Pacific Jewel - Exceeded Expectations
We thoroughly enjoyed our 14 day cruise to Fiji. This is the first time we have cruised with P&O and when we booked we had many reservations about this company after all the bad publicity a few years ago plus some of the reviews were not good either. Well, I can truly say that this was a fantastic cruise. Fun, relaxed, comfortable, interesting ports, and the weather was mostly kind to us - which definitely helps.
The embarkation and dis-embarking process was the best we have ever experienced (this was our sixth cruise) - very smooth and took no time at all. The tendering at the different ports was also easy and a pleasant experience - I now wonder why it all seemed so difficult on our other cruises. On one Mediterranean cruise we waited in a long queue for 2½ hours to embark and the tendering was a nightmare!!
Our cabin was comfortable - king bed (well, two singles pushed together), a large shower stall (bigger than other ships we've been on), bathroom itself was same size as other ships, which is fairly small, but with enough space for toiletries etc. cabin and bathroom all spotlessly clean.
We'd been given an upgrade to cabin 10303, which was an inside aft and was in a great position right next to the Oasis deck. Our favourite spot during the sea days and the early evening was on a deck chair at the Oasis. Perfect! Our cabin was wonderfully quiet cabin as the Oasis deck and bar closed around 6.30pm.
I'm sure we also had the best cabin steward on board! Aatish was wonderful.
Food in both The Plantation and The Waterfront was generally very good - I did get one meal in the Waterfront that was not good at all but here was no problem about getting another. Service also in the Waterfront was a bit hit and miss - we did not eat at the same table each evening so had different waiters each time. The service for those who ate at the same table and same time each night was exceptional. (You could ask to be seated at a favourite waiter's table).
Staff, without exception, was friendly and helpful and always smiling. It was a very relaxed, easy going cruise. The Captain was a very social man and his good humour and friendly attitude was evident throughout the ship. He called his crew "my beloved crew" and "my kids". His talk about the Pacific Jewel lasted about 2 hours and was brilliant - not to be missed - so informative and yet very funny.
We were fortunate on this ship to be able to view the galley and to view backstage. We've not been able to do this before on any cruise and I loved seeing behind the scenes.
The gym is very well equipped and both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the daily stretch classes and using the gym.
The ports were great - my favourite was Isle of Pines - I guess I just wasn't expecting anything so picture card perfect. It was truly beautiful with white, white sand and clear aqua blue water....and as most passengers found their way to the snorkeling spot, we chose to stay beachside so had this unbelievably beautiful beach almost to ourselves.
The other ports, Mystery Island, Port Vila, Port Denauru and Suva were all very interesting and each was quite different. We enjoyed them all. Sadly, because of the weather and seas we were unable to tender at Dravuni Island. (No matter, that will be my excuse to do this cruise again!)
Can't wait to do another cruise with P&O.