3 P&O Australia Pacific Jewel Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to South Pacific

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
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
As first time cruisers we did not really know what to expect when we committed ourselves to a cruise to "somewhere" warm, in the middle of winter, so we went into this experience without any preconceived ideas or opinions and ... Read More
As first time cruisers we did not really know what to expect when we committed ourselves to a cruise to "somewhere" warm, in the middle of winter, so we went into this experience without any preconceived ideas or opinions and without any other cruises as points of comparison. A couple of pre-trip aspects were not particularly well covered eg Despite paying for our trip about nine weeks prior to departure, we did not receive our travel package until six days before we set out for Sydney. This meant that we were unable to do any pre booking of shore trips and, consequently missed out on the popular ones that filled up quickly. Two days prior to our departure we received a telephone call detailing the embarkation arrangements and telling us that embarkation would be on a deck-by-deck basis, with times allocated to each deck. We arrived at the check-in and found that this was not the case and that embarkation was being carried out according to what time you arrived for check in These were two minor points that actually did little to detract from an overall worthwhile experience Briefly - Our cabin - An "upgrade", or so we had been told a few weeks before we left, but is high up and right at the front necessarily better than lower down and mid-ship. Not really, when boat movement became accentuated. Nicely appointed with enough room, an excellent en-suite and storage , comfortable beds etc, , mirrors to give the impression of more space but no fridge. The Ship - 20 years old, but it has had a recent refurbishment. I thought it had everything, almost There were noisy places and quiet places, busy bars and not-so-busy bars. It would have been good to have a TV screen which showed the ship's progress, other than the map on Deck 12 which had the course pencilled in. The deck crew were always present, cleaning and maintaining the vessel The food - Great selection in both Waterfront and Plantation always well cooked and presented. We tried both and didn't feel a need to go to the surcharge restaurants. It did get crowded at times in Plantation but the long hours meant that there was plenty of time when it wasn't. Booking Waterfront was more of a hassle. Reservations opened at 8 am, but were usually full by 8.15 am. The cafe made excellent coffees and hot chocolates and the coffee machine in Plantation provided drinks and Pastries for early (5.00 am) risers The crew - polite, usually friendly, efficient. The captain's talk on the running of the ship was an early highlight. He held my attention for a full hour and a half with his information and sense of humour. I'm pleased to see that tipping is going to be re-organised later this year. It seems unfair that a room steward can automatically get recognition but any other staff member has to be named and nominated. They are all doing their job. it is the extra smile or attitude that is displayed that sets one above another. Some staff seemed genuinely happy to be serving the passengers, while a few treated you as if you weren't really there. Entertainment - The Cirque Pacific artistes were top-quality. The Pacific Jewel dancers/singers were excellent, polished and professional. Yes it was the same eight people singing different songs and doing different dances, but it is a reflection on their talent, that they are able to adapt to the different themes of their shows and put together such a quality performance. We also thoroughly enjoyed Mr Fish. The other keynote entertainers gave mixed performances, with some placing too much reliance on the audience singing along and tired old jokes. A bouquet to Sarah Jane the Cruise Director and her team for keeping the various programmes humming along, with enthusiasm and a genuine wish for the passengers to have a good time. The karaoke sessions saw the usual range of talent, or lack of it, but the final of the Pop-stars competition was a real highlight. Ports of call - Some people were very uncomplimentary about Noumea. Personally I liked the place. Our choo choo train ride (paid for on shore) took us past beautiful beaches, resorts and affluent neighbourhoods. The city centre, near where we berthed, is quite old and dilapidated in parts, but it is also the largest city in Melanesia, a major port and industrial centre and its funding comes from a colonial power on the other side of the world. Mystery Island, Lifou and Isle of Pines were all beautiful spots, giving a view of how these Pacific Island people live and Vila was a long lane of market stalls and waiting taxis and minivans, unless you went further afield to do Duty Free shopping or on a shore tour Shore tours - we did one ship arranged excursion and two independent trips. The only difference would be the cost. Why are the P and O trips, for the same experience so much more expensive? Is the company receiving an overly large proportion of the cost for each trip it sells? Don't necessarily expect your guide to speak English, or to be too forthcoming with information about what he is showing you, although they do vary. The numbered tickets for the tenders was a good system, with very little waiting and the ship's end and, if you decided to leave the island before the deadline, the queues weren't too long there either Overall we enjoyed our 10 days. I am a nervous sailor. We met some interesting people who were all out to enjoy themselves and who contributed to making our cruising experience a memorable one. Thank you P & O and the passengers and crew on JO21 Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Pacific Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 3.7
Dining 4.0 3.2
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 3.5 3.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.1
Family 3.5 3.1
Shore Excursion N/A 3.2
Enrichment 3.0 3.0
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.5 3.3
Rates 3.0 3.7

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