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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We found the embarkation to be okay but it didn't run as smoothly as Sydney. ( our hometown). The ship Aria we found to be very small compared to other cruise ships we have been on. These are the points we enjoyed about the boat. ... Read More
We found the embarkation to be okay but it didn't run as smoothly as Sydney. ( our hometown). The ship Aria we found to be very small compared to other cruise ships we have been on. These are the points we enjoyed about the boat. * Small & intimate - easy to get around. * Pools were never crowded so easy to get a deckchair . Deck 10 pool was empty most of the time so great for relaxing. We just didn't like the chairs as very uncomfortable. * Bars all had a nice ambience especially the Blue Room. * Limited children onboard. Dining - the best All we can say is thank goodness for Salt Grill Restaurant as we dined there most evenings . The food & service were outstanding for a cruise ship. We also loved the Chef's table - excellent yummy degustation with interesting people. So, so - restaurants. Dragonlady - food was cold & horrible... the worst restaurant on the ship. The Waterfront - okay food but the menu didn't change which made it boring. Ambience & atmosphere, service was excellent. Angelo's - okay but nothing to write about. Just average. The Pantry - Not enough seats - horrible dining experience. We felt like we were living in a boarding school. However; we did like the salad bar & curry bar the best. Breakfast - on our balcony which was blissful although the food was pretty ordinary. Casino - We found the staff to be unfriendly & unhelpful . We did have a few wins on the roulette table & pokies which made our evenings fun. Entertainment - good quality entertainment. We enjoyed the comedy shows the best. Service - Level 10 staff were fabulous - especially our butlers. Great having free laundry done everyday & our ice delivered to the room. Drink package - we wished we hadn't brought it as we found it hard to use it up everyday. Overall - We did enjoy our cruise, especially having a suite & dining at Salt Restaurant which made our cruise more memorable. We also loved visiting PNG islands , villages, schools & hospital. A suite is a MUST on this ship.... Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
First cruise and I was terrified due to negative reviews on here. Our review...well we are now hooked....an amazing cruise. We ate everywhere...enjoyed it all. The ships crew are constantly cleaning to keep the ship presentable. The ... Read More
First cruise and I was terrified due to negative reviews on here. Our review...well we are now hooked....an amazing cruise. We ate everywhere...enjoyed it all. The ships crew are constantly cleaning to keep the ship presentable. The entertainment is amazing. Attend as much as possible. All incredibly enjoyable especial the Maquee live shows. Entertainment crew hilarious Mathew Dom Pablo Miguel etc. We had the smaller cheaper cabins which were perfect for our budget and needs....hot showers were amazing. Many reviews complained about the interior being old....well I'm no spring chicken either any more but it's how you present yourself and this ship is no different....the decor is gorgeous. We did a few pacific Islands and pre booked our tours through the ship and had a great time being emersed in the culture and saw some amazing scenery. All our kids 3-17 attended kids clubs Turtle cove HQ and HQ+ and loved it experience. We also had EDGE packages. These were prepaid great for 7-25yrs. Our adults would probably pay per session next time as didn't get the value from pre purchasing. Thankyou from the bottom of our hearts for your passion to serve. Sad to see you retiring but hope to travel again with P&O and see some familiar faces. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Everything went perfectly on the cruise, went on a 7 night from melbourne around australia. The service was excellent, the atmosphere was excellent and was worth the money. We had a balcony cabin, Our cabin was abit tight but thats ... Read More
Everything went perfectly on the cruise, went on a 7 night from melbourne around australia. The service was excellent, the atmosphere was excellent and was worth the money. We had a balcony cabin, Our cabin was abit tight but thats probably because i didnt know what to expect. The dining was perfect, weather it was the free buffet or the fine dining restaurants. The entertainment was really good. Didnt expect so much but was really happy. There was never a dull moment. Either in the day shows or the adult comedy shows or even sitting at a bar having a few drinks. I went with my partner and i advise couples to get the ultimate romance package. Very good value. The shore tours are good but have to book them in advance to get a good one and be prepared. But once again i cant stress enough the great service from all staff. Thank you guys so much for the wonderful journey Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
On the 28th December 2018 we embarked on a New Years cruise with P&O (the prices for this particular cruise were double if not triple normal prices due to the time of year). The dramas started when we paid for priority checkin however ... Read More
On the 28th December 2018 we embarked on a New Years cruise with P&O (the prices for this particular cruise were double if not triple normal prices due to the time of year). The dramas started when we paid for priority checkin however our tickets did not list this, it wasnt such a big issue, however at the time we didnt know this was just the start of the many issues we would experience. First day on the cruise one of our suitcases never arrived to our room, after calling reception we were told to wait and they will contact us back once they have tracked it down. 1.5 hours later sitting in our room waiting for a call back we called receiption to find our bag was there and we could come down and collect it. CABINS The first 3 days at sea were rough (with approx 6 foot waves) which is not uncommon however the front of the boat was particulary bad and majority of the time we could not be in our rooms due to the severity of the movement. Now to give you some background prior to this cruise we were on another cruise with RC which was in the middle of a cyclone with 8 foot waves and had little to no issues with our room which was also located at the front of the boat so it seems this particular boat with P&O may of not be of the same standard mechanically. Our room was on level 11 (pool 12 and pantry 14) which was a great location however levels 5,6,7 are also great as they are close to bars , reception and shops. Cabins were clean and liveable however they do not reflect the standard you would expect when paying a minimum $6k a couple (interior room) on new years. They are the original cabins and corner rooms are particulary smaller. If you are particular with pillows make sure you take your own as they are not the best. The rooms do have a safe and fridge and a great little sensor light for night time toilet trips. They also only have 1 australia power point , 1 european power point and 1 US power point. The rooms do have a hair dryer however they are very basic. Overall we were fine with our rooms however during our trip the toilet blocked up , lost all power and lights in our room at 12am in the morning and also had issues with the door locks not recognising our cards. A special mentionto the room attendents who do an amazing job , are very fast and are friendly. FOOD Not to bad, same as most cruise boats. We liked lukes , dragon lady and the cafe for cakes and tea. We love how P&O have set up the pantry as it stops alot of food being touched by other guests and limits food waste. Special mention to 400 grandi , great food , amazing staff and a nice quiet place on the ship. STAFF We were extremly lucky to experience great staff at the ocean bar , the cafe and 400 grandi. They are extremly helpful and accomodation. ENTERTAINMENT For a New Years cruise entertainment was limited however for a standard cruise it was not bad. Love riot was a great show (approx $15 per person) it was well worth it. Please note P&O seem to limit any adult only shows for 9pm and 10pm at night which wasnt always the best if you have a port day the next day. Please note lawn bowls and slides are not open permently only certain hours. PORT DAYS / TENDERS For locations with a port it was very simple and quick to get off and well organised. For ports which required tenders it became a bit of a mess and for one of our ports we waited 1.5 hours and then gave up getting off. Some people waited over 2 hours to get off and no explanation was given. After speaking to people who were lucky to get off we found guests on the beach kept snorkeling in the tender lanes which would then hold up the boats. P&O didnt seem to get these people out of the water or issues warnings to causing delays for other guests and some guests didnt even get off. SHORE TOURS We were lucky enough to do a great snorkelling tour in Santo which was well worth the money. However the couple we were travelling with did a village tour on another island and it was nothing like the tour summary and they did not learn anything from it. GUESTS Possibly some of the worst behaviour I have seen. Many of the guest were extremly rude , self centred , would push past or push in lines and we even experienced guests permently calling our room at 1am even though they were told they were calling the wrong room. Kids where still running around after 9pm and would often fill up the lifts or press all buttons inthe lifts. Our last morning there were kids outside our cabin door screaming at 5am with parents who did not care (our room was out of the way). The experience which really sent us over the edge was this one lady which we had to ask 4 times to move so we could sit down on the first day and book restaurants. We then had to ask her another 6 times to move so we could get up from our seat. I also experienced a lady at the gym who proceeded to push pass me and tell me she was waiting for a tredmill and she was next in line..... mind you i had been on the equipment for a good 5 mins before she appeared from somewhere having a cry. Please note the gym gets packed out and runs out of room and equipment duringthe mornings. Overall terrible behaviour and this doesnt even go into the fights , yelling and crappy comments we heard being shouted between guests and at the poor staff. LEAVING THE BOAT You are told to put your bags outside your room between 4pm and 8pm the night prior. Please note no where do they say you can self assist and take your own bags off but you can do this and it will get you off the boat faster. We got off the boat at 740am (we were told 720am for group 1 and 2). When we finally got off to collect our bags, our bags where not out yet and we had to wait atleast 30-40mins for our bags to come through. If you are being picked up or have a flight please keep this in mind. LIFOU If you are travelling to Lifou please note you need a ticket for jinek bay. If you do not get a ticket you will not be able to snorkel. Even though this is plastered everywhere we watched many people ignore this and walk in 30 degrees heat to the bay to then be disappointed. Quick tip, everyday you get a newsletter , make sure to read the back page for sales and spa deals. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We choose this cruise because was relatively cheap and great for short break. Pretty much everything was mediocre. Food very ordinary. The pantry was boring with the same food each morning. Desert station was good. The main ... Read More
We choose this cruise because was relatively cheap and great for short break. Pretty much everything was mediocre. Food very ordinary. The pantry was boring with the same food each morning. Desert station was good. The main restaurant wasn’t any better. We had really bad weather and there was not much information or updates. Never seen The Captain and I think I heard his voice twice during our 4 days cruise. Entertainment didn’t met my expectations until last night where everybody was enjoying good, old rock’roll. Cabin was old with very firm bed and worn flat pillows. Decor was very ordinary in need of updating. There was not enough attention from the crew towards people who were sick during the really rough sea. The cabin crew on the other hand was very helpful,polite and friendly. Cruising on Pacific Jewel was my first experience with P & O . Never again on Pacific Jewel! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this series of Cruises as a cost effective way to increase the number of cruise nights for status recognition with Princess Cruises working towards Elite. We are based in Melbourne but flew to Sydney for a Comedy cruise to ... Read More
We chose this series of Cruises as a cost effective way to increase the number of cruise nights for status recognition with Princess Cruises working towards Elite. We are based in Melbourne but flew to Sydney for a Comedy cruise to Melbourne, then Melbourne-Eden-Melbourne, then Melbourne-Hobart-Kangaroo Island-Melbourne (total 13 night). We were expecting a 3* experience and that and a little more was delivered. The Public rooms of the ship have been refurbished and are very pleasant to spend time in and the Waterfront MDR has a more intimate feel than the larger MDR's we have experienced. Ocean view Cabin (9182) was spacious for two, Cabin stewards very friendly, accommodating and responsive to ad hoc requests. Cabin cleaned well. MDR service varied between very good and below average with food OK, depending who the table staff were. Food was average compared to other cruise lines with less variety (reduced variety expected in selecting these cruises) Live Music was very good with a standard range of free activities (We didn't try any of the Edge Activities at an extra cost) Speciality restaurant (Salt) offered better quality food and attentive service but were pricey compared to other cruise lines ($AU 59 per head, wine extra) We have booked 3 short B2B cruises again for similar reasons as we took these cruises Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise as a family and for the Ports....Airley Beach....Cairns and Willis Island. The stop overs were fantastic... no complaints there...food on the cruise was average except for Angelo's which was to die for...having to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a family and for the Ports....Airley Beach....Cairns and Willis Island. The stop overs were fantastic... no complaints there...food on the cruise was average except for Angelo's which was to die for...having to purchase food in the dining room for indulgences such as lobster tail or sirloin steak for $29 was a joke....I have never experience this with any other cruise line...The pantry was humid and basketball court above it sounded like a game was in progress in the pantry itself. I challenge anyone to try and get a glass or a mixed drink with coke...seems the crew have been told there is only pepsi on board....not true! A shortage of duty free alcohol and smokes on board...sorry but we missed a delivery????? I have cruised a number of times before and am ashamed at what we produce as Australians.......I am an average Aussie and have cruised happily for many years with other cruise lines without complaint but will never cruise with P & O again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We were pleasantly surprised by the Pacific Dawn. We had a balcony, which was very small but the outlook was great. The cabins were clean and had usual 3 star amenities liquid soap, shampoo/conditioner and tissues. The cabin stewards were ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised by the Pacific Dawn. We had a balcony, which was very small but the outlook was great. The cabins were clean and had usual 3 star amenities liquid soap, shampoo/conditioner and tissues. The cabin stewards were very helpful and friendly. On the cruise we mainly ate at the Waterfront Restaurant and there was always enough choice. Always remember the kitchens are in the bottom of the boat so don’t choose food that would dry out easily. The Pantry always had a lot of food to choose from. We were on a cruise with 2000 people but it never seemed overly crowded. We always got a seat and there were some quiet areas on the boat. The live music was great I would have liked a bit more live music on deck in the afternoons. You have to remember most people pay less than $200 a day to travel on this boat. This includes all your meals. You can’t get a cafe breakfast for less than $20, $25 for lunch and $30 for dinner so I think paying less than $200 a day for accommodation, transport, food and entertainment is unbelievable value. It is not 5 star but neither is the price . If you don’t want to spend money at Airlie grab your towel and head to the lagoon, it is beautiful and view is priceless . If you want quiet time head to decks on 6 or 7 - heaps of seating or to The Dome. It was a great cruise with great staff. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The ship is a smaller on then the P&O Jewel and the P&O Dawn which makes it much easier to get around and to learn the lay of the land. Half the amount of passengers, than the Jewel or the Dawn make it infinitely more hygienic. We ... Read More
The ship is a smaller on then the P&O Jewel and the P&O Dawn which makes it much easier to get around and to learn the lay of the land. Half the amount of passengers, than the Jewel or the Dawn make it infinitely more hygienic. We spent a delightful week without the smell of effluent which is always a bonus. Loosing the smell of effluent on the open decks is always a delight, as is not contracting a bout of Novo Virus. The Aria is not a new ship but it has been looked after well. There are clean carpet, wallpaper and curtains with no stains decorating the whole ship. The upholstery on seats is in good condition as is bench tops, tables and other furnishings. The ship has been renovated but there are signs of age here and there. Being wary of the Novo virus I didn't swim in the pools but they appeared quite clean and smelled fresh. The main pool has a dome over the top and they do not hesitate to close it if the weather has even the slightest change. Theatre There's a small intimate theatre where films are shown several times a day. The screen is the same size as our largest television at home but can been seen easily enough from all over the room. Parents tend to use the theatre as a baby sitting area and have no problem dumping kids of all ages there, leaving them unsupervised to the annoyance of anyone who actually went to see the film. This was major turn-off and I was put off going back. Restaurants The Pantry, the main eating area is like a food court in any shopping mall. You walk around choosing from each different 'stall' what you feel like eating. Don't be afraid to put you plate over the counter and ask to have the chips put on the plate you already have food on. Don't be afraid to ask for a bigger serving either. This new idea is to stop pigs from loading their plates a foot high with food they will waste, to stop dirty people from pawing the slice of bread that will end up on your plate, to stop mouth-breathers from coughing/sneezing all over that same slice of bread. And it works. You know the food on your plate is as clean as it can be for you. After a couple of meals form The Pantry though, everything started to taste the same. There's a lot of choice there but nothing is exciting. Believe me, I know how that sounds but it is what it is. In other restaurants the meals are ordered by you and served to your table by wait-staff. We ate in The Waterfront and The Dragon Lady, you should too, they are a nice experience for you and are part of your package but you have to book into them. I don't know why you have to book because there are always empty seats everywhere maybe its to add to the ambiance. These meals are a little more exciting and we enjoyed the change of scenery. Note: a glass of Cab. Sav. red in The Dragon Lady was $13.00 with the bottle being $49.00 the same bottle in the bar upstairs was $28.00. Seems everyone thinks corkage is a big thing. I don't mind a surcharge because its a dining room but that $21.00 mark-up, is over the top. We are on a ship ! Surely, it all came from the same storage pallet ! One thing we did do, each night we visited a little shop in The Pantry and had the girl put together a cheese platter which we bought back to the cabin to have with a wine and a movie. A small indulgence that we enjoyed very much. The Beauty Salon (These days it's called a Day Spa 'sheesh') We bought the 10,20,30 package from the salon Elemis and did not regret it. If you can't afford all of them and need to choose one, buy the seaweed wrap. The attendant named BM is wonderful, ask for her if you can. She sure knows how to spoil you and leaves nothing to chance. Every little detail is attended to and you are made to feel quite special. BM never missed saying hello to me when she saw me around the ship later and even made some time in her very busy schedule to stop and ask me how I was feeling for the rest of the week. I cant say enough about this attendant, she has a wonderful skill she is an ultimate professional that has a very personal touch. I thoroughly enjoyed the Fire and Ice mani-pedi with Chi-Chi who is such a lovely person and certainly knows what she is doing and Zen who did my crystal massage is an excellent professional. We went to a couple of seminars such as the “How to Get Your Metabolism Going” and “Feet and Posture” (or something like that). They were interesting and we would have attended more except for the 'hard sell' at the end of everything in which you participate. I totally got sick of having to listen to the spiel of how I really needed to buy this or that product just because I turned up. This made the seminars/talks/conversations very impersonal and I came to feel like I was being perceived as nothing more and an open wallet regardless of how it was disguised. So if you attend these things be prepared for that hard sell at the end because, regardless of how personal they are making it all feel, they are going to go for your money just as soon as they get to it make no mistake. Cabin We had a balcony cabin and there's a lot to be said for that. We came on a weeks cruise just to catch some well needed R&R (work life balance n all that) so we indulged in some massages and the balcony. We spent a lot of time sleeping, resting and getting away from people , the cabin with the balcony was ample room for us to stretch out and sleep, watch TV (lots o free DVDs available) eat and relax. There are a few things aging in the cabin, some cracked tiles, worn metals, scratched surfaces on the porcelain, just little things like that but on the whole the cabin is comfortable. We must remember that The Aria is not a new ship. Cabin Attendants I talked to various passengers around the traps and most were pleased with their cabin attendants. I was however surprised to see that I was not the only one that was not completely happy with the cabin service. The cabin was clean, don't get me wrong but the service, while cheerful, was not always satisfactory. For instance, one day we had to make our own bed, towels that we left on the floor were not always replaced and requests were not always attended to, I ordered two DVDs for a nights viewing, when they had not been delivered by lunch, I reminded the attendant of my request, then again at 4pm and again at 6 with the reply, “I will get them for you before 9pm” they never came that night but were at our door the next morning but just a little too late. I know these are small things but they add up, over a week. Miscellaneous Even though you are only cruising the Whitsunday Reef, ring your mobile provider and have them turn off international roaming. I manually turned off IR on my cell but my provider still charged me for international rates even though we never left Australian waters then my data went over the limit and I was charged international pricing for this as well. I now have to have one of those extra long calls to Telstra. Don't bother taking the walking jaunt around the ship on Deck 6 while it would be lovely, there are always a bunch of smokers out there waiting to make you feel sick. It's hard to believe some people still smoke in 2018 but there they are, on Deck 6. In my time, smoking will be made illegal in all public places eventually, even on the Aria but not just yet. To all the smokers reading this, Namaste. The washing machine is 3 x $1.00 coins (28 minutes cycle on normal/warm) and the dryer is 3 x $1.00 (45 minute cycle) free detergent. Free games such as Jenga, Scrable, Chess are available on the floor with the internet stations. Internet packages are available but are very expensive. 90 Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I took this 4 night cruise for a short break, I was looking forward to it as we had never cruised on Pacific Aria before, this was my 6th cruise and I must say I enjoyed the ship itself once you've worked out how to get ... Read More
My wife and I took this 4 night cruise for a short break, I was looking forward to it as we had never cruised on Pacific Aria before, this was my 6th cruise and I must say I enjoyed the ship itself once you've worked out how to get around the ship, it dosen't take long to get to where you want to be. The decor gave a nice intimate feeling, embarkation/debarkation was nice and quick the cabin had good amount of room and also had a decent sized shub which was good as I love to have a bath, just as well because the spa pools on the lido deck were not usable for me as one was cold and the other was luke warm. We tried all the main restaurants including Luke Mangan's, I would give Luke Mangan's and the Dragon lady four stars for food and service Angelo's three stars and the Waterfront two stars the food there was terrible the menu was limited and the only redeeming factor was the service.We also did the high tea which we loved defintely worth paying the $25 for if you love your food. The Pantry was a pleasant surprise compared to the buffet's I've been to on other ships the food was of a decent quality the lines were short the food court concept worked very well we preferred it to the waterfront which is saying something as we prefer to go Al'acarte. The highlight of the cruise for me was the entertainment, the shows at the Marquee were excellent a lot of talented performers on show, however what I loved best was the band Lazy Leis they were brilliant and Wesley at the Mix Piano bar could really get us singing, very enjoyable if you love to sing along.The Dome was a great place to go especially around dusk, its a lot smaller than the Dome on the Pacific Dawn however it had a much nicer more intimate feel to it you also felt closer to the view you were seeing through the full room height windows the bar was right in the middle which was easy to access. Being a for night cruise we had one shore excursion at Airlie Beach which seems to have got a lot busier than it was six years ago when we visited it on the Pacific Sun. Overall it was a very pleasant cruise just a bit too short I would love to do a longer cruise on Pacific Aria as long as it had the same entertianers on board. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was my second of back to back cruises on the Pacific Explorer. I had sailed a few times when this ship sailed as the Dawn Princess. P & O destroyed everything about this ship. The food was horrible. One youth would only eat in ... Read More
This was my second of back to back cruises on the Pacific Explorer. I had sailed a few times when this ship sailed as the Dawn Princess. P & O destroyed everything about this ship. The food was horrible. One youth would only eat in the Dragon Lady and another youngster described the offerings as prison food. Quality is disgusting and variety boringly non existent. The 12 day refurbishment left just about all public areas in a very unkempt condition. The Marquee Theatre should have all the seating replaced. Seats throughout other public areas sadly need refurbishing. The Explorer Hotel has wood border trims near ceiling all scratched up. It needs to be completely sanded down and varnished. Several nautical theme items on the walls have been removed, which is a pity as it used to be a very attractive lounge and dance venue. When the cruise director announced on two occasions that it was the last day of the cruise, it was met with applause on both occasions. That says it all! In my many cruises, this was a first. The 9th deck launderette had 3 machines out of order...washing machine, token dispenser and detergent dispenser. The 10th deck launderette had all 3 washing machines out of order. The target demographic is now young families. It seemed like over 80% of passengers were first time cruisers with over 300 aged 19 and under. So they have nothing to compare with. The mirrors during refurbishment were covered on all lifts (elevators) and replaced with questionable looking wallpaper. There are charges for delivery of tea, toast and all food items to cabins. There are charges for ice-cream and pizza as well. So surf and turf night on this ship. The skimping and cost cutting is blatantly apparent. Seriously, DO AVOID AT ALL COST. OH NO, P & 0. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
I recently took a 4 day cruise to the whitsundays and was impressed with service,friendliness on this cruise ,from the Maitre D' Karthik the exec chef Jose ,restaurant manager Philipe,head waiters and waiters. on deck 10 bar is ... Read More
I recently took a 4 day cruise to the whitsundays and was impressed with service,friendliness on this cruise ,from the Maitre D' Karthik the exec chef Jose ,restaurant manager Philipe,head waiters and waiters. on deck 10 bar is very good atmosphere and enjoyed afternoon drinks,the bars are good but drinks are very pricy $16 for long island tea?? Chefs table was good food was good and portion sizes however wine matching was off the mark. Room steward very invisible and cabin shower not in good operational order. Balcony too small its more like a big window and the bed mattress very hard,cupboard room and hanging space very adequate. I would not go on a longer cruise than 4 days. There are a lot of add on payments ,room service is at a fee and pizzas are too expensive 12.50. and it seems that while you pay a reasonable but not very low price there are other costs added on if you want a bit more. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Comprehensive Review P & O – Pacific Dawn trip to the Pacific Islands. Embarkation day – The luggage was collected at the terminal in a control manner and the check in was also straight forward. Disembarkation – No issues, ... Read More
Comprehensive Review P & O – Pacific Dawn trip to the Pacific Islands. Embarkation day – The luggage was collected at the terminal in a control manner and the check in was also straight forward. Disembarkation – No issues, well organised. Boarding – Ship’s security x-ray the hand bag and passed through the metal detector similar to the airport. Dining Request - As the dining option was waitlisted so there were passengers queuing outside the Waterfront restaurant to make their reservations and I was lucky to have a table as requested. If you come alone or as a couple the customer service will try to fit you with others on the big table. Inside Cabin – The cabin is fine for 2 persons with 2 children but for 4 adults in it would be squashy and not recommended. There are no toiletries provided, the bathroom is at a reasonable size and the room service had to be chosen whether once or twice daily. (2 x daily service not automatic) Deck Party – On the first day whilst the ship still alongside the crew performed a DJ dance party on the main deck and that was the only time it happened throughout the all trip. Reception – Deck 5 is part of a 3-storey atrium with a wide staircase at one end leading to the upper levels, there is an ATM machine and also some stations to check and top up for the bills. There are 2 restaurants where food is inclusive in the fares, the Waterfront (Dress Code for dinner only) & the Pantry. The Waterfront is an a la carte restaurant where the meals (entre & main) are more likely to be well presented, decorative but small in quantity but quality food can be purchase at a cost, I always complemented my meal to the Pantry particularly with the desert but no ice cream which can be bought. Guests can eat at the Pantry’s food-court-style outlets as many plates as they like with international cuisine but struggle to accommodate passengers at peak times. Sport competitions – There are some games on board such as Table Tennis, mini Golf etc. as there were one large group only at each competition, going through the second round can be a long haul. Daily Shows – The twice daily shows are non-spectacular, are for those who like stage musical, a little bit of magic and stand-up comedy. Bingo & Trivia – these are regular pastimes on the ship, every day. Music Band – There were 2 bands on board, a piano man and a guitar man. Main Deck – there is no adult laps swimming pool on the ship just a small one for the kids and a couple of hot tubs mainly on Deck 10 aft. There is a giant cinema screen on Deck with a reasonable sound system. Walking exercise area – Blocked for a few days due to high wind. Waterslides & Waterpark – Good enjoyment for the kids & grown-ups. Fitness Centre – Deck 2, inside gymnasium with no natural light. Massage & Beauticians - Very Expensive. Casino – Poker machines & some tables for entertainments only. Noumea – Berth right in town & free Wi-Fi available ashore, walking distance. Lifou – Tender transfer, nice beach. Port Vila – Mini bus ride to the city, shocking drivers with continuation nagging and hassle for a tour of the island. There are a couple of duty free stores with reasonable prices. The bottom line, the ship can be a fun ship , average in excellence (3*) but expect to pay extra for upgraded meals and for some activities. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
a quick 4 night getaway on Pacific Explorer. This is my third time on this ship, and actually like the interior. The cruise was out of White Bay as there was a bigger ship in the OSPT in Circular Quay. Our cabin was a mini suite, and ... Read More
a quick 4 night getaway on Pacific Explorer. This is my third time on this ship, and actually like the interior. The cruise was out of White Bay as there was a bigger ship in the OSPT in Circular Quay. Our cabin was a mini suite, and quite tastefully furnished. The beds were comfy and the pillows are actually fine (previously the pillows had been a contention on other P&O ships). The weird thing about the mini suite is the setup of the bathroom. The shower and bath are in one area, and through the door is the toilet and sink. This means that you can't get out of the bath and brush your teeth without having to go next door to the single sink. Our cabin stewards were friendly and gave us a lot of attention. Although they didn't introduce themselves till the second night. The room was serviced twice per day. The balcony is a bit small for a mini suite, not in length but in depth. Food was actually not bad at all. We went to a taste of salt (excellent and well worth the $99 per person cover charge). We also tried Dragon Lady and Angelo's as well as Shell and Bones. The disappointing thing is that if you actually want a decent meal, you have to pay for it. No drama if it's reasonably priced. Angelo's was the star of the free meal selection. The pasta was warm and tasted excellent. The secret bar is the Bonded Store, and I can highly recommend you find this small out of the way place, it's by the blue room. Blink and you'll miss it, as it's hidden around a corner. The "nightclub" which is situated in the Blue Room after about 11:30pm was always full. I've seen this either empty or over capacity on different cruises. I guess it depends on the itinerary and if the drink packages are in operation. In Moreton Island, we took the Quad bike tour. Enjoyed this very brief excursion, and maybe P&O might consider doing a longer version, as we just drove around in the sand around a made course. Fun to drive, but not really exciting views. Overall not a bad cruise, better than other P&O cruises I've been on before. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We thought it would be good to try the Refurbed Dawn, 1) Cabin was good & the cabin stewards Shava & Hassan were excellent. 2) The overall refurb is good, the old jungle bar now the Oriant was where we spent our evenings ... Read More
We thought it would be good to try the Refurbed Dawn, 1) Cabin was good & the cabin stewards Shava & Hassan were excellent. 2) The overall refurb is good, the old jungle bar now the Oriant was where we spent our evenings 3) The entertainment was poor quality, what with 1 guitar player then 2 guitar players the response from guests was not good, the piano player played so softly she was hard to undarstand , group wise Dimage was good but colour 4 were more suited to the local dance hall-pathetic. 4) Enjoyed the pantry & Grill. 5) The main restaurant food was never hot & one time Liz got cold vegetables & when she pointed this out to waiters & supervisor who agreed the veges were cold the Answer from the Exec chef was "make sure her meal is hot tomorrow night"-not happy Jan 6)we have traveled on the Dawn 7 times & this was the last straw ,never again with P& O Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We travelled in a group of 4 couples on this short cruise from Brisbane and had a very good time. The main entertainment was several comedy shows, some rated PG which were (usually) ok for children, and some R rated for the adult themes ... Read More
We travelled in a group of 4 couples on this short cruise from Brisbane and had a very good time. The main entertainment was several comedy shows, some rated PG which were (usually) ok for children, and some R rated for the adult themes and language. We preferred the PG rated shows, which showcased the quick minds of the comedians without the swearing. I think that the nature of the cruise meant that there were very few children on board. The shows were generally very good, and we really loved the gong show, where fellow passengers could have a crack at stand up comedy - what a surprise that was! But by far the best entertainment was the range of extremely talented musicians on board. A fabulous singer/guitarist at the Oasis setting the relaxing mood, the girl with the haunting voice at the Lido, the piano player in the Blue Room and the band (Alter Ego?) at Oceans Bar, who took requests and could play and sing anything! The musicians were all superb. Now the food - we all thought that the 'food court' style of The Pantry was a positive step up from the usual buffet and the food there was simple and tasty. It is hard to get a table here though and tables are not cleared very quickly. Breakfast at the Waterfront was pretty good, but other meals were a bit hit or miss. Angelo's (the Italian) was average and Salt was disappointing (both our fish dishes were overcooked). Service is generally slow. We were unable to get into The Dragon Lady even though we tried booking after lunch on the first day - so get in quick if you want to eat here. Drinks: Coffee is best in Oceans Bar. The mocktails were way too sweet so we ordered them with soda water to dilute them. (Refreshment package was well used). Favourite cocktail - Pink ginger cosmopolitan! Drinks seemed to be diluted later in the evening. Suggestion to management: Move the trivia to a larger venue - maybe the Dome? People were sitting on the floor! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was my first cruise, and it was fantastic, could not fault anything at all, . the 1st night we dined in the Dragon Lady and it was very nice, next night was at Angelos (Italian ) again very nice, the rest of the cruise we dined in ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and it was fantastic, could not fault anything at all, . the 1st night we dined in the Dragon Lady and it was very nice, next night was at Angelos (Italian ) again very nice, the rest of the cruise we dined in the Water front restaurant , and this was lovely, a 3 course meal every night and food was very well presented, and tasted great, The waiters were very friendly and helpful, most nights we had Franky as our waiter, and he was lovely, we went to Charlies for coffee and sometimes cake, each day and that was a lovely place to sit and relax and enjoy a nice coffee and the cakes were really yummy, the crew there were very friendly and went out of their way to make our time relaxing and enjoyable, The entertainment was fantastic, we went to the show each night and shows were great some night and absolutely spectacular other nights, there were plenty of bars around the ship, I spent a lot of time in the ocean bar on deck 7 at nights listening to piano melodies with Nicholas Gentile, a very talented young man with a beautifull voice, plenty of comfortable seating, or you could sit up or lie down in the window seats, and just relax with the music or with a book, went to several of the trivia events, and played bingo, that was really good, the guys doing the bingo made it so much fun, there was a over 18 section to relax in the pool and hot tubs, we went there most days and it was very relaxing, we had the refreshment drinks package, which we purchased before sailing, this was great, we got all the bottled water we needed, mocktails which were really yummy, and juices, and lots of coffee, had caramel lattee's every day which we could get at any of the resturants or bars, had breakfast at the waterfront some days the rest of the time at the pantry, which had something for everyone . would definatly recommend P&O to anyone Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise after booking a Celebrity Cruise only to find out the Taxes and Gratuities made them Very expensive. In Santo we booked the Northern seaside and Blue hole tour. The Northern seaside was beautiful and we had a nice ... Read More
We chose this cruise after booking a Celebrity Cruise only to find out the Taxes and Gratuities made them Very expensive. In Santo we booked the Northern seaside and Blue hole tour. The Northern seaside was beautiful and we had a nice swim. The Blue hole was more a stagnant creek and disappointing. The Tour guides (drivers) did not interact with the passengers at all so it was like a bus ride with two destinations. All the passengers were sitting in the Buses for half an hour waiting to go back to the Ship. I would not waste money on this tour. I did a Scuba dive on the President Coolidge, great dive and value for money. In Port Vila we had the Round Island tour organised and paid for weeks in advance. The night before arrival in Port Vila we had a note on the door saying the following days tour had been cancelled due to not enough numbers. We had no time to book another tour, all other tours were booked out anyway so this wasted our day visiting Port Vila. Instead we were constantly harassed by obnoxious Taxi Drivers. Note the real reason the tour was cancelled was because they don't operate on a Sunday Pity P&O chose to make excuses diminishing our experience even further. Champagne Bay and Mystery Island were great destinations, snorkelling also great. Tender transfers were poorly organised and were much slower than needed to be. We mostly ate at the Waterfront restaurant as this was the best service and the Food always good. We originally booked Luke Mangans Salt for two dinners. We found the service excellent and the Entrees were exceptional, however both our Main meals were a disappointment. I had the Seared Tuna, it was overcooked and dry. Jo had the Snapper, it tasted like it had been left out too long and was disgusting. We cancelled our second booking at Salt. We were sold a Sauna package for $329.00 I asked if there was a fact sheet for this package and was told there wasn't one. We were sold on the details which were open from 0800 until 2200, when in the Sauna we could have free Champagne. On the second day we visited the Sauna at 1200 after a workout, when we asked for Champagne, we were told they don't serve it until after 1300. We went back to the Sauna at 1930 after dinner, asked for Champagne which arrived only to be told the Sauna closes at 2000 and we had to get out. Most of the rooms were turned off by the time we arrived anyway. The next day I went to reception to cancel the Sauna package as we were not happy with it. After two days I was part refunded for this package. I found everything about the Spa was hard sell and deceitful the way it was sold. I suppose you could say we learnt the hard way however all these little things add up to a pretty ordinary experience, hopefully there is some good information to save people from from the pitfalls we fell in to. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Cabin: My wife and I stayed in cabin 5195 which is a standard oceanview cabin sited at the rearmost starboard side on deck 5. Closet space was OK and our cases stored nicely under the bed. The cabin was clean and lived up to ... Read More
Cabin: My wife and I stayed in cabin 5195 which is a standard oceanview cabin sited at the rearmost starboard side on deck 5. Closet space was OK and our cases stored nicely under the bed. The cabin was clean and lived up to expectations although was a little ‘tired’ including: • One bedside draw front was loose; • Cream coloured masking tape applied to cosmetic damage on a wall; • The TV stand was clearly made for an old style CRT TV. Despite this, the cabin was more than acceptable, although I would avoid it and others aft on deck 5 in future due to a noticeable whine from the main propulsion engines which took a couple of days to acclimatise to. Having said that, despite there being a conspicuous vibration in the Plantation restaurant on deck 12 above us, this was pleasingly not apparent in the cabin. Dining: We ate largely in the Waterfront restaurant for breakfast, dinner and a couple of lunches. The restaurant was very pleasant and the staff tried hard to please with the exception of one young but very ‘tired’ waiter. The only disappointments was that the dress code was not always strictly enforced and the food although of good quality was cool on occasions. Overall a reasonable experience. We chose not to dine at either Luna or the Salt Grill having done both previously instead opting for the Chef’s Table which despite its cost we believe offers an excellent dining experience. The staff were obviously handpicked and clearly enjoyed lavishing the table with attention. This is our second visit to the Chef’s Table having done so on a previous cruise and we would so again. Entertainment: We didn’t participate in any of the physical activities, instead opting for the spectator shows, occasional trivia and quiet seating areas. This was our 6th cruise and I have to say that the ship’s entertainment was the best we have experienced to date which is commendable as we have travelled with two competitors. The singers only once dropped a note and was comparable to many evening televised shows. The shows were choreographed very professionally and we’re confident we’ll see a couple of the artists again, maybe on television. As with previous P&O and other cruise lines, the entertainment coordinators worked tirelessly to deliver a flexible and professional itinerary in what was a predominantly sea based cruise with only 5 days ashore from a 14 day cruise. The physical activities appeared to be well organised and which the younger generation clearly enjoyed. Having taken young children on cruises previously, we know how challenging this can sometimes be. We were informed there was 124 children on board who appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves despite being a predominantly adult environment. Ship Considering this journey was relocating the ship to Singapore for a dry-dock refurbishment, we were pleasantly surprised by its overall condition. We were expecting greater wear and tear issues on fixtures and fittings, especially soft furnishings, however, the ship was generally in good condition. I would take negative ship reviews with a pinch of salt, having cruised with P&O and their competitors previously, P&O provide a reasonable and enjoyable service. Ship’s Tours: This is one area where we did raise concerns. It is generally accepted that most cruise companies provide tours that, although enjoyable, can be at best described as expensive and at worst, designed to gouge maximum $$$’s from their passengers. What set this trip apart from others is our experience of a couple of destinations: • Dili, East Timor: Prior to arrival at Dili, all passengers were informed that irrespective of intent to go ashore, or of their nationality, everyone was to have the Dili visa fee of $30USD ($43:09AUD) added to their account. Apart from being an extortionate exchange rate of 0.696 compare to the actual rate of 0.76 at the time, this does not align with the East Timor visa requirements. I’m unsure if passengers with no intent of going ashore require a visa however, as Europeans many passengers did not. East Timor signed a mutual visa waiver agreement with the European Union on 26/05/2015 permitting all citizens within the Schengen agreement the right to travel through East Timor visa free. Not only did P&O did not recognise this and apply an ‘across the board’ visa fee, when challenged about this, I was simply told it was an agreement between P&O and East Timor and that there was to be no exceptions and no further discussion! • Komodo Island: After departure from Brisbane I discovered that by decree of P&O head office, to disembark and enjoy Komodo Island all passengers were required to purchase a ship tour at a cost of $120AUD island only or $180AUD island & Pink Beach. Apart from being extremely expensive, there was no availability for tours combining Komodo Island & Pink Beach which had been sold out prior to departure. I, along with many other passengers had organised independent tours for Komodo Island & Pink Beach before setting sail only to be informed we would not be permitted to go ashore and to further exacerbate the issue, that P&O could not provide the ship tour due to being ‘sold out’. P&O cited ‘safety’ for this ruling despite the fact that independently organised tours employ the same regulated park ranger restrictions as does the P&O tours. Fortunately and against the odds, I was able to obtain two tickets for the P&O Komodo Island & Pink Beach due to a cancellation, albeit at the extortionate cost of $180AUD each, but others were not so fortunate. Along with other passengers, the company I had engaged to conduct our independent tour of Komodo Island & Pink Beach are a reputable company used by many cruise ship passengers, most recently over 1,000 guests from Osaka and Azamara Cruises on 5th February. This company provided me with an official letter authenticating the tour which was completely disregarded by P&O. The P&O organised dragon tours all took the medium length route of short, medium or long routes with literally dozens of people simultaneously converging at a staged ‘watering hole’ group of 5 dragons. The rangers did an excellent job but struggled to maintain discipline with so many passengers and crew simultaneously congregated together. The independent tour that I, and others, had organised was to have taken the longer route which would have undoubtedly reduced the converged group sizes and therefore improved individual experiences and at a reduced risk. It is interesting to note that when ashore, passengers were free to do what they wished with many organising their own 2nd dragon tour on the longer route directly with the park rangers at an additional cost of $32USD (~$43AUD). Pink Beach could also be organised separately while ashore for as little as $5USD each; two ship crew entertainers organised a putt-putt boat for $10USD total and did the same Pink Beach experience that my wife and I had been compelled to pay $60AUD each for. This was a clear and unacceptable case of ‘do as we say, not as we do!’ P&O may be forgiven if their safety restrictions result in a tangible improvement and I was willing to acknowledge this right up to the point when a P&O organised ‘tinny’ tender at Pink Beach drove over a cruise ship female passenger while snorkelling, injuring and cutting her foot. What followed can only be described as a farcical lack of organisation or incident management with the tinny operator first jumping in the water to recover the injured lady’s flipper prior to assisting her partner get the injured lady out of the water. The injured lady was subsequently treated by a fellow passenger before being bizarrely transported back to the main island in the tinny with the operator having to constantly bale out water due to being so low in the water! If safety is the real concern, where is P&O’s concern when disembarking along the northern coast of Australia with exposure to sharks, crocodiles, marine stingers… It is my opinion that this ruling is for pure financial benefit with P&O attempting to extract maximum $$$ from passengers under the guise of safety. Come on P&O, get your act together. Passengers are not stupid, nor can they be bullied to suit your objectives. If safety is the true concern, then demonstrate it! If you wish to monopolise your destinations then at least provide sufficient tours to enable all passengers to participate and enjoy in their preferred tour at a competitive cost! In the case of Komodo Island, there are more than enough local service providers to manage all passenger tour requirements without having to turn passengers away. Interestingly, our P&O Komodo Island tour was facilitated and escorted by an individual who has to travel 5 hours each way to conduct the tour. It’s clearly obvious that his wages benefits some other community and not the remote Komodo community we visited which was definitely not our preference. P&O proudly publicise their support of much needed aid to poor communities they visit and I absolutely applaud this effort, but do us all a favour, if the high cost of ship tours includes contributions to local community aid programmes then provide the incremental breakdown of that aid. As passengers, we would like to know what proportion of their ships tours actually ends up as local community aid as opposed to the expansion of P&O profits to assist us to make an informed decision, otherwise we’ll continue to research and preference independent tours. If community aid is not a factor, then note that if the cost of ship tours was competitive to similar independent tours, passengers would stop favouring the independent tours! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We took the cruise for a rest but our cabin (with balcony and bought early at "full" price) was badly affected by noise from the galley above - starting at 4am and finishing after 10pm. We found out that P&O were aware of the ... Read More
We took the cruise for a rest but our cabin (with balcony and bought early at "full" price) was badly affected by noise from the galley above - starting at 4am and finishing after 10pm. We found out that P&O were aware of the problem of noise especially with our cabin but they never warned us and were happy to take top dollar from us. To add insult to injury, we made a written complaint immediately whilst we were onboard but nobody contacted us. Then when we arrived home we logged complaints but still no reaction. The morals of P&O leave a lot to be desired and their customer service is ZERO. They are mercenary and don't care about their passengers, just the money. To knowingly sell a substandard cabin at full rate is a disgrace. Avoid P&O and ships in the Carnival Cruise Line. The food was mediocre with no fresh seafood and little fresh fruit. The entertainment was spectacular. The cabin and bathroom size particularly were good. Apart from having to deal with dramatic noise from 4am we had a good cruise but didn't get the rest we anticipated. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
My husband and I went on our first cruise for our 10th Anniversary and it was absolutely amazing. Check in went smoothly, even though they were very busy, the staff were very polite. Embarkation went well, we only had to wait 20 mins ... Read More
My husband and I went on our first cruise for our 10th Anniversary and it was absolutely amazing. Check in went smoothly, even though they were very busy, the staff were very polite. Embarkation went well, we only had to wait 20 mins for our group to be called. Staff were great and all very helpful! Housekeeping were very helpful and friendly service, no request was too much. Always saying hello to us as we walked down the hall. Our cabin was just what we needed. We spent more time out and about than in our cabin. Couldn't get the aircon to work though. Food: Plantation food at dinner was a bit meh, but breakfast and lunch were great. Waterfront was lovely. Waiters were very efficient... but felt like they were hovering for our plates as it was so busy. Disembarkation went very well also. We had such an amazing time, next time we will take the kids!! The best holiday we've ever been on. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Four night cruise from Sydney to Moreton Island. This was our second cruise, our first being nine nights to New Caledonia on Carnival Spirit in Feb 2016. Embarkation at the White Bay Container Terminal was fast and efficient. ... Read More
Four night cruise from Sydney to Moreton Island. This was our second cruise, our first being nine nights to New Caledonia on Carnival Spirit in Feb 2016. Embarkation at the White Bay Container Terminal was fast and efficient. Navigating into the carpark beforehand was more of a challenge, but we found our way in eventually (the gps was completely out of its depth). Our balcony room on level nine was roomy enough and adequate for our needs. Our luggage was delivered within a reasonable timeframe. Disembarkation was also very smooth. Dining The Pantry - crowded and stuffy. Quite often long lines for food and usually very difficult to find a place to sit. The layout makes it feel very cramped, and air con seemed to be absent at times which makes it worse. The use of round coffee tables throughout this area also detracts from the experience - low round tables with long, straight bench seats simply don't work. The food itself is of average quality, but it is a good idea how they have staff serve the food rather than self serve as this alleviates hygiene concerns. The Waterfront This is main dining room and we had two breakfasts and two dinners here. The breakfast menu is the same each day and the service was good and the food was hot. The dinner menu changes each day. The service was generally good, the meals were hot on arrival. Food quality and portion sizes were acceptable, though a little small. At our first meal there we ordered mango brûlée for dessert. Yuk. No hint of mango in this dish which consisted of a shallow dish with a thin layer of something like baked custard in it. Salt Grill $49 aud per head - bookings essential. Due to the popularity of this venue we had to accept a 5:30 booking for dinner. Food quality was very good and the service also very good. Flavoursome meals here which contrasted with the tendency towards the bland at the other restaurants. Desserts were also very good. Dragon Lady - modern Asian fusion. Very good service. Food portions were ridiculously small. Main meals would have been considered entrees anywhere else. Desserts were poor. We tried the mango with sticky rice, but again no trace of mango to be found, we also had the chocolate slice which seemed to be made from gelatin and even though it looked like chocolate, it didn't taste like it. Angelo's - Italian restaurant, others in our group had dinner there on the first night and reported that it was terrible and strongly recommended that we avoid it. So we did just that. The dining experience for us on Carnival was better across the board. There was good coffee to be had from a couple of locations -$- ocean bar on 8 and the ice creamery on 11. Entertainment In this area P&O had the edge over Carnival IMO. We really enjoyed the Blue Room with the jazz or blues band each night. Real music played by musicians has always been my preference as opposed to carbon copy cover songs. The acoustic guitar player, Troy, was very good too, playing recognizable covers but well and truly in his own style. The song and dance shows in the large auditorium were not much different to what we had seen on Carnival and are ok if you like that sort of thing. The theme nights were both great, the Gatsby Party on the second night was well attended throughout the various bars on level 8 with maybe half the people making some kind of effort at dressing in theme. Lots of dancing and even some free glasses of champagne being handed around. Would have been nice if the entertainers had dressed in theme too (I am talking about the blues band here.) The White Night party on deck 11 on the third night was great fun too. Pumping music a mixture of DJ and live band worked really well and a fair percentage of those in attendance were in white (to some extent). Steady Eddie was great on the final night. More comedy would not have gone astray. The only time we found ourselves relocating to another bar to escape an act on stage was the final night during the 'staff jam session' in the Blue Room. Not good. The Staff Most staff were attentive and cheerful, but some were decidedly not so. No eye contact and seemingly more intent in returning to other things. This was quite noticeable from day one on this ship. Carnival has a sizable edge over P&O in this area. The Cruise Our cruise started by not starting! Our departure time of 5pm came and went while we sat expectantly on the outside rear deck with cocktails in hand. Eventually an announcement came over from the captain 'on the bridge' that due to a malfunction with the electrical control system out departure would be delayed. Long story short, it took a day and a half to resolve the issue so Moreton Island was dropped from the itinerary and we cruised in the ocean for two days. All passengers were promised a full refund of their cruise fare. I am sure that many, like myself, compensated by drinking more than they may have done otherwise and this may have contributed to the enthusiastic participation and dancing on both party nights! Overall - we really enjoyed our cruise on the Pacific Eden with our group of family and friends. Highlights were the party nights and the onboard live entertainment. The bar areas were all very nice. Downsides were the food which was generally mediocre, and the unforeseen technical issues which unfortunately denied us a full day of travel. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
First time cruisers - a convenient way to have a family reunion - group of 30. Flew in from Sydney - as we had once lived in Brisbane no need to spend any extra time here - had our embarkation time - not sure why as 300 odd people were in ... Read More
First time cruisers - a convenient way to have a family reunion - group of 30. Flew in from Sydney - as we had once lived in Brisbane no need to spend any extra time here - had our embarkation time - not sure why as 300 odd people were in front of us and an hour and 15 later we boarded the boat. First sight of our cabin - decent size, nice balcony, king size bed all good - then the bad! Bath robes wrapped in plastic on the bed - should we open them we would be charged $25 for each - a cleaning fee apparently! TV was on with a loop recording advising us of how to wash our hands and advisable to use our own toilet and not any of the public ones. The shower/bath was pretty grubby - mould throughout the grouting. First meal was in the Pantry - awful - had a roast beef sandwich the bread was stale. vowed we wouldn't eat here again. Unfortunately on the day we toured Hamilton Island we had to be out early and the restaurant was closed - so we had breakfast in the Pantry - awful - the scrambled eggs were cold, sausage inedible, poached eggs were fine as was the toast! Waterfront restaurant was fine - plenty of course choices for breakfast lunch and dinner and all the meals we had were good. The service was completely hit and miss. We also ate at Angelos which was very good - Dragon lady not so much and the service also hit and miss. We ate at Luke Mangans and paid the extra for a good meal with excellent service. We saw 2 shows a magic and a comedian - both quite good. We kept away from all the loud bands and djs as that is not our thing, but lots of people seemed to enjoy them. We only had the one excursion and that was delayed due to bad weather - completely understandable. However once we got on shore our tour had been cancelled and we were left standing on the port with 2 elderly 81 yr olds with no transportation and a very rude P & O staff member who could offer no alternative! We felt that the drinks on board are hugely expensive and watered down/ as well as complete price gouging in the spa and we got tired of crossing out the 5% tipping they added to every bill! I'm not a cruiser and P & O have not changed my mind. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We took the cruise because P & O is the only line cruising from Brisbane at this time of year. We decided a few years ago not to cruise with P & O again but in desperation decided to give them another try, this was the result. ... Read More
We took the cruise because P & O is the only line cruising from Brisbane at this time of year. We decided a few years ago not to cruise with P & O again but in desperation decided to give them another try, this was the result. Food in the Plantation Restaurant was very poor. Food was cold and the choices at breakfast and lunch was very limited and repetitive. The baked beans every day were so sweet that they were inedible and the oatmeal was a thin gruel. The reason for the cold food was the air-conditioning, every part of the ship was cold and we had to wear sweaters most of the time, by the time you got your lukewarm food on a cold plate and found a table it was cold. Things that are free on other ships are charged for on P&O ie: Burgers, Pizzas, room service etc. also they don't have a pre-purchase coffee card which reduces the cost for regular coffee drinkers. The Waterfront restaurant food was not up to the standard expected on such a cruise, the menus were very simple and limited and nowhere near the standard experienced on other ships. The Wait staff were fantastic amongst the best we have experienced, just a pity about the poor food and freezing temperatures. The entertainment, if one can call it that, was third rate it looks like they have stoped trying to get good acts. The best show was the kids concert. What has happened to the Captains party? he used to have a cocktail party for frequent cruisers as a bit of a thank you. There is no library or reading room, it was claimed that the books were stolen by the passengers which says something about the "Cruislings" and P&O's "Its too hard so lets give up" attitude. As a frequent cruiser I get free internet on the Princes Line, I refuse to pay on P&O, after all they are owned by the same Company so why not offer the same rewards. The daily program guide offers the minimum of information on activities and nothing about the destinations. The TV is abysmal, the is no program guide and no program information. The satellite signal is unreliable at the best. Australian news was very hard to find, even though we were cruising off the Australian coast. We will not be cruising P&O again, compared to Princess Cruises it is no better than two stars but is charging three star prices. It seem that the Pacific Dawn is for fist time cruisers and families looking for a cheap cruising experience. NEVER AGAIN Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The embarkation and disembarking were fantastic ! on and off in no time at all as with the tender services that i did The ship itself i did find good and had plenty of bars and retreats to just laze around, pool area on deck 11 was ... Read More
The embarkation and disembarking were fantastic ! on and off in no time at all as with the tender services that i did The ship itself i did find good and had plenty of bars and retreats to just laze around, pool area on deck 11 was good as with the adults only pool at the aft,could do with a bar in the adults pool area. The cabin was clean and spacious (was on deck 5) and loved it , no engine noise as i have heard people say at all and no noise either from other cabins,room attendants were great ! Got to say you are spoiled for choices when eating on the ARIA ,as part of your ticket you have options such as the Pantry and Waterfront as well as Angelo's for Italian and Dragon Lady for Asian ,people Angelo's and Dragon Lady are free eating places ,i am saying this as so many people onboard thought you had to pay to get into these top eating restaurants but you must pre book in the early morning to ensure you get a time that suits you to eat ,so read up about prior to going onboard what is free and what is not A concern i had was that mainly at the Pantry the food was only warm ,it was rare to get a hot meal ! If you are into organised there is plenty to do and for the entertainment it was all good from the adults only comedy shows to stage shows i found the service provided by the ships staff excellent As for shore tours it is cheaper to do your own thing when reaching a port as a lot of the same tours you book onboard are a lot dearer than the same ones as mentioned you can book yourself on shore All in all i had a good cruise and will be back on the Aria in the near future Read Less
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