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276 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

I was a bit sceptical from the reviews but had been on the Dawn 2015 and had a great time so pushed the negative reviews to the back of my mind. We had a great time food fantastic in Agelos, Dragon Lady, waterfront and The pantry can ... Read More
I was a bit sceptical from the reviews but had been on the Dawn 2015 and had a great time so pushed the negative reviews to the back of my mind. We had a great time food fantastic in Agelos, Dragon Lady, waterfront and The pantry can not fault anything. There is great little bars around all cozy atmosphere amazing never had trouble getting a seat. Adults only area at back of ship great plenty deck chairs service fantastic . We gad an ocean view room very spacious on level 5 queen bed and sofa. Cannot fault anything was amazballs, due to the difference between Aria and Dawn would be hard to go back on Dawn as Aria is so much more modern, cannot wait to go on another cruise on Aria our sister ship Eden. Thank you p & o had a fabulous time Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Firstly, I cannot believe the amount of whingers on here, this is a symptom of the silent happy majority not feeling the need to review. Normally I wouldn't except I nearly cancelled in January from the feedback on here so balance ... Read More
Firstly, I cannot believe the amount of whingers on here, this is a symptom of the silent happy majority not feeling the need to review. Normally I wouldn't except I nearly cancelled in January from the feedback on here so balance needs to be restored. The Pantry - think of it like a shopping centre food court, and expect that quality. The menu changed maybe 3 times through the 7 days so variety was okay except we did not eat there much. Curries were good, although the stainless steel 'prison tray' that curries are served on needs revision. Everywhere else had normal crockery. The Pantry really could do with a 'Kids' station as there was not a lot of 'kids' food (eg sausage rolls, simple sandwiches, nuggets etc) my kids basically ate solid cheese tacos from the Mexican station. Also, the Mexican was great for adults and I would put it with Guzman y. Gomez for similar quality. Waterfront - excellent free restaurant. My daughter has peanut anaphalaxis and 'Freddie' the F&B Supervisor made a particular effort in this regard, he remembered the entire cruise, and would meet us in the restaurant each time. I could not have been more impressed with Freddie. You can also order ahead for the next day and they will specially prepare for you as well. Best place to get breakfast on the ship. Menus changed twice or 3 times in the week, good selection about 8 entrees, 10 mains and 6 desserts on each menu. Angelos - Osso Bucco is to die for. Absolutely fantastic. Same for the torte and the tiramasu. About 5 entrees, 8 mains and 5 deserts on menu. Salt Grill - Fantastic generally, except the 300g sirloin was something that I could have cooked at home. The 200g tenderloin was however 5 star quality. Scallop entree fantastic also. House red was McWilliams Markview Shiraz 2014 included free on our early booking VIP package. This is a lighter shiraz however no unpleasant tannins. About 5 entrees, 5 steaks and 5 other dishes for mains, some sharing mains eg a 1kg steak, 5 deserts. Dragon Lady / Captains table - didn't make it due to kids club being full :( see below. Drinks package - well I was feeling great in the Brisbane River so I grabbed the drinks package. P&O made about $250 profit there as I was seasick for the first 2 days over (same happened on last cruise to Noumea - probably just me). The package means that you will need to drink 10 beers or 7/8 standard cocktails a day to break even. Fortunately it includes the barista coffee so I mainly had that - only $4.60 for a large cappuccino however so that didn't add up to offset the drinks package cost. The Grill - pool deck food, great value $3 large nachos, burgers, $9.50 for a proper italian style wood fired pizza. If you order this room service it is the same price delivered! The Cafe - New Zealand Ice Cream - $5 1 scoop, $6.50 2 scoops. Hugest muffins and slices of Banana bread that you will ever see and they are only $3. Duty Free - quite a decent range for onboard, about 40 or 50 different spirits on the list. What is telling though, is that the basic rum served in cocktails 'Captain Silver' is worth $10 a litre and they are making a profit on that! In a cocktail it is about $5 / 30ml. Bars - I have made thousands of cocktails working part time during my first uni degree, so I was watching the bartenders. Their technique especially at the pool bar is lazy and they never fully fill the nipper when measuring spirits, they tip before it is full while continuing the pour. There is no way to know how much has been poured accurately and this effects the taste and obviously the alchohol % of the drink and wouldn't pass for RSA in Qld. However I was on the drinks package so I didn't care about the perceived value of each drink - I would watch this if you are buying individually however. There are Purell hand sanitiser machines everywhere, however no enforcement like previous P&O cruise and no signs about using them. Pantry also serves as a thoroughfare from top pool deck to the aft stairs/lifts. A negative was the capacity of the kids club, only 15 in Turtle Cove and 30 in Shark Shack, and they didn't have pagers for parents despite this being listed. We had booked a group of 27 people at full rate over 12 months ago to ensure that the 13 kids would be catered for as P&O have a 10% kids restriction (i.e. 150 on Aria). This does not necessarily mean that there is capacity in the kids clubs however, meaning that my wife and I had to take turns babysitting so we missed being able to share some of the theme nights and we made none of the shows whatsoever, except I made it to the Comedian starting at 11.30pm one night. The kids program was good however, there was a kids Gatsby Party and White party to coincide with these nights. We only found out on the 4th day that you can book the Kids club if you have a restaurant reservation, or else it is line up and first in first served at 2.00pm when it reopens after lunch. Kids club staff were fantastic. Shore Excursions Noumea - what can you really do when you arrive at 3pm with 3 hours of light left? Noumea might well be good after dark but my machete skills are not up to scratch. You can get a family of 4 to the aquarium a lot cheaper than through P&O - $60 for the hop-on/hop-off all day bus (on the left in the arrivals terminal) then the equivalent of $38AUD for a family ticket to the aquarium. Similar to underwater world in Mooloolabah but without the undersea tunnel. Mare - the cost of the bus transfer to Yejele Beach should be included in the voyage as there is nothing else to do in Mare except a few small stalls where you disembark the tender. The coral is basically bleached and is no where the snorkelling experience of Isle of Pines or Divine Island (not sure if P&O go there any more?) Also no food off the ship any more, and the bus tickets can only be used once. So you have to go and return pre or post lunch unless you trust the local cooking. Last time P&O set up a buffet on Divine Island (Pacific Sky 2005) which was great. Vila Ekasup Village - not bad except for filthy vans/buses with no seat belts for the transfers (don't worry it is P&O risk assessed!) Overall - except for some seasickness on the first 2 days (and the Kwells drying out my mouth and making everything taste salty) the cruise was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This wasn't my first cruise. I'm really surprised by the complainers, how could they not have had a good time. Sad for them as the staff worked very hard for their good time. There's so much to do for everyone - about 40 ... Read More
This wasn't my first cruise. I'm really surprised by the complainers, how could they not have had a good time. Sad for them as the staff worked very hard for their good time. There's so much to do for everyone - about 40 different things a day or if you are like me you don't want to do too much, just lounge and there are plenty of spaces to relax in. I didn't have kids with me but there were plenty on board especially turning up for the Easter hunt. A couple of bridal parties complete with gowns etc. What a great idea for a wedding venue. The Pacific Aria is newly refurbished in contemporary decor and I thought they did a great job. The cabins are roomly, tastefully decorated and thoughtfully detailed, and as for the staff I never saw them be anything but courteous, smiley and great to have some personality coming through. There are a lot of different styles of restaurant food to choose from, it's healthy, of good quality and not boring. Gone are the feeding troughs otherwise known as the buffet. I liked the restaurant style but you can still go to The Pantry which is line up (hardly any waiting most of the time) and guests served from behind perspex for hygiene. There are movies, exercise classes (top standard health instructors), health lectures, bingo, craft classes, cooking, wine tasting you name it and plenty of nightly entertainment in a state-of-the-art theatre and some theme nights. Loved the cocktails and was fortunate enough to have a drinks package. Piano bars and solo artists - very talented and fun. There's spa pools, pools for the family and an adult pool area. I was surprised how reasonable the onboard shops were and I probably wouldn't buy duty free alcohol on shore as it is very cheap to purchase on board and comes in a nice protective cardboard box as well. The bridge kept us informed and the whole cruise was very well organised, spotlessly clean and ran like clockwork, especially disembarkation. I had a great time and would certainly come back for more. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I have to start with this: 10/10 cruise Embarkations: Paid parking with bus shuttle 2 minutes away, pretty easy. Got on the ship at 11:30am, checked the room, had time to look around, booked the free Dragon Lady and Angelos ... Read More
I have to start with this: 10/10 cruise Embarkations: Paid parking with bus shuttle 2 minutes away, pretty easy. Got on the ship at 11:30am, checked the room, had time to look around, booked the free Dragon Lady and Angelos restaurants (Monkey bar) and went to the Pantry for lunch. Cabin 4227 (Ocean view, aft): Spacious, 4 beds, mattresses and pillows are really comfy. TV with the latest movies or the footy. Shower is a bit weird but you dont need to much effort to make it work. Food: Pantry: 10 different places with good variety and changes at every serve. It is 100% much better than any self-serve buffet, 2 people serving per place and the max waiting time was 2 minutes. Lady Dragon: nice setting, great Asia food, quick serving times (5-10 minutes) Angelos, more modern and elegant setting, Italian food, quick serving times (7-10 minutes) Waterfront: we went there just once for breakfast, it was pretty good and large sizes, there was a queue went we left at 8:30. I saw you get a pager if there a long queue. The Grill: We got Nachos and Pulled pock sandwich, great and cheap, 3 dollars each. Lounges: Great for a drink, live music and people serving you everywhere. Pools and Spa: Great for everyone, kids and adults Entertainment: Shows every night: 1 - Anthony B Laffan - Hypno-Mentalist - 10/10 Funny and entertaining. 2 - The Velvet Rope - Good musical 3- Off the Charts - Great and entertainment musical, great voices and girls 4 - Bingo - presenter was just so funny and made us all laugh all the time Parties: 1 - White night: people had a great time 1 - Gatsby Party: everyone dressed up and having fun Kids Clubs (7-9): My kids had a blast and they didnt want to get out even at 10:30pm Costs: Beer: 7-9 Cocktails Crew: Everyone on that ship has great energy, they all say hello and make the best effort to make you feel at home and stress free. Disembarkation: Easy, took us 5 minutes, bus shuttle waiting outside for us, in the car in another 5 minutes. It was so much fun and stress free that we are coming back soon. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
After reading a few negative reviews of Pacific Eden I was a bit worried about the cruise which I had booked to celebate my 50th birthday with 12 girlfriends, but I need not have worried - it was fantastic! From the moment we boarded I ... Read More
After reading a few negative reviews of Pacific Eden I was a bit worried about the cruise which I had booked to celebate my 50th birthday with 12 girlfriends, but I need not have worried - it was fantastic! From the moment we boarded I was impressed by the modern decor in the public areas and the cabin was quite roomy and very clean, as was the bathroom. I had read on these reviews that you need to book the restaurants early, so luckily we did that soon after boarding (they do fill fast) and were able to secure bookings for Dragon Lady and Angelo's, great ambience in these restaurants much more intimate than the usual large dining rooms on cruise ships and the food was great, some dishes not amazing but with no surcharge we had no complaints. Loved the entertainment, and with the roof over the Lido deck the Gatsby and Bianco nights were fantastic, even when it was pouring with rain on the night of our Bianco party it made no difference because of the roof. Oasis pool out the back was great for sunbaking as we were lucky to have some great weather as well. The pantry food is great as well, it was only a short cruise so didn't have a chance to get bored with the food, everything I had was fine and never had a problem finding a table. The staff were lovely, no complaints there either. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I booked this cruise last November as a short break for my husband and I , after booking I looked at reviews and was horrified ! Honestly I am not sure what happens , wether only those that have problems on board take the time to ... Read More
I booked this cruise last November as a short break for my husband and I , after booking I looked at reviews and was horrified ! Honestly I am not sure what happens , wether only those that have problems on board take the time to review, or maybe they were on another cruise ship, because we couldn't fault anything on Pacific Eden. From the time we arrived at Station Pier in Melbourne till we boarded was less than 20 minutes ! We were able to go straight to our cabin, drop off our bags, and then there was a meal waiting for us at The Pantry. The Pacific Eden is an older ship which has been completely done up to a very high standard. We were very impressed with the size of our cabin which was inside 5256. Fully refurbished, very clean and we had wonderful service from our cabin stewards Percy and Gwen. They were calling us by name from the first day and anything we requested was done immediately . Another thing thing we loved about the Eden was the fabulous sitting areas scattered around the ship, where you could find a nice area to sit and read ,play cards or have a quiet drink. The decor of the entire ship was so well done. We have been on 9 other cruises and this ship was up there with any other. Ok you are always going to find some faults if you look hard enough, but for someone with champagne taste on a beer budget , when you are looked after as well as we were with the service we received you can overlook small things ! Speaking of service....The Restaurants.....We weren't all that impressed with The Pantry, BUT , Waterfront Restaurant, was great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My husband is cealiac , and that was no problem, he was catered for perfectly. Each day he was shown menus and asked to choose what he would like , so the head chef could plan ahead, and then at each meal there was no fuss, and he was really happy. The food was really good . We also ate at Angelo's & Dragon Lady both are now included in the cruise price . Excellent service and food at both. Loved the Oasis Adult pool area. Lots of lounges and daybeds and a fabulous view from the back of the ship. The main pool area was very busy as there were lots of family's on board, so it was very nice to have a child free area to relax outside and we never had a problem finding a sun lounge. The main pool area was well used and having a closing roof , perfect for cooler weather and for a usable area at night for music and dancing . Which brings me to the night time entrainment , each night 2 bands played, the main shows were of a very good standard , with "Twice in a Lifetime " one of the best shows I have seen on a cruise, just brilliant ! All in all a great short break which we really enjoyed, in fact we are already planning to do it again next year ! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Having travelled a few weeks earlier on Pacific Eden with my husband and another couple, and enjoying the experience so much, I decided to take my elderly mother on the same ship. She had not been on a cruise ship for about 40 years. ... Read More
Having travelled a few weeks earlier on Pacific Eden with my husband and another couple, and enjoying the experience so much, I decided to take my elderly mother on the same ship. She had not been on a cruise ship for about 40 years. From the moment I drove onto the pier with my mum, we were treated like royalty. Being a little frail and unsteady when walking, my mother was assisted out of my car into a wheelchair and whisked into the terminal while I found a place to park for the 3-day duration of the cruise. When I caught up with my mother upstairs in the terminal, she was being minded by the P&O assistant who then helped us register our arrival. Every single assistant at the embarkation was super friendly. The P&O assistant wheeled my mother thru customers and right onto the ship where we made our own way to our stateroom and the assistant returned the wheelchair to the pier. Having travelled a few weeks earlier with my husband, we were thrilled to be upgraded from a deck 5 outside stateroom to a deck 9 balcony. My mother was thrilled to be able to sit on the balcony and observe the beautiful vista of the comings and goings on the pier with the magnificent backdrop of the city of Melbourne. I picked up some great fish and chips and a glass of wine from the pantry and brought them back to the stateroom and we dined right there on the balcony. It was midnight as we went thru the heads and I was able to get her back inside the cabin. Our stateroom 9194 was immaculately clean, with so much storage space, a fridge, a huge leather couch and with TV with DVD player. The following morning we found a favourite DVD on the list of 100s available and after breakfast at the Waterfront, the steward raced off to bring back our choice. At meal times, I felt the Pantry would be a little too congested for my mother to navigate so we opted to dine at The Waterfront Restaurant. It has been beautifully refurbished and is such a pleasure to be in. Getting out of the elevator, we sometimes found a small queue of folks awaiting entry but as my mother walked with the aid of cane, we were encouraged to come to the top of the queue and be seated immediately. What wonderful caring staff P&O have there. Upon taking my mother to The Marquee theatre area to enjoy the various entertainment on offer, immediately upon entering the area, a P&O attendant would rush to our aid to provide seating for my mother. She enjoyed the shows so very much and could not believe how friendly and helpful the attendants were. Our stateroom stewards were exceptionally patient and obliging as well. I was concerned about disembarking the ship upon our return to Melbourne but spoke with reception and organised another wheelchair for my mother. This experience was exceptional and we were escorted by the P&O attendant not only off the ship but all the way off the pier to the sidewalk where a place was found for my mother to sit while I collected the car. As I gave an overview of all the other areas of the ship the other week when I travelled with my husband and another couple, I am focussing this review on the amazing helpfulness of the P&O staff who exceeded my expectations with ensuring my elderly mother enjoyed herself and was as safe as possible. She has not stopped talking to family and friends about her wonderful adventure on Pacific Eden. For her now, life may begin again at '90'. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Just back from a 4 night cruise on the Pacific Aria - we specifically chose a 4 night due to the negative reviews here and we didn't want to be stuck on a boat we hated for a long time. First up - Aria is a beautiful ship, the ... Read More
Just back from a 4 night cruise on the Pacific Aria - we specifically chose a 4 night due to the negative reviews here and we didn't want to be stuck on a boat we hated for a long time. First up - Aria is a beautiful ship, the makeover has been done extremely well and the interiors, especially the public areas have been done beautifully. The staterooms have been given a makeover with new beds, which are fresh and comfortable, the built in robes do show some signs of wear but nothing to worry about. We found the staff to be friendly and helpful, of course some are still finding their feet, but all in all we were very happy with service. Food sometimes was a little cold, in both the waterfront restaurant and also from the Mexican restaurant in the pantry, but sometimes Mexican meat gets cold fast. We were surprise how much we liked the pantry, especially since we dislike buffets in general and steered well clear in our last cruise. Waterfront is a beautiful restaurant and there are a Good selection of choices available, we especially liked the theme specials that differed each evening, Dragon lady also has an amazing ambience, however food here was lukewarm at best, with dishes not having good flavour or simply just lacking something. Soft shell crab was too greasy, the beef cheek was served sliced which was disappointing when expecting a chunk of beef cheek. Salt grill is exceptional, excellent service and the food was the best on the ship. Highly recommended. The bars on the Aria are great - they are small and cosy and so much better than the larger bar concepts from the older p&o ships. Entertainment was fantastic, with live acoustic singers - the piano guy Anthony in Mix and Gordon guitar in casino bar were exceptionally good. The pacific show and music from the Gatsby party was outstanding. We bought the thermal suite package which was great, however the aromatherapy room only functioned one day and the men's sauna was off cold one day. Both issues were rectified by Amber the spa manager who was helpful and apologetic. The only major issue we had on the cruise was our toilet not flushing. We reported it to the cabin steward, and also followed up with reception and nothing was done. 3 days in we complained to a manager who followed up, and on the final day we eventually got a response that someone had looked into the toilet and it as working - it wasn't. The most frustrating thing wa she lack of response from anyone about the issue. It took 4 days just to get someone to tell us they had looked at the issue. Not sure how anyone can know what is being done when there doesn't seem to be a linked computer system on the ship with notes linked to each cabin? Biggest thing was we didn't want to let that issue spoil our cruise. Overall, Aria is a beautiful ship and the crew, although new, are doing a fantastic job. We met people who had been on the inaugural voyage and also said the improvements were a 180 turnaround, initial negatives were mainly resolved. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I think we had such a good experience because our expectations were so low due to the reviews we read before going. Embarkations was easy, no issues although our bag arrived at our room damaged which I believe was mostly handled by ... Read More
I think we had such a good experience because our expectations were so low due to the reviews we read before going. Embarkations was easy, no issues although our bag arrived at our room damaged which I believe was mostly handled by staff that were not aboard the ship. Our cabin stewards were fantastic, they would usually be servicing rooms by the time we had left for breakfast and our rooms would always be made up by the time we'd returned. The same goes with dinner, they were very onto it and would service it as people left their rooms as opposed to knocking and bothering you while getting ready or just busy doing things in the room. One night we received chocolates on our pillows and another the towel animals, which were a lovely touch, the kids loved it. We dined in dragon lady, angelo's and waterfront which were nice enough but had very few options. They are not exactly child-friendly either as there aren't seperate menus for children. The staff in angelos did go above and beyond though and offered things that were not on the menu but it seemed to vary with different staff. We also were seated at two seperate tables in all restaurants which unfortunately meant we didn't always have the same waiter, which in turn meant we ordered and finished at different times but overall pleasant, just not ideal for bigger families/groups wishing to dine together. The Pantry was great, plenty of options and plenty of food for everyone and more accommodating for families/bigger groups. The food was about 10 times better than the restaurants too. We would eat early at each meal time so it almost always felt like there was food constantly. We didn't eat from the grill(little takeaway cafe they had by the lido pool) because we were always full but prices were very reasonable for what they had to offer. We did however splurge a bit on the Ice Cream which costs roughly around the same as what you'd pay at any ice creamery on land. Shows were fantastic, something different every night of our cruise and all the activities they had planned that we attended were well organised and fun. P&O call centre told me that the Gatsby party was 18+ and the white party was for everyone but every theme party they have onboard is both for adults and children, except they are held at different times of the evening. The kids spent a lot of time in the kids club and I guess their desire to keep going back speaks for itself. That includes the kids club for the teens, they had every intention of not going themselves but ended up there most of the time and I know the fantastic staff had a lot to do with why they kept wanting to go back. Overall, it was a fantastic getaway with little to no problems for us. We would definitely go on the Pacific Aria again but would probably request the same rooms through fear of pulling the short straw on one of the others. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We had a fabulous time on the Pacific Eden. Honestly, it was our best holiday ever. We loved our balcony cabin, lots of room, fridge, lounge area, plenty of storage. The stewards, waiters and entertainment crew were always friendly, ... Read More
We had a fabulous time on the Pacific Eden. Honestly, it was our best holiday ever. We loved our balcony cabin, lots of room, fridge, lounge area, plenty of storage. The stewards, waiters and entertainment crew were always friendly, professional and obviously well trained. Love the renovated areas, the Pantry was okay for breakfast, but we preferred going to the Waterfront for lunch and Angelos or Dragon Lady for dinner. We enjoyed going to trivia and bingo - so many laughs. The shows each night were terrific. I haven't laughed so much in years. Cyclone Winstone stopped us from visiting Noumea and caused a few rough days, but fortunately we were not sea sick. Can't wait to holiday again on this fabulous ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
It makes me angry to read negative reports about Pacific Eden. My husband and I are seasoned cruisers, having been on various ships around the world over the years....and we thought Pacific Eden was a 'gem'. We wanted to ... Read More
It makes me angry to read negative reports about Pacific Eden. My husband and I are seasoned cruisers, having been on various ships around the world over the years....and we thought Pacific Eden was a 'gem'. We wanted to introduce some friends to the joys of cruising and opted to take a 3-day comedy getaway cruise out of Melbourne last month. Our cabins were very good with plenty of storage space. The large single beds were pushed together to create a king size bed which was extremely comfortable. The only change I made was to remove the blanket from inside the doona cover as I prefer just a sheet. Everything was clean and sparkling and the cabin steward kept it that way and turned down the bed at night, replaced wet towels twice a day and added a little towel animal on the bed with the lights turned down each evening - very nice when we returned to our cabin after the show each night. We were on deck 6 with an outside window .. very nice. We adjusted the simple wall switch and quickly brought the room temperature to our liking. The refurbishment throughout the main sections of the ship is very smart and modern, creating an up-to-the moment atmosphere, whereas the theatre retained its original ambience. The cabins have not been updated but they are just fine. You are there to sleep and get ready for what's happening outside. The Waterfront Restaurant is free of charge and there were only a few moments of wait time at the entrance before being led to a nicely set table. I miss the starched white tablecloths but placemats are the new thing. Once again, the seating is a little different with different size tables and some benches. Service was excellent - immediately a waiter would appear with the menu and after a short chat and a sip of our wine, our meals were served. The meals were always hot and well presented and tasted just fine. Can't understand the grievances by some. We enjoyed our breakfast there each morning and it included all the regular breakfast choices you would want. There was a charge for room service if required. At lunch, we ventured to The Pantry. Again, very modern with bright colors. The food selection was good but I am old fashioned and personally prefer the older buffet style of selecting my own things and in particular, of having a tray to carry plates and cutlery back to the table. One must walk around both sides to find all the selections and then finding a place to settle could be an issue. Seating at The Pantry was a little unusual with low, medium and high table arrangements. This was my only grumble I guess. One night we booked a table at Angelo's Restaurant. The service was quick and friendly and the décor again was very modern and impressive (nice white starched tablecloths!). The food was beautifully presented and tasty with an Italian theme. Enjoyed the evening. It also was included in the overall price - no extra charge. You must book at these restaurants the moment you board the ship to avoid disappointment. Another evening we had a booking to dine at the Asian Restaurant, "The Dragon Lady". It was very different in appearance with low lighting and bench seating. The menu was interesting and the service excellent. One had to lift the satin drapes along the wall to assure yourself you were still at sea. There are two pool areas on the ship - an open area at the stern with large pool. This was very popular with many lounge chairs filled with people enjoying the sunshine and simply relaxing and/or reading. It was a great place to observe the initial sailaway but later folks ventured over to The Dome at the front of the ship with its bar and lounge chairs where we sat and enjoyed the sail around the bay before it went through the heads out into the open sea. The other swim pool and hots tubs are located mid-ships and are covered with a retractable Perspex roof which was closed when it was cool and at night and then open when sunny during the day. It was also very popular with folks sitting at tables and chairs or lounges - at about noon each day, a small musical group would entertain. There were no organised activities such as ice carving or similar but folks seemed happy doing their own thing. Of course, there is a large casino area and this was well patronised night and day. In "The Marquee" theatre, there was trivia and bingo daily and the jackpot on day 3 was nearly $4,000 so the excitement was high. There is a large theatre room showing some current films. Screen was a bit small but "we got the picture". Apparently for those movie buffs, there is a DVD player in each stateroom and the ships have 100s of DVDs to loan out. The promenade went right around the ship and was exceptionally clean and uncluttered. The demographics of the cruise varied in age from children to grandparents - the full spectrum and all seemed to be enjoying themselves so I don't know where these "knockers" hang out! LOL We enjoyed the comedy entertainment at night after dinner at the Marquee - it was clean and funny and we had a good laugh. There was a r-rated version after 11pm but we opted to call it a night or have a look in at the disco on top deck or by the covered pool. On the final night, there was a production show which was upbeat and colourful. Another area we enjoyed was the Blue Room where a blues band belted out some great numbers nightly. And once we walked by the Piano Bar and there were some 'happy' travellers enjoying a sing song. Overall, we totally relaxed, enjoyed our comfy bed, the clean bathroom, great meals (and the fact I didn't have to cook), the seating areas throughout the ship to relax and read or simply 'people watch', the easy to walk promenade, and especially the entertainment. What more can one ask for when taking a break when you unpack once and leave your troubles at home. Our friends enjoyed their first cruising experience and assure us they will cruise again! In fact, I am returning to take the same cruise again shortly, with my elderly mother. So there, it must be "a good thing". Knockers, go home !!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Just back from our first cruise with my wife. I have a cafe, 28 staff and have high standards so I understand hospitality. Good service we very much enjoyed the short trip from Melbourne to Sydney and had a ball. I can not understand ... Read More
Just back from our first cruise with my wife. I have a cafe, 28 staff and have high standards so I understand hospitality. Good service we very much enjoyed the short trip from Melbourne to Sydney and had a ball. I can not understand the negative reviews and think they would moan as they are just moaners on a ship or on land…. Staff: Were very friendly and very helpful on the whole trip. Waterfront: Very clean, heaps of options on the menu and the food was great, white table cloths and very enjoyable service. Pantry: Very clean, heaps and heaps of options, Asian, Fish & Chips, Mexican, Indian, Roasts, Salads, Sandwiches and rolls etc etc, and of course desserts. Food was hot and very good for served buffet style food, also a tea and coffee station, orange and apple juice plus chilled water. opens as soon as you board the ship if you are hungry The Grill: Very clean, If you are hungry after out side of dining hours you can buy, Burgers - Hotdogs - Nachos -Chips for $ 3.00, Bucket of prawns $ 15.00 or fantastic large pizzas for $ 9.50) Beverage Packages: We chose $ 7.00 per day for soft drink as we are not big drinkers or $ 69.00 per day for the alcohol package, you can use all over the ship or pay as you go. Entertainment: Heaps to choose from on different decks day or night Cabin Mini Suite 11146: Excellent, larger than we had thought, clean, very comfortable bed, balcony to just looking out to sea or the views as we went along the coast and brilliant views of Sydney. The cabin is cleaned every day and turned down at night. Arriving and Departure of ship: Very well organised I’m taking my son on a second cruise on the Eden next month and can not wait to experience another P&O ship. Please do not listen to the moaners, P&O give a great cruise at a very affordable price, I felt sorry for the staff at times. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Just like a few others here, I was a bit concerned about the negative reviews concerning Pacific Aria. If there really were problems earlier on, then I guess I do feel sorry for anyone who had a poor experience but whatever teething ... Read More
Just like a few others here, I was a bit concerned about the negative reviews concerning Pacific Aria. If there really were problems earlier on, then I guess I do feel sorry for anyone who had a poor experience but whatever teething problems may have been present when this ship started cruising from Australian ports late last year seem to have been ironed out. We had a great time. The food was good, the staff were friendly and helpful and, if the vibe was right some of them could be very humorous and entertaining. Be friendly and polite to the crew and you'll get it back in spades. Above all, don't be put off by the earlier poor reviews and ratings. We ate in the Pantry for most breakfasts and lunches, we tried the Waterfront for dinner, we had one dinner in the Salt Grill and splashed out for one dinner at the Chef's Table (Highly recommended if your budget will allow it). At $49 per head it's a 7-course degustation dinner presented by the executive Chef and complete with wines (included in the cost) matched to each course. You would pay a lot more on land for this. It was also a great way to meet other guests and as the wine flowed and the good food kept coming the atmosphere became convivial to say the least, including the vibe between the guests and the staff. Oh, almost forgot that the chef took us on a tour of the immaculately clean and efficient galley of which he was justly proud. No need to worry about food hygiene on this ship, I can assure you. Boarding and disembarkation was a breeze and the tender boat transfer to Hamilton Island was well organised. Be aware though, that the tenders are actually lifeboats so don't expect creature comforts like padded seating and air conditioning. Cabins were roomy and well serviced on a daily basis (well, twice daily if you count the fact that the staff turn your bed down for you while you're out taking in dinner and a show). Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I did all the reading up on the pacific aria before I went on my cruise, soooo many negative reviews, but it didn't interfere with my excitement as I'm a 38 year old who can make up my own mind. I had such a wonderful time ... Read More
I did all the reading up on the pacific aria before I went on my cruise, soooo many negative reviews, but it didn't interfere with my excitement as I'm a 38 year old who can make up my own mind. I had such a wonderful time with my husband and our 4 children, the kids had a blast too! We had an ocean view on deck 5 and the 4 children (oldest daughter 17 and youngest 11) had a room to share as well. The rooms were clean and tidy. The room cleaners always smiling and happy, ready for a chat and a laugh kept both the rooms spotless. There wasn't an issue in our rooms what so ever, I don't understand the complaints I read in reviews? The food was excellent. We only ate once at the waterfront which was beautiful and so was the service, it didn't take long for the food to come either. We ate every other meal at the pantry because the kids enjoyed the variety of food, our son has coeliacs disease, even he had no trouble finding food that he could eat. They even had gluten free bread in which they're very happy to toast or make a sandwich. On our trip to hamilton Island..... We were put on tenders swiftly in an organised manner and we're off the ship so fast! They really do are amazingly organised. Coming back to the ship was just a swift. All the staff were lovely, happy to chat and answer any questions. I was told by a couple of food and beverage staff the hours they work in a day... 12-14 hours a day 7 days a week!!!! They still manage to smile and help in any way possible. I can not say a negative word about the cruise, staff or even our rooms, everything was perfect. Thank you to all staff and crew for such a wonderful experience you have given to myself and my family Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Nervous first-time cruisers, especially after I was told about this site and read the negative reviews from November, December. But hey it was far better than our best expectations. Embarkation was made so easy, booked for a 12 pm ... Read More
Nervous first-time cruisers, especially after I was told about this site and read the negative reviews from November, December. But hey it was far better than our best expectations. Embarkation was made so easy, booked for a 12 pm check-in, were on the deck having a drink at 11:45 am. Our room was spacious, clean and very comfortable. Bathroom was very good, my wife has some mobility problems and the bath/shower was not a real problem as mentioned in earlier reviews. The food rated from good to great, we dined in four of the restaurants (the Pantry, The Waterfront, Dragon Lady and Angelos), never had a bad meal and service was always spot on. The adults only pool area was great of a day and the bars with their entertainers were great during the evening. We didn't attend the shows or themed parties, but heard nothing but good things about them from other guests. My only biff was the beer was a bit more expensive than I thought it would be as we are a thirsty couple our bar bill was more than I had planned. Overall great cruise, relaxing, brilliant staff and crew, really good dining experience, well be back. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
The ship has a beautiful spirit which I believe is imbued by the friendliness and hospitality of staff. The Staff show is awesome! I have been all over the world, but have never experienced such a peaceful and happy holiday as I had on the ... Read More
The ship has a beautiful spirit which I believe is imbued by the friendliness and hospitality of staff. The Staff show is awesome! I have been all over the world, but have never experienced such a peaceful and happy holiday as I had on the Pacific Jewel. She is an older ship with dated décor, but is awesome in so many other ways. I now choose this ship as my preferred cruise companion and holiday destination. I lost weight, I toned up by just being on the ship and managing the swells and the rocking of the boat. The Spa Experience and the peaceful nature of the holiday took 15 years off my face. It was the best holiday I have ever had. I loved every moment on the ship, and although the Lido was quite busy and overwhelming, I was able to find quiet places to read and think. The food was great and I liked that you could either eat the weight of the ship or very little and still feel full and satisfied. Most of all I liked the fact that I lost weight on the ship and did not put it on! I was able to try and new and different drinks and even made up my own. I am back on the ship in August and am now planning to take trips every 6 months!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
After reading so many scathing reviews of the Pacific Aria I had called P&O to see if I could change our booking to another ship a couple of months ago as I was extremely concerned that my 80 year old mother would have a terrible time ... Read More
After reading so many scathing reviews of the Pacific Aria I had called P&O to see if I could change our booking to another ship a couple of months ago as I was extremely concerned that my 80 year old mother would have a terrible time after reading about lifts breaking down, water leaking, and horrible food. I'm so pleased that I left the booking as it was on the lovely Aria as my hubby, mother and I all had a wonderful time. The ship is beautiful and not as small as I'd imagined she might be. The common areas feel spacious and have a touch of elegance in the decor, especially in the bar areas. There are always places to sit in comfort without a crowd of people around you- perfect for a quiet drink before dinner, to read or just to gaze out of a window at the water without being disturbed by too much noise. So many cosy and intimate spaces, each with it's own feel and so very relaxing! Hubby purchased a bronze level "The Edge" pass and LOVED it. He got his money's worth out of it in the first 2 days and will definitely recommend it for anyone looking to do something a bit more active on board. There were only 50 passes purchased on our cruise which meant little to no waiting times and plenty of opportunity to use the facilities. This would obviously change depending on the number of passes purchased per cruise and whether or not it was school holidays. There was a good range of on board activities including craft, quoits, board games and trivia games. My personal favourite activities included the bag tag making craft and cocktail making class in the Mix bar. My only complaint about the activities is that on a couple of occasions the entertainment crew dropped the ball and didn't show up for the scheduled activity- one was morning trivia and despite the reception staff trying to contact entertainment, no one showed up. The second time was the bag tag making craft activity, however, one of the crew did manage to contact the entertainment team and they sent someone to us, albeit late. The evening entertainment was a bit of a mixed bag; night 1, "Off the Charts" was sub par, night 2 was Timothy Hyde, a magician. He was a showman with the gift of the gab but overall his performance as a magician was very mediocre, at best. However, Twice Upon a Time and La Forza were absolutely world-class shows that we were were blown away with and would be very happy to pay for the privilege of seeing either show again. Another show worth mentioning is Side Show Alley. Our experience was dampened by a couple of loud-mouthed females - at least one of which was a guest singer on board (disappointing and totally lacking class), who yelled, cat-called and cheered throughout the entire performance, despite being asked by other guests to refrain. This seriously spoilt the dramatic affect of the show- I guess no one bothered to tell them that it wasn't a concert and musical theater isn't the venue to scream at. This, of course, wasn't the fault of the cast but sadly for the entertainers who had obviously worked hard to present an amazing show, this did detract from our experience. Other entertainers worth mentioning include the extremely talented Mitch and Mike Gordon and White Chilli - we found ourselves making sure we sought them out whenever possible to listen to them perform. We had a blast at the Bianco party but sadly didn't attend either the Gatsby or Back to School parties as I just didn't have the time to organise suitable clothing before sailing. Embarkation was smooth and made easy by the friendly staff at the terminal and at each port the P&O team were friendly and helpful. The gym was fantastic- such a great space and much bigger than a lot of on board gyms in other ships. Others have complained about the service on the Aria, however, we had no issues whatsoever. All staff went out of their way to ensure everything was taken care of. Sarah (in the Mix bar), Grace (Sugar) and Riuel (Waterfront) all need special mention for always having a smile on their faces, their friendliness and warmth and care shown to all passengers. Our room stewards did a great job and were very inconspicuous. The toilet in our room blocked 3 times during the cruise but was fixed like magic very soon after we reported it so was no inconvenience to us. A couple of the lifts did break down a couple of times, however, were back in use within a short while each time. There was no inconvenience for guests as the other lifts were all working. We all must have gained at least 5 kgs each, so needless to say the food was plentiful and pretty delish. We loved the Pantry- so many choices and so beautifully clean and fresh. I was very happy to see the change and wish the buffet away from all ships. We could easily and happily do a MUCH longer cruise with the food options on board the Aria that are available. Dragon Lady and Angelo's were still available at no charge and we ate at Angelo's twice and Dragon Lady 3 times. Both have amazing decor and staff were lovely, however, Angelo's was a bit hit and miss- fabulous the first time and pretty bad the second time with fish that was so overcooked and dry it couldn't be eaten, missing ingredients (the parmigiana was supposed to be served with eggplant, but once it was served we were told the eggplant was "unavailable"), the gnocchi sounded delish but was almost flavourless. Our first meals there included the fish which was amazing (hence why it was ordered a second time), the parmigiana, again, it was lovely and came with the advertised eggplant the first time, and the risotto. Dragon Lady was spot on every time and we loved it! The meals in Waterfront were mostly great, but there were some meals that weren't as good as others- that being said, that happens at all restaurants and none of us ever went hungry. Overall, the food was fabulous with heaps of choices. Our cabin was lovely and spacious. I was concerned with my mum having to climb into the bathtub to take a shower but there are railings as hand holds and she managed quite well. It would be much easier to have the tubs removed and just leave a shower but this did not impact on our enjoyment at all. The pool areas are perfect spaces to have a cocktail, chat with new friends, read or make use of the facilities and have a cool down in the pools. The ambiance in both spaces was great. The guests on board were among the friendliest that I've ever come across on a cruise- no whingers and lots of really great people who we had the privilege of cruising with. We didn't do any shore tours so I can't comment on them. We loved our 12 night cruise so much that we booked our next cruise on the beautiful Aria before we had disembarked and I can't wait until my next adventure on her! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Have recently returned from 12 day cruise aboard Pacific Aria. We have no complaints at all. The changes made to the buffet area, now The Pantry, have improved the service greatly. No longer having to queue for food, you can choose from ... Read More
Have recently returned from 12 day cruise aboard Pacific Aria. We have no complaints at all. The changes made to the buffet area, now The Pantry, have improved the service greatly. No longer having to queue for food, you can choose from about eight different food stations with very little waiting. You can see the hot food being cooked in front of you, and there is a good choice of ready prepared sandwiches and rolls. The Waterfront restaurant continues to provide excellent food served to your table. We also ate at Dragon Lady, Japanese fusion style, and Angelo's which serves Italian dishes. The whiskey and wasabee brûlée served at Dragon Lady was delicious, so much so I had it twice! Another difference we noticed was that we weren't interrrupted constantly to have photos taken. The shows in the Marquee were the usual P and O assortment, some good, others not so. James Buster was excellent, have seen his show on a previous cruise, and the tenors were very good as well. We really enjoyed the trivia mornings even though we are useless at it! We didn't do any shore tours this cruise but took the free bus ride around Noumea. This was enjoyable, showing visitors the nicer areas of the city. Finally, P and O seem to have sorted out the embarking and disembarking. Not the usual fiasco we have encountered on other cruises. A very enjoyable cruise made all the better by being able to book at the last minute and getting a very good price! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Never having been on a cruise before, I came across this website and thought it would be a good way to get some insight. I read about 30 reviews from guests aboard Pacific Aria since 2015. The large majority were so negative I became ... Read More
Never having been on a cruise before, I came across this website and thought it would be a good way to get some insight. I read about 30 reviews from guests aboard Pacific Aria since 2015. The large majority were so negative I became very apprehensive about our forthcoming cruise. I wondered if I had made a mistake in booking because the reviews complained about everything about this ship - the staff were withdrawn, the food was mediocre, the cabins leaked and toilets overflowed. Staying home sounded like a better option. Well we did attend our cruise - a three night Food and Wine Cruise from Brisbane - leaving January 29. It was nothing at all like those negative reviews. In fact, we loved every moment and found the staff, the food, the cabins and the ship's public areas more than satisfactory. It was a great weekend away! The extreme negativity oozing from the reviews is simply inaccurate, and says more about the reviewer than the cruise itself! Sure some guests may have experienced unfortunate incidents, but perfection is an unachievable goal in holidays, and indeed life. If you believe the staff to be withdrawn and unfriendly, try smiling and saying thank you. We witnessed quite rude manners from other guests on our cruise, particularly in the food venue, the Pantry. I found that by being courteous to the staff, they responded in kind. Other positives: the bedding and linen was very clean and crisp, waiting at food venues was manageable, and often times we walked straight in to be seated, the entertainment was enjoyable (a comic hypnotist one night and a song and dance production the other), the kids club was relaxed and fun, food was accessible, plentiful and of a good standard. As my first introduction to cruising, it was a good start. I would definitely go on another cruise with P&O. Don't let the bad reviews put you off! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Was very concerned about this cruise as to all the negative comments but we wanted to see the new ship making brisbane its home. At the very worst we thought we could handle 3 nights!! Embarkation was so easy despite it being a very hot ... Read More
Was very concerned about this cruise as to all the negative comments but we wanted to see the new ship making brisbane its home. At the very worst we thought we could handle 3 nights!! Embarkation was so easy despite it being a very hot day. We were supposed to be there for a 12 to 12.30 checkin but due to circumstances we were dropped off at 9.30. Too easy, dropped off bag and went to portside for coffee. Came back at 11 and was put straight through!! Cabins were also ready!! Thats a first lol on any cruise line. Our cabin was amazing. Soo clean and beautifully presented. We were deck 6 with a window. Deck 6 does have a walking deck so your window looks out to deck and then sea. Others that we met had the "smoking group" stationed outside their window and they were not happy about that. We had a bathtub with a shower over it and I so much prefer this than the tiny shower cubicles that you normally have. Yes it was tricky to start the shower first time around but we often stay in hotels and the setup is a bit the same. We also struggled the first time we ever used one years ago. Aria has been refurbished absolutely beautifully and the staff love being part of the inaugural team. They even have caps that say it. Yes, all the lifts work. Not a leak in sight and we had a bit of rain. Ship is very stable too, not rocky as some have suggested and we have certainly sailed on some old dodgy ones of P&O. Sky, Sun to name a couple. We had lunch at the Pantry and it is so hygenic, no Sizzler piggy trough here. The fish and chips and the curries were the only items we had but we never encountered massive lines or rude serve staff. Didnt have brekky up there as they didnt have hash browns (addiction of mine) but brekky di seen to have it all. We immediately booked into Salt for that night to get the cruise off to a great start. Amazing food!!! Best steak I have ever had. Waterfront the next night was a disappointment, both with food and service but we were determined to give it a second go and lunch the next day was amazing. The waterfront restauraunt along with the whole ship looks beautiful We had all our brekkys down here and they were the best on any cruise I have been on. Plenty of hot coffee too. I had to ask for skim milk every time and it always came before my coffee was cold...great service. We booked into Angelos Italian for our last night and it was nothing special. Food was mediocre, service was a bit better and ambience was lovely. The entertainment staff did a great job in the velvet rope, shame there was only one show. Internet station looks great, dont know what the whingers were going on about. Looks like an internet cafe. Reception was pretty well deserted all cruise so that tells me there were few complaints. Lots of lovely little spots around the ship and the ship is plesantly small. Not much walking is needed to get around either. There are plenty of toilets scattered around the ship too. Disembarkation was a breeze, be warned that they want the ship totally empty by 8.30 so you are off early but then I think back to my early embarkation and room ready and I think they have their act together. Overall our cruise to nowhere was fantastic and i give it 5 stars as this ship is only rated as a 3 star and I received way better than that. Way to go P&O. We will def b back for more short breaks away. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
First of all, I would like to say that I am a travel agent and I was dreading going on this cruise because of all the bad feedback I had received and negative reviews online. I am happy to say that was all rubbish because I had such a ... Read More
First of all, I would like to say that I am a travel agent and I was dreading going on this cruise because of all the bad feedback I had received and negative reviews online. I am happy to say that was all rubbish because I had such a great time! Embarkation was super fast and I was on the ship within 20mins. Our cabin was spotless throughout the whole cruise thanks to Joseph and Jeffrey our cabin stewards, they were awesome! Cabin was also very spacious and bed was very comfy. Throughout the cruise the service we received was excellent - I did not have even one bad experience! I noticed a lot of guests were very rude to staff - maybe you should try saying "please" and "thank you" and they will be more happy to help you out! The food was pretty average in the pantry - they did have a good variety though! I was lucky enough to have dinner at both Dragon Lady and Angelo's - the food was fantastic at both of these! They did not have cocktails on the drinks menu but our waiter went all the way to the bar upstairs to get it for us which was really nice! Waterfront was good too - the only thing was that we had to wait with a buzzer for 45mins for dinner - we were advised of this when we got there so we got the buzzer and went up to the blue room to enjoy the music and drinks unlike the other people who stood outside the restaurant whinging.. Entertainment was pretty good as well there was a musical and also a hypnotist and a comedian - I enjoyed them all Had no problem with lifts - they were all working and also nothing was leaking either so not sure what people were going on about. I did notice a few guests complaining about some pretty silly stuff - one guy in the restaurant complained that his food was "too hot".. haha seriously? Overall I had a great weekend away and I would definitely cruise on the Aria again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was my first cruise and I went with seven other girls, two who had cruised before. We went on the Pacific Eden and were really excited until we started seeing all the negative feedback, but decided this was our trip and we would enjoy ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I went with seven other girls, two who had cruised before. We went on the Pacific Eden and were really excited until we started seeing all the negative feedback, but decided this was our trip and we would enjoy being in each others Company. The embarkation was easy, travelling from Sydney Central Station by taxi took about 20 mins and cost around $30. Staff were very friendly, professional and guided everyone in the right direction. Our boarding was delayed 2 hours but ship still set off at 6pm. We were able to have something to eat once we boarded. The food was great, tried most of the restaurants and ate in the waterfront and pantry as well - all really nice, great choice, not big portions but you could go back for more and we never encountered any line ups. The only line ups were at the Coffee/Ice Cream where you paid $3.50 for a small coffee and it was excellent. We tried Salt Grill - superb - food was excellent as was the service. All staff in every restaurant were very friendly, polite, professional. It would appear that P & O took on board the feedback as I or anyone in my group could fault the service. Cabins were very clean, beds and bed linen of exceptional quality. Cabin stewards very helpful, friendly, professional. We went off at Mornington Peninsular for the day - tender process was easy and well organised. Disembarkation was again well organised. Entertainment on board of a high standard and the Entertainment director has out a lot into the shows and all the entertainment crew were fantastic, mingling with passengers and just having a lot of fun. We enjoyed the trivia (in particular the music through the decades) as well as a couple of games of bingo and dressed for each of the theme nights. Overall it was a fantastic 4 nights away. My tip would be to work out what and when you want to eat and book the speciality restaurants as soon as you can - they book out very quickly. Drinks were well priced around $39 for a good bottle of wine, $16 for cocktails etc. We also ordered a birthday cake for our friend at Angelo's restaurant - the cake was magnificent and the staff made such a performance of presenting the cake - it really made the night. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Well, I read the reviews before I went on this ship, we departed 24/01, and I must say I was very concerned with all the negative feed back that I had read, to the point that we thought ' What have we got ourselves into", as we ... Read More
Well, I read the reviews before I went on this ship, we departed 24/01, and I must say I was very concerned with all the negative feed back that I had read, to the point that we thought ' What have we got ourselves into", as we paid quite a lot of money for our suite. But I have to say, that for the last five days and nights my wife and I and 40 other friends who had a mixture of Balcony and Inside cabins, just had the most wonderfull time and experience. The food in the Main Dining room was on par with any other cruise lines , as was the service. although they have no longer a buffet style eating arrangement, The Pantry served decent food that was tasty and enjoyable.The 2 other option restaurants, The Dragon Lady and Angelos served very creative food and it was included in your fare. You couldnt ask for more. The only restaurant on the Aria that had a surcharge was SALT, a Luke Mangan restaurant , but for the small outlay of $49.00 , you got a $100 meal. If you are a Family with small children , from all reports from the parents we spoke to the kids club was excellant and they even have a youth patrol person to deal with them. The Staff were extremely friendly and helpfull So, if you are reading this and other reviews, I will say, that you cant please all the people all the time, as some are just born to complain, book your cruise and have a great time like we did. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Just back from a short cruise to Sydney for Australia Day. My wife and I are moderately experienced ‘cruiselings’ having been on a couple of other P & O/Princess cruises. All to date were enjoyable. We were a bit anxious and ... Read More
Just back from a short cruise to Sydney for Australia Day. My wife and I are moderately experienced ‘cruiselings’ having been on a couple of other P & O/Princess cruises. All to date were enjoyable. We were a bit anxious and tentative about the Aria as the majority of the reviews had been so negative. We resolved however to go with an open mind. From the first moments we were impressed. We dropped our bags off at Brisbane’s Portside at the appointed time and 15 minutes later were in our balcony cabin. The speed and streamlining of this embarkation experience were the best ever. Our bags arrived minutes later. All the crew we encountered were obliging and seemed to go out of their way to ensure we had an enjoyable experience. Our balcony cabin was the largest we had ever stayed in; with a couch (never had one of these before) and a balcony that was about 2 metres wide, at least twice the size of those on other P & O ships. The shower taps were a bit confusing at first but we soon worked them out. We had no issues of toilets going bung and heard of no such incidents although we had experienced this on other ships. Cabin stewards were excellent. We ate mainly in the Waterfront Restaurant and have no complaints about the food or the food service. It was on a par with our previous ship experiences. The wine list was comprehensive and as pricey as one would expect in a licensed restaurant. I have to say we were on board with a group of 26 members of a respected Brisbane food and wine club, a more discerning group you couldn’t get on both counts. We spoke to each of out fellow members and none had any major issues to be concerned over. I have noted some complaints at the fact that you can’t book in the restaurant. In the event we were never kept waiting at the early dining times. We noted that hand buzzers were given out when space was not available and this appeared to us to be fairly sensible ways to do things. It’s better than standing in a line. We tried each of the specialty restaurants, Angelos and the Dragon Lady and both (included in the fare) were fine. We chose, for no particular reason, not to go to the Salt Grill. We tried most of the bars, the Blue Room, in particular, and again were well served by conscientious and obliging staff. Entertainment was great. Those who did not see and hear ‘Dick Smithers and the Doo Wop’ missed a band to behold. They were fantastic! Some reading this will say there must have been some cons. There were, but these can easily be fixed. I hope the manager to whom I raised my observations is able to convince whomever to make amends for the future. The first was, the lack of discrete wine stewards in the Waterfront Restaurant. You can’t expect a food steward to do both. Australians by and large are impatient people and we do like our wine with a meal not after you’ve finished. The second was, that the alcohol purchase process should be ‘seamless’. That is, if you can purchase a particular wine in the restaurant you should be able to purchase that wine in any of the bars. Both these processes are available on the other ships we’ve sailed on. Ah! But another ‘pro’, for the first time in out cruising experience, we got toast while eating our eggs for breakfast and not afterwards. We didn’t try the Pantry, mainly because we do like being served at a table. But I have to say it seemed to us that having the staff serve the food at each of the ‘serveries’ is much more hygienic than the buffet style. There are people on board who clearly don’t rate personal hygiene as a high priority. Overall we had the best time and we got what we paid for, and then some. I agree with Dondd ‘you can’t please all the people all the time, as some are just born to complain’. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was an Australia Day cruise. I booked it six weeks prior to departure as it was a great special. We booked two outside cabins one for my wife and her three friends and the other for myself and our three young children aged 10, 8 and ... Read More
This was an Australia Day cruise. I booked it six weeks prior to departure as it was a great special. We booked two outside cabins one for my wife and her three friends and the other for myself and our three young children aged 10, 8 and 5. My mission to let mum have a good time and the boys not annoying her. Although I believe during the cruise she started to have withdrawal syndrome. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal and had all formalities completed within half an hour and where on the ship within the hour. Even though we were in the early boarding group our cabins (outside) on deck 9 where already ready and we were able to drop of our hand luggage. As it was not yet lunch time the boys and myself got in our swimmers and headed to the pool. We were one of the first in the pool and we had a great time. My wife and her friends disappeared and we did not see them until late in the evening. After swim we changed, had lunch at the buffet which was fine and varied and I then registered the boys into kids club. Registration was fairly straight forward and they now use sea passes for checking in and out. After the drill we changed again and swam some more, in the meantime I also had our dinner reservation booked for the 6pm seating. Some passengers seem to be confused about the dinner bookings not realising that once you have made your preference they will pencil you in for the same seating, you just have to reconfirm. During the day I also met the head chef and when he realised that I have German heritage offered to cook a special Schnitzel for myself and the boys the following evening, he said just to let the waiters on the table know and he would prepare it with his special sauce. He was true to his word and the following evening we had the best Schnitzels ever. It was that good that all my boys wanted seconds. Overall we found the meals at the Waterfront excellent and had breakfast and dinner there and lunch in the buffet. The cabin was a very good size and there is ample room for four people. We have been on Royal ships before and found their quad cabins to be too small with insufficient storage space, the Pacific Dawn was the opposite. Shower and toilet were fine too. The cabin was clean and tidy and the cabin steward would fold the beds up during the day and we had a turn down service in the evening. The itinerary was three sea days and then one day at Tangalooma (Australia Day) before going back to Brisbane. Instead of doing circles the Captain took us to a small island with nothing but a weather station, some birds and a wreck and gave us a detailed history of the area. It was magnificent and well out of the way. I have tried to locate it on maps but have been unable to find it. We actually anchored there overnight and it was surreal. Entertainment on board was great. Whilst the Pacific Dawn does not have an Orchestra they still have great production shows. They also do Themes very well. We had Bianco which was great fun and Gatsby. I certainly recommend go come along in Theme. Australia Day was also excellent with the entire ship decked out and flags everywhere and the whole crew was in the Spirit. We have done two Easter cruises and a Christmas cruise with Royal ships, but the Pacific Dawn just leaves them for dead. Overall we had a great cruise - and so did the ladies. They went for lunch to Salt Grill too and said it was worth every dime. Drink prizes on board where similar to other cruise liners and Charlies on deck 5 was one of my favourite hang outs. The children really enjoyed Turtle Cove and Shark Shack and some days could not wait for it to open. Will we sail again on the Dawn, yes we will. We have done over 20 cruises on various ships but the friendliness of the staff, the excellent children's program and youth security on board that truly keeps and eye out for the children will certainly make us cruise again on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
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