by Chris Frame
All images are © Chris Frame 2015 (except where noted)
With the maiden voyage of PACIFIC EDEN (ex STATENDAM) now complete, the ship is settling into a regular routine of South Pacific cruising. To celebrate the ship’s arrival down under, Chris Frame shares a photographic tour of the newest member of P&O’s Australian cruising fleet.
There were a number of major alterations made to PACIFIC EDEN during her 11-day refurbishment in Singapore last month. However, unlike PACIFIC JEWEL, PACIFIC PEARL and PACIFIC DAWN which sport a white hull and superstructure; both PACIFIC EDEN and PACIFIC ARIA (ex RYNDAM) retain their Holland America livery of navy-blue hull and white superstructure.
Pacific Eden’s Bow
Interestingly, while P&O UK has reregistered their fleet in Bermuda, the whole P&O Cruises Australian fleet are registered in London, UK. This is clearly evident on the ship’s stern; along with P&O’s tagline “Like no place on earth”.
PACIFIC EDEN’s stern
Staterooms have been refreshed and recolored with new internal décor and furnishings. They are spacious, especially when compared to other ships in the Australian market; with even the inside cabins being large enough to accommodate a twin seater couch, writing desk and large bed.
Standard inside cabin aboard PACIFIC EDEN
As with most cruise ships, the queen size bed can be separated into two single beds. There are a variety of room styles including interior, ocean view and balcony.
Standard Oceanview cabin aboard PACIFIC EDEN
One of the P&O Cruises trademarks (as with a number of lines) is the towel animals that are found in cabin bedrooms each night. These come complete with props such as eyes, glasses and in some cases, clothing!
Towel Dog complete with eyes!
On embarking the ship you’ll find a much changed atrium area. It is decorated in a navy blue palate with gold trim, butterfly inspired carpeting and subtle halogen lighting. To complete this area, navy blue curtains are used to hide “crew only” areas. On the lowest floor of the atrium you’ll find a computer centre with touch screen HP desktops.
The PACIFIC EDEN’s three storey atrium
Interestingly there are a series of what appear to be random numbers on the stairs. They work out to be a code connected with the number of stairs on the staircase – but that’s the only hint you get!
The much talked about numbers!
The ship’s show lounge has also received a makeover creating “The Marquee” a very pleasant theatre for lectures, daily bingo and evening shows. It is accessible from two decks, and offers table drinks service on both levels. There is a large stage, a huge projector screen and excellent sound and lighting.
Chris Frame on the stage (photo by Gavin Harper)
The Marquee Theatre; a much refreshed space aboard.
Dining options on PACIFIC EDEN have also been fully refreshed.
P&O Australia’s new concept – The Pantry – is a buffet-less alfresco restaurant where a number of kitchens are set up to serve food for passengers. This experience replaces the more traditional help-yourself buffet.
There are a variety of options to choose from, including a sugar bar and a salad bar – nicknamed “McGregor’s Garden” after the famous Peter Rabbit character.
Signage at The Pantry
The Pantry offers a casual atmosphere for diners, with sweeping views of the ocean from both port and starboard sides. It also allows easy access to the nearby Lido Bar and Pool which are positioned under a glass magrodome.
Stool seating with a view in The Pantry.
The Lido Pool with dolphin sculpture has changed little since the ship was STATENDAM
The ship’s glass magrodome in the closed position
The main restaurant on the ship is the Waterfront.
A P&O Australia trademark, this restaurant was ‘founded’ in 2009 (the first time it appeared on a P&O ship) and operates on all of the Aussie P&O ships.
PACIFIC EDEN’s Waterfront barely resembles the STATENDAM’s main dining room. It was reduced in size to a single-level venue; however, it retains its high ceilings, sweeping views and sports a new, very pleasing décor of light woods, rich carpeting and dark tables.
The Waterfront – est. 2009!
The entry to The Waterfront Restaurant.
The very impressive stylised main feature offsets the high ceilings.
Alternative dining options include the Salt Grill. Operated by Australian celebrity chef Luke Mangan, it offers a variety of Australian dishes for a small cover charge, and is a highly popular venue.
The Salt Grill can also be found on the other ships of the P&O Australia fleet and is as popular on the other ships as it is on PACIFIC EDEN.
Luke Mangan is the P&O Australia culinary ambassador and also creates the menus for popular Aussie airline, Virgin Australia.
The interior of Salt on PACIFIC EDEN.
Another popular addition to PACIFIC EDEN is the New Zealand Natural ice cream and coffee bar. Similar to those found on land, it serves high quality New Zealand ice cream and very tasty coffee. Prices are reasonable and the view of the ocean can’t be beat!
The New Zealand Natural coffee bar looks almost identical to land based kiosks run by the popular New Zealand brand.
But, despite all the changes P&O have made to the ship, there are some signs that this ship was originally Holland America’s STATENDAM.
A few obvious signs are the Holland America images on some passenger decks, the teak wood decking everywhere and the name STATENDAM on the ship’s bell.
The Rotterdam is shown many times in photographs aboard PACIFIC EDEN.
Teak Wood rules the waves on the former Holland America ship!
STATENDAM’s bell on PACIFIC EDEN – note, Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.
However, at the end of the day, this is a real P&O experience with the ship offering fun, leisure voyages for families young and old.
Other additions to the ship include “The Edge” adventure experience, the Mix Bar – a P&O favourite as well as additional alternate dining venues such as Dragon Lady and Angelo’s.
PACIFIC EDEN will be a popular and much loved addition to the fleet, operating in Australian and South Pacific waters year round.
The P&O flag flies high aboard PACIFIC EDEN.
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