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1st time for us on the Pacific Jewel, we have been on the Dawn and Pearl before and also have sailed with Princess, HAL, Carnival and RCL. The ship was just recently out of the refit in Singapore where it had amongst others the Pantry installed. We were travelling in a group of 22 people with a mixture of children12 of all ages 5 to 16 and 10 adults of various ages between 35-66. Some have had some previous cruise experience with my wife and our children being the most cruised family amongst our group. Embarkation went very smooth most of us had 9:30 check in and where on board the ship at 11 onwards. Food/Drinks: Naturally the first step was drop of hand luggage in the cabin, and off to the Pantry. What a pleasant surprise to the old Mensa style and what a great experience. There are so many varieties of seating availability that you never feel crowded also the various food stations are great. There is enough variety on board for a seven night cruise that you can not taste it all unless you have multiple servings and eat there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We mainly ate in the pantry during lunch although we did eat in the MDR on a couple of occasions too for lunch as my wife likes the mussels. Breakfast was half and half and dinner mainly in the MDR. Although some of us did the Chef's table, which I can highly recommend, for $95 including all your wines it is a culinary experience. We also had dinner at Salts on the last night, again the food was delicious and the service outstanding. Some of our friends joined in on these events and the overall comment from all was that the food and service on board was great. On a side note with regards to booking a table, which you have to do on the first night that you dine in the MDR, after that they have your preference and will pencil it in, also you do not have to rebook at the MDR, you can just use the phone in your cabin to confirm/book your table. Drinks are similarly priced to what you pay in Australian pubs/Bars there is sufficient variety on board. Fortunately P&O is priced in Australian dollars as are Princess Aust and Carnival Aust as the lower Australian dollar does have an impact now if you are on a ship that charges in US dollars. Entertainment: The main shows were great, both the production shows and the guest entertainers. They no longer have the Pacific Cirque due to I believe a recent accident and acrobatic performance is now under review. The new shows are great, although we do miss some of the older ones, but one should not be nostalgic. There is enough to do on board the ship during the day to keep oneself entertained, just check out the Pacific Daily that is delivered each night. The specialty nights was Bianco, which was a great night, unfortunately due to the weather it was below decks. Whilst they still have sort of Western and Pirates, these are no longer main events and more just for a good photo opp. They are to be replaced by Gatesby and back to school theme nights. We also had two formal nights which are a great opportunity to get dressed up, I like putting on my Tuxedo for these and my wife enjoys very her formal attire and so did most of our friends. The Jam session on the last night in the Atrium was also great fun and well worth it. Overall the standard of the various bands/musicians was good. I would have loved to spend some more evenings in Connexions but it was a bit cold there (aircon) and my wife preferred the Atrium. Service/Cabin Steward/Cabin For our family we had to inside cabins deck 5 forward. They were find for our needs and the nice thing about the P&O ships is that their cabins are very roomy and there is enough space to put things away. In April we sailed on RCL VoS and found that the cabin space was insufficient for four people. Our room steward was excellent and we also had evening turndown service. The cabin was clean and everything functioned well. All our friends were satisfied with their cabins and steward service. Ships Crew/Staff My wife and I were fortunate enough that we were invited to the Senior Officer's cocktails party. P&O used to have a captain's club but due to so many repeat cruisers they had to cancel this as they would have required at least three to four sessions as they can no longer fit everyone in. We have done about 15 cruises with P&O and Princess and received an invite. I do not know what the exact qualifying criteria is so I just mention what we have sailed. During the event I met some of the head office staff from P&O that are involved in the children's program and as we have five boys on board they certainly valued my opinion. During the Bianco night I also met the Food and Beverage manager and we had a great chat (till 2am). I also met the Cruise Director and found him to be engaging with the passengers. Overall the ship staff were friendly, more friendly I must say than what I have experienced on some of the other liners. Kids club We had children in all clubs and were therefore able to give a good assessment of the activities. Turtle Cove and Shark Shack were excellent and the boys and girls in our group had a great time there. HQ and HQ plus not so much and that was due to the location of their club on Deck 2 vs the Dawn and Pearl having it on the upper decks. Consequently the teenagers did not get involved as much in their groups as what they previously have been involved in. Another bonus for P&O is the dedicated youth security they have that are easily identifiable and that keep a close eye on the children, I firmly believe that P&O excels in this area and have the best kids club program. What we very much like is how they also take the children around the ship and have various activities in the show lounge just for them. Carnival has this too to an extent which is great. Islands/Ports Noumea We have been to Noumea several times so did not plan an excursion. Our younger boys went with our friends and did the Tchou Tchou train and my wife, my oldest son and myself went to the shopping mall at Port Plaisance. My wife loves it there because there are several French boutique shops that have the right sizes for her without alterations. And sometimes you can pick up a great French bargain - although on this trip she made a slight error, she thought the bathing suite set her back $25 when it was actually $250, something about her mixing up the exchange rate. Best of all she came and checked with me and my son, as we were enjoying French wine (myself he had a coke) and snacks whilst she was shopping, on the price and I stated the correct amount - she just though I was joking. Whilst in Noumea and you want to do Tchou Tchou or bus, just check if it is more advantageous paying in dollars or XPF. The tour salesperson was great, she stated to me at present you are better off paying in A$ vs Francs (and she was correct- so thank you) Mare Again the weather was rainy but we still hoped off and took the bus to the beach where everyone goes, certainly a great beach to swim and snorkel and I would like to go back here under better conditions. The son did come out for about 45 minutes and the water was turquoise. There are some local selling various things so you can buy souvenirs etc. Don't try and walk to the beach unless you are a good walker because it is prob at least a 60 minute walk one way and then you have to get the right turn off to the beach. Vila Again an overcast day, so we just went down town in a water taxi, enjoyed the local culture, did some shopping sat in a café and then went back. Friends of ours and their girls did the snorkelling tour organised from the ship and they said they had a wonderful time. We have been to Vila before and therefore decided not to do too much because of the weather, we know we will be there again soon as most cruises to the SWP have a stop in Villa. On board shopping They now have a Pandora's store on board (if you are into that) overall there are sufficient shops etc and the lolly shop certainly was a favoured one. We have cruised sufficient time now that we are just happy to browse. The photo shop was fine and we did purchase some of the photo's as they look great and is a good memory. At least the quality of the paper used seems to be better than what we had on RCL recently. Disembarkation Again very smooth even though we had to get off at the grain terminal as the wind was too strong to allow the ship to dock at Portside. Overall This was an excellent cruise - would I do P&O again, without a doubt. Friends of ours who where first time cruisers have already booked their next cruise wanting to do the Melbourne cup and the others that were first time cruisers have seen the benefit of a cruising vacation.

1st time on the Jewel

Pacific Jewel Cruise Review by AU76

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
1st time for us on the Pacific Jewel, we have been on the Dawn and Pearl before and also have sailed with Princess, HAL, Carnival and RCL.

The ship was just recently out of the refit in Singapore where it had amongst others the Pantry installed. We were travelling in a group of 22 people with a mixture of children12 of all ages 5 to 16 and 10 adults of various ages between 35-66. Some have had some previous cruise experience with my wife and our children being the most cruised family amongst our group.

Embarkation went very smooth most of us had 9:30 check in and where on board the ship at 11 onwards.

Food/Drinks:

Naturally the first step was drop of hand luggage in the cabin, and off to the Pantry. What a pleasant surprise to the old Mensa style and what a great experience. There are so many varieties of seating availability that you never feel crowded also the various food stations are great. There is enough variety on board for a seven night cruise that you can not taste it all unless you have multiple servings and eat there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We mainly ate in the pantry during lunch although we did eat in the MDR on a couple of occasions too for lunch as my wife likes the mussels. Breakfast was half and half and dinner mainly in the MDR. Although some of us did the Chef's table, which I can highly recommend, for $95 including all your wines it is a culinary experience. We also had dinner at Salts on the last night, again the food was delicious and the service outstanding. Some of our friends joined in on these events and the overall comment from all was that the food and service on board was great. On a side note with regards to booking a table, which you have to do on the first night that you dine in the MDR, after that they have your preference and will pencil it in, also you do not have to rebook at the MDR, you can just use the phone in your cabin to confirm/book your table.

Drinks are similarly priced to what you pay in Australian pubs/Bars there is sufficient variety on board. Fortunately P&O is priced in Australian dollars as are Princess Aust and Carnival Aust as the lower Australian dollar does have an impact now if you are on a ship that charges in US dollars.

Entertainment:

The main shows were great, both the production shows and the guest entertainers. They no longer have the Pacific Cirque due to I believe a recent accident and acrobatic performance is now under review. The new shows are great, although we do miss some of the older ones, but one should not be nostalgic. There is enough to do on board the ship during the day to keep oneself entertained, just check out the Pacific Daily that is delivered each night.

The specialty nights was Bianco, which was a great night, unfortunately due to the weather it was below decks. Whilst they still have sort of Western and Pirates, these are no longer main events and more just for a good photo opp. They are to be replaced by Gatesby and back to school theme nights. We also had two formal nights which are a great opportunity to get dressed up, I like putting on my Tuxedo for these and my wife enjoys very her formal attire and so did most of our friends.

The Jam session on the last night in the Atrium was also great fun and well worth it. Overall the standard of the various bands/musicians was good. I would have loved to spend some more evenings in Connexions but it was a bit cold there (aircon) and my wife preferred the Atrium.

Service/Cabin Steward/Cabin

For our family we had to inside cabins deck 5 forward. They were find for our needs and the nice thing about the P&O ships is that their cabins are very roomy and there is enough space to put things away. In April we sailed on RCL VoS and found that the cabin space was insufficient for four people. Our room steward was excellent and we also had evening turndown service. The cabin was clean and everything functioned well. All our friends were satisfied with their cabins and steward service.

Ships Crew/Staff

My wife and I were fortunate enough that we were invited to the Senior Officer's cocktails party. P&O used to have a captain's club but due to so many repeat cruisers they had to cancel this as they would have required at least three to four sessions as they can no longer fit everyone in. We have done about 15 cruises with P&O and Princess and received an invite. I do not know what the exact qualifying criteria is so I just mention what we have sailed. During the event I met some of the head office staff from P&O that are involved in the children's program and as we have five boys on board they certainly valued my opinion. During the Bianco night I also met the Food and Beverage manager and we had a great chat (till 2am). I also met the Cruise Director and found him to be engaging with the passengers. Overall the ship staff were friendly, more friendly I must say than what I have experienced on some of the other liners.

Kids club

We had children in all clubs and were therefore able to give a good assessment of the activities. Turtle Cove and Shark Shack were excellent and the boys and girls in our group had a great time there. HQ and HQ plus not so much and that was due to the location of their club on Deck 2 vs the Dawn and Pearl having it on the upper decks. Consequently the teenagers did not get involved as much in their groups as what they previously have been involved in. Another bonus for P&O is the dedicated youth security they have that are easily identifiable and that keep a close eye on the children, I firmly believe that P&O excels in this area and have the best kids club program. What we very much like is how they also take the children around the ship and have various activities in the show lounge just for them. Carnival has this too to an extent which is great.

Islands/Ports

Noumea

We have been to Noumea several times so did not plan an excursion. Our younger boys went with our friends and did the Tchou Tchou train and my wife, my oldest son and myself went to the shopping mall at Port Plaisance. My wife loves it there because there are several French boutique shops that have the right sizes for her without alterations. And sometimes you can pick up a great French bargain - although on this trip she made a slight error, she thought the bathing suite set her back $25 when it was actually $250, something about her mixing up the exchange rate. Best of all she came and checked with me and my son, as we were enjoying French wine (myself he had a coke) and snacks whilst she was shopping, on the price and I stated the correct amount - she just though I was joking. Whilst in Noumea and you want to do Tchou Tchou or bus, just check if it is more advantageous paying in dollars or XPF. The tour salesperson was great, she stated to me at present you are better off paying in A$ vs Francs (and she was correct- so thank you)

Mare

Again the weather was rainy but we still hoped off and took the bus to the beach where everyone goes, certainly a great beach to swim and snorkel and I would like to go back here under better conditions. The son did come out for about 45 minutes and the water was turquoise. There are some local selling various things so you can buy souvenirs etc. Don't try and walk to the beach unless you are a good walker because it is prob at least a 60 minute walk one way and then you have to get the right turn off to the beach.

Vila

Again an overcast day, so we just went down town in a water taxi, enjoyed the local culture, did some shopping sat in a café and then went back. Friends of ours and their girls did the snorkelling tour organised from the ship and they said they had a wonderful time. We have been to Vila before and therefore decided not to do too much because of the weather, we know we will be there again soon as most cruises to the SWP have a stop in Villa.

On board shopping

They now have a Pandora's store on board (if you are into that) overall there are sufficient shops etc and the lolly shop certainly was a favoured one. We have cruised sufficient time now that we are just happy to browse. The photo shop was fine and we did purchase some of the photo's as they look great and is a good memory. At least the quality of the paper used seems to be better than what we had on RCL recently.

Disembarkation

Again very smooth even though we had to get off at the grain terminal as the wind was too strong to allow the ship to dock at Portside.

Overall

This was an excellent cruise - would I do P&O again, without a doubt. Friends of ours who where first time cruisers have already booked their next cruise wanting to do the Melbourne cup and the others that were first time cruisers have seen the benefit of a cruising vacation.
AU76’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 5119
we also had 5123. Both were fine inside cabins, would use again.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews