We just did a cruise on P&O's Pacific Jewel, a three day "Food & Wine" cruise out of Sydney.
This is the first time I have tried P&O, hence the three day cruise, also it left on my partners birthday, easy present.
It was scheduled to leave at 4pm, the Captain announced at 3.30pm that we would not be leaving until 7.30, it left the dock at 11.30pm, there was no further announcement from the Bridge re this, so much for the "sail away party" and being kept fully informed as advised at 3.30.
I was told when booking that it sailed for three days to nowhere, but it sailed over night to Jervis Bay and dropped anchor next morning and stayed there until late next afternoon, not much sailing to be had, it sailed late afternoon on the second day to return to Sydney so mostly at night, so much for sitting on the balcony to enjoy the ocean.
First night we had dinner in Salt Restaurant, the service and food were superb, well worth the extra charge ($40.00pp).
From this point trying to organise anything was a chore, you had to stand in line,this took up to 45 minutes to try and get into any of the talks that were part of the "Food & Wine " aspect of the cruise.
After enduring this, I must admit I'm not good standing in queues, when you finally reached the counter you were then told that what you wanted to do was fully booked.
Not a good start, the organisation of this was abysmal.
I then went back to the cabin to call the other restaurants we wanted to try, well it did not get any better, i was told i could not book for the following night and had to call back the next morning from 8am, i informed the person on the other end of the phone that i had been trying to get thru for 15 minutes, ( it seemed like hours having to dial the number over and over), they just said thats how it is.
I was on the phone next morning at 8am, by the time i was answered,8.10am, La Luna the other restaurant was fully booked.
We went to the Waterfront Restaurant the second night, this is the standard restaurant for the ship, i had booked in advance asking for a table for two only and was happy to wait until this could be done, we arrived at 8.00pm and was told no this was not available and we had to sit at a shared table, the service was erratic and slow, when the food arrived it was just warm, getting a wine list was a whole other experience.
The cabin we had 11123 was a mini-suite, the best this ship could offer, it was well laid out, spacious and clean, the bed was good and the sheets/linen were of good quality.
We didn't have in the room the inclusions that were promised with this level of cabin, i had to phone to request these, i was told the steward must have forgot to put them in the cabin.
The one huge concern was the noise from the deck above, we were under the pool deck, normally not a concern, but on this ship the tables and chairs being dragged around by people just using them came straight thru the ceiling, it was unbelievable the amount of noise, it keep you awake at night and woke you up early in the morning.
This level of cabin on this ship is a huge waste of money, opt for the standard balcony cabin on deck 10, it might be half the size but it will be quite and you will get a full nights sleep.
Over all the ship was what was expected i suppose, ( cheap & cheerful) I was hoping for more, the staff appeared to be over worked and looked on average unhappy and tired,getting a drink at some of the bars was plain hard work, to the extent I walked off, the food was very average, good if you like warm to cold.
The pay to use restaurants were very good and well worth the extra charge, the staff were very helpful, friendly and the food was hot and very tasty.
As a mini-suite customer you really get nothing extra except more space in the cabin and the noise from above killed the enjoyment of that.
It was worth a try, but i will not be boarding the Pacific Jewel again and will think twice before trying another P&O ship.