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Pacific Aria Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
314 Reviews

Awesome 1st cruise for us as a couple

Pacific Aria Cruise Review by Exo999

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2019
  • Destination: the South Pacific

This was our first cruise, just myself and my partner.

It was the Fiji Adventure 12 night cruise, sailing on the Pacific Aria.

We stayed on deck 6, in cabin 6023, a sort of oceanview cabin but the view looked out onto the deck which people could walk around on.

It’s due to make stops at;

Port Vila (Vanuatu)

Port Denarau (Fiji)

Suva (Fiji)

Mystery Island (Vanuatu)

Isle of Pines (New Caledonia)

Everything went as the cruise says, except due to rough sea, our stop at Isle of Pines was cancelled and changed to Noumea so we didn’t lose a stop.

We didn’t buy the drinks package, and still only spent $800 on board for the whole trip.

Ship:

The Pacific Aria, I believe is the smallest ship P&O Australia currently have in their fleet.

From the moment I stepped on this ship I liked it a lot. The carpet and decorations were nice, staff greeting people in friendly manner, as expected, and the whole new experience of been on a cruise ship for both of us added to the excitement.

Within the first few hours we were familiar with the location of most on board shops, bars, pool areas, casino, marquee for the shows, etc. It was a good layout and easily remembered.

Cabin:

We stayed in 6023. It’s classed as an obstructed oceanview room on deck 6. It looks out on the the deck which people can walk the whole way around, and is underneath the marquee.

You see many people walk past this cabin at all times of day and night through your window.

It was a nice cabin, very clean and well kept, size was bigger than I expected.

Shower worked well and was in a bathtub.

The only negative thing I can say about the cabin was the fact that it was underneath the marquee, and you can hear bangs and music pretty loudly from above during show times, if your not at the shows that is!

Dining:

We were happy with what the pantry had to offer. All sorts of different food every day, served pretty much throughout the whole day. Plenty of tables so always somewhere to sit even at the busiest times.

We managed to get to the Waterfront Restaurant & Angelo’s.

Both restaurants need booking and there is no charge for eating at them.

I suggest booking tables at these places as soon as you can as we only managed to go to each restaurant once.

The Waterfront was average. Not too much on the menu, but something for everyone.

Angelo’s, in my opinion, was absolutely fantastic. I had the lasagne and would definitely say it was the best lasagne I have ever had.

Entertainment & Activities:

Every night you receive a newsletter for the next day, which has what’s going on’s and show times through the whole day. Easy to read and definitely a lot going on. You will never get bored, there is something for everyone. Shows, fitness, sales, and more.

Shows in the marquee were 19:30 and 21:30 every night, and we went to quite a few.

I believe there was a few on later on certain nights also.

There is also a cinema that has a few movies on a day, which we went to a couple of times.

There’s plenty of stuff on the tv in your room also.

Cruise director Cole is always telling you about what’s going on so you don’t miss out.

Service:

It was great. Our room attendants were a lady called Joy & a fella who’s name I can’t remember, but they were fantastic. Every day smiling and asking how we are, and they did an amazing job with our cabin.

Service throughout the whole ship was great, in the restaurants and bars, reception & activities.

The captain every day explains your position in the ‘mighty’ ocean, and talks about the weather & times your expected to dock at wherever your going. Not sure of his name, but he was Italian and regularly walks around the ship. It was also his idea to cancel our stop at Isle of Pines due to rough sea, and make a stop at Noumea instead, so we don’t lose a tour day. We wouldn’t of been able to get onto the tender’s at isle of pines.

Ports & Shore Excursions:

The only difference

Port Vila;

This was our first stop. It was a really nice place.

We did the turtle sanctuary shore tour, which took us on a 45 min bus ride to a small beach, then about a 45 minute boat trip across to another island. We saw some dolphins on the way.

We then stopped for an hours swim & snorkel, the water was really clear and lots to see.

The gear provided wasn’t in great condition but was still usable.

After the swim we had lunch cooked by some locals which was a really nice bbq.

Then we made our way to where the turtle sanctuary was. There was lots of baby turtles separated into different tanks for different ages, and then eventually released when they become less easy to be preyed on.

I think we would of got back to the ship around 15:30/16:00 so was not much time to go anywhere far due to the ship leaving around 17:30 so the tour is pretty much a full day.

Port Denarau;

We did the Oolala Island tour, so didn’t spend much time in Port Denarau at all.

Upon arriving we got on a locals tender but it was big, so heaps of people transferred quickly.

Then we took a boat from Port Denarau to Oolala Island, which took a little over an hour.

Oolala Island was my favourite place we went, it is visually stunning and the sea is so warm and clear, snorkelling here was truely unbelievable.

The staff on the tour were friendly and the is lots to drink, and snacks, and there is multiple things to do on the island. You can borrow snorkelling gear and do your own thing, or go with a guide, or you can go on a glass bottom boat.

They cooked a bbq lunch which was nice and offered free beer during lunch.

Suva;

We did a city tour, which a tour bus took us on a drive around Suva, some local towns and made a stop at the museum.

Plenty of interesting things to see at the museum.

The bus got back to Suva around 12:00/13:00 so still plenty of time to explore the city.

We got some hassle from locals, trying to get us to buy from certain shops, but I suggest just try stay with your group and don’t stop and talk to anybody that seems overly friendly.

Mystery Island;

We only did a small snorkelling and clear kayak tour here. It wasn’t great, the gear was in poor condition and the snorkelling guide didn’t say much or seem interested as been a guide at all. The kayaks were in very poor condition and a bit of rough sea made the floats on the side break off.

We didn’t eat on the island so can’t comment on the food.

Cancelled Isle of Pines stop and changed to Noumea;

Noumea was my second favourite stop, and I’m glad we ended up coming here.

Lots of French culture, markets, and easy to get around with the red & blue busses that circle the city every day.

We did our own thing here, and only bad thing I can say is it’s pretty damn expensive.

Shops close from 12:00 - 14:00 or something too so be prepared for that.

There’s a nice beach nearby with amazing sea colours, and a restaurant area with lots of choice.

Also an aquarium but we didn’t make it there.

Tours Overall;

We did a decent few tours, booked through p&o and spent about $1000 for them for the two of us, but I’d suggest to people not to book tours through p&o because we found that it was half price for some of the same tours once your on shore.

Cruise overall;

We both had a fantastic holiday on our first cruise and enjoyed every stop in a different way.

We had fun on all the sea days and enjoyed all the shows.

We didn’t buy the drinks package, and still only spent $800 on board.

We would definitely return on this same cruise, on the same ship, with the exact same crew anytime, and P&O have done a great job with everything.


Exo999's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

We stayed in 6023. It’s classed as an obstructed oceanview room on deck 6. It looks out on the the deck which people can walk the whole way around, and is underneath the marquee.

You see many people walk past this cabin at all times of day and night through your window.

It was a nice cabin, very clean and well kept, size was bigger than I expected.

Shower worked well and was in a bathtub.

The only negative thing I can say about the cabin was the fact that it was underneath the marquee, and you can hear bangs and music pretty loudly from above during show times, if your not at the shows that is!


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


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