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11 Tahiti (Papeete) to Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise due to the itinerary and the supposed reputation of Holland America being a classy cruise line. It was to be a continuation of a seven night cruise that we took on the Paul Gauguin. We were looking forward to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary and the supposed reputation of Holland America being a classy cruise line. It was to be a continuation of a seven night cruise that we took on the Paul Gauguin. We were looking forward to the stops at Rarotonga, Cook Islands - Alofi, Niue - Vava u, Tonga - Savusavu, Vanua Levi, Fiji - Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji - Dravuni, Fiji - Nuku alofa, Tonga. To set the stage for the tender rides to shore we need to say that prior to our cruise a woman was killed while getting on the tender at a stop. Of course like the military Holland America made a decision to screw all of it's passengers due to the actions of one unfortunate soul. They cancelled the first two stops stating the sea state was to high to go a shore. They must not have realized there were many passengers that had a great deal of experience with boating and knew that the sea state was not as bad as they were saying. Real big disappointment to all aboard. All of the remaining stops we did go ashore. Shore excursions were totally overpriced. We went ashore an picked up tours at far cheaper prices than Holland America offered. For a cruise line that is supposed to be classy Holland America made it far from that. Everytime you turned around they were trying to up sale you. From the over price bottled water and canned sodas in the state rooms, to the over priced additional restaurants, to the drastically overpriced cocktails and wine. Add to this the upscale jewelry stores which I very seldom saw passengers present. The casino that was almost as empty as the jewelry stores. Really do they really need to send out daily sales brochures trying to temp you with the 20% off sale which they raised the price on items 20% prior to the sale. It seems they could have used this space for more over priced restaurants or even heaven forbid a better stocked sundry store. Now let us talk about a dead ship. Even though we are 59 and 62 we seemed to have more life than the typical passenger that appeared to be above the age of 70 and no young 70s for sure. You would think that there would be South Pacific Island music playing all over the ship. You know to set the mood. But, no, Holland America plays elevator music when they play it at all. You would get more exciting music in a mortuary or morgue. Who knows maybe that is what the old folks really want. The musical entertainers actually play Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak tree, Really? The ship seemed to be in less than stealer condition. There was rust everywhere. The cover over the midship pool broke during the cruise and it didn't seem like the crew had the capability to fix it. The covers on the lifeboats seemed faded and strained. In fact on a couple of them they seemed to be torn or caved in. The tenders were filthy and unkempt. To think that the elderly passengers could have to use these boats in an emergency was disappointing and scary. The average crew member did a good job. Even when they were forced to sell things which they looked embarrassed and not comfortable doing. Our cabin steward was great. The dining room staff was great. Can't really say anything bad about the basic crew member on the Maasdam. The front desk personnel did a great job. There was a strange noise that kept happening in our first stateroom. We complained and they moved us to a new stateroom very quickly. Our stateroom was very clean and comfortable. We purchased the laundry service for the entire cruise. We felt it was a good value and the staff did a great job. The internet service was slow and expensive for what you received. We realize the signal has to travel many thousands of mile but really that slow? The food on the ship was good. However, no better than any other cruise ship we had been on. Holland America really needs to step it up to live up to a reputation that seems like it had gotten many years ago. Stop selling and make it a classy ship again or close the line down and save not only themselves but the passengers from a poor experience. Many folks that we had spoke to that had cruised Holland America in the passed said that this would be their last cruise on the line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Maasdam from Tahiti to Auckland via Fiji, Samoa and other Pacific Islands. Two of us in our 60's had a Neptune Suite midships (010) which was quiet, roomy, in excellent condition and fabulous. The staff were great, nothing was too ... Read More
Maasdam from Tahiti to Auckland via Fiji, Samoa and other Pacific Islands. Two of us in our 60's had a Neptune Suite midships (010) which was quiet, roomy, in excellent condition and fabulous. The staff were great, nothing was too much trouble, smiles and greetings everywhere, loved them. Food was the best of several cruises we have done (home made burgers were to die for), excellent range of food options all well presented, hygienicly handled and delicious. Evening entertainment was top class, especially "The Unexpected Boys" (similar to The Jersey Boys) who put on 4 different shows during the cruise. My only suggestion would be to improve the range of films and shows on ship TV - very limited range of boring news channels, and two movie channels (which repeated the same film for a day each) - fortunately we found the onboard video range and overdosed on Netflix shows. We have previously cruised with P&O, Carnival and Princess, and this ship was better than all of them. Would definitely cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Having been to a few of the ports before we were excited about the prospect of visiting Norfolk Island. However we were not able tho stop at Norfolk Island and two other ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Having been to a few of the ports before we were excited about the prospect of visiting Norfolk Island. However we were not able tho stop at Norfolk Island and two other ports. Out is believed only very few shops actually get their passengers onto Norfolk Island and so many had booked this trip with the promise of visiting Norfolk Island. In my opinion this port should be deleted from their itinerary as I believe it is only used as a lure tho get passengers to book the cruise with the company knowing it is very unlikely to ever happen. Feels like a bit of a con. Our major concern though on this cruise was the lack of first aid knowledge by the first responders. It was alarming to find the first responders to a heart attack didn't know how to take a pulse, didn't effectively know CPR or how to use the defibrillator. We feel these first responders should have better first aid training and at a minimum know how to take a pulse, do effective CPR and use the defib. It was discovered from this incident that the defib machines on the ship were the very old non speaking type. Please note this is not shipboard rumour but first hand experience at the incident. We were very impressed with the standard of food in the dining room. It was a huge step up from our last Holland America cruise. Most of the onboard entertainment was excellent however there were two acts on the second part of our cruise that were appalling. The ship had been recently very tastefully refurbished. Our cabin was very comfortable. The poor condition and incompleteness of some of the board games onboard needs immediate attention. It was very frustrating trying to find complete games to play. We were also very disappointed that a gym instructor was not immediately replaced during shore leave of the original instructor. This caused some gym activities to cease because of the absence of an instructor. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I like to go to places that I have not been to, I like to go at a good price and on a good ship. This cruise delivered all three. Papeete to Auckland for 26 days. Papeete is a loooooong way from Philadelphia but we eventually got there. ... Read More
I like to go to places that I have not been to, I like to go at a good price and on a good ship. This cruise delivered all three. Papeete to Auckland for 26 days. Papeete is a loooooong way from Philadelphia but we eventually got there. We landed the night before and enjoyed Tahitian music groups outside the airport. They were there on their accord and were having a great time. We stayed at a b & b with a gracious hostess. The house was surrounded with tropical plants and loud roosters. The views to Morrea were great. Great taxis. Maasdam. The ship is in very good shape. It had a dry dock in September 2018. There was no work in progress when we boarded. The public areas were all recarpeted and were very clean. The ship is dated in places but was always pleasant. The ship holds about 1,075 but only about 925 were on board. The ship was never crowded. There is a wrap around deck that's great for walking. We did the breast cancer walk and got a t shirt. The pools were in good shape, the retractable roof was good on windy days was was impressive closed at night. Lounge chairs were generally good. The self service laundry was very good, important on a 26 day cruise. The WIFI was very expensive and very bad. No host in the computer area. You had to go to the customer service deck on another deck, and get in line for help. Their answers were generally in the try this category. The pricing was in 3 quality tiers with the higher prices promising the better chance of working.Good hot tubs. Stateroom: The stateroom were not recarpeted. Ours was clean but had seen better days. The fixtures and furniture were dated but highly functional. We did not have any problems except for a slow draining tub one night. They fix it right away. The TV was good and I watched many cds from the customer service desk. Good variety. The bed was very comfortable. I was happy with the stateroom. MDR: very good condition, beautiful. Two tiered with bg, big viewing widows. Never crowded. We never waited for a table for 2 or sharing with 4 or 6. Many times at tables at the rear windows catching sunsets. Breakfast and lunch here were excellent. Dinner fell off.There seemed to ne a cut back in the number of soups, apps, salads, entrees and esp desserts. Some things were excellent with most things being good. It met my expectations and I always enjoyed going there. Buffet. Excellent condition. Very clean. Never "really crowded". Often wide open. Breakfast was excellent with made to order blueberry pancakes, omelets, eggs benedict, fried eggs. Very good meats. Lunch was very good. Made to order sandwiches and pasta. Lack of variety. Dinner fell off. The main entrees never looked good. I would get the pasta again. The desserts were always the same No variet. Nothing ever special. Good coffee. Dive in. Poolside burgers, dogs, tacos. Really excellent. Good toppings. Very good fries. Room service: Excellent. Always on time. Hot omelets were good. Coffee specialty cafe: No brewed coffee Soda card: Very good deal, pay $25 for a $50 card. Sodas were about $2.15. This is actually a better deal than Princess. Entertainment. Almost very bad. Lounges: Music seemed ok . Dated rooms. Crows nest was good. Folk presentations. These were generally good with music and dancing from Tonga, Fiji, and the Mauri people from New Zealand Service: Throughout the ship the service was excellent. MDR, buffet, room stewarts, customer service desk, shore excursion desk, all were were excellent. We missed 3 islands due to not be able to tender. Sadly a passenger had been killed on the previous voyage between the tender and the ship. I think the captain may have been overly cautious afterwards. We missed Rarotonga,( where the accident happened) Alofi, and Norfolk island Australia The ship could be boring at times. Esp with the added seadays. Once we left Fiji and headed for Auckland the weather changed and there was not much to do. Often boring at night as the entertainment was generally bad. Vava U Tonga is very poor. We had a taxi take us aroud. Not much to see. Very hot. We went to good beach with good sand and I enjoyed the water and the fish. Good beaches are hard to find. Savusavu Fiji. Not as poor as Vava U . We went to a resort that had seen better days. Free cab as we me t the owner at the pier. Went snorkeling on the resorts boat for about 2 hrs for $25. Lots of fish. Beautiful water. Then taxied to another beach. Not good as the island is surrounded by coral and the vaves break way out from the shore This was really for wading over the coral crest but saw some interesting sea creatures. Suva Fiji. More of a larger city but still small. We were at a pier here. Wlked around. Is a hike via vechicle to other parts of the island for things to do. Dirty market. Dravuni Island Fiji. More like the advertisements. Small island, 200 people, white sandy beaches, no real waves as they break far out. Some snorkeling is possible. Coral can be sharp. Great hiking trail up the mountain for 360 degree views out over the prettiest ocean you will ever see.We sat in on the one room school class for a lesson. I think the kids have to mocve to another island when they get a little older. Nuku Alofa, Kingdom of Tonga. Nice place. This is the capital. Interesting history.Ships tour was good. Poor beaches. Good cultural show. New Zealand: Beautiful country. Nicest people. We learned many interesting things. The cruise here was 12 days with 7 stops. We wasted 3 days going to and fro and then no landing at Norfolk Island Australia. These days would have been much better going to the National Park sounds and Fjords on the south island. Glow Worm cave trip was excellent, Old growth forests, Kiwi farms, Christchurch earthquake, Rotorua thermal park, were all great. The thing I liked the most were the mountains, endless mountains, and the esturaries, bays, sounds, and harbors that the ship had to get into. Excellent. I would recommend the Maasdam for the 3 reasons I opened with: Itinerary, price, nice ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was the second part to our cruise. Only about 800 to 900 on this section. We kept the same cabin 574 Main Deck and the same great crew looking after cabin. The ship as usual was kept clean and tidy. Unfortunately the menu in the ... Read More
This was the second part to our cruise. Only about 800 to 900 on this section. We kept the same cabin 574 Main Deck and the same great crew looking after cabin. The ship as usual was kept clean and tidy. Unfortunately the menu in the dining room and up in Lido did not change except for thanks giving evening. One evening in the dining the Lamb shank was very good. We found the Library a very good place to past the time of day. The shops were nothing to write home about, there was one big jewellery shop with some expensive items. Easy enough to get around the ship, lifts were never overcrowded except after a show when everyone was trying to either other places on the ship or to their cabins. The Hamburger/hot Dog place on deck 11 was great for lunch thou personally I did not like all the stuff that was put on the Hot Dog, Hamburgers were great. while having your lunch on deck it was quite often hard to hear the captain talking over the speaker. This was the part of cruise were looking forward to as my wife had lived on Niue and I was to get the conducted tour, it was not to be as the captain advised it was to rough at the wharf to land. We also did not land at Rarotonga as it was to rough to get into the tenders. Vava U Tonga was great as we were able to meet up with the wife's son and delivery a case of items that they wanted. Arranging to get off the ship with the case was a hassle from the front desk staff but in the end we saw customs when they came aboard and got cleared by them. Savusavu was ok, but Suva has not changed since we were last there apart from more high rise building. Dravuni Island was the best place for snorkelling and swimming. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We thought that we would get away to some sunshine and this was the first part of our 28 day cruising the Pacific visiting islands that one would not normally visit. We enjoyed the smaller ship which only had about 1200 people on board. ... Read More
We thought that we would get away to some sunshine and this was the first part of our 28 day cruising the Pacific visiting islands that one would not normally visit. We enjoyed the smaller ship which only had about 1200 people on board. Visiting islands via the ships tenders was an interesting experience. While the ship was of a mature age the crew and hotel staff kept in clean Our stateroom was 574 on the main deck slightly forward. We received an upgrade from the deck below. Our two cabin stewards kept the cabin clean and tidy. We asked for anytime dining in the dining room in the evening and was always able to be seated. Always asked if wanted to join others or be seated by ourselves. Personal option of the Dining room menu was sometimes good. Thanksgiving dinner good. Had Breakfast and lunch in the Lido and also dinner three or four times. Unfortunately food choices for dinner did not change except for the sweets. No dancing and the entertainment I would only give six out of ten. We did one shore excursion at Raiatea, Society Islands to visit a plantation and swim at a very nice island. We found that you had to use 8 US quarters in the washing machine and 4 quarters in the dryer. Shops on the Maasdam were nothing to write home about, big jewellery shop, If you where looking for pearls. Though you could find cheaper pearls in the island markets. Back at Papeete we received a in transit pass to get off the ship as we were on the second part of the cruise. Would I cruise with Holland America again, would depend on the itinerary but I did like the smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The cruise was chosen for the itinerary - a journey around some of the islands of French Polynesia - not because we specifically wanted to travel with Holland America. What we liked: - islands did not disappoint, itinerary was good ... Read More
The cruise was chosen for the itinerary - a journey around some of the islands of French Polynesia - not because we specifically wanted to travel with Holland America. What we liked: - islands did not disappoint, itinerary was good (one island was missed due to swells) - ship not crowded (around 1,200 people) - passengers well behaved (the cruise was heavily biased towards the over 60 crowd, which included us) - staff generally friendly and polite - cabin accomodation clean and comfortable What we didn't care for: - cruise expensive, we were prepared to pay but did not feel it offered 'value-for-money' - cabin lacked the space and amenities associated with a suite in other cruise lines - food in Lido buffet repetitive; more choice of cuisine urgently needed - shore excursions were conducted by outside companies (zodiacs not yet operating), ship just added a booking premium - encountered a number of staff with very limited English language capability (they should be offered lessons at the company's expense) - enterainment options could be improved eg onboard cinema - shops limited eg area dominated by an overly-large jewelry retailer Overall, an interesting experience but we would probably not sail with this line again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary! I have never seen such a low cost for a 28 day cruise that included such dreamy South Pacific Island ports. It was an opportunity I had not seen before on my favorite cruise line! We arrived a ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary! I have never seen such a low cost for a 28 day cruise that included such dreamy South Pacific Island ports. It was an opportunity I had not seen before on my favorite cruise line! We arrived a few days earlier into Papeete and took the ferry to Moorea and spent a few nights at the Hilton Moorea and the Intercontinental Moorea! Moorea turned out to be my favorite island and the over the water bungalows were even more amazing than the pictures! Being able to jump in the water from our deck and snorkel among corral and colorful fish was incredible! The green mountainous backdrop with the turquoise water was surreal! The Hilton Moorea was one of the best hotels I have ever stayed at in my life! Embarkation was a breeze, stepped off the ferry from Moorea, walked 5 minutes to where our ship was docked and was on board within 15 minutes! We had a quiet, comfortable inside cabin on a lower deck with the best room stewards, Jenni and Carlos who take care of everything for us, always insuring we were comfortable! We had early dining in the main dining room, and our biggest complaint was we were torn between eating outside in the back of the Lido watching the amazing sunsets or the excellent, fun service we had in the dining room with Sugi and Andre! We always found something delicious to eat and really loved the salads! They were the best ever! The entertainment was different than your typical cruise. No flashy productions. We thoroughly enjoyed the Polynesian show and the comedian! The ship is small and I loved that! We were always able to find a lounger somewhere to hang out and read with incredible views! I enjoyed the EXC classes and presentations! I learned some interesting recipes and just enjoyed the cultural learning experiences! The ports were the reason we came on this cruise, and our only disappointment was having to miss 3 of the stops. Papeete: We did a tour with Dave's VIP tours and we really enjoyed the tour. The minivan was a little crowded, and the AC did not work, but our group made the best of it and we had a great introductory tour of Tahiti. Dave was an excellent tour guide. Highly recommended! We also walked around the colorful market which was bustling! Our first port stop, Hiva Oa, was cancelled due to rough water! Our second stop, Taiohae, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, was fantastic! I booked a horseback riding tour with Sabine, and she was not there when we disembarked, in fact she was late as she had gone to church. The tourist office was very helpful and called her, and so we waited. I am so glad we did. It was an incredible adventure. She picked us up in her old pickup truck and drove us 30 minutes into the mountains to her incredibly beautiful ranch. The horses are well cared for and it was a fantastic ride! We asked her if we could do another ride, she said yes and this time drove us back to town to ride horses around town. (my new friend on the tour was immediately bucked off) and decided she was done for the day. Sabine gave me her horse and we rode on through town and around down to the beach. I would not recommend this part of the ride for novice riders as there are many potential hazards, cars, dogs, attacking bees, precipitous drops, and other crazy distractions! This was definitely the most wild adventure of the trip! The scenery was unforgettable! Sabine and her husband were very kind and invited us into their home for refreshments. Rangiroa was next, and this was my husband's favorite excursion. We were able to go to the Blue Lagoon. It took about an hour by boat to get there, and once there we snorkeled with black tip sharks, then walked around a pink sand beach, then did a kind of drift snorkel, then a picnic on a motu while sitting in the pretty blue water, then a snorkel in the aquarium (amazing), then a boat ride through the pass watching dolphins jump!!! Made it back to the ship with a few minutes to spare. Highly recommended! Huahine Iti was next. We rented an ATV for the day from Europcar! It was pricey but what a great way to explore on our own. We went to the vanilla farm, saw some eels, the pearl farm ( I bought most of my pearls here and thought the prices were reasonable), some beautiful beaches, some ancient ruins.... also highly recommended! Bora Bora was the next stop. I believe my expectations were too high for Bora Bora! We rented scooters and explored the island. It has a very tourist trap like feel to it! Matira Beach was nice and crowded. There were some really gross things floating in a certain area of it which was a little concerning! Overall, my least favorite port and I don't think I would want to return to it ever! Rarotonga was a nice surprise! We rented e-bikes and had a blast! We circled the island and spent a lot of time on the beautiful Muri Beach. Raiatea was a blast. We booked our excursions right at the port! We did a drift snorkel where we took a boat to another motu and drifted slowly through an amazing reef! When we returned back to port, I did another tour, this time a 4x4 up in the beautiful mountains! The scenery was incredible! Moorea was also a port stop for us and I was excited to be back. We booked a private tour with Albert and another great couple we had met on the cruise, and had an amazing day exploring the island! Albert's stories made the tour even more fantastic! Vava'u Tonga was another stop on the cruise. We had nothing planned as we had miss the whale season. At port we met a few other cruisers who were going to a beach and chipped in on an inexpensive taxi. When we got to the beach, it looked kind of desolate and trashy, so I apologized and told the rest of the group we were going to go to another beach. They stayed and we ended up at the Tongan Beach Resort. We had to pay a small fee to stay there, but the loungers were nice and we had a nice relaxing day! Savusavu, Fiji was a friendly port. We ended up joining another couple on an inexpensive private tour to a beach where survivor, Australia had been filmed and then a tour around the island. I got some great deals on souvenirs at the booths by the port. Suva, Fiji. We booked a private river tubing trip on the Navua river! I highly reccommend booking an excursion at this port since it seemed a little gritty and maybe a little dangerous to walk around. The river tubing trip was amazing. Waterfalls and rapids, it was a blast! Dravuni Island was amazing. No excursion needed here! Great snorkeling if you walk to the other side. A nice hike up the top of the little mountain was beautiful Cheap massage and boat rides were readily available. A cheap makeshift bar with local beer. I brought a flotation device and just floated in the beautiful water! Fantastic day! Nuku Alofa Tonga was next and we took a taxi to the shuttle to Big Mama's yacht club. A funky little place where we snorkeled and hung out on the beach We had the best fish and chips of our life (real tuna). Auckland, NZ was our final stop! What a beautiful city. We booked an e-bike guided tour and had such a great time. We definitely want to go back to this place! Disembarkation was super easy, grabbed a taxi and checked into our hotel room at the Intercontinental Auckland. There is an airport shuttle that is much cheaper than the taxis we used for our trip to the airport. All in all, an unforgettable cruise! HAL continues to be my favorite cruiseline!!! In fact, I will be taking another cruise with HAL (and Oprah) in less than a month!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
PREFACE - This was our 34th cruise, 5th time cruising Tahiti. Ship was a bit older than our other cruise ships and it showed. Lots of wear and tear, rust everywhere. CABIN #058 - Cabin a/c never worked correctly, cabin never cooler ... Read More
PREFACE - This was our 34th cruise, 5th time cruising Tahiti. Ship was a bit older than our other cruise ships and it showed. Lots of wear and tear, rust everywhere. CABIN #058 - Cabin a/c never worked correctly, cabin never cooler than 75 and cabin had seen better days appearance wise. Rugs somewhat dirty, paint worn, veranda furniture well used. We cruised with Oceania, the Marina twice and Windstar twice. Both ships were well maintained. Cabin steward Daha was great, one of the best ever. DINING - The main dining room was ok, not great but just ok. Thought food portions were on the small side, average presentation. Don't order the shrimp cocktail, ordered it twice, shrimp has been frozen prior to serving and they were soggy and tasteless. Oh, here's something. NO BANANAS!! Never saw one the entire cruise. Was told by manager that the bananas were not up to HAL standards. You mean that in this tropical paradise HAL could not find bananas! Every port we stopped at had local vendors with them and they were delicious. A few things that bothered us was at the buffet. No self-serve iced tea or juice, no working ice machine. Watched this happen a lot, you know, people handling fruit, bread items, etc. than replacing them. Also saw other unsanitary things like wiping the tables with the same rag over and over again after rinsing out the rag in a bucket of something. Servers rubbing their nose, coughing, etc. Just didn't want to be watching what the staff was doing before eating. Twice had to wait almost 30 mintues for a hamburger, I timed it, at the Wave In burger stand by the pool. All and all, food just a little above Golden Corral .Ate at the Pinnacle one night. Better than the buffet, a little better than the main restaurant. Service was great at both the Pinnacle and our main dining table. One thing about the food, there is not one dinner that we felt was outstanding, just average. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITES This one is easy. Worst comedian ever, really didn't care for the other group, can't remember their names, something like the Best Boys. That was it for the acts. 14 days of not having to rush thru dinner to make a show. Now for the casino. My honey killed them on the slot machines, cleared almost $900.00 while playing them everyday. Was surprised that the machines were available even while we where in port. Never saw that before. Small set of table games. One crap table, never saw anyone playing there, one roulette wheel with spotty play. Poker tables and blackjack. I like to play craps and blackjack. Never like to play alone at the crap table and as for the blackjack table first time I played there discovered that if you get blackjack it pays 6 to 5, not 2 to 1. So a $10 bet pays $12, not $15. Also, all the kings are removed from the deck. Anyone who knows how to play the game knows that cards worth 10 hurt the dealer so removing them tilts the game even further to the house. Every Texas hold'm tournament never was played do to lack of players. Oh, never saw a cocktail waitress, had to ask several times for someone to bring a drink. Won a little playing blackjack the first night, never played again. I had budgeted a bunch of money for both of us to gamble with during the cruise, took it all home. SERVICE - Service for the most part was great. Cabin steward, Daha was one of the best we have ever had. Main dining room staff, table #50, also did a great job. Wine steward was a little overworked, had too many guests but he did the best he could. Head waiter very attentive. Liked having the late dinner time, never felt there was a rush to get us out. Front desk very helpful as were the tour staff. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS - Since we have cruised here in the past we didn't take any but did buy a daily pass at a major hotel on Bora Bora. All in all, this cruise was booked because 14 days in Tahiti is not to be missed the price for our cabin was greatly reduced by HAL because of our prior casino play. Would we cruise on HAL in the future, only if they give us the discounted casino rate, but most likely not. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Embarked at Papeete ran very smoothly . Especially loved our cabin and its position on the ship. It was a disabled cabin so had heaps of room to accommodate a wheelchair (which we did not have). The only downside to this cruise as opposed ... Read More
Embarked at Papeete ran very smoothly . Especially loved our cabin and its position on the ship. It was a disabled cabin so had heaps of room to accommodate a wheelchair (which we did not have). The only downside to this cruise as opposed to the others we have traveled on is the staff were not as friendly and some were quite rude. We traveled with another couple who had room 9098 which was the mirror image of our cabin. Food was OK but would not rave about it. We chose this cruise especially for the Itinerary which had a few sea days in between islands as we think it gets a bit tiring having a stop everyday and then you get bored having a few sea days . We got to stay in Bora Bora for an extra day as one of the other Islands were cancelled. We thought this was was great as other cruise ships we have been on would just give you an extra sea day. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I flew from Sydney via Auckland to Papeete and had 4 days at the Manava Suites before embarking on the Pacific Dawn to cruise back to Sydney. I can recommend the Manava Suites. The hotel is new (opened in March 2009) and I was ... Read More
I flew from Sydney via Auckland to Papeete and had 4 days at the Manava Suites before embarking on the Pacific Dawn to cruise back to Sydney. I can recommend the Manava Suites. The hotel is new (opened in March 2009) and I was upgraded from a superior room to a one bedroom duplex. It was like a one bedroom apartment with a lounge room and kitchen downstairs and a bedroom and bathroom upstairs...very nice. The hotel also has a magnificent infinity pool claimed to be the largest in Tahiti. The only negative was the restaurant - expensive food and drink but then it's Tahiti and everything is expensive there. I got the hotel shuttle to the ship - it was much cheaper than a taxi but it was driven by the rudest driver I have ever come across - he wanted to drop me off at the ferries rather than the cruise ship. When I pointed this out to him he did quite a lot of swearing in, what I assumed was French, under his breath. He really was creepy and I was glad to get out of the bus. Embarking was odd. I followed another couple to the end of the wharf where there was a gangway for passengers and a lot of crewing sitting around. No one knew what to do with us and so we just stood around looking at our bags until I asked someone to carry mine on. At the top of the gangway (on the ship), they still didn't know what to do with us especially when I told someone that I was sick and needed to be tested for swine flu. Finally after a lot of fluffing around, I had a picture taken, got my cruise card and the nurse took me off to the Medical Centre to be tested - not a nice test at all! After about 20 minutes, I got the all clear - no swine flu although I didn't really care because I felt dreadful and unfortunately was sick for the entire cruise. I had originally booked an ocean view cabin on deck 10 however at the last minute was upgraded to deck 11. I really loved my cabin. I have never been aft before - always at the front, so this was a pleasant change. My bed was very comfortable and the water pressure in the shower was amazing - better than what I have at home. I was only a few steps from the back deck where the spa pools were located. I didn't think much of my cabin stewardess. She basically had nothing to do in my cabin because I'm a neat freak however I did ask her for ice every afternoon. I got it 3 times in 16 days so I can't tick the box for good service from her. With respect to dining, I had most of my meals in the dining room. Although every night, just before closing time, I snuck up to the Buffet to get my cheese and biscuits to eat whilst watching the movie in my cabin. I also had a nice meal with some Cruise Critic people in the Steakhouse however I did not think it was worth paying an additional $25 for. Of particular note was the Greek salad and poached salmon at lunch time. Every time I had the salmon, it literally melted in my mouth - I couldn't get enough of it. The lunch menu also had some very yummy desserts. There were a number of vegetarian choices and I enjoyed quite a few of them even though I'm not vegetarian myself. By the end of the cruise, I was sick of the dining room and sick of the menu. If you didn't like the daily specials, the regular stuff was there day in, day out. I didn't buy any drinks but people were complaining about the cost of alcohol on board. I didn't notice it stopping people from drinking though. I had dinner with a couple and after 12 days on board, their bill was already $1,700. I hate to think what it was when they got off! The waiters seemed to work hard but for some reason that I couldn't fathom, the service was ordinary and so slow. It took a long time to get fed and a number of my friends stopped eating in the dining room because of the length of time it took to eat. Breakfast always took at least an hour and the toast always came late. Several times towards the end of the cruise, the waiters were putting dirty tablecloths back on the tables. Not very impressive. I regularly went to Le Patisserie for great coffee and yummy cookies. This was also an interesting spot to sit and people watch or watch the ridiculous Art Auctions. Why on earth would P&O put out paintings for auction with a $56,000 reserve price? I went to a few shows, some I liked and some I didn't like. Syd Halen was quite boring at the beginning with a lot of old, stupid jokes but became very entertaining with his juggling act at the end. I enjoyed Tony Pantano and Jackie Love's performance was average up until she sang a medley of Piaf songs which was utterly brilliant. I loved The Dome at the front of the ship. This was a great place to read in the morning whilst the sun shined through. I noticed quite a number of people having snoozes in this area both in the morning and in the afternoon. Unfortunately I had to cancel a few of my excursions because I was sick and I did not get off the ship until our last port, Port Denarau - Dravuni Island was cancelled due to purported bad weather on the home stretch which never actually eventuated. Our ports of call were Moorea, Bora Bora, Pago Pago, Apia, Savu Savu, Suva and Port Denarau. The onboard lectures were good. Sam Leon, a Life Enhancement Lecturer, was motivating and Peter Anderson, the astronomer, was interesting. We had a night of viewing aft on deck 10 but the weather wasn't good to us; we followed up with another night underneath the bridge on deck 10. Again it was a little cloudy but we did manage to see some star clusters and the area was great because there was not a lot of light. The final night of viewing was a disappointment because again it was cloudy but no one from P&O bothered to turn up with the binoculars. Peter did his best with his laser and we were able to see a few things of interest. I have been to Liars Club on other ships and it was always really funny. Liars Club on the Pacific Dawn didn't disappoint....it was hilarious and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Trivia was a very interesting activity and was well attended however it really brought the worst out in people. This was primarily caused by a team who constantly won the quizzes with very high scores. My team actually won 3 times but I'm convinced it was because we were in port and the "other" team didn't show up. I was surprised towards the end of the cruise when this particular team won (again), and people near me were actually booing them. One lady told me that she'd been to the Pursers Desk to complain (don't know how true this is). I think I'll always remember the Pacific Dawn just for the trivia! There was a good range of in-cabin movies and many were shown on the big screen in the International Show Lounge. I watched quite a number, e.g. Gran Torino, Castaway, He's Just Not That Into You, Nim's Island, Australia, Revolutionary Road, Yes Man, Bolt, Marley & Me, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, New in Town, Ghost Town, South Pacific, Night at the Museum, Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Mamma Mia, Sex and the City and Ice Age. Disembarkation: I wasn't allowed to get my passport back until after arrival in Sydney - this was because I had embarked in Tahiti. So I had to report to The Dome at 0645, collect my passport and get it stamped by Customs. It was not orderly and there was a bit of sitting around waiting for Customs to get their act together. Finally, I was able to eat a quick breakfast in the Buffet before going to the Show Lounge for disembarkation. My deck was called quickly and I got off the ship at around 0800. I collected my bag immediately and walked to Wynyard station to get the train home. I'd just like to add some observations regarding being a solo passenger. The solo get-together was nearly always held in the middle of the day - I found that I was usually doing something and so never was able to make it. I would have preferred a solo get-together in the evening before dinner, when you are at a loss for dinner companions. Also I'd meet people and then never see them again. I actually met some people on the way home on the train that I'd never seen on the ship! I also didn't like the huge dining tables - I always seemed to be seated at one with 10 people. It is so difficult to talk to everyone on a table of 10, you seem to be yelling across the table to be heard. I found the tables of 6 were best and whilst I requested this, I didn't always get it. Apart from that the ship is lovely. It is easy to get around and has many nice public areas to sit in. I didn't spend much time by the pool because I was sick and of the times I did go out to the pool found the area too smoky. As I mentioned earlier on, I was sick for the whole cruise and that was certainly bad timing and bad luck for me but aside from that, I felt it was an average cruise, not worth the large amount of money I paid for it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009

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