P&O Pacific Eden
P&O Pacific Eden
I did my first ever cruise this month on P&O’s Pacific Eden, which is a refurbished rebranded Holland America Line ship. We cruised from Cairns to Sydney.
I flew from Sydney up to Cairns with Virgin Airlines in Economy X class which is straight behind Business class, in the first four rows of economy. It was good as there is a little bit more leg room and it’s close to the front of the plane!
On board the Pacific Eden we had an Oceanview Cabin. Cruise cabins are quite small but you don’t spend much time in them! The common areas and restaurants on board have been renovated and are very modern and nice. The outdoor and pool area was nice with plenty of lounges and seats.
There were 2 shows each night, at 6pm and 9pm, so you can watch either before or after dinner. The only go for about 45 minutes. It is best to go a bit earlier to get your choice of seating as they do fill up.
There are plenty of bars around, most are themed with live music. The Jazz bar and Piano Bar are nice areas to meet before dinner.
The entertainment crew on board are very interactive, there is always something happening such as charades or board games or volley ball etc. Even Bingo was great! I have been to normal bingo at an RSL and it’s nothing compared to what it’s like on board, they make it really fun and interactive and the last round is a big jackpot. Even though this was only a domestic cruise as they go out to international waters you are able to use the Casino (it’s closed when you’re in port though).
Onboard the Eden there are 5 restaurants. 4 are included Dining, so covered in your cruise cost.
The Waterfront Restaurant (main restaurant) is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu changes daily for dinner and always includes a small section dedicated to a themed cuisine. It was German and Japanese during my cruise.
There are two themed speciality restaurants- only open for dinners 5pm-9pm. Angelo’s, which is an Italian restaurant and Dragon Lady-(Asian cuisine) both were very nice. You need to book these as soon as you get onboard as they are very popular and do book out.
Being a coeliac I found the speciality restaurants catered well for people with allergies. You need to go to the reception area in the morning to select what you want for dinner, or the night prior to organise your breakfast if going to Waterfront Grill etc. If you did this, you could select anything, and they would make it for you. If you didn’t do this, they still had options however, it was time consuming with the wait staff having to check with the Chef each time you requested something.
There was also The Pantry, a cafeteria style area. It offered a variety of different cuisines such as Indian, Chinese, Roast meals, Italian, fish and chips and a dessert bar. This is open breakfast lunch and dinner. This was good for a quick meal but is very busy and can be hard to get a seat in this area. It’s a combination of big sofa style chairs with coffee tables or bar style seating (high seats and raised table).
There is also a speciality restaurant- Salt Grill which is an additional charge. You need to book ahead for this also.
Our port of call was Hamilton Island. The tender drops you to the Marina side of the island. A visit to the beach by the resort on the other side of the island is a must. It is similar to Hawaii with palm trees, clear blue water, no waves and very relaxing. You can easily walk to the beach over a small hill or hop on one of the island shuttle buses which operate all the time. There is also a shuttle that will take you on a tour of the island. These tours are very popular, and it can be standing room only on the shuttle. You can also hire a golf buggy for $90 per day and drive yourself around. You need a valid license and credit card to do this.
Hamilton island Marina had the best-looking and variety of restaurants. There are also quite a few eating spots to get takeaway and picnic by the marina- there are heaps of cockatoos that will join you and get very close if you do this!