My wife and me (late 40's early 50's) just returned from our first cruise just a 4 night cruise from Sydney to Tangalooma island and return,we had our 2 adult children and their partner's for a total of 6 of us in 3 sea view rooms on P and O's pacific Jewell which i believe was partially refurbished in early 2015.
After paying our deposit i started to do a bit of research and found a lot of negative reviews especially regarding the food so i was not expecting to much but i was pleasantly surprised.
Boarding the Pacific jewell was a breeze because it was not leaving Australia their was no customs hassles,they still x-rayed our carry on and put us thru the metal detectors but from the time of arrival at the White Bay cruise terminal ($ 75.00 for a maxi taxi from central train station for 6 of us) to the time we were in our rooms would have been 30 minutes max,15 minutes later we were having lunch in the Pantry with a selection of Australian food roast beef and vegies today,Fish and chips,Chinese,Indian curries,fruit,and of course dessert. their were 6 different counters arranged in a semi circle and you joined the que at whichever counter you wanted, picked out what you wanted and they dished it up on a plate for you, you could go to as many different serverys as you wanted even eat dessert first.Their was also a pizza bar $9.00 and a burger bar not sure of the Price.. The quality of the food ranged from so-so to quite good, if you got something that you did not like you just left in on the table for the friendly staff to pick up and went and tried something else,because the pantry is open from 0630 to about 9.30am for breakfast and 11.30 to 2.30 for lunch and 5.30 to 8.30 the ques are not to long maybe 4 or 5 mins. Breakfast was really good,coffee,tea,fruit juice, scrambled eggs.omlette,poached eggs,fried eggs bacon pancakes,pastries,fruit etc etc.
After lunch we went for a wander (it takes a few days to work out where everything is) and had a few drinks before we gathered for our safety briefing.The alcohol prices were not to high $6.00 for a stubby of midstrength,Carlton Dry $6.95, Caronas about $7.50 i think,their were a variety of other beers spirits about $10.00 a shot and lots of cocktails ranging from about $12 to $16 ther was one bar we found the Orient which had a few craft beers and ciders on tap but unfortunately they were served in plastic schooner "glasses". when we booked our cruise we recieved a bonus of free soft drinks so not sure of the price of soft drink..their was also the Waterfront restaurant which was free as was the pantry we tried that one night while the food was good it took a long time to be served so we did not go their again,the other 2 options were the Lunar Asian Restaurant $29.00 0r the Saltwater grill $59.00 we did not try either of these.if you went on a 7 night or longer the pantry might get a little repetetive.
The cabins were roomy enough with a king sized comfy bed a TV plenty of cupboard and hanging space,a desk, while you could only fit one person at a time in the bathroom it was not to small the shower was also a good size.
The day at Tangalooma resort was the highlight of the trip for us a beautifull sunny day we hired a few kyaks for $25 for 90 mins swam at the beautifull beach ate prawns had a few beers before us boys went on our Quad bike tour which was a bit slow for us but still ok,the girls went and fed the Dolphins which they said was unorganized and not as good as they had expected.
We only went to one show which was a magic show and was ok.Visited the Casino a few times Roulette, poker,Black Jack,and pokies. Chilled on the back deck read a book.Ate to much..
The disembarkation was quick and hassle free as well.
Summary;; we all had a great time you can do as much as you want theirs lots of organised activities or just chill around the pool or one of the deck bars, we found 4 nights good 6 or 7 would be great any longer i think i would get a bit board, we had great weather sunny and calm seas which also helped..I would go again and probably will..
Cabin was great we on deck 6 midship ,didn't spend a lot of time in their as the weather was to good to be stuck in you're cabin ....