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Pacific Pearl made is debut in Australia at the end of 2010, but has already enjoyed many previous lives. The sixth and the oldest ship in the P&O Australia fleet, Pearl had a major refurbishment to refresh the amenities and redesign most of the public places. It now features the communal upmarket dining concept, The Pantry, replacing the traditional buffet dining. During the day, dress code is casual but at 5.30pm, the line requests guests wear “smart casual” attire. A P&O signature, Pacific Pearl also has theme nights like country and western, and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll. Tipping the crew is optional.

Accommodation

Of Pacific Pearl’s 773 cabins, only 64 have balconies. Accommodation is categorised as interior, ocean-view, standard balcony, deluxe balcony and mini suites. Standard amenities for all cabins including the suites, include a flat-screen TV, safe, hair dryer and a mini-fridge. Bathrooms have complimentary environmentally friendly toiletries. Bathrobe and slippers are available upon request for $29. Mini-suites passenger perks include priority embarkation and disembarkation, invitation to the senior officers’ cocktail party, fresh fruit and bottled water, bathrobes and slippers, an in-room Nespresso coffee machine and an iPod music system. After a 2012 refurbishment, Pacific Pearl has 10 pairs of interconnecting staterooms to accommodate bigger travelling groups.

Food

The Waterfront is Pacific Pearl’s main dining venue, a contemporary restaurant with an airy spacious ambience and tables accommodating from two to 10 people. Waterfront operates on a Your Choice Dining basis, allowing guests a more flexible dining time and seating. Casual buffet dining is offered at Plantation Restaurant, on deck 12. On the same deck is Salt Grill by Luke Mangan, and The Grill which serves “Aussie BBQ”. For a unique dining experience, guests can book a table at Chef’s Table, an exclusive dinner limited to 14 people a night. P&O Australia Cruises focuses on local ingredients and producers and feature products such as King Island Dairy cheeses from Tasmania and Australian grass-fed beef on their menu. Pacific Pearl also showcases Vanuatu-grown Tanna Coffee in its cafes, an initiative that financially benefits the communities and farmers on Tanna Island. Room service is also available.

Activities

The Aqua HealthSpaFitness, one of the upgrade focus during Pacific Pearl’s dry dock, has a full-service menu of Elemis experiences, from massages, facials and acupuncture to teeth whitening. Aqua HealthSpaFitness also has a couple’s treatment room with a shower and Jacuzzi. The fitness centre offers health classes such as Pilates, yoga and boot camp as well as cardio and weight machines. At the stern of Pacific Pearl, Oasis, an intimate adults-only area with sun loungers, couches, two hot tubs and a bar.

Families

Pacific Pearl, like all the ships in the P&O Australia fleet, is very family friendly with all sorts of activities catering to either the whole family, or different age groups. The ship has a minimum age to cruise (12 months) and kids’ clubs are open on a first-come first-served basis. Parents need to register their children for participation. Turtle Cove shows movies, hold scavenger hunts and talent shows and has a LEGO wall for kids aged two to six years. At Shark Shack seven- to 10-year-olds can play with Wii, Playstation and iPad. Teenagers can play with technology such as Stop Motion Pro Filmmaking, or enjoy the company of friends at themed parties all held at HQ. Group babysitting is available from 10.30pm to 1am at $5 per child per hour (additional child cost an extra $2 per hour). Parents of children aged three to six years are given pagers so they can check on them regularly.

Verdict

Good value for families and multi-generatinal groups.

– Cruise Passenger 

“If you’re looking for a more affordable high-seas holiday and enjoy the ultra-casual Australian style of cruising, it’s worth considering.”

– Cruise Critic 

n/a

– Berlitz

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