>  Cruising   >  Pacific Adventure review: Hints, tips and more
Pacific Adventure pool deck

I had cruised on Pacific Encounter with my husband a few weeks earlier, so I had an idea of what to expect when I boarded Pacific Adventure in Sydney with my adult son. One thing I knew for sure was what Byron Beach Club inclusions we would get as I also had access to the retreat on my last P&O Cruises trip. We were looking forward to seeing what this ship was like compared to Pacific Encounter.

Pacific Adventure cabins

Our cabin on this cruise was a suite and included access to the Byron Beach Club, a new “suite retreat” that’s available on P&O’s two newest ships. Our suite was a nice size but hadn’t been renovated, aside from new carpet, linens, and soft furnishings. As the furniture and bathroom hadn’t changed from ship’s Golden Princess days, it looked rather tired compared to the ship’s otherwise modern décor.

However, the suites on Pacific Adventure are still great value. Not only are they particularly large, they also come with a spacious bathroom with a separate shower and tub with spa jets, plus a large balcony with a dining table for four and two sun loungers. The room’s fold-out couch can be separated from the main sleeping area with a privacy curtain, a bonus for families sharing a room.

As suites come with access to the Byron Beach Club, there was a basket of fruit, some fresh canapes and two large bottles of water in our room, plus a welcome letter that listed all the Byron Beach Club inclusions like bathrobes, Byron Beach Club flip flops (to take home), access to Angelo’s restaurant for breakfast, and what we could have for our complimentary daily snacks. Our key card was coded for the Club entry on deck 16, but the gate to the Byron Beach Club on Pacific Adventure was left open a lot of the time. This was different to our cruise on Pacific Encounter where the gate was always locked.

Byron Beach Club retreat
Byron Beach Club Retreat

Pacific Adventure rooms to avoid

Cabins on the higher decks on Pacific Adventure experience some noise from top deck parties like Bianco Night, but these generally wrapped up at around 10pm on our cruise. Our cabin was close to a crew area but this didn’t bother us. However, we wouldn’t have wanted to be below the pool area or any of the restaurants. The balcony cabins along the sides of Pacific Adventure on decks 9 and 10 have limited or no cover overhead, which means people in the cabins above can see you when they look down.

Pacific Adventure deck plan and getting around

We found the Pacific Adventure deck plans around the ship easy to follow but for anyone who had been on Golden Princess (as this ship was previously known), it would be even easier. Boarding on Deck 5, we were greeted with The Lobby lounge and a glittering atrium that extended up to Decks 6 and 7. This is the first area of the ship where you get to see the refurbished public areas that were re-engineered into all-new venues from the ship’s Princess days and it gave us an idea of what to expect throughout the ship.

Pacific Adventure restaurants, bookings and more

You can book restaurants on boarding day at the Dragon Lady restaurant on Deck 6. You can also usually book restaurants via the P&O app but we had no luck getting this to work, despite having no trouble using the app onboard Pacific Encounter.

Dragon Lady onboard Pacific Adventure
Dragon Lady onboard Pacific Adventure

Pacific Adventure has plenty of dining choices with free venues like the Waterfront Restaurant, and buffet called The Pantry that is similar to a food court plus free specialties like Angelo’s Italian and Dragon Lady for Asian fusion. Extra cost restaurants include Luke Mangan’s Salt Bar & Grill,  and the P&O Trattoria. Quick eats are also available (at a cost) on the pool deck at Luke’s Burger Bar and New Zealand Ice Cream. The standout onboard was the Waterfront, closely by Dragon Lady and Angelo’s.

Pacific Adventure bars and other drinking venues

Luke’s Bar on Deck 6 is a small but elegant drinking spot outside the Marquee Theatre that surprisingly was always quiet on our cruise. The Casino Bar is located in the casino and was too bright too be very appealing unless you were playing the tables or the pokies.

The tropical decor of the Adventure Hotel on Deck 7 beckoned. There was a dance floor and afternoon/evening entertainment here as well. We liked the vibe which was similar to a trendy Cairns pub. Across the way, you could buy coffee at the Ocean Bar which also had pleasant seating with ocean views.

Adventure Hotel
Adventure Hotel on Pacific Adventure

Our favourite bar on Pacific Adventure was the same as on Pacific Encouner – the Blue Room. This funky, blues-themed bar and lounge that is ideal for late afternoon and pre-dinner drinks or a late evening nightcap. There is entertainment here in the afternoon and evening with cool tunes and vocals from guest artists.

Blue Room
Blue Room onboard Pacific Adventure

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Way up on Deck 14 are the sun lovers’ drinking spots like the Pool Bar and Oasis Bar at the stern. The Oasis is an adults-only area on the ship with its own pool and sun deck and was a popular hangover recovery zone in the mornings on my sailing. Later in the day, people got into the cocktails and went for a dip in the pool. Deck 15 has the Sky Bar which overlooks the main pool and big screen.

The Byron Beach Club is on Deck 16 and has its own pool, sun deck, bar and cabanas. The ship’s spoiler incorporates the Altitude Nightclub which is also a great spot to chill out and read during the day with 180 degree views. It’s perfect for watching the sunset if you can get a seat (but you’ll need to bring a drink with you as the bar isn’t open this early). Altitude turns into a disco and late night party hangout after 11pm. Hopefully, it will open a little earlier on future sailings as 11pm was too late even for my 19 year old son who’s a dedicated night owl who seldom goes to bed before 1am.

Pacific Adventure shows and entertainment

The Black Circus Theatre onboard Pacific Adventure features Blanc de Blanc, a strictly 18+ show that combines, comedy, circus and burlesque. Blanc de Blanc costs $20 each or $120 for 2 for VIP seating which includes a bottle of Champagne. My son and I enjoyed the show but I couldn’t help feeling the troupe onboard Pacific Encounter were better, if only because they had been performing Blanc de Blanc for longer.

The other big show on board was Musicology, a Broadway-style production of major music hits over the decades with plenty of sequins and feathers. It was entertaining and good for all ages. More high quality entertainment was provided by guest performers in the theatre and lounge and bar areas throughout the ship. Our favourite performance was the 18+ Late Night Comedy show which was (genuinely) hilarious and not too ‘naughty’ for anyone who is easily offended.

On Deck 14, there’s a main pool and a separate kid’s pool which has a retractable roof for weather protection. Families will also love the two water slides that let you race against each other and the clock. The last pool on Deck 14 in the Oasis which has a good view of the ship’s wake and is adults-only (and free to use).

Pacific Adventure
Pacific Adventure pool deck and waterslides

Deck 15 has the Byron Beach Club pool which is accessible via the entrance on Deck 16, but only for Club  guests. We’ve written a detailed Byron Beach Club review if you would like to know more about whether the Byron Beach Club is worth the cost.

More things to do on board include daily activities such as trivia, game shows and bingo that take place in the Adventure Hotel or Black Circus Theatre. All of these are popular so get in early for seats. The ship also has a spa and a gym which has new carpeting and equipment plus a spin studio, and a workout studio for yoga and free stretch and other (paid) classes.

Pacific Adventure gym
Pacific Adventure gym

We enjoyed our cruise on Pacific Adventure but felt Pacific Encounter sailing out of Brisbane possibly had the edge, mainly because for us this was our home port which meant there was no need for airfares. My advice would be to wait for a couple of good sale fares so you can try out both ships and make up your own mind.

Disclosure: The writer sailed as a guest of P&O Cruises and would not hesitate to sail on Pacific Adventure or Pacific Encounter again at her own expense.

Want more great cruise advice? Check out our tips for choosing the perfect cruise, cruising with grandchildren, cruising with tweens and cruising with kids of all ages, solo cruising, the best activities on Ovation of the Seas, doing a Transatlantic cruise with kids, cruising in Australia or Papua New Guinea, Iceland cruise tips, cruising on a megaship, scoring a bargain cruise fare, cruising the Mediterranean, making the most of a cruise ship kids club, luxury cruising with kids, and the Byron Beach Club onboard P&O Cruises. We have also reviewed Disney Wonder, Pacific Adventure, Celebrity Edge, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas, Pacific Encounter, Carnival Splendor, Voyager of the Seas, Nieuw Statendam, Viking Helgrim, Pride of America, Coral Expeditions in Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef, Celebrity Solstice, and Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.