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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We took this cruise as it fell at a time we could both get time of work and get three days away. The cruise was not the first that we had been on, as a previous experience was had on the Carnival Spirit. I was a little hesitant at first ... Read More
We took this cruise as it fell at a time we could both get time of work and get three days away. The cruise was not the first that we had been on, as a previous experience was had on the Carnival Spirit. I was a little hesitant at first as I had read a large amount of negative press and ratings about this ship. Not sure why that was the case because our experience was sensational. The ship had just been dry docked for an extensive period and had had a complete overhaul to all public and common areas. The ship was very well presented and looked brand new. The cabins did not receive much upgrade during this period so they were a little tired looking but this was only due to the tremendous quality of the rest of the ship. We were booked into the dining rooms of the three restaurants on board for each dinner. These were just divine and the service was excellent. I would recommend doing this before you board. We had breakfast and lunch in the Pantry Buffet and the quality of the food was excellent. Our room stewards knew our name from the first moment we met and always greeted us with it each day. They serviced our cabins meticulously each and every day. I was so impressed with their manner and work ethic that we provided the two of them with a detailed commendation as part of the staff reward program. We had cruised once before on Carnival Spirit and were also very happy with that experience. I would cruise on the Pacific Explorer again tomorrow if I could get time off work. No doubt we will board this ship again in the future. Well done P and O and the Pacific Explorer. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
Decided on this cruise because it was not too long and departed from and returned to Melbourne. The ship was built in 1989 and was very tired, dated and very much unloved. I have cruised on older ships before but they were immaculate. ... Read More
Decided on this cruise because it was not too long and departed from and returned to Melbourne. The ship was built in 1989 and was very tired, dated and very much unloved. I have cruised on older ships before but they were immaculate. Not so with Pacific Jewel. Curtains half hanging down, common areas not cleaned very well. The food was very very ordinary, including the restaurant. A very uninteresting selection for vegetarians. Eating the same thing day in day out became very boring. Our cabin was OK and the bar staff on level 5 were great although I think I could have drunk 10 cocktails and still walked a straight line! The entertainment was good. We enjoyed the lounge singers. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. We went on a 31/2 hour Kangaroo Island tour to a winery, lighthouse and general drive of the area. That was pleasant. Overall, the condition of the ship and the awful food would not get my recommendation for others to go travel to Kangaroo Island on The Pacific Jewell. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
My wife and I with two other couples enjoyed a long boozy weekend aboard the Pacific Jewel. Boarding and disembarkation went smoothly. No fan fair like other longer P & O cruises. We were happy about that. Our cabin on the 5th floor ... Read More
My wife and I with two other couples enjoyed a long boozy weekend aboard the Pacific Jewel. Boarding and disembarkation went smoothly. No fan fair like other longer P & O cruises. We were happy about that. Our cabin on the 5th floor was fine, although we did miss the balcony from previous cruises. A/C was a bit noisy when on cold, a little bit playing around with the thermostat soon figured that out. Waterfront restaurant first night was disappointing. Small serves and selection is smaller than previous cruises. I liked the "pantry" dining set up with staff serving everyone at the food station. certainly stopped sick guests spreading the love. It seemed much more healthier although slow at times. Running our of toast and utensils at breakfast seemed a common thread. Biggest complaint about the "Pantry area" was the attitude of the staff, disinterested and did not want to b e there was the overall impression." Grumpy " sums it up. "Salt" restaurant was very good although not one course of the 8 courses was presented to us in the correct order. We all had to do a plate swap every course. The live bands were great and the 1 stage show we attended was ok. Kangaroo Island was Ok for a walk and feed at the pub. Wives were happy with the market. Overall we had a good time, lots of laughs and stories. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our third cruise with P&O and our our 13th in total. There were four of us on the trip (a 4 day comedy themed cruise from Auckland to Sydney), my wife and I and my sister and brother-in-law who were taking their first ... Read More
This was our third cruise with P&O and our our 13th in total. There were four of us on the trip (a 4 day comedy themed cruise from Auckland to Sydney), my wife and I and my sister and brother-in-law who were taking their first cruise. Our overall impressions were not great. Whilst the entertainment provided by the five “resident” comedians was good and a couple of the chances to discuss comedy were excellent, the rest of the cruise was disappointing, the service was patchy and the crew weren’t particularly engaging or seeming to enjoy themselves. Dining The food was a particular issue, the pantry is very poor quality, my brother in law described it by saying you’d be very disappointed if you received similar at the food court in your local shopping mall. Some of it was almost inedible (I had an oatmeal for breakfast one morning that had clearly been made by someone who had never seen oatmeal before, it was cold and had a soup like consistency). The dining room was of better quality but only slightly and the amount of selection available had diminished significantly from our two previous P&O voyages. We dined there for dinner twice and lunch once and the organisation of the groups turning up was pretty shambolic especially on the first night when although we had booked a dining time it was just chaos trying to get in. We dined once at Salt and that was of a really good standard although at an additional $49 pp you would hope so! Accommodation We had both booked ocean view cabins on level 9 which were fine and the Jewel (along with the Dawn) have some of the best designed showers at sea with plenty of room in them. Entertainment Staff I was interested to note that P&O had changed the title of the cruise director (which sort of makes sense actually) to entertainment director. It’s a bit of a damning indictment that just a few days after the cruise I can’t recall her name and she was practically invisible the entire trip apart from introducing the evening show. One of her offsides (Steven) was far more visible and if I hadn’t known better would have assumed he was the cruise director. Misc The constant charging for every minor addition was pretty annoying and although I get that it is at the budget end of the scale, it felt like you were being nickel and dimed at every point, even the wellness lectures were a thinly disguised chance to sell over priced orthotics. I was disappointed for my sister and brother in law who had really been looking forward to the trip especially as we had been bugging them to come on a cruise with us for years but left feeling like they had a really low budget experience. On the up side the boarding and departures were very well organised and for once boarding times were actually enforced by the shore staff in Auckland resulting in manageable queues and an easy boarding experience. Even as an entry level cruise I struggle to give this more than two stars and that will unfortunately be our last P&O (Australia) cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were lucky enough to get a last minute deal for a quad cabin which worked out roughly to be $63 pp per day making it a very cheap holiday for our family of 1 adult, and 3 children. We've never cruised P&O before and I'd always been ... Read More
We were lucky enough to get a last minute deal for a quad cabin which worked out roughly to be $63 pp per day making it a very cheap holiday for our family of 1 adult, and 3 children. We've never cruised P&O before and I'd always been hesitant to book given the rumors of it being a 'party ship' among other things. Sure, I was worried on the first couple of days seeing all of the young adults drink to excess (yes, you did!!) I quickly learnt to avoid the smoking area on Deck 12, and the Dome at night. The upside was the ship was VERY quiet until about lunchtime. We had early boarding at 1030am and it was smooth and hassle free - we were onboard just after 11am giving us plenty of time to book an early slot for dinner in the Waterfront, dumping our hand luggage in our cabins, and in The Pantry eating lunch by 1130am. there were some passengers trying to jump the queue, but staff members were asking for paperwork and those without the early boarding were not let through (Ditto with the smooth and hassle free disembarkation). Getting on early meant we could explore our cabin and the ship. We had a window view quad room on the 9th deck which was adequate for our needs. Plenty of storage space for clothing, toiletries, and cases although a few extra coat hangers would be nice. Beds were comfortable, bathroom was adequate, we have no complaints about the cabin or size of the cabin. Every staff member we encountered were delightful, polite, and friendly. We have no complaints about staff members or the service, although there was a youth security officer who might need to adjust her attitude a little and understand that not all youth are unruly. Speaking of youth, I had no idea of the amount of kids onboard until the family Halloween party - I didn't find the kids to be a problem at all, quite the contrary in fact. I do wonder if the 'kids running all over the ship' mentioned in so many other reviews were doing scavenger hunts organised by the kids club. My kids did a few onboard and it does involve doing what is needed quickly. I couldn't get my boys out of the kids club, they loved it. My other child preferred to hang out with me. We all really liked The Pantry, I'm always a little wary of buffets so was interested to see how a food court would work at sea and was pleasantly surprised. We ate breakfast quite early (by 7am at the latest), lunch at 1130am and there was always plenty of seating available mostly in The Pantry, or just outside (the exception was the last sea day and disembarkation morning). Food offerings for lunch changed daily, breakfast appeared the same, I did pop in occasionally to see what they offered for dinner and it also appeared to change daily). We had dinner at the Waterfront (also tried it for breakfast and lunch) and were happy with the choices offered, and the quality of the food however something needs to be done about the temperature - it was mostly lukewarm when arriving at the tables. This is probably my biggest whinge about the trip - I hate lukewarm and cold food that is suppose to be hot, it's just asking for a boatload of food poisoning...We didn't try the other restaurants, and only had hot chips at The Grill which were nice at the beginning of the cruise, but the Grill started to stink of old fat/oil by the end and I couldn't walk past without gagging. The ice cream was nice and we enjoyed a few of those, as well as enjoying a few cocktails - well I did, the kids had soft drink! We didn't do a lot of the activities such as quizzes etc as were content to be in the pool, on the waterslides, or chilling out on deck with a book and/or talking to other passengers. The full shows we saw were Slumber and Seven and enjoyed them both, we also went to the 'introduction show' thing on the first night. Musicians onboard were fabulous and we spent a lot of time listening and singing along in the Atrium - I'm too clumsy to dance :D We didn't do any ship shore excursions preferring to sort our own thing out which has worked well in the past, and did this trip as well. We didn't think much of Noumea, but loved Lifou and Port Vila and will happily go back to either/or both! Would we cruise with P&O again? If the price was right, sure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I chose the option of a cruise so I didn't have to negotiate the tedious rigors of airport security and the daily pains of finding a place to eat and another to visit to fill in my holiday. I work long hours normally and get very little ... Read More
I chose the option of a cruise so I didn't have to negotiate the tedious rigors of airport security and the daily pains of finding a place to eat and another to visit to fill in my holiday. I work long hours normally and get very little time off so the wife and I wanted a holiday that was out of NZ and stress free. The Vanuatu Explorer certainly achieved this. While the ship itself is a bit tired, they do well with what they have. Service and staff were excellent. Atmosphere of the ship itself fantastic and we finally got the rest we deserved meeting a lot of good Kiwis in the process. It is true that you need to be careful as there are cash traps, once on the ship you are tied to the boat and reliant on the prices there in which are a bit excessive. On the whole however our first cruise a success. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I chose this cruise as I was not allowed to leave the country due to visa issues. It was a very last minute booking and after a trying year, me and my husband just needed a week of relaxation. Not even close to what we were hoping for. ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I was not allowed to leave the country due to visa issues. It was a very last minute booking and after a trying year, me and my husband just needed a week of relaxation. Not even close to what we were hoping for. I'll start with the entertainment: Granted the staff can not change the weather (it rained all 7 days) however there was ZERO alterations to the scheduled activities to accommodate the poor weather. For example, the large screen located outside on deck 12 showed movies every day (weather permitting). The Dome on deck 14, which also has a large screen, had quiet time in the afternoons. Why not show the movies in there?? Who knows. Every day there were quizzes. Quizzes in the morning, afternoon and evening. A few during the cruise would have been fine but it seems they couldn't think of anything else to do. With the exception of paper airplane contests, beaded jewellery making and cocktail lessons. I have never been more bored in my life. The on-board shopping was a joke. Closed during the day...again while it was raining and there was nothing else to do. Now the food: My husband and I never ate together. The Pantry was so busy that we would have to find a table then he would go to get his food. Then about 10 minutes later (due to the massive lines) I would be able to get my food. The problem was, he was finished before I got back to the table. We tried to book at the waterfront restaurant however, it seems everyone did that through their travel agents so no luck for us. The other restaurants were not included and I couldn't justify spending a fortune on food based on the food that came out of the Pantry. We like to eat healthy but there is not a chance that happened on this ship so guess what...both of us had bad stomachs for the first few days because we had to eat junk food. The Clientele: Do not expect heaps of people with any sort of manners or consideration for anyone around them. It is a budget cruise and thats exactly the people that board this ship. I would say that the staff was rude and service was poor...they didn't really seem to want to be there but after seeing the way these budget guests treated them, I can't blame the staff in the least. Expect loud jerks, spoiled teenagers, heaps of unsupervised children. Just expect to see an annual centrelink party. (Apologies to those who need centrelink but I think you all see my point) The gym was ok...can't really complain there. We did have about 30 minutes of sunshine and guess what, not enough outside chairs for everyone. Shocking, I know. The only pool was in the kids area and the only 2 adult hot tubs fit 4 people maximum. Needless to say, we never got a chance to go in...even in the rain. SMOKING SECTIONS EVERYWHERE! They allow smoking on the entire outer main outdoor deck near the kids waterpark and the pool. There were also a few smoking areas on other decks. I am a former smoker and hated the fact that I could smell smoke everywhere I went. The cabins were fine. Had a balcony room but never used it due to the rain. The cabin stewards work very hard and did a good job. That is the only positive thing I can say about this experience. In summary, I felt as though I was in prison. The only thing there was to do was drink and stare at other bored people. I actually wanted to get back home to work. If you book this cruise, please remember that you get what you pay for. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We were allocated cabin 11195, it was like hell on earth. Right below the pantry dining room, which we thought would not be too bad, but we were so wrong. Continued thumping and noise from 6am till 10pm and even longer. Kids running was ... Read More
We were allocated cabin 11195, it was like hell on earth. Right below the pantry dining room, which we thought would not be too bad, but we were so wrong. Continued thumping and noise from 6am till 10pm and even longer. Kids running was the most. Not helped by the fact there was something in the ceiling that also squeaked. Absolutely no insulation in the ceiling, in fact the metal ceiling was fully perforated. Then there was the balcony which we paid extra for that was unusable as it got water from the new water slides above! We went with low expectations and were very, very disappointed. The marketing and organisation at P&O is incompetent. I could write far more than there is space here on the things that are just wrong or conflicting. They could not even get the flushing of the toilet instructions correct. On the positive the staff and the food were fabulous. The shows were great. The shower was also great. The boat which they say was just refurbished is a dump. The cabins are tired. Nothing like the brochure. Our TV was on the table and impossible to view as the picture was so dark. It was a flat screen, but from the Ark. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Wanted to visit PNG. Wouldnt go again. Ship is very old and a number of cabins flooded which meant people had to be moved. Some of the children were very badly behaved bombing and jumping in the pool which made it impossible to swim. ... Read More
Wanted to visit PNG. Wouldnt go again. Ship is very old and a number of cabins flooded which meant people had to be moved. Some of the children were very badly behaved bombing and jumping in the pool which made it impossible to swim. Kids running around through the public rooms. the Youth controller did her best but she couldnt be everywhere. Salt Restaurant was very expensive and then you had to pay again if you wanted shellfish or crayfish. Disembarkation was chaotic and people had to wait for up to an hour and a half to collect their duty free alcohol. The organisation of disembarkment for shore tours was hopeless and conducted by people wearing red tshirts who were curt and unhelpful. Drinks were very expensive compared to other cruise lines. The cabin stewards were helpful and so were the dining room staff. The Pantry is basically food court quality. Read Less
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