don't go early, or late, for safety drill - just when told to do so to save unnecessary waiting; - bring a lanyard for your cruise card (one that can detach at the end easily to hand over your card for swiping); - using the cash kiosks was quick and easy - you can keep an eye on your account via the app available through their intranet - hassle free and no charging to cards, even when checking out, no dramas! - level 6 has the best laundry, all use $1 coins - plus our room had plenty of hangers and a line over the shower; and - check the deck plans carefully if selecting cabins - deck 6 had windows out to the walking track so curtains would have to be kept closed most times; dis/embarking occurred deck 3 & 5 so choose carefully if considering as queuing occurred outside many of these cabins; smokers are outside on deck 6, mid-ship/aft starboard side; deck 10 has restaurant, etc., above and can be noisy; deck 9 was fantastic. Mid-ship best for minimal noise (I'd keep away from stairs/lifts). Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Embarked on pacific aria in the port of Brisbane. 1st time cruisers with p & o so went with a open mind. Not off to a good start as the ship was 6 hours delayed with a rudder problem. We visited ports of noumea, Mare, mystery ... Read More
Embarked on pacific aria in the port of Brisbane. 1st time cruisers with p & o so went with a open mind. Not off to a good start as the ship was 6 hours delayed with a rudder problem. We visited ports of noumea, Mare, mystery island and Vila. We in part was great with the exception of Vila as it rained all day. Enjoyed the ship albeit it is old and in some areas it showed wear and tear. We enjoyed most of the food although the food in the pantry did become monotonous. We did try the waterfront, dragon lady and Angelos restaurants and they were good but not memorable. Public spaces around the ship were nice and we especially enjoyed the blue room. They had a fantastic band playing hightly called highly strung who were superb. Other musicians around the ship we didn't like so much and thought the shows were quite poor in relation to other ships. Staff were all exceptional. All in all the cruise experience was good but could be improved. Would I cruise with aria again, maybe if the itinerary was right for us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My Partner and I needed some time out to relax, life has been very hectic and stressful this year! So we decided to take a short cruise to unwind and stay connected. The cruise ship was lovely, I liked the idea of the pantry, it saves ... Read More
My Partner and I needed some time out to relax, life has been very hectic and stressful this year! So we decided to take a short cruise to unwind and stay connected. The cruise ship was lovely, I liked the idea of the pantry, it saves waste, and spreading germs.The restaurants were lovely, food was pretty good. Our first night we were not impressed with the waterfront restaurant, they seemed confused, and service was very slow, our meals which we opted to pay for were below average. We gave it another go on the third and last night and the food was lovely and the service was. Exceptional. Entertainment enjoyable, there was always something to do on board. Loved Christian from South Africa, he did the bingo, he was great, so entertaining and just a happy go lucky person, very pleasant to be around. Most of the staff was friendly, there was a few that looked like they hated their jobs. To sum things up I’d recommend anyone to book the cruise as it was good value for money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I recently took a 4 day cruise to the whitsundays and was impressed with service,friendliness on this cruise ,from the Maitre D' Karthik the exec chef Jose ,restaurant manager Philipe,head waiters and waiters. on deck 10 bar is ... Read More
I recently took a 4 day cruise to the whitsundays and was impressed with service,friendliness on this cruise ,from the Maitre D' Karthik the exec chef Jose ,restaurant manager Philipe,head waiters and waiters. on deck 10 bar is very good atmosphere and enjoyed afternoon drinks,the bars are good but drinks are very pricy $16 for long island tea?? Chefs table was good food was good and portion sizes however wine matching was off the mark. Room steward very invisible and cabin shower not in good operational order. Balcony too small its more like a big window and the bed mattress very hard,cupboard room and hanging space very adequate. I would not go on a longer cruise than 4 days. There are a lot of add on payments ,room service is at a fee and pizzas are too expensive 12.50. and it seems that while you pay a reasonable but not very low price there are other costs added on if you want a bit more. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We did this cruise to escape the winter in New Zealand. We are a middle aged couple. We have no children. This was our second cruise. The first was last year on Queen Victoria and going along the adriatic coast. This one was cruising ... Read More
We did this cruise to escape the winter in New Zealand. We are a middle aged couple. We have no children. This was our second cruise. The first was last year on Queen Victoria and going along the adriatic coast. This one was cruising around Fiji and Tonga. We enjoyed the ship itself. We ate more often in the Waterfront restaurant as we preferred being waited on. The service was good and so were the meals. The shows were fantastic. The seven sins was memorable. I bought the $199 entertainment package. Which included salt and grill meal. a bottle of champagne. Photo, Canapes every night. This deal was worth it. Salt and grill is fantastic. We couldn't eat it all. I had bought the wine and cheese package and the wine and fruit package. The shock was in finding that they were delivered all at once. Not spaced out over 10 days. I had bought water bottles to 6 for $20 and water is important. We didn't book any excursions. My experience last year in Europe was that they are expensive and not always what you want to do in an area. Our call at Suva..was entertaining to get on the bus there when you did not have too. You could walk off there and be in a shopping district. I got bored as although the market was interesting you can't take food on board. So I was about to go back to the ship when a taxi driver approached and offered to take me around the island for 2 hours for $40 NZ. Deal done. It was a good trip too. We did a similar thing in capital of Tonga. There the taxi drivers expect to be paid $200 US dollars so we bypassed them. We found to our couples and shared the expense of a taxi around Tonga and that was worth it. We saw all the sights. Captain Cook landing and Abel Tasman and more. My husband got sick on the way back from Tonga. He started having breathing problems. He was in the hospital on the ship. They gave him the best of care there. He had water of the lungs and heart failure. Now recovering back in NZ. It was $12,000 for 36 hours care. It has to be paid before you leave the ship. Waiting to hear from insurance. This was caused by a couple of infections. Still my experience is still positive with the ship. I will be back on this ship for the food and wine and the comedy one coming up. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
As a complete novice cruiser, I had no idea of what to expect. I had read quite a few forum comments and by the time we departed I was expecting the worst, cold food, poor service, an old shoddy boat and anything that wasn't free I ... Read More
As a complete novice cruiser, I had no idea of what to expect. I had read quite a few forum comments and by the time we departed I was expecting the worst, cold food, poor service, an old shoddy boat and anything that wasn't free I assumed would be overpriced. I was pleasantly surprised. We stayed at the Ibis Hotel King St. It is only a short walk from the ferry terminal linking the Sydney Cruise Terminal with Sydney City. Our departure day went smoothly without any stress or overexertion. The ferry trip was hugely exciting from Barangaroo around the point to the wharf with the Pacific Eden proudly waiting for us. Whilst there is no doubt that the ship is an old lady of the sea it was in fine order and felt very sturdy. Unlike the Manly Ferry, there was hardly a rust spot to be seen and a few times during the cruise we noticed some fresh painting and varnish sprucing the floating beauty up for it's continuing adventure. Unlike many of the forums I had read, the food was hot, tasty and varied. The staff were happy and helpful, though occasionally looking a tad tired. They do work long hours. Only once did I have an issue with a member of the crew who said I couldn't use the machine that allows me to top up my card. He said the satellite phone was out, however, he did say I could use the $3.50 per use ATM, and give him cash to top up my account... Don't they use the same satellite??? We packed for fun. Out clothing included a little extra for the parties, and they were great. The chance of seeing anyone we knew was slim so we thought why not just go for gold, be a bit daring and have a blast. Our favourite day ashore was on Tangalooma Island where there is more than enough to do. The wrecks and the coral were amazing and the winter timing was perfect. I would have melted in summer. All up... this was an awesome holiday on a beautiful old ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I wanted to take my wife on her first cruise and decided on the 4 night Airlie beach getaway, it was also our anniversary on the second day of the cruise. Loved the ship and the staff were great. We were made to feel welcome be every ... Read More
I wanted to take my wife on her first cruise and decided on the 4 night Airlie beach getaway, it was also our anniversary on the second day of the cruise. Loved the ship and the staff were great. We were made to feel welcome be every staff member and our cabin boys were great. The problems began with the food at the pantry. The first night I decided to have Chinese (Bad Move) I have no idea what spice they used and if the food was fresh but it left me feeling ill. I could taste that spice for the rest of the week and I felt ill at the thought of it. One night there was a magnificent looking roast beef, so I decided to go for that. The meat was so tough I could not even cut it with a knife never mind chew it. The Yorkshire pudding was a dry biscuit. The second day which was our anniversary, I went to the Waterfront restaurant in the morning to book a table for two for that evening and was informed that booking did not start until 2.30pm. So at 2.30 I wondered back down and was the second in line. I was told that the earliest available table was 7.45pm. Sorry to late for us as we wanted to see the show. Talking to a regular cruiser, I found out that people were booking the waterfront restaurant for the same time each night and that is why we could not get in earlier. We were not informed about this and read somewhere that it had to be booked on a daily basis. The first show was great, all singing but the artists were a pleasure to listen too and the applause was overwhelming. The second show: Singing again by the same cast, just changed the props and songs so more like the fist night, the applause was not as good. The last show we saw was the same again, the same cast singing with different props. Very little applause and people were wandering out. All three shows were the same. It would have been good to have variety shows instead of all singing. (We did have a magician one night though and that got boring after ten minutes. We were very disappointed with the food and entertainment. Again the ship was clean, something always going on and the staff were incredible, We did not have the cabin shown in the photo when booking. Finally - The price of "real" coffee was cheaper than on shore - The photo's were $25 each but a special if you purchased two - Cocktails were around $12 each - There is always something going on - The children always had something to do. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Just to preface this review, we had previously cruised on the P & O Pacific Dawn 8 months ago out of Brisbane (Balcony room) on the 7 night Island Hopper and could not fault anything. It was brilliant. This time we chose to splash ... Read More
Just to preface this review, we had previously cruised on the P & O Pacific Dawn 8 months ago out of Brisbane (Balcony room) on the 7 night Island Hopper and could not fault anything. It was brilliant. This time we chose to splash out on a Mini Suite and convinced our parents to try a cruise for the first time. So they booked a Suite too. We sailed on an 8 nighter to Fiji. From day 1 we couldn't sleep. We had the pleasure of having bins and loungers and various other items stored directly above our room on 12. It was SO noisy. You could hear constant thumping, people running, chairs scraping. Sometimes late at night and every single morning like clockwork just before 6am. During the day it was too noisy to take a nap. Our Room Stewards were nice but a little inefficient. We had to repeatedly ask for beach towels as after shore days we would leave them in the beach towel bins when coming back to the ship. We'd get back to our room to freshen up and then go up to 12 to swim or lounge around and we'd have to wait for 2 more towels. They should have just done them when they serviced our room each day. Also our room was only serviced in the afternoon so often there were plates outside our door for hours at a time. Despite us getting up and out at 6am lol. Bed was comfy though! Food was atrocious. Pantry had cockroaches running around where you get the sauces etc. Same food day in and day out. I don't think we ever had a warm meal either in the Pantry or Waterfront. It was constantly served cold or lukewarm. Even eggs being carried in from the kitchen and put directly on my plate were cold! And if you ordered any meat it was cooked so much that if you dropped it, it would have bounced from being over cooked! Waterfront was awful. However service there was fab. My parents are not fussy people and were seriously disappointed in the food, as were we. Their room on the other side of the ship than us, was under where chairs were moved every morning at 3am for over an hour so they didn't sleep well either. Oh and their A/C was faulty, then freezing, then didn't work at all, despite having someone come and look at it. The cocktails were so hit and miss it was not even worth having a drinks package, some were so gross and varied tremendously depending on who made them. One day I drank 5 Toblerone Cocktails in a short period of time and didn't even feel tiddly. It was like I had just drunk 5 chocolate shakes from McDonalds. The attitude of some of the staff members was quite indifferent. You'd be standing waiting for service at the bar and they'd take their time to even acknowledge you. Also the wait staff couldn't be found half the time to take your drink order so we gave up and just went to the bar ourselves. There were hardly any activities either. We resorted to trying to borrow a book from the library. But unlike the Dawn where it was an unlocked cupboard, the Jewel had a locked cupboard. So we'd go to this cupboard at the time advised but there would be no staff member in sight. This happened many many times. We left the book we actually managed to get at reception before disembarking because the person at the library was so unreliable. The music that they played repeatedly in the public areas (Pantry etc) drove us mad. The same few songs played over and over. As in like 5 songs. If I hear Katy Perry's 'Roar' again I will scream. Bad remakes of top 10 hits. Every day and night. We think they did it so people had their food and got out immediately. The music selection they had on the big screen on 12 was rubbish and inappropriate and SO loud we had to yell to each other so we could have a conversation. Kids were swimming in the Adults pool and nobody told them to get out. We retreated to the Oasis bar quite a bit but it stunk like an unwashed floor in the corner of a dodgy old Dim Sum restaurant and we got sick of having to get up off a lounger to get a drink as the waiter was more fond of chatting to passengers for long periods of time than taking drink orders. I could go on and on. It was SO blah. I just feel so gutted after our previous cruise being so great! What is P & O doing? My parents are never doing another cruise with P & O and we will not cruise on the Jewel again UNLESS it was free. lol. I contacted P & O with my feedback but haven't heard a word. Didn't expect to really. Go on this ship if you got your cruise at a bargain basement price, if your room is not on level 11, if you are with a bunch of people and you are going to be drinking and partying with so it doesn't matter if you sleep or not. If you want a relaxing time with great food, some tasty cocktails, excellent service and some quality sleep - give it a miss on the Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We did 9 nights on the Pacific jewel to the south pacific. We had a great time! It was a great affordable holiday! The service was fantastic, the ship was very nice and well looked after. The live entertainment every night was excellent. ... Read More
We did 9 nights on the Pacific jewel to the south pacific. We had a great time! It was a great affordable holiday! The service was fantastic, the ship was very nice and well looked after. The live entertainment every night was excellent. The included in fare food was a bit hit and miss but good the majority of the time. The onboard restaurants we paid extra for were delicious! Well worth the money. We also got the premium drinks package and I think that is definitely a must do! As you don't have to worry about paying for drinks, you just swipe your cruise card. I think the experience you have on board is alot to do with your attitude, we went on with a positive attitude, not really knowing what to expect from our first cruise and we were pleasantly surprised with our trip. We will definitely be sailing with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My wife has always wanted to go on a cruise and I was never fussed so 4 nights, if we didn't like it, was doable. First mistake was doing everything online before we left as they had no records of our input at embarkation. Second ... Read More
My wife has always wanted to go on a cruise and I was never fussed so 4 nights, if we didn't like it, was doable. First mistake was doing everything online before we left as they had no records of our input at embarkation. Second mistake was pre-booking the special packages. When we arrived in our cabin everything was there, cheese and biscuits and red wine for Day 2, chilled bubbles and strawberry's in chocolate for Day 3 of the trip. We didn't get our pre-ordered water but 12 1.5 ltr bottles was delivered that night and was far too much. Plus it was as cheap to purchase the packages on the ship. Third mistake going to have a meal at the Pantry - it was like a zoo, image a busy food court and then double the amount of people, that was the Pantry and tainted our view of it. Then went and booked evening meals away from the zoo. The trouble was that the times they provided for dining clashed with the show times. Eating - The Waterfront was ok, Dragon Lady provided small portions and Shell & Bones was ok but disappointing as I expected more, particularly as we were paying. We purchased burgers at Luke's and they were really good. However, on the last night we had the degustation meal at A Taste of Salt and wow what an awesome meal but it cost $125 per person (limited to 14) and provided 8 different glasses of wine, seven courses over 4 hours, and everyone sat around talking, the art of conversation is not dead. I think that if you did this on Day 1 it would ruin the food outlets for the rest of the trip. The price of drinks was ok throughout and cheaper than I thought it would be, a beer and a wine costing $15.50, cocktails $12. I used the gym which was like any hotel gym but with a nicer outlook and all the equipment was working. The adult pool area was small but provided an escape from kids, but all the sunbeds quickly filled up. The lifts were very slow and didn't help when the kids pressed every button. We took the Northern Explorer trip at Moreton Island and that was informative and well done. Now the cruise overall was ideal for kids and family groups with continuous entertainment and was just like my memories of visiting the Butlin's holiday camps. Like all good campsites there was something for everyone. Would I go again? Unlikely, unless I was with a group, or with family. Hi-de-Hi everyone! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was our first cruise (me and my partner). So a lot of things were new to us. For example, we were completely unaware of the credit card hold. Both of our credit cards were blocked because of repeated holds (NAB) and we could not ... Read More
This was our first cruise (me and my partner). So a lot of things were new to us. For example, we were completely unaware of the credit card hold. Both of our credit cards were blocked because of repeated holds (NAB) and we could not access it from NZ on our entire holiday, even though we both notified our banks we will be going on a cruise to NZ. Embarkation was a bit confusing, since none of the staff seemed to know what a Resident Return Visa is and had to make me stand there so that they ask around. Disembarkation was smooth, no issues there. The ship itself was nice, considering its our first cruise. The pools were nice and big, except there were kids in the no kids area the whole time. The bar staff everywhere was nice, as were the restaurant staff. Ours was a comedy cruise, so we had a lot of back to back shows. Except that they were on repeat, some of them were the same jokes twice a day. The overall activities on the boat was ok, there were rum tasting tours for a price, which my partner liked. And there were a lot of passenger engaging activities too which we enjoyed. The cabin was spacious, but the window was unclean from the outside and the toilet kept getting clogged. Dining was nice, plenty of options. The pizzeria was ok too. We had fun at the Gatsby party, the music and cocktails were fun. We are altogether ok with this. Maybe we wont travel with p&o again unless it has a good offer, but we might wanna try out other ships. However, our main concern was the service desks. It was awfully short staffed from what it seemed like. We waiting for a while just to get service, and we had to wait some more because the lady had an urgent phone call she got from some other customer. Half way through serving us, she got engaged on the phone again. We were concerned about some charges on our bill, and in the end we got so frustrated from waiting that we left to disembarked and decided to call P&O later to sort this out. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We have done 10 cruises before this, all small expensive boutique cruises. It was time for a short break and in desperation booked on the Aria for a seven night cruise. All the negative reviews and media did not help our stress levels, ... Read More
We have done 10 cruises before this, all small expensive boutique cruises. It was time for a short break and in desperation booked on the Aria for a seven night cruise. All the negative reviews and media did not help our stress levels, but we needed a quick break. We were in for a massive surprise. Our balcony suite was really nice, all the staff friendly and helpful. Entertainment was great. We loved the food. Salt is a must. Dragon Lady and Angelos were also good. My favorite was the Pantry. I used to grab a plate and walked around picking my favorite bit from every stall. Waterfront is average to good. Only one negative, if you like your eggs perfect its going to be hit and miss. The ship is very accessible for the disabled and there were heaps of people in wheelchairs having a great time like all the others. We only had a long queue to get on the ship, but its the same as when we fly international. This is mainly due to people not following their embarkation times and showing up whenever they want to. The one other issue raised in the past is the ship not catering for smokers. This is not true anymore as deck 12 has a great spot high up for the smokers with the Dome Bar just inside to grab a cocktail. We had 100km/h winds and 6 meter swells on the way back from Vanuatu. The ship coped magnificently with only a small amount of rolling and pitching considering the weather. (I am an ex naval officer who has spend a lot of time at sea in different ships and atrocious conditions.) All in all it was the best value holiday we ever had. We will be back. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We have cruised many times on various cruise lines including the Costa, Carnival, Celebrity, NCL and HAL almost always in a suite or penthouse product. This was our first time on a P and O. To be honest we have previously avoided cruising ... Read More
We have cruised many times on various cruise lines including the Costa, Carnival, Celebrity, NCL and HAL almost always in a suite or penthouse product. This was our first time on a P and O. To be honest we have previously avoided cruising out of Brisbane even though we live nearby in Noosa. We read the negative reviews about this ship and expected the worst but instead found it really great value for our cruise on the Aria to Noumea, Mare and Port Villa. I encourage you not to believe the other negative reviews about this ship. I will tell you why. The refurb is fantastic. The public areas are clean and have sophisticated decor. The ship is an old HAL ship and the layout is a smaller version of the Noordam. Yes the ship is worn in a few places like some of the chair arms and bath tubs, but if you think that is horrible and will ruin your cruise, then really what are you doing here anyway? The staff on board were all happy, friendly and helpful. We have been on ships where the staff don't smile and are worn out and show it. (Like the Celebrity Millennium where the staff were rude and our room wasn't cleaned upon arrival, during the cruise and we could write our names and play naughts and crosses on the dirt and grease on the glass coffee table!) For this cruise we decided to try the suite category at $2200 each including the drinks package. It was worth every cent! We were welcomed aboard with a complimentary bottle of champagne and fresh fruit bowl. Our room was spacious and the attendants Mannix and Jayson were friendly, approachable and fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble. If you ask, they unpack for you but we normally do that ourselves. Like the rest of the ship the room was spotless. The extra large balcony was perfect for us as we sometimes get a little freaked out by the heights of bigger ships but on the Aria the huge space enabled us to feel safe. There were two sun lounges and a table for four so it too was spacious. We ate our room service breakfast (free for suite guests) every morning enjoying the spectacular views. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that except for snacks like peanuts etc and drinks the rest of the room service menu is free for suite guests. After a day onshore pjs, room service and movie is perfect. This cruise was incredible value for money in the suite category especially when compared to other cruise lines. The only thing missing was a proper butler and concierge. Having said that, the main reception and shore tours desks were never crowded when we went there. Our room attendants were just as good as a butler anyway. We really wanted to review the food here. By comparison to HAL and Carnival the food was better. If you can't find several nice things to eat on this ship you must be too well done for. The Pantry offers wonderful, plentiful options and the food was suitably hot. This concept of being served the food is fantastic. On other ships where the food is self served in this casual eating option, we always have the fear of everyone else who isn't hygienic touching the utensils. Not on this ship! Other reviews have commented on dessert being 'mass' produced. Seriously with 1200 guests and 600 crew any food offering is mass produced! The desserts on board were on par with every other ship we have cruised with including the penthouse products on the NCL. We weren't impressed with Salt as much as we thought we would be. The custard dessert was exactly the same as the Pantry and The Waterfront Brûlée custard and the Agnolotti was greasy. Angelos was, however, spectacular and Dragonlady wonderful too. The food on board was the same standard as all of the complimentary eating areas we have had on the other ships we have been on. Overall this cruise was excellent value for money. Let's add it up. Clean stylish accomodations, spa bath, robes, slippers, welcome champagne, fruit, afternoon canapés and complimentary wine and soft drink when served, free laundry, free room service, free drinks, complimentary high tea in your suite, Nespresso coffee machine, priority disembarkation and embarkation and it results in a value for money for product. The destinations were great but as we got to Noumea late the shore excursions were cancelled. Of course there were disgruntled passengers however most agreed it was a good excuse to come back again! We came on this cruise to give it a go. It was a nice smooth cruise. If you are use to superior ships like NCL and Celebrity suite categories of course the amenities on the Aria suite aren't as luxurious. But it is a third of the cost, and given that, this is a great price, great product, and great destinations. Great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
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