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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We chose this cruise as it was one of the few that left from Melbourne, so we didn't have the hassle of planes/trains etc prior to the trip. We enjoyed the ports of call, and some of the staff couldn't have been better. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was one of the few that left from Melbourne, so we didn't have the hassle of planes/trains etc prior to the trip. We enjoyed the ports of call, and some of the staff couldn't have been better. However, the overall food and restaurant experience were appalling. Bad organisation, cheap food, no change of menu, no flexibility with dining times, having to queue for breakfast, upstairs pantry - don't even go there .... you had to pay for a lot of the food, and which cruise line does not put food on after 9 pm on New Year's Eve, for heaven's sake? THIS ONE!!! We would hang out to be on shore just so we could find something decent to eat. The biggest problem with P&O is that even though they get you to complete a survey on your experience, they don't seem to give a toss at how bad the review is. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We cruised on the Pacific Aria for Christmas. We had a wonderful time. Everything was great. Staff & crew were friendly and helpful. Our cabin & balcony was much bigger than we expected and our bed was very comfortable. We did ... Read More
We cruised on the Pacific Aria for Christmas. We had a wonderful time. Everything was great. Staff & crew were friendly and helpful. Our cabin & balcony was much bigger than we expected and our bed was very comfortable. We did have a fridge in our cabin and yes it was cold. Everything was spotless and very tidy. Our cabin stewards were really great. Always greeted us with a friendly "Good Morning" and a smile. The restaurants were really lovely, the food was always hot & very tasty [plenty of it, never felt hungry afterwards]. We didn't mind having to line up to book Angelo's or the Dragon Lady restaurants. We loved the new idea in the pantry for lining up for food. Much more hygienic for everyone. Great selection and very tasty. All the shows were great. We thought the renovations of the ship were really lovely, very posh and classy. The shops had a great range of different items to buy, not too expensive either. The ports & shore excursions were great, loved the free time to just wander around & shop. The only downside was the whingers. We have cruised many times on different ships, but never have we heard so many people whinge, moan & criticise the ship, crew, meals, shows & restaurants. In our opinion, it is obvious they don't like to be out of their comfort zone, so instead of them annoying other people like us with their comments, maybe they should just stay home or holiday some other way. We would certainly recommend the Pacific Aria to our friends and family for a lovely restful holiday, minus the whingers we hope. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
My husband and I cannot speak highly enough of the cruise on the Pacific Dawn. Balcony was excellent. Service was outstanding in all areas from room service to the entertainment. We arrived home wanting to cruise again to which we did only ... Read More
My husband and I cannot speak highly enough of the cruise on the Pacific Dawn. Balcony was excellent. Service was outstanding in all areas from room service to the entertainment. We arrived home wanting to cruise again to which we did only to be disappointed on the Aria. We will go on the dawn again. Everyday we participated in some activity from going on the tender boats to the various islands and at night enjoying the karaoke and shows. Love the trivia. Food was absolutely beautiful. Staff were fantastic and so friendly. what more can I say it was an amazing cruise. Thank you for all the wonderful people we met. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We are a very well travelled cruising couple and have been on many a different cruise lines including P&O. We arrived home today after a 9 night Pacific Christmas Cruise and we will never travel with them again.We travelled on the ... Read More
We are a very well travelled cruising couple and have been on many a different cruise lines including P&O. We arrived home today after a 9 night Pacific Christmas Cruise and we will never travel with them again.We travelled on the Pacific Dawn and all I can say it has gone downhill. We travelled on her last year and we had no complaints but this time around the service was appalling. I think P&O have cut back a lot on staff and crew since we last sailed with her. The food in the restaurants have also declined to near Rock bottom, we never had a hot meal except for the second last day when we ordered a soup. The quality of the meals were very poor to say the least. Salt Resturant was an exception fabulous food as always.P&O really need to pick up their game as there is now a lot of new competitors here in Australia. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2011
Because of work commitments my husband and I had separate holidays this year. He went to Malaysia with his mother for a week and I decided to take a cruise. I have wanted to try one for several years now and it seemed like the perfect ... Read More
Because of work commitments my husband and I had separate holidays this year. He went to Malaysia with his mother for a week and I decided to take a cruise. I have wanted to try one for several years now and it seemed like the perfect opportunity. If I liked it then my husband had agreed to go on a cruise with me next year. I was looking forward to a relaxing solo holiday, but at the last minute a friend decided to join me. I was anticipating some hassles, but it was a very easy process to get the cabin configured for twin beds and have her added to the booking. Having read other reviews on Cruise Critic I was determined to get to the terminal early on embarkation day and, as a result, check in and boarding went very smoothly. The staff were all friendly and patient with my 'first time cruiser' questions and the lines were very short. When my friend arrived a little later in the day the lines were bigger and it took a little longer. Now, I haven't been on a cruise ship before, and from some of the (not very complimentary) reviews about the Dawn I was a trifle worried that the ship would be small and dated and not particularly clean. I needn't have worried. The Dawn cuts an impressive figure moored in the Brisbane river, towering above all of the buildings -quite a sight for the uninitiated. The decor on board is quite 90's-ish in tans and peaches and golds, but the ship is tidy and there's a nod toward the art deco era that I appreciated as I (along with a lot of others I imagine) have a fantasy of cruising that revolves around the golden era of the ocean liner in the 1910's and 20's I had booked a stateroom with a balcony and my travel agent had got me a room in the middle of the ship. I have been on plenty of boats before but I was a bit worried about seasickness so I figured that if worse came to worse I could sit out on my own balcony and feel green in privacy. I needn't have worried about the seasickness. We had 3m swells for the entire trip and my stomach was a little upset for the first 24 hours but once my body got used to it I was just fine - I even find myself missing the rocking now when I'm in bed at night! The balcony turned out the be the best thing ever. I spent hours out there with a shawl, a drink and one of the three books I had brought. It's amazing how mesmerising the ocean is and just how many stars there are at night! The room was fine. It was clean and tidy and in good repair, about the size and quality of an average hotel room. There was TONS of closet and drawer space and the hangers were great. I had brought some from home as well, just in case, but I could have left them in my closet and been just as happy. The bathroom was ingenious. The toilet was angled into the bathroom so you didn't feel cramped. there was lots of storage space in the cabinets around the mirror, enough for make up and toiletries for two girls with room to spare. The shower was huge (although the shower curtain did like to adhere to you - maybe a door would have been better) and the water pressure was great - another pleasant surprise. I have to add a note here about our room stewards (we had 2). The were both fantastic, really friendly and helpful. I've never had that level of service in any hotel, ever. I left glowing reviews for them with the reception and tipped (P&O has removed any tipping requirement and New Zealand does not have a tipping culture so that was quite a big deal for me). I have a thing about buffets and hygiene. My mother was a little bit neurotic (well.. kind of a lot neurotic actually) and as a result I don't eat from buffets or salad bars if I can help it, so my friend and I ate at the Palm Court Dining room for all of our meals. The food was great, not quite fine dining, but there was a good choice and you could always find something that you were suer to enjoy. The service was generally good with a few really excellent waiters and a couple of unpleasant ones. Needless to say, the good ones got a written recommendation and a compliment to the maitre'd (but not a tip, the anytime dining meant that we never had the same waiter for more than 1 or 2 meals) We never had a problem getting a seat in the dining room and it was good to meet different people at every meal. Most of the time it was easy to make conversation. If all else failed you could always revert to the general questions: So... have you cruised before? Have you had a good time so far? Will you be staying on in NZ after the cruise? etc. I thought that I would be really busy going to all the activities, but to my surprise I ended up leaving my friend to go to all of the lifestyle seminars and zumba classes and I eked out my own schedule that mainly consisted of strolling along the promenade deck and jogging track, reading on my balcony, sketching on the promenade deck, drinking the odd G&T in the Bengal Bar, dressing for dinner and catching the evening shows. The shows were a bit of a mixed bag. The comedians were alright, the circus performers were great, and the musical shows were oriented towards the kids - we didn't make it through Pirates of the Pacific. Disembarkation was a breeze. We were breakfasted and off the ship by 10.30am. It was all handled very efficiently. Wow, I've written quite a bit more than I intended. All in all it was a great holiday. Far more relaxing than I had anticipated but brilliant just the same. At the risk of sounding soppy being 'at sea' was a unique experience. Even with the resort-like facilities and the two thousand other passengers I still felt like an explorer when I stood at the rail and looked out at the endless waves. It was eminently intoxicating. My next stop is the travel agent for more cruise brochures. Maybe Asia next year? Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Pacific Dawn 1/10-5/10/11, This is my 2nd P&O Australia cruise and the other being a short food & wine on The Pearl. And to be fair I would struggle to do anything longer. We had an outside Cabin which was great on deck 10, but ... Read More
Pacific Dawn 1/10-5/10/11, This is my 2nd P&O Australia cruise and the other being a short food & wine on The Pearl. And to be fair I would struggle to do anything longer. We had an outside Cabin which was great on deck 10, but being up the front you noticed the swell. We were a group of 8 so made it fun as we could make it that way. The staff who smile on P&O stand out as most have sour expressions on there faces. We did have a couple of lovely waiters 3 nights in a row who helped make it memorable. Even tho there were kids clubs, they ran riot on the ship. P&O are very expensive in regards to drinks and food outside the buffet and main restaurant. can only compare to Princess, but they are preferable to P&O. the evening entertainment was average, as were the comedians. No dancing was available until midnight and with nothing going on hard to keep interested to stay awake... the bars were lovely, but the singers were terrible. Circ pacific was good tho. As was the shows. Even tho anytime dining, the restaurant was 5.30pm & 8.15 Dining which made it hard to get to shows. It was my partners Birthday and As I said we made it fun. The adults only area on the back was a great place to sit in the sun, The food was Nice, if you are a man, better to order two mains tho as it would not be enough to feed you. For the price we paid was alright, Good for 1st time cruisers as only can go up! But will look at other options for longer cruises, not P&O Australia Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
This ship is dark,dreary and past its use by date. Service was shocking;we had problems oredering wine with our meals,wine turning up after meal was completed for 3 nights running,waiter seemed suprised when we asked for the wine to be ... Read More
This ship is dark,dreary and past its use by date. Service was shocking;we had problems oredering wine with our meals,wine turning up after meal was completed for 3 nights running,waiter seemed suprised when we asked for the wine to be served before the start of meal.On ordering a bottle of sparkling wine waiter appeared with 1 sherry glass and 1 wine glass !! Dirty glasses were placed on our table,and left for the duration of our meal,despite asking waiter to get rid of them,these were NOT our glasses.Open sitting dinner does not work;despite going to the inconvenience of booking a table we still had to wait.We were also shocked at poor dress standards of other diners,it is not polite to wear baseball hats at the table,nor wear boardies or thongs! 5 days passed before we were approached by a waiter out on the decks,same poor service in Charlies cafe.Waiters walked round in a dream and would not give eye contact. Why does the music have to be so loud out on Lido deck?Why do we have to put up with music videos going on the screen all day long?Surely the staff could see the mass exodus when dreadful Rap,Hip Hop music was put on.If we were at a resort we would NOT want a large screen flickering all day long,KEEP the screen for night time,movies under the stars....do not inflict it on passengers. P&O you lost a lot of money from wine,beer,cocktails and coffees sales due to poor waiting staff. We also did not appreciate the very loud music from the Lido,we could actually hear it in our cabin on deck 10.The balcony was virtually unusable due to outward opening door,also the stench of cigarette smoke wafting up from deck 7 and down from deck 12,we had asked for non smoking,we should have been told smoking was on the starboard side. We spent $9.000 dollars on this cruise,and feel very cheated on our experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2011
Background: We're 60 year old Australians with only 8 previous cruises with which to compare. This cruise was offered to us by email 3 weeks prior at a great last minute price. Back in the 80's & 90's we had cruised ... Read More
Background: We're 60 year old Australians with only 8 previous cruises with which to compare. This cruise was offered to us by email 3 weeks prior at a great last minute price. Back in the 80's & 90's we had cruised to some of these islands. Embarkation: This is the first cruise to which we didn't have to fly as we live near Brisbane. The shuttle service offered by the nearby car storage was efficient. Embarkation went smoothly with lines moving quickly. The wait for your number to be called was reasonable considering we were early. Once on board, we were directed to our cabin where we left our hand luggage and went exploring, followed by lunch. The ship left on time at 2 pm. One of our suitcases took until late afternoon to appear. The Ship: Built in 1991 this ship was showing its age but the recent refurbishment helped it feel modern. Public areas were nicer than we expected. As it was originally the Regal Princess there was similarities to that line. There was some rough weather on this cruise with some seasickness experienced by other passengers. Perhaps a more modern ship would have handled the waves better. Cabin: Our ocean-view cabin was very pleasing and surprisingly large. With the bed head on the side wall the window view was quite good. The bed was comfortable with 4 pillows supplied. This was the first time our suitcases couldn't fit under the bed but there was a space on both sides of the window behind the curtain where we could stow them. We liked the open style walk-in type robe which had good hanging space. The shower was a generous size. One of the things changed during the refurbishment were new flat-screen TVs (a bit small). The small fridge was handy for keeping our supply of Coke & snacks cold. Our only disappointment was that the floor had obviously not been vacuumed and the plug was jammed fast in the basin. When we pointed this out to our cabin steward he apologised profusely and immediately rectified the problems. He seemed very efficient at his job. Food & drinks: Overall we found the service in the main dining room (Palm Court) to be fine but the standard of food was inferior ' maybe they were hoping more people would use the extra-charge restaurants (which we didn't use). There was a noticeable lack of seafood other than fish ' not even the usual prawn cocktails (as my DW is not a seafood lover she was happy with the quality). We were pleased with being able to choose side vegetables on the menu. Although you were supposed to book each night for dinner, we sat with a lovely couple from our Cruise Critic roll call and they were able to organise the same table and dining time for the whole cruise. It is relaxing having the same dinner companions and the same dining room staff got to know our preferences. After experiencing the long lines at the buffet (Caf' Del Sol) the first morning, we used the MRD for breakfast every other morning. The food seemed better and the atmosphere more relaxing for breakfast. We did use the buffet for lunch but wished there were separate food stations as on other ships ' trays are still supplied. Some times the line stretched almost out the door! There were rolls and French fries available outside on the deck. Food at the buffet is not available 24/7 as on Princess ships and the times varied between sea and port days. Disappointedly burgers, prawns and ice-cream were only available for a price (except vanilla ice-cream was available in the MRD at night). The only exception was on the last day at lunch when prawns were offered at the buffet ' maybe they hadn't sold enough! Coffee and tea was available 24/7 but there were no cookies at any time ' except by buying them from the coffee shop! Also we missed the freshly made waffles for breakfast offered on some other ships. There was no drink packages offered ' a can of soft drink was expensive at $2.75. Wine choices and price were similar to other cruise lines. Room service was $3 for delivery. We were pleased to see hand-sanitizers at MRD and the buffet. Also the public toilets had the main door open and/or paper towels supplied to open them. Staff and service on board: Generally the staff were friendly and polite. The service was as expected for a 3 star ship. Entertainment: We enjoyed the shows in the main theatre as we have done on other cruises. These are the highlight of our evening. The lighting and costumes in the production shows were spectacular and the performers on the stage worked hard to entertain. The other entertainers were good as was the Cruise director. Also in the atrium on 2 nights an acrobatic group from Columbia performed - they were just amazing. This was viewable from three decks with the only downsize was the lack of seating provided. The program of activities from which to choose was fine. Some of our highlights were the humorous culinary demonstration in the theatre & the passenger singing competition. We did miss not having the informative enrichment lectures offered my other lines. At the open games/card venue offered by the ship, we found 3 lovely passengers with whom we played cards every day. Shore Excursions & Destinations: We normally try to avoid shore excursions organised by ships as we feel that they were too expensive. On this cruise we were happy to do our own thing. Armed with maps & information collected before the cruise, we easily explored ourselves. Three of the 4 ports required using tenders and the delays with these were reasonable. As the weather was very wet at the 1st port, Isle of Pines (and we'd been there before), we stayed on the ship. At the next, Mystery Island we walked around the island and snorkelled. The 3rd stop was Port Villa, the only docking port where we did our own walking tour followed by shopping ' duty-free alcohol was the only thing cheap there (e.g. 2L bottle of Jim Beam for $20). The last port, Lifou Isle was disappointing as the lovely snorkelling beach (Jinek Bay) was difficult to access as the steps were washed away last year and still not replaced ' don't forget they're on island time!. The only means of accessing the beach was by a primitive ladder that had slippery and widely spaced rungs. My DW did not want to risk it. Disembarkation: Being one of the last groups to leave the ship, we were delayed way past the scheduled time of departure. Maybe disembarkation was delayed by customs. Anyway, we weren't in any rush as we only had to collect our car from storage and drive home. Conclusion: As we paid $72 each per day for an ocean-view cabin which is less than half the usual promoted special price for this cruise, we certainly had value for money. Anyone paying the usual price may have felt different. This is only rated a 3 star ship by P&O and as such is not to the usual standard of Princess or Holland America which are owned by the same company, Carnival Corporation. Australians are a bit of a captive segment as until recently P&O had no competition here. In the present economic climate this has changed but Carnival still requires Australians to book through the local agent thus missing out on discounts offered to Americans. Also P&O doesn't have a loyalty program like its sisters' lines. Being retired we could take advantage of the late special. Anyone with children would need to book early as there were 300 children on this cruise and it wasn't school holidays! In our opinion the ship, service and entertainment are generally satisfactory but the quality of the food could have improved for seafood lovers. We would recommend P&O at the right price and would sail again with them. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
This was my first cruise but I really enjoyed it. I guess these things are what you make of them and my partner and I are very social people, so we chatted to most people and got to know as many people as possible. We also tried to do as ... Read More
This was my first cruise but I really enjoyed it. I guess these things are what you make of them and my partner and I are very social people, so we chatted to most people and got to know as many people as possible. We also tried to do as many of the activities as we could squeeze in so aways seemed to be running from one thing to the next. The staff were wonderful Cruise Director David Pepper was great, as were the entertainment staff - Pee-Wee, Anthony, Karen and the others. The shows were brilliant!! Girt by Sea was an Australiana show which I thought would be cheesy, but it was so well done. The main singers were Charlotte Fortune and Neil James. Both wonderful and nice people to talk to socially. My favourite would be the Mentalist show by Phoenix. I saw his first show and it was so good I saw the same show repeated again. His memory is amazing and the way he can read people's minds is mind blowing. Highly recommended. He also was social with the passengers and he did some close up tricks for my partner and I and I'm still baffled how he does them! Loree from LA was a pianist/singer playing every night. Also brilliant. Food wise, Salt was lovely ($40 surcharge) but absolutely loved La Luna ($20 surcharge). The duck was amazing! The buffet one was okay. Went there mostly because it was easy. Get ready to put on weight! The night club was fun too. My only criticism was they closed down whenever the crowd dies down. I believe they should still stay open until a set time if there are still people that want to party there. Had fun in the casino, but the bar would shut before the casino did so you had to run up to the nightclub to get drinks. Very bizarre. First port was actually Airlie Beach but it's not listed here. First time I've ever been there. We just relaxed near this big public pool near the beach. Perfect day. Beautiful But overall, excellent. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Introduction: This was our first cruise under the P&O flag out of Auckland and my eight cruise in total over several years. We are both in our early 50's. Embarkation From the time that we arrived at Prince's Wharf ... Read More
Introduction: This was our first cruise under the P&O flag out of Auckland and my eight cruise in total over several years. We are both in our early 50's. Embarkation From the time that we arrived at Prince's Wharf to the time we stepped foot in our cabin it was just under 30 minutes. One tip is to grab a Customs departure card from your travel Agent or next time you are at the airport and fill this in before leaving home. This will save you time and prevent you having to move out of the line to fill in, as several people had to. The Cabin Our cabin was 11174 an Outside cabin on the 11th deck (A deck). Slightly rear of mid ship. The first Outside cabin past the Balcony cabins. It was a good position, only about 20 metres from the Aft stairwell and lifts and only one level below the Plantation restaurant and pool deck. Although immediately below the pool deck we didn't hear much noise, only a couple of times did we hear tables being dragged on deck. Our bed was a queen configuration. Comfy mattress on a slat base. our empty suitcases just fitted underneath. Our room stewart Jomon must not have been use to Duvets as it was pretty well tucked in at the bottom for the first few days, only bringing it to half way up your chest. On one side of the bed you have a small set of four draws and a lamp. on the window side is the desk that also serves as the bed side cabinet with another four draws. All the original furniture from the Ocean Village apart from the TV. The desk would be about 1.4m long with lamp and phone. this is where the one and only power point is for the room. the only other power point is above the TV, but is English. So be sure to pack a double adaptor. The window is a good size. I would guess just over a metre square. The TV is a ViewSonic 22" flat screen and has AV (RCA plugs) along with PC, HDMI and USB connections. The picture quality of the in-house TV feeds is not that great. Other furniture in the room is a single armchair and a desk chair and a small round coffee table. The walk in wardrobe has a good amount of hanger space with 14 wooden coat hanger provided, but no spring clip pants or skirt hangers. There is eight draws about .8m wide with a cupboard above that houses your safe and life jackets. There is a good amount of space above the coat hangers for bulky items or even bags. Opposite the walk in wardrobe is three side by side full length mirrors which gives a good impression of lots of space. Between the main cabin area and the wardrobe is the small built in fridge and cabinet for glasses and supplies. the fridge is a clever design in that you can stand up a tall bottle of water or wine inside it, with enough room for cans to sit behind it. Below the fridge is a locked cupboard. Not sure what it contains. Above the fridge cupboard is a couple of well spaced glass shelves that house your pool towels. The bathroom/toilet is well laid out, but certainly a one person at a time job. The shower is about 1.5m long and .8m wide. The shower rose comes out of the corner, so a little strange. The water pressure is just OK. It has a single mixer control. Has a built in shampoo and conditioner shelf. The ship provides a combined shampoo/conditioner dispenser. It is a shower curtain and not a door, but the shower seems big enough that the shower curtain doesn't cling to you at all while taking a shower. Not too much vanity area around the sink, but has mirrored cupboards both sides of the main mirror. The they three shelves in each each. All the same height, but not just high enough to hold tall cans of hair spray/deodorant. Lighting is OK, but not fantastic. One thing I liked about the bathroom was there wasn't a big step or lip to get into the room. The actual toilet is angled off the corner, but has enough leg room. the entire bathroom appears to be one moulded unit. The WiFi internet connection was good in our room. Laundrette This was located on the 6th and 10th floor and had eight top loading washing machines (on the 10th floor one) which operated on a AU$2.00 coin. Some were a little tricky and you had to open a small compartment on top to trigger the reset switch to make it start. The load took approx 30 minutes on a normal cycle. The clothes driers were free, a 30 minute cycle just doesn't get the clothes fully dry if you have a full load. The Lounges and Bars This is where you can see that P&O has spent a bit of money. The Orient (Deck 7) This has an English pub feel to it, so not too sure why it was named The Orient. Lots of nice timber panels and earth tone fabric with a variety of seat types. this bar is used a lot for the Trivia sessions and accoustic artists. The port side has a corridor, but the starboard side corridor blends into the room which is a nice idea. Tap beer is available at this bar. Connexions (Deck 7) This neighbours The Orient, but would be nearly double in size. More popular with the younger cruisers that the Orient. Home of the Karaoke and the dance style bands. Also used during the days for the lectures and demonstrations. A lot of cane furniture used in this area. Once again uses the starboard side of the lounge as the corridor. The Atrium (Decks 5,6 & 7) A busy area of the ship with housing the photo gallery and shop. Duty Free shops, Shore Tour office and Reception. Charlies coffee shop and the Mix Bar (formerly Blue Bar).The three levels are used for the Laser light shows which are worth a look at. Pacific Cirque will also perform a few smaller shows here. Pre-dinner Piano music is also played here. One slight design fault is that the Shore Tour desks are besides the Reception so you get long lines going across the front of reception for the Shore Tour booking desks, they also need to look at putting in a third desk for the busy days. Also the Sold Out Tours board needs to be displayed where people line up rather than behind the desks where the brochures are. The Marquee (Deck 7 & 8) This is an area I'm sure they will change the design of with-in the next year to 18 months. Great size stage and fantastic new giant LCD screens that they can do wonders with for stage backgrounds and to act as stage sets. But the seating layout is crazy. Upstairs the balcony rail is right at the level of the stage sightline. They have gone for lots of individual movable seats and curved three seater couches. This cuts the capacity down to around 500 maximum I would guess. The bar at the rear of the theatre has a large amount of open area in front of it which does seem a waste of space. It also has two semi spiral staircases from level 7 to 8 which takes up valuable seating space. Once the theatre fills up (which seems to be earlier and earlier as the cruise went on) passengers stand in the corridors which blocks the views of those sitting in the back. Some of the bar stools have missing foot rails and in one case has a missing seat pad. Not a major to fix, but stayed like that for the entire cruise. The sound and lighting is very good, especially with the full height LCD screens. The Dome (Deck 14) This would be my favourite venue, both day and night. Fantastic views, great wide open feeling. Very comfy seating. Nice colouring and a good size bar. Generous size dance floor on a slightly lower level. A good venue for the late night comedy and other smaller shows. Top Decks (Decks 12 & 14) Home to three swimming pools and Pacific Cirque stage area and the giant 7m LCD screen. The pools were always in use, it did take a few days until the warmer weather for the adults to start using the swim up bar pool. However the water did look a little murky for the first couple of days. I'll cover the Pacific Cirque show later on, but great viewing advantage points from several points around decks 12 and 14. There is new decking and artificial grass on both levels and new coats of paint, but some areas have missed having a touch up altogether. An example is the Splash Bar has nice new tiles on the wall behind the drinks, but if you look up at the ceiling above the counter, the paintwork hasn't even been touched, with lots of stains and marks. The Oasis (Deck 8) We got caught out here on our first visit to this area at the rear of the ship. After we sat down on the very nice padded cane sun loungers, we were asked if we would like to book in for a half or full day session. The charge is AU$10 for 4 hours or AU$20 for 8 hours. That was the first and last time we visited the Oasis. The Gym and Spa (Deck 2) Not being Gym bunnies we didn't use the Gym, but we did go and have a noisy and spoke to a few people at dinner that did use it. The comments were all very favourable and that the equipment was all brand sparkling new. However the Steam room did play up a bit and was not operational a few times. As with all cruise ships the Spa and Salon prices were very expensive. Example of one of the specials. AU$139 for a 20-20-20 sampler. 75 minute Jewel Facial AU$275, Couples Seaweed Massage AU$399 for 75 minutes The Entertainment and the Entertainment Staff We have been on five previous cruises mainly on Princess and Royal Caribbean and would have to put the quality of the entertainment as some of the best we have seen. There has been a great variety in various venues. Some of the entertainment offered was Peter Byrne (Neil Diamond) Centre Stage(The Pacific Entertainers) James Galea - I Hate Rabbits (Magician)Bobby Dennis (Comedian) Clint Paddison (Comedian) Pirates 2 (The Pacific Entertainers) Acrobatic Show (Pacific Cirque) run Away To The Circus (The Pacific Entertainers) and the normal Game Shows involving the passengers. Zoltina J. was the Cruise Director and did an excellent job. She fronted all the main shows and lead the charge when it came to getting the passengers up and dancing. Her band of staff had their own strenghts and some weaknesses, but put a lot of energy into their roles. The Hit Machine were the party band on board and played a lot of the good party hits, although they didn't look old enough to be up as late as they did. Meals We have been spoilt in the past with a huge variety of food at the buffets on other ships and did find the selection a little dull in the Plantation restaurant. The was never hot in this restaurant, in fact the fried eggs on the last morning were stone cold. However, if you hadn't cruised before outside of the Pacific you would be very happy. It never seemed a problem to get a seat in the Plantation restaurant. Only had one lunch meal at The Grill and wasn't impressed. The meal was stone cold, but heard some great feed back from others about the quality and variety. We had all our evening meals at the Waterfront Restaurant, the lunch menu was very good. Once again you can see where they had spent their money on the refurbishment. Very nicely decorated and laid out. We sat in a variety of areas and at a variety of size tables. The service standard did vary a bit and you could tell the experienced wait staff. The Pacific Cirque It is nearly worth the cost of the cruise to see these guys perform. They were top standard and caused lots of grasps from the audience. Their show on the open deck was packed out, so get their early to secure a deck chair, however because of the height of their performance all areas on deck 12 and 14 are great viewing points. Their alternative show in the atrium combined with the laser show was also excellent. Movies The cinema on the Ocean Village was taken out to make room for the new Casino. The new 7m wide LCD screen on the top deck is a good alternative when the weather co-operates. Some of the movies played were: CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE EAT,PRAY,LOVE ICE AGE 3 LETTERS TO JULIET MAMMA MIA THE ROMANTICS GREASE SHREK: FOREVER AFTER CHARLIE ST. CLOUD KARATE KID MAO'S LAST DANCE MARMADUKE THE SWITCH TAKERS Other activities on the big screen included Playstation and Wii competitions and a Special Bingo Game, plus a few concerts. As I said at the start, we have been spoilt by having been on a Royal Caribbean and a few Princess cruises so we were always comparing to those cruises. If you had not cruised before you would be over-whelmed. We did enjoy the cruise and met some great people and would mostly like do another P&O cruise again at some stage, but for the money we would first look at what other cruise lines had to offer. The NZ Customs and Ag Department boarded the ship in Noumea. Customs clearance was processed in The Dome on the 2nd to last day with a set appointment time. It took about five minutes if that and was a breeze. We were able to walk straight off the ship in Auckland, collect our bags and go. Read Less
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