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With Reuben Goossens

Cruise’n’Travel Journalist / Cruise Reviewer & Maritime Historian

 

Please Note: Cruise-Australia is a non-commercial and privately owned cruise site and it is NOT associated with any cruise company or travel agency! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is currently semi-retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future.

 

MV Pacific Sun

(Was) Proudly registered in London

 

Pacific Sun is seen here featuring her fresh all white traditional P&O livery

Photograph provided by P&O - Carnival Plc Australia

Please Note: The MV Pacific Sun is no longer in the P&O fleet, but I have kept her online for memory sake as she became a popular ship and was much loved by Australian’s and New Zealander’s!

Introduction.

P&O Australia’s Pacific Sun has become a popular ship with cruise lovers around Australia and New Zealand and she has converted many first time cruisers who have booked again and again as countless emails to the author has proved!

As a cruise ship these days Pacific Sun is considered to be a medium sized ship at 47,000-tons, although it was not that long ago when a 24,000-ton ship was considered as being quite large, but these days the American cruise companies, as Americans do, are building them bigger and bigger to the point of them becoming boxlike gigantic apartment blocks, instead of open decks there are decks stacked high with balconies. Currently the largest ship is 160,000-tons, however, very soon there will be several 220,000-ton cruise ships sailing, which is simply ridiculous. I call it going on a holiday with the masses! Personally, I believe that both the Pacific Sun and the somewhat larger Pacific Dawn are the perfect size ships accommodating an excellent number of passengers to the crew ratio!

Back in 2008 Pacific Sun has received huge refurbishment, which has given her a revitalised new look and exciting new facilities and passenger comforts. Facilities were further enhanced in February 2009 when “Your Choice Dining” was introduced onboard the Pacific Sun, just as it is on Pacific Dawn and based in Brisbane and Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl in Sydney, meaning you may dine throughout the day and the evening when, where, and with whom you wish! There are always further enhancements happening ensuring that she will always remain fresh and a happy ship and the most recent was a comprehensive refit in June 2011! P&O is endeavouring to provide its passengers the best possible product imaginable, and from what I have seen when I visited the ship recently she looked very smart indeed and her new features are sure to impress, especially her new dinning features, as well as the introduction of a new world class executive Chef! More on this later!

Having been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, I still count P&O Cruises Australia as one the best value cruise vacation anywhere, and that is saying a lot! Personally I have been on 125 cruises/voyages since 1958 covering a multitude of cruise/shipping companies, but generally, P&O Australia has consistently delivered such efficient and friendly onboard service, the food has always been wonderful and certainly plentiful, and the entertainment has been splendid to say the least! I have sailed with cruise companies which are of a higher star rating, but they have not delivered true value for money as P&O Cruises Australia has done as consistently!

For interest, as I am asked by my readers on a regular basis, I sailed on Pacific Sun on November 15, 2008, and please Note, this cruise was fully paid for by the author and thus not complimentary, for I do not write cruise and ship reports based on freebies! I believe in honest reporting and thus what you read is what you get! But also remember this one vital piece of advice from an old sea salt: No matter the holiday, be it at a resort or a cruise, any vacation is what you make it. Nothing is ever 100% perfect.

These days the Pacific Sun operates from various ports throughout the year, be it Fremantle, operating a series of cruises off the Western Australian Coast as well as Indonesia. Also Newcastle, Auckland New Zealand, Sydney as well as Brisbane.

Based in Brisbane is the fabulous MV Pacific Dawn, whilst the MV Pacific Jewel is based in Sydney and you can view our three Pacific Dawn Photo Pages. By cruise-australia’s associate Mr. Kosta Specis who has already enjoyed a cruise on her!

Bon voyage

Reuben Goossens.

What was new after her 2008 refit?

Although Pacific Sun has already proven to be a fine ship indeed, P&O had decided that it was time to improve the ever popular Queenslander and enhance her even further, providing future passengers with some exciting new facilities and venues. Certain areas of her interior décor have been redesigned and refreshed, whilst the amidships Lido Pool and its deck space has been transformed into a far superior and a more spacious area! There are new and exciting dinning options, with a new International Head Executive Chef at the helm, and an all Australian wine list that is “Just to die for.” Externally she looks like a brand new ship having taken on a whole new look! There is no doubt that 2010 and 2011 is going to be exciting cruising and which is not to be missed!

Now read on and discover what is new on the Pacific Sun!

Her all Queensland Makeover!

Her new design and layout was overseen by Australian design firm McRae & Lynch and the refurbishment has created even more ways for passengers to relax and enjoy their time at sea.

“Adult Only Oasis Spa Retreat” – Sun Deck.

For the first time on a P&O Cruises Australia ship passengers can relax at a brand new Child-free Oasis Spa Retreat. This is just one of the highlights of the multi-million dollar revamp on the Pacific Sun. For this the transformation of the Sun Deck, located forward and topside of the ship, was at the top of the list for P&O., and now this area has been turned into an inviting “Child Free Oasis retreat,” featuring chocolate brown wicker daybeds, lounges, tables and ottomans and a new Whirlpool Spa. This wonderful retreat is a come and go as you wish area, and you simply reserve a wicker daybed for the day for a small Charge of just $5 per person per day and a bed/sofa will be reserved for you for the entire day. And don’t worry, drink service is available to this area, and you can hop in and out of the spa whenever you wish for there will never be a crowd, as the numbers are limited!

The new and elegant “Child-free Oasis Spa Retreat” top side forward up on Sun Deck

Photograph provided by P&O - Carnival Plc Australia

Outback Coffee Lounge.

Recognising Australians’ love for a good coffee, P&O Cruises has created a brand new Espresso Coffee Lounge, which is located aft of the Outback Café (the Buffet) at the indoor Outback Bar. The Outback Coffee Lounge staff has undergone professional barista training, thus the perfect Latte or an Espresso, Cappuccino, or a good strong Long Black is guaranteed!

Churchill’s Steak House.

The Library is located on Atlantic Deck and next to the Burgundy Restaurant. Having received certain modifications, it will have a new night time facility. Whilst it will continue as a Library, reading and games room during the day, at night this elegant room will be transformed into the “Steak House,” offering an intimate and an elegant dining experience.

The Library by day – At night the table tops are turned and it become the Steakhouse

Photograph by & © 2008 Reuben Goossens – Nautilus Media Australia

The spacious Library has always been known as a superb room with its fine timbers and elegant surroundings, and now with its new night-time setting it will enhance this fine venue even further!

The Gym.

With the many exciting changes onboard, and I have not even covered the buffet, but read on for the main feature you can see the fine new Outback Café for your self, passengers will be able to work off their gourmet meals in the brand new gym area with splendid views over the ship’s wake, whilst the former amidships gym has been stripped and transformed into a delightful relaxation lounge overlooking the pool for the ship’s popular Lotus Spa, giving passengers another space to chill out.

The new Gym aft on Verandah Deck with an ocean view

Photograph provided by P&O - Carnival Plc Australia

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said the changes reflected the company’s continuing drive to extend its onboard product to create an even better holiday experience for passengers.

“Australians love cruising and the makeover of Brisbane’s own Pacific Sun is part of a much wider program to rejuvenate the onboard product offering across our fleet,” … “We have overhauled our menus, and hired a new executive chef and introduced an exclusive local wine list to keep pace with our passenger’s changing tastes.” Ms Sherry said.

Sporting her new exterior livery, being the traditional P&O Cruises’ classic all-white livery of old, the Pacific Sun departed Brisbane for a South Pacific cruise on Saturday September 13, having been in Brisbane’s “Forgacs Cairnscross Dockyard” dry dock for two weeks undergoing a multi million dollar refit.

Pacific Sun is seen departing Brisbane on 13 September 2008 after her refit and showing off her traditional all white P&O livery

Photograph provided by P&O - Carnival Plc Australia

Get to know the Pacific Sun - a deck by deck description

Internally, Pacific Sun has an excellent range of lounges, bars, and dinning options. Including the two deck high Atlantis Show Lounge which is bound to impress. Let us just take a quick look what is available on the various decks. Riviera, Upper and Empress Decks contain cabins only.

Public Rooms - deck by deck - forward to aft

Main Deck In Brisbane, at the Main Lobby you will enter the ship and this is where the ships staff will greet you and you will be required to enter your cruise card into the a machine, that will also take your photograph. Each time you leave and return to the ship your card must be used in order that the ship computer system will know who is, or who is not onboard. It is an excellent security system. Once you have done this you will be guided towards your cabin and you are ready to start exploring and head for lunch! Also in the Main Lobby you will find the Pursers Office and the Shore Excursion Deck.

Atlantic Deck Forward you will find the lower level of the massive Atlantis Showroom. There is also an extensive Shopping facilities and Beauty Salon. Next is Trafalgar Square, followed by the intimate leather seated Speakeasy Piano Lounge & Bar as well as the Library. The ships main Restaurants follow, the Burgundy is amidships with the Bordeaux is located aft of the ship. Also further aft on Atlantic Deck is the “Teen Lounge”. The Teen Lounge is for the 13 to 17 year olds. P&O has three separate facilities for children, depending on age groups and it is without doubt one the best organised and run at sea!

Promenade Deck commences with the upper level of the Show Lounge with its balconies tiered at its sides and on the aft wall. This is followed by Tivoli Square, were you will find the Internet Café. This is followed by Park Lane that runs along the length of the starboard side of the ship. There is a large Casino, as well as the brand new Legends Lounge and Bar, which is followed by the Art Gallery and the ever popular Pirate themed Smugglers Lounge. Next is Oz Disco & Nightclub followed aft with the spacious showroom, Terraces Lounge. This venue provides a variety of daytime and night time entertainment, as well as serving as the Cinema, But it also offers a number of late night shows on each cruise presented by the famed “Comedy Club”. Aft on deck is the extensive “Turtle Cove” centre, which is for 3 to 6 year olds.

Lido Deck has the Main Pool with ample seating with wicker tables and chairs in the shade or sun lounges in the sun. There is a fine timber clad curved Bar on the starboard side forward, and the famed New Zealand Ice Cream Bar next to it on the port side. There is also a band stand. Aft of the pool is the Outback Café, which serves Buffet meals for breakfast and lunch. In addition, here you will also find optional dinning facilities, such as the “Pizzeria” and the new Outback Coffee Lounge and the indoor and outdoor “Outback Bar” overlooking the circular swimming Pool and deck. On the port side is the “Aqua Hut” the perfect place for those who love snorkelling and/or diving. You can take the opportunity and take some lessons, or arrange to hire gear for those who already have their diving licences. Snorkels, goggles and flippers can be hired for the entire cruise.

Verandah Deck - Aft to Forward. Here we find the new Gym which has a fine view over the wake of the ship. It is 30% larger that the old Gym and has superior facilities than before. Next to it is The Shack Children’s Centre which caters for the 7 to 12 year olds. Further forward, passes the pool area we come to the two Jacuzzis (one port, one starboard) and the entrance to the Lotus Spa and new Relaxation Lounge, being the old Gym overlooking the amidships pool. The Spa has also had a complete face lift and has that special relaxing feel about it. Prices seemed to be inline what is available ashore. Forward on Verandah Deck are the ten balcony suites.

Sun Deck Far forward - Adult Only Oasis Spa Retreat which I have already described earlier and is highly recommended.

Pacific Sun Photo Gallery

 

Pacific Sun is seen here featuring her fresh all white traditional P&O livery

Photograph provided by P&O - Carnival Plc Australia

 

Main Deck

 

Purser’s Desk & Main Foyer

Photograph provided by P&O - Carnival Plc Australia

 

Shore Excursions Desk

Photograph provided by P&O - Carnival Plc Australia

 

Atlantic Deck - Forward to Aft

 

 Trafalgar Square - Portside looking forward towards the Atlantis Show Lounge

As you enter on the left, first there is the Duty Free shop followed the Beauty Salon

On the starboard side is a larger Tax Free shop

 

The Grand multi level Show Room – Note the two massive golden statues at the sides of the stage. These are a left over from the

gaudy Carnival days when she was the Jubilee. When the American based Carnival Cruises built the ship her designers certainly

knew nothing about style or elegance, and when she was sent to Australia sadly we were stuck with these two creatures!

 

Atlantic Show Room - looking aft up to the Promenade Deck level and the upper terraces

 

Trafalgar Square - portside

 

Churchill’s Library & Night time Steakhouse Restaurant

 

A corner of the intimate New Orleans style Speakeasy Lounge and Bar - a piano is fitted into the bar

This lounge is far better than it looks here!

 

Entrance to the Burgundy Restaurant and Speakeasy Lounge

 

The Burgundy Restaurant

 

Trafalgar Square going up to Promenade deck

 

Promenade Deck - Forward to Aft

 

Atlantis Show Lounge as seen from the upper terraces

 

Atlantis Show Room

 

Park Lane Forward - starboard (to the left is the Internet café)

 

Park Lane & Legends Bar & Lounge - a great venue!

 

Legends Bar & Lounge

 

The Art Deco style Legends Lounge & Bar

 

Legends Lounge & Bar

 

The Pirate inspired Smugglers Lounge – loved by many, but not my favourite

 

Entrance to OZ Disco & Night Club

 

Oz Disco & Night Club

 

A cornet of the OZ Disco & Night Club

 

The spacious and multi purpose Terraces Lounge – the second showroom

 

All stairwells have fine frosted glass features such as this

 

Lido Deck - Forward to Aft

 

Amidships pool this area has been greatly upgraded with the removal of

the slippery slide, which has made it lighter and more far more spacious

 

The Lido Bar

 

The Ice Cream Bar

 

The Band Stand

 

Chocolate coloured wicker style chairs and new tables as well as planter boxes make a difference to this area!

 

The Pool – The windows above was the Gym, now the “Lotus Spa Relaxation Lounge”

The Outback Café Buffet has been greatly upgraded with new seating arrangements, additional buffet bars and the room now has divisions making it more intimate. Seating is either at dinning style tables or relaxing club seating with coffee tables for a more casual snack. Food bars include hot food bar, a salad bar, Fruit bar and a cake and sweet bar. Also available is the Pizzeria and the Outback Café Coffee Lounge that has a professional fully barista trained staff for what could be the best espresso coffee available on any ship at sea at this time!

The delightful Outback Café Buffet has various seating styles

 

This is one fine Buffet with superb variety and offering of food and desserts, as well as a mountain of fresh fruit!

In addition there is the Pizzeria to the right.

 

Another view of the Outback Café Buffet

 

The fruit Buffet

 

The cake and sweets bar: the cake speaks for itself!

 

Outback café & the Pizzeria

 

Outback Coffee Lounge for the perfect Latte or an Espresso, Cappuccino, or a good strong Long Black

 

The Outback Bar – a view of the new Gym above

 

Verandah Deck - Aft to Forward

 

Looking down to Lido Deck aft ad its pool

 

The new Gym with views over the ships wake

 

Verandah Deck portside looking forward – deck games are played here – note the markings for shuffle board, etc

 

Looking down to the Lido Pool and across to the Lotus spa Relaxation Lounge widows

 

Lotus Spa Relaxation Lounge

 

Lotus Spa Reception

  

Sun Deck

 

Looking aft over the pool and the ships funnel

 

The all new Adult only Oasis Spa Retreat

 

A wonderful retreat and all this for just $5 per day!

 

Full drink service is available to this retreat

 

The Spa has highly specialised settings and differs greatly from the other two on the ship

 

A final view looking aft – her white funnel looks much smarter than her previous blue one!

 

Cabins

 

Pacific Sun has ten Suites with balconies on Verandah Deck

Photograph provided by P&O - Carnival Plc Australia

 

A superior Twin bedded cabin

Photograph provided by P&O - Carnival Plc Australia

 

A double bedded cabin

Photograph provided by P&O - Carnival Plc Australia

 

Photograph provided by P&O - Carnival Plc Australia

Those who are new to cruising, you will find that Pacific Sun with her many features will provide an excellent cruise vacation. The International serving staff has always been one of the major draw cards of P&O, and this is one of the main reasons why so many passengers keep coming back for another cruise vacation. Their genuine friendliness and smiles are simply captivating. This combined with superb meals and the vast variety of entertainment has made a P&O so popular over the years.

The negative media and the facts!

P&O has been operating for more than 78 years and has done so with great honour. Yes, the company over the past six years has made a few mistakes, attempting to marketing a Funship style of cruising, like the days of the Fairstar, but times have changes, as have people, and obviously it did not work and the wrong element sailed and P&O did encounter some troubles to say the least. However, I can tell you that they have done a great deal of research and have changed things onboard and P&O ships are safe and happy places to be and from the hundred’s of emails I receive weekly, passengers come home delighted! However, there is always a brooding media out there hoping to get a bad news story. I noted on the 13th of September that a certain media person was there asking passengers if they were satisfied with their cruise. I stayed close and everyone said that they had a great time. He left very disappointed!

Many of us will know that after a certain event, P&O Cruises continually received unfair criticism from parts of the media. I have been present when a ship has arrived in Sydney and in Brisbane and I have seen how some of the media behave with a certain TV channel being the worst. They hunt out those who complain, yet those who are standing in a line and are willing to say otherwise are totally ignored and in one case they were pushed away.

The massive storm the Pacific Sun encountered whilst she was based in New Zealand is one case I heard about from a passenger. She said; “The Captain made clear announcements that we were to be prepared and what to do. But there are always those who will just not listen, and they went around and ended up being thrown around and took the pictures and then guess what, some of them got hurt. They were the very ones who ended up complaining to the media and got paid for their photos and their video clips. Yet the media did not want to hear what I and others had to say, for the truth did not count, only stories that painted a black picture against the company was good for them. I tell you what it seemed like, it was a witch hunt that was all. It was disgusting!”

Reuben Goossens

Pacific Sun – INDEX

NEW   Cruise Review – 1:                 Cruise review by Reuben Goossens & Hun-Eng Tan of Cruise-Australia

                                                         Cruise N 841 – Nov 15, 2008 – 7 (8) nights & rescuing a sinking yacht in the Coral Sea.

NEW   Photo page:                            A photo page to complement the above review

NEW   Cruise Review - 2:                  Cruise review by Barry & Jackie Moore.

                                                         Cruise N835 - Oct 4, 2008 – 7 nights.

 

Please Note: Cruise-Australia is a non-commercial and privately owned cruise site. The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is currently semi-retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future.

 

Visit our many features on the following Carnival PLC Cruise Companies

P&O Cruises Australia: Pacific Dawn / Pacific Jewel / Pacific Pearl

P&O Cruises UK: Aurora / Oriana / Artemis

Princess Cruises: Sun Princess / Dawn Princess

Cunard: Queen Mary 2 / Queen Victoria / Queen Elizabeth

Seabourn: Seabourn Yachts

 

For the Latest Cruise NEWS read our …

P&O/Princess/Cunard/Costa/Seabourn/Carnival News Updates

 

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Please Note: Cruise-Australia is a non-commercial and privately owned cruise site and is not connected with any cruise company or agency. The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is currently semi-retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future.

 

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Photographs on cruise-australia are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are photographs provided to me without details provided regarding the photographer concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me, that due credit may be given. I know what it is like, I have seen a multitude of my own photographs on other sites, yet they either refuse to give me credit and even refuse to remove them, knowing full well that there is no legal comeback when it comes to the net. However, let us show the charlatans up and do the right thing at all times and give credit where credit is due! Note: I do not credit those who send me photos as they are not the owners of the photographs concerned, unless the image is part of their private collection.

 

This notice covers all pages, although, I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!

 

 

 

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