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332 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

We just recently went on a cruise to Moreton Island from leaving Sydney a group of 10 of us sailed on the pacific jewel. we did not realise it was going to be a lifestyle cruise as previous when we sailed on the pacific jewel it was just a ... Read More
We just recently went on a cruise to Moreton Island from leaving Sydney a group of 10 of us sailed on the pacific jewel. we did not realise it was going to be a lifestyle cruise as previous when we sailed on the pacific jewel it was just a normal cruise with lots to find and do. But this time we found that there did not seem to have enough entertainment and did not have a lot of things we are interested in doing so some of us were a little disappointed with the way the pacific daily had been thought of. we had nice days on the cruise but when we arrived at Moreton bay we were faced with liquid sunshine for the entire day from unboarding on the tenders to the time we finally sailed away that afternoon. myself and four other of our family went and done the quad bike tour on the single quad's, in the rain. we found it good but pity we did not go for a little bit of a longer period of time as by the time we got up to the sand dunes and different people got stuck and nearly toppled off it took up our quality time to enjoy the amazing view and the thrill of riding through the sand dunes to then come back and hop off. I was lucky to ride the quad bike as having two artificial limbs I thought I might not be able to hold on as well as I did but I rode it quite well and quite surprised at the end result. the tour guides for this tour where quite helpful which helped the tour run smoothly. The most exciting part of our cruise was to be able to go and visit the captain and to have a photo taken with the captain in the atrium. we had some first time cruisers with us on this cruise and it made it easier for them for travelling with us as we had already been on this ship before. So the overall food and waiting staff was quite good but not as excellent as they had previously been on our first cruise we where a little disappointed as they should of known how many people they where going to be expecting on this cruise and to the quality of service they where going to give to their cruisers. know we are looking to see where we are going to cruise to next the bug is quite catching. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Before I begin my review, I will apologize for my comparisons to Princess Cruises. We have sailed 4 times with Princess and this was the first time with P & O, so you can undterstand why I make comparisons. I had read some pretty ... Read More
Before I begin my review, I will apologize for my comparisons to Princess Cruises. We have sailed 4 times with Princess and this was the first time with P & O, so you can undterstand why I make comparisons. I had read some pretty scathing reviews before we went, so I was prepared for some of the shortfalls. But for the most part, I was pleasantly surprised. Having said that, with a few small improvements, the experience with P & O could have been fantastic. Embarkation: Brisbane. We flew up from Melbourne the day before and stayed at the Airolodge Hotel. Brilliant place to stay and the staff were so helpful. The Brisbane terminal was really well organized, with friendly direction from staff in attendence. Just be patient - they are trying to board around 2,000 passangers. Check in all your luggage. No need to be carrying on anything but your essentials. We saw people struggling with tote bags & small trolley bags. Got no idea why. At Brisbane tehre are stairs to negotiate when boarding. There is a lift, but that fills up elderly passengers. The sail away was lods of fun. We had a beautiful day to sail down the Brisbane River & off to sea. Our bags were waiting for us & we unpacked quickly before we hit the open ocean. Do this if you can. Sea sickeness can come on from bending down to unpack your case. Accomodation: Mini Suite Our Mini Suite was spacious. Heaps of drawers & hanging space. Lovely ouinge area. However, I'd never pay the extra money again, it just wasn't worth it. P & O refurbished the Suites & Mini Suites on Pacific Dawn, but didn't do the bathrooms. Our bathroom was in pretty bad nick. The grouting & sealant had worn away on the floor & around the vanity & toilet. Our toilet flooded (it happens) luckily it flushed o.k., but just kept re-filling, so clean water. We got it to stop & mopped up, but we still ended up with pools of water everywhere. I realized it was seeping up from under the tiles, because there was no sealant b/w the tiles. I pointed it our to our cabin steward & maintence came & sealed the gaps in the floor tiles within a few hours. But still....surely that shuld be an ongoing maitenence check. Just be aware that you have step over the bath to get into the shower in the moni suits. Not that easy for older people. The balcony was a disappointment. The diagrams on the website makes it look much deeper than it is. We couldn't get the deck chairs to face out so we could sit side by side, because the balcony wasn't wide enough. Dining: We always enjoy dressing for dinner & going to the dinig room. Our first night was poor. The waiters were rushed off their feet & barely spoke to us. The second night we were put on another table, where we had wonderful wait staff, so we re-booked this table every night. Now this was a huge pain and I have no clue why P & O do this. We went through the processes to have that table, but had to ring the dinig room to confirm the booking each night. If they had set sittings, like Princes & other lines do, there would be no need for that. We still had to re-confirm the same sitting time each phone call anyway, so why not just have 2 sittings - early & late & be done with all the mucking around? Maybe because they only have the one dining room?? The food was really sub parr comapared to what we've had before. My husband even sent back a piece of Sword Fish that was rubber & bounced. I had tasteless lasagne, which was really just mince meat with a sheet of pasta on top. How can you muck up Lasagne?? The biggest bug bare was the lack of veggies & salads. You could order a side dish of veggies, but thy had the most random choices ie/ brussell sprouts or peas. A whole dish of just peas or brussell sprouts!! No green beans or broccoli - all of which keep well when refridgerated. The buffet was o.k. We ended up eating there for breakfast & lunch, because the dining room was boring!! The same menu day in, day out for breakfast & lunch. On Princess they have an 'everday' selection & then a daily specials selection. Don't know why they didn't have this on P & O. So our overall dining experience was lack-luster really. If they just had better veggie selections & more choice in the dining room, it would have been so much better. We had a night at Salt Grill. Absolutley fantastic. A must do. What you get for just $40/head is supurb. Service & food both. On the last night we did the Chef's table. What a wonderful experience. Cost us $90/head for a degustation meal. Worth it. Entertainment: The shows on board were brilliant!!!! Here we go - so much better than what we'd seen on Princess (at last a positive comaprison). The cirque troupe were spectacular. You must see them if you're sailingn with P & O. They are usually on quite early though, so take note of your daily newslettr. The bands they had on board were also fantastic. So were the comedians. Ports of Call: Luganville: We did a tour with a local company that I booked before going (we paid on the day) Paradise Tours was Fabulous - I highly reccomend them. Don't book through the ship - so much more expensive. Luganville is a large town, so do a shore tour here. Make sure you go to one of the many blue holes in the area. We went to Oyster Island on our tour for luch - just wonderful. Wala Lovely beach. Take some frisbies etc for the kids to play with. We spent quite a bit of time & had heaps of fun with the local kids just throwing frisbies & such with them. Massages & market stalls set up by the locals here. Champagne Bay One of the best beaches in the world. Just beautiful. Again markets & also a couple of bars, where you can buy the local beer or wine/champagne. Port Vila Best place in the Pacific for Duty Free shopping. The large emporium will send your purchases back to the ship for you & it will be ready for you to collect on the last day. We did a snorkelling tour from here with Sail Away Cruises. Sensational snorkelling. Otherwise - from Port Vila, there are the Water Falls, which we had been to before. A must see. Mystery Island What a beautiful surprise. Gorgeous beach here too. Now one of my favorite places. Also markets etc. Chill & enjoy, or walk & explore this little gem. Isle of Pines More established here. We took a local tour, which we found on the day. Lots of local tour companies waiting to take you around. More 'up market' markets, with some beautiful hand crafted jewelery. Tips - sign up for Martini Demo/sampling & Chapagne tasting. If you want to have a night at Salt Grill, book the 'Celebration Package'. For $150 you get a dinner at Salt Grill for 2, a box of chocolates & a bottle of Moet & $50 cruise credit. Great value. If you are doing a cruie around Vanuatu, take reef shoes. Some of the beaches have coral & rocks to negotiate. In summary, we had a great time. Onshore & onboard. The wait staff were lovely & you tend to find the ones who will respoond to your humour etc & strike up a rapour with. The dining wasn't that flash and our mini suite was a little disappointing, but at the end ot day - you get waht you pay for.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Food & Wine, well all cruises have food and wine but this was the theme. I was a little disappointed to hear once on board that the food and wine was only a title, and didn't really reflect the cruise its. I did expect to get a ... Read More
Food & Wine, well all cruises have food and wine but this was the theme. I was a little disappointed to hear once on board that the food and wine was only a title, and didn't really reflect the cruise its. I did expect to get a glass of wine recommended etc to match the meal I had chosen. But no. Nothing free on P&O Australia ships. The cruise started out 2 hours late, even with embarkation being on time. Happens. With the cruise going south down the east coast of Australia, it didn't really give any thing to see so everything was about the ship. Whiskey tasting, 4 x 15ml nips ($16au), and a 30 mins talk, was very good to attend on day 2. Cocktail making, 4 of theses ($25au) was great fun, and a good 45 mins spent learning on how to do them correctly. Cabin on deck 6 aft was very good, good size window, better than I expected, having heard a lot of negative about the ship. Staff in general were very good, and food great. It was good to watch a game of League on the hugh screen during the day, great way to relax having a drink. The permanent entertainers were brilliant, doing a nightly show. Also had guest comedians and chefs doing 45 minute shows that were good to watch. Drinks are not necessarily cheap, so very easy to chalk up a large bar bill, but it is a holiday, so most don't care. Disembarkation was quick,with most passengers having to carry off their own luggage. Over all was a very good weekend. I'd recommend to all, especially new cruises as it short and a good way to see if you like the cruise lifestyle. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Second time on the Jewel, First time was 10 nights, this time was 4 nights, She had just had a makeover which I found refreshing. The Dome was a great improvement of the Ship. The staff were fantastic, and so friendly, I found the Food in ... Read More
Second time on the Jewel, First time was 10 nights, this time was 4 nights, She had just had a makeover which I found refreshing. The Dome was a great improvement of the Ship. The staff were fantastic, and so friendly, I found the Food in the Waterfront restaurant was slipping in standard. Not as nice as I remember from my last cruise. The buffet I found boring on these four nights as it never seemed to change. We decided to eat in La Luna, It was the best asian type menu I had eaten for along time. I would recommend to anyone who loves asian food to eat there. It was an 8 course meal.I had to pay extra, but it was totally worth it. I found on this 4 nighter the entertainment during the day was very boring, how to manage your dog, how to dress, how to bank etc, would of loved some more trivias or shows in the lounge. The new LED lights in the lounge were fantastic, making the shows brighter. We had one new show and two shows I had seen in 2012. The service in the spa was great, but they need to update with some new packages and products. My daughter had her nails done and the paints were old and they had only a few colours to choose from. I was disappointed the edge experience was not going. I was looking forward to the flying fox over the pool, and I would of loved to do the Titanic experience too. Last time I cruised we had a mini suite which was fantastic, this time I had a outside cabin with a window. It was on deck 6 and was fantastic. I found we were never in there, only to sleep, I would do this cabin type again. It was much easier getting in the shower than the mini suite, which we had to climb into a bath for the shower. Overall great experience again. Just disappointed with the food . Our experience on Tangalooma (Moreton Island) was good. A quiet resort island just off the coast from Brisbane. I totally recommend the parasailing tour, it was fantastic, we could of stayed in the air all day. We watched whales jumping and could see dolphins . You fly from the boat and land on the boat.The only downside is the guys on the boat are hopeless in taking photos. They took a few of us going and in the air but none of them worked out.You could purchase these from the Tangalooma photo shop for extra $$ We also did the Wild dolphin feeding and for $159 each, it was not worth it. There were 100 plus people doing this tour.So they made a great amount of money. We started in a restaurant , which they provided alcoholic drinks and food, which were great, as much as you wanted to eat and drink in the time allocated. From there to a computer presentation about the dolphins for 1 hour, then off to feed the dolphins. $10 hire for waders was an extra for people who did not want to get wet. And the water was very cold. We lined up and went in , we were given 3 fish to feed the dolphins. The actual dolphin feeding was over in about 3-4 minutes.It was great but you cannot pat or interact with the dolphins. Just hold a fish in your hands and they swim past and grab it. It was still good but alot of money for the time. I considered it a donation towards their dolphin program. Would not do it again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Spent 4 fabulous Days going up and back along the Australian East Coast. A nice verandah cabin with a balcony as this was my first ever cruise. Great company, great activities , shows. The formal eating and the Bingo was a highlight. ... Read More
Spent 4 fabulous Days going up and back along the Australian East Coast. A nice verandah cabin with a balcony as this was my first ever cruise. Great company, great activities , shows. The formal eating and the Bingo was a highlight. Paying in Aus dollars was good also. The Dawn was older but nicely fitted out. Great feeling of happiness on the boat. Nothing like I expected with bogans and drunk rolling around. Very noticeable security on board patrolling for underage kids near bars after dinner. The Bingo was great fun a very talented caller (the cruise director) made it hilarious and moved along well. Food onboard was plentiful and had a lot of variety.The patio was very thin but it was still nice being able to see outside. Lots of families and middle aged groups. The 4 days cruises seem to be very affordable and you dont have to break the leave bank by going on one. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Bearing in mind that we didn't expect similar cruising to European river cruising we were disappointed at first but mainly didn't like the colours of the inside nor the long long rows of corridors. The food was average but the ... Read More
Bearing in mind that we didn't expect similar cruising to European river cruising we were disappointed at first but mainly didn't like the colours of the inside nor the long long rows of corridors. The food was average but the service good in the restaurants we attended (all included) but that was offset by the casual atmosphere with only shorts and thongs not allowed in the main restaurant, although the girls were allowed in with skimpy shorts. The most dressed up we got was trousers and short sleeved cotton shirt and not out of place. Plenty to do and lots of entertainment of various types but nothing startling and the internal TV programming was just awful except for kids. We had a very entertaining cruise director, very gay but in a fun way and the Captain spent more time mingling with the passengers than anything else and happily posed for pictures. Cruising is cheap these days but I suspect that is because the passengers represent a captive marketing opportunity with most spending more on board than they spent for the actual cruise fee. Our balcony wasn't fully utilised because of passengers in other units smoking outside, very annoying and P and O need to enforce their no smoking rules more rigidly. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We recently undertook a 9 night P & O cruise departing from Brisbane visiting the Island of Lifou, Port Vila, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. Here is my honest assessment of the experience and tips for future travellers. Firstly ... Read More
We recently undertook a 9 night P & O cruise departing from Brisbane visiting the Island of Lifou, Port Vila, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. Here is my honest assessment of the experience and tips for future travellers. Firstly the answer to two basic questions: Did I enjoy the cruising experience enough to do it again – Yes! Would I cruise with P&O again – No! The Good 1. Great value for money 2. Check-in and boarding and then embarking and dis-embarking at ports and at islands was extremely efficient 3. Cabin layout and size exceeded expectations 4. Cabin staff and wait staff in the restaurants were exceptional. Friendly and attentive. 5. Waterfront Restaurant experience exceeded expectations 6. Drinks prices including tea and coffee were equivalent to on-shore Australian bar and restaurant prices. 7. The on board entertainers in the many bars and the evening feature shows were excellent. 8. Snorkelling at Mystery Island and the Isle of Pines 9. Port Vila – ‘third world’ but very interesting The Bad 1.The on-board temperature was very variable in different areas of the ship. The restaurants and the ‘Dome’ were simply too cold 2.Some of the daytime activities were a bit lame and the seminars relating to heat land beauty were basically infomercials (hence the poor attendance) 3.Some of the staff conducting daytime activities were condescending 4.The Waterfront restaurant is the classier of the two ‘included’ eateries but sometimes the food was just warm and occasionally cool 5.The Plantations Buffet – It’s a buffet for the masses although suitable for breakfast 6.The prices for treatments at day spa not realistic having regard to demographic on board. Prices were pitched at middle to high income earners. The cruise attracts many lower income earners. 7.The milk added versions of the free tea and coffee available form a number of machines is simply dreadful. It tastes like powdered milk is used. When water and milk is added to tea it was a frothy mess which we nicknamed ‘cuppateano’. 8.The gym was too small and a couple of pieces of equipment were out of order for the whole cruse. 9.Dumb passengers who have little regard for coral reefs 10.All smokers (allowed on the main deck but still annoying 11.Sparkles’ - one of the on-board entertainment staff. Groan!! 12.The wages paid to board staff. But that’s why it’s so affordable. My Tips Pre Cruise Tip 1 - If arriving from interstate, the Admiralty Airport Motel on Nudgee Rd Hamilton is a good pre-cruise accommodation option. It's a 15 minute, $30 cab ride from the airport and an easy flat 10 minute walk to the Portside Wharf where the ship leaves from. While there are others a lot closer on Kingsford Smith Drive, it's a major road and is extremely busy and noisy. The motel was very comfortable and clean. There is no on-site restaurant but fish and chips are about 200 metres away and the Portside Wharf and Racecourse Rd precincts are within easy walking distance. Tip 2 - Buy a lanyard for your cruise card (your on board money).They are available on-board but at a premium. Tip 3 - You can take bottled water and soft drinks on board so don't be surprised when you see passengers checking-in and boarding with slabs of either or both. Soft drinks and water are about $3 each on the ship. Tip 4 - Arrive early for hassle free check-in and boarding. Boarding is done in numbered groups based on time of check-in. If you check-in early you'll have time for your last decent coffee at the Portside precinct and also time to pick up any last minute supplies at the IGA supermarket. On board Tip 5 - Assuming you check-in early, use the first hour on board to get familiar with the ship. Tip 6 - Lunch is served on board on the first day but there is a mandatory safety presentation half an hour before departure (i.e. so 1.30 pm for 2 pm departure) so factor that in. Tip 7 - Keep a daily eye on your spending by swiping your cruise card at the computer terminals at main information desk and reviewing your transactions. Tip 8 - Unless you are impressed by lots of food on display, love loading up your plate with a mountain of food that you probably won't get through, want to bum around in shorts and thongs all day long or have kids who can't sit still, then dinner in the Waterfront restaurant is the best option. It offers table service and 3 courses - all part of your cruise fare. It's also open for breakfast and a 3 course lunch. There are lots of choices and daily specials for dinner. It’s a much nicer experience than Plantations. On 'land' days you can return to the ship for lunch before exploring the islands again but you will have to put your snout in the Plantations trough as Waterfront does not serve lunch on these days. Tip 9 - Power outlets are scarce in the rooms so a double adaptor or small power board is useful. Tip 10 - If you like a variety of tea and decent coffee and don't want to pay for it at the cafe then bring your own tea bags and coffee (you can easily take on board a plastic plunger, ground coffee and capsule of UHT milk). Tip 11 - If you want to use the gym in the morning then get their on opening. It's small and gets busy. Tip 12 - There are some good duty free alcohol deals on board. $25 for two 1 litre bottles of basic spirits (includes Famous Grouse whiskey and Smirnoff vodka) or $35 for two 1 litre bottles (includes Johnny Walker red and Jim Beam white.) Prices on these were only marginally better at Port Vila so convenience could win out. The biggest and best shop for alcohol in Port Vila is Fung Kuei. On the day I was there they had a massive special – A 2 litre bottle of Jim Beam white label for $19!!! However, other shops did have marginally better prices on certain items but simply did not have the range. Tip 13 - The temperature in the restaurants and bars is deliberately kept cool so a jacket or cardigan is essential for those who feel the cold. This was one of our biggest gripes. Tip 14 - There is reasonable clothes hanging space in the cabins but if you have a lot to hang then bring a few wire coat hangers. Tip 15 - Make sure you head to the feature shows at night about 30 minutes before they start to avoid disappointment. Seating is limited On shore Tip 16- On island days, get going early and head back to the ship at around 11.30 for lunch. You'll avoid having to queue for the tender boat by doing so and can go back on-shore afterwards. Most people head back for lunch around 12.30pm to 1.00 pm. Tip 17 - Most of the on island markets are full of junk. You will keep seeing the same thing time after time. Tip 18 - On Lifou, don't miss the cave with its crystal clear plunge pool. Instead of heading left to go to the church on the hill and Jinek Bay, go right. You'll pass another church and, shortly after, come across a few locals sitting near a sign about the cave. They charge $10 to get through to it but it’s worth it. Tip 19 - On Lifou the locals offer two tours for a lot less than similar tours offered by P&O. Tip 20 - At Port Vila, arrange for a ‘taxi’ to take you around. We negotiated a taxi for 5 people from 9 am until 3 pm for $200. We took in the Cascade Waterfalls ($25 pp), the Tanna Coffee house, the Beach House Cafe for lunch (near Hideaway Island), a drive through a real village of, a cultural show ($10pp ), the Port Vila shopping district and return to ship. The driver was very accommodating waiting for us at each stop and accepting payment at the end of the day. Tip 21 - At Mystery Island, start with a walk around the island on the beach (island is only 200m across and 1km long) then pick your favourite spot. The best conditions are in the morning as the wind can pick up after lunch. The better snorkelling is on the side of the island opposite to where the ship’s tenders drop you off. The locals from the neighbouring island run snorkelling and fishing tours ranging between $15pp and $50pp and small outrigger canoes can be hired for $10 pp. Make sure you buy a fresh coconut for $1 or $2. Make a donation to the local pre-school while watching the kids sing their little lungs out. Tip 22 - On Isle of Pines, if you have a good level of fitness there is a great walk up Pic Nga (232 metres) which rewards you with 360 degree views if the Island. The walk takes about 35 minutes each way for those with a good level of fitness. The starting point is about 10 minute walk from the jetty/wharf - head out along the road to Vao, turn left at a T intersection, pass the petrol station (Essence) and you will come sign indicating the trail on your right. Don't miss snorkelling around the edge of the little isle at Kanumera Bay. The $60 Island Discovery Tour offered by P&O is $25 on shore with the locals, but you need to be early.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We took this seven day cruise to Port Douglas and return because it fitted in neatly with our holiday dates in Queensland and to get away from the cold weather in Victoria. I had read many reviews on these pages and must admit I was ... Read More
We took this seven day cruise to Port Douglas and return because it fitted in neatly with our holiday dates in Queensland and to get away from the cold weather in Victoria. I had read many reviews on these pages and must admit I was expecting the worst. The shock was that we had a great seven days. We have been used to Royal Caribbean and Princess and P and O round the world cruises and knew that the Jewel was not five star. But no complaints. Food in the Waterfront was fine, good selection and the waiters were great. Never had any trouble getting a table in the Plantation for breakfast and lunch and no complints there for the selection. We had a junior suite which was loaded with drawers and hanging space and a good wide balcony. No complaints again. Embarkation was the fastest I have ever experienced. 25 minutes from arriving at the wharf , dropping off the suitcases to unpacking in our cabin. Unbelievable. Entertainment in the Marquee was a good standard though again not five star but the entertainment staff - especially Angel from NZ - were good fun and lots of laughs. The ship was full and it was school holidays so lots of kids enjoying themselves which is great to watch. They seemed well behaved and you could always escape to the Oasis area. We were not in a group but there were many on board and we found all the passengeres we talked to were fun and just out for a good time. Trivia was fun and even managed a few wins with people we had never met. What more do you want. You won't be pampered unless you spend a fortune on the extra treatments and massages etc. Art auctions are the same on all ships. Just how many Picassos and Rembrandts can they offer and keep a straight face? Probably would not go again but would recommend the ship to anyone just wanting a pleasant break. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We travelled in a group of 12 from Brisbane via Airlie Beach, Cairns and past Willis island. Pros : - very cheap cruise - Relatively quiet as it was outside school holidays - cabin was large and very clean - cleaning staff and dining ... Read More
We travelled in a group of 12 from Brisbane via Airlie Beach, Cairns and past Willis island. Pros : - very cheap cruise - Relatively quiet as it was outside school holidays - cabin was large and very clean - cleaning staff and dining staff very friendly, hard working and helpful - quick disembarkation at all the ports via tender - food in main dining room was pretty good 7/10, a lot of choice and good quantity - excellent table service, fabulous desserts and loved breakfast - food at buffet restaurant not bad, again good selection, fresh and good quantity - plenty of deck chairs to laze on around the pool. - great magic show and band on board, loved the music in the atrium and the circus show in the atrium. - plenty of adults only areas Cons: - very disorganised embarkation at Brisbane, instead of going by times and deck by deck it was free for all and took 3 hrs in total. - due to cheap cruise rates expect a mix of passengers. We had a good handful of elderly people ( well dressed and spoken), a small selection of children ( mainly 4yrs-10yrs) with parents and a big group of bogans ( loud, rough looking, scruffy, often drunk ( or high, or both!)) - interior deco looking very tired, could do with a Reno - no frills cruise ship, very plain, unadorned cabins, atrium and dining room - small children's club, fine if the weather is good but very small when the weather is bad. - no area/facility for children (other than small gaming room) when the weather is bad, cruise director also did not put on any extra children's activities ( like movies) when it was storming outside. - you need to pay for all extras like laundry, soft drinks, ice cream, cabin service ( like breakfast in bed) and most ship activities. - no interconnecting cabins if you are a large family - small theatre which means mad dash for seats during show time. - not enough time in Airlie beach to do any of the island trips ( we had to be back on board by 2 pm) Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We wanted to go to the Melbourne Cup and thought cruising would be a convenient way to go. P&O had two ships leaving for the cup and our ship departed from Whites Bay. We booked P&O shuttle transfers to/from the airport and they ... Read More
We wanted to go to the Melbourne Cup and thought cruising would be a convenient way to go. P&O had two ships leaving for the cup and our ship departed from Whites Bay. We booked P&O shuttle transfers to/from the airport and they were excellent, cheap at $16 each. Our cruise fare provided general admission to Flemington Racecourse. We booked a package thru Ticketek for entry to the Precinct area and a reserved seat in the Lawn Stand. This was quite expensive but you had seating, shade, access to food, toilets and bookmakers in a private area. We enjoyed our day moving between the two areas. The ship provided coach transfers from the ship to the racecourse which were well run and very convenient. This was our first trip on Pacific Jewell, we enjoyed our cabin on Deck 10. It was near the rear elevators and convenient to go to either restaurant. I liked the walk in robe leading to the bathroom. The balcony door opened outwards instead of sliding, this made access to the balcony very limited. Was the smallest balcony we have experienced. We loved going to the main dining room, but found the menu had little variation, risotto of some sort every night. Would have liked to see some chicken dishes or some fish that wasn't always grilled or salmon. The entertainment wasn't anything special, just average that didn't interest a lot of the guests. Apart from that we enjoyed our time on board and would sail on the Jewell again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We absolutely loved this cruise, though at first we had hard time due to the tricky location of the embarkation port in Melbourne. It was also a very hot day and our taxi driver dropped us off outside the port as we were not allowed in ... Read More
We absolutely loved this cruise, though at first we had hard time due to the tricky location of the embarkation port in Melbourne. It was also a very hot day and our taxi driver dropped us off outside the port as we were not allowed in yet. We had to walk with our luggage in the heat to find a decent place to wait for the embarkation time. As I am a Platinum member of Princess' Captain's Circle Club, I knew my family of four and I would be given priority when boarding. The area just outside the port was not very conducive to a quiet and peaceful wait, worst, we could smell the stinky rubbish outside the businesses there. Thankfully, we spotted a few pensioners waiting by a closed restaurant and we crossed there as I was getting sick of the bad smell. Then, after an hour or so of waiting, I told my husband I've had enough and no more waiting for our tcheck in time, I knew they would not refuse us even if we were early for our time slot! ( Luckily, I was right!) I would not like to use Melbourne again as embarkation point if I could help it. The ports we visited were great, particularly Kangaroo Island and Adelaide. We had a great time, the views were awesome, the flora and fauna especially were unforgettable- we got up close and personal with some delightful fur seals. The "Remarkable Rocks" were truly remarkable, apologies for the pun which was intended! Crew, as usual were very good and a Filipino Chef went out of his way to cook some stir fry noodles for me just the way I wanted them as I didn't like the sweet flavour of the rice noodles they served in the buffet. Over- all it was a great experience and I proved once again to my boys (17 & 21) that I was right in telling them they would have a grand time as they were not so happy at first, with school just started and being in Year 11 and third year at uni, they wee bit worried missing their classes, same with my hubby who was starting uni that period too. But, it's all forgotten as they all enjoyed the cruise and the ports we visited! Thanks to Pacific Jewel staff and crew for a wonderful cruise! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We booked the cruise on a whim ... from an email with prices just too good to ignore. Then we looked at Cruise Critic reviews. Hmmmmm ... We determined we were going to enjoy ourselves, no matter what. We went for the cruise itself, rather ... Read More
We booked the cruise on a whim ... from an email with prices just too good to ignore. Then we looked at Cruise Critic reviews. Hmmmmm ... We determined we were going to enjoy ourselves, no matter what. We went for the cruise itself, rather than the destinations. It wasn't an auspicious start, I must admit. Fremantle Passenger Terminal was a schemozzle; chaos reigned supreme. Despite booking a time to board, we still had to join the mob, and sit on the floor, for two-and-a-half hours. Apparently the computer facilities afforded by the terminal were not compatible with the ship's systems, so everything was dog slow. And Fremantle Ports Authority needs a boot up the backside for the lack of facilities. One coffee machine; one poor overworked lady on bar duty, for 2000 passengers? And $18 for a glass of wine and a pre-mix can? Really? Anyway, at last we walked up the gangway, past the usual photographers, and onto the deck. We found our cabin easily enough, and after some of the reviews I've read we were somewhat pleasantly surprised -- even if they had got the bedding wrong (we specified double, not twin). It was spotlessly clean, airy, with huge amounts of storage space compared to other ships we've been on. Minuscule TV didn't impress, but then we weren't there to watch TV. A quick exploration, compulsory lifeboat drill and back to the cabin where our fabulous steward was already rearranging the beds. Geraldton (tendered in) was just ... Geraldton. For us it was an opportunity to buy the essentials we had forgotten in our haste -- cap, reading glasses, body wash, sunscreen ... Broome was quite strange. Because of the tides, we berthed about 3.00 am, and left about 2.00 pm. There wasn't much time to "see" the town. This didn't worry us because we go there two or three times a year, but some others were less happy. The jetty is, so they say, a "working jetty", so you are not allowed to walk down it. (There was absolutely nothing else berthed at the jetty other than us, so God knows what "work" they were doing.) Shuttle buses were laid on and took people into Chinatown. We walked around, had brekky, saw our friends and then went back to get on the bus to the ship. P&O cocked this up completely. It was 37° C and people were lining up, in the car park, for up to an hour. Many older people were visibly distressed. Kudos to the Roebuck Tavern and Broome tourist people who ran a constant stream of water and ice to those waiting. We sat in the bar and had a couple of drinks until the crowd thinned. Three buses arrived, we climbed on, and headed back. When the three buses reached the ship, people were not let out until the bus in front was empty and had departed. So we sat in a bus, locked up, in the sun, without air-con for 20 minutes. People were NOT happy! Once on board, the Captain came on to tell us there was to be a slight delay as two people had not come on board. It went something like this: "Normally, we would leave without them. However, they are members of the ship's entertainment cast. I am told they are comedians. I am not laughing." Classic. Anyway, that was the worst part of the cruise. From then on we had few problems. Lombok was interesting. We took a bus tour to the southwest coast, Cocotinos Beach. We enjoyed that. I'd suggest Lombok is working hard to be the "new" Bali, but Bali as it used to be when it was more laidback and less frenetic. Benoa (Bali) we didn't bother with -- both been there many times. Apart from which, I'd crashed with some sort of flu virus, as had many, many people on board. Very debilitating but, in my case, short-lived. Dearly Beloved came down with it two days later -- and is only just recovering now. Consequently, we didn't go ashore at Komodo, either. (You can't disembark unless you're on a tour anyway.) The three days at sea travelling back to Fremantle we spent doing precisely ... nothing! Just what we wanted. The weather was fine; the ship barely moved apart from a gentle "throbbing" occasionally. We had no rain, despite a threatening tropical low moving across the top of Australia. The Jewel is well worn but she has worn well. Forget the gym; three people would be a crowd in there! Most of the for'ard space is taken up with the usual beauty spas etc. (Money, money, money.) Unlike others, we never once experienced any bad smells inside though once, at the very stern on Deck 9, we did get a whiff of garbage. Perhaps it's stored back there? We had two alarms while cruising. The first one was a fire in the galley ... one of their mixers caught fire. The second was a of more concern -- there was a major rupture of a steam pipe in the stabiliser flat. Fortunately, there was no fire. Even so, the ship was forced to drop down to about 5 knots while engineers waited for the flat to cool enough to go inside. It took a few hours to fix, but the ship was finally able to get all generators back online and resume normal cruise speed. In both cases, the Captain kept us all very well informed. We only ate once or twice in the buffet (which we nicknamed "The Zoo"). Watching people elbow others aside to pile more on their plates doesn't really do it for us. We ate in the reastaurant and found the food to be very palatable and the staff very pleasant. we simply booked a table for the following night as we left. We also ate once in Luna, the Asian specialty restaurant on board. It was the Thai menu and I have to say it was to die for! Eight courses, each presented artistically on white china, with immaculate service and cooked superbly. If I sound like we were impressed, we were! It was a highlight. Drinks are, by Perth standards, reasonably priced -- $7.95 for a beer (some good draught on tap, too), $8.95 for spirits, $10 for a cocktail or martini. I thought it a bit rude to charge for water in the cabin, though -- $4.95 a bottle. There's a terrific little coffee shop off the pool deck where they really know how to make a good double espresso -- with chocolate -- for $3.50! I'm used to paying half as much again for a coffee in Perth. And no chocolate! When buying drinks, it pays to choose your bar with care, because prices between bars vary significantly. Our favourite bar -- and one of the most reasonably priced -- is the Orient, just near the main dining room. I'm not big on shows, so most nights after dinner I'd wander into the casino and tear up some $50 notes. (May as well have done that -- I couldn't win a fat lip in a fistfight!) One night I did watch a couple on guitars who I thought were extremely talented ... they did "Rhiannon" so faithfully to the original it made the hair on my arms stand up. Disembarkation was like any other. We were through the Customs and Immigration bit in maybe 20 minutes at most. We heard some people on the ship complain, "It's not Princess, is it?" Well no, it's not -- but it's damn sight better than we were led to believe it would be. We'd certainly cruise with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our 8 day cruise up the West Australian coast called at Geraldton, Broome and Exmouth. It was our 4th cruise and we have travelled on four different ships from 3 star up to 5 star, ranging from 5 to 18 nights. I would cruise on Pacific ... Read More
Our 8 day cruise up the West Australian coast called at Geraldton, Broome and Exmouth. It was our 4th cruise and we have travelled on four different ships from 3 star up to 5 star, ranging from 5 to 18 nights. I would cruise on Pacific Jewel again in a flash - it didn't disappoint - in fact it was a very pleasant surprise. I think its 3 star rating is due mostly to its age (approx. 25 years- but it is in extremely good knick). Sure it only has a 3 story atrium and no glass lifts but that in no way detracted from our holiday. Boarding at Fremantle was exceptionally well organised (the best I have ever experienced there), especially as Dawn Princess with about 2,000 passengers was boarding at the same time as the nearly 2,000 passengers on Pacific Jewel. We were in our stateroom within 30 minutes of entering the Terminal :-) Tendering at Geraldton went smoothly and as we did not book a P & O shore tour we had to take our turn to leave the ship but were on shore in just over an hour. We chose to walk into the city (about 10 minutes), met up with a friend for coffee and then visited the Cathedral and the HMAS Sydney memorial before returning (all on foot) to the marina for the tender transfer back to the ship. The free shuttle at the working port of Broome did not go so smoothly and it took us 3 hours to get off the ship and into China town (centre of Broome). P & O, Broome Ports and the shuttle service needs to be streamlined before the next cruise season to save further disappointment. Exmouth ended up being a surprise sea day as conditions were too dangerous for the ship to stay with the anchor not holding in a rolling swell and churning water. Good call by the Captain who put safety first. Our oceanview room mid ship on deck 9 was extremely comfortable and clean and the storage was the best I have ever had on a ship - plenty of hanging space and so many drawers that at least half remained empty....and trust me I take plenty with me! The pull out clothes line in the shower was handy for smalls hand washing - we took our own pegs. The food was fantastic (so may choices and very well cooked) in both Plantation (buffet) and Waterfront (formal) restaurants. I enjoyed every meal and marvelled at the high standard considering they prepare about 10,000 meals a day. The shows in the Marquee theatre were fantastic, so much talent there and the Cirque (circus) shows were amazing though not my preferred option. Staff were happy, helpful and polite. I enjoyed the free morning stretch classes, the mile walks on sea days and also the free backstage and galley tours. P & O acts quickly on feedback. I was surprised at lack of use of sanitiser by guests when entering the restaurants (usually cruise staff make sure good hygiene is a priority to prevent gastro outbreaks), I gave written feedback on the 2nd day, had a written reply by the next morning and for the rest of the cruise staff were standing in position to offer sanitiser to everyone entering a restaurant. Well done P & O. If you get the chance (on a sea day) book for a "High Tea" at Luke Mangan's "Salt Grill" - $20 a head (an absolute bargain). Trust me after that delicious and very generous afternoon tea, served in a 5 star setting you will only be wanting a snack for dinner. Even though our cruise covered part of the school holidays and there were many children and families on board I did not see any bad behaviour by any children who seemed to be either in the kids club or well supervised by parents. P & O you offer a good product and I would certainly recommend Pacific Jewel to others. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise was a little unsure what to expect, but from the moment we arrived at the Terminal were treated exceptionally well. Upon arriving at our oceanview cabin a room steward appeared and happily brought our luggage into ... Read More
This was our first cruise was a little unsure what to expect, but from the moment we arrived at the Terminal were treated exceptionally well. Upon arriving at our oceanview cabin a room steward appeared and happily brought our luggage into the cabin and explained everything about the cabin and ship. We found the staff and crew on board were the friendliest people on earth, always smiling and acknowledging you by name, especially the cabin stewards making little towel animals for the bed. The meals in Plantations and the Waterfront were fantastic with plenty to choose from, ooooohh the pastries and deserts were incredible, the only negative was the coffee stations would break down quite abit. The entertainment was brilliant with plenty of choice between stage shows to just chilling on the pool deck watching a movie. The tours available were fantastic with a good selection to choose from, Komodo Island tour including Pink Beach was my highlight, it is a bucket list item ticked also the Elephant Safari was brilliant. The ship was starting to show signs of wear but was going to dry dock in may, but was still very comfortable, my only concern on the Cruise was that our Air Conditioning in the Cabin broke down only 3 days into our cruise. I would recommend this company, boat and crew to anyone wanting a relaxing holiday. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Hi. This was my first cruise with P&O Pacific Jewel. I knew it was only a 3 star ship and I read some Cruise critic feedback that it was just a party boat, but the cruise I was on was definitely not a party boat. It had a lot of ... Read More
Hi. This was my first cruise with P&O Pacific Jewel. I knew it was only a 3 star ship and I read some Cruise critic feedback that it was just a party boat, but the cruise I was on was definitely not a party boat. It had a lot of families with children on board as it was the school holidays. The boarding was quite good and staff in the check in area were very helpful and friendly. When I got on to the ship it was very nice looking, and staff again very friendly. Also I noticed that there were heaps of drink waiters, and it was like this throughout the cruise and there was hardly anyone standing at the bars. I think Royal Caribbean Cruises should take note of this, as their drink waiters are virtually non existent and if you want a drink you have to queue ->so take note Royal Caribbean as you are being out done by a 3 star ship in this area. The cabin was very nice and clean. The bathroom, especially the shower, was quite big - plenty of room to turn around in the shower. There were heaps of cupboard spaces, and heaps of draws to store things. Service to the room was friendly but limited. I was surprised to find a turn down service at night with a chocolate,very nice touch P&O. Waiters on board were very very friendly and would stop to have a bit of a chat with you. To the staff on board the Pacific Jewel thank you for the great service. In the new Pantry, now where do i start - the queues were very small and finding a table to sit at was not too bad, as the old saying goes 'seek and you will find "a table"'. The food in the Pantry provided very small portions, but you can go back if you want more. I thought they would have had better selections in meats in the fat cow section, as they didn't have roast lamb and only had roast beef the first two days. All there was the rest of the time in the roast meats was stuffed pork and roast chicken pieces. The breakfast bacon was very chewy, like leather, and I finished up giving the bacon a miss on the second morning. If you wanted a fried egg and a grilled tomato you had to go to different counters to get them, and then to the toaster for the toast. By this time your meal is nearly cold. If you want a hamburger in the Pantry it had a sign up saying "Hamburger and beer $10", but you could order it in the main dining room free - needs a bit of adjusting I think, to get it right as it is only a new concept. Don't get me wrong, I think it is a great idea this Pantry. Now for the main dinning room, I had the same table the whole trip and same waiters and I cannot say enough about the service. It was exceptional. As for the meals, they were quite nice but the ice cream was more ice, like another person said in this post. The thing that I thought was a big disappointment was that there was no front view from the ship, as apparently I believe they closed off the front part of the Dome and gave half of the Dome area to the Gym, but still no view out over the front even in the gym as there was a mirror in the gym blocking the view. You couldn't even gain access to the front of the ship at all to view coming into a port, very frustrating. Some of the windows on the side need the tint replaced as they were starting to go opaque and made it hard to see out. The trip went well otherwise, and the staff on board were very friendly and helpful. And again it had no drunks causing trouble, not what I saw just families and retiree type people, plus a mix of young 20 to 30 years olds enjoying themselves and not interfering with other passengers. A great mix of people. Even the kids on board, and there were a lot of them, but they were well behaved. Parents could be proud of their children and the children seem to be having fun. To potential cruisers, don't be scared off this ship thinking it is just a drunken party boat, as it is not, and the passengers are mixed in age and travel experience, great bunch of people. The entertainment was great as there was something going on every night in a number of public rooms like piano playing and you pick the tunes as long as it was on the piano players list, then next door to the Orient Bar was karaoke at the same time, then there was the Theatre shows and plenty of seats and great shows. Also I was very impressed with the way they did their props in the shows, but I won't spoil this as you will have to see it for yourselves. To be honest in the rating, I am rating this as a very good 3 star ship, and it excelled this in personal service Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Just arrived back today Sunday 12th July!!! This was my first time on a cruise and I wasn't disappointed. There was 9 females ranging from approx. 40 - 80 years of age celebrating my girlfriends 50th birthday. We had a hoot!!! As with ... Read More
Just arrived back today Sunday 12th July!!! This was my first time on a cruise and I wasn't disappointed. There was 9 females ranging from approx. 40 - 80 years of age celebrating my girlfriends 50th birthday. We had a hoot!!! As with any holiday there is always good and bad but any problem we had was rectified as soon as it was reported. The food was lovely, we eat breakfasts and lunches at the Plantation restaurant and yes it could be a little repetitive but it was very nice especially the sweetie section and I wish I had caught his name but the gentleman behind the counter was so helpful and lovely even brought a vanilla slice to my table when they had run out. If you do have something you don't like don't complain just put it to one side and go and get something else it is as simple as that. If you do want to let them know that something is not up to standard let them know in a constructive way and I am sure it will be rectified straight away. My suggestion though would be to attend a little bit out of the normal 7am and 12 midday as it can get very crowded but we did not have to wait to long and it was a nice way to have a chat to other passengers who were waiting in line. We had dinner at the Waterfront most nights and the table service was amazing and the food was lovely and restaurant is in a pretty setting. They made my friends 50th birthday so special and I had pre ordered a birthday cake which was both yummy and beautiful to look at. We joined in on the available activities which were offered and I would highly recommend the martini making classes, lots of fun and not to mention you got to drink 4 beautiful cocktails. We visited Noumea, Mare and Port Vila. Unfortunately, the weather was not kind to us, but this is something there is not control over and you just have to grin and wear it and not allow it to spoil your holiday, as the beautiful south pacific waters are so warm it doesn't matter if it is slightly overcast and drizzling. Had a great snorkel on Mare Island, took the little tut tut train around Noumea. The tour guides voice was a little annoying but as we were only there for a short time it was the best on offer to see the island, especially considering the weather. We hired a driver called Makenzie on Port Vila for the day who drove a pink van and he went out of his way to ensure we made the most of our time on the island. I would highly recommend Mackenzie if you can find him in his pink van he was so lovely and helpful. When you get off the boat all the drivers will be waiting either up to your right or at the gate. If you see a pink van or when you get to the gate just ask for Mackenzie. We visited the cascade falls and climbed to the top absolutely breathtaking and went to Hideaway Island and snorkelled and sent a postcard in the underwater letter box which is not as easy as it sounds...but we all finally got it in the box!!! For those of us not up to the walks or snorkeling he took them to other sites on the island such as the coffee plantation and then came back an picked us up. He also managed to find a tatootist as one of my friends gets a small tattoo in every country she visits!!! Such a beautiful accomodating man. I was pleasantly surprised at the prices of drinks on board and sipped many a cocktail which were delightful. Like I said sometimes you have good and bad on a holiday and if anyone tries to put you in room 8109 head for the hills!!! This room is directly above the Connections Bar where a lot of the entertainment occurs and it is very very loud( might be good for younger people who would be down there anyway) the room is much larger then normal cabin so that is a huge plus but it is very hard to sleep until after 1am also very hard to catch up the next day to have an afternoon nap as the entertainment starts at midday and the whole room vibrates BUT as soon as we reported it to the lovely girls on reception we were soon contacted by the lovely night manager Emile could not do enough for us. Moved us into a very quiet room on deck 5, we also received a complimentary bottle of wine and he checked in with us to ensure everything was ok. Another incident which happened in the dreaded room 8109 was our bathroom flooded and my friend clothes all got damp. Emile immediately organised a laundry service. Thank you Emile you made a wonderful trip even more wonderful with your fantastic customer service and I wish you well in your future career. June was providing our cabin service in 8109 and that was the only sad part about leaving this room. June was lovely and cleaned the rooms twice a day and nothing was too much trouble and always done with a beautiful smile. I unfortunately got very unwell for a couple of days and had to go to the medical centre. I cannot fault the medical centre, the staff there were amazing and the treatment I received was top notch. They must be the most friendly, best looking bunch of doctors and nurses I have ever seen and so friendly. Enjoyed my Pandora story with the lovely nurs Anna and had quite a giggle with her despite feeling unwell. As a result of getting unwell on board, just a reminder to anyone who is travelling, always purchase travel insurance as overseas medical treatment costs a pretty penny but when you are unwell you really do not want to wait to get treated. Highlights far outweighed what little lowlights there were and I would like to thank all the staff and crew for making my first cruising experience a very pleasurable one. Next time and there certainly will be a next time, lets just hope the weather turns it on for us as well. Thank you Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Firstly let me say that our last P&O cruise was 10 years ago and we vowed "never again". However we needed a mid year break this year and the only ship sailing out of Brisbane was the Jewel. I fully expected a ship that ... Read More
Firstly let me say that our last P&O cruise was 10 years ago and we vowed "never again". However we needed a mid year break this year and the only ship sailing out of Brisbane was the Jewel. I fully expected a ship that was very run down, with 1980's overflowing public toilets after reading the reviews here. We had two cabins - a deluxe balcony and standard balcony. Both were spotlessly clean with plenty of storage. The deluxe did have a better size balcony so I would definitely recommend that one. Service on the ship was fantastic. Our cabin stewards were outstanding, bar staff were always around to get you a drink and in all dining rooms we were impressed. The Pantry is great. I cannot understand how people say that it is repetitive. There are 6 different cuisine options plus dessert to choose from so if you are on a 7 day cruise you can try one each day. On a 14 night cruise you will have to double up (oh the hardship!) As it was I had Indian and Mexican nearly everyday as they were fantastic. Food in the Waterfront was great . La Luna (Thai ) and Salt were outstanding! I realise that the Jewel is getting on in years but she is well looked after. All public rooms look good. I have been on ships younger (and more expensive ) than this and they look tired in comparison. Heard some passengers complaining when we got off that there were cut backs. Okay there may not be the milk and cookies on deck in the afternoon (who wanted that anyway?), lobster night, bombe Alaska ,the champagne waterfall ,or a library. None of these things affected our holiday. We had a great time! I could go on and on but will not. Suffice to say that I am an avid cruiser (15 cruises on Carnival, Princess, Holland America , Celebrity and P&O ) . I have travelled widely as I worked in tourism for 20 plus years. ). I definitely would recommend P&O and would travel with them again. The food and service was much better than on some of the newer ships I have been on. Great atmosphere for all ages . Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We chose this short sampler 3 night cruise just to see what P&O Australia had to offer. As we live in North Qld embarking from Brisbane was convenient and we had booked a suite so from dropping our luggage to boarding the ship took ... Read More
We chose this short sampler 3 night cruise just to see what P&O Australia had to offer. As we live in North Qld embarking from Brisbane was convenient and we had booked a suite so from dropping our luggage to boarding the ship took about 30 minutes. Unfortunately Brisbane must have the worst port facilities in the world - the sooner the upgrades are completed the better. Pacific Dawn was a real surprise, for such an old lady, she was so pretty!! Truly, that was the feel of this ship - light, bright, warm colours. Very clean, and surprisingly easy to get around. We found our suite no problem and again what a lovely surprise. Lots of room, clean, bright, modern, well laid out, all you could require for a 30 day cruise let alone 3. For those who have never had a suite (like us, usually in a balcony cabin) it had a walk in wardrobe that led through to the bathroom which had a bath. What a luxury on a cruise ship. Unlike some of the other ships we have been on you can get top to bottom of Pacific a Dawn in oh, five minutes!! Especially if you use the stairs, the lifts were so slow! We had dinner in the main MDR the Waterfront Restaurant and the food was very tasty, hot and relatively quick to arrive. I thought it looked a little chaotic service wise but hubby disagreed. Good menu choices. The Plantation Restaurant is the Dawns buffet and must be the quaintest buffet we have seen on any ship we have cruised on. First is the behaviour of the passengers, this should have other cruise lines in awe alone!! They line up behind each other - no cutting in - pick up a tray (I kid you not, think the old Myer or DJ's cafeteria trays for Australians or M.A.S.H. for US) and proceed to select their food in turn - no pushing or shoving or leaning over each other. Once full of their selection - which was quite limited - off they trot to one of any numerous comfortable tables. If we see anyone complain about cold food in the buffet on this ship - they only have themselves to blame, they could have gone back for seconds (no?) of the hot main!!! As to the coffee, both the machine type and purchased espresso - best we have ever had at sea. Second night we had dinner at Salt Restaurant - very nice, great service, lovely ambience, must book!! The bars on the ship are beautiful, the Orient in the centre if the ship has lovely decor, great service - just wonderful. The theatre was comfortable and the shows were great. Because this cruise line DOESN'T have drink packages staff actually serve you personally! We had personal service in the theatre, service in the bars, service in the restaurants, service in the cafes for coffee and service on the pool decks!! Honestly cruisers, for what you might achieve by buying a drinks package you most definitely lose in service. Why would a cruise line want to push drinks on you when you have already paid for said drinks. The last thing they want is for you to have too many drinks on your packages, hence less service. And because they have no way of knowing which passenger has a package until they take your seapass card, no service. P&O is a prime example of old fashioned service and it was a pleasure. Unfortunately they don't cruise to all the places we want to go and we love the newer ship (without trays in the buffet). Shopping was limited but it's a small ship - something had to give right? The sampler cruise was fun, but not ideal for us personally. Definitely like the longer cruises, but if you are considering P&O Australia - go for it!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My husband and I have just returned from our first cruise on Pacific Jewel for 7 nights. Before leaving for the cruise I had heard negative comments about P & O cruises, but we were pleasantly surprised. The check-in staff at the ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from our first cruise on Pacific Jewel for 7 nights. Before leaving for the cruise I had heard negative comments about P & O cruises, but we were pleasantly surprised. The check-in staff at the cruise terminal were both friendly and helpful. We were impressed with our oceanview room and the friendly staff. Our only complaints were that we would like to see more areas restricted to smoking. In an ideal world, smoking on ships would be banned totally. Smoking should be restricted to one deck.We would've liked to have walked on the open decks to experience the sea breeze, but were confronted by dreadful smoke fumes which ruined the experience. Thank you Pacific Jewel for a wonderful cruise. It has given my husband and I further incentive to go on another cruise in the future. Julie and Peter - August 2015. We enjoyed the entertainment on board, the comperes Marios and his friend were fantastic, Bobbi was lovely. The musicians and singers were also good. We participated in the trivia, tai chi, cruise info seminar and I also danced in the "white evening". While I was extremely happy with the service onboard I did not like being asked "Want a drink? by one of the female Philippino drinks waiter - this is not a professional way to ask someone if they would like a drink. A couple of the male Philippino male drink waiters could have have appeared happier - one did not smile at all. These are only minor issues. Kojak (who I believed was called Brian) in the Waterfront Restaurant was fantastic as were all the staff in this restaurant. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My 2nd cruise on the Dawn , the first was with my daughter and son-in-law and their 2 children plus a friend. I got very sick and was confined to the cabin in case I infected other passengers, which was fine. I pitied the poor cabin ... Read More
My 2nd cruise on the Dawn , the first was with my daughter and son-in-law and their 2 children plus a friend. I got very sick and was confined to the cabin in case I infected other passengers, which was fine. I pitied the poor cabin steward who had to attend to the mess in the bathroom. I moaned and groaned my apologies but he remained smiling and polite (and also concerned as it was clear I wasn't suffering from a surfeit of cocktails). A few days later the loo flooded the bathroom but it was was fixed within half an hour. The children just loved the Kids Club and could barely eat a meal before rushing back there. It was school holidays so lots of other children to meet and mix with. There was even a concert put on by the children from the Kids Club which I went along to out of a sense of grandmotherly duty. I loved every minute of it and stayed and watched all of it. We laughed and laughed (not unkindly) at the antics of the young ones, half of whom had no idea what they were supposed to be doing but did it all anyway. The Lifou Tour was disappointing as the only English speaker was the Guide who was dressed like a Vietcong soldier. I tried asking questions of our driver and his companion whilst we were driving around, about the various places we passed, and got off the tour bus none the wiser. Vanuatu was totally different; the Tour guide did a marvellous job. Even taught us a local version of 'Waltzing Matilda' , in which the locals waited for tour ships to come in and then popped the Captain and crew into the cooking pot. Hilarious. That 1st cruise was so enjoyable I then did a 3 day Comedy Cruise with another friend who had previously flatly refused to even consider a cruise. To illustrate how much he enjoyed it, despite hobbling around (often in great pain) with a walking stick, the day we returned he had me booking us another one. We avoided the Adult Comedy Shows and went to the Family ones, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. But you do need to seated well before the shows begin as The Marquee fills up fast. We did the Whiskey Tasting which I felt was far too early at 12 noon, later would be better. We played Trivia, the prize of a P & O key ring (with bottle opener!) is pretty lousy, a pen would be more useful I think. We watched other (mostly younger) folk play Charades and Pictionary, both very entertaining especially the lady running the Pictionary who is blatantly and unapologetically anti -men (at least whilst running the game), she was hilarious. I saw one comment on this site from a girl who complained that she and her husband spent $2,000 whilst on board. My first thought was that they must have had a heck of a lot to drink, that sounds a ridiculous amount of money; my second thought was that P & O didn't force them to spend that much. We used the Watermark to eat, and whilst on the first cruise the food was good (though it made me ill so perhaps I should temper that remark), this time I found it not so good though my friend loved everything he ate. The wait staff were very good, we even had a singing waiter to serenade us at breakfast. Our cabin staff were excellent and we got the towel animals which are fun. One complaint is that P & O has out of the blue somehow taken an extra amount of $250.00 from my Debit Card and whilst they are 'looking at it', it is irritating, and so far I can't get a copy of my spending on that first cruise. So one piece of advice I have is to make sure you keep your account (I didn't as I knew it was all paid directly from my Debit Card) in case of a hiccup later on. My other complaint concerns the so called Art Auctions, run by Park West which operates on 140 ships around the world. My friend won a prize for attending the auction and was very excited until he found he had to pay $65.00 in order to have it shipped from US to Australia! He was so outraged he declined the prize, and when we arrived home I checked up on the value of the (unframed) seriolithographs he had won, and they are worth next to nothing. So be warned and don't pay the $65.00 Yes the Dawn is a bit tired, but for the price it is a good bargain. There is plenty of free stuff to do. Drinks aren't overpriced; The Edge isn't cheap but it is good value; Kids Club is a boon for parents and most children enjoy it; the dancers/singers are OK; the staff were all polite and attentive. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
As to be expected, there were a few problems on the first few days, but our overall experience was great. The room was every thing that we expected as we already new they had not been refurbished. Larger than experienced on previous ... Read More
As to be expected, there were a few problems on the first few days, but our overall experience was great. The room was every thing that we expected as we already new they had not been refurbished. Larger than experienced on previous ships. The service we received from the room stewards was second to none and any problems were attended to promptly. We loved "The Pantry" concept (much more hygienic than the old buffet style) although ,as a senior, a few less stools and more tables and chairs would be an improvement. The menu at this venue could do with a bit more variation as well.(and proper coffee please!)The menu in the Waterfront was adequate in our opinion. Service across the whole ship was a little slow and disorganized to begin with but improved as the cruise progressed.The menu in both Angelos and Dragon Lady was good and the food was as good as any I've experienced elsewhere. The port and shore excursions were all good in our experiences. Esperance was a bit of a problem for some but in the main it was weather related and not the fault of the crew. The tendering crew did a great job under difficult circumstances to get every one back on board safely. Better communication from the Captain down, particularly to those caught ashore, would have helped ease the anxiety for a lot of people. Top marks to the residents of Esperance for helping out, when they themselves were facing a deadly bush fire situation. The entertainment was variable. We went to most shows and enjoyed most of it. Something different for everyone. Not too many cruises end with a bang as ours did on arrival in Sydney Harbour. We loved every minute of it. We don't tend to dwell on the negatives and for a "new" ship with a new crew we enjoyed our time on board and would certainly recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Upgraded from balcony to mini suite a week before sailing @$80 pp, was well worth it, priority checkin & transit onto the ship in a matter of minutes. Also had free soft drinks included, fruit basket & nibblies, after cruising a ... Read More
Upgraded from balcony to mini suite a week before sailing @$80 pp, was well worth it, priority checkin & transit onto the ship in a matter of minutes. Also had free soft drinks included, fruit basket & nibblies, after cruising a lot in our earlier days around South Pacific & Asia, we don't tend to do small /local trips anymore, our last 4 cruises have been repo cruises from between 18-37 days in length in Europe & America. When we boarded the Jewel we could see she is an older ship but the cabin (11126) was well appointed, the only downside is the location under the pool, the noise of the deck chairs could be annoying at times, in terms of restaurants -we prefer the cafeteria & the pantry concept was interesting, traffic flowed well, less wastage (but I don't think ruled it out ) & more healthy in terms of germs not being passed through many hands touching utensils. I would have to say thatthe Jewel are not as hygeine alert as other ships. Other lines always someone in doorways ready with sanitiser & they are well positioned at lifts & pretty much sanitiser stations at every doorway, we didn't utilise the spa or speciality restaurant services, perhaps on a longer trip, I found the service staff in all areas to be friendly & service orientated, I would happily go on the Jewel again& recommend her to others, we just spent a month on the solstice & whilst it was a beautiful ship - their unethical business practise of increasing alcohol prices by $3US per drink was an insult to the 2000 Australians who boarded in Hawaii & so I actually rate P&O higher than celebrity, the ships might not be flashy new ones but they beat celebrity hands down in terms of service & atmosphere - we also had the pleasure of celebrating the 5 ship spectacular & justice crew & exito were awesome -well done P&O it really was spectacular! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Short two day inaugural cruise on board the new P&O Aria, a small ship formally belonging to HAL. We chose this cruise to be right in the middle of the action for the celebration festivities of the nightime 5 ships P&O ... Read More
Short two day inaugural cruise on board the new P&O Aria, a small ship formally belonging to HAL. We chose this cruise to be right in the middle of the action for the celebration festivities of the nightime 5 ships P&O spectacular on Sydney harbour, & we were not disappointed. The concert & fireworks with the backdrop of the Harbour Bridge & Opera House was a real highlight & an unforgettable experience. Embarkation was slow, We arrived early & should have gone straight on board but due to a delay boarding, we waited for over an hour in the terminal before they started letting people on. Once on board our cabin was ready, an Inside on deck 6 aft. This was a handy location near an exit door to the outside promenade/lifeboat deck. The cabin had a new bathroom, great comfy king size bed, and a fair amount of room compared to other insides I have seen before. A lot of the main public food & entertainment areas of this ship have been revitalised, some great, some ok & others not so great. The overall look feels new, modern & classy. The main pool area has a 5 star look about it while the rest of the refurbished areas a 4 star feel. Food: The main dining room looks nice & we didn’t have to wait too long to get a table for two. The food was nice but not great. Service was quick to begin with but then got very slow. In all my cruises I have never seen a dining room with such a lack of wait staff. In fact this was common throughout the ship. I just didn’t see large numbers of general crew anywhere. The crew to passenger ratio on this ship would have been very low. The Pantry buffet was pretty good overall. It looks good & I can see that it will be much easier for the Cruise line to manage hygiene issues with the new concept whereby they serve you. But, sometimes you just want to serve yourself to put more or less on your plate, etc., & this now isn’t possible. There were more than enough choices for a 2 day cruise but I wonder if this would get a bit boring on a much longer cruise. The plush lounges in this area are very comfortable but the red chairs not so much. We also shared a pizza from the Grill near the main pool & this was very nice. We had a soft drink package assigned to our cards & this made it very easy to just walk up to any bar & get a glass of soda or coke & so on. Entertainment: The main concert the first night was amazing but that was a one off event. As for the rest of the cruise, there were some great performers in the various bars. A modern/funky jazz quartet called the green room, playing in the Blue room were fantastic! We saw most of the main production show in the theatre & sorry but this was pretty poor. The Theatre is very old in ship style & as such didn’t have many good viewing angles. In particular if you were sitting upstairs where you could only see about half the stage. The show itself about an old style circus seemed very dark, sad & quite boring. If you have never cruised before you would probably love this, but we are used to much bigger production shows, on much bigger ships with live bands & the like that provide a real Wow/Fun atmosphere. The rest of the ship had it’s problems. Despite the recent renovations, many older walls, etc., were scratched or damaged, or hidden by curtains. Curtains everywhere, inside & out. The main Atrium area has to be one of the most boring & unimpressive I’ve seen with a whole lot of wasted space on the bottom level. The flow of this ship is ok at best. You sometimes need to go up or down to go forward or back, especially on deck 7. If you have a mobility issue, you might find some areas a bit tight to get around with a wheelchair & even if using a walking stick you will need to fight with heavy doors & ramps when going out to some of the outer decks, eg deck 6. The elevators on this ship were terrible. None of us passengers new why, but of the 8 tiny lifts, only a maximum of 4 worked & usually only two of them for the whole cruise. This made for a very long wait to use the lifts, especially for people like myself that cannot do many/any flights of stairs. Communication on this cruise was also lacking. On both days, we received info in our cabins at bedtime that should have arrived much earlier in the day, eg what to do on board that day. I heard the cruise director over the PA but I never saw them out & about or relaying more info. A new cruiser would have been left wondering what to do & where to go many times. In conclusion I can see that this ship will be a big hit with new cruisers or past P&O cruisers. We sailed on her for the major event & not the ship. This ship has some cool highlights but is too small & old compared to what we would prefer to cruise on. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I booked this cruise as a spur of the moment decision and as it was over a weekend I didn't require time off from work. The pacific aria has just undergone a refurbishment and they did a great job on her. The various public venues ... Read More
I booked this cruise as a spur of the moment decision and as it was over a weekend I didn't require time off from work. The pacific aria has just undergone a refurbishment and they did a great job on her. The various public venues were great with many bars and little alcoves around the ship to enjoy your time on board. The staff on board were very friendly and helpful. It does though feel that it is slightly understaffed. This was mostly evident in the waterfront restaurant. It took quite some time for orders to be taken and then for the entree to be served. Also it felt that the casino was understaffed (and very small). With times when there was minimal staff on duties when the casino was busy and closing fairly early (1am) when there were still a few people willing to keep on gambling. The shows on board were great with 'side show alley' being a highlight. Also Taylor Moss, a country-rock vocalist being great. I travelled throughout the ship to watch her perform. A great talent. Looking forward to the next opportunity to travel on the pacific aria. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I have travelled on the Dawn 4 times in the past 5 years ! We found the embarkation much easier to go through this year as we were with a group of women over 70 the ground staff had some compassion as to the wait time in the line The ... Read More
I have travelled on the Dawn 4 times in the past 5 years ! We found the embarkation much easier to go through this year as we were with a group of women over 70 the ground staff had some compassion as to the wait time in the line The re fit on board was subtle but noticed...and we enjoyed the changes to the waterfront dining area It was great to see some of the dining staff that serviced us extremely well last year and the years prior Chris,Elvie Marissa and Edz are exceptional with their service two of my friends and myself are over 50 and we loved the Edge....We took up the platinum package and didnt find it was expensive this way at all....we were extremely happy with our value for $ we didnt get to a show as we ate around 8pm and enjoyed the rapport with our wait staff Didnt got to the earlier shows as we were enjoying the oasis deck before dinner I do prefer the two sittings as they used to be rather than having to book every day for your table...although after a few days we did get the same table, time and wait staff the high tea at salt for $20pp was exceptional value for money ...well done our waiter Chris at Salt was a fantastic waiter in the dining room last year and it was great to see him again Its like catching up with old friends our cabins were on deck 10 this time and was perfect to access the adult only area while we didnt use the ships shore tours...getting on and off the ships was not a problem or too long a wait to do so booking our next trip this week love your ship P&O Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
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