By Louise Goldsbury
Cruise Critic Australia Managing Editor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins

Pacific Aria's cabins were not overhauled in the 2015 refurbishment, but all bed linens and towels were replaced and Australian three-point plugs (220/240 volts at 60 Hz) were fitted in all rooms. The furnishings are holding up well, even if they do look a bit dated compared to the rest of the spiffy ship. The big benefit of Aria (and sister Eden), compared to other ships based in Australia, is that the room sizes tend to be larger. Rooms are serviced and cleaned twice a day, with fresh towels daily on request.

There are 129 inside cabins, 352 oceanview cabins, 120 balcony cabins, 28 suites with larger balcony, and one penthouse with balcony. Of these 630 rooms, 52 oceanview and balcony cabins can be inter-connecting for families and groups of friends. These adjoining rooms with a connecting door are available in interior, oceanview and balcony categories in quad-quad (for groups of eight), twin-quad (for groups of six), triple-triple (for groups of six), and twin-twin (for groups of four).

Every cabin has personally controlled air-conditioning, a flatscreen TV, wardrobe, desk with chair, safety deposit box, hair dryer, phone and Wi-Fi (extra charges apply) as well as plenty of shelves and drawers for storage in the main room and bathroom. There are only fridges in suite and balcony cabins (not in interior and oceanview cabins).

Twin rooms have two beds that can convert into a queen bed, while quad rooms have two lower and two upper (bunk) beds. The main bed in the suites and penthouse convert into king-sized beds.

Spaciousness, living area and bathroom facilities vary between the six main categories (inside, oceanview, balcony, mini suite, suite, penthouse), which accounts for the price differences.

Inside: The cheapest cabins are generally those without a window, which are great if you like a pitch-black room to sleep in, not so good if you're claustrophobic or spend a lot of time in your cabin. Many of Pacific Aria's inside cabins are larger than the norm; some interior rooms even have a living area with a three-seater lounge. The size ranges from 13 square metres (141 square feet) to 21 square metres (226 square feet). Interior cabins have an ensuite bathroom with a shower (no bath).

Oceanview: An oceanview cabin has a window or porthole for some natural light and a view of the sea. The small bathrooms in this category contain both a bath and shower. Sizes range from 16 to 24 square metres (174 to 255 square feet). Many of the cabins on decks 4 and 5 have the option of a third or fourth berth for three or four passengers to share a room. On Deck 6, the ship's promenade deck, 36 cabins are inter-connecting (18 sets of adjoining rooms) for families or groups, while some of its forward and aft cabins have an obstructed view due to the lifeboats stored outside. As this deck is a wraparound deck, other passengers will be walking past your window, but sheer curtains and heavier curtains at night maintain your privacy. Decks 4 and 5 are not promenade decks.

Balcony: A balcony cabin has its own private verandah with table and chairs, and a whirlpool bath and shower in the bathroom. Located on decks 9 and 10, balcony cabins are 27 square metres (283 square feet). The balcony itself is 2.7 metres wide by 2.1 metres deep (almost 6 square metres). Balcony cabins are designed for two passengers, but have the option of a third berth. Sixteen of the balcony cabins are inter-connecting (eight sets of adjoining rooms).

Suite: At almost 54 square metres (575 square feet), the Deck 10 suites are about twice the size of regular balcony cabins, with floor-to-ceiling windows. Suite balconies are massive -- enough for a table and four chairs, plus two sun loungers, and plenty of space in between. Accommodating up to four passengers, the main room has a living area with a sofa (that can convert into a double bed) and table. The rest of the suite offers a walk-in wardrobe and dressing room with table, chair and mirror; a bathtub with shower in the bathroom; and ample storage for up to four passengers. Extra perks include priority check-in and disembarkation, a welcome aboard gift such as a fruit basket, complimentary laundry service, a Nespresso coffee machine, iPod music system, in-room dining (afternoon tea and canapes delivered on request), and free bottled water and soft drinks in the fridge.

There is one Aria Penthouse on Deck 10, which has the same features and perks as a suite but is more than double the size, spreading across 118 square metres (1,273 square feet). Other extras include a second bathroom (one with a big spa bath), a larger walk-in wardrobe and dressing area, and a dining room. The balcony is the same size as found in the suites, but the decor is decidedly more elegant.

Modified accessible: If you have mobility issues, it is worth noting that balcony rooms, suites and penthouses have the shower over a bathtub. However, there are two modified accessible balcony cabins on Deck 9 aft (9186 and 9190) that have a shower only. A few other modified oceanview cabins and inside cabins have a shower only. These six twin-share wheelchair-accessible rooms feature wider doorways, no thresholds into the bathroom and more handrails; there are four on Deck 4 and two on Deck 6.

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