We went on this cruise as a large family group, 13 people across 4 cabins, as the dates and length of cruise suited everyone.
I have been on the P&O Eden once and the Carnival Legend (twice) before.
Highlights of the Aria - kids club, both turtle cove and shark shack, the staff were terrific and the events they held across the ship were great fun.
The Edge, lasertag and zip line, we had a great team member - Kimberly, she was very knowledgeable and was on the ball.
Entertainment - we watched a great band do Elton John and Billy Joel covers. They were terrific.
Not so great about the Aria - Food. The Pantry was the best of the bunch but saying that it was only just slightly better than a shopping centre food court.
We definitely noticed a decrease in quality from our previous P&O trip (2018). The deserts were so bland and dry, and no fresh cream or ice cream on offer. Mains were hit and miss, sauces were all watered down. There was a ‘custard’ that came with a desert - it was positively fluro yellow. Very strange. Carnival definitely win in the food stakes.
We went to Waterfront once, it’s a beautiful looking space but again the food isn’t anything special and the staff didn’t really seem to know what they were doing. A request for a plastic cup, at a 1/3 full lunch sitting, took several requests and along time to appear.
Angelo’s, we went once as well - the food again wasn’t great. An osso buco was inedible. Pumpkin pasta was dry and stodgy. There was a lovely waiter there who made the meal more enjoyable.
We realize that cooking for such a large number of people is challenging but it can be done so much better than P&O is managing at the moment.
Staff - there were some stand out staff who were knowledgeable and welcoming but overall we found the staff attitude was pretty poor, alot of them definitely looked as though they didn’t want to be there. I realize it’s a hard job and they are away from their families but it really stood out compared to other cruises we’ve been on.
The P&O messaging app is rubbish. Hardly worked for any of us.
The bunk is a lift out of the couch version, not a big fan. It means the bottom ‘bunk’ is extremely low to the floor so you can’t really sit on it during the day. Our son got his foot stuck between the bunk and the wall on the last morning. We prefer when the bunk comes out from the wall or ceiling. Bath in the bathroom is a plus. Useless side curtains kept falling off their tracks. Not sure of their purpose..Lots of storage space.
We hired a car from Budget, and drive to Seal Bay - worth the trip just to see the sea lions there. Stunning.