Pacific Jewel Cruise Review by rdrrrdrrr: Great Service - Budget Food
Great Service - Budget Food
This will be our 4 cruise (3 with P&O Australia) in 4 years. We embarked in Brisbane for a 4 day cruise to Airlie Beach and back. Embarkation was slick, but a little late starting at 13:00. We had a deck 11 balcony room that was will presented. Our cabin attendant was very nice and very efficient, with the room service finished while we were at breakfast each day.
Entertainment was OK but not great. The nightly shows were pretty wooden in presentation with the exception of Peter Burn (Neil Diamond tribute act) who was very professional.
Staff were great and could not do enough for you.
Airlie Beach is a nice little port. Tender trip takes about 15 mins. These is a $5 return bus that takes you on a 5 min trip to some typical tourist-trap markets just past the main street. It is actually a nice 10 min walk around a shore-front board walk between the port main street. We were lucky because we had a large comfortable and air conditioned motor catamaran More to tender us back to ship.
While the buffet food was not bad, it was not good either. Over the past 4 years, there has been a gradual falling off of quality of the food on P&O Australia. A few years ago, soft-drink was complementary, now its charged. (Water, Tea and hideous coffee is free). There was no seafood (prawns) served on the buffet, whic used to be the case. The "carve to order" roast used to be beef, turkey or baked ham. Now they are serving meatloaf . . . really meatloaf. All of the proteins (meats) were dry and cooked to death. I understand that food safety has to be considered, but everything was served overcooked. Just to prove it can be done, there was some beer battered bassa (fish) that was served absolutely perfectly cooked, light and flaking. Standards have fall off. Food served in the dining room was OK. Service is very good . . . everywhere.
Disembarkation was programmed about a hour earlier than our previous cruises which necessitated an uncomfortably early start to the day. They wanted all passengers our of their room by 07:00 and off the boat by 09:00. We were scheduled to disembark at 06:30 and we were not the earliest. As it turned out the boat was a hour late docking, so the lounges were packed with people standing around waiting to disembark. Not a cheery end to the cruise.
Overall, it was a pleasant 4 days, but I think I think I will need some convincing that the quality and standard of the food has improved before I return to P&O Australia. Less
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