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We are a party of 6, 4 from Brisbane and 2 from the Gold Coast and all over 65. We have sailed on this ship before and have found it very comfortable and easy to find your way around. There are numerous activities available however, we did not take advantage of any. We had a balcony cabin which seemed a little after having a mini-suite on P&O the previous year. However, it was very comfortable although the bathroom needs a bit of timing with both trying to get ready. It is always nice to be able to sit on the balcony on sea days and just relax. We had 5.30pm dining which was good as it allows you to see any shows later in the evening. Sometimes, it seemed just a little early when you are having fun up on deck. The service is always exceptional. I was not enthused with some of the entertainment this time round but the Princess performers were quite good and they had an exceptional artist on the last night gaining a standing ovation. Disembarkation did not run smoothly and was running half an hour late due to immigration issues. However, we did get off at a reasonable time and home early in the morning. This cruise visited, Alotau, Doini Island, Kiriwina and Kitava Islands, Rabaul, Honiara and Port Vila. Four of these stops required the tender to get to shore. We arranged our own excursions at each port, apart from the smaller islands which you could just walk around. Overall, an interesting cruise, but not sure I would go to PNG again.

PNG Cruise

Sea Princess Cruise Review by Fluffy Duck

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2016
  • Destination: South Pacific
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
We are a party of 6, 4 from Brisbane and 2 from the Gold Coast and all over 65.

We have sailed on this ship before and have found it very comfortable and easy to find your way around. There are numerous activities available however, we did not take advantage of any.

We had a balcony cabin which seemed a little after having a mini-suite on P&O the previous year. However, it was very comfortable although the bathroom needs a bit of timing with both trying to get ready. It is always nice to be able to sit on the balcony on sea days and just relax.

We had 5.30pm dining which was good as it allows you to see any shows later in the evening. Sometimes, it seemed just a little early when you are having fun up on deck. The service is always exceptional.

I was not enthused with some of the entertainment this time round but the Princess performers were quite good and they had an exceptional artist on the last night gaining a standing ovation.

Disembarkation did not run smoothly and was running half an hour late due to immigration issues. However, we did get off at a reasonable time and home early in the morning.

This cruise visited, Alotau, Doini Island, Kiriwina and Kitava Islands, Rabaul, Honiara and Port Vila. Four of these stops required the tender to get to shore. We arranged our own excursions at each port, apart from the smaller islands which you could just walk around.

Overall, an interesting cruise, but not sure I would go to PNG again.
Fluffy Duck’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BD B720
The cabin was a reasonable size and always kept clean by the steward. Although the bathroom is very small, one person only at a time, we managed very well. The only issue I have with the cabin is that the cupboard and bathroom doors open onto each other and impede the front door when both are open.
Baja Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Private
    We hired a van for $150 for 3 hours. We thought this was reasonable value at $25 per person. We ended up with the driver and two guides who rode in the van with us. One of them chewed betel nut for the entire time but we did not show exception to it. The van was not airconditioned and the seats in poor repair but was sufficient for the trip.
    Out first stop was the Peter Turnbull memorial airstrip at which we paid AUD$5 entry and guided tour. The next stop was the Milne Bay memorial and market down near the water. We could see the ship from there. The next stop was a view from a hill where native children were dressed in their traditional attire. Each group was with parents and had a donation basket in front. Our next stop was at the Driftwood resort where we had a cold local beer as the day was very hot. The resort was on the water so the outlook was quite nice and peaceful. From there we went to the supermarket in town. Our guides came in with us as the security was very tight for locals on entry. We bought some Goroka coffee and the guides carried our purchases. The guides seemed reluctant to take us to one of the larger markets in town because of security.
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  • Honiara
    It was a Sunday so everything was closed. On shore they had moneychangers and we were able to get SID (Solomon Island dollars). They also accepted Kina for exchange. We walked outside the port gates and had to get two taxis for 6 of us as they nothing big enough. We managed to get a taxi for SID100 (AUD20) per taxi for one hour. It ended up being 2 hours but in that time we saw Henderson Field airbase where they have a memorial, a museum for WW11 relics, no charge, and then up to the US Guadalcanal War Memorial which is on top of a high lookout and well kept. We managed to change our SID back into AUD at the port. The roads here are pretty terrible so it took a long time to see things, apart from the driver on a go-slow drive. It was still cheap at $40 per taxi. Close to the ship they had paintings, wooden items handcrafts etc.
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  • Kiriwina and Kitava (Trobriand Islands)
    Kiriwina is a primitive island with coral beaches. You need good walking shoes but we did see some people brave walking into the water and swimming. Reef shoes would be the way to go here. The toilet facility was a thatched hut with a plastic container in the middle. One person attached himself to us as guide and at the end wanted $5 per person from the 6 of us when it was really only 2 of us who were guided. I found this island a little intimidating as there must have been about 200m of people sitting each side of the path selling wares. Everyone has the same thing, The wares were nearly 100% wood but you can’t imagine these people making these well tooled items. Our guide was taking us (two females) to a village but when he couldn’t tell us how far it was we turned back. The most disturbing thing about this island was the number of people trying to change AUD to Kina. Apparently they accept AUD and then need to convert it. I was terribly sorry I did not have any Kina to help them out. We heard that there is a money changer who turns up periodically but charges them 20%. I took some colouring books and pencils and left them with our guide who said he would make sure they got to the school.

    Kitiva was next. This was quite a nice island as well with good tree coverage. The wares here were simple native dresses, pieces of colourful material (not really sarongs), baskets, jewellery. There is a small island close and many people took a ride over in the local boats for $5. We did not swim here but it looked like people on the small island were. Once again, you need Kina. They do accept AUD but not sure what they do with it afterwards. We walked up to a lookout where there is a grave of Campbell, the first white person to start a plantation on the island. From here you can look down on the ship. There is also a 5Kina charge to enter. We went to see the skull cave, also at a cost of 5Kina. We were lucky a fellow passenger had some Kina to lend us. The wares were displayed amongst the trees and were woven baskets, dresses, brightly coloured material. The men had a beer at a stall on the beach. We quite enjoyed our time on this island.
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  • Highlights Tour
    When we got off the ship, the only transport we could find was a 2hr tour for $60 per person. 12 people in a minivan. They do have taxis but they were all gone by the time we got off the ship. This was not good value for what we saw but if we had not done this we would not have seen anything. We were taken to the observatory on a lookout. It was a good view over the harbour and volcano but inside the observatory were only wall posters describing the activity. The steps down to the building were quite steep with no handrail and some people opted not to go. From there we went out onto the old Rabaul airstrip which is now covered with volcanic ash and from where you can see the volcano. Some children must have run 500m to sell us some beaded bracelets. We viewed some Japanese tunnels dug into walls as we drove along but did not stop. Next was the markets where we had 15mins before being taken back to the ship. Two of us then opted to go back out of the fenced port to look at the wares along the road: hats, key rings, bags, jewellery, coffee mugs – quite a variety.
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