I’ve been on quite a few cruises and chose this one for the destination and price. P&O is a budget line.
Room: Interior cabin 5171 - tidy room with the necessary amenities but very tight moving around the bed with bunk beds raised. The bathroom was basic but functional with a good sized shower but there were no little luxuries like moisturiser, tissues etc. Heaps of hanging space and 3 in room safes - obviously designed for triple or quad berth. Very old bumpy mattress so I asked for a mattress topper - this was unavailable but a contour pillow was left in my room. The sheets were also very worn and were pilling. The white towels also needed replacing as they were greying. On the last sea day there was vacuuming outside my room at 7:40 am - not really acceptable.
Ship: Really great sail past Moreton Island. lovely modern decor throughout. Curtains on the pool deck and deck chairs on the promenade deck smelt (of vomit, urine, and dampness) and needed cleaning. Duty Free alcohol for purchase onboard was fairly expensive in comparison with pricing on other ships I’ve been on and probably on par with Dan Murphys. Unfortunately all shore tours in Port Douglas were cancelled due to rough seas but we were able to go ashore later in the day after the seas had settled a little.
Embarkation: smooth, there wasn’t a long wait and they had a guitarist playing to entertain those waiting - a nice touch.
Service: in the dining room it was mixed, sometimes ignored, sometimes slow. Great Australian Entertainment Director: Ben. Captain Ian Dockeray provided regular updates and each day would name and wish happy birthday to crew members (a lovely touch). My room stewards AJ and Michelle were lovely and always greeted me by name.
Food: in the Waterfront Restaurant the cauliflower soup was excellent, the beef tip was over cooked and tough and didn’t come with vegetables (you need to order separate sides). The dinner menu was significantly reduced in the Waterfront restaurant - 3 entree choices, 3 mains and 2 salads (the rest you have to pay for). A lot of gouging for money: hotdogs, pizza, hamburgers, ice creams etc you pay extra for. The Pantry closes at 9:30 so if you want to eat later you’re forced to pay. It’s also very crowded at night and hard to find a table (they close off the back of the pantry for their pay extra restaurant Shell and Bones. The salads and soups in the buffet are delicious and fresh but the desserts are of poor quality compared to other cruise lines. No ice buckets offered for wine purchased in the Waterfront Restaurant. Bread on the second night was stale. On cocktail nights dress wasn’t enforced, a lot of passengers were wearing jeans and t-shirts in the Waterfront Restaurant.
Entertainment: Soloists in the public areas were great. Production show Seven Deadly Sins, Velvet Rope and Slumber were excellent - great costumes, great sets and dancing- singing was also of a high standard but may have been due to a pre recorded sound track. The towel animal show on the last see day with the room stewards was a lot of fun. They played the Winter Olympics on the pool deck screen which was very enjoyable. Because I’ve done a few cruises, I was invited to the senior officers party, which included a complimentary photo with the Captain, canapés and drinks. I found days at sea a little boring entertainment wise. There was always trivia available but not much else. There only appeared to be a lot of up sell opportunities for the company to make extra cash eg get a flatter stomach, boost your metabolism, foot analysts, the casino and spa treatments. A matinee movie in the theatre would have been good.
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