Pacific Jewel Cruise Review by Cruisaholics2017
- Sail Date: November 2017
- Destination: South Pacific
. Our embarkation and disembarkation procedures werre much quicker on P&O with almost no wait times, unlike on Princess (although this may have also been to the cruise not being as popular a one).
. The buffet restaruant in Princess is much better as: you can serve yourself in most areas and so have greater portion control, you aren't waiting to be served so it is much quicker, there is a greater variet of foods e.g. salads, there is more seating available.
. The gift shop has a greater range of souvenirs on Princess and destination shirts which are available and often discounted later in the cruise. This wasn't the case on the P&O one.
. There appeared to be less open deck areas where you could go for some fresh air on P&O.
. The service in the formal restaurant, the waterfront on P&O was definitely and less attentive on P&O with drinks refilling and waiter service considerably slower. Also the supposed dress code which was present on some nights was enforced inconsistently with some people being refused entry for wearing shorts, while others were allowed in wearing shorts and t-shirts. When this was brought up with the maitre d, they claimed it was because some diners couldn't understand English well. We saw some underdressed people who were clearly aussies so this wasn't always the case.
. The booking system for the formal restaurant is poor with you having to line up for a long time to indicate that you wished to dine there at the beginning of the cruise. This resulted in the rediculous situation of one passenger arranging bookings for 16 people and caused a delay of nearly 30 minutes! On Princess, passengers simply nominate a booking time before the cruise and they need to do nothing other than show up to eat. The P&O system does mean you get to meet more people, but we found on Princess that we got to know the people on our table well.
The onboard ship activities were enjoyable, although it would have been nice if they could have shown movies in the theatre such as how they do on Princess during the day, considering the theatre is largely unnused then. Also some scheduled activities were cancelled without notice which wasted time.
. Before our cruise we were offered a room upgrade for a very cheap price, which we have never had with Princess so this was much appreciated.
. On P&O cruises you have to pay extra to choose your own room. This isn't the case on Princess as within certain categories such as interior/exterior, deck, ship position e.g. forward or midship you can choose your own cabin.
On Princess selecting a cabin beforehand means that when you are choosing a potential cabin you can be aware of potential issues in regards to its location. It is also reassuring to see that you have a cabin designated for you.
On P&O cruises we found out that the website cruise control which is your interface with P&O has inaccuate information. The site claims that you can print your tickets and documentation 2 weeks before the cruise date. This includes your cabin number which is when it is meant to be allocated to you. Upon contacting P&O regarding a cruise which we are taking just before the end of 2017, we found out that this isn't the case and that instead cabins are allocated any time from 2 weeks until the day before the departure date! This is extremely unsatisfactory and creates unneccesary anxiety regarding printing and preparing documentation such as tickets. Yes their system does allow for potential upgrades but it is unneccessarily inefficient.
Overall we would like to say that if you are of a more mature group and want better service than Princess is probably for you. P&O are still quite good however and recently have been more affordable (probably due in part to Princess's price rises to cover the cost of their new ships).
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