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Jacqueline H

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  • 505 Helpful votes
  • 1 Cruise review
  • 3 Cruises

Ovation of the Seas

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  • Overall

    5
  • Food

    5
  • Entertainment

    5
  • Cabin

    5
  • Crew

    5
  • Price

    5
  • Value

    5
Feb 2017

"Amazing ship, staff, entertainment and food."

We loved every moment of our cruise on the Ovation of the Seas. Embarkation took 10 minutes from kerb to ship (just as they state on their website!). We were a bit concerned going on this ship from some of the negative reviews we had read but we need not be. The ship is just wonderful. It is BIG but is so well laid out we never had trouble finding our way around. The cabin was a great size with plenty of storage. We loved having a balcony and even better a kettle in the cabin so we could make a cuppa first thing in the morning and enjoy it out on our balcony. The bathroom was compact but well set out and very functional. The decor throughout the ship was just lovely. We loved every meal we had. Generally we had breakfast in the Solarium Bistro, lunch in the Windjammer Buffet and dinner in the American Icon. The food was fantastic and plentiful, you will ever go hungry. There is an icecream station on the pool deck plus a hot dog van in the Seaplex as well as Sorrento's pizza (we only went here once and weren't great fans of the pizza but freshly made they would probably be yummy), Cafe Two70 and the Promenade Cafe (which is open 24/7). We didn't eat at the Extra restaurants as we were very happy with the places we ate at. The facilities and entertainment were just fabulous, the show The Dream was incredible. We went on the Bumper Cars, North Star and iFly (we prebooked the North Star and iFly before our cruise but you could also book once on board). I was amazed how well run everything was with 4,000 passengers. We didn't go on the Flowrider but watched it many times - it did look fun! The tendering service was well organised as was when we docked. If people listen to the staff and follow directions things run smoothly it is only when you get ignorant, rude and selfish people that slow things down. The pool areas are great, we especially loved the Solarium. This is the 16+ pool area. I think if you go with the attitude of looking for things to complain about you're never going to enjoy yourself. It is an incredible ship which we found very hard to find any faults with. The staff in all areas where so friendly, efficient and happy to help whenever they could. We loved our cruise and hope we are lucky enough to go on the Ovation of the Seas again. It is a spectacular ship!

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  • Cruise Name: Ovation of the Seas
  • Destination: New Zealand
  • Sailed: January 2017
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Alexander

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  • 456 Helpful votes
  • 1 Cruise review
  • 0 Cruises

P&O - Pacific Jewel

  • Overall

    4
  • Food

    4
  • Entertainment

    5
  • Cabin

    3
  • Crew

    5
  • Price

    5
  • Value

    4
Sep 2017

"Happy to cruise again on this ship"

Book not too early but rather keep watching the weekly updates on cabin fares as the prices go considerably up and down. We really just go to our cabin just to change and sleep so it does not really matter what position on the ship our room is. It is useful for an easy and quick embarkation to complete all the paperwork (Including luggage labels, etc) before turning up to the wharf so your booking in and cabin card issue should only take about 10 to 15 minutes (most of the time in the line-up). Similar advice for disembarkation. Please don’t be one of those travellers in front of me arguing the toss or asking about something for which full information was supplied with our book. NZ has a very smart system for processing passengers. Our main gripe is that although this ship advertises queen sized beds there are definitely none. We had it confirmed by a senior officer at the information desk that all beds on this ship are standard length only at 185cm. Moving to another cabin would not solve our long length requirement, and yet our P&O booking agent did email us before the voyage to say the beds were queen length (205cm). Obviously, you can’t trust the information from the booking agent (as this is the second time the agent has been wrong). But don’t worry too much if your six foot tootsies hang over the end of your bed, as our deck supervisor got cracking and constructed an extension to our bed. You could say “harden up” and lie diagonally across the beds but you would soon find your backside sinking down the Grand Canyon where the twin beds have been pushed together. Our room staff were excellent and our room was small but quite adequate with lots of drawer spaces. Off course half the stuff we packed we never used. Our hair dryer in the cabin was out of order for entire trip. Internet costs and service has greatly improved. The best deal is at $79 unlimited for the length of the voyage. Access seemed possible from most parts of the ship. The food service and choices were very good. Not too many passengers tried the soups but I found them very nice (although a wee bit salty). Shocking to see the big number of folks eating food only with their hands – a fast way to get sick with a bug. The tea and coffee urns only had one working at a time so the line ups were long. Plenty of fruit juices as an alternative. We brought along our thermal mugs to fill. Be very fastidious about thoroughly cleaning your hands several times a day. Plenty of entertainment with twice nightly shows in the concert hall. We enjoyed all of these. You just have to get there early enough to get a seat. No use sitting anywhere near the back under the balcony as you just can’t see the stage. Upstairs was OK. Around the bars there are plenty of musicians playing and singing. Our favourite was the piano man Francis who played to the audience of us seniors with our type of soft songs, but then in the middle of a tune extemporised much into delightful jazz and ending in a classical Beethoven flurry. Another young guy was attempting to sing something but we just about all got up and left. In another bar the Pines Trio played us lots of excellent dance music. The Marquee final of the passenger talent quest was terrific. There was also some serious ballroom dancing happening up in the Dome. Some of the other singer / band routines around the bars were just loud noise with no sense of melody. The Air Band featuring DJK were terrible and must have exceeded safe decibel limits. Bring your ear muffs. Then again you can always go over to the info desk and get the latest Sudoku. Seriously, do we really want to eat our breakfast with heavy rap music? Came across a guy who appeared to have taken a bit of a turn on the stairwell. We called for help to the medical centre and a medic came within a couple of minutes. Top marks. The first day embarkation took only about ten minutes because we were careful enough to fill out all the required paperwork. Same with leaving the ship – just walk off and get your bag – no more than ten minutes. Top marks again. Bottom marks for the way the shore trips by tender were organised. We had to wait with our allocated tickets for a whole two hours to get ashore at all ports. Just not good enough. Call me a snob but I think that getting changed into at least semi-formal clothes for the evening is important. It’s a pity that the door staff at the Waterfront Restaurant room don’t push this and so let day clothes in (wearing hats, shorts and singlets) at the formal dining table. The main importance of changing is not so much to change one’s looks but rather to change one’s smelly clothes. It would have been great to have at least one formal dress-up night. We’ve now been on four P&O trips. Overall happy with this trip as the destinations have been excellent. Happy to go again.

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  • Cruise Name: P&O - Pacific Jewel
  • Destination: South Pacific
  • Sailed: September 2017
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Geoffrey

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  • 418 Helpful votes
  • 1 Cruise review
  • 2 Cruises

Noordam

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  • Overall

    4
  • Food

    5
  • Entertainment

    4
  • Cabin

    5
  • Crew

    4
  • Price

    3
  • Value

    3
Nov 2015

"14day Noordam"

We took the 14 day re positioning cruise from Honolulu to Sydney on the Noordam. This was only our second time on a cruise ship and the thought of such a long time on the water was a bit daunting. This concern soon disappeared. As with our first cruise, we chose a balcony cabin which we really made use of. Leaving Honolulu, the first 5 days straight were at sea, and many hours were spent on the balcony just watching the ocean pass by. The weather was near perfect and often we had glass out seas. The Noordam exceeded our expectations in almost every way:, food, service, facilities, activities etc. The common areas on Decks 2 and 3 were great for a quiet read, coffee or a drink at one of the bars. The 5 o'clock happy hours with two-for-one drinks were also a good time to get together with the new cruise buddies. Our only disappointment was the band playing live music, which did not live up to their billing of "BB King All Stars". However, for the age group of most passengers on the ship, I'm pretty sure there was plenty of good entertainment throughout the cruise. Especially good was the comedian and ventriloquist, who would have had many people coming back for multiple shows.

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  • Cruise Name: Noordam
  • Destination: South Pacific
  • Sailed: October 2015
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Helen S

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  • 369 Helpful votes
  • 1 Cruise review
  • 2 Cruises

P&O - Pacific Eden

  • Overall

    4
  • Food

    5
  • Entertainment

    4
  • Cabin

    5
  • Crew

    4
  • Price

    5
  • Value

    5
Jan 2016

"Got what we paid for"

We cancelled a trip to Europe following the trouble in Paris so needed to find an alternative. So I got on the net, not really caring exactly where we would go, rather that the price was right. We decided on a cruise on the Pacific Eden going up the coast of Queensland. We were pleased with what we got - after all, $100 a day is pretty reasonable. Despite the media beatup on the gastro-intestinal outbreak on board (don't think I have been on board a ship where there wasn't at least a couple of cases) it was a very good trip. There are a few issues with the update to the previous HAL ship but nothing major. The only thing that really annoyed me was to be directed to be out of the cabin by 6am. Bit like we got your money, you've had your holiday, now get off. The entertainment from the ships company in the showroom was amongst the best I have seen before. As I said in my title, you get what you pay for so the general activities are basic, at the best, but do appeal to a lot of people. We were more than happy to spend our time reading and chatting to others.

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  • Cruise Name: P&O - Pacific Eden
  • Destination: Australia
  • Sailed: December 2015
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Jason B

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  • 364 Helpful votes
  • 1 Cruise review
  • 1 Cruises

Carnival Spirit

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  • Overall

    4
  • Food

    4
  • Entertainment

    4
  • Cabin

    3
  • Crew

    4
  • Price

    3
  • Value

    4
Jun 2014

"Carnival Spirit, 10 nights South Pacific"

We just returned from the Pacific Islands 10 night cruise (May 2014) on Carnival Spirit, who our two children 8 & 10. First cruise for all of us and we really enjoyed it. Good food, great staff (from waiters, bar staff and Cabin Stewards) and things were very well organised when it came to boarding and disembarking the ship, whether it was the 4 ports of call or when boarding in Sydney and returning. Carnival have staggered check in times where you pick your preferred time to board, (not sure if other ships do it, but I’m told Carnival are the only ones) and it works a treat. We turned up about 45mins before our check in time with our bags already tagged & our luggage was taken off our hands for us outside the Passenger Terminal. That frees you up to walk around for a while without all the main luggage while waiting for your check in time. When that time came it was all very efficient and we were on the ship in under 30 mins. Same with disembarking at the ports of call. There’s a tendering system where you go and collect a numbered ticket when you’re ready to go and they’ll call your number when the tender boat is ready. We never waited more than 20mins. They run about 4 tender boats constantly ferrying people to the islands, you turn up when called and the boat is waiting for you. Food ranged from good to excellent (never had a bad meal) Buffet has a wide variety ( too much to list here, but it’s good quality), you can have anything from the usual hot food right through to a salad bar, fresh Pizzas made to order (24/7) and sandwich bar where they’ll make fresh wraps to order or a simple toasted sandwich. Also 24/7 ice-cream by the pools. Empire Dining room for Main evening meal also good to excellent. Some meals were better than others, but never a bad one. Waiter staff are very attentive and professional. If turning up for a pre-selected dining time (either 5.30 or 7.45pm) you’re looked after straight away. The first night our kids ordered some drinks and the next night when we tuned up, the drinks were already there waiting for them. Little things like that which impressed us. When you do order, it’s never more than 10-15 mins for each meal to come out. Some great entertainment as well during the meal, usually just after everyone’s mains. Some of the waiter staff sang on a number of nights and they were brilliant, with all the waiter staff dancing as well. I’ve read some reviews where people described it as ‘annoying’- some people are obviously hard to please no matter what! What it did offer was a great atmosphere and was never overdone, it made the evening even more enjoyable Breakfast you can also have in the Empire Room (where you’re waited on) or head up to Deck 9 to the Buffet which we did most mornings. Having breakfast at the buffet means being able to enjoy the wide ocean views while having a big breakfast! Once again a large variety as well as fresh omelettes made to order Great deck side BBQ as well (Fat Jimmy’s) at lunch time, with really nice food. We also had dinner one night in the 5 star Nouveau Restaurant up on Deck 10. That’s an additional charge at $40/head, but great value for 4 courses and the food is EXCELLENT. It’s worth doing at least 1 night there. Beer (close to schooner size) average $8 a beer, cocktails around $10, kids Mocktails $6 and softdrinks $2.25 each (large). Best value though is to buy the kids soft drink package at $5.50 day and its unlimited refills. We didn’t let our kids drink soft drink non-stop, but if they had one throughout the day and 1 at dinner, plus the odd extra here and there, the $5.50 day is well worth it. If we fancied a soft drink as well, we’d simply have one of the kids go up and get it for us. You can buy the adult’s soft drink package at $7.50 day, but why bother when you can have one of the kids go on an undercover mission and get you a soft drink as part of their deal! Cabins were serviced twice daily if you leave your little service request thingy on the door, so we always came back to a tidy cabin. Nice hot showers with good water pressure in the cabins as well! Pay the extra and get a balcony, it’s nice to have the fresh air and the ability to sit outside and take in the views in privacy every now and then. Try to avoid booking shore excursions on board the ship and do your own thing, as they’re notoriously expensive. The Mele Cascades for eg is about 20 mins out of Port Villa & is a fantastic must see, however if you book on board you’ll be charged $86 AUD /adult and $56/child to book the ships tour. We caught a taxi when we arrived in Port Villa (they’re all there waiting for you looking for your business) and paid a total $80 Aud for the 4 of us. For that our friendly Taxi driver ‘Max’ drove us through town pointing out some sights and took us all the way to the falls. We did have to pay our entry to the falls when we arrived ($25 AUD/adult, $15/child), but still saved us $120 in total compared to booking an ‘organised tour’ on the ship. He then waited 2.5 hours for us while we walked up and swam, then took us to a local village ( not the one they sell on the ship) where we had our own personal tour and tribal dance. He then took us back into town and dropped us off while we had a look around the local markets. We made our own way back to the ship for $15 for the 4 of us on one of the local mini buses that keep passing through town offering you trips back to the ship. Mystery Island & Lifou mainly consisted of swimming and snorkelling- but both very nice spots. Beautiful clear water. Once again you can pay for some local tours once on the islands, but we didn’t bother. Lifou you can walk up to the old Church as well as a great look out, and then head back to the main beach and swim (for free). There is a coral snorkelling are on the back side of the island which is a protected reserve, which you need to book tickets for on the ship ($18.50/adult), spoke to some people who did it and said it was beautiful. The only tour we booked on board was the yellow ‘Choo Choo’ train tour of Noumea- manly because the kids wanted to do it. This was the only one of the 4 port days where we booked a tour. It was expensive at $199 for the 4 of us, but was actually quite good. It was 2hrs in duration, picked you up and returned you to the ship ( we chose to get off in town on the way back) showed us all of the main sights of Noumea with a couple of ‘look out’ stops and also included fresh pastries and cold drinks at one of the stops. The guide was also informative. BUT—here’s a tip. Get on the free shuttle bus that Carnival operates to take you from the main port (it’s a container terminal) into the Visitors Centre in town ( about a 5min drive) and you can book a ‘green train’ tour from there, that does exactly the same thing for just over half the price! We only discovered that after booking the one on board the ship. The green train tour is a little shorter at 1.5 hours and doesn’t include the snacks as far as I could tell, but is the extra 30mins and snacks worth the extra $$?? We would have done that if we’d known. Otherwise catch the town’s shuttle bus where you can jump on and off for about 10-15 bucks a person I think. On our last day at sea we did the ‘Behind the Fun tour’, which is 3 hours long and takes you through a lot of the restricted areas of the ship (including the theatre, Galley – where you get to enjoy freshly baked pastries, Engine Control room, staff quarters, food stores) and finally the Bridge, where we got to meet the Captain, had our photographs taken with him and had the opportunity to ask questions. At $95/person it is expensive- but worth every cent. If you plan on doing it, book it on the first day, as they’re limited (only 2 tours on the last 2 sea days) and they sell out quick. Would we do another Carnival cruise?- absolutely If you’re high maintenance and need constant entertainment than maybe a cruise isn’t your thing, but if you’re happy to chill out and take it easy for a while, taking in in the cruise experience and slowing down your pace a little while out at sea on the non-port days, then you’ll enjoy yourself. Having said that though, there’s still plenty of activities arranged every day and you can do as little or as much as you want. Eli the Cruise director was very informative & good humoured. Communication on board was always excellent, keeping guests informed on the where, what & how of things to ensure everything ran smoothly. Some fun pool side competitions as well, on our last sea day we had a live ice sculpture demonstration by the pool Complaints? None really. The only minor ones would be the pre-cooked toast at the buffet was like rock! There’s toasters scattered around so you can cook your own toast, but not enough of them. All the fantastic sweets on offer seemed to disappear from the buffet around 2.30-300pm, and then re-appear around dinner time. So if you fancy afternoon tea by the pool later in the day, grab some before the buffet closes. The Empire Room though did have ‘Tea Time’ which was 3-4pm, we didn’t get to that but assume that was a cake/coffee/afternoon tea type of thing. We had a great time and for the money was very good value. We look forward to the next one!

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  • Cruise Name: Carnival Spirit
  • Destination: South Pacific
  • Sailed: May 2014
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