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I chose this cruise as it went to Apia however after booking that port was cancelled and we went to SavuSavu instead. It took 2 hours to get onboard as we queued and then when we got close to the entrance we were told to get out of the queue as we were one hour early. So one of our party rejoined the end of the queue and when he got to the entrance he called us over and we barged past the lady checking the times on the e tickets. We then queued for our sea passes and then took seats and waited to be called by number. Note there are no toilets or water available while you queue outside in the hot sun. They only had two xray security machines for 1500 people and this caused another long queue. There are also steps inside the terminal before you reach the machines. Once on board our cabin was great # 4128 midships on the bottom deck. It was an inside cabin and very quite. Our cabin stewards greeted us and ran off to find a small fridge for my medicine and a mattress topper for my bed as I have a bad back. Both of which were pre booked well in advance and should have been in the cabin when we arrived. P&O let us down badly in that regard. The cabin stewards were wonderful and nothing was too much trouble. They both gave more than 100% and were very friendly and chatty. The food on board was fantastic and we rotated through all three free restaurants each evening. The only change the menu once a week but in the Waterfront (main dining room) they add in a theme night each night, so you may get French, Mexican or Korean etc. We ate at The Pantry for lunch on the days we were in port as the Waterfront is closed for lunch, otherwise we ate there for Breakfast and Lunch every day except the day we got off as the queues at the Waterfront were far too long. There is no room service that morning. Breakfast in The Pantry was fine. We didn't eat at SALT as there was a $49 fee plus $2 for each oyster and another $22 for Lobster. We did hear great reports from those that did eat there. I never saw anyone eat at the Chefs Table which looks like a Boardroom. The Public Areas are all very tastefully furnished with great carpets, except for the hall ways in the cabin areas. Both Pools are freezing cold (even in Summer) and the two spas are boiling hot. I got heart palpitations after only 10 minutes on the one and only time that I used one. The Staff are fantastic in all areas of the ship but I can't say the same for some of the passengers, some of whom berated the staff and spoke to the staff as if they were less than nothing, but on most occasions other passengers told them to shut up as the staff can't stick up for themselves. The ship was full of whingers but I have found that on every other cruise that I have been on. The worst thing was that Type A flu swept through the ship and lots of people got very ill. I am still ill a week or so after getting off as are lots of our friends who we made on board.We did our own thing in each Port and caught a water taxi in Port Vila and in one Port a tourist bus. There were always plenty of Taxis touting for your business. The Shore Tours sold on board are really expensive but we did hear great reports from those that used them. Getting off the ship was fine. You have to vacate your cabin by 8.30am then pick up your duty free and wait in a designated lounge until your number is called. We were due off of at 10.10am and were called at 10.20am. However once off the nightmare of passport control and customs and fighting to find your luggage begins. There are those stairs again and you have to cross a lane way from one building to another as you pass through a truck arrival area. They also close off about 50% of the main car to allow trucks through to the ship. Also the passengers getting off have to run the gauntlet of those arriving early to go onboard for the next cruise.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Pacific Aria Cruise Review by Robbo13

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I chose this cruise as it went to Apia however after booking that port was cancelled and we went to SavuSavu instead. It took 2 hours to get onboard as we queued and then when we got close to the entrance we were told to get out of the queue as we were one hour early. So one of our party rejoined the end of the queue and when he got to the entrance he called us over and we barged past the lady checking the times on the e tickets. We then queued for our sea passes and then took seats and waited to be called by number. Note there are no toilets or water available while you queue outside in the hot sun. They only had two xray security machines for 1500 people and this caused another long queue. There are also steps inside the terminal before you reach the machines. Once on board our cabin was great # 4128 midships on the bottom deck. It was an inside cabin and very quite. Our cabin stewards greeted us and ran off to find a small fridge for my medicine and a mattress topper for my bed as I have a bad back. Both of which were pre booked well in advance and should have been in the cabin when we arrived. P&O let us down badly in that regard. The cabin stewards were wonderful and nothing was too much trouble. They both gave more than 100% and were very friendly and chatty. The food on board was fantastic and we rotated through all three free restaurants each evening. The only change the menu once a week but in the Waterfront (main dining room) they add in a theme night each night, so you may get French, Mexican or Korean etc. We ate at The Pantry for lunch on the days we were in port as the Waterfront is closed for lunch, otherwise we ate there for Breakfast and Lunch every day except the day we got off as the queues at the Waterfront were far too long. There is no room service that morning. Breakfast in The Pantry was fine. We didn't eat at SALT as there was a $49 fee plus $2 for each oyster and another $22 for Lobster. We did hear great reports from those that did eat there. I never saw anyone eat at the Chefs Table which looks like a Boardroom. The Public Areas are all very tastefully furnished with great carpets, except for the hall ways in the cabin areas. Both Pools are freezing cold (even in Summer) and the two spas are boiling hot. I got heart palpitations after only 10 minutes on the one and only time that I used one. The Staff are fantastic in all areas of the ship but I can't say the same for some of the passengers, some of whom berated the staff and spoke to the staff as if they were less than nothing, but on most occasions other passengers told them to shut up as the staff can't stick up for themselves. The ship was full of whingers but I have found that on every other cruise that I have been on. The worst thing was that Type A flu swept through the ship and lots of people got very ill. I am still ill a week or so after getting off as are lots of our friends who we made on board.We did our own thing in each Port and caught a water taxi in Port Vila and in one Port a tourist bus. There were always plenty of Taxis touting for your business. The Shore Tours sold on board are really expensive but we did hear great reports from those that used them. Getting off the ship was fine. You have to vacate your cabin by 8.30am then pick up your duty free and wait in a designated lounge until your number is called. We were due off of at 10.10am and were called at 10.20am. However once off the nightmare of passport control and customs and fighting to find your luggage begins. There are those stairs again and you have to cross a lane way from one building to another as you pass through a truck arrival area. They also close off about 50% of the main car to allow trucks through to the ship. Also the passengers getting off have to run the gauntlet of those arriving early to go onboard for the next cruise.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 4128
The cabins may be 20 years old but I believe they will be updated in July 2018 when it goes to Singapore. We found our cabin spacious and was set up to take three and as we were only two it was more than adequate.