My partner booked this cruise as a gift. He booked a mini suite (with a balcony) and included the premium drinks package. The ship is old, tired and dirty. Completely inadequate for 2000 people to be able to spend time in the main deck. The only pool on the ship is tiny and dominated by splashing kids. The person on pool guard did not control this well. Most of the movies were catered to kids. A few people book the small amount of loungers early in the morning (for the full day) with towels and bags and are allowed to get away with it though there is a security presence on the deck. Basically the other 1900 odd people have nowhere to relax or sunbath. People would sleep on a three seater lounger all day long while most of the guests were hunting for a spot just to get out of the sun.
The cocktails cost $13-17 and taste extremely watered down which I believe is illegal. When a drink is returned, the bar staff hastily exchange the drink and replace it with the proper strength. Returning each drink get tedious though so you eventually drank these heavily diluted drinks.
You are not allowed to take your own water on board however a bottle of water costs $3.00. What a rip off.
The entertainment was good. The bands were able to cater to a variety of audiences.
We really appreciated having our own balcony as the noisy kids and loud movies sometimes became too much. We were able to retreat to our quiet balcony to suntan.
The food was average. Recycling of food from one meal to the next was often obvious as they did not try too hard to change it. If you went to the formal restaurant (Waterfront restaurant) the portion sizes were ridiculously tiny. I sent a duck pasta starter dish back because it had three scraggly bits of duck strips (much smaller than a stir fry strip of meat)
The coffee is the worst you may ever taste. We purchased coffee bags at a port as the machine coffee in the dinning room was undrinkable. You need to pay $5.00 for a barista coffee and this cannot be charged within the drinks package though you get 14 drinks a day which you seldom finish.
The hospitality and cleaning staff were excellent. Friendly, always happy to accommodate. The staff who cleaned our rooms acted like our hosts on the ship and were always happy to assist in anyway.
The advantage of the suite and mini suite reservations are priority embarkation and disembarkation at ports which was lovely.
We are unlikely to ever do a P&O cruise again
You just pass this island. It is a tiny landmass with a weather station on and nothing else
Port Douglas was great. We rented a car and drove up to the Daintree area which was awesome
Cairns was lovely. We hired a car and did some sight seeing. Works out cheaper and more fun provided you have done some homework before hand
Airlie Beach is quaint. We spent the day in the town and at the lagoon in the city. Everything is within walking distance of the ship (around 30 min max of leisure walking) to get to the lagoon. The market close to the ship has some reasonably priced jewelry so worth checking out