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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
A friend booked this trip for 10 friends - the food at the 'Pantry' was dreadful - the food at the preferred seating Restaurant was hit and miss although more miss - I did not see any passenger use the sanitizer in fact there was no Staff ... Read More
A friend booked this trip for 10 friends - the food at the 'Pantry' was dreadful - the food at the preferred seating Restaurant was hit and miss although more miss - I did not see any passenger use the sanitizer in fact there was no Staff to ensure it was used. You could not use the two spas as Parents would leave their young children in their me then wander off, at one stage I counted fifteen children sitting in and around a spa never again, would I ever use Pacific Jewel or any in this fleet. I have been on five cruises by different lines and ha e me r experienced such poor service and t times rude staff - I have been on Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity Cruises which are far superior to what I experienced on the P&O Pacific Jewel I am afraid I could never recommend P & O - most went back to use their own bathrooms because the public bathrooms were beyond words Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We wanted a break after the exhaustion of Christmas and New Year. A short comedy cruise seemed to fit the bill. Pros.....our superb cabin - see below; the comedy acts; the speciality restaurants; Cons.....bogan, unruly, loud, ill ... Read More
We wanted a break after the exhaustion of Christmas and New Year. A short comedy cruise seemed to fit the bill. Pros.....our superb cabin - see below; the comedy acts; the speciality restaurants; Cons.....bogan, unruly, loud, ill mannered adults. The zillions of kids were great in comparison! The ship has been extensively refurbished and seems to work, except the atrium and main public areas are still to small for gatherings. The couple of bars are of a good size and well furnished. The Dome seemed to be empty most of the cruise (what a waste). Duty free area is full of the usual suspect gold by the inch and other junk. The bars are OK, but a couple of the bar staff need manners-training. I'm a wine drinker but unfortunately only the bottom of the list wines were available by the glass in all the bars and the theatre. You have to go to the speciality restaurants to get a reasonable glass. The comedy shows were great....two family shows and one 18+ each night in the Marquee. In spite of the rules, an few minor arguments broke out over passengers reserving several seats for friends. Music groups abounded in the lounges each evening. But nothing during the day. For two days passengers are captive on the ship and it would have been nice to hear a pianist, or a quiet group in the afternoon. The Waterfront restaurant was a great disappointment. The meals we had were bland and unimaginative. A couple of the staff had attitude problems. I don't complain but on one occasion for dinner here we were ignored for a good length of time and had to call the supervisor. There was a great wine tasting on the second day. It's a pity the good wines tasted were not available by the glass anywhere. Luke Mangens restaurant was superb, as was the Shell and Bones seafood restaurant. A great seafood platter for 2 for $50. We buzzed through the Pantry which seemed to have fresher, and more interesting food than the main restaurant. But too small for the passengers. There was no Nic and Toni's as mentioned on the Cruise Critic review. We rarely ventured to the top deck which was for families, kids and fun seekers having a great time. The movies on the big screen were new releases, and of excellent visual and audio clarity. Most fellow passengers were Aussie families and friends. Few singles or gay couples to be seen. There were your usual loud mouth, singlet clad bogans. No problem on the top deck and in the pool, but there was supposed to be a dress code and if the code states long trousers and collared shirt after 5 then why is it not policed? There is a choice. Up stairs dress as you like, down stairs in the evening...be decent. Many people were not. The Gatsby evening was a lot of fun. The white party not so much. Special theme party on the first night is not sensible. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We have cruised many times on various cruise lines including the Costa, Carnival, Celebrity, NCL and HAL almost always in a suite or penthouse product. This was our first time on a P and O. To be honest we have previously avoided cruising ... Read More
We have cruised many times on various cruise lines including the Costa, Carnival, Celebrity, NCL and HAL almost always in a suite or penthouse product. This was our first time on a P and O. To be honest we have previously avoided cruising out of Brisbane even though we live nearby in Noosa. We read the negative reviews about this ship and expected the worst but instead found it really great value for our cruise on the Aria to Noumea, Mare and Port Villa. I encourage you not to believe the other negative reviews about this ship. I will tell you why. The refurb is fantastic. The public areas are clean and have sophisticated decor. The ship is an old HAL ship and the layout is a smaller version of the Noordam. Yes the ship is worn in a few places like some of the chair arms and bath tubs, but if you think that is horrible and will ruin your cruise, then really what are you doing here anyway? The staff on board were all happy, friendly and helpful. We have been on ships where the staff don't smile and are worn out and show it. (Like the Celebrity Millennium where the staff were rude and our room wasn't cleaned upon arrival, during the cruise and we could write our names and play naughts and crosses on the dirt and grease on the glass coffee table!) For this cruise we decided to try the suite category at $2200 each including the drinks package. It was worth every cent! We were welcomed aboard with a complimentary bottle of champagne and fresh fruit bowl. Our room was spacious and the attendants Mannix and Jayson were friendly, approachable and fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble. If you ask, they unpack for you but we normally do that ourselves. Like the rest of the ship the room was spotless. The extra large balcony was perfect for us as we sometimes get a little freaked out by the heights of bigger ships but on the Aria the huge space enabled us to feel safe. There were two sun lounges and a table for four so it too was spacious. We ate our room service breakfast (free for suite guests) every morning enjoying the spectacular views. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that except for snacks like peanuts etc and drinks the rest of the room service menu is free for suite guests. After a day onshore pjs, room service and movie is perfect. This cruise was incredible value for money in the suite category especially when compared to other cruise lines. The only thing missing was a proper butler and concierge. Having said that, the main reception and shore tours desks were never crowded when we went there. Our room attendants were just as good as a butler anyway. We really wanted to review the food here. By comparison to HAL and Carnival the food was better. If you can't find several nice things to eat on this ship you must be too well done for. The Pantry offers wonderful, plentiful options and the food was suitably hot. This concept of being served the food is fantastic. On other ships where the food is self served in this casual eating option, we always have the fear of everyone else who isn't hygienic touching the utensils. Not on this ship! Other reviews have commented on dessert being 'mass' produced. Seriously with 1200 guests and 600 crew any food offering is mass produced! The desserts on board were on par with every other ship we have cruised with including the penthouse products on the NCL. We weren't impressed with Salt as much as we thought we would be. The custard dessert was exactly the same as the Pantry and The Waterfront Brûlée custard and the Agnolotti was greasy. Angelos was, however, spectacular and Dragonlady wonderful too. The food on board was the same standard as all of the complimentary eating areas we have had on the other ships we have been on. Overall this cruise was excellent value for money. Let's add it up. Clean stylish accomodations, spa bath, robes, slippers, welcome champagne, fruit, afternoon canapés and complimentary wine and soft drink when served, free laundry, free room service, free drinks, complimentary high tea in your suite, Nespresso coffee machine, priority disembarkation and embarkation and it results in a value for money for product. The destinations were great but as we got to Noumea late the shore excursions were cancelled. Of course there were disgruntled passengers however most agreed it was a good excuse to come back again! We came on this cruise to give it a go. It was a nice smooth cruise. If you are use to superior ships like NCL and Celebrity suite categories of course the amenities on the Aria suite aren't as luxurious. But it is a third of the cost, and given that, this is a great price, great product, and great destinations. Great cruise! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Travelling with a 14 year old and hoped all the extras activities would be great on the refurbish ship. Firstly the virtual video is not accurate. Refurbished external yes but certainly not cabins. We were in 10204 balcony bed was ... Read More
Travelling with a 14 year old and hoped all the extras activities would be great on the refurbish ship. Firstly the virtual video is not accurate. Refurbished external yes but certainly not cabins. We were in 10204 balcony bed was saggy, carpets old very tight space. I had a wheely walker and had to fold up to take in side. Meals in Waterfront were not much different to home meals, water fish main like soup, meatloaf as a example. Dessert nothing to write home about. Angeles not really Italian and Dragon Lady best but very small meals. They advertise anytime dinning but everywhere has to be booked. Do this as soon as on board. The biggest rip of is the extra activities. Zip line walk plank. Segway obstical coarse What a Joke. 15 meters on side of deck going around a few top hats (same as used on round works). My grandson and his father paid for the Gold Edge pass. Unlimited use of activities. The Edge centre was only open each day for a short time. Only able to do 2 activities each day. Plus different ones available each day. It cost the same for a 8 day cruise as a 13 night cruise. No complaints about staff except shortage of but others worked very hard as usual. No drink service in Pantry, line up. Pantry food cheaply made, scarcity of meat. Fish and chips best. Salad small but ok Will we go again. NEVER. Back to princess or Holland America. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We booked this cruise as it was our only option for the dates we needed and I booked while it was on sale. We have sailed celebrity, P&O and Princess previously with Celebrity being our favourite. We were not sure what to expect ... Read More
We booked this cruise as it was our only option for the dates we needed and I booked while it was on sale. We have sailed celebrity, P&O and Princess previously with Celebrity being our favourite. We were not sure what to expect as I have not been a real P&O fan in the past, however we enjoyed this trip. The good The public areas on the ship have been done beautifully. The deck and outside areas are all well maintained. The Pacific explorer is an older ship which is obvious, but it has a certain charm, I love that deck 7 has a walk around deck, nothing better than a few daily laps around the ship. Overall the staff are very friendly and helpful Love riot, loved it, a bit rude, a bit silly (fun silly), a bit naughty and very entertaining and fun. Feature shows, a bit of a mixed bag, we enjoyed most of them and absolutely loved the Cinderella Panto on the last night, a mix of pure professionalism from the professional cast and absolute hilarity from the non professionals from the crew! The cruise director played the fairy god mother and belted out an amazing tune. Best disembarkation we have ever experienced, quick, no crowds and ahead of schedule. Quick and easy embarking and rooms ready on boarding. F&B staff parade at the Gatsby party excellent. Room kept lovely & clean and nothing was too much trouble for the room stewards. I asked for a top sheet and it was no problem and a few other small things were dealt with quickly. One of the waiters in the Explorer hotel greeted my husband by his first name from the first time he ordered a drink. We took early tenders at each port and encountered virtually no wait times. The not always great (some could be considered first world problems only) Lots of waiting around to order drinks, not many waiters roaming to take orders and often long lines at the bars. A few staff in the Pantry who if you asked them what something was they just pointed to the menu on the counter, I am pretty sure they could not speak English which made things a bit confused at times. I wish they would clean the windows in the Pantry, its a small thing but they were so dirty you had to squint to see out of them, kinda ruined the ambiance. People holding several spots in the theatre for their friends who wanted to slip in at the last minute or even after the show started like they were VIPs Lounges in the shade were all "claimed" before 7.30am with books and hats and people not showing back up until a few hours later and then disappearing again for hours. Staff dont appear to do anything about this. Its a personal hate of mine and not just encountered on cruise ships, but I wish they would do something about this, it is ridiculous. The adults only area is very hot with very little shade. The Food Overall great! we tried all the paid and free options. Taste of salt, just do it! Love riot dinner, it was ok I enjoyed it but they have some interesting dishes, like pate, which a lot of people would not enjoy. Lukes, it was ok, I really prefer a cruise where food from the pool grill is included. Pizza, nice and worth trying Shell and bones, lobster Mornay yummmmmm and the dessert was my favourite of the whole cruise.We went twice. Ate once in the waterfront, service good, food good, I heard a few complaints about the Waterfront but we had an ok experience. Dragon Lady good and free Angelo's, loved the gnocchi, had it twice. Pantry, we only had breakfasts and lunch here, oh and we did cruise past for dessert on occasion. I was so pleasantly surprised by the food. Every day they had a different themed selection of desserts, they tasted and looked fabulous. A good selection of food which varied each day. Balcony Cabin Bed was a bit uncomfortable...too hard mattress. Very small cabins and the bathroom is tiny. Ample storage. Furnishings dated as they were not updated with the makeover. It served it's purpose and apart from size, which wasn't really a problem for us no real complaints. Stewards were helpful and friendly. Overall I felt you could really see the effort that P&O has put into the Pacific explorer in all aspects. They hit the mark in a lot of areas and missed it in a few. I would cruise on Pacific Explorer again if the price and itinerary were right, in fact we have a 4 day booked in Feb. If you are only use to other top end cruise lines you may feel it falls a bit short in some aspects, but overall it was a surprisingly good cruise and I think they provide a good product for their market. Loved all the ports. A cruise to the Islands is more about relaxation than exploration and we snorkeled and swam at each port. Noumea - Did a non cruise tour to Escapade Island for snorkelling and a seafood buffet. (Brought a beer and a small coke in Noumea and it cost $19, yikes). Lifou - Jinek Bay booked through the ship, wonderful snorkelling - take a pool noodle and flippers if you are not a great swimmer. Mare - A bit of a hairy bus ride to the beach (which must be pre-purchased before you get off the ship and costs from memory $20 return), but nothing else to do on the island and the beach is beautiful with good snorkelling off the main beach and lots of locals selling food and drink. In comparison to Noumea we brought a beer, a fresh coconut drink and a serving of amazing fresh made hot chips for $15. Isle of Pines, stunning! We snorkeled around "The Rock", ate the biggest chicken sandwich I have ever seen and then did a last minute tour with locals which showed off a lot of the pretty spots around the island, the old jail and the well maintained convict cemetery. The shaded areas at all of the beaches get quite full, so if you want to be assured of a nice comfortable shaded spot take an early tender to arrive at the beach as early as possible before the main crowd. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was a new years eve cruise with a group of 8. (2 Parents & 6 adult children). We all had Suites and these were in fairly good condition with a little dated décor. Suite 10070. The TV in the bedroom is smaller than by ... Read More
This was a new years eve cruise with a group of 8. (2 Parents & 6 adult children). We all had Suites and these were in fairly good condition with a little dated décor. Suite 10070. The TV in the bedroom is smaller than by computer screen. Great room attendants but the balcony furniture was old and covered in paint spots. The ship has been re-furbished but the rooms are still as per the Dawn Princess days. The main dining room - The Waterfront is not an open plan layout and hard to gain waiters attention. Lots of tables in dead end corners and fake walls. On the first night 45 minutes to get a drink. We ended up going to the bar getting our own drinks. This was the theme throughout the whole Waterfront dining experience. We ate at Angelos 2 nights and Dragon Lady 2 nights. Much better service from both food and bar staff. We missed a R 18+ show 1 night as our children aged from 20 to 24 had to have photo ID. THey were holding alcholic drinks along with their seaa passes. Not good enough. Had to go to the room, get photo ID - mainly passports to gain access. Then the area was full and we were denied access. All of the bars on board had swipe accesa that display photos whith purchases but the secuirty is so anal that had to have this ID. We are now in 2018 and they need to updated thos old and dated system new technology. THe lido deck pool area was good with new furniture and the bars on level 7, The ExpLorer and Ocean bar were very nice areas. Entertainment was very good with sail away party, formal night, back to school night, white party night and Gatsby Night. Most of the ship participated in these dress up events. The lifts were so slow and have been programmed from anither decade. Much quicker to use the stairs, The glass lifts only go from level 5 to level 8. Entertainment was usual sing and dancing shows. The Maqruee was full evey night however, the late show was 9:00 pm and we could only get seating at 7:30 so we had to rush our food to make any shows. The late shows should be around 10:00 to esethe rush. On party nights there needs to be more bar staff. Queuing 3-4 deep at the bars with only 2-3 bar staff was frustating for all. P & O needs to schedule the staffing levels for the number of people attending. The photogtapher are very annoying. If the pricing was realistic more photos would be purchased. Royal Carribean has a package pricing were you can get all your photos for $299.00 Much bettre than $30+ for a small photo. This would reduce the wasted prints that are thrown away. Very environmentally unfriendly. Overal a good party crusie but more staff required. The P & O phrase of all you need is your sea pass and we take care ofthe rest is rubbish. My children had to have Photo ID with them all the time - they need to have scanners available for the security staff. The drink package is value for money in my opinion. Beer prices $7-$8.50 - Cocktails $12.00 with wine & champagne $8 -$11 per glass. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted to do something special for New Year's 2017/18. As not many cruises go to the South Pacific from Melbourne, we flew up to Sydney to board P&O Pacfic Eden for a 12 night cruise to Vanuatu and New ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to do something special for New Year's 2017/18. As not many cruises go to the South Pacific from Melbourne, we flew up to Sydney to board P&O Pacfic Eden for a 12 night cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Before I talk about the cruise I would briefly like to mention P&O's room allocation procedure. Unlike Princess, which you usually choose not only cabin type and deck and number when you book (and which results in different prices within the one category) with P&O unless you wish to pay extra to pick your cabin, this is done automatically within the type you select, eg. interior, oceanview etc.. On the P&O cruise control website it says that you can print your documentation two weeks before the sail date. We tried to do this but the website said, that it can't be done as the rooms hadn't been allocated yet. When I rang P&O they informed me that room allocation could occur up to one day before the sail date, which I personally think is unsatisfactory, as there may be an issue with room location. I was manually emailed the documentation, but when we picked up our documents from Escape Travel, the consultant didn't believe me until i showed him the error. The embarkation procedure for the cruise was very good, with only a small wait time. When we have sailed on Princess, their wait times have been quite a bit longer and they are fairly rigid with making you wait until your boarding number is called. So we got on and were settled in fairly quickly. I shall provide a brief paragraph on each of the main areas of the cruise. The ship Pacific Eden was smaller than the other ship Pacific Jewel which we went on and was newer looking with more of a boutique and elegant feel to it. Everything was fairly accessible, although some corridors led to dead ends which could make finding some areas more troublesome. Dining on the ship was very good, with a reasonable selection of food available in the pantry, although it taking a while to get served due to their no self service ability. We dined at the waterfront restaurant which had good food and service apart from sporadically slow drink service and inconsistent enforcement of dress codes. At some times the pantry wasn't open for food and on these occasions you had to pay more for snacks. We won a dinner at the Luke Mangran salt grill which was exceptional and well enjoyed. As to be expected, snacks from the convenience stores on board were quite expensive. The activities were probably the best aspect with usually there being something to do. All the entertainment directors such as Louie, Lauren etc.. always made sure people were enjoying themselves. I got a pass for the Edge activities, which included rock climbing, cargo net and flying fox and these were all handled professsionally. The tv choices were somewhat limited with shows often being repeated during the cruise. It was good having trivia at least 3-4 times a day, but the location in the ocean bar tended to get very full and you needed to be there quite early to get a seat. The excursions were alll ran well and went off smoothly, but there could have been more tender boats going to quicken the process of leaving the ship. On one occasion we went to where tender tickets were being issued and were told by other passengers that they weren't being issued and instead we had to wait for an announcement regarding getting off without a ticket (this took at least 20+ minutes with no announcement). The ports were all easy to get off at and information was available. The port information booklets could have done with a map, which princess usually provides with theirs. Drink service was fairly good throughout and was used by my partner mainly who purchased a soft drink card. This was with the exception of when we were in the casino and she ordered a drink and the waitress forgot before going on her break! We inquired about the situation after some 20 minutes and when told of the situation I informed them, that this wasn't acceptable service. The waitress came back very apologetic and was thereafter better with her service. It was just the two of us so no children. Because of the nature of the cruise there was definitely a younger crowd which was usually fine.We think we would probably not do another New Year's cruise as it was just one of those once off things to experience. We are frequent cruisers however and usually go on one a year, with this being our 6th one. Apart from the minor issues mentioned here, the cruise on the whole was very enjoyable, especially the entertainments. We have as I mentioned previously cruised on Princess and they are our first preference, although their prices have gone up considerably recently. P&O are still an acceptable second and if the circumstances and price were right we would definitely consider cruising with them again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Only ship that left from melbourne ( convenience) for new years cruise..so had no choice.. MELBOURNE NEEDS TO UPDATE THEIR HARBOUR TO ALLOW MORE SHIPS TO DOCK HERE Ship is shabby.... Quite dated... Needs to be put to rest... Drown it. ... Read More
Only ship that left from melbourne ( convenience) for new years cruise..so had no choice.. MELBOURNE NEEDS TO UPDATE THEIR HARBOUR TO ALLOW MORE SHIPS TO DOCK HERE Ship is shabby.... Quite dated... Needs to be put to rest... Drown it. Rooms were fine...except they are not sound proof..use your imagination. Staff talk about you in their own language... How is that even allowed?? It was beyond obvious... I challenged two female staff...asked them what they had just said about me...they denied it... Hello... It was beyond obvious.. Had the drinks package..omg was told off for sculling.. I don't drink that much...i would not even have used up the package or got my value's worth... What a joke. Yep... I do scull my first 2 drinks because i'm thirsssssty ..... By no means drunk then usually stop or slow down... I wasn't drunk at alllll on the whole journey. Most staff were polite. Went to reception to complain...they took the waiters side... Serioulsly?? Happened a few times to me...however ...not my friends...who are huge drinkers...me.. I think they flagged my card. Ruined the whole cruise for me... I WAS VERRRRY UPSET Some staff rude beyond words... Talk back to you when challenged. FOOD: Verrrry average ENTERTAINMENT: Verrrrry average - AMATUER - comedians were good Pools' tiny... Not enough lounges for sunny days... Big screen...what a joke... It's on the sunny deck.. Cannot see it.. Tooooo funny.. How stupid. Lame...will never travel on a p & o ship ever again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We know and expect P&O cruises to be a 3 star cruise line so we don't have high expectations we mainly cruises with them at this time of year for covenience cruised on the same ship the year before and really enjoyed the New Years ... Read More
We know and expect P&O cruises to be a 3 star cruise line so we don't have high expectations we mainly cruises with them at this time of year for covenience cruised on the same ship the year before and really enjoyed the New Years atmosphere this cruise was so different it was as if P&O are trying to save a few extra dollars again noticed less options in the Pantry (the buffet replacement ) to the year before usually 3 types of eggs on offer now only 2 each morning on the breakfast menu also at lunch and dinner not as many dishes on offer at dinner lots of people enjoy taking cheese and biscuits back to their cabins to have for supper but they keep the sliced cheese hidden in a fridge at the Kettle and Bun sandwich ,soup, salad bar. You don't ask you don't get'. meals at the Waterfront restaurant were nice went Twice to Salt grill extra costs $49.99 pp for tea worth every cent cabin was great BA balcony a couple of doors down from last year drink service on the pool deck was very slow seemed like not enough staff to take your drink orders although the staff coped the best they could it was sometimes faster to go to the bar to order your own drinks maybe this due to the new all inclusive drinks package and more people ordering it met some fantastic people on board and attended some great acts and shows in the theatre including Steady Eddie we had priority embarkation at checkin within 10 min we were in our cabin baggage arrived 5 min later Read Less
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