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1,983 Sydney (Australia) to South Pacific Cruise Reviews

We chose a cruise as our first international family holiday because we wanted it to simply be easy. Family of 5, Children aged 13,11 and 9. Embarkation took a while as there was a problem with their computer system. Our scheduled time ... Read More
We chose a cruise as our first international family holiday because we wanted it to simply be easy. Family of 5, Children aged 13,11 and 9. Embarkation took a while as there was a problem with their computer system. Our scheduled time was 11.30am and we didn't get on board until 2.30pm. I was a little disappointed in the cleanliness of our room as the bathroom hadn't been wiped over properly and had dust and toothpaste on the shelves. The bed was a king size and quite comfortable with the pillows being very soft. Our children had an adjoining room and both were balconies which was wonderful to sit out on and get some fresh air. Our 13 year old spent every sea day at circle c club with his new found friends. Our 11 and 9 year old were very reluctant to attend their kids club and ended up only attending the club twice. We found that dining at the lido deck buffet for breakfast was a better system for us. My husband can be quite fussy so he enjoyed the buffet over the Empire although I would have liked to dine at the Empire a bit more myself as we only dined there twice. It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the buffet and feel a bit civilised. The wait staff were amazing at the Empire aswell. Guy's burgers were a big hit with the family as were the 24 hour pizza place which came in handy for a late night snack after a few drinks. I'm not a huge icecream fan but the rest of my family enjoyed the 24/7 icecream although they did say the consistency wasn't always great. My husband and I are spirit drinkers and we quickly discovered that if you are planning on having more than one drink, it pays to buy doubles straight up! $10.50 for a single or $15.50 for a double. The entertainment on board was great and the shows were amazing! The comedy club was good with the kids being able to enjoy the early PG rated shows. The serenity bar was a wonderful, peaceful place for adults to escape the kids for a drink, swim, spa or just to relax and listen to some great live music in the afternoons. Every night the mail arrives at your cabin giving you all the entertainment for the next day so you know exactly what is going on. The pools are not heated and some days were too cold for the kids to want to swim in. The dive-in movies were great for the family and great that they had popcorn too. The kids enjoyed the slides although they didn't spend a whole lot of time there as they are away from the pools. Our first port of call was Noumea, which we didn't find all that great. We paid $10 each for a hop on hop off bus ticket. We stopped at a market and then visited some beaches. We went into the city but found the people not very friendly, basically we weren't impressed. Mystery Island was our second port of call and it was wonderful! We bought some snorkels on the Island $20.($80 on the ship). The family went snorkelling and I highly recommend water shoes which we took with us. My husband and I paid $15 each for a 30 minute massage which was simply amazing! The locals boat over to the Island to set up a market and they are all really friendly. Our third port of call was Suva. We paid the ship for an onshore excursion( the only one we did through the ship as they are more expensive). We visited a local village where we were welcomed with traditional dancing and a karva ceremony. We then took a long boat to a local School and visited a Church. On the way back in our long boat the local driver asked my husband for money, be wary of this, my husband gave him $5 as his family was in the boat. We then went into town where we visited a local market. Boy was this an eye opener! They know the meaning of hustle! Our fourth Port of call was Port Denarau. We took a sail boat out to a reef and snorkelled for an hour then sailed back in pouring rain. This was fine however we were told initially that we were sailing to two different Islands where we could get off the boat for an hour and half each to walk around and snorkel?! Our fifth Port of call, Isle of Pines did not happen as after Port Denarau we had to make an emergency medical stop back to Suva. So the last 4 days were spent on the ship. My last two days were spent in bed as I came down with a full on flu and then passed it onto my family. All the staff on the ship were wonderful! So kind, so helpful and they make you feel like royalty. To summarise it was a very good experience. If you want a break, with not a worry in the world, then a cruise is for you. You don't need to worry about cooking, cleaning, you have plenty to entertain you and you are treated like royalty. However, be aware that you are limited to your days on shore. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was a first cruise for my birthday. My partner who sailed with me had cruised with P&O through Asia six years ago. Our first opinion of the ship was not great. Our toilet brush had not been cleaned from the previous occupants ... Read More
This was a first cruise for my birthday. My partner who sailed with me had cruised with P&O through Asia six years ago. Our first opinion of the ship was not great. Our toilet brush had not been cleaned from the previous occupants and the pothole was so dirty on the outside, we could barely see out of it. Otherwise the cabin was clean and spacious with plenty of storage. The cruise gradually improved as it went on, largely due to the fact that we met nice people and began to regularly attend quizzes etc. We watched a hilarious female comedian, but other than that found the entertainment to be quite disappointing and lacking in variety. The food at the Waterfront restaurant was quite nice and the Salt Grill and Luna were excellent. For my my birthday lunch in the Waterfront however, we were seated next to another couple, despite asking for a table for two and being surrounded by empty tables and couples dining alone. The food in the buffet style "Plantation" is basically the same type of fare that we receive in our cafeteria at work, but perfectly acceptable if you don't expect too much. The premium drinks package was a welcome addition but wine drinkers beware - you are pretty much limited to cheap house wine! The cocktails were great however and we definitely felt the package represented good value for money. My birthday trip to the on-board spa was a real highlight and I was so pleased with the haircut and colour I received. Demi (the hairdresser) is so lovely and a real credit to the cruise line! We could complain about the tenders, which seemed to take an eternity queuing to dock against the ship on their return, but that may be part and parcel of cruising and it did not really spoil our shore days, which were very enjoyable. We pride ourselves on good manners and being friendly to hospitality staff, but in many cases this was not reciprocated. There were some fantastic waiters who would smile and exchange pleasantries, but many of them just did not appear to want to be there and some even verbalised that they couldn't wait for their tour to end! We often felt like a hindrance when asking for a drink and some staff were quite surly. All in all, there were many great aspects to this cruise and we enjoyed our time on board, but my partner and many other passengers commented that P & O had really dropped its standards. We will definitely cruise again next year but will book with Celebrity or Royal Caribbean in order to make a comparison. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Just recently spent 10 days aboard the Pacific Jewel visiting Noumea, Lifou, Vila, Mystery Island and the Isle of Pines and have to say it was a most enjoyable time. The embarkation process at Sydney went relatively smooth and we into ... Read More
Just recently spent 10 days aboard the Pacific Jewel visiting Noumea, Lifou, Vila, Mystery Island and the Isle of Pines and have to say it was a most enjoyable time. The embarkation process at Sydney went relatively smooth and we into our cabin pretty quickly. We found the ship was in pretty good condition, but starting to look it's age now. We mainly dined at the Pantry as there was a good choice to be found. It was busy but the food quality was fine, sort of what you might expect to find in a food court. We dined at the Waterfront twice. The first time was excellent, but the second time was rather disappointing with the food quality. However a must do on P & O is to dine at Salt Grill. For $50.00 per person the food was excellent and the service was fantastic. The Entertainment shows were superb on this cruise. The singing, dancing and acting were of an international standard and the electronic backdrops have to be seen to be believed. The service from Ronaldo and Johndale was great. Always smiling and working very hard. Our favourite shore excursion was the Mele Bay Cultural Experience on Vanuatu. Apart from this the tours are pricey and you can mostly likely pick up a better deal onshore. Overall the cruise was great. The weather was beautiful and the seas were smooth. Getting a premium drinks package included in our cruise cost was a very smart move. Keep watching for specials when they happen. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Ok... Where to start? This is my second, and my partner's first cruise. I had previously sailed with P&O out of Brisbane around 18 months ago, and while (for the most part) I enjoyed that cruise, I was not confident that my ... Read More
Ok... Where to start? This is my second, and my partner's first cruise. I had previously sailed with P&O out of Brisbane around 18 months ago, and while (for the most part) I enjoyed that cruise, I was not confident that my partner would enjoy this type of holiday. I can say though that comparing P&O with Carnival is like apples and oranges, each has its strengths and weaknesses. They are both budget options, but Carnival seems to attract a more vibrant crowd, is certainly more colourful, perhaps even gawdy. P&O attracted more walking frames and seemed less organised. Anyway, about THIS experience... Embarkation was a breeze. Our luggage was taken away at the kerbside the very moment we arrived. We spent no more than 30 minutes in the checkin queue and were aboard in no time. Just a note for smokers at this point - pick a later boarding time as there is a chance that smoking will be prohibited onboard until the ship pulls away from the wharf at 6:30pm. It would also interest smokers to know that you can buy cigarettes onboard very cheaply with cartons of 200 starting at just $20 (yes, $20! Not a typo) although the selection is very narrow. Food... Food... Food... I can't understand all of the negative comments about the food offerings. I am an extremely fussy eater, but I had no trouble finding things to eat. We ate in the Emipre Dining Room every night (except one) at our assigned table at our assigned time. While it is true that the variety here is a little lacking, the atmosphere was fantastic. We formed a relationship with the staff who quickly discerned our preferences and anticipated our needs. The staff will drop tools and give a little performance about an hour into service which is fantastic. Do not miss a waiter called Sheward singing "Hallelujah". More Food... The burgers on Lido are amazing, as are the pies and pastries. 24 hour pizza is ok, but most times the wait was too long and I gave up - some people asked that the base be made a little thicker, giving a smaller pizza with a more substantial bite, this was happily accommodated. Keep away from the soft-serve ice cream, it is gritty and the machines are covered in the snot of demon kids whose parents were who-knows-where. Once I figured out the self-serve automatic coffee machines, I was very happy with it... do two shots of short black and then press the button for latte or whatever. Even More Food... Do not miss Nouveau, it is worth twice the $45 additional and if you go on the first night, they throw in a free bottle of wine and allow you to dress casual. Entertainment & Activities... There is always something to do, especially trivia. We played bingo once - it is on the expensive side. They play five games, a full card costs $45, 3-box card is $35, and a single box is $25 (they say this is cheap)! Prize money for the last game was $800. The entertainment in Pharaoh's Palace each night was good - not Broadway quality but no reasonable person should expect that. They've spent a lot of time and thought dressing the shows up with visual effects which is what saves them. WARNING... This is not the ship for you if you cannot stand demonic, snotty, unruly children. They turned me into a seething ball of rage - especially towards the end of the cruise. They run everywhere, play in the elevators, barge past, scream, push in, throw food and they do it 24 hours a day. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Booked directly with Carnival next time I think I will use a travel agent. Two adults and two children under 10. This ship is targeted at the family market. Sailed July 2016 check in was relatively easy on line which saved time at ... Read More
Booked directly with Carnival next time I think I will use a travel agent. Two adults and two children under 10. This ship is targeted at the family market. Sailed July 2016 check in was relatively easy on line which saved time at terminal. Arrived just prior to allocated check in time. Once we were in the terminal it took approximately half an hour until we were on the ship. Weather was really good and the seas were calm with the exception of two nights. The ship has a mish mosh of decor but you quickly get used to it and the ship is easy to navigate. We had two balcony staterooms which were ready when we arrived. Food in the Buffet on Deck 9 had some really good and some not so good meals. There is a good variety at each sitting. Some of the clearing staff are a little too conscientious and take plates and drinks before you have finished. The Maitre d, Vanburn is warm, professional and friendly. His happy disposition is infectious. Dining room food especially evening meals were restaurant quality and there was a good selection. Wait staff service was excellent. There is a good variety of shows and a good standard of singers and musicians in the bars. Courtney sang and played acoustic guitar in a variety of venues and was very easy to listen to. Dive in movies were good and the kids enjoyed the popcorn. 24 hour pizza and icecream was a hit with the kids too. Hubby enjoyed "Guys Burgers". Thankfully the Green Thunder was back in operation by day three and there were alot of happy people. Pools and the Waterpark were good and well used. The Serenity Pool and bar area is adults only. Using tender boats to access the islands was a relatively easy process and staff are there to assist you on and off. We did our own thing but there are a number of tours you can book on the ship. Hop on hop off bus in Noumea was good and we visited the morning market, aquarium and museum. You need Pacific Francs in some locations including the museum. Smoking is still allowed on deck 9 beside the pool but there are those who despite it being banned, continue to smoke on their balconies. Makes it hard for those of us who dont smoke to enjoy sitting out there. It has been banned for the dangers it imposes to all. Should be greater penalties for those that breach this regulation. Disembarking was reasonably quick and easy. Would have been better if people waited until they were called. The number of que jumpers was substantial and slowed the process for others who were doing what was asked. I considered this cruise to be good value for what was offered and would be happy to cruise again on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
COMPARED TO P & O Service ========== AVERAGE Food ============ BELOW AVERAGE Ship ============ SLOW Cabin =========== GOOD Ports =========== ONE BAD ONE Entertainment ==== BELOW AVERAGE Service on deck was ... Read More
COMPARED TO P & O Service ========== AVERAGE Food ============ BELOW AVERAGE Ship ============ SLOW Cabin =========== GOOD Ports =========== ONE BAD ONE Entertainment ==== BELOW AVERAGE Service on deck was close to non existent,above deck floors very slippery, there is a place called Serenity for the adults on but you couldn't smoke there, the only place to smoke was at the forward pool of which had children all around it. Morning coffee on deck was noisy, music was blaring from the speakers and it was Reggie or rock music, not good for morning relaxation and a chat. Buffet didn't have enough variety asp per P & O and didn't agree with a lot of patrons on board. Too many days at sea not enough ports on the cruise, at times the ship was only doing 12 Knots. Showroom was OK but audio guys need to learn how use there equipment at times singers voices defining. Drinks way to expensive. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I cruise solo so I often have a different outlook to how a cruise works. This was my 3rd cruise out of Sydney in the past 5 years. I have never had any issue with embarkation, no matter the cruise line. This time I arrived at checkin at ... Read More
I cruise solo so I often have a different outlook to how a cruise works. This was my 3rd cruise out of Sydney in the past 5 years. I have never had any issue with embarkation, no matter the cruise line. This time I arrived at checkin at noon and i was onboard with a drink in hand by 12:18. My luggage was in my cabin as I had dropped it off at 9am. I did a quick reconnoiter of the ship. I was very similar to the pacific Dawn which I have sailed on twice. The biggest difference was the Pantry. I found the pantry quite a good way to replace the buffet. portion control is much better and you can always go back for more if you wish.The first night I dined at the salt grill. Never disappointing. Although I was the only person there that night. I also dined at Luna twice and did the Chefs table. All was awesome. As usual the staff make the ship.I heard a few folk complain about service but I always found the service to be fantastic. The trivia and and entertainment was as good as any other ship. Although I think that I could do a better job than some of the comedians. There were many quiet corners to catch up on reading and the like. the Oasis is always my favorite spot. The ports are getting a bit past their use by though. Disembarkation (not debarking) was easy as and the shuttle from white bay to Sydney central station was faultless. I had a wonderful time on this cruise. I met many wonderful people and a few dodgy ones as well. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
First cruise for both of us. Booked a balcony cabin on Deck 10. We were a little concerned because we had read some pretty awful reviews about this ship, but we were determined to give it a fair go. Had to queue in Sydney to get through ... Read More
First cruise for both of us. Booked a balcony cabin on Deck 10. We were a little concerned because we had read some pretty awful reviews about this ship, but we were determined to give it a fair go. Had to queue in Sydney to get through Customs and get all the administrative stuff out of the way, then we walked straight on board. Pretty easy really. Dumped our carry-on luggage in the cabin and went exploring. The rest of our luggage arrived about an hour later and we were set. All very smooth and very well organised. Weather when we got right out to sea was a little bit rough and the seas were a bit lumpy. By day 2 the buffet was almost empty at breakfast! In fact we couldn't go to Isle of Pines because it was too rough to use the tenders. Went to Lifou, then to Port Vila, then to Mare and then Noumea. Lifou is an interesting place with some beautiful scenery. Did a bit of snorkeling. We both loved Port Vila. The place just oozes character. Good duty-free shopping. We paid a local $100 to be our tour guide for the day, and he was fantastic. Took us everywhere, waited around while we did touristy things and showed us everything there was to see. Apparently the price can vary for this kind of service but $100 is in the ballpark. Mare has the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. There is a shuttle service from the pier to the beach running all day. Tickets were pre-purchased on the ship. It is a safe, shallow, sandy beach with a reef that teems with fish. Looked like a scene from Finding Nemo. I had heard mixed reports about Noumea, but we both thought it is a lovely place. Prices vary a lot for simple items like coffe etc, but they seem to be more reasonable as you get away from the real tourist areas. I paid A$6 for a can of soft drink at the Tourist Information Centre, and it was only a 330 ml can! The ship is certainly starting to look a bit dated. However, it isn't the rundown rusting hulk that some people have described in reviews. The cabin was big enough for two of us, the balcony was adequate, and the bed was really comfortable. The shower is a little cramped, but not too bad. We dined in the Dining Room on most nights and the food was very good. Breakfast and lunch in the Buffet on most days, and couldn't find anything wrong there either. In fact you really have to congratulate the chefs. They keep the ship supplied with hot, fresh, tasty food for 2000 people for about 19 hours of every day. That can't be easy. The staff were fantastic. Always cheerful, always keen to be of assistance. Our dining room waiters were both quite mad and kept us entertained each night. Our cabin steward was always available for a chat or to provide information. Considering some of the cranky idiots these people sometimes have to deal with, I think they do a great job. The International Cafe was the best place on the ship for coffee and a chat. Unfortunately, it was often difficult to find a seat there. This is because so many people plonk themselves there and stay for hours. I watched one couple playing cards there for more than an hour, while just sitting on 2 glasses of water. Plenty of other people looking for a seat but they weren't moving. The entertainment was first class, and there was always a rush to get a seat at nearly every show. I though the on board activities seemed a bit contrived at times, and there was a heavy emphasis on upselling. I attended a so-called "enrichment activity" on gem stones, only to discover it was a 40 minute sales pitch for the new jewellery store on board. Once I had worked out that most of these activities were designed to sell me something, I started being a bit more choosy about what I went to. Did we enjoy the cruise? We loved it. Would we do another with Princess? Already booked it Would we travel on Sun Princess again? Why not? Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
false advertising due to water slides do not work on ship / bed bugs in balcony cabins/crew are told to lie to customers about things will be fixed / expensive drink prices/ dirty balconies with flaking paint/ toilet blocked up/ never had ... Read More
false advertising due to water slides do not work on ship / bed bugs in balcony cabins/crew are told to lie to customers about things will be fixed / expensive drink prices/ dirty balconies with flaking paint/ toilet blocked up/ never had one hot meal entire voyage/ kids club terrible/ everything is a rip off / avoid this cruise at all costs ps THE TRUTH HURTS will never go on a cruise line which advertises the water slides on their travel cruise brochure -these slides haven't been working for the last two cruises another lie told by crew. how not to treat your customers who paid for two x balcony cabins and travelled with another family total spent between two families over 20k compensation for waterslides not working -zero $0 how to really make a customer feel disappointed /$8.25 per stubby where I live I pay$1.65 (carton price ) pub price $7 everyone sick at end of cruise due to onboard air conditioning (told this by crew before disembarkment it was definitly the air cond Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The travel agent recommended Carnival to us. We have sailed with other lines 7 times before, mainly Royal Caribbean. We had to try hard to fault this ship - Spirit. One negative I could find was that the towels weren't always ... Read More
The travel agent recommended Carnival to us. We have sailed with other lines 7 times before, mainly Royal Caribbean. We had to try hard to fault this ship - Spirit. One negative I could find was that the towels weren't always white.... something that they need to address. Another was that there was always a bottleneck when getting off and on the ship at ports especially when disembarking on the last day. Other than those couple of things it was wonderful. All the staff were happy and helpful. The entertainment was superb and I was surprised at how well behaved all the children on board were. I think they were well cared for and entertained at the oceans club as they all seemed really happy. The bed was great, no complaints there. I especially loved the entertainment in the dining room. It was fun and interactive. Anyone who has been on this ship lately will recognize this Helllllllllooooo!!. The Steakhouse was amazing, something everyone should try at least once on their trip. It was the best and yes I mean best steak I have ever had. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My wife and I were looking forward to this cruise ( our second on the Spirit ) as my wife had major back surgery a few months ago and this was for some relaxation. Embarkation went smoothly and then we realized that it was school ... Read More
My wife and I were looking forward to this cruise ( our second on the Spirit ) as my wife had major back surgery a few months ago and this was for some relaxation. Embarkation went smoothly and then we realized that it was school holidays when we saw the number of children on board. Mind you most were really good. The dining room food was just good but unfortunately the food in the buffet was atrocious , the same every day with no changes. one station was sandwiches, another was indian food,then pastries, then pies and sausages and chips, The shows were exceptional the best we ever saw in all the cruises we had ( 20 ) except for some comedians who were really crude, there is no need to use the F word in every sentence in order to be funny Another thing we did not like was children walking through the Casino and we saw a couple of children playing the money machines. Also children sitting at the bars with their parents. Disembarkation went smoothly but I do not think we will cruising with Cardinal again Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was the first cruise that we had done as a family of 2 children aged 7 and 13. It was an easy enjoyable holiday and very different to our usual complicated itinerary, multiple destination holidays that we normally embark on. ... Read More
This was the first cruise that we had done as a family of 2 children aged 7 and 13. It was an easy enjoyable holiday and very different to our usual complicated itinerary, multiple destination holidays that we normally embark on. Embarkation and Disembarkation Compared to air travel - it was fast and an absolute breeze! Staff were friendly and helpful every step of the way. The Cabin - extended balcony 8140 Great size cabin with excellent storage. I wanted an extended balcony so I could escape any potential madness what with a full ship and school holidays. I shouldn't have worried. Apart from the craziness in the buffet at times, the ship was surprisingly uncrowded and there was enough space for all. The balcony was great and I would recommend it highly. It was lovely to sit outside in the fresh air. There was noise from the Pool Deck - it bothered me more than the rest of my family who thought I was being OTT. I found that there was dull thudding most of the day if we were in the cabin and also this often ran into the night. In saying that, I did love being so close to the stairs and level 9 & 10 where we spent most of our time. We only used the laundry once to iron and had our washing done - at $25 per bag, I think it was good value for money. Our cabin stewards were fantastic - always helpful and with a smile on their face. In fact, I couldn't fault any of the staff - they were great. Dining The food was pretty good - you pay for what you get. I found most of what we had was tasty and enjoyable. Buffets are not really our thing and although we had all breakfasts and most lunches in this area, we tended to head to the Empire Dining Room which served a la carte and also Nouveau (which had a $45pp supplement). Nouveau served excellent food and the Dining Room also served some good dishes although some were a little hit and miss. The children loved the Burgers and Blue Iguanas - it was a shame that both of these places didn't open for dinner. The drinks were resort prices and as long as your sole intention wasn't to drink your way through your holiday then it was pretty affordable - beers were $8-9, cocktails $11.50, wine per glass $9+. Serenity Lounge We visited most evening for a childfree drink or two and this was lovely and mostly uncrowded. Kids Club The 7 year old LOVED Kid's Club - she was difficult to extract! I must say that they do need to find a better system on the first day - we had registered the day we boarded so went down the next morning assuming that we could check our daughter in quite quickly and easily - this was not the case - the queues were huge and it was chaotic as there were a mixture of people newly registering and those who had already done so...in any case after the fist day, it was fine and they were exceptionally strict on entering and exiting. The 13 year old was more reluctant and so I can't report on the activities for this age group. As it was, she thoroughly enjoyed relaxing, reading and just hanging out. Entertainment We didn't really get to see much as it was too late most of time..sad I know but some shows started at 10:30pm-11pm and that was way past my bedtime most nights! We saw an amazing Illusion show - that was great and a number of movies at the Dive In Theatre - although I found the acoustics terrible - if there were people talking in the Bar at the back it made it extremely difficult to hear the movie. On shore days they had movies showing downstairs - this would have been a much better option and even if they had of done that during the day as well would have been great. Ports Noumea Having been to Noumea a number of times, we did enjoy taking the Tchou Tchou Train around the city and then out to Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons.The City Centre hasn't changed much over the years and still reminds me a sleepy country town - heading out to the bay areas are the best. Mystery Island This was changed from Mare and it was a great day stop. Good swimming and snorkelling plus some markets - it really should have provided something for everyone. Isle of Pines Most beautiful water colours and sand - really fantastic. We took a bus - Glimpse of the Island which in hindsight I wish we had of stayed on the beach as really there was little of great interest - it was also raining so this hampered our enjoyment. Service The staff really do an amazing job. They make the process of embarking, disembarking, shore excursions so easy, seamless and stress free for the holiday maker. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We sailed out of Sydney to New Caledonia, Vanuatu etc. The Pearl is a bit of a tired old girl, due to be retired next year I hear. However the bars and dining areas have been recently updated and are very nice, the rooms are a bit old and ... Read More
We sailed out of Sydney to New Caledonia, Vanuatu etc. The Pearl is a bit of a tired old girl, due to be retired next year I hear. However the bars and dining areas have been recently updated and are very nice, the rooms are a bit old and tired. The staff were fantastic. I really couldn't fault them except one thing they didn't monitor the numerous inconsiderate people who enter the dining areas without sanitising their hands. In view of the bugs that can spread rapidly on cruise ships I think it's better to have someone on this instead of two people handing out plates. We can even pick up our own plate once we've sanitised our hands. Entertainment was good and the Ports we visited and tours were just lovely. Tender system very efficient. Medical centre very good. We all got a drinks package and that was great. Cocktails were fab and the wine selection was decent. The down side. The food was rubbish for the most part. I'm not saying I expected lobster and prawns although we did get that on princess lines for a cheaper price. You can cook economical ingredients well and they can be delicious. This food wasn't. There were twelve of us in our group. Different taste buds and ages and we all agreed the food was terrible. Albeit served up by lovely people. We tipped generously because of the fantastic service on board but all agreed never again because the food is rubbish. P&O are obviously a decent company. A passenger had a heart attack on the second last day so we had to get into Sydney 12 hours early to save his life. This meant that they had to close the casino and the duty free early, losing money , pay more port fees and sail like the clappers for over 24 hours. They did it and it saved his life. In closing I repeat, cheap ingredients can make delicious food if the P & O are perhaps on a budget to balance the drinks package etc but there was no excuse for this school camp fodder and the fine dining wasn't much better. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This really is the bottom rung of cruises, for those people who really don't expect too much, can't be bothered dressing to go to dinner, are happy with second rate bistro style food and a small ship with limited facilities. The ... Read More
This really is the bottom rung of cruises, for those people who really don't expect too much, can't be bothered dressing to go to dinner, are happy with second rate bistro style food and a small ship with limited facilities. The main dining room food is quite good but the portions are small and the menu sometimes does not change, the wine menu never changes. The portion size is too small for Americans, and judging by the number of huge people on the boat most would go to the bistro anyway so they could have numerous portions. The bars were fine but there is little lounge room space on board so we found ourselves often in our room reading so we were in comfort and away from the noise. The shows were very amateur especially the comedians, jugglers and magician - really but the show singers and dancers were very talented - it is just their material was terrible, why not sing songs we all know ? Overall we had a good time but our previous cruise on Celebrity was just wonderful in every aspect and not much more money, maybe 10% more and 100% better. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We had a wonderful time in Carnival Spirit. For 8 days from Sydney to Nomea, Isle of Pines and Lifou ( instead of Mare, last minute detour ) it was a totally enjoyable experience. The quality of food was very good ( we are vegetarians) and ... Read More
We had a wonderful time in Carnival Spirit. For 8 days from Sydney to Nomea, Isle of Pines and Lifou ( instead of Mare, last minute detour ) it was a totally enjoyable experience. The quality of food was very good ( we are vegetarians) and the crew were most helpful and pleasant. Our cabin house keeper Ms Cristina was just marvellous. Always ready to offer any assistance with a smile. Particularly liked the trivia sessions and the various talks on health related matters by qualified doctors. Never imagined there'll be a library in the ship. We were lucky to witness some spectacular sunrise and sunsets from Deck 10. It's something never to be missed. The Q& A session on the last day was very informative and the captain's presence in Q& A showed us that they take the guests seriously. We would strongly recommend this cruise to any one who hasn't done it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Fantastic value for money - we paid less for the cruise and flights from NZ to Australia than one week in a hotel in Fiji without food and airfares. This value comes at a price of course...the food is largely 3 star standard whereas ... Read More
Fantastic value for money - we paid less for the cruise and flights from NZ to Australia than one week in a hotel in Fiji without food and airfares. This value comes at a price of course...the food is largely 3 star standard whereas the ship is more 4 star. Loved our suite stateroom...well worth whatever extra we paid..so comfortable and spacious, and two balconies which were delightful. Loved Carlos the cabin steward who was without doubt the nicest most proactive service person I've ever met! He played a significant role in making our cruise easy and he took care of a number of minor issues that arose along the way, plus makes the best towel animal creations ever! Loved the Serenity deck with its chillax music, lovely basket cabanas, hammocks and loungers, cocktails from the bar and a lovely feel day and evening. Loved Nouveau Restaurant -worth every penny to eat in such luxury, fillet mignon, lobster tail....just gorgeous! Didn't love so much the scramble in the Playa Grill each day jostling for position with hundreds of other cruisers, but eventually moved to eat in the Empire which, considering its size, was excellent. The ship is fabulous, crew superb, and I hope Carnival are paying Eli the Cruise Director lots of money as he's worth his weight in gold. And finally a word to Miss Houdini - she's great and the show is pure Vegas! Overall it was a great holiday experience and we'd go again but need more interesting ports of call...Noumea is dull dull on a Sunday, Mare didn't happen and Lifu was average. Isle of Pines was out of this world...I'd have stayed an extra day there. Oh...musn't forget the incredibly impressive team who manage the almost impossibly efficient embarkation and disembarkation process.....a well oiled courteous machine! Thanks Carnival...our first family cruise and might not be our last.... Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
A repeat of the 2008 cruise which we loved. This time not nearly as many ports and unfortunately we missed one due to the weather. The shore tours were Ok, but the one to the Summer Palace was especially bad, it was a beat up and the ... Read More
A repeat of the 2008 cruise which we loved. This time not nearly as many ports and unfortunately we missed one due to the weather. The shore tours were Ok, but the one to the Summer Palace was especially bad, it was a beat up and the awful restaurant, for lunch a third rate cafe sealed the deal. I have noticed an increase in prices as wells a decline in standard which is a shame. The cabin was excellent and the cabin staff along with all the staff on board of the very highest standard. The dining in the restaurant, should have been great but once again the food was not up to standard and the same menu came around very often. In fact I believe it has been the same for at least the last ten years The Horizon court food had improved dramatically from our last cruise. Many activities were offered for all and the entertainment was so so. Some excellent some awful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We had a great time on Carnival Spirit out of Sydney, and up to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Was excellent value for money, and not having to pay that extra US$14 per head per day gratuity was a real bonus. The crew were fantastic - very ... Read More
We had a great time on Carnival Spirit out of Sydney, and up to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Was excellent value for money, and not having to pay that extra US$14 per head per day gratuity was a real bonus. The crew were fantastic - very engaging and happy, which we haven't struck too much on a cruise before. The Spirit is a family fun ship, so this is not the cruise for older people who don't want kids around them. But if you do want a mix of all ages, then this is definitely the right option. We're not cruise veterans by any means, but Sydney/Carnival Spirit was the best embarkation and disembarkation we've had - by a mile. Don't get put off by the first day lunch experience in the buffet - where its packed to the rafters while people wait for their luggage to be delivered to their cabin late afternoon. Just wish the crew had stopped people from just sitting in the buffet room all afternoon. The buffet food was at least as good as previous cruises we've been on with Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Costa. Buffets on cruise lines in this budget category are all a bit 'lucky dip' - and on Carnival Spirit ranged from average to good and sometimes very good. (as some-one else wrote on this site) The pizzas were great. A couple of the desserts were world class, but if you want a superior level of food, then it's best to book the next step up to Princess, Celebrity or HAL. They all have special deals to keep an eye on. Really recommend the Main Dining Room (MDR) on Carnival Spirit whenever you can. It's a true cruise ship experience, and the service crews are all good. Kosta and his team took care of us so well, and made our 7 year old feel really special. The food is warmer in the MDR, so eat there whenever you can. They do breakfast and brunches on at sea days. We don't do the speciality (fee paying) restaurants on cruises, but did sample the Nouveau Restaurant main (for an extra $25) at the MDR one night. It was very good. Surf n Turf. Heard the Comedy Club was excellent. Didn't get to go. But the main theatre entertainment was very average apart from a couple of good shows. They really do need a resident live ship band/orchestra as many cruise liners do have in this category of cruises. Average vocalists with their backing tapes, and without a live band, doesn't cut it. Had a great inside cabin (6177) midship which I think is the place to be, and as high up as you can. We find inside cabins great value, and it means we can afford to cruise more. We're only in the cabin to sleep. Tips: - If you don't like lots of kids around you, then Carnival Spirit is not for you. Go Princess, HAL or Celebrity in this part of the world. - Budget for the Nouveau evening dining option a few times if you have 4 star plus evening meal expectations. ($45 a head) - use the MDR whenever it's open. So much a better experience. Just keep a close eye on when it opens outside dinner. - use the adults only area if you want to get away from kids. - Inside cabins are extra good value. Seemed larger than all our previous cabins, but maybe it's the design. Bathroom certainly was bigger. - go to Lemon Beach in Noumea. Great spot. Cafes nearby. Bought the Hop on/.off ticket. - Mystery Island is the best stop. Nothing like a day at the beach on a remote island. - Port Vila was great duty free. - Lifou Island good for snorkelling too. Great time had by our family. Probably will try a Carnival cruise further afield next. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Cabin 5243 was in a sorry state - 3 star motel at best. The bathroom door was peeling badly, the shower was in desperate need of regrouting to get rid of ingrained mould, the sink drained slowly, the carpet was stained and the sheets were ... Read More
Cabin 5243 was in a sorry state - 3 star motel at best. The bathroom door was peeling badly, the shower was in desperate need of regrouting to get rid of ingrained mould, the sink drained slowly, the carpet was stained and the sheets were thin and pilled (better ones were found on complaint). The TV was faulty. If this cabin was refurbished it would be marvellous as it is large. The obstructed view was fine as your view is over the top of the life boats. There was no noise from the lift. The ship is garish but there is plenty of public space and seating and it doesn't feel crowded. The dining room choices are limited. Hygiene seems to be less of a focus than we are used to so I felt uncomfortable and at risk. No staff suggested using the hand cleaner when entering food areas so consequently few used it. Evening shows were the best we have experienced. Every cast member was very talented and the staging and costumes marvellous. There are 3 comedy shows every night - some a bit hit and miss. Day time entertainment was very limited. No interesting lectures in the theatre ( eg port history and environment etc.) Very good news - coffee is better. Not Melbourne standard but there are free espresso machines for passable caffeine and you can buy a better barista made coffee albeit with an inferior bean. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We mainly picked his cruise because of the price & the fact that we had never sailed with Carnival before. This is our 6 th cruise, so we compare cruise lines. PROS: Large rooms, roomy bathroom, nice spa in gym, entertainment ... Read More
We mainly picked his cruise because of the price & the fact that we had never sailed with Carnival before. This is our 6 th cruise, so we compare cruise lines. PROS: Large rooms, roomy bathroom, nice spa in gym, entertainment crew were brilliant, they should have done every show. Didn't seem crowded even though ship was full, could always find a seat in Serenity & in the lounges. Good variety of cocktails. Great outdoor cinema with free popcorn, good sales in the shops. Staff very friendly, cute cocktail of the day cups. Shipsies band were good, about the only place to dance besides disco. Good variety of activities during the day. Quick embarkation and debarkation process. CONS: No sail away party on deck, Food in buffet was a bit ordinary, same, same every day. Could do with themes perhaps. Other entertainment was ok, but not really memorable (besides the entertainment crew). No happy hour with cocktails. Food in restaurant was nice, but not photo worthy. Photos are a ripoff, we asked if we could get our pix on a usb, but we were told that we had to buy 10 hard copies first & they would give us copies on usb for $10. Beautiful dance floor in Versailles room, but only used for comedy etc, not dancing, waste of a floor IMO. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose this cruise as other family members were also going on it. sadly it didn't live up to our expectations. The ship itself was nice very clean and comfy furniture, it was the whole experience that was disappointing, from the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as other family members were also going on it. sadly it didn't live up to our expectations. The ship itself was nice very clean and comfy furniture, it was the whole experience that was disappointing, from the food to the entertainment it was very budget. We found the food at the buffet was very budget the soups were either so salty or spicy you couldn't eat them, the burgers out by the pool were nice, but you can't eat burgers for 10 days, also they closed buffet stations down when the place was packed so there would be long lines everywhere, also if you were unlucky enough to feel like a piece of toast the toasters are so old it took about 5 minutes to cook your toast, the best meal we had in 10 days was the steak we paid $25 ea to have!!!! Entertainment: The cast entertainment was fantastic very professional they looked like they were having a good time, however the nights the cast weren't on and they had other entertainers what a low class budget act one Mr&Mrs Smith they were so pathetic people just walked out. The comedy club entertainers were funny and good value. For daytime entertainment unless you are into trivia in a big way there's not much else to do. The Cruise director Eli falls very short of being fun we got the impression he does just what he has to no more !! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We booked this cruise as we wanted to see Vanuatu and for a relaxing break. Despite all the negative reviews we read one week before our cruise, we enjoyed it very much. This was our fifth cruise and third time with Princess. Princess ... Read More
We booked this cruise as we wanted to see Vanuatu and for a relaxing break. Despite all the negative reviews we read one week before our cruise, we enjoyed it very much. This was our fifth cruise and third time with Princess. Princess still stands out for staff friendliness, quality of food and service compared with other cruise lines. Although the ship is showing its age on the outside on some spots, we found it was meticulously maintained inside and outside and we experienced no issues with plumbing or other things as described by some reviewers. We had for the first time an inside cabin, which exceeded our expectations. The entertainment on board was good, some shows better than others, but what we really like was the variety of different entertainment venues at night. We have cruised on Royal Caribbean before and entertainment was appalling compared with what was offered here. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This cruise was so much fun and so relaxing. The food onboard was absolutely sensational. Every meal ordered in the dining room was out of this world. I am a real foody and was really impressed. The cakes also were a step above, especially ... Read More
This cruise was so much fun and so relaxing. The food onboard was absolutely sensational. Every meal ordered in the dining room was out of this world. I am a real foody and was really impressed. The cakes also were a step above, especially the international deli, where you could get a sandwich or foccacia toasted. The breakfast donuts were delicious in the deli, as were the ham & cheese croissants. Service was exceptional. The rooms were very clean. The beddng was all new beds, linen, and feather pillows. The Staff were out of this world. New to us was the drink package, we thoroughly enjoyed it. I think i tried every cocktail. The ports were good, it was good to get some sun on our skin. Embarkation was a breeze. Television and internet have all been upgraded. I could not fault a thing, and had a real blast Well done princess, you are the consumate host Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our first cruise experience chosen as it was advertised as a "Blues" cruise. We attend Blues festivals so we were excited to be going on a cruise with the prospect of listening to some good music. P&O did not ... Read More
This was our first cruise experience chosen as it was advertised as a "Blues" cruise. We attend Blues festivals so we were excited to be going on a cruise with the prospect of listening to some good music. P&O did not advertise who would be playing something we feel they should do to attract true "Blues" followers as it was obvious that the majority of people on board had no interest in "Blues". There were 3 main bands - Shane Pacey and the Bondi Cigars - Blues Shaddy and PJ O'Brien with Matt Ross. All very good but over 4 days became repetitive. The other couple of bands we did not consider to play "Blues". The music trivia sessions presented by Glenn A Baker were enjoyable and entertaining. If P&O are going to hold future "Blues" cruises we suggest more bands and that pre cruise information is available on who is playing. We had no complaints about our cabin which was on floor 6 mid ship with a good size port hole. We were very disappointed with the food. The Pantry has a lot of variety but becomes monotonous and is like eating in a shopping centre food hall with no atmosphere at all. We would have liked to have a roast but the meat they were carving was extremely raw. We ate twice in the Waterfront restaurant and were also disappointed with the food as it seemed to be pre prepared with very little taste. We attempted to eat in the Waterfront restaurant for breakfast one morning. We were seated at a table with others and were not served a coffee for 20 minutes and our order was taken after 30 minutes. We walked out after 50 minutes and still had not been served. Crew were friendly and nice. Unfortunately the weather was not that great for our shore visit to Tangalooma. It was very rough going over in the tender and nearly every one in the tender were sea sick. Fortunately we are used to boating so we were OK but we felt sorry for the others. In summary we enjoyed the cruise as we met some lovely people and the music even though lacking in variety was great. However the food was below average and it seemed a chore to eat. We will not be considering another P&O cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Have been on carnival spirit and legend, we find the spirit to be a better boat, food selection is still below par in the bistro at night which is a shame but during the bay, there is more selection. Liked Guys burger joint, & fat ... Read More
Have been on carnival spirit and legend, we find the spirit to be a better boat, food selection is still below par in the bistro at night which is a shame but during the bay, there is more selection. Liked Guys burger joint, & fat jimmys, not sure why they Close these so early. Would be good if open during the evening. Desi puts on a good show in the restaurant at night, which is a must to see. The selection on the menu becomes a bit stale after a while, with the same items on one side of the menu, but the other does side changes every night. The updates on deck 9 pool area looks nice and fresh, but really the whole ship could do with a full refurb. Including the rooms. Would we sail on spirit again, yes we would. We are starting to find a lot more older people are heading on to carnival. Yes it's still a kids ship, and older people need to understand this. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016

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