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10 P&O Cruises South Pacific Cruise Reviews

We sailed with Oceana for the first time after cruising Regent, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity and Carnival, and found this the perfect fit! We were on the Marina, which had the perfect combination of understated elegance, high style ... Read More
We sailed with Oceana for the first time after cruising Regent, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity and Carnival, and found this the perfect fit! We were on the Marina, which had the perfect combination of understated elegance, high style and intimacy. The penthouse suite was just the right size for us...very spacious walk in closet, elegant bathroom with separate tub and shower and marble floors and counters. The suite had an extra 4-5ft in width which allowed for additional window by sofa (in addition to the sliding door to balcony), and allowed for dining table for two and large long credenza along the right side of the room Compare this to the Conceirge/Veranda which didn't have this extra width. The balcony was also extra wide, and had very comfortable lounge chairs that leaned back. You can go out the balcony thru the sliding door and have plenty of room to enter and exit without having to move anything (this isn't possible in concierge and veranda suites). Beds were very comfortable and the ac worked the best we ever had (which really helped with the humid South Pacific). The 4 specialty dining options were excellent (our favorites were Red Ginger, Jacques and Toscana...the Polo Grill was a bit disappointing). The shows were horrible so we skipped them after watching two, but I have found all but Carnival to have very disappointing shows. The food was the best we found yet, but the Grand Dining Room paled in comparison to the specialty options. We found the Terrace Café and the Waves Poolside to be the perfect on the go options for all 4 of us. The standouts on the ship were the library, the barrista, the culinary classes (we did one Italian cooking which was perfection), and the Artist loft (we painted our own plates for and exciting souvenir which could have been sold in an artist studio and didn't cost a dime extra). We did 6 excursions and were thrilled by all of them. Exceptional in every way. The Penthouse suites have a butler, but we could've done without one (didn't use much at all). The floor we were on did have the added advantage of a Executive Concierge Lounge, where you can get expresso, oj, snacks, and sodas at all hours of the day at no fee. Oceana does offer all water and non alcoholic beverages at no fee, but you do have to pay extra for alcohol (unlike Regent where it is all inclusive including all excursions). Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our first P&O UK cruise travelling from the UK back to New Zealand. Previously we had cruised 6 times with Princess so we are not inexperienced at cruising. Aurora is a lovely ship, well designed in terms of passenger space ... Read More
This was our first P&O UK cruise travelling from the UK back to New Zealand. Previously we had cruised 6 times with Princess so we are not inexperienced at cruising. Aurora is a lovely ship, well designed in terms of passenger space and you never got the feeling of being crowded. Having recently undergone a major refit we were surprised to find that during two consecutive days of force 8 and one day of a force 9 wind that some cabins on level 4 and 5 plus Carmens entertainment area were flooded as water came in to these areas via poor sealant to their windows. Maintenance gave way to aesthetics? The on shore excursions were varied but very pricey. Going ashore and dealing with the locals for the same excursion produced huge cost savings. Port talks never mentioned currency conversion rates even a guide would have helped! Obviously the emphasis was on taking a P&O excursion but more and more people were doing their own thing as time went on and little coverage was made of this in the port talks. Entertainment was quite varied in type and styles, overall pretty reasonable. I do pity the round the world passengers as the repeats of the main shows every four weeks or so by the "Headliners" would be annoying to say the least. We were on for 48 days and frankly we missed the second time round shows. Nearly as bad as MASH...not again! Biggest plus: The cabin. Biggest downer: Horizon Buffet. Would we cruise with P&O. UK again? NO. We will go back to Princess!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We have just returned from a cruise on the Arcadia - San Francisco to Sydney - and to say we were disappointed is an understatement. Having sailed on the last world voyage of the Oriana in 2012 from Brisbane to San Francisco, we were ... Read More
We have just returned from a cruise on the Arcadia - San Francisco to Sydney - and to say we were disappointed is an understatement. Having sailed on the last world voyage of the Oriana in 2012 from Brisbane to San Francisco, we were expecting a similar fabulous experience. The Arcadia had little to offer in the way of entertainment, shops and service. It is widely known that once on board you are captive and the prices are steep, but the Arcadia did absolutely nothing to disguise or sweeten the pill. For instance: I purchased a Citizen Eco Watch in the morning and was told to come back at 3.00pm because I needed to have two links removed from the strap. I returned at 3.30pm and was told the strap had not yet been altered and to come back at 5.30pm. The job was done in two minutes while I waited. Often Bar Stewards on the pool decks spent a great deal of time chatting and were nowhere to be seen. I ordered a Tom Collins, but with lemonade and not Soda Water. This was just too hard because their computerised billing system stipulated Soda Water and it would throw their stocktaking out. It is a bit rich to charge £6 for a double Southern Comfort (without a mixer) when a litre bottle in the Duty Free Shop costs £19, bearing in mind the ship not only buys everything duty free, they get a quantity discount from the suppliers as well. In Maui the ship charged £51 for the whale watching tour. On shore, the most expensive tour on offer that we saw was US$16. The Laundrettes (on three decks with three washers and dryers each) were totally inadequate and situated in very tiny cubicles so that passengers using these facilities were squashed in like sardines. The washers took 45 minutes to complete the cycle - a ridiculous amount of time for clothes that merely needed to be freshened up. I have come to the conclusion that the enjoyment of a cruise also depends largely on the time of year and where one boards the ship as to the make up of the passengers, which of course the shipping line has no control over. For instance, sailing from Galveston on Thanksgiving on a family friendly ship can be a nightmare if the ship does not have an adult only area!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
After two nights in San Francisco we boarded Arcadia for our voyage through the Pacific to Sydney. First impression was that the staff looked worn out. I do understand that change-over days are hectic & tiring for them all. All went ... Read More
After two nights in San Francisco we boarded Arcadia for our voyage through the Pacific to Sydney. First impression was that the staff looked worn out. I do understand that change-over days are hectic & tiring for them all. All went reasonably well for the first four days & the food was quite acceptable but then my wife developed what we were to find out was called "Arcadia Cough", I got it a couple of days later. There were hundreds of passengers affected & the ship's shop had run out of stock of cough syrup before reaching San Francisco! Fortunately we were able to buy some from the medical section. This cough really did spoil our holiday in many ways. My wife was reluctant to go to theatre shows knowing she would most likely have a coughing fit. We chose not to join a dining table with other guests for the same reason, & we normally like to have interaction with others. The menus soon became repetitive & the entertainment just mediocre. Our grade EA deluxe balcony cabin, number A106 on deck eight, was reasonably well appointed but no bathrobes supplied. Last year on Aurora in the same cabin grade they were supplied. Also it was not possible to switch off the air conditioning, just turn it up or down; we're sure Arcadia Cough must be something to do with the air-con systems on this ship. The ports of call were a little disappointing too, Honolulu was our first stop...a horrible city! But Lahaina on Maui, our second stop, was lovely. Then five sea days before reaching Pago Pago in American Samoa, another disappointment as was the next stop in Apia, Samoa. Then on to Suva, Fiji, which was okay. Finally four more sea days to our final destination of Sydney. We only booked one shore excursion with P & O, a whale watching & lunch trip in Honolulu. Distinctly average food & an overpriced trip. We do tend to arrange our own excursions on arrival in ports, far more economical. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
After two nights in San Francisco we boarded Arcadia for our voyage through the Pacific to Sydney. First impression was that the staff looked worn out. I do understand that change-over days are hectic & tiring for them all. All went ... Read More
After two nights in San Francisco we boarded Arcadia for our voyage through the Pacific to Sydney. First impression was that the staff looked worn out. I do understand that change-over days are hectic & tiring for them all. All went reasonably well for the first four days & the food was quite acceptable but then my wife developed what we were to find out was called "Arcadia Cough", I got it a couple of days later. There were hundreds of passengers affected & the ship's shop had run out of stock of cough syrup before reaching San Francisco! Fortunately we were able to buy some from the medical section. This cough really did spoil our holiday in many ways. My wife was reluctant to go to theatre shows knowing she would most likely have a coughing fit. We chose not to join a dining table with other guests for the same reason, & we normally like to have interaction with others. The menus soon became repetitive & the entertainment just mediocre. Our grade EA deluxe balcony cabin, number A106 on deck eight, was reasonably well appointed but no bathrobes supplied. Last year on Aurora in the same cabin grade they were supplied. Also it was not possible to switch off the air conditioning, just turn it up or down; we're sure Arcadia Cough must be something to do with the air-con systems on this ship. The ports of call were a little disappointing too, Honolulu was our first stop...a horrible city! But Lahaina on Maui, our second stop, was lovely. Then five sea days before reaching Pago Pago in American Samoa, another disappointment as was the next stop in Apia, Samoa. Then on to Suva, Fiji, which was okay. Finally four more sea days to our final destination of Sydney. We only booked one shore excursion with P & O, a whale watching & lunch trip in Honolulu. Distinctly average food & an overpriced trip. We do tend to arrange our own excursions on arrival in ports, far more economical. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Where do I start ! cruised with my Husband and Mum, we are both 40 years and Mum is in her late 60's. This ship is suited to British curry eaters who don't like music from the twentieth century and a night out at the Globe ... Read More
Where do I start ! cruised with my Husband and Mum, we are both 40 years and Mum is in her late 60's. This ship is suited to British curry eaters who don't like music from the twentieth century and a night out at the Globe nightclub involves doing the foxtrot and waltz. This ship is designed for anyone over the age of 85 years and was too boring for even my Mum, The entertainment (there wasn't much of any) was aimed at the elderly, no up to date music was played and when requested for by the DJ we were told the older passengers wouldn't like it. Oh the TV in the cabin was terrible, no variety at all and the same shows/movies played over and over again. Mum and I have been on 3 other cruises with Princess and never experienced the amount of rudeness, smashing and clanging of dishes and cutlery from staff at the Belvedere restaurant ever ! They seemed to be unsupervised and under trained. Food was terrible in all restaurants, doesn't hold a candle to Princess either, its fine if you like Curry/Indian style food, too bad if you don't you're left to eat snacks at midnight and cakes/desserts left overs from the night's dinner, The bread baked on the ship was the worst we've ever had, not one crunchy roll/loaf in site, even used a sweet dinner roll as part of a cream bun for the late night snacks. On a serious note, I've never seen so many people sick with the flu/coughing on a ship before. Passengers were not quaranteened and no monitoring of hygiene before entering any of the restaurants. We saw 4 ambulances and 1 funeral car whilst in Auckland and Taihiti and were told a passenger passed away from Pneumonia. This will be our first and last cruise with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We are quite experienced cruisers having travelled with Cunard, Celebrity, Thompson, Royal Caribbean and now P&O. This cruise was a big one for us being my retirement gift to may partner and I. It was planned in meticulous detail ... Read More
We are quite experienced cruisers having travelled with Cunard, Celebrity, Thompson, Royal Caribbean and now P&O. This cruise was a big one for us being my retirement gift to may partner and I. It was planned in meticulous detail booking extra leg room seats on flights, excursions booked on line and the cruises booked very early. The outward flights booked with P&O were taken on their regional flight offer with KLM. All seamed to go well flight to Amsterdam and on to Los Angeles. We arrived in LA but no sign of luggage. Eventually we were informed that it was ok as the cases had been left in Amsterdam to arrive next day. We sailed in the afternoon on day of arrival! After much remonstrating we left the terminal to be greeted by the wonderful P&O representative who seen us in distress insisted on KLM opening their office. The KLM official then gave us a claim form and agreed to liaise with P&O to have the cases sent on to Tahiti - ten days later! We eventually boarded Arcadia exhausted and very worried - no clothing, medication etc. The Arcadia Information Desk advised us to grab a Taxi into LA and purchase essentials. No taxis but we did get into LA, could not find a suitable shop and returned to Arcadia. We purchased essentials on board. Essential medication was prescribed at cost by the on board Dr. After very much discussion (they advised us at first to ring KLM ourselves the Information desk agreed to contact KLM to make the necessary arrangements to fly our cases to Tahiti. The ship was good, the Information team very supportive but we were left to our own devices. Frequent trips to the busy launderette etc. We managed the ten days on minimal wardrobe. Good side, Information Desk great, Entertainment Team fantastic, Food very good, room clean and well maintained, destinations fantastic - in particular Fiji!. Bad side TV programming very repetitive (seamed to be on some kind of loop), Entertainment guests ok although a very poor juggler on valentines nigh a very poor choice! Would I recommend P&O to others - not the best, P&O claim that they look after you but we had to sort out our own arrangements and were even turned away on "Formal Dinner" Tie but no jacket! Customer Services just responded with a lecture on their Terms and Conditions! KLM no response as yet. Arcadia is a good ship, most staff/officers welcoming and entertainment a bit hit and miss. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
First time with P&O but definitely the last. We were celebrating our Golden Wedding Anniversary and what a let down. We first cruised for our Silver Wedding Anniversary and have cruised several times since and always been delighted, ... Read More
First time with P&O but definitely the last. We were celebrating our Golden Wedding Anniversary and what a let down. We first cruised for our Silver Wedding Anniversary and have cruised several times since and always been delighted, but the Aurora was enough to put anyone off cruising for ever. The food was very mediocre at best, extremely poor most of the time. Not a patch on the food we were served on the many times we have been with Royal Carribean. The tours were very poor and very expensive. The veranda was dirty and when we complained to reception they werent even interested. I wasnt even asked my cabin no or my name. The attitude of all the staff was very complacent. The entertainment was poor and the Headliners were very amatuerist. When we needed to use the Lifeboats as tenders in the Bay of Islands one of them didnt even work. I dread to think what would have happened if we had needed them in an emergency. Lifeboats should be checked weekly. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Background: We're 60 year old Australians with 10 previous cruises on different ships (and many different cruise lines) with which to compare. This was our first cruise on a British ship except for cruising on the original Oriana ... Read More
Background: We're 60 year old Australians with 10 previous cruises on different ships (and many different cruise lines) with which to compare. This was our first cruise on a British ship except for cruising on the original Oriana way back in 1984! The official sector of the around the world cruise was from Sydney to San Francisco but we were allowed to embark in Brisbane. This added another 3 nights to the cruise making it a total of 28 nights. British pounds which are used onboard are now only $1.50 as our exchange rate has improved. Embarkation: As we live near Brisbane we drove and left our car at a nearby car storage. As our return trip would be by air from USA, they would collect us at the nearby international airport. Their shuttle service was efficient. Arriving after 11 am, we were forced to stand in line at the cruise terminal until midday when they opened the counter. The line moved slowly as only about 3 cruise staff processed the 300 odd passengers boarding here. Gradually more staff appeared (maybe they had been on lunch?). We couldn't understand why the process wasn't started earlier or more staff used as with other cruise ships at this port. With such a relatively small number of passengers embarking here, the process should have been quicker. Once on board, we were directed to our cabin where we left our hand luggage and went for lunch. Throughout the cruise we had 5 Cruise Critic meetings with our small group followed by lunch in the MRD. The Ship: Built in 1995, the Oriana was showing its age but the recent refurbishment helped it feel modern. Public areas were nicer than we expected. Carpets looked new and the crew were constantly painting and undertaking other maintenance. It had recently been converted to an 'adults only' ship. The recently added 'duck's tail' to the lower rear of the ship seemed to help it handle some rough weather near USA. With 1800 passengers it is a comfortable size and has a good layout. The promenade deck was very wide and great for walking. While the majority of the passengers were British, there were a large number of Australians. We did get the impression that some of the reserved Poms were taken back by the comparatively loud Aussies. As mentioned in previous reviews, passengers in the rear restaurant complained of noisy vibration. At a 'question & answer' session, the captain apologised for the excessive vibration and said it was due to the 2 propellers being slightly out of timing. He said that it was worse at certain speeds which they were trying to avoid. Fortunately we weren't in that restaurant but did find the noise from the vibration excessive when in the Pacific Lounge which is on the deck directly above the rear dining room. It appeared that certain performers were moved from here to the front theatre for this reason. After the captain's comments, the noise did appear to reduce. In the interest of hygiene we would have preferred if the public toilets had the main door left open as on many other ships avoiding the need to use paper towels to open them. Also some public toilets regularly were out of order. Cabin: The overall size of our inside cabin is not large, but sufficient for two people and our luggage. Unfortunately as we booked late (at a good price), we had a 4 berth cabin. The top bunks against the walls caused problems as we had the queen bed arrangement. Also there is no space between the end of the bed and the wardrobe on one side and the desk on the other. The shower was fairly small but the curtain didn't get sucked inwards. The flat-screen TV was a reasonable size. The a/c made the cabin freezing even on the highest setting (this was fixed after complaining). There was a small fridge which was handy for keeping our supply of Coke & snacks cold. Ice had to be requested (we had a standing order at noon each day). Also if you want a top sheet, ask for it. Food & drinks: We found the service in the main dining room to be fine but the standard & variety of food was inferior -- certainly not to the quality of food on American ships like Princess. There was a noticeable lack of seafood other than fish -- not even the usual prawn cocktails (as my DW is not a seafood lover she was reasonably happy with the quality). We laughed at their idea of tiger prawns - extremely little in size & in number. Even on the formal 'black tie' nights the food was nothing special! Our wine waiter was prompt & reliable. As this is a British ship there were strict rules on dress code in the MRD (we were aware this of pre cruise). There were 6 Black Tie & 7 Smart (jacket required!!!) nights on this cruise. This was different to the relaxed Aussie & American cruises. After experiencing the long lines at the buffet the first morning, we used the MRD for breakfast most other mornings. Also the food seemed improved and the atmosphere more relaxing for breakfast. We enjoyed the popular fruit smoothes but missed the large American style pancakes and freshly made waffles. Also fresh fruit at times was in very limited supply. We did use the buffet for lunch but wished the quality of the food was to a higher standard -- much of it looked like leftovers. Trays are still supplied. On some port days many passengers were late for the early sitting in the MRD. As a result there were long lines in the buffet as only one side was being used (the other side was kept closed in the evening as it led to one of the extra-charge restaurants on the rear deck). We did use this Italian extra-charge restaurant on the evening leaving Sydney. The view of the harbour as we sailed out was fantastic but the service was extremely slow and the food disappointing. To receive better quality food an additional payment was required! We were pleased to see hand-sanitizers at MRD and the buffet -- their use was strongly encouraged. Alcohol was reasonably priced. We used a soft drink card for post-mix drinks which only gave a small saving but was convenient and time saving. Surprisingly low-priced duty-free spirits could be bought and consumed in your cabin. Also P&O UK has relaxed views on the amount of wine brought onboard. Staff and service on board: Organization on the ship was generally excellent with the one exception at Honolulu where maybe USA customs clearance could have been handled better to avoid long lines. Tendering, which occurred at only one port, was well organised with no delays. The crew who were mainly from Goa, India were polite but didn't seem cheerful. Generally they were not up to Princess' standard. The reception staff were friendly and polite. Captain Camby, who was the youngest in the fleet, was very popular especially with the females as he was a John Travolta lookalike. We found him to be very approachable, humorous and conveyed information in great detail. Cruise Director, Michael Mullane was also popular and did a great job. Both performed well together one evening in the miming game, 'Give Us A Clue'. A 4 page daily newspaper printed for Australia as well as Britain was popular and much appreciated. Prices in the photo gallery were half that of Princess. Having several laundrettes on board was a bonus. Also surprisingly they were free but this can cause problems as some passengers used them to wash a few clothes only at a time causing delays. Entertainment: The program of entertainment was much organised with a full colour 'Your Cruise Overview' printed at the start of this sector. This listed the dress code and all the evening activities for each day. On cruises we enjoy the shows in the evening. The performers in the Headliner Company did a superb job. Also we were pleasantly surprised to find they did 8 different shows during the cruise -- certainly more than Royal Caribbean offer! These were the highlight of our evening. On 2 occasions we even saw their repeated show the next night. Unfortunately the main theatre (the Theatre Royal) had a design fault with the seating. Many of the flip-seat bases were sloping downwards causing us to slide forward. Also to increase the capacity of the theatre, legroom was minimal. The alternative entertainment area (the Pacific Lounge) was laid out like a lounge - as a result its capacity was limited. Also unless you arrived early, one's view could be blocked by supporting posts. Most of the guest entertainers were British (our favourites were a singer, Emily Reed and comedian, Richard Guantlett) and of an acceptable standard. This cruise consisted of many sea days. The program of activities was good and my DW loved participating in the passenger choir but missed not having Zumba. The many guest lecturers were popular (almost filled the theatre) and very informative -- every sea day had presentations by at least 2 lecturers. There was a cinema on this ship with good movies but we didn't have time to see any - for us days at sea go by quickly. We should mention that we were travelling with friends with whom we spent at least 2 hours each sea day playing cards. The only suitable location for this activity was in the buffet. Shore Excursions & Destinations: We normally try to avoid shore excursions organised by ships as we feel that they were too expensive although on this ship they were more reasonably priced than American ships. Armed with maps & information collected before the cruise (supplemented with detailed free local maps picked up on land), we easily explore ourselves. Also as we had been to New Zealand before this worked extremely well. The other Pacific ports of Bora Bora & Papeete were easy to explore ourselves; whereas, in Honolulu we with our friends found a great guide who copied the ship's sightseeing tour for much less cost. Disembarkation: As we had been cleared by customs at Honolulu everything went smoothly and on time leaving the ship. There was the usual line waiting for taxis but this was well organised. Conclusion: P&O UK proves that you get what you pay for. In our opinion the service and entertainment are excellent whereas the food was generally disappointing. There is certainly no heavy selling while on this ship. Generally we would recommend them as long as you remember these are British ships. While onboard we didn't take advantage of P&O UK's Future Cruise Credits scheme as it was too restrictive but would consider cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We'd heard a lot of good things about P&O (including here), and were looking forward to our first cruise with them. While not BAD, it certainly didn't live up to it's reputation. Food was mediocre at best, service ... Read More
We'd heard a lot of good things about P&O (including here), and were looking forward to our first cruise with them. While not BAD, it certainly didn't live up to it's reputation. Food was mediocre at best, service inconsistent, entertainment was a mixed bag with some pretty good stuff and some amateur hour quality, special interest lectures were consistently poor except for those given by the cruise director himself. Aurora herself is beautiful, but seemed very cluttered, with shops stuck in the hallways. The mattress sagged and was lumpy, should have been replaced last year. Noisiest ship we've ever been on, we could hear both adjacent cabins plus our neighbors on the floor above. No WiFi in the cabins, I had to go to the computer room itself to log on.Orangery cafeteria was very disorganized, often not set up for lunch by noon. They usually ran short of glasses, and when I asked for more was often greeted by a blank stare.The pool is fresh water, which means it is very expensive to fill. So after draining it due to rough weather, they declined to refill until our next main port.Tender service at the smaller ports was extremely inefficient compared with other ships we've been on. At one port they only put 2 boats in the water - this for 1800 passengers and a 30 minute ride to shore. Only about half the passengers that wanted even got ashore before it was time to get back aboard.I could go on, but you get the idea. As I said, it was not so bad that we'd absolutely refuse to go again, but we'll take any other option first.The only excellent item was the bridge classes and tournament. We're big bridge fans (not all that good, just love it), and that ended up being the only highlight of each sea day. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
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