This is my third visit via P & O to the South Pacific and the destinations were the calling card along with a great price. Talked into it by my travel agent at the last minute, hence the price, but the South Pacific is a wonderful place to go. Our Ship the Pacific Jewel at 70,000 gross tonnes, is not small and provides many activities and entertainment /dining options. I will dispense with list as P & O obviously have that info for you on their website etc. Pros & Cons together then: The embarkation ( of 2,000 of us) was handled with efficient ease from check in to gangway, and long as you have yourself organised , its easy to do. Cabin was clean tidy and welcoming , ocean view forward location. Cabin Steward was helpful and obliging.
Theme nights were not widely advertised pre cruise so wing it there, and maybe do your homework with your TA. This cruise had the unexpected feature of being a wedding cruise for the brother ( and soon to be sister in-law) of the cruise director , romantic to many , but the said Cruise Director , Sandy, laid it on thick and loud and brash. Selling carpets previously I suspect. If he yelled 'BINGO' on the ships PA system one more time... anyway, the wedding was apparently nice and took the place of the Captains Cocktail Party evidently, as it wasn't held this time, senior hospitality staff informed me.
Food quality varied each day from below average to very good in The Pantry ( cruise included dining) . The Waterfront ( five star dining) cuisine was excellent. The eminent arrival of Cyclone Winston while we were in the area, caused a change to our itinerary which was Mystery Island to become Champagne Bay Espirto Santo. I took the independent tours on shore at Noumea & Vantuau as these are cheaper and more personal. First time cruisers might want to take ship booked shore tours as a up front try. If your adventurous , save your money. The Islands of New Caledonia & Vanuatu are beautiful, safe and very interesting. Enjoy them.
Cabin TV was poor this time, in picture quality, and the Cruise channel had the TV Guide which was hard to use. Hard copy print as an option would be better. The looping Documentary of P & Os history while interesting the first couple of time was annoying by the four day. TV on demand should be installed with better sets. Photos and Videos on board , take your own, the package is not worth the high cost. Get roaming on your phone and the internet is still extortionate in cost.
Drinks cost are about the same as Pub/ club prices in Australia. Avoid the Beverage package unless you think you can drink $80 plus worth of alcohol a day , every day! hmmmm. But the Bar staff were very hospitable and efficient. Take a cheery disposition with you in all, heard and saw some couples squabbling, not on a cruise please!? The young people seem to behave themselves better than some seniors. (sigh) . Anyway a three star outing for P & O this time. OK cruise with some improvement needed here and there.