Just like a few others here, I was a bit concerned about the negative reviews concerning Pacific Aria. If there really were problems earlier on, then I guess I do feel sorry for anyone who had a poor experience but whatever teething problems may have been present when this ship started cruising from Australian ports late last year seem to have been ironed out.
We had a great time. The food was good, the staff were friendly and helpful and, if the vibe was right some of them could be very humorous and entertaining. Be friendly and polite to the crew and you'll get it back in spades. Above all, don't be put off by the earlier poor reviews and ratings.
We ate in the Pantry for most breakfasts and lunches, we tried the Waterfront for dinner, we had one dinner in the Salt Grill and splashed out for one dinner at the Chef's Table (Highly recommended if your budget will allow it). At $49 per head it's a 7-course degustation dinner presented by the executive Chef and complete with wines (included in the cost) matched to each course. You would pay a lot more on land for this. It was also a great way to meet other guests and as the wine flowed and the good food kept coming the atmosphere became convivial to say the least, including the vibe between the guests and the staff. Oh, almost forgot that the chef took us on a tour of the immaculately clean and efficient galley of which he was justly proud. No need to worry about food hygiene on this ship, I can assure you.
Boarding and disembarkation was a breeze and the tender boat transfer to Hamilton Island was well organised. Be aware though, that the tenders are actually lifeboats so don't expect creature comforts like padded seating and air conditioning.
Cabins were roomy and well serviced on a daily basis (well, twice daily if you count the fact that the staff turn your bed down for you while you're out taking in dinner and a show).
Clean, roomy and comfortable. Well serviced daily.