home Cruises Weddings & Honeymoons Airfares Holidays Business Travel Meetings & Conferences Gift Vouchers
Hotels - Worldwide Insurance Weather & Currency Useful Links
CRUISE SEARCH


Pacific Pearl 2011: Gerard & Michele's Cruise Report

On January 19th, Gerard and Michele sailed out from Auckland with sons Josh and Nick on an 8 night family cruise aboard P&O's Pacific Pearl.  See the photos and read about their impressions of their South Pacific cruise...

Find out more about cruising with P&O>

How did the P&O Pacific Pearl experience work well for your family?

Michele:
“With two teenage boys, 18 and 19, who are big eaters it was great value for money, and the quality of food high.  For a similar trip to the islands it would have been very expensive feeding them. Also there was something for everyone  - different genres of entertainment, bars etc.  Not too formal and we could eat at different restaurants.  Pacific Pearl manages the different age groups of children well – in fact it has some of the best facilities I’ve seen on a cruise ship in terms of space, facilities and supervision.  We cruised during the school holidays and there were nearly 300 children on board but we really didn’t notice them at all.”

Gerard:
“It worked really well for us and would work well for all families – we even saw three generation families on board, grandparents, parents and grandchildren.  With such a range of activities and entertainment on board, families can do some things together or branch off to do their own activities.”

What did you think of the entertainment?


Michele:
“Extremely varied, from the outside circus to low key jazz piano which went into the early hours of the morning, the enthusiastic pianist playing until the last people left the bar, which was us at 2am! On board you can be as busy as you like or as quiet as you like.  I was signing up to all sorts of things, pilates, hip hop, and loved the anonymity of being in a group where I knew no one, to do it just for the fun.”

Gerard:

“The entertainment was great and really varied.  I liked the quizzes, both general and sports, which were run every day and had a NZ focus.  It was also fun to wander the ship and discover ‘entertainment’ by chance, such as acrobats practicing late at night in the middle of the ship.”

What were highlights of the cruise?


Michele:

“For the boys it was the circus, Gerard liked the music and I loved watching the sun go down after lying on the deck during the afternoon, watching the ocean and drifting off.  True relaxation after my busy working life!  The adults only deck is also great, for AUD$20 it’s an intimate quiet place to relax with optional cocktails and canapés to order.

Gerard:
“The genuine friendliness of the crew was a real highlight, along with the entertainment and the food, which was high quality and include lots of international menus.  On an 8 day cruise it was easy to never have the same dish twice - although the pork belly was so good I had to have it again!”

What was the cabin like?


Michele:
We had an inside cabin of the lowest grade and I was pleasantly surprised! What’s more all four of us shared it so we were in there with teenage boys! The space felt adequate for our needs and it was a good meeting point to come together.

Gerard:
“Our cabin was reasonably sized and even with four adults there was ample storage and it was easy to move about.  The cabin layout was good, particularly the small hall leading to the bathroom, which included storage space.”

What would you say to first-time cruisers on Pacific Pearl?


Michele:
It’s a great mid-range ship which is affordable for middle NZ.  I would recommend an outside cabin, as it’s not much more in price than an inside cabin.

The food and beverage service is excellent although note that cocktails and drinks are at regular bar prices.  Some activities come at an extra cost, such as yoga for AUD$10 (although the main gym is free) but the high quality of the teachers makes the additional cost well worth it.

Something special I’d recommend is booking for the Chef’s Dinner.   This happens just once during the cruise (so book early) and costs AUD$75.  This gives you a private room with the chef cooking for you and, along with the maitre’d, talking you through the food preparation, menu and wine match as well as a private tour of the galley.  Great value for an evening of pampering!

Gerard:
“In terms of the ports visited and onshore activities, I would suggest bringing your own familiar snorkeling gear from home and it’s easy to store in your cabin.  At the ports of Noumea, Isle of Pines and Lifu, we found it was easy to find our own entertainment without the need of an organised tour.  The snorkeling was great – I particularly loved the beautful ‘icing sugar’ sand of the Isle of Pines – and we enjoyed the cheap and fun experience of hiring bicycles in Lifu and Noumea.  The Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Noumea is also stunning – well worth a leisurely look around.”

Find out more about cruising with P&O>


Departing Auckland


Isle of Pines


Life is good!


Isle of Pines


The best waiters!


Lifou


Local dancers - Lifou


Captain's Club Cocktail Party


Snorkeling at Lifou


Tjibaou Cultural Centre - Noumea