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

DISENCHANTED

Pacific Aria Cruise Review by sydney52

1 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Nov 2015
  • Destination: Australia & New Zealand

Disgusting service, no one in charge to check, promises not kept.

No one advised / announced time change (SYD to BNE overnight passage), even some staff and the SPA did not know.

No programme delivered the night before for next day activities. Only arrived later the next morning.

Cabin phones, did not work most of the time.

Cabin not ready when we boarded even though we were the first paying passengers. Either the VIP passenger left an unholy mess or the staff are not up to it. Can’t understand how two cabin staff per cabin can’t cope.

NO facecloths, nor tissues in the room, no body lotion, although the shampoo, condition and body wash was not bad. Requested face cloth from reception as the phone was not working and we could never find our cabin attendants. Well we are still waiting and we had to use the hand towels to shower.

Our bathroom was not cleaned/ refreshed, whilst we were at dinner, a first for us and we have done many cruises with other cruise lines.

Beds should be twin and not queen in some of the staterooms as one cannot get past the bed and couch, did like the mirror magnifying mirrors which was left from the RYNDAM/HAL ship.

Loved the bar areas, something for everyone. We liked The Pantry idea, loved the new deck furniture but not sure with staff laziness and attitude how long this will look nice and clean.

Also pleased they have kept some of the HAL features such as the small cinema, but will they serve FREE fresh popcorn like they do on HAL, doubt it.

The SPA facilities and gym also very nice and staff very professional in these areas.

We waited over an hour to be seated for breakfast in the Waterfront Restaurant even though plenty of empty seating, shows the staff are not trained and no co- ordination. When the breakfast orders did arrive, the stewards could not remember who ordered what and the food was disgusting with passengers at our table walking out hungry as the pantry upstairs would have been closed by then. The chef needs to be replaced, dinner was not much better with the ribs we chose to share tasted off and old. Rolls stoggy and not heated, nor crisp.

Emily, our waitress at dinner on our second night, was good but the food tasteless, old, and soggy and meringues pure sugar and not light and fluffy.

No tablecloths on the tables in the Waterfront, croissants, pastries not heated, soggy and cold straight from the fridge, two small pieces of butter on a table for 6, no salt and pepper either. We had to go and beg from another table as not a waiter in sight.

Décor in the Waterfront very pleasant with tables at a good height and chairs very comfortable. Also plenty of space around the tables but as mentioned big disappointment with service and standard of food even though the menu looked appetising.

Although the idea of The Pantry is great and the food was reasonable and liked the idea of staff doing the serving, so much more hygienic and I am sure stops a lot of wastage, however, it took ages for tables to be cleared and wiped.

The Asian & Indian foods in The Pantry were excellent and well presented.

The queues later at night at the Grill and (for which one pays) were miles long. On other cruise lines we have travelled, one could still get a snack at a bistro area until midnight or better still FREE room service from a small but adequate menu and best of all delivery of a pot of coffee in the morning. Then we really felt we were on holiday and on a cruise but not on this ship nor P&O!

I am pleased we did not pay for the Luke Mangan restaurant (it was fully booked) as the noise from the Blue room was deafening so one would have had to shout over dinner.

The one and only sea day we had the pools were closed in spite of calm seas. The bandstand/ aft was only removed midday. Why were the staff not onto it earlier, scraping and cleaning and varnishing around the pool area even though the ship is just back from refurbishing and this during and inaugural cruise when we all paid a premium for our cabins.

Enjoyed the soft relaxing music on the aft deck whilst we had a beautiful sea day, pity the pool was not open. Pity the bar service is so dismal.

Also the great big eskies behind the POOL bar filled with beer was disgusting with staff tripping over it.

Pity the area around the centre pool soon became a smelly mess as staff did not clean the area of food, cups, glasses etc.

We could not get a drinks service on the aft deck outside the Pantry , nor the pool area and had to find a bar and request and carry ourselves, so much for being on holiday and being looked after.

Bar service was very slow in most bars if one sat at a table. Again had to ask for the very sticky table to be wiped. Never before have we had to sign for a drink and then have to wait 15-30 mins for it to arrive. Cocktails outrageously expensive. We did not order a bottle of wine as we did not wish to carry it around with us like peasants, as the dining room informed us they could not keep it for us. If one ordered a white wine it would not have been chilled as not all staterooms had fridges.

Reception staff arrogant.

Requested face cloths from reception as the phone was not working and we could never find our cabin attendants. Well we are still waiting!

The name tags are so small, I am starting to think on purpose as there were so many passengers complaining and always a long queue. Never have I spent so much of MY precious holiday time at reception.

The VIP (past passengers) were ropable as none of the promised items, champagne, canapes, robes etc were available. When one passenger complained she was told that it would not be given on our voyage. So much for this particular voyage and all the fanfare and premium fares (our same cabin dropped by $230pp per night leaving from Brisbane, the cruise after ours) to be part of what could have been a positive memorable experience.

Printers were not working most of the time at Reception. Dragan seemed to be the only one that knew anything. I only know his name as I asked as one cannot read their name tags. Most of the time only one person on duty as well. Other cruise lines four or six.

Delivery of final accounts delivered very late on day of disembarkation and many passengers found errors so had to wait in a long queue so reception was very busy and at great inconvenience to passengers.

Seems, since P&O moved most of their booking and admin to the Philippines, the whole booking experience has become dysfunctional. Had it not been for our amazing travel agent we would not have proceeded.

Initially /pamper packs were advertised in every stateroom for the Aria then removed from the website and yes I was given an extra OBC to compensate when I raised the matter but that shows we are just numbers and not passengers so the logo “LIKE NO PLACE ON EARTH” is just the opposite.

Embarkation was well organised, however we had to wait a very long to board, luckily we were seated. We don't know why. We saw many agents VIPs boarding walking straight past us / given preference over paying passengers.

Disembarkation was dismal: Disembarkation was a shambles as no one bothered to ask what time passengers wanted and most did not have much luggage for a two night cruise so was a waste to print luggage labels and allocate colour zones. In the end passengers pleased themselves as some had flights to catch which created a lot of congestion on the stairways and small lifts. Would not like to think what would happen on a ship of 4000 passengers.

The ARIA is a beautiful ship and we had such high expectations being a smaller ship and new innovative designs and thought that just, maybe, it would be of the same standard as HAL being an ex-HAL ship but it was our worst cruise ever.

Being charged for room service, items from the grill, ice cream, 1.5% for using a credit card when it is a cashless on-board IS PRETTY DISMAL.

I was advised it is a gratuity free ship and normally we still tip staff who deserve it but on this ship, none did. Also I was charged 5% gratuity at the SPA????

If anyone from P & O bothers to read passenger reviews then change staff attitudes, better training and more staff would be a good start.

Stop charging for room service credit card fee of 1.5% ( in a cashless society on board).

Passengers were handing over cash all the time as they ran out of their shipboard account and I think they did not realise the extra costs on board, nor the price of some drinks. Small extras such as ice cream, burgers especially as many families travel on P & O should not be an extra charge. Vast takings and revenue from the bars should allow for this.

Bigger name tags for staff, change their attitude.

Cruising should be a relaxing holiday not money grabbing. As a shareholder of CARNIVAL, I should be pleased for the money generated especially in the bars but as a passenger the whole cruise on the Aria has left me so dissatisfied that I will never travel P &N O again. Our friends were excited for us to be doing this inaugural cruise on the Aria and requested our feedback so I doubt if they will either as they know we are regular cruisers.

The list goes on and on.

So much for trying to create and offer a high end boutique hotel experience!


sydney52's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin OC 6038

Cabin phones, did not work most of the time.

Cabin not ready when we boarded even though we were the first paying passengers. Either the VIP passenger left an unholy mess or the staff are not up to it. Can’t understand how two cabin staff per cabin can’t cope.

NO facecloths, nor tissues in the room, no body lotion, although the shampoo, condition and body wash was not bad. Requested face cloth from reception as the phone was not working and we could never find our cabin attendants. Well we are still waiting and we had to use the hand towels to shower.

Our bathroom was not cleaned/ refreshed, whilst we were at dinner, a first for us and we have done many cruises with other cruise lines.

Beds should be twin and not queen in some of the staterooms as one cannot get past the bed and couch, did like the mirror magnifying mirrors which was left from the RYNDAM/HAL ship.


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