Have just returned from a 3 night "cruise" aboard the Pacific Jewel.
First the good:
Fabulous cabin. Had a twin bed inside on deck 11 one of the cheapest 2 bed cabins available but it was huge and very comfortable and very clean. Next time will get a cabin with a window or balcony but inside cabin was fine for 3 nights and it was cheap.
Excellent food. Both the buffet and the silver service dining room (Waterfront Restaurant) the only 2 dining areas where you didn't have to pay to eat were excellent. We did not try the other restaurants where you have to pay although we tried to get into the Salt Grill a couple of hours after we boarded but it was booked out for the whole cruise.
Very good entertainment
Loved the Plantation restaurant - sitting in comfort, enjoying nice food and looking at the fabulous view - bliss
Cabin steward was excellent
Ship in very good condition
We did not find ourselves having to queue much at all. We booked for dinner every night and we avoided the dinner queue which was quite long some nights. However see my comment below about the problems with having the book for dinner every night and not being sure you will get in.
Cost of cruise was very reasonable
And now the not so good ...
We were supposed to depart at 4pm and spend 3 days cruising. Instead we departed around midnight and sailed down the coast to Jervis Bay where we dropped anchor around mid morning the next day. We remained there until the following day when we sailed back to Sydney. The reason given by the cruise director for doing this was to avoid the rough weather further out to sea. On the last morning we learned from a fellow passenger that the same thing happened when he went on a 3 night P&O cruise a couple of months earlier. He said however there were no rough seas on that cruise so the reason for dropping anchor at Jervis Bay was a mystery. There is of course a massive saving in fuel costs when a ship stays put rather than sailing around the ocean.
the open air circus on the top open air deck near the pools, which I believe is unique to Pacific Jewel, was scheduled for the night we left Sydney. It was raining all day that day and the forecast was for more showers in the evening. After boarding we were told that the circus had been cancelled "due to the rain". It was not rescheduled for another evening. It is a mystery why it was scheduled for the first evening when the weather was so wet and why it was not rescheduled for the following evening or the evening after. No satisfactory explanation was given.
Having to book a table for dinner at the silver service dining room (the only dining room/restaurant where you did not have to pay to eat - apart from the buffet)was very stressful. There was only one hotline number to ring and whenever you rang, the number was engaged so you had to ring many many times before you got onto someone. If you didn't ring and book soon enough you could miss out on a table at the dining room and would have to go to the buffet. Most people are on holidays to get away from stress so this kind of arrangement is not good. I believe with some other lines you book meal times when you book your cruise.
meal time options were either too early or too late. The options were 5.30pm, 6pm, 8pm and one other which I think was some time after 8pm.
Would probably not sail with P&O again because of the Jervis Bay issue.
You don't need to take a lanyard with you or buy one on board. A piece of thin (round) hat elastic is all you need. Poke it through the hole at the top of the cruise card and the door key and tie a knot and put it around your neck. Simple and very cheap.
Don't forget to take your phone charger with you