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
1 Helpful Vote
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
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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
1 Helpful Vote
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
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
3 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
2 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
3 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
10 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
15 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
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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