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Sail Date: August 2019
My Fiance bought this cruise for my 50th birthday. We departed from Singapore on 25/08/19. Singapore is a magnificent place by the way. The first thing we noticed was that the ship was not the gleaming white vessel depicted in the ... Read More
My Fiance bought this cruise for my 50th birthday. We departed from Singapore on 25/08/19. Singapore is a magnificent place by the way. The first thing we noticed was that the ship was not the gleaming white vessel depicted in the brochures. On deck 12 there are large windows which are held in by steel bracelets. These brackets in places were rusted through and effectively were holding nothing. The carpet outside our room was marked and stained and the hallway smelt musty. There was also an odour of raw sewerage which remained inside and outside for the rest of the cruise. This smell was disgusting. The carpet in our room was frayed, wet and musty. The carpet had to be lifted and dried with a blower. The shower had active mould growing around the top. The shower vent was rusted as was the outer wall. Fittings were missing off the toilet and the toilet brush was disgusting. At night our cabin door squeaked constantly to the point that we had to jam paper in it to quieten it. In some toilets cisterns were not secured to the walls. One tap was covered in duct tape to stop a leak. Some of the doors in public toilets were swollen from moisture and smelt bad. Every day they would incinerate rubbish which would cause black soot to fall all over the back of the ship including in your drinks, food and clothing. All of the windows on the ship were filthy - even at the start of the cruise. The cabin walls are incredibly thin and you can hear everything going on the next cabin. Activities are tailored toolder people. The pool is tiny. Damien Mullin (Elvis) was very good as was the comedian Stephen Whiteley. The rest of the entertainment was so so. There was plenty of food but the same thing was served many different ways. Eg todays roast became tomorrow's stir fry the sandwiches on the third day. The staff were friendly but even their enthusiasm does not not make up for the tired old tub they work on. The ship had been dry docked in Singapore for 14 days for maintenance so it must have been bad before. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We had been on a cruise with 600 passengers and decided it wasn’t for us. Wind Spirit has only 130 passengers and 100 crew and our experience was so different - we loved it. The crew was charming, helpful, knowledgeable and attentive and ... Read More
We had been on a cruise with 600 passengers and decided it wasn’t for us. Wind Spirit has only 130 passengers and 100 crew and our experience was so different - we loved it. The crew was charming, helpful, knowledgeable and attentive and our cabin was very comfortable and kept spotless. We enjoyed the most delicious food with lots of fresh tropical fruit, an amazing variety of salads and superbly cooked meats with a large selection of desserts. For dinner there were two fine dining restaurants and a wide ranging and interesting menu. The shore excursions were well run - since this cruise was round Tahiti there was snorkelling, diving, picnics on beautiful little “motus” or tiny islands, tours with local historians around the islands and visits to pearl farms and vanilla plantations. But what made it for us was the charm of the Captain and his crew - they were all friendly, approachable and made everyone feel very much at home. We recommend this cruise so very warmly. There is nothing we didn’t love about it.... Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
The following includes some activities/pitfalls to avoid or be aware of on P&O cruises overall the Pacific Explorer was a fun ship with some great people looking after you but P&O need to supplement their discounted fares so be ... Read More
The following includes some activities/pitfalls to avoid or be aware of on P&O cruises overall the Pacific Explorer was a fun ship with some great people looking after you but P&O need to supplement their discounted fares so be aware they are not happy just charging the cruise price they need to extract more to remain profitable. I’d estimate based upon prices and upsell pressure their looking at making $500 to $1000 per guest so add that to your cruise price when factoring in the cost. They also operate under a first and second class citizen model. Unless you book your tours with them or book a suite you’ll have to wait up to two hours longer to disembark at destinations which use tenders. That’s 10-20% less shore time if your a second class citizen. Then there’s the continual upsell it starts before you leave with about 20 messages in your cruise application about insurance and then they start abusing your personal email address with multiple messages even after you update your cruise app to reflect you do not need insurance. I got insurance for two people for less than what they charge for one. Before you jump in about it not being fit for purpose my wife is from overseas so we had to submit to the French embassy for a visa and they approved the visa with the level of travel insurance we had. The level of cover was not basic it was greater than the P&O offering in many areas. So only a rich fool would use the insurance offered by P&O. Then you get to your room and there’s two robes and an umbrella on your bed. Don’t break the seal on the plastic or you just incurred $75. All up there is close to $100 of “optional” up sell items in your cabin on arrival. Choosing your cabin. Deck 10 is probably the best others all have problem areas like deck 11 below pool deck, deck 9 above casino etc. remember level 7 has most of entertainment so avoid above and below. Now the departure process. If you don’t know you can drop your bags off at anytime so don’t drag them around as you visit the opera house or tackle the hills of the rocks area. They do have a lot of people assisting at checkin so it goes quite quick and usually you can get on before your allotted time just check when you drop your bags. Next the food I have seen posts ranging from its pigs slop to rave reviews. The range and preparation is good but there is a lot of lower grade cuts of meat so the food is just ok. It’s not top restaurant quality but it’s ok and you won’t go hungry. You also have to remember their catering for 2000 plus people and aim at the lowest common denominator so no strong flavors. Even if it’s Garlic Mushroom soup you’ll struggle to taste the garlic. We tried to eat dinner at the specialty and main restaurants as the taste was better but still some cheaper cuts and lack of strong flavors. We avoided the buffet for dinner but for a family it’s pretty good with kids with finicky tastes. You can go back as many times as you like no need to create a Mixed food mountain enjoy the taste of each separately and take your time. As soon as you get on board go down and book your restaurants for dinner on level 6 for the whole cruise you may miss one free drink but you’ll be better prepared for the rest of the trip. Dragon Lady and Angelos change menu about mid cruise so book one early and one late to sample the full range of their offerings. The entertainment is fantastic great musicians, shows. and entertainment but often too little of appeal is on at the same time so everyone is trying to get to the same thing. If you want to enjoy a show I recommend you get there 20 minutes early even for entertainment in the pubs as there won’t be a seat but one will open up in 15-30 minutes in the pubs if you can wait and stand for that long. Staff well there’s three categories and a specialist group. The people who look after your room are super friendly and happy to help with anything. The entertainers who on the whole are great professional and upbeat in the face of a number of rude and drunk people. Then there’s the general service people in the restaurants and shops. Most of them are very nice the rest rude arrogant, racist non service people. If you hate people that much change industries don’t continue in customer service. But the most annoying people of all are the photographers. Whether your trying to board the boat, relax on a deck chair, enjoying the departure party, your dinner or getting off at a departure point. They are there and get grumpy/disappointed if you say no thanks. They continually block passage ways, arriving piers, stairs, kick you out of chairs when listening to entertainment all so they can gouge money. Now 30 years ago before the iPhone, Samsung et al, I got the idea and need for a ship photographer but now I can take 100 snaps filter it down to 5-10 and get them made into prints wall hangings, coffee cups, plates, mouse Mats, T-shirt’s, a picture book, or even a glowing plastic replica of the moon with the photo etched in. I don’t need to be interrupted all the time by a predatory photographer who tries to sell me the print at a higher cost than the GDP of a small West Indies Island. $80 for three small 6x4 prints if you take advantage of the onboard discount. Ports of call if you are docking to a pier it’s busy for first 30 minutes but then it’s easy to get off the ship. If your stops involve using tenders you may as well give up for the first hour or more. Each tender takes about 15 to 20 minutes at least and cannot operate in rough waters. They use multiple tenders but are restricted by single point loading and unloading bottlenecks. Consequently they land about 6 boats each hour. Each holds about 100 people so with 2000 people on the boat that’s 3 hours to get them all transferred. No wonder so many stay on the boat. Next year they take on a bigger ship of 2500 capacity. Tenders are a 2000’s solution to a 2020’s world I’d cancel if I had a cruise with three tender stops again. The Shore Tours they do have a lot of them and the more popular ones book out very quickly so if you have your heart set on one book it early and suck up the high price tag. The sales pitch is all based on fear. “If you book a tour with us and your late we’ll hold the boat for you if you book with others you’ll miss the boat”, or my favorite which I think should be referred to consumer affairs “we have insurance so if something happens your covered if you book with the local providers they don’t so you won’t be covered”. So none of the local tour providers have insurance you know this for a fact? And it appears they are saying your travel insurance won’t cover you if you use a local tour provider. At the time of writing oxygen was still free but I’m sure P&O corporate are working on a way to charge you for that. I researched the price of food and drink before I left and it was probably a year old but most of the prices have gone up by about 10-15% some exceptions. CPI is running at 1-2% but in keeping with their pirate ancestors P&O can increase costs by 10-15% in a year or so. My wife forgot her conditioner so $8 for a small travel size bottle on board. 1st Lesson gentlemen the free shampoo conditioner is not the same so do not suggest that 2nd Lesson double check you have everything. Bottled water $5 a bottle with two bottles laying in wait in your room not for free but you guessed it upsell break the seal and your charged. Not all the food and drink is free and what is and what isn’t will surprise you. I had the premium drinks package and soft-drinks package which includes soft drinks and alcoholic drinks up to $13 but not tea or coffee and 600ml bottled water was free at the bars but I had to pay for water in my room. Now specialty ice cream you pay for but they don’t have any ice cream unless you buy the specialty ice creams so parents expect To pay $5-10 for an ice cream for your kids. No soft serve machine like all other buffets in the world. There is an Italian restaurant in the list of free restaurants but you can’t get pizza you have to buy that at a specialty pizza restaurant. You can’t bring water on board in your luggage but can bring 12 cans of soft drink each. Confused I think that’s the intent so you drop your guard and pay for something that’s not included in your package. Time to talk about the boat. It’s has seen better days despite this pig having a fresh coat of lipstick in about 2009 and a tidy up in 2017 it’s showing it’s original manufacture date of 1997. It sort of looks like they just paint over the rust and everything has this rough bubbly finish hiding the imperfections. TV’s and other appliances in rooms don’t work with quick turnarounds they don’t seem to have time to fix things. You will need a masters in Electrical Engineering to be able to work out how to switch on and off your lights in the cabin. On a positive note the public areas which have high traffic appear well maintained as with the deck chairs and cushions. There is a lot of things to do with most tastes catered for but with 2000 people all looking for privacy or a unique experience this isn’t going to happen. Repeat together “yes we are all individuals”. Finally check your bill. I had the drinks packages but still had charges for soft drinks on my bill totaling about $20 Luckily it was easy for me to get them removed but what if you didn’t have a drinks package how would you go trying to argue you didn’t incur those costs. I also had a charge where they over charged my wife $15 for a charge but couldn’t prove it so had to suck it up. Seemed a common complaint with many people saying they had additional items added to their bill. I think they make an extra $15-30,000 per cruise from these types of overcharges if you use my example and don’t get them rectified. In summary a cruise on the Pacific Explorer is overall a nice vacation nothing special. Adjust your thinking before you come even with drinks packages it’s not an all inclusive holiday. Also check if your happy to be second class or want to pay the extra for first class, also P&O don’t have any loyalty packages so you don’t loose anything by trying other providers so try the others next time. The use of tenders it’s past their use by date only use ports with pier facilities or have one tender stop maximum. Check your cruise and change accordingly. If P&O changed but one thing it would be free or at most cost price water in your cabin you shouldn’t profiteer from water and most importantly it would improve the demeanor of your customers who feel like P&O are breaching the Geneva Convention by charging so much for water. Positives Cabin and Entertainment Staff Good Adults Only Areas Boarding Process Rest and Relaxation Areas Food preparation Negatives Continual Habitual Up Sell Prices and Unregulated Increases Bland food not matching ambience and service Photographers Bottled water policy/price Deceptive tour sales Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
My spouse, and my brother and sister with their spouses decided to try to get a vacation together and visit the South Pacific. it was easy to pick the islands around and including Tahiti. Should we cruise to do land tour. After only a ... Read More
My spouse, and my brother and sister with their spouses decided to try to get a vacation together and visit the South Pacific. it was easy to pick the islands around and including Tahiti. Should we cruise to do land tour. After only a brief discussion, we chose Windstar Cruises, Wind Spirit and, boy are we glad! The ship is small, only 148 passengers tops. The staterooms are on two decks, every one of them nearly identical. Practical room with room to hide suitcases. Bathroom only accommodates one at a time, but it works fine. Food, what can we say but, great! Great variety at all meals starting with breakfast. The one "specialty" restaurant is Candles, overseen by Assistant Maitre'd Prast. He and crew of wizards lay out great dinners under the stars on the rear deck. The Wind Spirit's entire crew are always welcoming guest when they see them, a very nice touch. The have a open Bridge Policy. You can tour the bridge at almost anytime. We met several very friendly officers while on the bridge. The Captain, Lyubo Garcityanov is available at all times. We had several very nice and long conversations with the Captain, who told us he evens call his mother regularly. A really nice man. Between ship arranged BBQ's on Motus and crew talent shows, it hard to thinks of a funnier cruise ship on the seven seas! The Wind Spirit is just the ideal ship for those who don't like crowds, who want good food, and the most beautiful islands anywhere. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
First time on Carnival cruises. Not disappointed at all. Rated excellent for service,entertainment and cleanliness. Every stop was on time.Weather was great (August) and that's the best time to visit these islands with lower temps and ... Read More
First time on Carnival cruises. Not disappointed at all. Rated excellent for service,entertainment and cleanliness. Every stop was on time.Weather was great (August) and that's the best time to visit these islands with lower temps and humidity. Only onboard on top decks we need some extra warmth. Could not fault staterooms with excellent stewards. A good surprise was the Carnival Hub app that simply works so well. Text to your friends anywhere onboard for $9pp is fair. It also has 'what happening' for the whole cruise with the ability to notify 15 mins before what you choose. The app contains details of event locations with maps plus ship time. You don't have to pay for internet use for this...just as well as the cheapest deal is $120 that only gives Facebook/Messenger (no calls but pic and vid work) and very limited Google. No emails at this price either...have to pay $60 more for that. Entertainment was high standard with excellent showrooms. Soft drink package is $82.50 but I should have considered paying separately as were only $1.75 each. Great free coffee,Pizza and ice cream all 24 hours. Coffee included cappuccino and hot chocolate with frother. Pizza was OK but not fabulous. Same as ice cream. Gym etc was very modern and well equipped with steam room sauna and spa in a private atmosphere. Restaurants had beautiful decor nice meals with excellent service. Felt that meals repeated with limited choices but themes were a nice touch. Every night the staff added a few minutes of dancing that we looked forwarded to. They also dressed for theme nights. We did not dine at extra cost restaurants so cannot comment on these but they seemed enticing. The burger bar and Tacos were a nice option. Did not try the topside grille but it smells nice when passing. Finally saw Mystery island after previous cruises could not get there. We thought they underrated it. Beautiful clear waters with nice beaches to snorkel free. Good tracks as well that avoids getting bogged in sand. Plenty to do in a nice surroundings. Mare island wasn't much but still was enjoyed as long as you can walk a few Klms. Vila doesn't change but there's still plenty to do and the only place to shop duty free. Lifou is still lovely. 9 years ago we snorkeled in Janeck bay free - now it's $30pp! The cave trip is definitely worth the $10 but it's around 2k walk and not sold on ship. A lovely trip overall only slightly spoilt by rough weather on way back. Big swell of 6-8 meter waves rocked the ship forward to aft but the great stabilisers reduced the sideways movement. Some passengers over dramatised the movements after a few plates were broken and thought they were going to die so contacted the media for their fame - but most knew they were in good hands and returned on time. I've been in much worse when the harbour was closed for 2 days and nobody was even injured! Accolades to Carnival's Captain and all staff for a great trip. I would rank Carnival above some other brands. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Here is the short version of my review. My longer detailed version is below. If you are a first time cruiser with no expectations and you are looking for an average cruise on an average ship with an average crew the pacific dawn is ... Read More
Here is the short version of my review. My longer detailed version is below. If you are a first time cruiser with no expectations and you are looking for an average cruise on an average ship with an average crew the pacific dawn is perfect for you. However, if you are an experienced cruiser with expectations for anything above the bare minimum I would absolutely avoid this ship and this cruise. Long version: this was the first time my wife and I had ever cruised with P&O and it will be the last. We paid a little bit more with Holland America but we had a much better experience! I can't say anything was really TERRIBLE about P&O and the Pacific Dawn but there was nothing above the bare minimum either. There was rust in our cabin and on the outside of the ship. The ship is 28 years old and it is dated and worn out. Half way through our cruise some of the toilets on the lower decks started to back up and smell really bad. Our bed was nice but the pillows we were given were terrible. The crew were nice enough and were never rude but most of them never went out of their way to learn our names or give us anything above the bare minimum. The food was not bad but it was very average. We were not impressed. P&O also charges 5 dollars or more for all the extras (ice cream, hamburgers, hotdogs etc) the only food they don't charge extra for is the food served at breakfast, lunch or dinner The on board entertainment was not bad but again, it was very average. Their "library" is a mobile book cart and the selection is extremely limited. The TV in our room wasn't on demand. If you wanted to watch something you had to plan your day so you wouldn't miss the movie. Now for the positives: P&O does not charge that daily gratuity fee which is very refreshing. Additionally, not every show or every meal were terrible but overall, both the shows and the meals were just average. They did offer a free kitchen gallery tour which many other cruise lines charge upwards of 50 dollars for. That was neat. Also our room stewards really did a good job taking care of us. Some of these complaints might seem petty but as experienced cruisers we just expected more and were disappointed. But as the old saying goes, "You get what you pay for". P. S. Full disclosure, after we disembarked in Singapore P&O claims they are putting the ship in dry dock for 12 days and renovating everything. Unfortunately we weren't on board the ship again to see the results. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We have been to Tahiti in the past, but never taken a cruise. We decided to give it a try so we could experience several islands and excursions in a short amount of time, without having to worry about accommodations or dining. There were 8 ... Read More
We have been to Tahiti in the past, but never taken a cruise. We decided to give it a try so we could experience several islands and excursions in a short amount of time, without having to worry about accommodations or dining. There were 8 of us in our group ranging from 8 to 82 years old. Overall, the ports of call, excursions, crew service, food and cabin were superb. We loved the fact that it was a small cruise (300+ passengers) because everything was more personal. The Good - The food was top notch. Good breakfast and lunch selection and very good dinner selections. The waiters were very attentive. - The cabin was comfortable and nice, but the extras (food, cleanliness, special requests, etc) made it special. - The excursions were entertaining and varied; scuba departing from the on-ship marina was a very nice touch. Room for Improvement - It was somewhat of a hassle having to stay in a hotel a day before departure and during the day of disembarkation. In addition, it wasn't clear what kind of food was included at the hotel; the food was just OK and expensive. - The pool is definitely small and it more for show than actual usage. - The online excursion reservation system was fine, but make sure you do it before the cutoff date. - The entertainment was adequate, but having the same band for "everything" during the cruise got a little tiring. We enjoyed immensely our cruise and next time we will probably do the tuamotus... One last piece of advice, even though the gratuities are included, do leave gratuities to the 4 or 5 people that were outstanding during the cruise; they do appreciate it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked this cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary. This is our third Windstar cruise in the past 5 years and it was amazing. 140 passengers, 102 crew members that spoiled us for 11 days. Our trip included airfare and all the ... Read More
We booked this cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary. This is our third Windstar cruise in the past 5 years and it was amazing. 140 passengers, 102 crew members that spoiled us for 11 days. Our trip included airfare and all the transfers during the trip. We were met at the airport and taken by bus to the Intercontinental Hotel for our overnight stay. This hotel is a lovely oasis with a variety of pools, a lagoon and beach with plenty of water sports activities. All the transfers were smooth and efficient. The check in process at the ship the next afternoon was smooth and fast. Our cabin was mid ship on the first level. The cabin is small, but very well appointed. Plenty of space for our bags, our clothes and snorkeling gear. The cabin steward kept the cabin clean and neat throughout the trip. We purchased the laundry plan and each morning a bag of dirty clothes were picked up and at the end of the day clean clothes were waiting for us in our room. It allowed me to pack all the clothes I need for an 11 day cruise including my snorkel and mask in a single carry-on suitcase! My wife has some food allergies and wait staff on board made sure that her food was prepared in a manner to not allow any cross contamination that might impact her health. Breakfast and lunch were served with the choice of indoor or outdoor seating. Breakfasat included a nice spread of fruits, fresh baked goods, buffet style eggs, bacon, sausage, etc or you could order a made to order omelet, or a choice of about a half dozen other entries that were varied each day. (Pancakes, french toast, eggs benedict, ....). Lunch included a choice of salads, a handful of buffet style entries and a fresh food station that varied each day (tacos, pasta, roast). The wait staff provided excellent service. Dinner was served most nights in the large indoor dining room, and one night on deck in the open air. Each night the menu offered an amazing variety of starters, main courses and desserts. The dinner on deck featured grilled seafood, steak, pork and chicken options. We took a number of tours that were arranged thru WindStar. The Blue Lagoon tour on Fakarava was sold out before the cruise, so we took the Snorkeling at Pufuna tour. There was a strong current that afternoon and this tour was probably our least favorite of the cruise. Book the Blue Lagoon if you can, the people that took that tour said it was very good. On Rangiroa we took the Snorkeling at the Aquarium Coral Garden trip. It was a short boat trip to the coral reef and water was teaming with colorful fish. That afternoon we took the tender into the dock and walked around the island. We had a very pleasant stop at Josephine's overlooking the pass. The day at Motu Mahaea was excellent. We did not do an excursion that day. We swam in the waters off the private beach, enjoyed the excellent bbq lunch and strolled around the island. It was a fantastic day. The two days at sea were a little rocky. I would recommend getting the seasick patches beforehand. On Huahine we took the Sacred Sites & Cultural Walk. Our guide Manu was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot about the Polynesian people. The hike up to one of the sacred sites was not for people with mobility issues. Bora Bora was fantastic. We booked a trip via Trip Advisor with Tohora Bora Bora that was outstanding. We also booked the Shark and Manta Ray encounter with WindStar. Swimming with the sharks and rays was a highlight of the trip! For my money, Moorea was the most beautiful of the islands. My wife booked the Dolphin outing and had a great time. I booked the photo tour with Eyes of Moorea. Reno took us up to Magic Mountain and the Belvedere lookout and gave us some great tips on how to shot interesting travel photos. Overall, the tours and excursions that we took really added to our enjoyment of the cruise. Since this ship is smaller than most, it can anchor in areas away from the larger cruise ships. In fact, we only had one day out of 11 where we saw another cruise ship at the same port as we were visiting! We enjoyed the back of the ship sports deck and equipment a number of times. My friend took out the sailboat and kayak and we found that swimming behind the ship was a great way to relax after a morning of visiting one of the islands. This cruise is a great way to see French Polynesia. Excellent service, food and activities. My wife and I have traveled extensively over the years and I have to say that this trip is one of the highlights of all our travels. I look forward to returing to these islands again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
If you are expecting variety, pleasant atmosphere, entertainment, luxury, relaxation, or well maintained facilities, EVEN wifi, you'll be in for a nasty shock. This was our first cruise. We will NOT be going back to Carnival ... Read More
If you are expecting variety, pleasant atmosphere, entertainment, luxury, relaxation, or well maintained facilities, EVEN wifi, you'll be in for a nasty shock. This was our first cruise. We will NOT be going back to Carnival cruises ever again. Our cruise was just a 4 dayer to Moreton Island. It's fortunate my husband and I can entertain ourselves, because this cruiseline is geared towards a) little children who don't know any better b) people who like to be in bars for 26 hours a day c) those with bad hearing d) dummies who would pay for things that should be freely available and e)....ah...shall I say less than your average sort of person. BOARDING: We had priority boarding. It went quite well. We arrived at 11am and boarded at 11.10. The problem was, our room was supposed to be one of the first ready, and it wasn't. No where near. We had nothing to do for 2 hours + while it was sorted. In fact, doors to accommodation were closed, with signes on Do Not Enter, until 1.30. Even then, ours was still locked and incomplete with no card to get in. Apparently we should have been able to get in early. So we had to hang around, lucky Sydney was so pretty to look at. CABIN: Our room was nice, we'd paid extra for a vista suite, one of the most roomy cabins in the ship, aft. Very nice, and nice and clean thanks to our very nice lady, Sunny, who was one of the few highlights of the cruise. The balcony was dirty and glass filthy. Don't expect a roomy suite, it's still a little cramped, but to be expected. It has a very nice balcony, wrap around the stern. Worth the money for the view and the 'get away from it all'. It had a delicious bed,...that's one of the 'dot' ratings. Pillows annoying, but the bed was lovely. The room had curtains on rails which swung and squeaked after every trough and wave. Try that when you're going to sleep??? Door to the bathroom kept swinging too. The lights, which dimmed if held pressed, were a nightmare to navigate. all over the place and which ones did which was a mystery. Plenty of hanging space and drawers (if you need that sort of thing), a big bathroom, if you need THAT sort of thing. Stupid shower water mixer, obviously people are scalded by it, because there was a sign on the wall. I hate combo faucet/shower heads where you have to press or pull the button to choose. A small lounge area with TVs, one chair had back wheels missing, never could work out if on purpose so it leaned back, or not. Lounge was diabolical. FAR to wide to sit leaning back, and vinyl, so you slipped when you tried. No cushions. If you're only 157cm, (5'2") it was ridiculous. Bottles of water cost $4.50 each. Not even one for free. Hmmmm. I'm beginning to start to wonder. DECOR: of the ship......oLD FASHIONED TACK. oh me..oh my. Think a cross between a bad Buckingham Palace / Titanic / Op shop - and you'll get my drift. (pardon the pun). ANY level surface was patterned with faux 1930s patterns. Nauseating carpet patterns, golden cupids and fat GOLD heads, swirls and glass and pretend copper and brass, wood veneer, and giant chandeliers and claw footed furniture. Oh, and my personal favourite.....the fake frescos of nude gods, goddesses, angels and just...well just naked people badly painted ...actually really HORRIBLY painted, all over the ceilings and on multiple rondels around the walls. Add to that the framed artwork...matching I'll add....of (yes you guessed it) more naked people, very ordinary artworks of things like greek gods. In our suite, Venus was being fondled by Cupid. It was pedophilic. I can't understand why someone let that be hung in a room! You've no idea how off-putting it was to wake up to that huge poster every morning. the artist should be shot. So should the decorator. It was the most hideous attempt at vintage glamour I've ever seen. TACKY. Ostentatious Tack. MAINTENANCE: The outside of the ship was not much better. I was literally scared that the balcony of our room might fall off, there was so much rust under the paint. The RAILING was stuck on top of the old one, which was warped, peeeling and rusted. The glass along the railing was absolutely filthy, as were our cabin windows. That's a shame since you could see nothing when inside the cabin, looking through dirty windows and a dirty glass railing. aLL throught the ship I noticed peeling veneer, broken foam faux gold leaf cupids etc, In our suite I found it ludicrous that a fairly nice birds eye veneer was used on cupboards and drawers and then old 1980s gold tone plastic handles attached which colour was worn off. Wardrobe door would not slide. Looking at the interior of other ships, this one was a decor disaster, and I'm not even fussy! SAFETY DRILL - i WAS pretty annoyed when we were hearded out onto the deck (though the temp was nice) and made to stand there for 20 minutes, while nothing happened, then a ridiculously simple safety blurb - how to put on a life jacket. (really??) and then stand there for a nother 10 minutes whjile nothing happens. Then a very loud horn (there go a few more of my aural cilia) and we're apparently allowed to go. FOOD: tHERE are 3 main areas to eat. a) the communal eat what you want, as much as you want, wheneve you want. (Except you can't, because it's not open all the time, only the pizza, tea and coffee is.) b) The posh restaurant upstairs. c) the main restaurant comprising of 2 levels. The food was ok. Pretty good, acceptable. I don't want to make it sound great. It was fresh enough,a nd there was plenty of it. We ate at all 3 places. POSH RESTAURANT; we booked in very early. Months ago. When we arrived we were annoyed that there was not a window table as we'd asked. "Sorry, we don't do that' he said. Why book then?? He said first come first served. Again...why book then? Food was nice, but my lobster was way overcooked. I'd say in a warmer or something for a while. It was even tough to cut. (It was my one splurge dinner.) Sides were ordered. Broccoli. 2 tiny pieces of broccoli. (If I'd known that I would have order 4 serves!!) and mash with wasabi for my husband. About 2 tablespoons of mash with no wasabi. I couldn't taste any. He couldn't taste any. So I'm saying the sides were a waste of effort. Big steak though. And tender. And we were asked "All OK?" "All good?" "Is food ok?" so many times, I lost count. Literally 20 times by 3-4 different people. It was sooooooo annoying. I had a mushroom entree which was delicious. Then the overcooked lobsters. Then a chocolate sphere, which I understood to be filled with something else..., actually it was all just chocolate, melted with melted chocolate, and with chocolate inside and chocolate smeared on the edge. ERgh. I love choc. But no counterpoint to give some contrast it was sickly. Hey chef, ever heard of raspberries? or orange? or even cream? Meals are $55 for choice of 3 courses. EMPIRE RESTAURANT: (THE middle one) Staff are tremendous. Work like trojans serving all the hundreds of people, sitting at decadently decorated tables in the ostentatious huge dining room. They're quick, efficient, and super friendly. The menu is not anything special. It has most of the food that is also served upstairs at the posh restaurant (for an exctra $30), and all of the food from the serve yourself buffet, but put on a plate for you. (free). You can choose what you want, multiple times if you want. So it's really like a buffet, but you can't see the food and someone else gets it for you. It's ok food though. Except I had bouillabaise last night which was just a broth with a few teeny bits of seafood chucked in at the last minute. And a cooked apple with lime pie inside, the apple was so tough I couldn't cut it, obviously not cooked enough, and my husband had one too, but it was only half the size!!! Breakfast is also held in this room. BUFFET: Welcome to cattle class. In many respects. Pushers, shovers, pigs. (sorry, but true. - I guess this style attracts it.) I enjoyed my couple of visits to the buffet as the food was fine, it was the people who weren't. Also, Carnival, your set up...organisation of food stations is abysmal. Identical lines of food from both sides, both converging inwards to the same place is ridiculous. Especially when that place is also the coffee and tea station. I enjoyed a cantina outside which did taco type things. It was fresh and interesting. There's an all day pizza place, but other than that, only tea coffee hot choc and something they called lemonade, but to us (Aussies) it's very strong sweet lemon cordial. It was hideous. Really, no soft drinks or even WATER!!! No juice either. I suppose you could get it from the bar if you wanted to. BARS: Speaking of bars...the inumerable multiple bars all over the ship. You couldn't escape them. Clearly the focus of attention for designers. 2/3 of the public areas ...at least...were bars. Maybe you like that.. I didn't. Why on earth would you drink inside a ship, when you could ...well...drink outside of one? And why is there a need for 7 or more bars? Bar people will not make drinks to order. One day, I went to get a cocktail. I wanted one without orange juice as I'm allergic to it. I asked for a cocktail off the list, but substitute the oj for coconut milk or something, as I like it creamy. Barman said no. I thought he was joking. He said can't do. I said 'What?" he said can't leave out orange juice. I said I don't want oj. He said I can't do. People around me are shaking their heads...what? why? pick something else. OK...pina colada but no ice. No. Can't do. (pina colada's aren't made like dacquiri, they're not icy, and he was making them like that.) No can't do. I asked him why, he just shook his head. I said, but I'm paying for it!!! So I had to make a complaint. I never ever complain. Long stoir short. Dep Head Barman explained. They won't make drinks to order. Too many people on board. (I'm thinking, why would you hire barmen that can't make drinks to order? the bars are never crowded because there's so many of them.) Also, apparently no coconut milk. Really? on a tropical cruise? They use pina colada mix. No pineapple juuice, no coconut cream. Just a stodgy looking mixture. ergh. NO WIFI - unbelievably, there is no wifi on the ship. (I'm not an idiot, I can work out why. - they do not want passengers on their phones or tablets for free, instead of bars and restaurants, casino and shops where they would be spending money.) For this reason also, there is NO NEWSAGENT, NO BOOKSHOP etc on board. They don't want you reading, when you could be drinking or gambling or otherwise spending more money!!! So after leaving sydney and my 4g carks it, I start to wonder. Where is the wifi. I get the Carnival Hub,a nd to my dismay it costs $72 PER PERSON to get 4 day cruise long middle of the road wifi. (not hispeed and not all sites, eg no youtube). You can switch devices, but not at the same time. So husband and I could not be on wifi at once unless we had two accounts. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Even aeroplanes have wifi. Coober Pedy, in the desert of South Australia has wifi and that's 850 kilometres away from the nearest city. And you're telling me acruise ship, 10kms off coast, can't give wifi? It's because it's another cash grab. Pay for wifi, or pay to do something else. No entertainment for free on this ship. So we bought ONE wifi account, swapping devices, and only one of us using it at a time, when we needed to. however. IT WOULDN'T WORK IN OUR BEDROOM OR ON OUR BALCONY. Wifi is garbage on the ship. It's slow, and I don't know about you, I like lying in bed looking at emails whenI'm on hols. And I had to sit on the bed, as I couldn't sit on the slide wide sofa. But I couldn't get wifi in the bedroom. Soooooo annoying when I'd paid $72 for it. That's more than 2 months worth of wifi I pay at home! ENTERTAINMENT: As you may have observed, I'm not a fan of 24 hour drinking, gambling or eating. I naively expected there to be entertainment on board. Adult entertaiment. Not "ADULT" but for adults. Not bean bag tossing. Not the hairy chest competition. :/ NOT a lecture about ...wait for it....wrinkles. I didn't want to have my photo taken, I can do that. I would have played trivia or even bingo in a pinch, but these more fun games were held in random spaces in side passages in a few seats in a cafe with people filing past and talking through them. It was impossible. Adn it wasn't for grown ups so kids were running around and talking. Seriously? Think about it. Can't hear the question, can't hear the answer. No point. So...THINGS TO DO. Virtually nothing. Unless you like drinking eating or gambling or spending money on rubbish. There are shops (jewellery, souvenirs, photos.) tHAT'S it. There are theme nights, if you're willing to risk your hearing. An 80s night for this cruise. Nothing else going. So if it's raining or windy, be aware. You will be very very bored. No internet, no books, tiny pools, no activities worth doing. Just a thought...Carnival. Try some FREE activities. What about a 'get fit' class on the deck. What about an 'All about Moreton Island' exhibition for 2 days ont he way there, and an 'all about the ocean' exhbition on the way back. What about a singalong, a talent show, a cooking exhibition. What about a FREE tour of the engine room (you had to pay). What about a mini borrow-library? A music room? A makeup show. The activities were pathetic and cash grabs, and here's the worst of them. ART AUCTION: There was the most bizarre art show I have ever witnessed. And being an artist myself, I have witnessed plenty, including some pretty odd ones. The organiser was a woman who spoke 3.75 x the speed of sound. Even when she was speaking 'normally'. People were sniggering behind their hands at her. She needs to take something to slow her up a bit. Around 30 minutes of blurb on how, why, who and when, would have been soporific, but for the voice of Speedy Gonzales. she informed us that SHE would determine the starting price, NOT the buyers who usually start an auction. (OK....), and SHE would put in bids whenever she felt necessary. (??? OK......) And the starting bid for the first piece of work was $6000. Six Grand. Did I hear correctly? or have my ears lost 75% hearing due to the ridiculous noise of the music in all the bars? You might not flinch at that. But the 'work', was done in highlighter and permanent marker. In fact, I have never seen such a flagrant upsell, overqualifying sales pitch for such utter rubbish in all my life. The 'works', were clearly up to 20 years old, absolutely revolting pictures, sad huge old gold tone wooden frames bashed and beaten, and reused over and over agiain, with the work begin recycled for cruise after cruise, until some idiot buys it. at $6000. I would say none of the work was painted in Australia. It6 looked like 1980s American junk store stuff. Oh boy. To add insult to injury, a 'free' glass of champagne and orange was offered just before the auction to soften the wallets of the numbskulls who were considering a hefty purchase. Only to be outbid by the seller, who could put in a bid over you to bid you up. Leaving you bidding against yourself. They called it 'collecting'. You can collect art from your cruises. People. People. Do yourself a favour. Go to Saint Vincent de Paul op shop. Pick up the same type of thing for $4 and be done with it. Or better, go to the art show of a local community Art Society and pick up a beautiful artwork recently painted, with genuine provenance, and the blessing of the artist, in a clean and modern frame. $500 should buy you a real cracker! PUBLIC AREAS: did I mention the music? No relaxing music, just super loud, aggravating ear pounding music. In all the bars, and pool areas. All the time. Even the accoustic guitar guy, who was the best of them, was sooooooo loud I wouldn't have put my children in the pool near him. No relaxing anywhere there. Nup. SPEAKING OF POOLS: Not pools. small spa style areas. They LOOK like pools in the pictures because of the huge overflow areas, like paddle areas about 1" deep, but which take up 2/3 of the pool area. The pools themselves are minute. About 4-5 metres long adn 2-3 metres wide. It would fit 20 people in max. No self respecting adult is going to get into a pool that small with 100 kids trying to get in. There is a 'serenity' area which has an even smaller pool. Think about it. Thousands of people. tiny tiny pools. I didnt travel with my older chldren, thank goodness. they would have been bored out of their trees. MORETON ISLAND. We loved it. We took our snorkel gear and walked the 2kms or whatever it is up to the wrecks and swam around on them looking at the gorgeous sea life. Then found a quiet sushi bar and bought an Asahi and a sushi. OH! I almost forgot. THE SHUTTLE BOAT. How could I forget that. It was an exciting experience to say the least. The WAITING: We were told we could o over at any time. We left at 9.50. We didn't ACTUALLY leave until 11.10am. Why? because there were tiny shuttle boats, and so few of them, and we were all herded into the auditorium with numbers, waiting our turn. It took over an hour for our turn. Really? There has to be a better way. The cruise director made it sound like we were SOOOO lucky to be getting on "Now for lucky 38. If you're 38 you can go to the island!!" It was ridiculous. At least have some entertainment for the 400 or so people all waiting to leave. the DRIVER: Picture this. You give your $150,000 car to your 14 year old to drive up to the shops and back. That's what it felt like. On the return trip, our boat driver was so pitiful it beggared belief. My husband is a Master 5 ticket holder, meaning he can drive BIG boats. He felt like he should go and offer assistance he was so pathetic. First, he zigzagged his way through the passage with reverse thrusters every time he needed to slow or turn. (use twice as much fuel and spin the boat around erratically, over steering to compensate.) It took 10x longer to get back than it did to come over. Worst, when we came alongside the ship, he tried to reverse it again, it should have taken around 12 seconds, with maybe 3 manouvres. It was a fairly calm sea. He botched it so badly the boat spun around 360 degrees TWICE! another boat came in, instead, probably to show the driver how to do it. (aka don't reverse up, just drive up to it!!) our driver still did not do that, mucking around over steering and reversing, and ultimately going forward, but so poorly he crashed into the SHIP!! All the passengers screamed, and while I knew nothing would happen, the sound was tremendous and the other passengers scared. Crew were standing on the ship watching the pitiful attempt, in disbelief. There was even a small vessel coming in, a bumpered vessel like a 'pusher', to help 'push' the shuttle into position. It was atrocious. And terrible of Carnival to hire boat drivers in charge of their passengers who have no skill and put lives at risk. They should be ashamed. You may have figured this kind of cruise is not for me. I have done many things like this, and don't get seasick. But I was dismayed at this cruise. It was a cash grab pure and simple. Only the staff saved it. Most of them anyway. They were helpful and worked hard. Probably don't get paid enough for the hard work they do. Most were overseas workers from the Philippines or Russia. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Exceeded expections: The choice of restaurants, quality of food and service was outstanding. The entertainment, shows and bands were exceptional - thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were wonderful, particularly our cabin stewards. ... Read More
Exceeded expections: The choice of restaurants, quality of food and service was outstanding. The entertainment, shows and bands were exceptional - thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were wonderful, particularly our cabin stewards. The ship has been updated and decor is very tasteful. The fitness centre was well equipped with a great outlook The spa was excellent The shore excursions were extremely well organised with very little waiting time for the tenders One third of our time was absolutely terrible - sleeping! The Queen/Double bed, unlike the fabulous Princess Cruise Line mattresses, were two ancient, rock hard, collapsed 'canoes' shoved together with a ridge down the middle. By day 3 I had severe pain down my leg and spent the rest of the cruise sleeping across the bottom of the two beds as it as the only part that had any support at all. Absolutely disgusted with the bed and will never ever travel on P&O again. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise specifically due to the smaller number of passengers. We like a less crowded experience. We really loved the locals who entertained us and helped with local crafts. What a way to learn! If was fantastic. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically due to the smaller number of passengers. We like a less crowded experience. We really loved the locals who entertained us and helped with local crafts. What a way to learn! If was fantastic. We haven't cruised in a long time, but found getting aboard and finding information about the excursions we chose very easy. Of course there was no shortage of people to help you! We dined in all of the restaraunt's and they were all superb. Staff were very courteous and never seemed so overwhelmed with passengers that they couldn't provide good service. I loved the ports. I especially liked Huahine but maybe it was our tour guide. We did the 'Sacred Sites' one and our guide was very well educated and also could answer random questions about plants, shells, animals........and what a sense of humour! Of course the picnic on Motu Mahana was so incredibly relaxing.....or busy if you wanted to partake in water actvities. Did I remember to say how beautiful the Motu is!! On our last day at Mooreau we spent at the InterContinental Resort and Spa, my husband enjoyed to rest by the pools and read. A rest after nearly 5 weeks of traveling. It was our 40 wedding anniversary and we had a wonderful sunset cruise of the bay in Bora Bora and a private dinner on the ships marina! It was so romantic, the highlight for sure. The staff did such a good job of keeping this a secret from my husband and he loved the surprise. Thank you for that! Loved the entire experience and would love to do it all again........ Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
What a beautiful ship! She is new and huge. No rust or shoddy paint jobs on this beauty (yet). BUT SO MANY GIMICKS. I'll start with the biggest yet under whelming gimick - bionic robot bar tenders. After 10 minutes of ... Read More
What a beautiful ship! She is new and huge. No rust or shoddy paint jobs on this beauty (yet). BUT SO MANY GIMICKS. I'll start with the biggest yet under whelming gimick - bionic robot bar tenders. After 10 minutes of frustration and very poor drinks we and nearly everyone else we spoke to (and witnessed) left that waste of space bar and sought out a real bartender. on the 3rd day of the cruise the poor old robots were entertaining parents with kids and that's about it. Get rid of it RCI they must cost a fortune and your passengers would rather engage with real bartenders. The dogem cars are a novelty but most people have been there done that at Ag Shows etc, and the roller skating was ho hum and over relegulated - all sharing the same space (along with basketball, soccer etc) and therefore time restricted. We didnt waste our time. Rock climbing wall is consigned to a small side of the ship - unlike voyager etc where your at the stern of ship and have a marvelous view when you conquer the climb. the flow rider and sky diving seemed to be - under utilised and used mainly by the same people - under 30. North Star is fun for about 2 minutes and then you realise you're in a hugh fish bowl in the middle of the pacific sun! Hot hot hot and you get to see the ship from above and the sea from,,,,, well a bit higher than usual. All for about 10 minutes MAXIMUM. Cabins are nice but we noticed no dividing curtain between bed and cabin door as in other RCI so that means you need to by "covered"if your partner goes out the cabin door. Also no line in the bathroom to dry your "incidentials" + No light on the balcony??. AND the TV is fixed to the wall so that you can only watch it from the bed? Useless to try from the couch. What happended to the beautiful 2 storey dining rooms on other RCI ships with the sweeping staircase in the centre? Instead Ovation treats you to low ceilings and clostrophobia with each dining room confined. The main pool deck is jammed packed! and we mean jammed packed. No room for dancing and sail away parties, No belly flop comps or just the good old RCI dance parties on the pool deck. And the adult solarium sprawls over with staggered pools/spas and no character or friendliness like the other RCI solariums. Fitness centre is regulation and fine as per other RCI ships. The onboard entertainment we had was a bit hit and miss but as per other RCI cruises, we enjoyed them and mostly found something to keep us entertained. Staff are exceptional as per every other RCI cruise we've been on. Speciality restaurants are above average and some fun to enjoy. Windjammer accomodates the nearly 5000 guests for breaky OK and the food is of good buffet quality - but remember it's a buffet catering for THOUSANDS of people. Finally - will we pay to travel on the Ovation of the Seas again? - Not likely. Way to big,too many people and we didnt enjoy or use the "gimicks". Mostly this ship doesnt feel like a curise ship - More like a MALL. Overall the ship is fancy and very new and pretty! To us thought it doesnt feel like a Cruise ship. You have to find your own fun and as per usual on a cruise - the Staff are SELL SELL SELL. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Hi just got back from a p&o cruise on the dawn I think it’s time the ship had a up grade the floor in my cabin felt not to stable and there was a real bad smell around the ship Food was always the same entertainment was average.id ... Read More
Hi just got back from a p&o cruise on the dawn I think it’s time the ship had a up grade the floor in my cabin felt not to stable and there was a real bad smell around the ship Food was always the same entertainment was average.id write this on there Facebook page but it looks like they only pick the good comments. I think it’s time they up graded the ship and the entertainment and more things to do iv been on 4 cruises on this ship and found this one to be boring sorry p&o hopefully this review helps to make an improvement not so much bring it down after all people sacrifice for for mouth s years to go on a cruise of a life time . But I’m finding p&o it’s all about the turn around not what the people want hopefully this review improves things on the ship thanks ange Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We had the best time on this five day cruise to Tasmania. Everything about our holiday was first class. Our balcony cabin was spacious, clean and had a comfortably sized bathroom. Our cabin steward was excellent , friendly and helpfu, the ... Read More
We had the best time on this five day cruise to Tasmania. Everything about our holiday was first class. Our balcony cabin was spacious, clean and had a comfortably sized bathroom. Our cabin steward was excellent , friendly and helpfu, the different animals he made daily were really appreciated. The meals in the dining room were varied and delicious and the wait staff very attentive. always remembering our names. The Serenity pool area was a very pleasant and relaxing spot to sit, especially in a cabana with a strawberry daiquiri. Children are not allowed in this area so it stays peaceful. The Mexican food bar provided delicious burrito bowls with large prawns which were a very enjoyable lunch. The entertainment in the Pharaohs Palace lounge was amazing, professional and thoroughly enjoyable. We are regular cruisers having travelled on Cunard, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity in the past. We will definitely cruise on The Carnival Spirit again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Our third cruise on the Legend and it didn't disappoint. The staff are always amazing, nothing was too much trouble. The food was really good in the MDR and amazing in the Nouveau restaurant. Our cabin was one we have had before and ... Read More
Our third cruise on the Legend and it didn't disappoint. The staff are always amazing, nothing was too much trouble. The food was really good in the MDR and amazing in the Nouveau restaurant. Our cabin was one we have had before and was clean,quiet and comfortable. The shows were good, probably time for a change though. The Punchliner comedians were a bit hit and miss, some were really funny and entertaining, some were a flat and not funny at all. The photographers were fun, but don't need to be so persistent. Carnival need to look at doing a photo package, individually they are expensive. Even though the Legend had a dry dock last year, it could do with a major overhaul, it's looking a bit tired. I don't mind the decor, it's not one of the things I pay attention to. Our overall cruise was one of the best we've had. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We spent our 25th anniversary on Moorea 27 years ago and decided it was time to revisit our memories. We had never been on a smaller ship and decided this was the way to see the other islands. It didn't disappoint. There were 142 ... Read More
We spent our 25th anniversary on Moorea 27 years ago and decided it was time to revisit our memories. We had never been on a smaller ship and decided this was the way to see the other islands. It didn't disappoint. There were 142 passengers to 101 staff. It made it seem quite intimate and friendly. The staff make a point to remember everyone by name. Some of the small things I appreciated were no poised photos every time you got on or off the ship. There is no pressure to sign up for a future cruise. Plus it's all very relaxed with few dress codes (no dress up nights). The majority of the people were between 60-75 with about 5 honeymoon couples. We met some of the nicest people on this cruise. Our room was adequate with plenty of storage, comfortable bed, porthole view and nice toiletries. There are no elevators so all rooms have stairs. There is one dining room & the outdoors deck, Candles. We found the food to be very good. The special moments were the deck BBQ plus the special BBQ at Bora Bora on a private motu. The pool is very small & there is a hot tub. The deck had adequate chairs but without shade it was just too hot to set in the sun. Moorea is a lovely island. Best excursion is through Alberts Transport Lagoon where you get to snorkel with sharks & rays & have a great BBQ on a private motu. Siki was a great guide. Also went snorkeling at Temae Beach which was great. At Raiatea we wandered around town & then found an excursion up the Faaroa river, the only navigable river. At TaHa'a we did the cruise ship excursion of the coral drift snorkel. It was fun but definitely not for someone who hasn't snorkeled. The current was strong the day we went & if you didn't have flippers I'm not sure what you would do. It's important to keep up with the person in front so you don't get caught on the coral. We did this three times. Bora Bora is very pretty. It's all about over the water bungalows. We went on an excursion we found at the dock. It turned out to be great. We snorkeled with lots of sharks & rays & got to go around the whole island. We had a private tour around the island learning of the history of the US building the airport to protect the island during WW2. The ship put on a superb BBQ complete with fire dancers & Tahitian dancers. Great food. Our last stop was Huahine. We joined 7 others from the ship & hired a private boat to take us snorkeling. It was some of the best snorkeling we've ever done. But really wished we had more time there to explore the island which most people thought was the most unspoiled. We loved the small ship, meeting great people & having a relaxed atmosphere. Tahiti is living the dream. Absolutely stunning. We'd definitely sail with Windstar again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
To be honest I didn’t even know what carnival was like when I first booked. It had a 3 days flash sale on and I jumped in as the prices looked too good. I literally had to google where noumea was after I paid for the cruise. I went with ... Read More
To be honest I didn’t even know what carnival was like when I first booked. It had a 3 days flash sale on and I jumped in as the prices looked too good. I literally had to google where noumea was after I paid for the cruise. I went with my partner and it was truly an awesome cruise. First and foremost we got the faster to the fun programe and it probably took us 10 mins to get on board through customs immigrations etc. Took us about 5 days to get familiar with the boat, there was so much to do. The activities keeps you busy from 8am in the morning till 11pm or late. The cruise director Eli went above and beyond to make things comfortable for all of us. From embarkation to tenders to every shows, he was there to talk us through. Drinks prices were reasonable. We had both the Mad Hatter’s tea and Green Eggs and ham breakfast for $10 each per event. Which was super cheap given the amount of food there was. The staff remembered our names by heart. Trivias, a live game of cluedo, hasbro family games, comedy shows and playlist productions kept us on our toes all day long. All tendering process was smooth and pleasant. Would go on carnival again and again. And last but not the least, the islands were like little paradise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I have never been on Oceania before (only Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America and Regent) and after the experience I had, I am going to try and limit my cruise experiences to Oceania, if at all possible. The way I was ... Read More
I have never been on Oceania before (only Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America and Regent) and after the experience I had, I am going to try and limit my cruise experiences to Oceania, if at all possible. The way I was treated, the quality of the ship desgin and materials, the quality of the staff, the itinerary, and most importantly, the dining experience just set this cruise line above all others that I have experienced - and by a wide margin. The cabin (9110) had a large veranda and felt spacious. The bathroom was impressive with a full tub and a rainshower head in the shower. The water was perfect temperature throughout the cruise. Of course, the most important person we met was Lilya, our cabin stewardess and she was nothing short of magnificent - keeping everything so neat and tidy and it always felt the room was in perfect condition. Her warm demeanor meant everything to us and we will always love Ukraine after having her cheerful, professional and detailed assistance every day. We also loved Chrismerelda on our Concierge floor - such a lovely person and so responsive and helpful with our specific needs. In fact, we loved the entire Concierge floor experience - and the espresso machine was worth its weight in gold. We loved the speciality coffee bar on Deck 14 overlooking the pool. We loved the Waves sandwiches, the afternoon tea in horizons, the terrace cafe for breakfast and the Grand Dining Room for nightly dinners (though it was our least favorite experience). And that's because the specialty dining on this ship simply cannot be beat. Toscana was authentic and welcoming. Jaques was a delightful visit to France. Polo Club prepared perfect steaks (and a very inattentive woman as sommalier), and Red Ginger was our favorite of all - with special thanks to the Maitre D' who was nothing short of a true 'boss' - we are indebted to her for our service and experience there. The spa was much better than on other ships and we loved the Canyon Ranch products (especially the post-sun cooling product). Nice gym and very relaxing private spa deck. The theatre space was intimate, as was the lovely piano bar and we enjoyed that. In fact, the ship NEVER felt full (though it was 100% occupied). The artwork throughout the ship made a particular impression on me - from sculpture to paintings and of course the lalique everywhere. It felt more like a luxurious art gallery than a state-of-the-art disco and I appreciated the more sophisticated approach. Besides the speciality dining, I have to say that the approach of charging up front for coffees and sodas and not making me use a card every five minutes felt like a great indulgence and I much prefer that approach. And the specialty dining not having additional charge also made me more relaxed. We didn't purchase any shore excursions because the ports were all accessible and easy for us to navigate to blue waters and private beaches. I loved that the ship was the smallest of all my previous experiences and it felt size-appropriate for Tahitian islands. Embarkation was fast and professional - a tremendous team boarding and leaving. I would dearly love to sail on the Marina again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise over others , first ,balconies, a must while cruising the South Pacific. Second ,reputation. We were not disappointed, from start to finish, the crew of the Paul Gauguin take care of your every need. Pick up at Tahiti ... Read More
We chose this cruise over others , first ,balconies, a must while cruising the South Pacific. Second ,reputation. We were not disappointed, from start to finish, the crew of the Paul Gauguin take care of your every need. Pick up at Tahiti airport and taken to hotel was smooth and efficient, as was embarkation, quick ,efficient, and with in minutes we were escorted to our cabin. My only disappointment with the cabin was the dated bathroom, still a bath tub with shower attachment......needs to be updated. Everything else was great.Our room stewardess just couldnt do enough for us, and when she found out it was our 50th anniversary, decorated our cabin with balloons,banner,flowers on the bed and more.....Anna was a darling. 3 restaurants gave way to a great variety of great food , wine, spirits ,beer was free flowing throughout the dining and day, mainly French wines but you only had to ask for one of your chose. Lots of activities going on during the day , piano bar with a very talented piano player to entertain. Crew night and nightly entertainment by the Polynesian dancers, disco and an amazing band, or just sit and chill out on deck. Plenty of shore excursions to choose from, also 2 days at the Paul Gauguin private beaches. One could not fault the service all members of the crew gave. Would we go again, yes,but for longer next time,7 days just was not long enough.........not everything was perfect hence I did not rate as Excellent, but it was so close........ Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Aranui 5-February 14-26, 2019. Papeete was a bustling hub of activity. The night before our Aranui 5 cruise, we lodged at the Hotel Tiare Tahiti on the Main Street (Boulevard Pomare) facing the harbour: reasonable rates, pristine but ... Read More
Aranui 5-February 14-26, 2019. Papeete was a bustling hub of activity. The night before our Aranui 5 cruise, we lodged at the Hotel Tiare Tahiti on the Main Street (Boulevard Pomare) facing the harbour: reasonable rates, pristine but very clean, staff accommodating. Check-in was 2:00 pm. but the hotel desk lady got us in earlier. The only downside was no bottled water in the room. If you arrive late, try to refill a water bottle on the plane. Highlight, with a room facing the harbour, was an outstanding balcony view of the Aranui 5 docking the night before our trip. Aranui 5 deluxe balcony accommodations were excellent. Picking a cabin on the port side, rear section was the right choice. Most of the harbour docking views were on that side of the ship. One morning, we were treated with a view of a group of sting rays frolicking in the bay and mountain goats climbing the huge cliffs on another occasion. Cabin has the usual amenities such as shampoo, shower gel, bar soap, body lotion, robe, slippers, refrigerator, ice bucket, TV, and Kleenex. Motion of the ship was a surprising treat for me. Unlike large ocean ships who attempt to control movement, this ship offered a cradle like rocking at night as it moved along. I always fell asleep like a baby. Meals are all served except breakfast which is buffet fashion. The staff is out of this world friendly, attentive and helpful. My husband has mobility issues and uses a cane. The muscular, hardy crew were always there to give a helping hand to everyone. Orientation meetings were thorough but sometimes difficult to understand in English. Raimana, Valentina, George and Pearl, who spoke perfect English, were the only guides we really understood. Also, we really appreciated all the help and Tahitian dance classes that were facilitated by Pearl, the entertainment director. The French and German interpreters were very good because they were either French or German nationality. The majority of the passengers were Parisian French (103), next in equal parts were English speaking and German (106) and eleven local Polynesians. I have to make mention of the weather. It is very hot and humid with the emphasis on the humidity. My husband and I, who are seniors, found the heat hard to survive at times but the Aranui staff were very accommodating as far as leaving a tour early to go back to the air conditioned ship. We were very fortunate on this trip because we did not have any rain. The itinerary, during the course of the trip, was interesting but the true highlight is the feast for your eyes and imagination. Entertainment in the evening is limited but we were so exhausted after a day of touring that a relaxing moment on the balcony with a Hinano beer, revelling in the beautiful scenery, was enough for us. Never watched TV or bought internet time. It was true freedom from our high tech. world. Hinano and Heineken beer had a “bucket” package. If you bought 5 beers, the 6th one was free. (2000 francs or $20.00 U.S.) Their Hinano beer was excellent and we are not real beer drinkers. Gratuities are collected at the end if you wish to give extra for the staff. The staff is so great you will want to tip extra. Red and white wine were French in origin. Red Malbec is good and both medium dry, white wines were quite palatable. Tips for the first time traveller on the Aranui 5: -Bring a refillable water bottle or keep the two free bottles they provide in your refrigerator at the beginning of your trip because they have water stations throughout the ship. We were on deck 8 near the elevators and one was located there. They are located on other alternate decks as well. Also a water truck followed us for some tours and we could refill them. -Bring a light weight backpack or wear a Fanny Pack like me because I detest backpacks that bump into everyone on a tour. Fanny Pack should be able to fit lengthwise, a 16 oz. water bottle. I also have an over the shoulder strap with a water holder device at the end for short jaunts into a village. -I found a hand, fabric fan was handy in my Fanny Pack to fan myself while stopped for tour descriptions. I also put a small cloth for face wiping in my pack as well. -Bring Deet bug spray to defend against nonos and mosquitos. I usually have a problem with the critters but not with the spray on. Had no problems with bugs whatsoever! -Bring strong suntan lotion as the sun is intense. Fair skinned me was all right with Neutrogena 60 SPF-FPS. -Bring aqua shoes if you are squeamish about venturing into unfamiliar waters for a swim. Also the Aranui has their own very unique WW 2 like barges that land on the swimming beach for you to disembark. The front of the barge drops down on shore and you walk onto the beach area. -Pick a balcony cabin if you can. Why a balcony cabin? You get two free laundries with Aranui but it was our experience we were rinsing out sweaty things after each tour and hanging them on the balcony chairs. Dried in a matter of hours. Buy some Dollar Store lounge chair clips to hold them on the chairs because there are strong winds while sailing. -Pack some Dollar Store wire hangers in your outer suitcase pocket for the closet and the clips to attach skirts and pants. Also, I packed my clothes in the fabric, mesh packing cases I purchased from our Dollar Store. Much easier to access and items of clothing are relegated to individual containers. Ready to go home, you just throw them into your suitcase. -Bring a hat with a neck strap as there is a lot of barge tendering from ship to shore. -Bring your own decaffeinated tea. I made a suggestion on the mid-sailing questionnaire to provide it but to be safe, pack your own. They have “instant” decaffeinated coffee only at the stations for breakfast and in the lounge. -Clothing is very casual but some people, like myself, like to wear something a little dressier at dinner time but not formal or not even semi-formal. My husband would wear casual dress pants to compliment my attire which was dressy casual. -As expected, they have a dress-up Polynesian Night so throw in an Hawaiian flowered shirt or pareo into your luggage or buy one before you leave Papeete. Store on board provides these items as well. -Take a picture of your daily itinerary before you set out each day then you will have each place downloaded with your daily pictures as the names of the islands are difficult to remember.n We thoroughly enjoyed the Aranui 5 experience and the people we met but wished we had been 30 years younger in order to participate in the unique, exploratory hikes offered for the individual islands. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
It had been a few months between holidays and, getting restless, Kirsten suggested a last minute cruise she’d seen on sale. I started dreaming of all the meals we’d be eating without needing to prepare, shop, cook or clean up and ... Read More
It had been a few months between holidays and, getting restless, Kirsten suggested a last minute cruise she’d seen on sale. I started dreaming of all the meals we’d be eating without needing to prepare, shop, cook or clean up and without much hesitation, I was in. The cruise was a 12-day South Pacific jaunt aboard the Carnival Spirit, departing and arriving back to our home city of Sydney which we believe to be one of the most gorgeous ports in the world. I must admit we were both cautiously optimistic about our decision. We’d seen the likes of P&O, Carnival and various equivalents leave Sydney packed with Aussies, and having experienced a luxury European river cruise on Scenic and an upmarket Cunard cruise aboard Queen Elizabeth, we weren’t sure if the ‘big fun ship’ was our style. Thinking ahead wistfully about the work and housework we’d enjoy NOT doing for 12 whole days and nights, we were totally on board (so to speak) with the trip to Noumea, Mystery Island, Denarau, Suva and finally Mare aboard a floating hotel. Apart from Fiji, these were new discoveries for us, some new world experiences for these two travel lovers. The Carnival Spirit, playfully referred to as the Fun Ship, holds approx. 2400 passengers and 930 crew. We boarded at around midday on what can only be described as a dream experience of Customs, going straight from being dropped off directly outside the passenger terminal at Circular Quay, to getting our bags taken off our hands before entering the building and breezing through the customs checks and scanners, a quick check in to our room and onto the ship. We could then go straight to our booked Stateroom where our room keys were sitting in a box at our door waiting for us. The best in Sydney, I’d say. We were all feeling festive and ready to escape the city on our adventure at sea. Once we’d slowly exited Sydney Heads, and waved goodbye to the pilot boat from our love-cabana for two, we headed back to the room to get ready for dinner, and discovered a slight glitch in the merriment – my bag was held up because I had a power board and apparently they are a no go onboard. We had to line up in some lower part of the ship along with all the other people with power boards, irons, or alcohol, all of which are not permitted, so we could open the locked bag and hand over the bugger. We were told we could request one of the ship’s own power boards should we need one, which we did. Go figure. You couldn’t take your own, but you could borrow one at no charge. We experienced our first dinner in the main dining room and took ourselves on a tour of the Carnival Spirit. It’s hard to describe her interior as it’s not completely one style. It’s sort of a mish-mash of themed rooms, somewhat like the special hotel rooms you could hire back in the 80’s. Carnival calls it ”The World’s Great Architectural Styles”. You have the Empire Dining Room which is Egyptian with lots of gold and rich colours, and the Pharoah’s Room where the main shows are performed (also Egyptian themed). The Lido (buffet area) feels like sideshow alley and then there’s a jungle-themed walk, a Chinese themed bar (without Chinese food, or any food for that matter), a Japanese restaurant, an 80’s disco, and a couple of leadlight glass and dark wood detailed areas giving an old English pub feel. The main lobby and bar was small but packed a glitz punch of gold everywhere you looked, fresco’s on the ceiling and 3 glass elevators. It was like being in the Sistine Chapel inside Harrods. To top off our self-guided ship tour, we discovered the Casino, shopping alleys and picture viewing galleries all there to entice those precious dollars from your pocket on a day at sea, which of course didn’t feel like you were really spending because you were using a plastic room card to pay. We were fairly happy to find that the cocktails, beer and wine were all very reasonably priced, at pub prices rather than an upmarket bar or restaurant prices. However, if you didn’t want VB, Tooheys New or a couple of other Aussie beers, you were pretty much out of luck. They used to provide all-inclusive alcohol packages on this ship, or so we were told, but these days you can only buy an all-inclusive soft drink package. Not quite the same. I’m guessing that all-inclusive alcohol served to Aussies is a bad financial deal for the cruise line. In the evenings there is always a show to go to after dinner. While we were ready to be wowed delighted, the entertainment proved disappointing. There’s an onboard entertainment team which do their best but it’s a bit too “High School Musical” for this writer and his travel lover. They also have a Comedy Club inside the Versaille room. We dropped in for a PG performance and sadly we’ve never seen anyone bomb so badly, and we left before he finished his set. The Carnival Spirits best entertainment is from the wait staff, they are really fantastic and dance and sing every night while having dinner. It’s not uncommon for a dancing train to weave its way around the dining room, filled with both wait staff and fellow passengers. Even the Captain was most entertaining with a wry sense of humour and Eli, the cruise director, was brilliant. He’s a Kiwi and knows how to find the ironic and joke in situations. His ships talks were worth sitting in on. Sea days are always a good way to test a ships’ boredom factor. Luckily the Carnival Spirit have an adults-only area called “Serenity” at the rear of the ship as I previously mentioned. We’d get there just after breakfast to claim one of the round cane cabanas for 2, and while away many hours keeping shady and reading books while facing out to sea and feeling the fresh sea air. All good while the weather was fine. But after our Mare stop was cancelled due to a cyclone we couldn’t go to our haven and had to endure 4 straight days at sea, mostly indoors. We started to consider the possibility of swimming to shore. Any shore. These days proved difficult and consisted of towel folding demonstrations, bingo, trivia, secrets to a flatter stomach, and blackjack, not to mention more trips to the buffet out of sheer boredom – pretty common cruise activities. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Outrageous wine prices $44-$60 a bottle profit is on thing but this is a corporate money grab shame on you Princess cruises. Beer one price $8.75 a stubby a glass of wine $11-$15 all other drinks $10.75-$15.75 per glass make sure you ... Read More
Outrageous wine prices $44-$60 a bottle profit is on thing but this is a corporate money grab shame on you Princess cruises. Beer one price $8.75 a stubby a glass of wine $11-$15 all other drinks $10.75-$15.75 per glass make sure you bring plenty of spending money. The meals are great and restaurant service is 5 star,if you are bringing children, single cone ice creams are $5 each, they were free on the Diamond Princess when last cruised. We will be looking for alternative options for our next cruise, do to the excessively drinks cost, these prices are out of control, unfortunately we missed two island stops and a straits cruise,due to bad weather, we are very disappointed, I think the itinerary is more suited for late March onwards do to monsoonal weather conditions, I would not recommend this trip for this time of the year to anyone. We had room service delivered to our cabin which was just perfect. If you enjoy a wine and you are thinking of travelling with Princess cruises, do yourself a favour, and bring your wine with you, and pay the $15 corkage fee, you won’t regret it. The tender service was fluid no real hold ups, the cruise tours are expensive, you usually can do a better deal at dock side. We renewed our vows whilst on board, you will need to pre book, it was an experience of a life time, the captain renewed our vows and signed the certificate, the library was turned into a chapel with all the trimmings, it was truly delightful, I f you want the extra photo package allow $399 extra, also the portraits 20x allow $2100 extra and if you want a truly very professional video allow an extra $1699 Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
For the middle-aged and older crowd, this cruise was amazing! We arrived in Papeete a day early to insure we made the ship on time in case of any flight/weather issues. We stayed at the Intercontinental on Tahiti, which was very nice and ... Read More
For the middle-aged and older crowd, this cruise was amazing! We arrived in Papeete a day early to insure we made the ship on time in case of any flight/weather issues. We stayed at the Intercontinental on Tahiti, which was very nice and they also had a fabulous Polynesian show the night we were there. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, no problems. The thing I liked about Marina is that is is a smaller ship, so less people. No crowded, stuffed elevators, no long waits in line for food, and best of all, no kids! I think there were 2 kids on the ship, but it's not geared toward kids, so there's nothing for them to do really. The food was amazing, absolutely the best meals I've ever had on a cruise ship. It was eating a gourmet meal every time you sat down to eat, even upstairs in the café! The specialty restaurants were just as wonderfully delicious and very gourmet. All of the drinks anywhere on the ship were fantastic! There was actually liquor in them! On all our other cruises, we end up just not drinking because the drinks have so much juice, you can't tell it's a drink.These were top-notch! We had Mai-Tai's, Cosmos, Piña Coladas, and they were all excellent. On every other regular cruise line, I gave up and stuck to Rum & Coke, because the fancy drinks were just terrible. Service on this ship was impeccable. We never had to ask for anything, ever. Staterooms were always ready, clean, chocolates on the bed, mats on the floor by our bedside, slippers, robes, ice bucket filled. The entire staff was friendly and welcoming and very diverse. We were offered an upgrade at a reduced price from a balcony room to a penthouse suite a week before the cruise....we accepted and were so glad we did! Lots of room and plenty of shoe and drawer space! Walk-in closet, gorgeous bathroom with a tub/shower AND a shower. Always stocked. Always clean. There was a fantastic selection of excursions to meet anyone's tastes, from easy to adventurous. Tendering in and out of ports was excellent, fast, and always went smoothly. Never a problem. Although we did bring our own 24-hour hand sanitizer, there was plenty of stations all over and outside the ship, so no excuses for germs! The ship was spotless and someone was always cleaning it, even the outside! Entertainment was just okay.....geared more toward the older crowd. I would have liked to have seen a comedy show, but the shows we did see were great. We missed quite a few, because by the time they started (9:30pm), we were so exhausted from the day, we were in our stateroom reading and falling asleep! One thing that impressed me is that the cruise line had special get-togethers for the singles and even a gay-lesbian get-together. We did do happy hour every evening around 5:30-6 before dinner and one evening 2 of the 3 bars (our favorites) were closed for a promotional group, which we were not happy about. I look forward to going on another Oceania cruise and now I'm spoiled! I don't want to go back to the regular cruise lines! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Honestly, our best cruise yet. We had a concierge level cabin and it was worth the splurge . The food was awesome in every restaurant and the main dining room. The ship was awesome as in being the right size and not too big. The service ... Read More
Honestly, our best cruise yet. We had a concierge level cabin and it was worth the splurge . The food was awesome in every restaurant and the main dining room. The ship was awesome as in being the right size and not too big. The service was awesome. The only thing that was a bit off was the fitness center. Not well appointed but, we just spent our time walking and swimming in the Tahitian waters instead. Loved the coffee bar. Loved the homemade ice cream. Loved the daily fresh fruit smoothies and juice bar. Loved the daily lobster tail off the fan tail at night in the warm breeze. Loved the spa and Canyon Ranch hot tubs on the front. Red Ginger was our favorite restaurant and we loved the experience. We would save up to do Oceania again in a heartbeat. It is one line we would try to repeat again as it was expensive but, worth every cent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
The food and service on this cruise were fabulous. I could really not have asked for more or better. I was sad that we missed stopping in Huahine because of a heavy rain but that could not be avoided and I absolutely would recommend this ... Read More
The food and service on this cruise were fabulous. I could really not have asked for more or better. I was sad that we missed stopping in Huahine because of a heavy rain but that could not be avoided and I absolutely would recommend this trip to anyone! We expected bad weather and really had hardly any rain. The locals were wonderful, did a beautiful job welcoming the ship and the guests to each port. The food in Red Ginger might be the best food I have ever eaten in my life. I had the Lobster Pad Thai and my husband had the Chilean Sea Bass, both were delicious. We stayed at Chalet Tahiti one night on either end of trip and host, Jean Denis was amazing as well. If you stay in one of the other hotels you are better off booking it yourself rather than through the cruise line. Read Less

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