Having traveled on this ship now 5 times I personally would never step foot on it again it is looking tired and nothing more than a party ship since it's changed to it's departure port of Brisbane.
The check-in was open from 8am and seemed to be running OK, we were told we would board around 10.30am we got called through at this time only to have to wait for Australian Customs to have there tea-break (no fault of P&O).
We boarded the ship as we had been on it before we did not need to be told where to go to find our cabin, But if this was your first time then you were direct to the ship map next to the lift.
Cabin and Cabin Steward.
We booked an inside cabin this time we normally book a outside window.
The cabin was tired looking the carpet was dirty and stained and for the first time on any cruise I have been on I question if the sheets were even clean.
The steward which I will not name was not one of the best we have ever had, The cabin on same days was not cleaned until the late afternoon and if you showered for dinner the towels were not changed until the next day as the cabin never was done at night (very unusual for a cruise holiday.
But the worst thing of all was on the day of Dis-Embarkation we were all advised that the ship will be running late into Brisbane by 2 hours and if we could all be out of our cabins by 8am.
So we set our alarms for 5.45am and the automatic phone wake up call for 5.45 as well, Just after 5.30am our cabin door was opened by the steward and shouted out wake-up call (even though we had the do not disturb card in the door) 15 Min's later the automatic phone and alarms went off.
We went down to breakfast at 6am (and once again put the do not disturb in the door )and left the ipods/computers etc on the side as we would pack these into the backpack last.
We returned to the cabin around 6.45am to find our cabin door open we looked around and all the cabin doors for this steward were also open (even though no one had to be out of there cabin until 8am)we checked to make sure nothing was missing.
This was the first time on any cruise I have been on that I did not tip the cabin steward.
In general are kept clean but the carpeted area's are looking old and tired.
The Pirate's of the Pacific is good but the other shows are only average at best which are done by the Pacific Entertainers, The only other shows were Ash Puriri singing which was good and a local show when we were in Noumea.
The other activities on the ship even trivia which i enjoy doing are way below what you would expect to find on a cruise.
The Cruise Director is not the worst I have seen, But is fighting a losing battle with what he as to work with.
Dining Room / Buffet
The food in the palm court dining room is no world beater but is what you would expect from this class of ship, The only thing like could do is cook the veggies a bit more as they are rock hard.
The dinning room staff are friendly but do not expect service you would get on a higher class ship for example starters coming out at the same time as main meals for people would not happen and dirty glasses on a table is a no no.
On the last formal night the usual chocolate's came out well now do i describe this a mass of little chocolate pieces dropped in a slab of white chocolate and cut in to small pieces and add that to a orange dyed coconut to sum up awful.
The last thing regarding the Dining Room is there dress standards there is not any.
Everything from passengers wearing jeans with holes to t-shirts and shorts, With formal nights being no different passengers from Brisbane most seem to have a attitude we don't have to dress up.
The Maitre-d who should be there to make sure dress codes are applied does not seem to care the only time i saw him was at the captain's party and for the food director is one of the most rudest person I have come across on a ship.
The buffet food can only be described as below bad even the wife who eats most things Say's it's awful if you enjoy everything cold and not cooked very well then this is the place to try.
One other place where I ate on the ship was the grill prior to this cruise the food as always been very good but no surprise it as changed as well, The kebab I have always ordered as not only gone up by $4 but is now put on pitta bread which is not toasted with chucks of meat instead of shaved along with core of the tomato really good stuff not.
Like stated before I have been on this ship 5 times now and since it's arrival in Queensland the standards have dropped to a new low which I thought P&O Australia could not even achieve.
I have never thought the idea of removing the tipping from your cruise is good way to go unless the service is bad I think that now makes my mind up that i am correct.
As for the captain telling people that we have brand new ship from last December sailing from Sydney in the Pacific Jewel maybe he should get his facts right and say it's 15 years old and has been renamed.
My next cruise was going to be on the Sun Princess from Brisbane in December this year but I am now in the process of changing to a different ship not leaving from Brisbane.
*Note cruise left from Brisbane and not Sydney but on the port of embarkation box it does not show Brisbane on it*