This was my 12th cruise, mostly from Australia on P&O, and I was horrified to read the reviews about Pacific Aria before leaving! Hopefully this review will put people's mind at ease a bit. We had an ocean view cabin on deck 5.
We found the ship was in as good as condition as any other P&O ships we had been on; not as flamboyant as some other cruise lines, but nothing like the bad reviews i had read. It rained very heavily only once but there didn't seem to be any problems. It is an old ship with some new interior fit-out. The food and the included restaurant choices were great, although as we were travelling in a group of 6, I wasn't a fan of not being able to book the Waterfront but all we had to do was turn up and get a buzzer and go for a drink in a bar while we waited, and you could still book the Dragon Lady and Angelo's (both included in cruise price). The pantry is a much better idea and a lot quicker than the old style of service; much like the system Carnival already had.
The huge positive of the trip was the itinerary - the people and places we visited were lovely, with wonderful scenery, interesting history and culture still much in tack.
Average to Good, except for shower over bath - unsure how elderly passengers would have handled this particularly on a rough voyage, but I enjoyed it one day after a long shore tour.
Great tour, great itinerary, good vehicle and driver, but 9 squashed into an 8 seater vehicle in the very hot and humid PNG conditions, on roads that arent the safest.
Free transfer to Madang Lodge - airconditioned bus waiting at the port that went past bays and beaches, golf course, memorial lighthouse, and stopped at the Museum & Visitor Centre on way to Madang Lodge Hotel located within beautiful gardens. Lovely spot for a drink on the balcony overlooking Astrolabe Bay and Finnisterre Ranges.
Best tour of whole trip. Ellie the local tour guide was informative, friendly, funny and very caring. Viewed Volcano Observatory, Yamamotos Bunker, Betty Bomber, Japanese Peace Memorial, Bitapaka War Cemetary, Kokopo War Museum, Japanese Barge and Hospital Tunnels, and Market, Matiput Island cultural performance, handicrafts and oral history.