All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Prior to this past weekend I was a cruise virgin. I’d never been aboard a cruise ship, and my freshness was evident by the fact that I repeatedly called the ship a boat, even to the Captain. He wasn’t very impressed. “Do you know what the difference is between a ship and a boat?” he asked. I shook my head and moved the conversation on as quickly as possible. Whoops.

The great thing about press-trips is that I mostly have very little expectations. When planning a trip of my own, I plan the heck out of it and get excited over the little details – hoping that it will live up to my every expectation. I did wonder, as I packed my suitcase, just how small the rooms were, if I’d get claustrophobic or sick of the seeing the same people on the ship over the weekend. {For the record the rooms were bigger than I imagined, I didn’t feel closed in at all and I rarely saw the same person more than once – unless of course I intended to}.

One thing I hadn’t even thought about was the movement of the boat. It totally slipped my mind. I imagined that we’d cruise through the water without feeling a thing. Some parts of the trip and others were more ‘moving’. Sunday night was a really rough night. With swells of around 10m it felt like I was sleeping on a trampoline with a herd of children bouncing around me. The bed slipped from underneath me as it bounced off the waves, and returned me back when it found the water again. Hubby had become well acquainted with the bathroom, sea-sickness in full force. It was unusual, we were told by the well-traveled cruise-lovers. I didn’t mind the movement. It was different to anything I’d ever experienced. I didn’t sleep much, more worrying about Hubby than anything else.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Before boarding the ship.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Checking out the ship. Lacey decided it was a great place to try some ballet.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Our cabin. Hubby took the top bunk.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Heading out of the Harbour. A band played, guests lined the decks and it had a real celebratory vibe.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Is there a better place to see how beautiful Sydney is?

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Looking up at the Plantation Restaurant.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Deck chairs begging to be relaxed on.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

The side decks were always quiet, like little hidden gems, so it was a good place to chill and look out at the ocean.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Looking down at the adults-only area.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Uninterrupted views. Stunning.

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The Pacific Jewel.

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We played Bingo twice, and didn’t win. It’s so much more fun than I remembered it {from when I played it with my Nanna}. A comedian ran the event and he may have made a few people do the chicken dance. Hilarious.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

One of the bars, The Atrium.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

The view from The Bridge {where the Captain does his thing}. That pool you see is just for the staff. Lucky buggers.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

And the pool for the rest of us, which was located on one of the top decks – surrounded by all the action. There’s restaurants, a spa, a gym, an ice-cream bar {for after the gym!}, loads of deck chairs, heaps of activities, spas, live music, a big screen, kids club and more.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Meeting the Captain. He said, “Look out at the horizon, can you see there’s a little bit of swell?” I think he was trying to gently tell me that it was going to be a bumpy night.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Another deck. I was surprised that, with a fully booked cruise, that I didn’t see more people everywhere. The ship is so big that there’s enough room for everyone and more.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

The Pacific Jewel is home to Salt Grill by Luke Mangan. While food from two of the restaurants are included in your package, Salt Grill is an extra $40 for a 3-course meal. Definitely worth the money. We would easily pay $100 each on land for such a meal. You can also get the most delicious Thai meal {8 courses, no less!} at La Luna for just $25. Bargain.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Creme Brulee. Hello!

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

The view from one of the back decks.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

There’s so much to see and do. On the Saturday night there was a circus show that was pretty darn amazing. One of my sister’s friends is the Dance Captain on another ship and she does acts just like this. Some people are far too talented.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Most people left the ship on the Saturday for a day on Moreton Island. I’ll share a little more about that in another post as this one is getting loooooong.

All aboard: A weekend on the P&O Pacific Jewel

Pulling into Sydney Harbour. It was exciting to see land again. We were home! {This is the view from our room}.

I’ve had a handful of people ask me via email and elsewhere what I thought of the cruise, and whether I’d recommend it. This particular cruise is only a short one, a total of 4 days away. It’s the first that’s ever been done to Moreton Island. We had a 4-berth room with a window {or porthole} and I think it cost around the $450 per person mark. That includes entertainment and food. I thought that was quite good for a family trip – because you could definitely holiday without finding any unexpected costs. You can of course spend more by adding in onshore activities, alcohol, kids club fees, spa treatments… etc, but the financially savvy could make sure that they stayed on budget. I found the drinks and extra on board to be affordable. We put Lacey into Kids Club a few times for short periods and it was free.

I was also lucky enough to have a spa treatment, a enzyme facial, which was beautiful. One of the journalists I traveled with also found it different to be moving around with the movement of the ship as we had our treatments. It wasn’t distracting, just so new for someone who has only done such things on land!

Would I recommend it? Yes. I think it’s a great family-friendly way to holiday – with lots of yummy food and ways to be entertained. Lacey and I had a great time, and so did Hubby until the very last, bumpy night – where he decided that he would probably never cruise again. Seasickness is the pits, apparently!

Have you ever cruised before? Where did you go to? Or are you a cruise-virgin like I was?

My family and I traveled as guests of P&O Cruises Australia. Please see my disclosure page for more details. You can keep up to date by liking their Facebook page.

Comments

  1. steph anne says

    I went on my first cruise trip last September. It was awesome but if I ever have to go on one again, I’d like to go with a group of friends or family. I think cruise trips are the best for big groups so you can all hang out together on the cruise then do your own thing when docked. I got EXTREMELY sick the last 2 days of the trip because of Mexico. It was HORRIBLE. There were times where I thought about jumping off the ship to end it all – just kidding….kind of. Glad you guys had fun!! :)

    • says

      Totally agree. I did say to Shane at one point that it would be super fun to go with a bunch of mates and their kids. It seems a lot of people do that, which would make it fun.

      So sorry to hear you got sick. I was so lucky to be OK. At some stages I got a weird morning sickness type feeling, but it really only hit me once we were off the boat. It took me a while to get my land legs back.

  2. says

    We’ve been on the Pacific Dawn twice and can’t wait to go again. We were never charged for the kids club though. We were told that was only if T stayed after 10pm.

  3. shoppegirls says

    Thank you for that insight in to your cruise. My daughters and I are are embarking on a weekend cruise in August for my stepdaughters hens weekend. We are so looking forward to it as we have always wanted to go but never have. This may be the first of many to come…..depending on the sea sickness. Did you have preventative sea sickness medication?

    • says

      Shane took Kwells, and being pregnant I just took some ginger. But seriously, if you get unbearably sick early on in the trip you can go and get a shot from the doctor on board. I would pack something in case though.

  4. says

    I’ve never been on a cruise but am hoping to soon. I lived in the UK for 4 years and wish I had done some of the European cruises around Scandanavia or Greece. Maybe when I finish uni and am no longer a poor student!

  5. says

    Wonderful pictures Chantelle! Going on a cruise is something I’ve always wanted to do…blame The Love Boat!! But my husband was the sickest person on the boat when we went whale watching a few years ago. It was 4hrs & 45mins of pure hell! So sadly I don’t see cruise in my future…unless I can talk my college girlfriends into it for our annual girls’ weekend. Hmmmm….I think I’m onto something! Thanks for a great post.

  6. Elizabeth Wilkinson says

    We are thinking of doing a 4 night cruise with a big bunch of girlfriends for one of their 40th birthday so I’ll be interested in hearing more about your experiences. libbywilko

  7. Margieuk says

    I am so jealous. I love to go on a cruise. So far have only been on 2 but plan another this year. For my birthday last year we went on a Cunard Cruise and we went on the Queen Elizabeth . It was fantastic in every detail. Spoilt us completely for other cruise lines. I think you would love a balcony cabin, they are safe for children if they don’t climb. I love having my cabin patio door open at night so I can hear the sea and when I wake in the morning I can see the sea from my bed. For me it’s heaven but I don’t live near the sea.

  8. says

    Wow! It sounds amazeballs. I too, am a cruise virgin, although it sounds like I need to pop my cruising cherry! Although I have very sickly sea legs. I would probably spend the whole holiday with my head down the loo. Your hubby has my sympathy! However, as my sis in law is a travel agent cruise specialist and my brother is right up there in P and O – I have no excuse not to sail away! I’m so pleased you had a great time – the photos are fab.

  9. Sarah says

    Oh! Your post brought back wonderful memories of my cruise on the Pacific Jewel a few years back. I went with 3 girlfriends for 10 days to islands of New Caledonia and Vanuatu. It was the most relaxing, stress-free holiday I’ve ever had, probably because once it’s planned, everything is taken care of and you’re free to enjoy your holiday.

  10. Debbie says

    We have been on 5 cruises, 2 without our children and 3 with them. If you asked them where they wanted to holiday next they would say a cruise! We love that they are really affordable and that there is as much or as little to do as you like. Bingo is our favourite time of day, so much fun and my husband has won a considerable amount of money before. We have always travelled with P & O out to the South Pacific but we are booked for a new cruise around Asia at Christmas.

  11. says

    My husband and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon (three years ago) and we LOVED it! it was a seven day cruise thru the Caribbean. It was our first cruise and I cant wait to go on another one. We had a suite with a small balcony and it was just breathtaking. My husband just loves being on the water so he enjoyed the 2 and a half days of just cruising on the water. I enjoyed that but also loved visiting all the different islands. I took TONS of pictures and would highly recommend. And it was awesome that whenever I was hungry or thirsty, i could just go and get something and not pay! lol

  12. Jennifer de Castro-Nguyen says

    Lovely! I wish we could just quickly go on a cruise for a few days without having to fly from the centre of Canada. I was a cruise-virgin when we went on our very first cruise at the end of November 2011. We had a 7-day cruise on the Eastern Carribean. It was wonderful and exciting and fun…until the ship started moving. Oh my! Was I ever sick for 3 days. And when I walked on land my equilibrium was way off. Lets just say when we finally arrived back home in Canada it took a week for me to walk straight and the bed didn’t feel like it was also moving!

  13. Sarah - Style Unearthed says

    It looks like you had a lovely time. I have never cruised before, but would like to try it. These pics made me realise how long Lacey’s hair is now! She’s gorgeous :)

      • Sarah - Style Unearthed says

        Of course it is! H won’t let me spike his up, so continues to walk around as though he’s been dragged through a bush backwards! I hope she enjoys the hair dressers.

  14. says

    I did a cruise of the Mediterranean last year with my husband – loved it! No worries about travel, stopping at a new place every day, the food, the pools, the cocktails – and BINGO! Loved it all :)

  15. Simone Goff says

    i worked for P&O once upon a time and did a cruise. i thought it was great but would not do it with young children. you were very game though i have boys and i know felix would have been trying to climb overboard. i definitely would not be able to relax

  16. says

    It is the best holiday for a woman. There is no cooking, cleaning, ironing, washing… you don’t really have to lift a finger. We went on the Rhapsody of the Seas to the Whitsunday’s a couple of years ago as a large family unit and it was our first cruise. It was amazing! Can’t wait for our next cruise on the Disney Fantasy.

  17. Charli & Ben says

    I’ve always had an image of OAP’s lounging on the deck or dozing by the pool when anyone talks about cruises. This look like great fun though, and those dishes are almost making me drool!

  18. Guest says

    Hi just wondering about the food included in your fare, when you order can you order an entree main and dessert or just one? and is room service expensive? thank you so much

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