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I chose this cruise primarily because it was going to Papua New Guinea (PNG). It was a destination I always wanted to go to and this cruise certainly didn't disappoint. Before I start on my own review, I like others take a read of the other reviews to see what others had to say. I noticed that for some a single negative experience would go onto colour their view of the entire cruise. There were others that were just rants making you wonder about their mental well-being. These sort of reviews are just not helpful. Whether it's this site or elsewhere, I usually skip over these. Embarkation/Disembarkation. It took about 15 minutes to get on the ship. Possibly the fastest I've experienced. It took around 45 minutes to get off. The hold up was in customs. The Ship. It's an old ship. There's evidence of rust and overall wear and tear. Having said that, the ship was kept clean and the public areas were in good order and visually appealing. The Cabin. We booked a suite. At around 54 Sq Metres, it's twice the size of a normal balcony room and easily bigger than most suites found on other ships - go check. We were delighted. Dining. I rather liked the booking system for Angelos, Waterfront and Dragon Lady. The restaurants were perfectly okay. Service was great. I particularly liked the Pantry. A few reasons: 1) The staff served you. Far more hygienic with less blatant food wastage. All cruise ships should follow suit. 2) The design was kind of funky without that canteen kind of feel. 3) Food was often cooked in front of you. For example, the fried/grilled fish and chips. Had poached eggs too. Entertainment and Activities. I have to hand it to P&O. They worked hard on this and quite surprised how good it was. The Highly Strung Rock and Roll Orchestra were just amazing. Blew me away. Wasn't expecting it. They also had a guitarist from PNG, Isaiah Monah. He was X-factor material. All other shows and bands were all good. Service. The staff smiled and quite cheerful. So important. I thought they worked hard. Ports and Shore Excursions. Here in Australia we should feel lucky to have such great destinations. PNG was just brilliant. Conflict Islands, for example, is the kind of coral atoll people dream about - turquoise water, white sand, beautiful coral. These places still exist. I just hope they are kept in their pristine state and not destroyed through excessive tourism. Would I go again? The answer is Yes. PNG is a great destination and the ship was perfectly okay. The staff worked hard. It was much appreciated. Would prefer a longer cruise around PNG. Negatives: - The windows in the public areas should have been washed to get rid of the salt building up. - The pizzas in the Grill were below par. It's a cruise ship with mass appeal, attracting people from all walks of life, and with a price point to match. Don't expect a Cunard, Silversea or Disney type experience. Keep this in mind and people will have a good time.

A very good cruise experience

Pacific Aria Cruise Review by testert

14 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I chose this cruise primarily because it was going to Papua New Guinea (PNG). It was a destination I always wanted to go to and this cruise certainly didn't disappoint.

Before I start on my own review, I like others take a read of the other reviews to see what others had to say. I noticed that for some a single negative experience would go onto colour their view of the entire cruise. There were others that were just rants making you wonder about their mental well-being. These sort of reviews are just not helpful. Whether it's this site or elsewhere, I usually skip over these.

Embarkation/Disembarkation. It took about 15 minutes to get on the ship. Possibly the fastest I've experienced. It took around 45 minutes to get off. The hold up was in customs.

The Ship. It's an old ship. There's evidence of rust and overall wear and tear. Having said that, the ship was kept clean and the public areas were in good order and visually appealing.

The Cabin. We booked a suite. At around 54 Sq Metres, it's twice the size of a normal balcony room and easily bigger than most suites found on other ships - go check. We were delighted.

Dining. I rather liked the booking system for Angelos, Waterfront and Dragon Lady. The restaurants were perfectly okay. Service was great.

I particularly liked the Pantry. A few reasons: 1) The staff served you. Far more hygienic with less blatant food wastage. All cruise ships should follow suit. 2) The design was kind of funky without that canteen kind of feel. 3) Food was often cooked in front of you. For example, the fried/grilled fish and chips. Had poached eggs too.

Entertainment and Activities. I have to hand it to P&O. They worked hard on this and quite surprised how good it was. The Highly Strung Rock and Roll Orchestra were just amazing. Blew me away. Wasn't expecting it. They also had a guitarist from PNG, Isaiah Monah. He was X-factor material. All other shows and bands were all good.

Service. The staff smiled and quite cheerful. So important. I thought they worked hard.

Ports and Shore Excursions. Here in Australia we should feel lucky to have such great destinations. PNG was just brilliant. Conflict Islands, for example, is the kind of coral atoll people dream about - turquoise water, white sand, beautiful coral. These places still exist. I just hope they are kept in their pristine state and not destroyed through excessive tourism.

Would I go again? The answer is Yes. PNG is a great destination and the ship was perfectly okay. The staff worked hard. It was much appreciated. Would prefer a longer cruise around PNG.

Negatives:

- The windows in the public areas should have been washed to get rid of the salt building up.

- The pizzas in the Grill were below par.

It's a cruise ship with mass appeal, attracting people from all walks of life, and with a price point to match. Don't expect a Cunard, Silversea or Disney type experience. Keep this in mind and people will have a good time.
testert’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Excellent. Very big.