Sail Date: June 2019
Having been on an earlier cruise on the Pacific Jewel we decided to do a longer cruise on the Pacific Aria. The ship was smaller and more intimate than the Jewel but parts were quite dated and we noticed an almost musty smell in our cabin. ... Read More
Having been on an earlier cruise on the Pacific Jewel we decided to do a longer cruise on the Pacific Aria. The ship was smaller and more intimate than the Jewel but parts were quite dated and we noticed an almost musty smell in our cabin. The service could not be faulted from the housekeeping staff, the entertainment, the restaurants and we felt the food was superior in the Waterfront to previous although not so keen on the pantry food. We were fortunate enough to be gifted a lunch at Luke Mangins Salt Grill and the steaks were absolutely the best we have ever had and would give them a 10+ We felt this ship being smaller was more rockier than previous but it may have been due to the weather. Special thanks to our Room Stewards Viddy and Elmer for helping us and making our stay just that ore special with their service. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was a last minute booking as it fitted with time off work and was inexpensive. We are Elite on Princess but have cruised with P&O several years ago and were not expecting it to be of the same standard, however we were ... Read More
This was a last minute booking as it fitted with time off work and was inexpensive. We are Elite on Princess but have cruised with P&O several years ago and were not expecting it to be of the same standard, however we were pleasantly surprised. The ship is small so easy to find your way around and very nice inside, quite different to other ships we have been on, more like a modern Hotel. Our room was a ocean view on deck 4, all we could get at that late stage, but it was quite large compared to some of the rooms we have been in on other ships. The only issue was machinery noises from below at night and the air conditioning that had a mind of its own and no matter where the controls were set varied between freezing cold and hot. We normally take the traditional dining option on Princess but did enjoy the options of the different dining rooms - Angelo's, Dragon Lady and the Waterfront. The food was what you can expect on a cruise ship and remember it is not expensive. Some meals were very good and some not so good. It was necessary to book well in advance if you wanted a specific time, in order to see the shows and while this was ok on a short cruise we would still prefer the Traditional dining option - same time, same table, same people, same waiters on a longer cruise. There was no shortage of variety as although the menus were quite small they changed every 4 days. We only ate in the Pantry at lunchtime and breakfast on shore days when we had early starts. There was a huge variety to choose from and generally the food was good. It was a little disjointed though having to go to different stations to put a meal together. Best to find a table then check out what you want, and then get to the stations with the longest queues first otherwise the hot food will be cold. The entertainment was excellent, the production shows, guest artists and live music was as good as any we have seen on a cruise ship. Sideshow alley, the magician/singer duo, and the Hawaiian Comedian were stand outs. Embarkation and disembarkation was very well organised, as good as we have come across. The Tendering process was poor, we gave up in Lifou after waiting over 1 1/2 hrs in the morning. And when I finally went ashore in the afternoon it took over 2 hrs from the time I joined the queue for the return journey, all the time standing in pouring rain - not pleasant. It is a small ship and therefore there are not the facilities we are used to. There is no hot tub in the adults area and as the main pools were freezing cold the two hot tubs in the main pool area were always full of children. It was the school holidays and we understood that the capacity of children allowed on board was maxed out. There are no wine lists in the bars - only in the restaurants and although there was a good range of wine in the restaurants it was very limited in the bars and there was different availability in the different bars. Bottled wine was in the $30 to $60 range with reds in Angelo's generally more reasonable than a good Chardonnay anywhere on the ship. It was good to see the ships security policing the R18 shows and adults only areas and crew removing towels from loungers that had been left by lazy and thoughtless passengers. The Unesco Heritage site snorkelling trip in Noumea was a highlight despite poor weather conditions. Expensive but well worth it, one of the best snorkelling sites we have been to in many years. Sharks, turtles, lots of tropical fish both small and large, moray eels and great coral. Having a guide with us made it feel much safer and they knew the best spots to go to. On a sunny day this would be stunning!! The shore excursion to Mare was also good, nice beach with easy swim to some coral reefs with some brightly coloured tropical fish. Due to poor weather we did not get to visit Mystery Island. Overall a good cruise and certainly value for money. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Before traveling we read many negative reviews about this ship so our expectations were quite realistic. It was a taster cruise to see if I could handle the seasickness and being on board for days in a row. We had an amazing time and ... Read More
Before traveling we read many negative reviews about this ship so our expectations were quite realistic. It was a taster cruise to see if I could handle the seasickness and being on board for days in a row. We had an amazing time and could find little fault. For the price we paid, we didn't expect the highest quality food or the most luxurious accommodation but our meals in the specialty restaurants were fine. Yes the serves were small, but extra dishes could be ordered. I loved the smaller serves, compared to the huge meals served in most restaurants everywhere these days. The staff were amazing. Nothing is too much trouble. We found the entertainment to be excellent with something for everyone. I am sure there are more glamorous ships on offer but we went with an open mind and a positive attitude and enjoyed the whole experience. On this comedy cruise we laughed our way across the Tasman. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
P&O Australia have really dropped the ball on their service standards. We have recently returned from a cruise to Papua New Guinea, from Brisbane, return to Brisbane. Then stayed on the for the 4 night crossing to Auckland where she ... Read More
P&O Australia have really dropped the ball on their service standards. We have recently returned from a cruise to Papua New Guinea, from Brisbane, return to Brisbane. Then stayed on the for the 4 night crossing to Auckland where she will be based until August, This was marketed as a Comedy Cruise. Whilst the ship was very good and appeared in good condition we did have a plumbing issues in our cabin, outside on deck 4. The cabin was very nice and well planned with a 3 seat settee, plus a chair, but no fridge or kettle were provided. The shower is over a tub with very high sides. Could be an issue for those with mobility problems. It is too short for an adult to sit in, you'd have your knees up under you chin. There was very good storage and hanging areas. The former library in HAL days has been converted to the Blue Room bar. It is very nice indeed, but personally I miss the library. The library now consists of a small bookshelf on wheels, wheeled out each day in the Atrium. Given that the target market spend most of their time on cellphones this is probably understandable. The main area of disappointment is in the food and service areas, particularly in what is now known as the pantry, previously the buffet. Firstly the staff has been considerably reduced and the very competent Filipinos have been replaced by others, mostly Indian and Sri Lankan. .They are no where near as enthusiastic and helpful, and often they are quite surly. I must stress, the Vanuatuan staff are great, as usual. Tables take forever to be cleared, and then usually they are not even wiped clean, just a brush with a napkin to flick the crumbs on to the floor. This did improve near the end of the cruise, but was still not good. On the morning we arrived back in Brisbane my wife and I were in the pantry area before it was opened and you could clearly sea dirty tables, and goodness know when the carpet was last vacuumed. Given this was before most people has risen and after what I would have thought was nightime cleaning, I was very surprised indeed at the situation. There is also no one ensuring hands are sanitised prior to eating, first time I have never seen this on a cruise. As for the food, well cost cutting is very evident here. The pantry is no longer self service, the reason given was health related due to people coughing and touching food etc, and this I can understand. But I am sure the saving in food wastage must be huge also. It was noted how skimpy servings were. And if more was requested, the feeling was it was resented. Fish and chip section was great, except the fish I am sure, was the very cheap and nasty Bassa, and in very small portions. The roast section was great, and was my favourite. Why though, and this was something we heard a lot of people complain about, was why, on a ship marketed to Aussies and Kiwis, was there a Mexican and Indian section available every day, and yet our favourites of meat pies, burgers and pizzas were only available on a counter on the pool deck and had to paid extra for. And no sausage rolls or cornish pasties at all. This makes no sense whatsoever considering the market.. At breakfast there was no cold fish, salmon, kippers, herring etc, no porridge, and worst of all, and a major irritant for me, no freshly made omelets, only some revolting ones cooked on a large tray, not flipped, and cut into squares that tasted nothing like an omelet. On the sandwich bar, they were all ready made, you could not make up your own choice. There was only one type of cold meat available. And the rolls, sandwiches were full of mayo...yuk. There was no afternoon tea provided and If you returned late from ashore there was nothing at all to eat. In the main Waterfront dining room, any steaks were extra cost!!!. Beef Wellington $31, Eye filet, $36. Never ever seen this before. Lobster as an extra I can understand, but steak !!. A flank steak was offered, 3 very thin slices. In the two other free restaurants, Angelos, and the Asian, they were great, and we rotated our dining areas each night. Sometimes though, again, portions could be very small. But lovely ambiance. Servings generally, were very small everywhere, and for the first time on a cruise, I went up to the pantry for extra's on two occasions, as I was still hungry !. All in all there was very strong smell of cost cutting in all areas. Given we have not cruised with P&O Aust since 2014, this was our 6th cruise with them, the changes were very noticeable, No meetings for singles, LGBT etc, no meetings with Dr. Bill (The AA's), In fact not even a Sunday service, (I would stress none of these are my cup of tea !), But surprising never the less.. Thankfully, no art auctions either. That was a bonus !. But everywhere was the hard sell for Elemis beauty deals, it drove me mad. And why cannot a decent coffee, which is extra cost, be served in a decent cup and not a paper cup. (P&O claim they are Eco friendly) There is now loud music everywhere, the worst being around the pool deck in the afternoons. I don't mind music at all, but all does it all have to be so loud. I much prefer the softer music in her previous HAL days. I appreciate that P&O are aiming for a younger market, but the lowering of the dress standards in the evening dining areas was a bit much. Since when did thongs, singlet, stubbies, or thongs, beach shorts, t-shirt and beanie constitute "smart casual". Or thongs, sox, dirty tracky daks, t-shirt and beanie. The most outrageaus being a female in her 20's, wearing jeans with a bib, and being naked from the waist up, except for the bib !!. None of these were questioned or turned away in the dining room. That is just low life and not what we come to expect on a cruise. Sorry P&O Aust, you have lost us, the ship is lovely, the ship size is spot on, entertainment good, ports were great, cabin service superb, tenders crews, as usual top class, but as for the rest, ....NAH....I think it is Princess, HAL or CMV for us from now on. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise to PNG as we wanted to experience something different. I don't understand why some cruisers give such bad reviews. I did my research I knew what to expect and the Aria is a nice ship and much better than I ... Read More
We chose this cruise to PNG as we wanted to experience something different. I don't understand why some cruisers give such bad reviews. I did my research I knew what to expect and the Aria is a nice ship and much better than I anticipated . I have no complaints re the food ,I enjoyed most of the meals and we tried all of the restaurants We were on deck 10 room 10070 . I had read some complaints about this room because the cabin staff had their work station opposite us but we were not bothered by any noise and the work trolleys were not in our way. If we walked out of our room and the staff was there my Husband told them we could be bribed with chocolate! It was a great location just a short walk to the adults only area and bar . Yes this area needed more shade. We have cruised with 3 cruise lines and the shows on this cruise were the best we have seen. The was plenty of activities ,trivia on the sea days was a lot of fun just for the laughs. Staff were always smiling and happy and I have no complaints re the service in the bars and Restaurants. If you are expecting 5 Star food and service you will be disappointed go with an open mind and don't fret it something isn't perfect and you will enjoy yourself. The Tendering could be improved but we got to all of the destinations as we were lucky enough to have calm seas. It was a bit rough on the way home the captain kept us up to date and he advised us about the seas, he was quite funny when he told us in his Italian accent he would give us a nice ride home. Embarking and disembarking was the most efficient I have experienced an any cruise line Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Aria looked, sounded, should have been great. P&O have have always been our go to cruise line. Alas, no more, Pantry food was simply disgusting, almost inedible in general and whoever heard of turnips for every meal as veges! I hit the ... Read More
Aria looked, sounded, should have been great. P&O have have always been our go to cruise line. Alas, no more, Pantry food was simply disgusting, almost inedible in general and whoever heard of turnips for every meal as veges! I hit the wall 4 nights in where my body said no more. I simply couldn't eat any more bad food. The other restaurants were ok but helpings were small unless I paid for more! The cabin was good as was all the bars and public areas, though dated and tired. She is an older ship now.Staff were terrific too but entertainment staff targeted priorities at under 25's at the expense of the rest of us, who were the spenders. Watered down orange juice and watery cocktails and spirits also were a real low! This was the first cruise we were pleased to see end. Sad. I wonder why this great Cruise Line has dropped its quality so much. Money and savings I suspect. Still, we love cruising and will have to leave our dear friend behind and move up a level or two to get back the quality P&O always served in the past. Sad for Carnival, sad for us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our 6th cruise, our first with P&O. Overall, a good cruise, but compared to other lines (Norwegian and Carribean) not so good. SHIP - older but refurbished in 2015 and was ok. CABIN- inside at stern. Great cabin with ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise, our first with P&O. Overall, a good cruise, but compared to other lines (Norwegian and Carribean) not so good. SHIP - older but refurbished in 2015 and was ok. CABIN- inside at stern. Great cabin with pretty good room. A bit of rust in shower but not really a problem. Biggest problem was the aisle being uneven and holes in deck beneath the carpet. A slant was ok, but not dips and holes. DINING- food overall was disappointing, particularly compared to the other ships we’ve been on.The chefs need to taste their food, some dishes too salty or not salted. The Pantry has a variety of options that were mediocre. Some dishes were ok but nothing outstanding. The Indian food was very disappointing considering many chefs are Indian. We hated the buffet style but being served by staff for every dish was unusual as every other cruise was self serve. Probably saves waste, but we didn’t like it. The waterfront restaurant was ok, but nothing outstanding. Italian was slightly better but lots of kids dining ruined the experience for us. Luke Mangaan’s paid restaurant had excellent food. Dragon Lady Asian restaurant was very good. No soft serve ice cream available... really? The paid for New Zealand ice cream was nice but expensive. We were staggered at why we had to pay at The Grill by the pool for Hamburgers, Hot dogs, Nachos Pizzas etc. Lucky the ship is Australian based cause the Yanks would go crazy!. ENTERTAINMENT- typically mixed! Most good, some excellent. Special mention for Sideshow Alley. Best we,ve seen on a cruise. SERVICE- room service was fine. Not much cleaning around ship though.Some public toilets needed more than once daily cleaning. On other cruises, water on the pool deck was wiped up almost instantly, not so on Pacific Aria. No towels at the pool after returning from a shore day was especially irritating, as were the crew comment to go and get your room towels. PORTS- ok. P&O had the best on off procedure we’ve had. Still takes some time but it just seemed to work. Good value shore excursions compared to rip off prices on other ship lines. WOULD WE RECOMMEND? Probably Not, better overall on other lines. We still had a great holiday. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
we thought a trip to our tropic north would be different.it wasn't.the ship was old,slow and badly maintained.entertainment was non-existent,day time events were old news and boring.day trips were uncomfortable,overpriced,and ... Read More
we thought a trip to our tropic north would be different.it wasn't.the ship was old,slow and badly maintained.entertainment was non-existent,day time events were old news and boring.day trips were uncomfortable,overpriced,and sometimes dangerous.the locals seemed indifferent to tourists,with no effort made to welcome us. our cabin was adequate,but badly in need of repair.balcony was covered in rust.sewerage smell evident early mornings. now the good news.food and dining was mostly first class.all venues provided plentiful and varied meals.beer was cold,and cheap(for a cruise).staff were all cheerful and helpful without exception.brisbane port experience was excellent and speedy. the shows provided were unvariably amateur,and improvised.bands were very good,but only performed for a limited time,leaving us sitting waiting for some live music for up to two hours.shore days were badly organised,with little to do.duty free was very limited in variety,with alcohol being the only bargain. all in all,not a trip we would repeat.we paid top dollar,and recieved little in return. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We found the embarkation to be okay but it didn't run as smoothly as Sydney. ( our hometown). The ship Aria we found to be very small compared to other cruise ships we have been on. These are the points we enjoyed about the boat. ... Read More
We found the embarkation to be okay but it didn't run as smoothly as Sydney. ( our hometown). The ship Aria we found to be very small compared to other cruise ships we have been on. These are the points we enjoyed about the boat. * Small & intimate - easy to get around. * Pools were never crowded so easy to get a deckchair . Deck 10 pool was empty most of the time so great for relaxing. We just didn't like the chairs as very uncomfortable. * Bars all had a nice ambience especially the Blue Room. * Limited children onboard. Dining - the best All we can say is thank goodness for Salt Grill Restaurant as we dined there most evenings . The food & service were outstanding for a cruise ship. We also loved the Chef's table - excellent yummy degustation with interesting people. So, so - restaurants. Dragonlady - food was cold & horrible... the worst restaurant on the ship. The Waterfront - okay food but the menu didn't change which made it boring. Ambience & atmosphere, service was excellent. Angelo's - okay but nothing to write about. Just average. The Pantry - Not enough seats - horrible dining experience. We felt like we were living in a boarding school. However; we did like the salad bar & curry bar the best. Breakfast - on our balcony which was blissful although the food was pretty ordinary. Casino - We found the staff to be unfriendly & unhelpful . We did have a few wins on the roulette table & pokies which made our evenings fun. Entertainment - good quality entertainment. We enjoyed the comedy shows the best. Service - Level 10 staff were fabulous - especially our butlers. Great having free laundry done everyday & our ice delivered to the room. Drink package - we wished we hadn't brought it as we found it hard to use it up everyday. Overall - We did enjoy our cruise, especially having a suite & dining at Salt Restaurant which made our cruise more memorable. We also loved visiting PNG islands , villages, schools & hospital. A suite is a MUST on this ship.... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are currently cruising PNG on the Pacific Aria. We have had two docking days and 2 tendering days with one more tender due at the Conflict Islands tomorrow 26 February which has been canceled due to the swell. Unfortunately I have to ... Read More
We are currently cruising PNG on the Pacific Aria. We have had two docking days and 2 tendering days with one more tender due at the Conflict Islands tomorrow 26 February which has been canceled due to the swell. Unfortunately I have to say that the organisation of the tendering of passengers is an absolute dogs breakfast. Three tenders trying to move a thousand passengers to and from the islands results in people waiting three hours to get off the ship and then having only a couple of hours ashore before last boat back to the ship. A lot of passengers just gave up and stayed on board. P&O needs to review their practices if they expect to attract passengers to this cruise in future. Generally the ship is very tired and shows it’s age. The crew are friendly and very accommodating and helpful. Book early for feature dining venues as people book multiple nights at a time. Drinking is expensive and the measures are doubtful and the choices are limited when it comes to beer. If you have a couple of coffees and soft drinks during the day and a couple of beers, wines or cocktails each day it’s worth considering a package. Beer averages $8, cocktails $12 -$16. We booked an access all areas ship tour which was supposed to happen on the sea days after we left PNG. Unfortunately we didn’t get the advice of when it was on and missed out. We were on this ship 12 months ago and I think the entertainment was far superior on that cruise. Admittedly the weather caused the cancellation of some shows but generally, apart from one three piece group, the entertainment was pretty mediocre. PNG is a great experience. On the islands the people are friendly and not at all pushy when offering craft and goods at the markets. If you purchase wooden products make sure they are sealed or they may be confiscated by customs on your return. There’s plenty of items produced by the local people as well as the usual rubbish made in China like caps and stubby coolers. Take plenty of Kina. Even if you don’t spend it the locals will ask you to exchange it for Aussie $ which they can’t use. You will get A$25 for 50 Kina compared to $16 from the currency traders in Australia. Rabaul was devastated by the volcano in 1995. The township was rebuilt in a new location but the small villages remain without power today so cooking is over open fire and lightning is by kerosene lamps or gas. Education is free but parents can’t afford uniforms and shoes for the kids so they don’t go to school. So all in all the destinations were very good. The service was good but the ship is tired and the organisation left a lot to be desired. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose cruise for the itinerary & offered 2 days in Cairns. We are from Canada & wanted to experience great Barrier Reef without being rushed. Cruising is our vacation style of choice & have cruised in excess of 30 cruises with ... Read More
Chose cruise for the itinerary & offered 2 days in Cairns. We are from Canada & wanted to experience great Barrier Reef without being rushed. Cruising is our vacation style of choice & have cruised in excess of 30 cruises with other cruise-lines, mostly Princess. Everything about the Aria was shameful! Maybe they know they have the monopoly of that route so don't feel effort is necessary. We were aware vessel was older & refurbished but were unprepared for the shabbiness & filthy state of the ship. Customer service was non-existent & downright rude from some servers/bar-tenders. This was the ONLY time I have ever been hungry on a cruise, the food was totally inedible. The buffet alternative "The Pantry" looked like a prison cafeteria & the food being slopped out on a tin plate looked even worse. The specialty restaurants served lukewarm or room temperature food, instead of hot or chilled ! The servers had no product knowledge, were ill-informed, or didn't speak English......or, plainly didn't care! We demanded a refund for our purchased spa pkg on the first visit when nothing was working & the shower heads & hose had mould & mildew dripping down everywhere. Our balcony room was shabby although our cabin steward did make an effort to keep it groomed. Sadly we couldn't use the balcony due to the grime, paint splatters everywhere & toxic fumes coming from a very sticky railing. This experience was SO BAD we opted to get off when we reached Cairns. Never have I ever come close to any consideration like this on ANY type of vacation. It cost us a lot of extra money, but our physical health & mental anguish was worth it. Interestingly not ONE PERSON asked why we were disembarking 3 days early !!!! My recommendation NEVER, EVER go anywhere near this disgusting experience !!!!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
BEST PART We were very impressed with the size of the Suite (living area, bathroom and deck), Including the free laundry services provided no matter how many cruises you've done. Also, the priority booking perk worked well, as we ... Read More
BEST PART We were very impressed with the size of the Suite (living area, bathroom and deck), Including the free laundry services provided no matter how many cruises you've done. Also, the priority booking perk worked well, as we tried to book restaurant seats late on the first day and were refused & treated like ignorant scum until later we tried again and mentioned our Suite number - then instant bookings occurred this time with only a hint of crankiness / impatience by the staff. WORST PART We found "the Pantry" to be absolutely horrid. In two words we would describe it as 'lazy' and 'cheap'. For bfast there was only one station providing both bacon and eggs and there was always a large queue for it. Another station had bacon but although it very clearly said "eggs cooked to order" on their display sign (& there was a grill plate cooker behind them) the staff would not cook eggs and sent everyone who wanted eggs to line up at the other station. We even pointed out the “eggs cooked to order” sign to one of the supervisors and he actually told us we shouldn’t be reading that part of the sign (fair dinkum!). If you wanted something from a few stations, you had to line up at each one while your meals go cold and get coughed over by people pushing past. A buffet service is so much faster - they need to bring this back. I found it very tiring and stressful to dine at the Pantry because the food choices were so poor, there was fierce competition to get seats, people were crowded together in the seating areas and in the walkways, and the ceiling was low and claustrophobic. There was nothing that impressed us at lunch or dinner at any of the stations, it all pretty much looked like the food you'd cook yourself at home. An exception is the fish and chips station that had good chips and a very nice batter, but although calamari was supposed to be served we never saw any, only fish, and the 'plates' provided were wire baskets with a sheet of paper under the food, and so very difficult to eat from with a knife and fork as the paper fell apart and the food fell through the wires onto the table so you ended up actually eating off the table itself. Some people were eating off what looked like prison or boarding school trays! (which I imagine are meant to be trendy but had the opposite effect). One station had on display at almost every visit the same thing which was a pitiful looking sliced devon sausage and tiny little piles of crudities (sliced carrots etc) and nothing else! Similarly at another station, significant display space was used up with widely spaced small bowls of cereal or very simple salads depending on the time of day. The pantry was a huge disappointment, and I dreaded going there when other dining options were not open. Instead of looking forward to meal times, we were put off at the thought as it was such an unpleasant experience. OTHER RESTAURANTS We didn't try Salt but wished we had, because we later found out that Salt meals are apparently specially prepared to order, unlike with the other restaurants the meals are pre-prepared and stored. Dragon Lady and Angelo's were good, but nothing to write home about. We did the Chef's Table and at least one of the dishes served had also been served at the Waterfront the day before (yet we paid $119 pp for 'special' meals). We think Princess Cruises do a much better job of the food in all aspects. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My husband and I had never been on a cruise before but wanted to try one. We booked one for a great price despite the negative reviews we read online about the Pacific Aria and P&O. I'm so glad we did, we loved it!! Pros: ... Read More
My husband and I had never been on a cruise before but wanted to try one. We booked one for a great price despite the negative reviews we read online about the Pacific Aria and P&O. I'm so glad we did, we loved it!! Pros: *I had low expectations due to reviews online stating the food was crap. My expectations were exceeded and I was impressed by both the food in the restaurants and the Pantry! Especially the restaurants! Advice: get one member of your group/ couple to go straight to the desk at Angelos restaurant as soon as they can, and immediately book Dragon Lady and Angelos, even more than once each! Waterfront is easier to book in for, those other two are difficult. These 3 restaurants are all free. We enjoyed dining in restaurants at night instead of the Pantry at night. *loved the shows, musicals, and things the itinery lists you can attend. Especially that last musical! *we found alot of fun or decent things to do in the itinery to keep us occupied *I would describe our affordable room as decent sized, not as the 'sardine tins' size I've heard it described as *last boat I was on I got so sea sick. On here I was fine. I started off on travel calm till I realised I didnt need it. *loved the themed parties and how its a cleaner club environment before 11pm each night *we were occupied enough that we didnt go for board games or books or sunbaking (4 night cruise) *most of the staff were kind, friendly *I loved getting the opportunity to dress up well at nights, dine in restaurants without paying extra, attend shows and go dancing and have a couple drinks *vegetarian friendly *the way the ship is decorated and designed and styled was very very nice and well thought out! *coffee tastes good and is available free when the Pantry is open (which is most of the time I think?). Glad they offered more than just cows milk *barista coffees are available for purchase in takeaway cups anytime to take anywhere on the ship *try Dragon Ladys shared plates for two people option!!! Wow! *this ship has an adults only pool of good size. Good.. Coz I hate kids splashing :P *cruise director Kabirs jokes over the speaker were funny Cons: *my husband and I need a particular environment to sleep easy and this wasnt it. We needed sleeping pills every night.. But we have struggled to sleep elsewhere before where I thought it would have been easy to. Occasionally there were people talking loudly in the hall at night but that wouldnt be as much an issue if you dont go to bed early. At one point for 30 mins the wind made the motor boats squeak. We were on deck six where motor boats were pended above the deck outside our window *the staff may be afraid of people burning themselves.. So most things are (in my opinion) not hot enough. I got used to it.. But the coolest was coffee at the Waterfront (ask for very hot coffee there). Concerned about food poisoning if its not hot enough. I didnt get sick *the hallways had a bad odor but it wasnt very strong *some staff werent friendly enough but thats the same everywhere *nearly all the staff are foreign. So there was a language barrier once. Does the company employ them so they can pay really low wages? I dont know *I'd like to try out another P& O ship next time as I've already explored the Aria sufficiently *if future shows are the same then I might need to bring a book or play one of their board games. Maybe *it is very easy to spend alot of money on board. With so many hours free its very popular to purchase many drinks. I'm glad we didnt purchase the drinks package we were tempted to, as it turned out cheaper buying drinks individually. *on non-sea days, try leave the boat at non-peak times if you dont want to stand in queues for awhile *I saw some of the prices in nicer rooms for the same cruise I went on. It wasnt worth those large amounts of money per person for those rooms. Perhaps people who spend heaps on cruises have very high expectations and are more picky with complaining? *when restaurants are prone to getting fully picked out.. You are asked if you will share a table. This can be hit and miss. We did this three times and twice it was ok but another time it was actually so awkward and couldnt wait to leave. I would prefer to book all restaurants at the start of the cruise with no share tables, just in case *the aircon wasnt cool enough in The Pantry dining area at times *the deck seats for dining arent shaded so get used to that and bring sunnies and you'll be fine Looking forward to my next P&O cruise, as I was left impressed! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We were on board the Aria that left Brisbane on 4/1/19 bound for New Caledonia. We were very happy with all the staff on the boat, they were all marvelous. However, that was the only thing that we were happy with. I have mobility problems ... Read More
We were on board the Aria that left Brisbane on 4/1/19 bound for New Caledonia. We were very happy with all the staff on the boat, they were all marvelous. However, that was the only thing that we were happy with. I have mobility problems and use a walker. There were four lifts each end of the ship but on a regular basis 3 of the lifts would be in use by staff or out of order leaving only one lift for passengers. It would sometimes take 20-25 minutes for me to get in a lift and sometimes I was forced to carry my walker downstairs in order to get to events on time! We were very unhappy with the restaurants as well. The food in the Pantry on the 11th floor was ok but we could never get a seat (there were 5 of us) so we had evening meals in the Waterfront Restaurant and the food was not good. We wanted to try other restaurants but couldn’t because they were always booked out so we were not happy about that. Also, on other cruises (Princess etc.) we were able to go to the buffet late at night for light snacks, coffee or sweets etc. but on the Aria all the restaurants closed early (I think at 9 o’clock). Overall, a very disappointing cruise. I don’t think we will be sailing with P & O again! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My partner and i were given this cruise as a birthday gift from my daughters. Because we didn’t choose it, we looked for reviews on the Pacific Aria and found a lot if negatives. Well we couldn’t fault it. Embarkation and ... Read More
My partner and i were given this cruise as a birthday gift from my daughters. Because we didn’t choose it, we looked for reviews on the Pacific Aria and found a lot if negatives. Well we couldn’t fault it. Embarkation and disembarkation were so easy and quick. Luggage to our rooms were quick. We love the Ocean Bar on deck 8. We spent most of our time there. They did Trivia a couple of times a day. They had karaoke every night. The entertainment crew were terrific, especially Jeffersen, Megan and Georgie. Jeffersen was fantastic at bingo. He made it so fun. The Sideshow Alley show was our favourite but also enjoyed the others. Our favourite free restaurants were The Dragon Lady snd The Waterfront. Didn’t like Angelos. The pantry was great for quick meals that could be taken and eaten anywhere. We didn’t get to go to Airlie Beach becsuse of a cyclone. We had a tour booked, but was refunded immediately to our onboard credit. We were given a letter regarding the cyclone as sokn as we boarded and had announcements by the Captain on a few occasions informing us of the situation. Never felt scared at all. Lived, loved, loved the Aria and all the staff 10/10 Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
What a wonderful time!! The food, the service, the entire experience - from start to finish - we loved it all! Even though it was our first cruise and we were told by some others that there were fancier cruises out there, for us it was ... Read More
What a wonderful time!! The food, the service, the entire experience - from start to finish - we loved it all! Even though it was our first cruise and we were told by some others that there were fancier cruises out there, for us it was just spot on. Be sure to read the TIPS below for some helpful hints re:this ship, but the following might answer some general questions. The staff? So helpful, friendly - just such lovely people - from servers, waiters, entertainers, activity hosts, security - they just made the cruise so special for you. The food? The Pantry had great offerings - and this from fussy eaters. Additionally, three great, included restaurants provided an up-market pace. The Dragon Lady offering a range of Asian cuisine from different countries was a fave. Irrespective of venue, the service was was wonderful and helpings were endless. We didn't try the non-included restaurants as we just didn't see the need, but a fellow cruiser raved about the Salt Grill. The crowds? There were families and kids on board but we didn't often see or hear many youngsters; same as there our fair share of baby boomer / grey nomads, but they seemed to party just as hard as their younger counterparts! I think the ship was pretty full but we didn't notice - the occasional wait for a barista coffee, but everything else was reasonable. The entertainment/activities? There seemed lots to do for all ages - sample pages from Good Times pic attached. Towel Animal Parade was a huge surprise (pic attached), as were the Sit-Down Comedy shows (definite crowd pleasers, some R18+ and ID checked). Production shows pretty good; trivia; activities; etc. Plenty to do!! Prices? We were amazed how reasonable things were - $4/$5 for barista coffee & frappe's, lots of cocktails for $12 (some $15-$17), $6.50-$8 for a beer, it was even cheaper for the NZ ice-cream on-board than it was on land in Cairns! All except - bottled water - that was ridiculous, and the photos were expensive, but they were very professional and looked it, so, probably cheaper than land prices. TIPS - water and tea/coffee stations available 24/7 - take a travel mug &/or water bottle so you can take drinks easily from the Pantry back to your room or around the ship; - different spa vouchers & offers were given to rooms daily through out the cruise (most days) - fill out the free raffle tickets in your embarkation booklet but for the spa ticket only tick the areas you actually might use (not what you are 'interested in'); - consider the drinks package - although prices are reasonable, you just tend to drink more than you normally would (even/especially non-alcoholic ones); - check what times tours are leaving so that you can avoid those times yourself for getting on/off at ports; and take a back pack / bag when you go - if taking food off the ship and they see it you're up for hassles - most evening show times tend to be 7pm & 9pm so if booking restaurants consider accordingly - most shows went for ~45 mins - If queuing for a show, level 7 starboard door tended to open first; - don't go early, or late, for safety drill - just when told to do so to save unnecessary waiting; - bring a lanyard for your cruise card (one that can detach at the end easily to hand over your card for swiping); - using the cash kiosks was quick and easy - you can keep an eye on your account via the app available through their intranet - hassle free and no charging to cards, even when checking out, no dramas! - level 6 has the best laundry, all use $1 coins - plus our room had plenty of hangers and a line over the shower; and - check the deck plans carefully if selecting cabins - deck 6 had windows out to the walking track so curtains would have to be kept closed most times; dis/embarking occurred deck 3 & 5 so choose carefully if considering as queuing occurred outside many of these cabins; smokers are outside on deck 6, mid-ship/aft starboard side; deck 10 has restaurant, etc., above and can be noisy; deck 9 was fantastic. Mid-ship best for minimal noise (I'd keep away from stairs/lifts). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Last minute decision. Booked Thursday leave Friday as price was good. Little slow boarding, but no problems were dropped off in car park. Once on board went to room to discover had been set up for 4 people not a double! Staff said ... Read More
Last minute decision. Booked Thursday leave Friday as price was good. Little slow boarding, but no problems were dropped off in car park. Once on board went to room to discover had been set up for 4 people not a double! Staff said they would fix it, two bags in front of door for people unknown but with our room number on them? Anyways it was fixed later in evening, so all good except no face washers or tissues and cupboards door falling off and cupboards full of blankets etc... Cyclone Owen caused lots of high swells for few days and strong winds which meant we missed Hamilton Island. Made it into Cairns for an overnight stay. It's amazing how the cruise lines ( all of them) can arrange arrival times that make you miss by 5 minutes any chance of getting onto an outer reef trip unless you book onboard at $60 more than price ashore. AND ship leaves next day one hour before outer reef trips return to Cairns....amazing... Wet weather meant the Kuranda Rail was not running for the two days we were in port. Willis Island visit was good and sunny, interesting. Ship activities were the usual, however, the trivia was won by same group of retired woman 95% of the time ( even music trivia etc ), obviously they always do it as ship crew knew the names of the woman. It really sucks, and most people were cheesed off big time. Food at Pantry was good as usual - with the usual being sometimes cold food and overcooked bacon etc to watch out for. But variety was good. Italian and Asian restaurants were also good, but booking can sometimes be difficult especially for last few days. Waterfront didn't try as too many past experiences of slow service and crap food. Entertainment staff were generally good and Cruise Director Kabir was young but very dedicated and tech. savvy, He said he was Canadian with Indian ( as with India ) parents, he loved dressing with smart Indian attire. Dancers and guests performers were very good, no complaints there. Ship is well setup ( past Holland America Ship) and rooms are good size. Theatre is a bad setup at top level, the seats stick into your back and you cannot see the stage very well unless you are in the front. Downstairs is OK. Wine is a rip off ( minimum $9.50 a glass) , beer is average cost ( from $6). There was no bargains at the shops, everything was well overpriced including alcohol at same price you could buy it at BWS or any outlet in Australia. ( Price is half when ship goes to Port Vila ). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise as a family and for the Ports....Airley Beach....Cairns and Willis Island. The stop overs were fantastic... no complaints there...food on the cruise was average except for Angelo's which was to die for...having to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a family and for the Ports....Airley Beach....Cairns and Willis Island. The stop overs were fantastic... no complaints there...food on the cruise was average except for Angelo's which was to die for...having to purchase food in the dining room for indulgences such as lobster tail or sirloin steak for $29 was a joke....I have never experience this with any other cruise line...The pantry was humid and basketball court above it sounded like a game was in progress in the pantry itself. I challenge anyone to try and get a glass or a mixed drink with coke...seems the crew have been told there is only pepsi on board....not true! A shortage of duty free alcohol and smokes on board...sorry but we missed a delivery????? I have cruised a number of times before and am ashamed at what we produce as Australians.......I am an average Aussie and have cruised happily for many years with other cruise lines without complaint but will never cruise with P & O again! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I have not cruised with P&O Australia in 3 years and last sailed with Pacific Dawn. When the opportunity to sail onboard the Pacific Aria presented itself my dad and I could not resist. This review will be a little lengthy but to ... Read More
I have not cruised with P&O Australia in 3 years and last sailed with Pacific Dawn. When the opportunity to sail onboard the Pacific Aria presented itself my dad and I could not resist. This review will be a little lengthy but to summarise our expectations were well and truely exceeded. Embarkation- We had been assigned 12:00pm boarding time as our cabin was only allocated close to the sail date. We arrived at the port at approximately 11:00am and dropped our bags off. A staff member told people that they were only allowing people with 11:00am boarding in and others to come back again in an hour. We took the opportunity to go around and get some photos of the ship before boarding. Once we realised that they were letting people board we went right back to the terminal. Check-in was fast and efficient and done in around 15 minutes maximum. It was all brilliantly organised. We waited maybe 20 minutes for our group to be called and then headed onboard the ship. We already had a plan and went straight to "The Bar" located deck 8 aft to book in some of our dinner reservations. On embarkation day you are allowed to book any 3 nights, and then return the following day to book the rest. Overall we never had a problem with booking in to the restaurants and always got the times and dates we wanted. The Waterfront- We ate breakfast here everyday except disembarkation day and found the meals to be great and overall a great way to start your day. We also opted to have lunch here almost everyday that it was open and thoroughly enjoyed it. The few dinners we had here were also amazing. We were unable to fault the food or the service. Angelos- We dined here twice for dinner, once with menu A and once later in the cruise with menu B. This was a great place to go for dinner however we felt that menu A was the better. Dragon Lady- The absolute highlight of the cruise when it comes to food. We were absolutely blown away with the fact that we were on a P&O ship and not in a proper restaurant. The food was impeccable and always pleasing. We dined here twice, once with menu A and again on the final night with menu B. We had such a hard time deciding what to order as simple we could have eaten any of the dishes they all sounded amazing. Everything about this restaurant was a 10/10. The Pantry- We only dined here a few times and found it to be ok, you were able to find something to eat but it was not our favourite. Salt Grill & Chefs Table- We did not dine here and once we got onboard and tried the free food we were glad we didn't waste our money paying for food. The Ship- Absolutely stunning decor all around the ship. The staff work tirelessly to make sure it is looking its best and always feels welcoming. Despite the cruise being sold out and almost at capacity (official count of 1460/1500 passengers) it never felt crowded. Yes we had to wait for service at the bars at times but that was due to going at peak times (the Ocean Bar during trivia, or The Dome at start of service in the afternoon). Overall I would absolutely not hesitate to book another cruise on this ship and actually encourage people to book on this ship and experience it for themselves. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
In one of the the three restaurants. The Menu offered Beef Cheeks. What was served was Ox tongue. Lots of gravy didn't conceal the fact the it wasn't Beef Cheeks. Didn't send it back as we had other commitments ... Read More
In one of the the three restaurants. The Menu offered Beef Cheeks. What was served was Ox tongue. Lots of gravy didn't conceal the fact the it wasn't Beef Cheeks. Didn't send it back as we had other commitments and the Serving Staff were very busy. Perhaps too busy! At the Pantry. The Menu was offering a Pork and Peppers Roll for lunch. What was handed out was a ham and salad roll. Questioning didn't do any good. At the Restaurants. One person only looking after the orders of many waiters at the main despatching point for the Restaurants.. Result. Long delays for drinks. The persons serving have no idea of the need to serve beer and wine that has been chilled properly and not put in the fridge just before dinner. Getting a glass for beer is another issue that leads to even longer delays. The waiting time meant that the food was served and going cold before the drinks came. (Talking about 15 to 20 minutes) Even complaining to the Supervisor did not resolve the issue as insufficient staff at the serving point. Serving of wine and water at the table. Training needs to happen so that staff do not 'slop' the wine and water over the sides of the glasses and the table. Being dressed up to enjoy the evening is a pleasing aspect of dining but having wine and water dripping onto clothes is a real issue. The "Smokers" are a real problem outside the Dome. The wind blows the stale smoke into the 'smoke free' space as the automatic doors just keep opening when anyone is near the Lifts. The Lifts are mostly 'Under Maintenance' so waiting ends up the 'norm' with unacceptable time frames. Very annoying when needing to move handicapped and elderly to other decks. These are the reasons for rating Dining as "Poor". Toilets are an issue near the Swimming Pool as they are often have wet floors and poorly maintained with simple items like paper. There is an issue with the toilets in most of the public areas. The 'Kids Club" was excellent. The Adventure Program was great. The Gym was fine. The engagement with the various staff running the entertainment was excellent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We attended a conference on this cruise to Papua New Guinea for 10 days. Unfortunatly there were only a few great parts. I'll start with the good points. Our room was wonderful and serciced by the loveliest attendants. It ... Read More
We attended a conference on this cruise to Papua New Guinea for 10 days. Unfortunatly there were only a few great parts. I'll start with the good points. Our room was wonderful and serciced by the loveliest attendants. It was spaceous and had everything we needed. The 5 ports and people we beautiful. The chefs tables and salt grill were the only highlights of the food. The down sides. Very strict almost harrasment by security with their RSA to the point that we didnt bother going to the bars much because they were constantly dictating the frequency we could drink. Not allowed to buy shots, bars being vacumed by 10 pm. Drinks were expensive, $19 for an average expersso martini. There was an outbreak of noroviris over 400 people affected and the entire deck 6 reaked of vomit and faeces for days. Sick people sharing tenders with well people. Attendants wearing 1 pair of gloves for the entire disembarking process touching sick and healthy people. Captains cocktail hour was cancelled due to the bug but happy for white night to go ahead. Waterfront dining was served mostly luke warm to cold. The dragon lady was over an hour and a half process for dinner and wasn't anything to write home about. Even though we had the suite with priority dinner reservations we had to book everything the first day and were given unrealistic times we cancelled most night because the quality of the food was poor. We were charged a few times for room service even though its included in the suit and had to keep going to get this rectified. The conflict island although beautiful was very expensive and if you wanted to purchase anything you had to buy their fake currencies and get charged to change it back to AUS dollars. This ship is definilty for the older population as the night entertainment was poor and scarce. Dead well before midnight most nights. Most servers and staff were polite and helful but there was so very few of them that they were under the pump and never had time to offer quality service. The 5 ports of PNG we visited were very beautiful although we had pre arranged tours I dont know how others would have faired at the large ports that is just industrial areas. The handling of the infectious norovirus was pretty poor, affected people we not restricted to their cabins and continued the spread of the virus. The poor medical staff were under the pump with no sleep for 36hours trying their best to control the situation. The enforcement of water between every drink was offensive when there were clearly certain groups of people slouching and slurring but security were too intimidated to confront them so instead they harrassed us. The coffee was expensive and of poor quality. The limited hours of food service in the pantry meant if you wanted to see a show or attend an event the food would be packed up and gone by 9. All in all our conference was fun, our shore tours were great and the specialty food was the only highlights of our trip. If you between 20-50 dont go on this ship if your looking for a great night life or lots of entertainment. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
New cruise, wanted to go snorkelling and swim with dolphins. the boat was very small but loved the room configuration as bunk beds were seperate from the adults bed. Our room 6088 was great!, good convenient spot. Pantry food was great ... Read More
New cruise, wanted to go snorkelling and swim with dolphins. the boat was very small but loved the room configuration as bunk beds were seperate from the adults bed. Our room 6088 was great!, good convenient spot. Pantry food was great as more hygienic. Restaurants were 8/10. Staff were pretty good considering there long hours etc. Entertainment staff were good, however didnt provide much entertainment on the theme nights..boring!!!!!!. show entertainment was okay. The comedian and papau new guinea singer were standouts. things to note... Ice dispensor on board so you can use a cup and fill your water bottles (wide brim). take your own snorkelling gear and sunscreen. Book the restaurants for the whole week as soon as possible to avoid missing out. Take some extra coat hangers as plenty of hanging space . If kids dont have drink package, take the 12 cans per person onboard and a thermo cup and fill it with ice and the softdrink. be super aware, papau new guinea native boats can capsize so take the bigger ones and a floatie for kids or people who cant swim or at least limit to two people on small ones. Pack your gear in a waterproof bag. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was my 11th cruise in 6 years. 3rd one for this year. I had the best time. We enjoyed ourselves. We had a balcony suite which was so relaxing watching The water from our cabin. We went to The Gatsby, Bianca White & farewell ... Read More
This was my 11th cruise in 6 years. 3rd one for this year. I had the best time. We enjoyed ourselves. We had a balcony suite which was so relaxing watching The water from our cabin. We went to The Gatsby, Bianca White & farewell parties were all good fun. The band's were so good and the piano player was great. My personal favorite... the show entertainment team. Lead singers, Sam, Katherine & Ben were just awesome so we're the dancers. Loved it. We went to every show. The Crew are super friendly and some of them are so funny. Food was so good in the Pantry. Can't wait till my next cruise next year. I recommend everyone to take a break. Go on a cruise. There is no better place to relax, be pampered and have fun. And the kids have a ball. You'll never get them out of kids club. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I loved my time at Airlie Beach. Dressing up was also fun for the parties don’t know why they start as late as 9:30 though. hun. Restaurant staff were however lovely and patient with you. Dragon Lady was easily my favourite food & ... Read More
I loved my time at Airlie Beach. Dressing up was also fun for the parties don’t know why they start as late as 9:30 though. hun. Restaurant staff were however lovely and patient with you. Dragon Lady was easily my favourite food & service wise. Stephanie was our waitress at Dragon Lady deserves a raise just lovely! Our room stewards were lovely too, just a little hard to understand sometimes. The photos that were taken of us on Gatsby night turned out great however the prices are ridiculous, at least consider offering a payment plan! My friend tried to ask about that and was given attitude. Again, if you don’t like your job that’s not out problem. Watered down cocktails weren’t what I was expecting on a cruise either. And what annoyed me more than anything was the loud noise in the bathroom I don’t know if it’s simply from the ship moving but it pretty much kept me awake the entire time. I thought you were meant to make things comfortable for everyone so they come home well rested? Overall it was alright but not mind blowing. It was the views from deck 11 & 12 & my day at Airlie that got me through Read Less
Pacific Aria Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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