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

Some Great, Some Good, Some Average, Some Bad

Pacific Aria Cruise Review by Shippy McShipface

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2016
  • Destination: Australia & New Zealand

Being our first cruise, my wife and I had no real expectations. I read some great reviews and some bad reviews, but really like to find things out for myself. This cruise was given as reward from my work so my spending was to be on drinks/entertainment. I have decided to categorise things into Great, Good, Average and Bad.


1/ Service - Fast, friendly and efficient. Lot's of smiles and good natured attitudes. Pleasingly, our room was turned over several times a day and they noted our anniversary sevral times during our cruise.

2/ Decor - This ship has been renovated to a taste found in much more expensive venues and this added a feel of premiumness. The "Blue Room" was classy and the adults only outside pool area had comfy lounges and cool tunes.

3/ Wait times - Food was fast in the restaurants (sometimes too fast even), bars had enough staff and in "The Pantry", lines were never more than 6 people long. For a ship with 1479/1500 capacity, this was impressive.


1/ The amenities on the ship were good and were open when needed.

2/ The drink prices were good(think nice pub prices) and selection was plentiful.

3/ Not usually a gambler, my wife and I had a flutter and suprisingly, the poker machine returns were fair to good.


1/ The reception staff could use a some customer service training. My bag was not brought onto the ship until quite late because it was apparently held up in customs, even though there were only clothes in it. The concierge said to return in an hour if it hadnt shown up, which was an hour after departing. Needless to say, I was concerned as it had all my clothes for the trip in it. When I retuned to the counter, I was told it hadnt shown up at which point the concierge asked for a description and then proceeded to obtain my bag from behind their counter! It had been there for over an hour and they never contacted me. My phone number was with them and phone reception was good..NO EXCUSES!

2/ The parties were well meaning but poorly organised with many people out of theme as well and no music for long periods. During the "Gatsby"party, the DJ played Top 40! Really guys? No jazz, boogie woogie bugle boy,flapper dancing, nothing? Nice concept, poor execution.

The Bad:

1/ The food - Oh boy P&O, what a lost opportunity The Pantry is. I understand that when cooking for 1500 people that processes need to be streamlined and menus simplified. I expected RSL, but I would be disappointed if my local RSL served this overcooked mess. The roast meats at Fat Cow were dry and cold and staff seemed a bit cranky if you asked for more than one thin piece. The veges were few and far between across the Pantry and maybe a salad or three might contribute to a better dining experience. The ragu at Angelo's was bolognese sauce from a can and the Osso Buco, mostly fat and bone. The food at Dragon Lady was bain marie food court fare at best. Even Salt grill was not quite up to standard and having worked with Luke Mangan at Glass Brasserie at the Sydney Hilton, I know what it's supposed to at least try to taste like.

The food took a great cruise with value for money and beautiful spaces down a notch to a good cruise overall. I do believe you get what you pay for but the improvements needed would be cost minimal, just procedural. When they get this right, they will be right up there for great value cruising experiences.

Shippy McShipface's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin Oceanview Room 6118

Dated but pleasant enough decor, no coffee or tea making facilities. Everything functioned well enough, mid ship so not too rocky.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Tender process arduous, was drenched as they didnt close the plastic window, Tangalooma is a tourist trap, snorkelling was brief but well run.

View All 6 Snorkeling Reviews

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Shippy McShipface
1 Reviews Written
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