Embarkation was pretty painless, the longest wait was going through the scanners but this just came down to people not listening. Make sure you bring your own pen, saves waiting for a one to become available and if possible get an ... Read More
Embarkation was pretty painless, the longest wait was going through the scanners but this just came down to people not listening. Make sure you bring your own pen, saves waiting for a one to become available and if possible get an embarkation card prior to sailing so you can have it already filled out.
Once on board we went in search of our cabin 6143. It was all ready for us. This was set up as a triple so twin beds and a bunk. The room is a good size, pretty standard cabin size I think and the bathroom is fine with a fairly large shower which has a clothes line. This comes in handy for hanging any washing you might do during the cruise. Plenty of storage for the three of us and our suitcases all fitted in the wardrobe, it would be better if they could fit under the beds though.
We have been on the Jewel before and not a lot has changed apart from the buffet being changed to the Pantry. I really loved the new set up, so much better than the old style buffet. There are now various stations with different styles of food. What we normally did was did a quick look at each station and decided what we felt like and then joined the queue. Not that there was ever large queues for the most part we could almost just walk up and order. Unlike the buffet where you serve yourself you now tell the waitstaff what you would like and they will dish it up. Much less waste and also much more hygienic. The Mexican was delicious, I missed it the first day as it's around the corner from the main area, and I loved the noodles. Surprisingly there wasn't an Italian station but quite often the roast station also had a pasta dish. The dessert, soup and bread rolls were on another station away from the hot foods. The set up, for us anyway, work well for breakfast, lunch and dinner and we always enjoyed our meals. I love their danishes and pastries!
I think the main issue in the Pantry was were the tea/coffee stations are placed. They are as you are going into the main part of the Pantry so even when there are only a couple of people there it does block the walk through. They would be much better in the Grill area before you walk into the main section. There are more on the other side which are a bit better placed, near the Asian restaurant. We found trying the get into the Waterfront Restaurant a bit of a nightmare so never ended up eating in there. We have experience this problem before on both the Pacific Dawn and The Pacific Pearl. You can't make a standard reservation for the whole cruise, unless you have a large group, so every day you need to ring or queue to make a booking. It would be good if they introduced the set early/late dining and then had the option of anytime. I think it might come down to staffing.
The ship itself is lovely, a bit dated but still a nice ship to enjoy a holiday on. The new dome area is nice to relax with a book or enjoy the view out of the wind. It's about half the size of the Pacific Dawn but bigger than what it use to be. This is also where the library cart was as there isn't a dedicated library on the Jewel.
The pool area is fine with plenty of deck chairs but obviously during the busier times, when there was something on or a band, it was a bit tricky to get a seat. There are deck chairs on deck 14. We liked the Oasis area at the back of the ship. It the adults only area but it's quite small and was often hard to find somewhere to sit.
I enjoyed all of the shows I went to and loved the fact that they had 3 shows a night in the main theatre with an early show at around 6pm. This worked in well for us as we could then go to a show and then dinner and the earlier time meant there were always plenty of seats to choose from. The Velvet Rope was my favourite.
Service and staff were generally great although we do find the trying to get a drink can be a bit difficult at times. We've actually found this on the other P&O cruises we've done also. When we don't want a drink there are waiters galore but as soon as we do want a drink not a one in sight. The bar staff are always friendly if not a tad busy but quite often they would run out of the wine we were having so we'd have to go in search of it ourselves. The staff are friendly and we had a fabulous room steward, Joannes, who was a bit of a prankster, he got me good! ha ha
This was a PNG cruise, the reason why we chose it, and we enjoyed all the ports we went to. Conflict Island was what you would call a true 'tropical island'. Simply gorgeous. We had no issues with tenders apart from when we were on our way to Conflict. It didn't take us long to get on the tender but we had to bob about in the ocean for about 20 minutes waiting for the tender in front to unload and reload before we could dock. The ship might not move much but the tenders certainly do. My mum was a bit green by the time she got off! The actual trip from the ship to the dock is only about 5 minutes.
All in all we had a great cruise. Yes the Pacific Jewel is old and a bit dated compared to the newer ships now visiting Australia but I still think it is value for money. We all enjoyed the food and didn't buy anything we didn't want. It's a shame the Edge activities aren't complimentary as there isn't a great deal to do, especially for kids. The kids club is a definite if you have children, even if they're not in it all day every day. Just helps them meet other kids and enjoy themselves a bit more. Don't look for things to complain about and just enjoy being on holidays and not having to cook or clean. :-) Read Less