Natalie Gruzlewski was lucky enough to board P&O's latest luxury liner, the Pacific Jewel. There's no doubt Australians have a love affair with cruising, and the magnificent ship and the South Pacific combine to ensure one of the best possible holidays.
It's based in Sydney year-round and has a great range of cruises including exotic destinations such as New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Tonga and Norfolk Island.
It's 50 percent bigger than the Titanic and longer than three Airbus A380s in a row, so it's really like a floating city. It sails under the Sydney Harbour Bridge with just 9m to spare. The 70,000-tonne ship can carry 1950 passengers, who are looked after by 712 crew members.
There are 628 standard outside cabins and 206 inside cabins. There are 198 outside cabins and 36 mini-suites, all with private balconies.
The ship has a choice of main deck pools, whirlpools and a generous choice of eating and drinking options. There are four kids clubs and a shopping precinct. The theatre features a circus show, musical performances and you can catch the latest movies too. Aqua Health Spa & Fitness is the biggest spa at sea.
Pacific Jewel is scheduled for more than 40 cruises around Australia and the South Pacific and if your time is limited, they have weekend short break cruises. It's a great idea for a quick getaway, and each one is themed.
Natalie's cruise had a food and wine theme, hosted by celebrity chef Luke Mangan. He's opened up his fourth restaurant, Salt Grill, on board and because you only pay a surcharge to dine there, it works out much cheaper than eating at any of his land restaurants.
When Luke is on board he loves hosting cooking demonstrations, and you can be guaranteed to have plenty of laughs with the flamboyant chef.
Another first on Pacific Jewel is the Chocolate Café. Coffee is also something they've perfected. Professional baristas use 100 percent arabica beans and they will pass on hints so you can make the perfect brew at home.
Cruising's all about what you want to do. Relax on your balcony or make the most of everything they've planned for passengers' entertainment. Visit the P&O website and you're bound to find just the right escape for you.
Cruising the South Pacific aboard P&O's luxury Pacific Jewel.
Pacific Jewel's next three-night weekend short break cruise leaves Sydney on July 15, 2010. Fares start at $699 per person twin share. All meals and entertainment are included.
A 10-night South Pacific cruise featuring celebrity chef Luke Mangan starts at $1649 per person twin share. It leaves Sydney on August 7, 2010.
Prices correct at February 18, 2010.
For further information
P&O Pacific Jewel
Ph: 132 494
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