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Sail Date: February 2019
My partner and I had cruised with Cunard once before in the Med. This was a very short cruise for us (2 nights - Adelaide to Melbourne) but the purpose was to give our elderly parents (76, 77, 87 and 89) a taste of the Cunard experience. ... Read More
My partner and I had cruised with Cunard once before in the Med. This was a very short cruise for us (2 nights - Adelaide to Melbourne) but the purpose was to give our elderly parents (76, 77, 87 and 89) a taste of the Cunard experience. We were a party of 6. Embarkation in Adelaide was the worst I had experienced in 6 cruises on different lines. As we had booked late , we had 2 A1 Club Balcony and 1 x BE Balcony cabin booked but were all told to arrive at the port at the same time of 12pm. It would seem all 750 embarking passengers were given the same time. Nobody was allowed to board prior to about 12.30 and by this stage the small waiting area at the port was packed and full of angry, impatient cruisers. Not a good start for my claustrophobic 89 y.o. mother. Once on board at 1pm that was soon forgotten and we enjoyed a lovely lunch in the Lido buffet. As the continuing passengers who had embarked in Southampton, Cape Town or Perth were out exploring Adelaide, the Lido did not suffer from the usual embarkation day buffet scramble that can be so unedifying. We had been wait-listed to try and upgrade our BE balcony cabin to a Club Balcony like our parents had secured, but it didn't come through. So first task was to try and organise the dining arrangements. They wouldn't let us 2 BE passengers join the other 4 A1 passengers in the Club Dining Room so we all ended up dining at the late sitting in Britannia. We were given a fantastic table for 6 by the window in the upper level overlooking the stern and the wake of the ship which was fabulous. Dinner in Britannia was very good although the first night the sommelier left me holding the wine menu for the entire first course and only took our wine order after we had finished the appetizer. I went to the 'Hollywood nights' floor show in the Royal Court Theatre which was terrific by cruise ship standards. The first night out of Adelaide the ship encountered heavy seas which the Captain informed us had not been forecast. Squalls of up to 70 knots had the ship rolling considerably and I was worried for my parents in what was their first night ever at sea. It was by far the roughest night I had experienced in my short cruising history over the last 5 years. We changed course the next morning to go around the weather and things were pretty smooth for the rest of the trip. I was pleased to see that the Australians were all well presented and complying with the dress code - even the hop on hop off crowd like us. We had 'smart attire' nights both nights on board but my partner and I decided to go black tie regardless as quite a few others on board did. So it gave the night the suitable sense of occasion I had hoped for my parents benefit. I saw no jacket less men in the Dining Room or bars after 7pm, but I wasn't particularly looking. Disembarkation in Melbourne was a breeze. I'm really not sure why Adelaide was such a schemozzle. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Cunard oozes tradition at every turn; and the 'best of British' but is it suitable for families and kids ? Well we just arrived in Melbourne after a 6 night cruise from Fremantle with a 7 year old boy for my mother's ... Read More
Cunard oozes tradition at every turn; and the 'best of British' but is it suitable for families and kids ? Well we just arrived in Melbourne after a 6 night cruise from Fremantle with a 7 year old boy for my mother's 80th birthday present. We probably would not normally have chosen Cunard with a child but my mother had a lifetime dream which we wanted to fulfill of traveling aboard the QEII so this was our best option. Embarkation in Fremantle was a little 'hit-and-miss' with the requested wheel chair for mum nowhere to be found and her walker arriving just before the 4:15pm safety briefing. The staff were all very accommodating but this really wasn't the best start given our previous wonderful experiences with P&O departing out of Fremantle. Yes, there is a kids-club with ages separated into 2yrs to 8yrs and 8yrs to 14yrs. The staff were delightful and so attentive to the 12 children travelling. You can rest assured that the kids will have plenty to do with the club open from 10am -12noon, 2pm - 5pm and then 6pm - 11pm on sea days. While there are no fancy water slides or fun character shows or bumper cars there are the traditional shuffleboard, bowls, tennis and a wonderful library and card room with plenty of board ganmes to borrow. This is traditional cruising the way it use to be with none of the frills and excitement that family orientated ships now include. So come prepared for the occasional 'I'm board' because there is not 24/7 entertainment - kids have to make up their own fun for a change ! The age profile is very much slanted to the older end of the spectrum which means plenty of adopted grannies and pas around who are mostly young at heart and only too delighted to engage with young, well mannered little people. However, it's a bit like visiting Grandma's home where there are rules to obey. The ship's decor is all in a magnificent Art Deco style with plush interiors and carpets. So running through the atrium in a bathing suit with an icecream is absoultutely NOT OK !! The food options more than cater for kids with free flowing icecream, fish and chips, plenty of delicious choices and the chef will even adapt to various food alergies if required. Somehow the needs of both old and young are often very similar ! The rooms are all wonderfuly comfortable and cater for famileles of up to 4 in a room. The room stewards are all very helpful and room service is free for those nights when you just want a pizza and a movie in bed. Cunard would not be our first choice for young children as there is a need to really encourage a slightly older approach to cruising that relies on children being able to makeup their own fun and not be constantly entertained. Having said this, that's not necessarily a bad thing but parents will need to be ever present. We had the most wonderful 'multi-generational' cruise and 6 nights was the perfect length. Having done 8 cruises now as a family we were fairly well prepared for this type of holiday but it's not for everyone and you need to do your research. Thank you Cunard and Her Majesty QE for a most delightful and charming walk back in time to an eara of gracious opulance when kids were well behaved and had to use their own imgination to have fun ! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise for location and activities on board. All expectations were met and cannot fault the staff or food. Will be sailing with Royal Caribbean again. Highly recommend the drinks package. Was a great opportunity to try new ... Read More
Chose this cruise for location and activities on board. All expectations were met and cannot fault the staff or food. Will be sailing with Royal Caribbean again. Highly recommend the drinks package. Was a great opportunity to try new drinks without the fear of a huge bill. Was made to feel, Nothing was to much trouble, from all staff, regardless of the hour. Range of things to do though out the days and nights. Plenty of places to just relax. Specialty restaurants well worth the cost. Bar staff remembered our names and drinks and always with a smile. All waiters could not be more friendly and helpfull and again, always with a smile. Beds super comfortable and the room cleaned regularly. Several towl animals were left in our cabin to our delight over the 9 day cruise. We have already booked another cruise with Royal Caribbean and we can’t wait. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose Royal Caribbean as a friend was an experienced cruiser and highly recommended the line. I was worried about sea sickness so we chose to go along the coastline to Queensland - Brisbane, Willis Island and Airlie Beach. I didn't ... Read More
We chose Royal Caribbean as a friend was an experienced cruiser and highly recommended the line. I was worried about sea sickness so we chose to go along the coastline to Queensland - Brisbane, Willis Island and Airlie Beach. I didn't need to worry. Absolutely no sea sickness a very smooth trip. Embarkation took about 45mins. Disembarkation was even quicker. Very well organised. We had a room with a balcony which I loved. Plenty of room. The entertainment was fabulous especially the Ice Skating Show. My husband and I travelled with our friends. We dined at the Main Dining Room which was exceptional. So much food and quality service. We also tried the Japanese Restaurant Izumi which was lovely. All the staff on board were outstanding. Service in all areas was faultless. We had planned to go snorkelling for our shore excursion but unfortunately it was very wet at Airlie Beach and we cancelled due to the bad weather. We did go into Airlie Beach as we had been there about 15years ago. It is a lovely place to visit. Unfortunately the day we were there it was flooding rainfall so we stayed for around an hour and went back to the ship. I would highly recommend anyone that was on our cruise to consider going back to Airlie Beach and enjoy the Barrier Reef and Whitsundays and all it's beauty on a sunny day. You won't be disappointed. We tried the rocking climbing wall and ice skating on board the ship which we thoroughly enjoyed. We would certainly love to cruise again and explore another destination. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Overall, a pleasant cruise and we were fortunate to have calm seas and good weather. We generally enjoyed what the ship had to offer - food was generally good, the service was 'a touch above' other cruise lines we have been on to ... Read More
Overall, a pleasant cruise and we were fortunate to have calm seas and good weather. We generally enjoyed what the ship had to offer - food was generally good, the service was 'a touch above' other cruise lines we have been on to date, and the entertainment was better too. Nice that it wasn't ALL retro, and a few of the acts were outstanding. Older profile of guests with few children, which we liked. We had an issue with smell in our cabin that couldn't be fixed. We did NOT like the fact that this ship has a basket ball court on the main viewing area of the bow, and that Celebrity management does not lock this off for the major sights through the fiords and areas like Milford sound. One man spoiled it for everyone trying to enjoy the otherwise mystical sailing, by banging a ball into the steel wall which reverberated loudly every few seconds. He did this every time we were somewhere special. At MS I found a crew member walking past and asked him to get the man to stop. He told me he couldn't force him to stop, but would ask. The man stopped until the ship reached the furthest point in the sound, and then started banging away again. Cunard, on which we have traveled on twice before with Queen Vic, doesn't compromise the main viewing area like this - so for this reason alone, we wish we had taken that line instead. Shore excursions are way too overpriced on this cruise. In NZ we only booked a couple of the cheaper ones, but otherwise got off the ship after b'fast and found local providers - often at half the price or less. Normally I like certainty and book the ship's offerings - but prices were just too crazy. Also, many passengers, including us bought a Classic Package for drinks - or a package higher or lower. I would not do that again. It makes you want to drink more than you ordinarily would to get the value - and it's just so hard to reach that value. Water is expensive, but you can buy it onshore easily in most places. Moreover, if you go to the bars, you won't find a range of cocktail options for the Classic Package which claims to have many in the advertising. I tracked down the sommelier and he printed a list for me - as the bar menu only sports the premium prices. If you drink a premium cocktail, but you are only a Classic, the difference between the two is added to your bill. In fact, I discovered, you can just ask for almost anything and they will just swipe your card without extra - I only got an extra charge on one drink that was specifically a premium cocktail. Too hard to work out without effort. Unless you are a drinking fish, I found it hard to grasp how, for most people, value would be achieved with the Premium package. The Spa - I only had one treatment in the Spa. At first I thought the girl was good - but paid the price later. She didn't ask me about pressure I wanted before the massage, and was extremely heavy with her elbows. As a consequence, I had sore kidneys for a week and she hurt an arthritic area in my knees - from which I am still recovering. Be careful to be clearer than I was on what you want and don't want, and don't accept anything that YOU know is not good for you. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
(Apologies if this is a bit long, but I know i love to get all the details when I read a review!) Day 1 - Boarding As others have noted Ponant are very strict with their 1 hour boarding window, and even turning up 15 minutes early ... Read More
(Apologies if this is a bit long, but I know i love to get all the details when I read a review!) Day 1 - Boarding As others have noted Ponant are very strict with their 1 hour boarding window, and even turning up 15 minutes early meant we were only able to leave our luggage and head for a beer in the brewery next door! Boarding in Cairns was very straightforward, with no Immigration requirements as this was an Australian cruise. There was a short delay boarding while both the Captain and the Chairman (Sarina Bratton A.M.) greeted every passenger. Once on board we were escorted to our cabin (312 which is about 10m from Reception). First impressions of the cabin were excellent. The light airy décor and general cabin layout were good, and the cabin was spotless. Departure As the next day was a port call at Lizard Island, the programme once aboard was rushed. Just time to grab a welcome drink before at 5pm (as boarding finished) there was an expedition briefing in the theatre and issue of lifejackets for the Zodiacs. Then back to the cabin to retrieve our full lifejackets for lifeboat drill in the theatre at 5:30pm – fortunately nothing is too far from anywhere on Le Laperouse. This was immediately followed by drinks on the rear deck for sailaway at 6pm, then dinner from 7:00pm. Day 2 – Lizard Island Our call at Lizard Island was affected by weather with the preferred anchorage unsuitable due to wind and swell. However the crew had a Plan B and we stopped on the other side of the island (although the captain was unable to anchor and had to drift and reposition the ship all day). This meant a slightly longer 15 minute Zodiac trip to the beach, and no real opportunity for snorkelling although the water was pleasant for swimming. The passengers were split into 4 colour groups for the duration of the cruise, and this determined your activity order and Zodiac boarding time. Generally this process ran pretty efficiently and too schedule. There were a couple of guided walks offered morning and afternoon which weren’t too strenuous and allowed us to become better acquainted with some of the Expedition team. Sailaway preceded the Captains Welcome party on the rear deck and the first of what proved to be many 6-course degustation dinners! Dress was what I describe as ‘semi-formal’ with most men wearing jackets, some wearing a tie as well, but others in long-sleeve shirts and slacks (noting it was 30ºC plus outside). Due to the balmy weather, the Grill on Level 3 was open every meal for those who didn’t wan’t a large extended dinner or wished to dress more casually. Day 3 & 4 – Willis Island Due to the massive complexity of Australian marine regulation (discussed by Sarina Bratton during her Q&A session) the cruise included 2 days at sea to make a “technical stop” at Willis Island. This constitutes ‘leaving Australia’ and avoids coastal-cruising fees which otherwise would be lumped onto the fares. Activities during what were effectively 2 sea days included lectures from the Expedition crew, and Sarina’s Q&A session. Snorkelling equipment was also issued to those so inclined, which you kept for the duration of the reef visits. A highlight was the seafood luncheon prepared by the guest chef, Guillame Brahimi, and the first of his 2 degustation dinners. Worth noting that the degustation dinners took nearly 2.5 hours to get to the final course as everyone was served at once. Day 5 – Hardy Reef The visit to Hardy Reef involves being moved by Zodiac to a moored reef pontoon some 20 minutes away by Zodiac. This is due to the restricted anchorage available for ships of this size. Due to choppy weather conditions, everyone got soaked en-route to the platform – fortunately the water was warm! We had the run of the platform except for between 11am and 4pm when we were joined by day-trippers. This included a ride in a semi-submersible over the reef, an underwater observatory, and snorkelling. Coffee, tea and water and toilets were available on the platforms cruise boat moored at the platform. Day 6 – Percy Island We moored off Percy Island in calmer conditions with a 5-10 minute ride into the beach. The crew had erected beach umbrellas on the sand, and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) and 2-man kayaks were available to tour the small lagoon at the end of the beach during the morning. 2 walks were available, which were a bit more strenuous than Lizard Island, although a few wilting passengers were kindly transported by ute and quadbike by the residents (all 5 of them). Percy Island’s highlight is the “Yacht Club”, a large A-frame building covered in plaques and memorabilia from passing yachts (and cruise ships) – you could spend hours looking through them all. A pleasant surprise in the afternoon was a ‘cocktail party’ on the beach with rum punch, champagne and beer and a game of boules! Followed by another degustation dinner… Day 7 – Lady Musgrave Island Ponant arranges with the Lady Musgrave Experience tour boat for access to its facilities at Lady Musgrave Island. This includes snorkelling of their large reef boat, a glass-bottom boat tour and a walk around Lady Musgrave Island to see the turtle rookeries and bird colonies. However, rough weather made it impossible for the Zodiacs to be loaded, although the captain to his credit tried everything. Ultimately, to our amazement, they arranged to try a direct boat-to-boat transfer to the large reef boat! Some great seamanship on both sides saw 110 passengers taken to the reef to get a shortened experience for 2-3 hours. The snorkelling was excellent, and the guided walk (although necessarily short) was well done. All credit must go to the captains and crews for making it possible – lots of other cruises ships would have called it off hours earlier. Days 8 & 9 – At sea The next two days saw us cruise in increasingly better weather down the Australian east coast. An advantage of a ship with no casino, and smaller size, means they travel closer to the coast and there is more to see. One morning it was our colour groups turn at a Wine and Cheese Tasting hosted by the Sommelier, a chance to try some of the wines on the wine list paired with some excellent French cheeses (a step up from those on the buffet). Another degustation dinner… Day 10 – Newcastle Newcastle is a former steel making town that is re-inventing itself as a tourist destination based on its beaches and proximity to the Hunter Valley winery region. Ponant had organised an included tour, with each colour group boarding a coach to visit three of four wineries in the Hunter (so no 2 groups were at the same place at the same time), with all coaches converging on one winery for a 2-course lunch with some excellent local wine. A good day capped off with another degustation dinner… Day 11 – Sydney Our visit to Sydney highlighted the crisis the iconic harbour suffers with insufficient cruise ship capacity (particularly for large ships). We were unable to moor at the Overseas Passenger Terminal until 7pm due to another ship being port, and no other berth being available. The day started very well with the ship pulling into Broken Bay at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River. Zodiac tours ended up at a “surprise” location on a local tourist boat where we had an oyster shucking and testing session with some nice local wines – I sat among a group of non-oyster eaters and had a great time! The oysters were wonderful. About 30 passengers disembarked (mainly due to early flights the following day), and the remainder were allowed off from about 8pm to wander around The Rocks and Opera House precinct. Day 12 – Sydney Disembarkation was a nightmare – although it wasn’t particularly Ponant’s fault. At 4am Le Laperouse had to leave the OPT and moor at a mid-harbour anchorage so a large Carnival ship could berth. Passengers baggage was taken off and left at the OPT. The remaining passengers had to disembark by tender from 7am. This involved a bumpy 20 minute tender ride to the steps of the Opera House, very difficult for passengers with reduced mobility. That’s where the fun started… We were then herded across the Opera House forecourt by rude Security staff and loaded onto small buses to be taken to the OPT to clear Border Force formalities and get our baggage. This trip took nearly 20 minutes to cover what would be a 5-10 minute walk… Once at the terminal (about 8:15) we were forced to sit in the terminal (unless you joined the escorted tours to the toilets) until nearly 9:30 while Border Force finished with the Carnival ship. After all that, the actual Border Force process involved handing over the Incoming Passenger card and walking through… they would have processed all the passengers in less than 5 minutes. We could have dropped the cards in a box and been just as thoroughly processed. A very ordinary introduction to Sydney for our international visitors (although perhaps no great surprise to those of us locals who put up with their bureaucratic nonsense on a regular basis!). Overall Impression The Cabin Main Area – The bed and pillows were very comfortable, and the air-conditioning well controlled. The only real issue is the very narrow space at the foot of the bed requires the occasional pas-de-deux with your companion. Storage – shallow draws beneath the bedside tables (wide on one side of the bed, narrow on the other) with some space below. Good cupboards under the bench below the TV (although draws might have been better). Main wardrobe had good hanging space and plenty of hangers, with a shelf above (occupied by life jackets) and 4 storage shelves full-height on the side. Another cupboard to the side held the coffee/tea facilities (including a Nespresso machine and a kettle) and the mini-bar fridge (stocked with gin, vodka, scotch and bourbon along with beer, sparkling water, Coke, Coke no-sugar, tonic and fruit juice). The under-bed space was sufficient to store suitcases, although larger cases would need to be ‘butterflied’. Bathroom - The separate toilet and shower are a good idea, although the toilet cubicle is very small! The shower recess is quite roomy for a ship. All products were Hermes (a tie up with a parent company). There is a single large draw and 2 shelves and some bench space around the sink for storage. The only issue was that you can’t plug the sink to shave. Entertainment A large flat-screen TV has about 15 channels of mixed French/English entertainment and news channels, as well as channel for the front webcam and another for an underwater camera. There is a wide selection of new and old movies (although “Titanic” and “Lifeboat” may be odd choices for a cruise ship!). The only sport was mainly soccer (EPL etc), although watching the Super Bowl in French was novel! The Ship The ship generally has everything you want. Social life focusses around the main lounge and bar and the Grill area outside in fine weather, and in the Panorama Bar/Lounge above the Bridge. The much vaunted Blue Eye lounge is only open a few hours a day, and was rarely used. A short “Blue Eye Experience” was interesting, but otherwise it wasn’t open when you wanted it to be… The medical centre is staffed by a doctor and nurse, and a couple of people who had need of their services said they were helpful but expensive! The shop sells a lot of clothing and a few souvenirs, but doesn’t really stock any forgotten necessities. The Spa was well customised, the Sauna is beautiful (but not much used when it was already 30 plus outside!) and I believe there was a gym ! The theatre is comfortable and spacious, and can seat all passengers at once. It is used for daily recaps and briefings on Excursion cruises, and shows with the ships dancers on roughly alternate nights, weather permitting. The open-bridge policy is nice, and the crew are happy to answer questions. Once per cruise you can attend a bridge visit with the Captain who spent nearly an hour talking about the ship and it’s equipment and answering questions. The marina dock at the rear of the ship made boarding the Zodiacs relatively simple, and it can be raised to serve as a stage for the Captain’s welcome. Watching it unfurl itself from under the rear deck is a piece of theatre in itself! The Crew In a word, outstanding. Always friendly, quick to learn who you were and very visible and available – particularly the Captain who would frequently be on hand at the Marina as you boarded the Zodiacs. The opportunity was presented a couple of times during the cruise to ‘dine with an officer’ via a sign-up list at the Reception desk. We had two very pleasant dinners with crew, one hosted by the Reef Pilot and his wife, and once by the Cruise Director and the Shore Tours Manager. We were also joined by one of the Expedition team for a celebration dinner for my birthday. The waiters were generally engaging and efficient, and the bar staff quick to learn your preferences and anticipate your requirements! The Expedition team were all very friendly and engaged with the passengers frequently. When manning Zodiacs or taking guided walks they were well informed on the locations and wildlife. Our cabin steward was highly efficient but must have abseiled into the cabin ninja-like, as I think I saw him twice in 11 days for about 30 seconds each time. I never even found out his name… The Food… the food… the food… I guess that on a Food and Wine theme cruise, I shouldn’t have been surprised but there was SO MUCH FOOD…! Breakfasts were served either in the Nautilus Restaurant or the Grille, and were largely self-serve although egg dishes were available to order. A good range of juices, cereals, pastries, bread and hot food were available at the buffets. Lunch was similar, with one themed lunch run by the guest chef apart from the on-shore lunch arranged in Newcastle. Afternoon ‘tea’ food was available in the Main Lounge if you couldn’t hold out until dinner. Due to the theme, the normal 3 ‘Gala’ nights were supplemented by 2 others run by the guest chef, hence there were 5 six-course degustation dinners over 11 nights which was too much! To cap it off on the guest chef nights, you returned to your cabin to find a box of caramels or nougat on the bed… There was always a small treat left by the steward every night at turn-down, although many went uneaten as we couldn’t face any more food… The food itself was extremely good, and some of the dishes produced by the guest chef were sublime. There was a strong seafood content, although alternatives were always available, and a full vegetarian degustation was always offered in parallel on Gala nights. Room service was also available and included, but unused in my case. Drinks There was an ‘open’ bar including the in-cabin minibar, however there were a variety of extra-cost items and an extensive wine list with wines up to €900+ per bottle. There was also the option to purchase a €20 Euro/day (full duration only) package on the first 2 days that added more premium spirits and cocktails, and additional wines, to the package. Oddly, any premium spirit was charged at full cost despite the cost differential to the standard spirit being small (e.g. Johnnie Walker Red was included but Johnnie Walker Black was an extra €8 per serve, despite the cost differential between whole bottles being only roughly €10 in Australia or about €0.75 per serve – the same thing with Gordons vs Bombay Sapphire gin). The Itinerary The itinerary was as interesting as you would like an Expedition on the Great Barrier Reef to be. A pity that the local regulations forced the 2 sea days for the ‘technical stop’ as it would have been good to visit another part of the Great Barrier Reef (or one of the coastal towns). As a first time visitor, all the locations were interesting however they were all unsurprisingly to the same theme (swimming, snorkelling, beach) except Newcastle. In Summary Summing up this was a really excellent cruise despite the weather and the intervention of the Australian rules and regulations. Ponant have an excellent product and their crew are determined to make sure you enjoy your holiday. The cruise, even when hampered by weather, was conducted in good spirits and the small number of passengers made it very social as you ended up dining with nearly everyone at least once. As a first time Ponant cruiser, it was interesting to see the number of repeat cruisers with many following Sarina Bratton from her former Orion line. There was a definite French ‘touch’ to the ship, mainly in the décor, food and entertainment, but with 70% of the passengers being Australian the cruise was conducted entirely in English with all the crew bi- (or tri) lingual. I heard very few complaints (one woman was outraged she couldn’t order Eggs Benedict one day when it wasn’t the ‘egg of the day’) apart from the general concern about the disembarkation. A few passengers were amazed that they wouldn’t be able to disembark and make an 11am international flight – however their stupidity in booking a flight that required them to be at the airport (30 minutes from the terminal), an hour before the scheduled disembarkation time can hardly be laid at Ponant’s door, despite the passengers best efforts. All in all, highly recommended. We cruise again on Le Laperouse in 2 weeks to the Sub-Antarctic Islands and I can’t wait! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
BEST PART We were very impressed with the size of the Suite (living area, bathroom and deck), Including the free laundry services provided no matter how many cruises you've done. Also, the priority booking perk worked well, as we ... Read More
BEST PART We were very impressed with the size of the Suite (living area, bathroom and deck), Including the free laundry services provided no matter how many cruises you've done. Also, the priority booking perk worked well, as we tried to book restaurant seats late on the first day and were refused & treated like ignorant scum until later we tried again and mentioned our Suite number - then instant bookings occurred this time with only a hint of crankiness / impatience by the staff. WORST PART We found "the Pantry" to be absolutely horrid. In two words we would describe it as 'lazy' and 'cheap'. For bfast there was only one station providing both bacon and eggs and there was always a large queue for it. Another station had bacon but although it very clearly said "eggs cooked to order" on their display sign (& there was a grill plate cooker behind them) the staff would not cook eggs and sent everyone who wanted eggs to line up at the other station. We even pointed out the “eggs cooked to order” sign to one of the supervisors and he actually told us we shouldn’t be reading that part of the sign (fair dinkum!). If you wanted something from a few stations, you had to line up at each one while your meals go cold and get coughed over by people pushing past. A buffet service is so much faster - they need to bring this back. I found it very tiring and stressful to dine at the Pantry because the food choices were so poor, there was fierce competition to get seats, people were crowded together in the seating areas and in the walkways, and the ceiling was low and claustrophobic. There was nothing that impressed us at lunch or dinner at any of the stations, it all pretty much looked like the food you'd cook yourself at home. An exception is the fish and chips station that had good chips and a very nice batter, but although calamari was supposed to be served we never saw any, only fish, and the 'plates' provided were wire baskets with a sheet of paper under the food, and so very difficult to eat from with a knife and fork as the paper fell apart and the food fell through the wires onto the table so you ended up actually eating off the table itself. Some people were eating off what looked like prison or boarding school trays! (which I imagine are meant to be trendy but had the opposite effect). One station had on display at almost every visit the same thing which was a pitiful looking sliced devon sausage and tiny little piles of crudities (sliced carrots etc) and nothing else! Similarly at another station, significant display space was used up with widely spaced small bowls of cereal or very simple salads depending on the time of day. The pantry was a huge disappointment, and I dreaded going there when other dining options were not open. Instead of looking forward to meal times, we were put off at the thought as it was such an unpleasant experience. OTHER RESTAURANTS We didn't try Salt but wished we had, because we later found out that Salt meals are apparently specially prepared to order, unlike with the other restaurants the meals are pre-prepared and stored. Dragon Lady and Angelo's were good, but nothing to write home about. We did the Chef's Table and at least one of the dishes served had also been served at the Waterfront the day before (yet we paid $119 pp for 'special' meals). We think Princess Cruises do a much better job of the food in all aspects. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We travelled on a 4 night cruise on Pacific Explorer to Moreton Island and had a great time. The public areas on the ship have all been refurbished very nicely with modern touches. The cabin was more dated but still had plenty of room ... Read More
We travelled on a 4 night cruise on Pacific Explorer to Moreton Island and had a great time. The public areas on the ship have all been refurbished very nicely with modern touches. The cabin was more dated but still had plenty of room and was very clean. All of the staff were friendly and accomodating. Food overall was very good. We ate most meals in the Waterfront Restaurant and the food was of a high quality. 400 Gradi was also very good and the cafe and Ocean Bar were good for relaxing. The buffet was fine for casual eating although was always very busy. Kids club staff were great and my daughter enjoyed the activities. As she was under five I was given a pager so staff could contact me on at anytime which was a nice touch. My daughter also enjoyed the waterpark as the pools were too deep for small children. Themed nights were fun and we enjoyed making Gatsby headbands for the party. Although purchasing the photos on board is quite expensive, we enjoyed getting all of our photos taken at different backdrops and looking through them later. Overall, we had a really good time and I'd travel on the Pacific Explorer again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Missed ports last cruise due to bad weather. This cruise was very good, only problems were greedy people keeping reserved seats for shows, policing by ship should have been better. also many People entering pools and spas, did not shower ... Read More
Missed ports last cruise due to bad weather. This cruise was very good, only problems were greedy people keeping reserved seats for shows, policing by ship should have been better. also many People entering pools and spas, did not shower as requested by signs before entering,. Shore excursions from ship were good but a bit expensive as was the, price of drinks, could not see the duty free or GST exemption reflected in price. Buffet set up is messy as is trying to get a table, service in buffet area not very good. Movies in cabin were a bit dated and there was no current shows. The area for Elite passengers to get together each evening has been moved from Crooners bar to Vista Lounge a better idea, except that if you have formal dining at 5-15 pm it is hardly worth while attending hours shoul be advanced by a half an hour to give you a chance to enjoy yourself instead of rushing ir not going. Princess Happy hour has disappeared, where for an extra dollar you could buy a second drink, Not Good. Photographers are a nuisance,. always trying to push there product as is Effey, the spa, and fine art sales. you get the feeling they are after your money all the time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Take a lot of money. Yes, its expensive in Australia, but the expenses on the ship keep on mounting. A glass of wine $14.00.Cosmopolitan $16.00. They have taken away the 2 for 1 cocktail hour. The cost of the shore excursions is just ... Read More
Take a lot of money. Yes, its expensive in Australia, but the expenses on the ship keep on mounting. A glass of wine $14.00.Cosmopolitan $16.00. They have taken away the 2 for 1 cocktail hour. The cost of the shore excursions is just plain ridiculous. Two ports we were in, we had to pay for a shuttle to town. We used to get a coupon book that at least had a few coupons we could use, gone. The art gallery ( look hard or you will miss it ) is tucked into a tiny corner by a huge photo gallery. The menu in the diningroom is so geared to people other than Canadians and Americans, if you like fish only , you should. be happy. Not once was there pork or turkey, just fish, fish and more fish, missing also is the traditional new York cheesecake and crème brulee. We stood on top deck for 2 hours and did not have one bar staff around. There is a 1.1% surcharge added to your bill that princess collects. Read Less

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