2 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
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
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 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
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
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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