After reading a lot of reviews about how bad P&O are we decided to give them a go and were we in for a surprise. Just did the 15-day June cruise on Pacific Jewel to the islands from Auckland and we are happy to say, they did it better than Princess and RCCL. We are elite members with Princess and Platinum with RCCL.
First, the cons.
At 28yrs she is showing her age and the recent refit has not done enough to bring her back to her former glory. There is still evidence of worn décor and bad paint work. The cabin floor is uneven, the carpet is badly laid and there are patches around the balcony door. It’s annoying having to pay for the extras you get free with other cruise companies and the tender process is long with average 1hr wait times and long runs to shore. The menu in the dining room is simple and repetitive and had charges for some dishes.
Now the pros.
She may be old but she is a sturdy sea boat and handled the conditions well. The cabin had none of the squeaks and groans you get on more modern ships, there is plenty of storage and has a nice big shower with good water pressure. Our cabin stewards, Rhula & Carolina are great. They really looked after us and having little daily quotes on our mirror added a nice touch. The food in the dining room, while simple, was good. Our table waiters, Kirby & Little John are also great, Always a smile and friendly. The Pantry food was also good. We had experienced a Noro Virus outbreak on a previous cruise and having it served made us feel a bit safer. The entertainment was fabulous with many great musicians including Santiago Periotti, Lucky May and Light & Rhythm. We had seven different parties that were a lot of fun and the entertainment staff stayed to the end, unlike other companies where they tended to quietly slip away part way through. The edge program, while a little pricey was a lot of fun and worth doing. Climbing the rear stack or flying over the upper deck in the middle of the ocean, nice. Generally, the crew were good and friendly.
Getting to the ship was easy. We parked our car in the Downtown carpark and walked across the road and on to the ship. From the time we parked to the time we were in our cabin, about a 1/2hr. It cost $356.00 to park and no waiting. At the end of the cruise we got off the boat at 7.30am and were home by 10. We live in Hamilton, about 2hrs drive and a shuttle would have cost $350 return for two with a lot of inconvenience, so, well worth it.
A couple of issues for P&O. Drop the extra charges and add a loyalty program, otherwise, a great experience and we have booked another two cruises with P&O for next year. Thanks P&O you put my concerns to rest.