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Forgive the late (nearly 4 years to be exact) review! But I just located my video camera footage and video diary from our cruise in Feb 2011, whilst unpacking our new house, and thought I may as well add it to the fold. How much relevance it will still hold, I don't know? But what the hey! We embarked in what was a bit of a kerfuffle in Sydney, we had P&O arranged fights and transfers and we're swiftly collected from Sydney Airport to a waiting coach to the terminal, this was pain free and quite convenient. The embarkation tent was a nightmare, people everywhere, no lines to speak of at some points and people scattered everywhere. The cattle call to get people through was very long and tiresome. I understand getting 2000 passengers on is no easy feat, but it definitely was not orderly in any way. The Oceanview room at the time was comfortable and quite spacious, the décor was a little dated with garish orange striped curtains and slightly worn carpet, but I would assume this would have been updated by now with the new enhancements to the Jewel recently. Our cabin steward was initially very good, but did have a habit of ignoring the do not disturb signs in the evening... causing a bit of a scare of us one night! Luckily we were only napping as hubby was badly sunburned in Lifou the previous day, we were polite about it (as we aren't nasty people, the cabin stewards work hard and don't need rudeness from passengers) but we did mention that we didn't need the turn down service and were ok to miss it if our do not disturb sign was on the door, no problems. But lo and behold a few nights later when I was napping after dinner, (with the sign out) in he comes again! "Sorry, sorry.." he said, again no problems... But he was very distant with us after that. We felt bad, but we never did anything to make him feel bad and were completely ok with it, but he seemed to be annoyed that we even put the sign out. Nevermind! Just one of those niggly things. I just like to feel that If I need privacy, I can have it.... Good location for the cabin, towards the back of the ship 6196. Relatively quiet - just a bit noisy on port days when using the tender boats (Lifou) as they come past the window outside... that got our attention! We opted for an upgrade if one came available for a better cabin category, initially we booked and paid for 5150 and a few weeks before departure, we noticed we'd been bumped up a category to Deck 6. Not all that different, but nice all the same. The ship overall was good for a first time cruiser out of Australia, all costs onboard in Aus dollars, no tipping etc. Well sized and not too overwhelming. Slightly lacklustre in the activities department on our cruise, many options if you had younger children, but for a late 20s/early 30s couple, it was underwhelming. Luckily we don’t mind just relaxing and we’re able to enjoy the experience for what it was. Bingo was a laugh and we did like to do this and have some fun with it, no winning – but enjoyable entertainment. The shows were average, don’t expect a Broadway musical – more like Local theatre, but have fun with it. No circus at sea, just due to the rough seas we had. Art auction was quite interesting though, but won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. We only ate in the main dining room on the sailaway evening, we were travelling with another couple and had a table for 4. Service was good, no complaints – food was also good. We only ate in the main dining room that one evening as we didn’t like having to call and make a reservation every day, we all just found it easier to eat in the buffet when we felt like it. Buffet was good, sometimes a little repetitive – but that’s to be expected. Got a bit crowded in the mornings for breakfast, but was ok for lunch and dinner times as people varied that a bit. Not a lot of food on offer outside of meal times if you didn’t wish to pay for it, but no biggie there either. We had shocking weather on our cruise. Just terrible, terrible luck. We only had one real day of sunshine and that was gorgeous… happened to be our port day to Lifou, where my husband proceeded to get himself very burnt – even with sunscreen on! That put a dampener (literally) on any real lazing by the pool (which weren’t the best design of that ship and number of passengers) decks and outdoor areas were very windy and showery, quite blustery. So I think activities were a little thin on the ground inside to cope. We missed our final port of Champagne Bay, Vanuatu due to Cyclone Atu sweeping through the region at the time, we appreciated the captain’s stance on not putting our safety in jeopardy and heading to safer waters as soon as possible. Completely understandable. P&O and the ship’s crew did attempt to find us an alternate port to make up for the day’s loss at Champagne bay, we attempted to tender at Isle of Pines as a substitute, but the waters were too rough to safely operate them, so we had to call it quits and head toward Sydney. The captain did try and make it up and took us on a scenic cruise past a World Heritage Site, Bells Pyramid and the Lord Howe Island Marine Park, which was lovely. Again, no one’s fault, just rotten luck and made for a bit of a long “cabin fever-esque” trip back to Australia. Noumea: Very nice and interesting place. Being our first cruise we went with a ship tour to the Noumea aquarium, some scenic highlights and past Anse Vata Beach on the way back. The aquarium was nice, but nothing spectacular. But the sightseeing was a nice sampler of the place. We were thankful when we returned to the ship later that evening as we head some other passengers recounting how they’d paid a local “tour operator” a cheaper sum than offered by the cruise line to do the same tour, he’d taken them to the Aquarium and advised he’d be back and never showed up again… luckily the last ship tour had some spare seats, took pity on them and bought them back. We also did the glass bottom boat ride out around Amadee Island, very nice. Just not a particularly brilliant day weather wise, it was raining in the morning and came out in patchy cloud that afternoon – which didn’t make things as fun. We went for a short walk around the town area just where the boat docks, it’s interesting… again, not exactly comfortable with what seems to be a lot of local groups just hanging around the place. Some were friendly, others seemed to want to try and intimidate you. So we just looked at a few streets and headed back on board a few hours before sail away. Lifou: Our nice, warm, blue skies “what we imagined the South Pacific to be” destination! We didn’t do a tour here, just got off the ship on the tender boats (bit of a queue for that!) and went for a walk along the main road. Locals were very friendly and waved as you passed by. We spent the afternoon snorkelling just by the jetty/tender dock and enjoyed seeing the gorgeous tropical fish in the aqua water. Even though hubby’s back and back of his legs were lobster red that night, he said it was his trip highlight. It was mine too. We later found out there was a much more calm and scenic snorkelling reef a few mins walk over the other side of the island that is more sheltered, but we didn’t know at the time! Vila: Very jungle like and green as you dock, but seems to be that you dock in a very industrial type area – not in the town as you do in Noumea. We had an organised tour (Off road buggys!) so we waited in the waiting tent down on the dock for our tour transport with the other 10 or so people from the ship. Some rickety old vans arrived to take us to the Buggy place, I can honestly say their driving style is a little more daring than I’m used to in Australia! Darting across roads, overtaking… wow, bit of an eye opener! Off road buggy’s was hilarious fun – again it was a light misty rain that day, so everything was muddy. Don’t wear anything you don’t want covered in it! The actual venue was a paddock with a rustic shed, full of cows and chickens. We were taken through paddocks on to actual roads with cars, past homes and other sights – it was great. Coming back there were so many stalls lining the roadside to meet the ship, locals selling trinkets and crafts, we didn’t bother walking back as it had started raining heavily by that point, so we just jumped back on board. Leaving Vila the sky was black in Port, a few passengers names were being called over the loudspeaker asking them to report to the ship immediately. This went on for a while, and eventually we left port. It was then that the captain announced the cyclone and that heading up to Champagne Bay would be unsafe. We had some rock n roll waves for that cruise, Captain said they were very large over 20ft at some points, it was a bit of a hold on tight time! Water was splashing on our Deck 6 high window and the passenger decks were closed off a lot, but I must say for a 70,000 tonne mid-sized cruise ship, the Jewel did very well and I never felt unsafe or sick for that matter (we did take sea sickness tablets each night as a precaution). Public rooms such as the toilets left a lot to be desired, with frequent overflowing, paper everywhere and no cleaners in sight. People can be such pigs, but I did avoid the restrooms in the public areas after a while I must admit... So in closing, it wasn’t the best of times, but it was a holiday at a really good price for 10 nights! I say this even having had hot water spilled in my lap at Afternoon tea, they tried to cram everyone together to make it easier to serve. The boat lurched and the waiter was struggling to get between squished patrons and the water went straight in my lap from the teapot! It wasn't too scalding, but it wasn't pleasant either. He was very apologetic and I understand it was an accident and he was working in conditions that weren't optimal. I was taken to the Medical centre for a check up, where I must say they were more concerned with getting me to admit I was ok, that see if I was actually OK! I'm not once to capitalize on a mistake when i'm truly alright, so I said i'd see how my red legs came up the next day before answering their questions however! Then they told me "no charge" for the medical visit... Uh... I should think not! haha I was ok, no ongoing pain and the redness was gone in a few hours after a cold pack was applied, but there was zero follow up and no reply to my feedback on the dining room set up for afternoon tea set up. Not really the best service experience. I would say now that there is the water park and a few other items on Jewel things would have improved vastly, but upon looking back we realise and understand it is a more budget friendly line and expectations need to be in line with that. Take it for what it is, great value and honest fun at sea and enjoy what you can. We loved cruising as a whole and are going again, this time with Royal Caribbean to New Zealand.  

Good first cruise, could be better... but that's what the second is fo

Pacific Jewel Cruise Review by the_bings

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
Forgive the late (nearly 4 years to be exact) review! But I just located my video camera footage and video diary from our cruise in Feb 2011, whilst unpacking our new house, and thought I may as well add it to the fold.
How much relevance it will still hold, I don't know? But what the hey!
We embarked in what was a bit of a kerfuffle in Sydney, we had P&O arranged fights and transfers and we're swiftly collected from Sydney Airport to a waiting coach to the terminal, this was pain free and quite convenient.
The embarkation tent was a nightmare, people everywhere, no lines to speak of at some points and people scattered everywhere. The cattle call to get people through was very long and tiresome. I understand getting 2000 passengers on is no easy feat, but it definitely was not orderly in any way.
The Oceanview room at the time was comfortable and quite spacious, the décor was a little dated with garish orange striped curtains and slightly worn carpet, but I would assume this would have been updated by now with the new enhancements to the Jewel recently.
Our cabin steward was initially very good, but did have a habit of ignoring the do not disturb signs in the evening... causing a bit of a scare of us one night! Luckily we were only napping as hubby was badly sunburned in Lifou the previous day, we were polite about it (as we aren't nasty people, the cabin stewards work hard and don't need rudeness from passengers) but we did mention that we didn't need the turn down service and were ok to miss it if our do not disturb sign was on the door, no problems. But lo and behold a few nights later when I was napping after dinner, (with the sign out) in he comes again! "Sorry, sorry.." he said, again no problems... But he was very distant with us after that. We felt bad, but we never did anything to make him feel bad and were completely ok with it, but he seemed to be annoyed that we even put the sign out. Nevermind! Just one of those niggly things.
I just like to feel that If I need privacy, I can have it....
Good location for the cabin, towards the back of the ship 6196. Relatively quiet - just a bit noisy on port days when using the tender boats (Lifou) as they come past the window outside... that got our attention!
We opted for an upgrade if one came available for a better cabin category, initially we booked and paid for 5150 and a few weeks before departure, we noticed we'd been bumped up a category to Deck 6. Not all that different, but nice all the same.
The ship overall was good for a first time cruiser out of Australia, all costs onboard in Aus dollars, no tipping etc.
Well sized and not too overwhelming.
Slightly lacklustre in the activities department on our cruise, many options if you had younger children, but for a late 20s/early 30s couple, it was underwhelming. Luckily we don’t mind just relaxing and we’re able to enjoy the experience for what it was. Bingo was a laugh and we did like to do this and have some fun with it, no winning – but enjoyable entertainment. The shows were average, don’t expect a Broadway musical – more like Local theatre, but have fun with it. No circus at sea, just due to the rough seas we had.
Art auction was quite interesting though, but won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
We only ate in the main dining room on the sailaway evening, we were travelling with another couple and had a table for 4. Service was good, no complaints – food was also good.
We only ate in the main dining room that one evening as we didn’t like having to call and make a reservation every day, we all just found it easier to eat in the buffet when we felt like it.
Buffet was good, sometimes a little repetitive – but that’s to be expected. Got a bit crowded in the mornings for breakfast, but was ok for lunch and dinner times as people varied that a bit.
Not a lot of food on offer outside of meal times if you didn’t wish to pay for it, but no biggie there either.
We had shocking weather on our cruise. Just terrible, terrible luck. We only had one real day of sunshine and that was gorgeous… happened to be our port day to Lifou, where my husband proceeded to get himself very burnt – even with sunscreen on!
That put a dampener (literally) on any real lazing by the pool (which weren’t the best design of that ship and number of passengers) decks and outdoor areas were very windy and showery, quite blustery. So I think activities were a little thin on the ground inside to cope.
We missed our final port of Champagne Bay, Vanuatu due to Cyclone Atu sweeping through the region at the time, we appreciated the captain’s stance on not putting our safety in jeopardy and heading to safer waters as soon as possible. Completely understandable.
P&O and the ship’s crew did attempt to find us an alternate port to make up for the day’s loss at Champagne bay, we attempted to tender at Isle of Pines as a substitute, but the waters were too rough to safely operate them, so we had to call it quits and head toward Sydney. The captain did try and make it up and took us on a scenic cruise past a World Heritage Site, Bells Pyramid and the Lord Howe Island Marine Park, which was lovely.
Again, no one’s fault, just rotten luck and made for a bit of a long “cabin fever-esque” trip back to Australia.
Noumea: Very nice and interesting place. Being our first cruise we went with a ship tour to the Noumea aquarium, some scenic highlights and past Anse Vata Beach on the way back. The aquarium was nice, but nothing spectacular. But the sightseeing was a nice sampler of the place. We were thankful when we returned to the ship later that evening as we head some other passengers recounting how they’d paid a local “tour operator” a cheaper sum than offered by the cruise line to do the same tour, he’d taken them to the Aquarium and advised he’d be back and never showed up again… luckily the last ship tour had some spare seats, took pity on them and bought them back.
We also did the glass bottom boat ride out around Amadee Island, very nice. Just not a particularly brilliant day weather wise, it was raining in the morning and came out in patchy cloud that afternoon – which didn’t make things as fun.
We went for a short walk around the town area just where the boat docks, it’s interesting… again, not exactly comfortable with what seems to be a lot of local groups just hanging around the place. Some were friendly, others seemed to want to try and intimidate you. So we just looked at a few streets and headed back on board a few hours before sail away.
Lifou: Our nice, warm, blue skies “what we imagined the South Pacific to be” destination! We didn’t do a tour here, just got off the ship on the tender boats (bit of a queue for that!) and went for a walk along the main road. Locals were very friendly and waved as you passed by.
We spent the afternoon snorkelling just by the jetty/tender dock and enjoyed seeing the gorgeous tropical fish in the aqua water.
Even though hubby’s back and back of his legs were lobster red that night, he said it was his trip highlight. It was mine too.
We later found out there was a much more calm and scenic snorkelling reef a few mins walk over the other side of the island that is more sheltered, but we didn’t know at the time!
Vila: Very jungle like and green as you dock, but seems to be that you dock in a very industrial type area – not in the town as you do in Noumea. We had an organised tour (Off road buggys!) so we waited in the waiting tent down on the dock for our tour transport with the other 10 or so people from the ship.
Some rickety old vans arrived to take us to the Buggy place, I can honestly say their driving style is a little more daring than I’m used to in Australia! Darting across roads, overtaking… wow, bit of an eye opener!
Off road buggy’s was hilarious fun – again it was a light misty rain that day, so everything was muddy. Don’t wear anything you don’t want covered in it! The actual venue was a paddock with a rustic shed, full of cows and chickens. We were taken through paddocks on to actual roads with cars, past homes and other sights – it was great.
Coming back there were so many stalls lining the roadside to meet the ship, locals selling trinkets and crafts, we didn’t bother walking back as it had started raining heavily by that point, so we just jumped back on board.
Leaving Vila the sky was black in Port, a few passengers names were being called over the loudspeaker asking them to report to the ship immediately. This went on for a while, and eventually we left port. It was then that the captain announced the cyclone and that heading up to Champagne Bay would be unsafe.
We had some rock n roll waves for that cruise, Captain said they were very large over 20ft at some points, it was a bit of a hold on tight time! Water was splashing on our Deck 6 high window and the passenger decks were closed off a lot, but I must say for a 70,000 tonne mid-sized cruise ship, the Jewel did very well and I never felt unsafe or sick for that matter (we did take sea sickness tablets each night as a precaution).
Public rooms such as the toilets left a lot to be desired, with frequent overflowing, paper everywhere and no cleaners in sight. People can be such pigs, but I did avoid the restrooms in the public areas after a while I must admit...
So in closing, it wasn’t the best of times, but it was a holiday at a really good price for 10 nights!
I say this even having had hot water spilled in my lap at Afternoon tea, they tried to cram everyone together to make it easier to serve. The boat lurched and the waiter was struggling to get between squished patrons and the water went straight in my lap from the teapot!
It wasn't too scalding, but it wasn't pleasant either. He was very apologetic and I understand it was an accident and he was working in conditions that weren't optimal. I was taken to the Medical centre for a check up, where I must say they were more concerned with getting me to admit I was ok, that see if I was actually OK! I'm not once to capitalize on a mistake when i'm truly alright, so I said i'd see how my red legs came up the next day before answering their questions however! Then they told me "no charge" for the medical visit... Uh... I should think not! haha
I was ok, no ongoing pain and the redness was gone in a few hours after a cold pack was applied, but there was zero follow up and no reply to my feedback on the dining room set up for afternoon tea set up. Not really the best service experience.
I would say now that there is the water park and a few other items on Jewel things would have improved vastly, but upon looking back we realise and understand it is a more budget friendly line and expectations need to be in line with that. Take it for what it is, great value and honest fun at sea and enjoy what you can.
We loved cruising as a whole and are going again, this time with Royal Caribbean to New Zealand.
 
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Cabin Review

Cabin 6196
Good location for the cabin, towards the back of the ship 6196. Relatively quiet - just a bit noisy on port days when using the tender boats as they come past the window outside... that got our attention! We opted for an upgrade if one came available for a better cabin category, initially we booked and paid for 5150 and a few weeks before departure, we noticed we'd been bumped up a category to Deck 6. Not all that different, but nice all the same. Bed was comfy, great storage in the robe area and out of the way.