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Skyrules

Greetings from Pacific Star R611

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Hi to all from Pacific Star!

 

Despite a delayed departure caused by Cyclone Wati (3hrs late departing following a 2hr late arrival and slow disembarkation of a lot of green looking passengers from the previous cruise) and a rough first night (again thanks to Cyclone Wati), we've had a wonderful cruise to date.

 

Pacific Star is a wonderful ship - the few problems we've encountered, and the criticisms we have, are more to do with the way the ship is being run, rather than the ship itself. I'll say more about this when I'm not paying 25c a minute!

 

Quickly though - I can answer Breathless's question about the Coke. It's the same on Star - they are selling 330 ml cans of Coke produced in Vietnam - but still charging the same price as all the other 375 ml can soft drinks!

 

Ports so far have been excellent, except Noumea which of course was just Noumea - and we got there late so there was no shore tours to distract from the ordinaryness. But Isle of Pines, Yasawa-I-Rara and Suva were good. Pentecost and Port Vila still to go.

 

Cheers from Star

 

Kym

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Hi Kym,

Glad to hear that your having a wonderful time! :)

Enjoy the rest of your cruise.

Cheers,

girl05

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Pacific Star is a wonderful ship - the few problems we've encountered, and the criticisms we have, are more to do with the way the ship is being run, rather than the ship itself. I'll say more about this when I'm not paying 25c a minute!

 

Ok, I mentioned critisisms in my post from the ship. The biggest of these is the huge increase in the hardselling of all the "extra's". From the moment we boarded the ship we were bombarded with flyers and pamphlets and visits to the cabin by staff, promoting flowers, the spa, this, that and the other. The doors of the cabin had little mail boxes on them, and barely a day went past when there wasn't adverts put in there. I commented several times that I thought we'd gone on holidays to get away from junk mail.

 

There were very few announcements on the ship about the daily activities, but every hour we seemed to be being reminded to go to the Lotus Spa or the Gym to have a personal fitness program developed, or buy flowers, etc. We started calling these "Dan's Infomercials".

 

The photo shop crew did 2 prints of just about every photo they took, same photo different backgrouds/borders, and then basically forced you into buying both of them even if you didn't really want them, by putting them together and charging a "special" price for buying two.

 

Even the restaurant wasn't immune - with a set of six coloured liquer glasses being sold in the restaurant - a different one each night for the first 6 nights, each with a different liquor. After the first six nights, all glasses were available with any liquor - so every night just before desert the Maitre 'd would get on the pa system and "sell" the glasses. Admittedly we got suckered by this one and now have two complete sets of P&O Cruises liqueur glasses. :rolleyes:

 

 

Kym

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I totally agree with the sell sell sell on the ship. For instance; we brought our own lanyons for our cruise cards from a previous cruise, but now when you get your cruise card theres no hole in it anymore! To get the hole you have to go up a few decks and find the hole punch.. which is on the table of lots of lanyons to purchase for a pretty expensive price! You aren't forced to buy one if you have one already, but they are put right under your nose incase you want a new one.

With the duty free alchohol, to get the 2 for $40 price you had to buy 2 of the same drink, not one of each. It works out a bit better if you have a friend that wants the same 2 different bottles.

I found just about everything is put in a place or worked around where your tempted to buy buy buy. The good thing is you don't have to buy if you don't want to and you can still get away with having a great value holiday.

 

Sue

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I totally agree with the sell sell sell on the ship. For instance; we brought our own lanyons for our cruise cards from a previous cruise, but now when you get your cruise card theres no hole in it anymore! To get the hole you have to go up a few decks and find the hole punch..

 

I hadn't thought of that - I guess we'd always intended to get a Pacific Star lanyard to complete the set..

 

The other thing I found was that they'd taken out a lot of the information from the Pacific Daily, such as the restaurant times and what the menu theme for the day was, to provide more space for advertising all the extra's that you had to pay for.

 

I found it annoying that you couldn't mix the photo's when you get get one for 9.95 or two for $16.95. We wanted to get two copies of one particular picture - but because it was the same backgroud etc we had to pay 9.95 for each. So instead we decided to buy only one and scan and copy it when we got home. If we could have got the two for $16.95 we'd have brought both on board.

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Our TA tild us that now carnival has taken over it's sell, sell, sell. And they put an end to taking alcohol on baord. Guess our cruise discount will soon be eaten up by extras on board!

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Our TA tild us that now carnival has taken over it's sell, sell, sell. And they put an end to taking alcohol on baord. Guess our cruise discount will soon be eaten up by extras on board!

 

It's pretty obvious that, despite what they say about drunken passengers and security risks, the only reason they've stopped passengers from taking alcohol on board is so that they can sell more. However, the cocktail list has been almost halved, and the prices have gone up. We spent less on alcohol on this 12 night cruise, than we did on our last cruise, 10 nights, on Sun, mainly because they'd taken most of the cocktails that we liked off the list.

 

I did think the wine was expensive, until today when I saw prices at The Mariott Hotel here in Brisbane (we have family staying there). A bottle of Brown Brothers Crouchen & Reisling, which you can buy for $13 in a liquour shop, cost $22 to buy in the restaurant on Pacific Star, but cost a whopping $48 in the restuarant at The Marriot. So maybe P&O's mark up isn't that much after all.

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I have been reading this thread and I agree the prices have gone up, have they not everywhere?

But I have been cruising many years and it has always been sell sell sell.

I remember the daily flyers from duty free

BIG SPECIAL TODAY ONLY

THEME NIGHT SPECIALS

ETC

Even in 1967 dad brought several "specials"even then.

So has it really changed? more expensive yes but no change in sell sell sell

You only buy what you want that includes the photos they have always been a pain.:) click oh!!no not here too...

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What is so special about the official photos that you couldn't also do with your own digital camera? I mean can't you just pose in front of the special areas and have someone take the same pics with your camera that the photographer would take? 2 for $16.95 is ridiculous!

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What is so special about the official photos that you couldn't also do with your own digital camera? I mean can't you just pose in front of the special areas and have someone take the same pics with your camera that the photographer would take? 2 for $16.95 is ridiculous!

 

They don't really have special areas, they just take shots on the wharves or pontoons or whatever, with the water or the ship or the Islands in the background, and then print them with nice borders and the place name and date you were there etc. Yes, you could take the photos and do it yourself with photoshop etc, but the quality of the photo's is good, and its easy. It's not the taking of the photos is the problem - it's the marketing of them.

 

In terms of the formal photos on board, they won't let you anywhere near the backdrops that they use with your own camera, I've seen people try and get rightly told off.

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Skyrules, what sort of backdrops do you mean? I was assuming formal portraits were taken on the deck or on the staircase or something like that. Wouldn't they be public areas open to everyone? Is there any kind of shot they can do that someone with a good digital camera (other than official P&O logo border) that we can't do ourselves? Are the photographers really intrusive and will they take no for an answer if you don't want them to photograph you?

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Skyrules, what sort of backdrops do you mean? I was assuming formal portraits were taken on the deck or on the staircase or something like that. Wouldn't they be public areas open to everyone? Is there any kind of shot they can do that someone with a good digital camera (other than official P&O logo border) that we can't do ourselves? Are the photographers really intrusive and will they take no for an answer if you don't want them to photograph you?

 

They have different back scenes for the formal photos, I have found the formal photos cheaper than having family shots in Aust by a professional photographer and have purchased a couple of really nice family shots which I frame when I get home (their frames are too expensive). It is so much easier to have family shots taken when we are all on the ship at the same time and already dressed up. I also like to purchase the welcome on board photo as I find it a really good momento, I leave buying the others until the end of the cruise when I can make my decision when I have seen all the shots. We buy only one of any we really like and copy when we get home.

Personally I like to get the 'junk mail', I always like to keep an eye out for any specials on board eg. 10% of massages at certain times. I still find the alcohol cheaper and a better variety at Vila.:)

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Skyrules, what sort of backdrops do you mean? I was assuming formal portraits were taken on the deck or on the staircase or something like that. Wouldn't they be public areas open to everyone? Is there any kind of shot they can do that someone with a good digital camera (other than official P&O logo border) that we can't do ourselves? Are the photographers really intrusive and will they take no for an answer if you don't want them to photograph you?

 

Sorry, I probably confused issues a bit there, between the formal shots and the candid shots (at the quayside, at the enterance to the restuarants, etc). The candid shots, yes anyone can do with a digitial camera - although there are some special ones, like a photo from the dinner table set into a map showing a map of the cruise track.

 

The formal shots, done on the two formal nights, are done like professional photography sessions. On Pacific Star they are done outside both the Show Lounge and the Starlight lounge, so yes, in public areas. However they use special backdrops (they have lots of different ones to put up) - and they don't like you taking ordinary photo's in front of them. These formal photos don't come with borders - they are plain 20 x 24 cm prints - price at $24.95 each. They'll take as many photo's and combinations as you like - and they'll always work hard to get a good photo.

 

As Suey says, it's well worth getting them done - as there is no sitting fees, etc, and of course there's no obligation to buy the photos if you don't like them. We had a complete set done of our group on the first night (about 6 differet combinations in the end) - but when we saw the finished product we decided we didn't really like any of them - so we went back on the second formal night, tried a differnt photographer and a different background and got a competely different set of photos - which we brough most of!

 

The photographers were pretty good on this cruise - if you didn't want your photo taken, they didn't hassle you - on previous cruises I have found them a bit pushy.

 

And despite going away saying we wouldn't spend too much money on photo's this trip - we did..... Because the photo's really are good. Particularly the portraits.

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Thanks for the information! I have never been one to go in for professional photos, even our wedding was all DIY photos! So formal night shots START at $24.95? Not even the $9.95 one? WOW!

 

I was having nightmares of those photogs in Hawaii who hassle you at luaus, dinner cruises, Elvis shows, etc. :eek:

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I didn't find the sell, sell, sell thing to be annoying at all. Sure, we had an occassional flyer in our cabin advertising formal photos (I think that was about it) but we didn't get any done (couldn't see the point as the kids weren't with us) and never felt obligated to. We did buy the embarkation photo but again, never felt obligated to, it was something that I had decided to do before we even left. It was the only one we bought. We bought the dvd, but again, because we wanted it. Yes they advertised it but nobody actually came up to us & asked us if we wanted it. As for the lanyards, I thought it was a good idea that they were there on the table when you got your card punched. The rest of my family got one because they didn't have one already (and it would have been rather annoying trying to find out where to get one if they weren't there) but I took my own and just got my card punched no problem. We never, ever felt like they were trying to talk us into buying something. I bought the 6 set of liqueur (sp?) glasses but I had to call the lady over to get them, she wasn't going to stop at our table as she hadn't 1 or 2 other nights.

 

Karen

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Thanks for the information! I have never been one to go in for professional photos, even our wedding was all DIY photos! So formal night shots START at $24.95? Not even the $9.95 one? WOW!

 

I was having nightmares of those photogs in Hawaii who hassle you at luaus, dinner cruises, Elvis shows, etc. :eek:

 

The portaits are all $24.95 each.

 

Most of the other photo's are $9.95 each or $16.95 if you buy the set of two different finishes.

 

On a couple of nights the photographers will be outside the restaurant as you exit, one night you'll get photographed with the a couple of the entertainment staff, and other nights will be something else (we had pirates one night).

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yeh, we had Pirates too but we didn't see them and knew nothing about it until we saw the photos on display.

 

Karen

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