Family Fun On Board P&O Cruises’ Pacific Eden

If you desperately need a holiday and have always wondered what it might be like to go on a family cruise, then put your feet up, pour a glass of wine or grab a coffee and read this.

Now that you’ve assumed the “cruise position”, you’re ready to find out more…

Last month, our family took a trip to Cairns to join P&O Cruises’, Pacific Eden. If you follow us on socials, then you’ll know that we had an action-packed adventure in this must-see Queensland location, before jumping onboard the ship.

We spent 48 hours in Cairns and every activity that we did was worth the effort – we even made it to Kuranda and back.  By the time we reached the cruise terminal though, it was definitely time to slow the pace a little. Fortunately, we had sailed on Pacific Eden’s sister ship, the Pacific Dawn, a few month’s earlier, so we knew that relaxation was only a few short steps away from the dock.


JETSETTING KIDS REVIEW: THE PACIFIC EDEN

I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more demanding I become. I don’t like to settle and I like nice things. I’m the sort of person who will go without a coffee if I know that the coffee isn’t good. When choosing my holidays and taking into consideration the needs of the entire family, I’m exactly the same – ok worse.

The decision to go on a cruise was a brilliant one. Here are just a few reasons why we loved our holiday on board Pacific Eden:

1. THE KIDS CLUB

Ok, so I know what you’re thinking… ‘EVERY BLOG I’VE EVER READ ALWAYS RAVES ABOUT THE KIDS CLUBS’. And you’re right, but if I didn’t mention them, then you’d probably be asking yourself, ‘Is she even a mum?’

The reason, I’m bringing it up and putting it first on this list, is because our experience on board this ship was actually a bit different. But good different. I’ll give you a few examples to explain why…

Pacific Eden is one of the smaller ships in the P&O Cruises fleet.  This doesn’t mean that there is any less to do – what you will find are fewer passengers, minimal delays in anything you want to do and a more personalised experience. And I really noticed the difference at the kids club.

Over the course of our four-night sail, the staff got to know our two boys very well.  There was a nice number of children onboard which meant that they got a chance to get to know each other well too.

With the new found friendships, they didn’t just ‘hang out in kids club’ or sit in front of video games all day. They were encouraged to interact and play well together.

A typical day in kids club involved crafts, games, parties and of course, healthy competitions. Being crowned ‘King of the fuse ball table’ was a big deal on our cruise! Along with the title came some pretty serious prizes including board games… toys…. New Zealand Ice Cream vouchers! #winning

As you can imagine, with seemingly unlimited opportunities to earn an ice cream (we must have won 3 or 4 vouchers), my kids never.wanted.to.leave.the.ship. The fun was endless.

There was one other touch that we really loved. On the last day at sea, the team put on a ‘Family Fun’ morning in The Dome. BTW – this space is absolutely stunning. It’s just undergone a renovation and was one of my favourite places to take in the moving view and relax on board.

When going to the Family Fun Event, we weren’t sure what to expect. What we found was great. Various activity stations had been set up for families to play with their kids, but also to mingle with other passengers.  The boys took the opportunity to introduce us to the families of the children that they’d been playing with all cruise. They were proud to show off their friends to us and us to them.   It was a really lovely experience and definitely made our holiday.

2. THE FOOD

Cruise truth. Your kids will not starve on this ship. In fact, there is so much food to choose from that your biggest problem will be choosing where and what to eat next.

Speciality dining with the exception of Salt Grill is included on this ship. Tip: Parents should take advantage of the kids club and have a leisurely and very delicious meal here. On our cruise, we chose to feed the boys dinner early and then picked them up to share dessert with us. Tip: Book Salt Grill on a night when there isn’t a Bianco or Gatsby party. The kids clubs close briefly at around 7PM on these nights so that staff can get ready for the family theme night parties.

The other speciality restaurants on board, Angelos Italian and Dragon Lady were absolute must-dos also.

Angelo’s offered authentic Italian flavours and Dragon Lady was fantastic for share plates with the kids.

Tip: Bookings are taken one day at a time between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm, but get in early to make sure you get your preferred seating time. 

Each dish here was absolutely amazing and we made sure we showed at our appreciation for our meal at Dragon Lady, with a ceremonious gong!

3. ADVENTURE

When choosing the right cruise for your family, it’s a good idea to pick a ship that offers a ‘bit of something’ for everyone. The P&O Cruises‘ fleet does this exceptionally well. You’ll be amazed by how creative the crew are at creating different activities to suit all passengers and how conveniently located everything is on board.

Our family particularly loves P&O Edge. For the uninitiated, this is P&O Cruises’ adventure park at sea.  We tried our best to give most of the 19+ activities a go.

Children over the age of 6 can participate in ‘The Edge’ activities and if they are anything like our boys, they’ll probably love it more than kids club. If that’s even possible!

You can learn more about our P&O Edge experience on Escape.com.au. Click here to take a read.

But if you prefer video…. check out our highlights here. 

Our 6-year-old’s favourite adventure was the flying fox. After he rode 80m down the length of the ship he said to me, “See not even scared Mum. Not one scream!”  I’ve created a monster! 😉

4. THE CHANCE TO RELAX

Ok, so aside from the squillion bars and cosy nooks set up to enjoy a quiet chat on board… there is also a little haven, known as the THERMAL SUITES.

On the Pacific Eden, the thermal suites include a dreamy relaxation room (complete with refreshments), a hot tub, tiled heat beds, aromatherapy showers, a steam room, a beautiful view out to sea, all set to a soothing soundtrack played from the ship’s speakers. It’s absolute bliss!

I’m always surprised by how many people don’t know that this exists on board. Tip: Parents, this is the time to treat yourself. Visit the spa and inquire about a couple’s pass to the suites. Spaces are strictly limited and you can purchase passes by the day or for the duration of your cruise.

The thermal suites can only be topped by the quality cuppa. On our first day, I noticed barista training and quality control in progress at one station, indicating to this coffee snob that I was sorted.

The ship also offers an adults-only retreat with outdoor pool.  There is another pool onboard also. It’s for everyone to use and features a retractable roof, making it an all weather-solution – so the fun doesn’t ever have to stop.

5. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT

One thing you’ll notice when cruise, is that there is ALWAYS something going on.  Whether it’s a game of trivia, a comedy act, origami making or a theme night party, you can get involved in as much or as little as you like.

We always keep the boys up a bit later than their usual bedtime to join us in watching some of the feature shows onboard. They are always well produced, generally musical and the sets are impressive to those of all ages.

On the Pacific Eden the nightly entertainment was held in the Marquee Lounge. This is the same location that they boys played Laser Tag, and like the Dome, it’s recently been refurbished. It’s a stunning and plush furnishings make it extremely comfortable to hang out in.


TIPS FOR FUTURE CRUISELINGS

– The Internet was really good! We found it quick and flawless. Translation: I was able to keep up with my ‘like, like, like’… ‘scroll, scroll, scroll’ Instagram addiction.

– The on board app ‘WhatsOn’ was so helpful.  I tend to lose track of days and time when I cruise, but this app was a good way to remember our dinner and P&O Edge reservation times.  The app is free to use, you just connect to the ship’s WI-FI.

– All passengers can borrow sports equipment from the Kids Club activities team. Tennis racquets, basketballs, soccer balls… the works. Board games are also available to use at any time and are generally placed in quiet locations around the ship.

– Your room location doesn’t really matter. We would walk from one end of the ship to the other easily about 10 times a day with zero complaints. We also really loved our room configuration. We booked an ocean view room with a porthole. The cabin was long, with boy’s bunk beds at one end and offered us ample space. The cabin also came with a DVD player, double powerpoint and a bath which is great for cruising with small children. Tip:  I have read also that DVDs could be borrowed onboard, but honestly, you won’t be in your room long enough to need them and there is enough on offer on the kid’s channels.

– You don’t have to go on a cruise with a long itinerary to relax.  If you need a recharge, book a short cruise – you’ll be amazed at how quickly you will be able to relax when there is literally nothing that you have to do. If you are based in Sydney and looking to cruise these upcoming school holidays, I’ve noticed a fantastic range of itineraries for this ship, that I’d definitely recommend you check out.

– Try everything! The best holiday memories come from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I never imagined that I’d enjoy hanging off the front of the ship just like Kate Winslet, but hey, I did and it was AWESOME!


PACIFIC EDEN FACTS

Gross tonnage: 55,820
Length: 219 metres
Passenger Decks: 9
Speed: Maximum 20 knots
Passengers: 1260 guests


DETAILS

We loved every minute of our family holiday onboard P&O Cruises’ Pacific Eden ex Cairns. We have become hooked on cruise life and will be cruising with Pacific Aria next!

For information on P&O Cruises’ fleet of ships and itineraries, please visit www.pocruises.com.au or speak with your travel agent.


CREDITS

We felt completely at home as media guests onboard P&O Cruises’ Pacific Eden. All opinions are our own and correct at the time of publication.


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