Cruising together: The ups and downs of our 16 day cruise

We did it: 16 days from Singapore to Brisbane with P&O. We visited six ports and we had lots and lots of

We did it: 16 days from Singapore to Brisbane with P&O. We visited six ports and we had lots and lots of sea days in an attempt to see if we could bear it, as we are planning yet another cruise in February and as this one will be with some friends we wanted to be sure that we could do it!

Well we can, and even on P&O!

This was a very Australian experience. 99.9 per cent of the passengers were Australian (mostly from Queensland) and of course none of the crew were! In the crew there were a couple of New Zealanders, but most came from India, the Philippines and other emerging economies. I hasten to add that they were all marvellous, and added greatly to the value of the cruise.

Our first revelation was that most of our fellow cruisers were very experienced sailors! Most had been to between 20 – 40 previous cruises, and one game sailor we met had done over 100! The common theme amongst them all was that the cruise that we were all sharing was one of the worst they had been on! Oh yes, we spent many a happy hour with our fellow holidaymakers complaining about the short comings of the current adventure.

Now what was the main problem? Our main complaint was that there was rather too many add-ons that you were expected to pay for, including room service, and cups of hot chocolate. We were assured that these were usually free on other cruises. The shore tours were very expensive, and it was quite funny really to think that we had happily shelled our hundreds of dollars for very ordinary shore tours, and were upset about the $4 cost of a cup of cappuccino!

The other issue was the entertainment available on board. I must mention here that the average age was probably about 75! There were some younger families and children on board, but unless you went up to the pool area they were largely invisible. Anyway the entertainment crew on board had obviously equated age with dumb. There was a lot of bingo and karaoke. Such was the incipient boredom of long days at sea that I have to admit to being an ardent karaoke follower, although not a singer. I do draw the line at bingo! I am also no fan of pokie machines, which were located in the only warm entertainment area on the ship. The intelligent lectures provided were few and far between, and there was an awful lot of energy put into trying to sell us all very expensive spa treatments. The evening entertainment was too short, although mostly of good quality, and there was on board a very good little pop band who played the Beatles very well! This of course fitted well into the age group.

The main problem though was air conditioning. Despite us sailing through the tropics, the two main entertainment areas on the ship were freezing! We got into the habit of carrying a jumper with us all the time, despite the fact that the minute we walked outside my hair frizzed up with the heat and the humidity. Perhaps as a result of this the ship rapidly turned into a plague ship.  Every day more people got sick with a hacking cough and flu! I am not sure of the mortality rate, but considering the age and condition of the passengers I doubt if we all made it to Brisbane!

So what was good about the cruise? Our cabin was comfortable and spacious. Food was on offer mostly free, and at most times, although here too there were gaps in the 24 hours when you couldn’t get free food and to be honest the quality of the food although not bad, was also not fantastic! There was a lack of variety in the free restaurants although there was no ban on the amount you took!

The main entertainment on the ship was sitting and chatting to our fellow passengers which was a lot of fun. Indeed despite the litany of complaints that I have listed above one breakfast we sat with a lady who was fulfilling her lifetime dream of being on a cruise, which considering her socio-economic status had always seemed to her to be out of reach. She was loving every minute of everything, and it did put me back in my box for a while and I probably didn’t complain about anything else that day!

And so the verdict? We had a great time. Yes I know I have complained a lot, and yes it could have been better in many ways, but basically you pay for what you get. P&O is the cheapest cruise line and their ships are 3 star. The other lines are 4 or 5 star, BUT you pay a lot more for the cruise. Will I cruise again? Absolutely! Would I go P&O again? Probably, although I would definitely check out the other lines first, depending on where I wanted to go.

Have you been on a cruise recently or ever before?


Originally published here

  1. Grace Boland  

    Sue,enjoyed tour comments ,I did 10 big ship cruises in various parts of the World ,only one on P-O,– the other ships were much better ,then I did a RIVER CRUISE — well just loved it so much ,I have now done three ,in various parts of Europe ,I could never go back to the big monster ships again — the scenery is really beautiful all along all the rivers in Europe ,from your floor to ceiling luxurious cabin ,,the ships cruise right into the center of the cities and beautiful little villages. ,it’s all so easy ,just walk down a short gangplant,and you are there ,food is 5 star ,lovely entertainment at night ,only 150 passengers– have I convinced anyone to do a RIVER CRUISE ???? Grace. Melbourne AUSTRALIA

    • Brenda  

      Grace, we have done 30+ Ocean cruises with several different companies, although Princess is our favourite, and 1 river cruise which I thoroughly enjoyed, although apprehensive at first. Both are vastly different and not comparable really. I will continue to cruise on the oceans, more for the ecomony than anything else. Also Europe is a bit scary at the moment.

  2. We are going on a British P&O soon. First time cruising

    • I have been with British P&O twice and about to do a third one, have always found them very good

      • Thea  

        We are going on the British P&O in The end of Febuary ..we’ve been on Princess lines and on P&O before and found both very good although we did think that the bus tours were very expensive .
        We will be going on the Aroura wish to have a great time and to meet lots of lovely people ..
        Are any of you going to cruise on the Aroura this Feb to Asia .

    • wyn woods  

      British P&O definitely much better than Aus.

  3. I think the worst outcome on a cruise would be gastroenteritis.

    • My husband and I went on a Royal Carribbean cruise in October and there was an outbreak of norovirus as they now like to call it, maybe they think it sounds better than gastro!
      Having cruised a few times, you become very conscious and super careful with hand hygiene so we were lucky not to have had a problem.
      To the credit of the staff, they stopped people serving themselves at the buffet to reduce the risk of spread and housekeeping staff were constantly wiping every surface and dispensing hand sanitiser at almost every doorway.
      Their efficiency in containing the spread was successful, but there were still the wingers that complained about being inconvenienced!

  4. Not sure I would want a 16 day cruise but I’ve been on several 7 day and always have fun.

  5. Big poo boxes and into our beautiful sea it goes. I really fear for our world.

    • Brenda  

      Anne, do you know hat you are talking about? I have never been on a ship that dumps at sea! All sewerage is pumped out in port and dealt with on land. AS with all rubbish, absolute sorting and recycling and also dealt with at Ports. ON a recent cruise, for Anzac Day, the wreaths they threw overboard were even made with any wiring, styrene foam or anything other than pure plant material. Cruise ships are the world leaders in caring for our oceans! Do your research!

      • Brenda  

        That should say WITHOUT ANY WIRING

    • Nothing is allowed to go overboard these days as the modern day cruise liners have their own recycling and storage facilities and all is disposed of when they dock in port.

    • That’s totally untrue Anne, they’re huge recycling & treatment plants – the technology is amazing!

  6. I had mixed feelings after the cruise. I felt as though I was in a freezing environment. Generally speaking The entertainment was not good. I was bored. Mind you I was by myself

  7. We are going on our 15th cruise Feb 28th. 42 days. We love Princess cruises. Used Royal Caribbean earky on. Ok but not no1 for us. Also used Norwegian and MSC. Not overly impressed with Norwegian. Disliked MSC.

    • Bev  

      Hello Kristine, I too am going on a princess cruise Feb 28, China, Korea,etc. For 42 days.I am a bit nervous as I am on my own, but I have done land trips on my own, and always enjoyed that, I have heard good reports about Sea Princess, so if this is your cruise, amongst a couple of thousand people we might meet.this is my first long cruise, but there are a lot of ports to visit and not too many sea days, which my son tells me are the best times, meeting new friends, and having lots of fun.

      • JAY  

        Princess ships usually have singles get togethers afternoon tea etc Always advertised in Patter Good to meet other singles Even arrange tours together
        I made good contacts when I sailed solo with Sea Princess

    • hello Khristine..we are going on the same cruise (42 days .China and Japan)…we went Princess last Feb (New Zealand and loved it)..oh and my sister is coming too…

  8. Possibly they are trying to make the experience too cheap. Try Celebrity – they are wonderful

    • Celebrity is a fabulous line – have travelled The Mediterranean to Croatia and to New Zealand and now a Pacific Island cruise on Celebrity Solstice – simply the best.

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