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332 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

This was my 4th cruise on Pacific Eden, No problems, Food was excellent, Entertainment was great, Staff were fantastic, They never stopped smiling and could not do enough for you, Could not leave the ship due to heavy swell in Bali and hit ... Read More
This was my 4th cruise on Pacific Eden, No problems, Food was excellent, Entertainment was great, Staff were fantastic, They never stopped smiling and could not do enough for you, Could not leave the ship due to heavy swell in Bali and hit a big storm 2 days out from Fremantle on journey home, Ship handled conditions very well, Captain put passenger safety well ahead of getting back to Fremantle at scheduled time. Only complaint I heard was long wait to get ashore at one port of call, Would recommend this cruise to anyone, Met many nice passengers, Scenery was very nice and the people of Indonesia and Java were polite and friendly Lots of kids due to school holidays but never saw or heard them, They were happy in the kids club, Fellow passengers I spoke to said they were going home to book another cruise within 24 hours of getting home Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We have just returned from a fantastic 7 night cruise on Pacific Aria. We were looking for a holiday option for my parents, my sister and I and our husbands and children (aged 6, 8 and 10), so 9 of us in total for a week in the June school ... Read More
We have just returned from a fantastic 7 night cruise on Pacific Aria. We were looking for a holiday option for my parents, my sister and I and our husbands and children (aged 6, 8 and 10), so 9 of us in total for a week in the June school hols. We have sailed 4 times before with P&O and Disney, my parents have sailed 5 times before with all 4 or 5 star cruise lines. My sister and her family flew up from Melbourne on the morning of departure (their 1st cruise) and met us at the terminal port in Brisbane. We stayed in 3 cabins with 2 adults and a child in each on deck 4 (the lowest) in the middle with a porthole (4050, 4054 and 4058). Our cruise went to Noumea, Mare and Port Vila. Cabins: We were close to the forward lifts which was handy and not noisy at all. The cabins are well appointed with plenty of storage in cupboards and under the bed for your suitcases. Our beds were large (king size or almost) and comfortable. The children were on very stable and comfortable sofa beds. Our cabin stewards worked hard and were very obliging and always smiling. We received turn down and chocs with towels animals every other night. I took my own hairdryer and straightener and we brought a power adapter which was good as there were only 2 plugs I could see along the dresser/mirror. We had a fairly smooth trip and felt little or no sway in our cabin down lower and it was quiet from outside noise. Ambience & Decor: as you can see from pics on the internet, this is a smartly refurbished classy ship. It is well maintained (they were repainting the teak banisters constantly), very clean and stunning decor. Compared to the Dawn it is much, much nicer, although smaller (only 1200 passengers) but we loved the more personal, intimate feel and it never felt too small. There was always something fun to do, see or experience. We also found it appealed to a more discerning clientele with less kids and teens on board than the Dawn. They limit their numbers to provide enough space in kids clubs. Having said this, our kids didn't use the kids clubs much, I think they found the activities a bit ho-hum - but it was handy when we wanted an adult meal. During the day they preferred the pool/spas and Edge activities. Edge: Ok, this is the extreme sports program P&O have launched on all their ships. I didn't know much about it before we got on board which was a shame because they were selling passes for it in the terminal before we boarded!!! By the time we got on board and went up to The Edge area on deck 14, only Bronze passes were left, and the lazer tag sessions were full!! Keep this in mind. It was great value for money - $89 for my 10 year old daughter to do as much as she could book in to each day (only runs when they're at sea) for 7 days. She managed to do Zipline (Flying Fox), Walk the Plank, CargoNet, High Ropes, rock climbing, Funnel rope climb and a few others. She loved it and it was a fantastic confidence builder for her. The crew that run it - Rebecca, Amy & Wayne are so patient and encouraging with the kids. Ports: Noumea - been before, always seems to be raining, not appealing so we didn't even get off the ship this time. Mare - buy the return bus ticket for $9 to Yejele Beach a few days before, it is a 15 min drive in the mini buses organised by P&O and quite frankly one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen!! (and we've been to the Maldives 3 times!!) Bring your snorkel too! We swam, snorkelled, played games, drank from local coconuts ($3 AUD). They also had water, soft drinks, beer, satays, chips etc for sale by locals. Port Vila - we walked off the ship, through the local markets (great for cheap souvenirs) and negotiated with a local driver/taxi for the day to see Cascades Waterfalls and Hideaway Island. Unfortunately the waterfalls weren't as spectacular as last time due to dry conditions. I wouldn't bother going ($25 AUD entry fee) until they have much more rain. Hideaway Island is always fun and ($15AUD ferry/entry I think?) - have the curry at the cafe there!! Amazing - best ever!! Restaurants: Salt was perfection - pay the $49pp, you won't be disappointed. Aria has received a lot of bad reviews with regard to the food on board (Salt restaurant excluded). We love our food and thought Waterfront had good (ok) food, good size servings (not sure why people are saying otherwise) and the service was always fantastic and definitely not slow. It's not fine dining but it was enjoyable. The Pantry was great - I liked the wastage control and hygiene by having staff serve you. They have lots of stations with different foods - Mexican, Indian, Asian, Carvery, Salad Bar, Dessert bar. We ate here most brekkies and lunches and one dinner. Staff were fantastic, only a bit slow clearing tables (under-staffed). Angelos and Dragon Lady are not so good. Previously you had to book on the day of wanting to go. Ours was the first cruise they changed this system. Now you can book for any night as soon as you board at the Monkey Bar outside the 2 speciality restaurants. This was not advertised and I only found out by asking another passenger. I then waited in line for an hour to get 9 of us into to whatever I could. We managed to get into Salt twice and Dragon Lady/Angelos once each. Dragon Lady and Angelos are superbly decorated but the food and service falls way short of the surroundings. In DL our drinks menus came out straight away, our food menu 20 mins later. They said they were fully booked but there were heaps of empty tables...? Entrees arrived, Mains an hour later so our kids missed most of their Gatsby party...:-( even though we had an early 5:30pm reservation! Dessert arrived 5 mins after our mains were cleared. The portions are small, food lacks taste and I think they send the waitstaff there first for training, although they are friendly enough. It's a shame - I would overhaul the Angelos menu with hearty simple rustic Italian fare (similar to Jamie Oliver's restaurants)...and Dragon Lady - they are trying to be all asian types but most of it is tiny bland portions. I think they would do better to be just Chinese cuisine or just Vietnamese for example. Such a shame, as Asian food is normally full of flavour and popular with us Aussies... Interestingly, my husband and I have been on the Dawn and we thought the food to be better on that ship. Activities/Theme nights - there is plenty to do all day - bingo, trivia, wine tasting, martini classes, food demos, art & craft etc. We preferred to lay by the pool with a cocktail and book (and keep an eye on the kids). We had 2 theme nights - White Bianco party and Gatsby. Most went to dinner in their white clothes, but not everyone dresses in white.. not sure why they didn't bother throwing on a white shirt at least.. it's not that hard...The actual Bianco party doesn't start until about 9:30pm which was too late for some, but it's worth going up even to see the bar flaring at 9pm which gets things going. Gatsby - this was really fun! Most guys dressed up in white/black with the suspenders/ties/bow ties/hats etc from BigW or the cheap shops. Most ladies wore cocktail dresses with a feather/sequin headband in 1920s style. If you forget to bring one, go to the activity that afternoon to make one for $12 - they had some beautiful pieces and help you put it together. I did it with my daughter and it all added to the fun and something she can bring home. They had photographers everywhere taking gorgeous photos, staff dressed up in the theme, a theatre show Gatsby style and at 9:45pm they had a Gatsby party in the Ocean Bar with free champagne! We stayed for a while & then went to our favourite bar The Blue Room to listen to the band there. Plumbing issues - our 3 cabins were all great, no issues. I did come across 2 toilets in public areas which were blocked during the 7 days and later fixed. Anyway, a long review... sorry, but I hope this helps, there are some points here I wish I'd known about beforehand. All in all, only the food/service at DL and Angelos lets this cruise down but otherwise we thought everything else was perfect and had a great time! Not sure how you could not enjoy this ship - unless you suffer really bad seasickness!! I've already recommended it to friends as a wonderful, value for money holiday with your family. Pacific Aria is rated a 3 star cruise, but if they fixed those 2 restaurants' issues I would rate it a 4 star cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Just returned home from a 7 day cruise on the Aria. We went with another couple their third cruise on different P&O this was our fourth we all had a absolute fabulous time. We got a great deal unlimited drinks, on board credit $100 and ... Read More
Just returned home from a 7 day cruise on the Aria. We went with another couple their third cruise on different P&O this was our fourth we all had a absolute fabulous time. We got a great deal unlimited drinks, on board credit $100 and balcony package. We tried all the restaurants serves were small but great experience and free the only restaurant that cost we spent the credit on, Salt Restaurant which was superb dining and the food was faultless. Loads of room in the cabin clean and serviced twice a day Entertainment continuous if you were looking for something to do Service in bars, restaurants and cabins fabulous. I was impressed the bar staff always returned your on board card by acknowledging you by name. thank you for a wonderful time I will be sailing the Carnival Vista in October after that I will really be able to compare Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I had read previous reviews so was a little worried. I have travelled a lot, mainly guided tours overseas. I tried this cruise to see if I like ship life. Well, yes I do. Our cabin was clean, the water was hot and the bed comfortable. ... Read More
I had read previous reviews so was a little worried. I have travelled a lot, mainly guided tours overseas. I tried this cruise to see if I like ship life. Well, yes I do. Our cabin was clean, the water was hot and the bed comfortable. On this tour the Dragon and Angelo restaurants were free so that meant 4 dining options. We only used the Dragon, Angelo and the Pantry. I enjoyed most of the food in all places. The Pantry had menu changes each night so if you could not find something that appealed you are very very picky!! I enjoyed most of the shows. Were they world class? Not really, but usually fun. There was plenty of live entertainment in the bars throughout the ship,. Of course not everything was perfect. Going back on board at Cairns involved a long line and at times it was obvious there was no one coming or going on the gangplank so that was a little annoying. Deck 6 is the only deck you can walk all the way around but it also has a smoking area so it was hold your breath until you are past. We were on deck 5 and had no problems with noise from deck 6 above. Staff were courteous and helpful. The only time it was difficult to get a drink was in the Marquee so we always walked in with one. All in all an enjoyable time and we are now talking about where to go next. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I am really baffled by the negative reviews for Eden. We have just cruised the WA coast from Fremantle to Broome return. Boarding was a breeze. The staff were delightful. Very helpful and happy. Some were a bit slow but as they were in ... Read More
I am really baffled by the negative reviews for Eden. We have just cruised the WA coast from Fremantle to Broome return. Boarding was a breeze. The staff were delightful. Very helpful and happy. Some were a bit slow but as they were in training that is to be expected. We all have to start somewhere. The décor was very pleasant. Loved The Ocean Bar and the waitresses Danielle and Camille were just a pleasure to deal with. So many passengers were complaining about the food but just as many of us were quite satisfied with the meals. The Waterfront was lovely. Not sure what the complainers were wanting but got the impression nothing would have satisfied them. Disembarking for ports by tender was well organized. Unfortunately 2 of our ports were cancelled due to high seas but you can't control Mother Nature. The staff quickly got activities sorted to cover the extra time at sea. Entertainment was plentiful throughout the ship with different styles. Our cabin was on Deck 9 in a balcony suite. Our cabin crew David and Hernani kept it very clean and comfy. No request was too much for them and they were always happy and cheerful. My elderly mother also travelled with us in her own cabin. She was treated with a lot of care and respect which helped us greatly. Disembarking at the end of the cruise was also a breeze. So on the whole we were very satisfied with the ship. I think a lot of complainers maybe expect way too much from a budget cruise especially the ones who have cruised on the bigger ships. We found it great value for money. No cruise (this is our 4th) runs 100%. Any problems that occurred during the 9 days was quickly fixed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was a food and wine short cruise. It was the first time we had an interior cabin which was right up the back of the ship. With the beds pushed into the middle for a queen, there was not a lot of room left down the sides to actually ... Read More
This was a food and wine short cruise. It was the first time we had an interior cabin which was right up the back of the ship. With the beds pushed into the middle for a queen, there was not a lot of room left down the sides to actually get into the bed. However, there was heaps of storage space being a cabin for 4 people. It ended up being a great location as we only had to walk out the back door and then up to the buffet area, or down one to the adults area. There were 6 of us travelling together so we always booked a table for dining together. The food was good but the service was a bit lacking. The entertainment was good but we did not undertake any of the wine appreciation activities. We did however, attend a food demonstration which was really entertaining. We took our own accessories for the Gatsby night. It didn't cost much for headpieces for ladies and coloured braces and bow ties for the men. It ended up being a good night. We did intend going to the Bianco party but it was really cold up on deck but we did see a lot of different versions of white from passengers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Primarily value for money, @ $999.00 for an inside double cabin. The option was an outside cabin with totally obstructed views, could not see the point of paying an extra $100! Good points: food was good at the Pantry, with lots of ... Read More
Primarily value for money, @ $999.00 for an inside double cabin. The option was an outside cabin with totally obstructed views, could not see the point of paying an extra $100! Good points: food was good at the Pantry, with lots of options over the 11 days. The Waterfront was better with sit down service, with proper service to your table, NO extra cost, but you had to pre book for dinner, not an issue. We also dined at The Luna, exceptional food with brilliant service, and th e stewards expalaining each dish, and most importantly how to eat some of the dishes. We ate on two occasions, first was Thai, second Japanese. Many servings, all small, but deliciously cooked and presented. There was a cover charge cost for the Luna, with no extra cost u nless you ordered drinks,wine etc. High tea , also served n the Luna, was lovely, served with panache, and was well received. Overall, food was good, varied selections daily, breakfast was predicatable with variety of eggs, sausages,bacon,hams,cereals,yoghurts.All served to you, NO MORE BUFFET! And you could go around as often as you wanted. Desserts were nice, but we found after a while all bakery items tended to taste alike. Fruits were always available. Service: Staff worked flat out cooking,serving and at all times cleaning up and clearing tables and eating areas.Toilets were always clean and tidy. Cabin staff kept our room spotless and tidy, turning down bed at night with manadatory chocy on your pillow.they had approx 35 cabins to look after daily, and worked a full 12 hours shift. They earn their money. Tipping was NOT compulsory, but at the discretion of the passenger. Its up to you how much. On shore trips: Alotau was a disappointment for us. We opted for the Milne Bay war relics tour, expecting to see actual relics, eg old tanks,planes,bunkers etc. Instead we were driven around in a mini van, along with 3 other vans full. To be fair it was rainy! BUT we were taken to locations were battles were fought, plaques telling what happened and when. Tour guide was knowledgable, but was hard to understand, which greatly detracted from what we were expecting. A pity! The passengers who took the Cultural tour had a great time, experienced local culture up close. Well worth the money we were told. Kiriwina ( Trobriand Islands) was a diy thing. We wandered around, met a lot of locals who were friendly, and quite a few took passengers on guided tours of their villages, and village life. The carvings were incredible, all done by hand, NO POWER tools as there was NO POWER. Conflict Islands. A first!!!! The very first cruise ship to visit this privately owned group of 23 islands. They normally cater for a maximum 14 visitors who enjoy the magnificent snorkelling, scuba, environment . The staff did an incredible job looking after nearly 1500 passengers who descended on their little paradise. P&O cruises apparently have a deal for their ships to visit this truly unique location. Overall rating: We were told to expect 3 to 3.5 stars, and we were not disappointed. You get what you pay for. It is an old ship, and the Jewell is losing some of its shine. Value for money, YES. You want extras, you pay! We are non drinkers , so paying $7 for a beer, $35 for a bottle of wine, $4 for a coke or soft drink was not an issue for us. We were told we cold take canned softdrinks on board with us, and we did. We took 2 packs of bundy gingern beer with us, and that meant we didnt have to "buy" drinks on board. Entertainment, talks, etc were very well done, and FREE. But get there early, or youll be standing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
From the start the on boarding was smooth and due to it being staggered times it was so easy. Our room was wonderful and the beds were comfy, the bars and little nooks for sitting and grabbing a cocktail or to read were well thought out. ... Read More
From the start the on boarding was smooth and due to it being staggered times it was so easy. Our room was wonderful and the beds were comfy, the bars and little nooks for sitting and grabbing a cocktail or to read were well thought out. The food was terrible though I am so sorry to say..it was cold and not really edible, the other restaurants were all fully booked within hours and therefore stuck with the Waterfront and the Pantry and because you are at sea it's a bit hard to go elsewhere. I felt sorry for the waiters as they had to deal with quite a lot of complaints. Please take heed and sort the food and I think you will have a fab cruise liner and a returning customer for sure. Perhaps have a bit more entertainment going on but that's being a little picky. And another plus note the disembarking was smooth too Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was a "quickie" cruise to nowhere, called a Comedy Cruise. We were not really prepared for the P&O activities. It is less formal but the website is somewhat lacking about what to expect. Being somewhat disabled has ... Read More
This was a "quickie" cruise to nowhere, called a Comedy Cruise. We were not really prepared for the P&O activities. It is less formal but the website is somewhat lacking about what to expect. Being somewhat disabled has potential problems - but not this time. Non-disabled partner made frequent use of the gym. Apparently the facilities were A-OK. White Bay Cruise terminal is not ideal for public transport but a taxi from the airport to the terminal for two is about the same cost as train and ferry and less hassle. Embarkation on time and smoothly done. We had an internal cabin to try the internal concept. Probably not do that again as we like to see the "outside" but otherwise it was A-OK. Service unobtrusive and efficient. Dining was (perhaps) unexpectedly good. In fact as good as previous Princess Cruises experience but with somewhat less choice - not that there was a lack of choice. The main dining area service was a little slow. On the negative side, no fresh (any) milk for coffee/tea except for those annoyingly small UHT things. The wine list was all Australian which is OK but a little limited and some premier regions not represented. They do not allow any BYO, even if you wanted to pay corkage. Cocktails were as good as usual for cruising. There was a fair choice of beers. It was a "comedy" cruise but I would rather call it an "entertainment" cruise with some comedy. Perhaps you needed to stay up late??? There were no problems with service but disembarkation appeared somewhat disorganised. We were making our own way along with many others waiting (with many others) wondering what was happening when suddenly - everyone go.... The "cruise" should have been called an "anchor". But being anchored in Jervis Bay (wise Captain's choice) was better than being at sea in the east coast low. All wind and no waves in Jervis Bay. Some thought we were still sailing at least 12 hours after anchoring!!! The Aria is an older ship with a fresh makeover which has generally been done quite well. The strong wind (up to Force 11) and rain tested a few spaces with water finding a way in. The overnight back to Sydney tested some but down on deck 5 interior it was a rock to sleep (for someone who suffers sea-sickness) In spite of the terrible weather there were those who braved the pools. The demographic was generally younger. No evidence of misbehaviour. Bottom line - a great short break, better than anticipated. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was a 3 night comedy cruise from Sydney to Sydney (no stops). Having travelled with P & O many years ago my expectation was very low but pleasantly surprised with the cabin, bathroom and decor of the ship. GOOD: DECOR - The ... Read More
This was a 3 night comedy cruise from Sydney to Sydney (no stops). Having travelled with P & O many years ago my expectation was very low but pleasantly surprised with the cabin, bathroom and decor of the ship. GOOD: DECOR - The Blue bar had lovely decor as did all the the restaurants & bars TALENT - The comedy bill was fantastic - Rebecca De Unamuno, Dave Williams, Colin Lane and Rhys Nicholson. CAPTAIN - We were at sea during awful storms in Sydney but the Captain found us safe harbour at Jervis Bay so we were very comfortable. He did warn us that coming back into Sydney would be rough and he was right but he did wonderfully given the freak weather. SALT (Steak) and Angelos (Italian) was which was good both in food and service. BAD: NOT ENOUGH CAPACITY - The issue was there was not enough seats to fill the demand of the comedy shows with people staying in their seats to 'save them' for the next show. Obviously P & O can't make the theatre bigger but perhaps streaming the show into an empty function room or having an alternate Comedy show in a smaller room could have helped. If you did get a seat they were very comfortable and had plenty of room for drinks etc... DRAGON LADY (Asian Fusion)... oh goodness me....unfortunately the food did not match up to the decor. You chose one item from the entree, main and dessert. I chose Edamame for entree (lovely) and chicken satay for main. Four, very pale looking sticks came out AND THAT WAS IT. No veggies, no rice.... I asked for rice and got a look from the waitress like I just asked if I could have fries with that LOL!. Two bowls of rice did come out after I requested it but it was a pretty sad excuse for a meal. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
‘Pacific Jewel” is purposefully a “no frills” cruiseship to keep the prices low - if you want the extras you have to pay for them. However our 14 night cruise was totally enjoyable: the ship is clean and well maintained and the ... Read More
‘Pacific Jewel” is purposefully a “no frills” cruiseship to keep the prices low - if you want the extras you have to pay for them. However our 14 night cruise was totally enjoyable: the ship is clean and well maintained and the staff & crew are very friendly and obliging. Our cruise was an intensive '7 ports in 14 nights' cruise, which meant that anyone who bought the $89/day drinks package would have struggled to get their money’s worth - although some gave it their best effort! To start our holiday, it was easy to catch the Captain Cook ferry from Wharf 6 Circular Quay to White Bay for $9 each. It is a reasonably long, but level, walk from the wharf to the White Bay terminal, crossing the road twice. Easy bag drop-off. As past cruisers we had our boarding ticket marked ”P” for “Priority” and were one of the first on the ship after it was declared ready for boarding. We had inside cabin 10266, which was convenient to the Oasis rear deck, to the Pantry on deck 12 and to the Waterfront restaurant on deck 7. The cabin was the same design as the Pacific Pearl, with a small bathroom but plenty of drawer and hanging space. TV channels were quite repetitive but there were also some modern movies like The Revenant and the latest Star Wars. Unlike the Pacific Pearl, there are no spas in the Oasis adults area. The 2000 passenger ship has only one pool area, consisting of two, 21 person capacity, 1.7metre deep swimming pools (one reserved for adults) and two, 4 person capacity, spas which means only 2.5% of passengers (50) can be wet at any one time. There is no disabled access to the pools and anyone with difficulty climbing ladders will not be able to use the pools, and those who cannot climb steps or steps will not be able to use the spas. Despite its outside appearance, there is no forward viewing lounge on the ship: the smallish ’Dome’ is only on the Port side, with the Starboard and Forward windows taken up by the Gym and the Spa, the latter of which touted their expensive products & treatments ad nauseam. The Pantry, with its eight serving stations, provided good quality, fresh and plentiful food and it is an excellent, hygienic, idea to be served by staff with the food fully protected by glass partitions. The menu in the Waterfront restaurant changed every night for 14 nights, with no repeats and an extra "specialty country of the day" sub-menu, and also served good quality food. We had an issue on the third night with waiters serving mains whilst others in our small party were still eating entrees, the spilling of drinks and an attempt to overcharge for wine, but to his great credit this was resolved more than satisfactorily by Waterfront restaurant manager Ray, who continued to treat us with extra special care and attention each night for the remainder of the cruise. We had two lunches, one dinner and a High Tea at Salt Restaurant. I think the Waterfront chefs rivaled the Salt chefs (and surpassed them in terms of tempura cooking). The $20 High Tea must be the best value event on the ship. We found the bar entertainment on the ship to be generally of very good quality: Derrick Hudson, Andy & Debs and the Brentwood Duo being outstanding. Shop assistants showed the usual disinterest prevalent on P&O. When my wife wanted to purchase a necklace on display at the sales, she was told they had none left in stock and she could not have the display model. Another lady chose a boxed necklace and earring set only to be told she could buy the necklace but not the earrings! Prices of alcohol and watches were generally good value. Tendering was basically “line up” but there were tender tickets issued at Port Denarau due to the relatively long 30minute tender trip. At each Port they made the usual announcement about not bringing food ashore but it was personally satisfying, in terms of environmental protection, to see one passenger fined A$190 by a Biosecurity Officer at Mystery Island, for eating an apple (obviously from the ship) on the beach (bags were also checked). Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Our group of 3 couples sailed along the Coral Coast in May this year and we really enjoyed our cruise.This was only our second cruise having sailed on Serenade of the Seas around the Baltic Sea last year. I was concerned with some of the ... Read More
Our group of 3 couples sailed along the Coral Coast in May this year and we really enjoyed our cruise.This was only our second cruise having sailed on Serenade of the Seas around the Baltic Sea last year. I was concerned with some of the negative reviews I had seen but overall there was a lot to like about this trip. Our balcony cabin on deck 9 (9143) was spacious and clean. The bed was very comfortable and we slept well.Our balcony was well worth the extra cost and a private area to watch a sunset or quietly read a book. We ate breakfast most days in the Waterfront restaurant which we preferred to the pantry. For lunch we usually found a spot to sit on the Lido deck and either chose something from The Pantry or The grill. The pantry has a large selection of different types of cuisines to choose from and I like that the staff handle serving the food and I thought the portion size was appropriate( you can go back for more). Yes you have to pay for burgers or hot dogs at the grill but they were yummy and the bucket of prawns was my favorite! Most evenings we would go to the first show in the Marquee and then go to dinner in the Waterfront restaurant. We were always able to get a table and the food was very nice. We ate at Angelo's twice because the food was so delicious ( and no extra cost). The Dragon lady is a beautiful restaurant but the food is only OK (also no extra cost). We celebrated an anniversary on our last night at Salt Grill and the food and service were fabulous. The entertainment on the ship was great, particularly the comedian I think her name was Bev. We were in hysterics! We dressed up for the Bianco party and Gatsby night and had a great time at both. There are a number of bars located on the Pacific Eden which have been very comfortably furnished and we were always able to find a spot for a coffee or a cocktail. Unfortunately due to rough weather we were not able to disembark at Geraldton and missed our trip to the Kalrabbi national park ( costs refunded though) When I saw how the tender was being tossed around in rough seas I was happy to stay on board. Again in Exmouth we anchored off shore and again it was rough but we did go ahead with our shore excursion to Yardie Creek Gorge and it was a great trip. Overall I think P&O cruises were very good but there are some negatives that need to be addressed and they have been mentioned in previous posts. Firstly there is an unpleasant odour on the starboard side of the Pantry which only became more noticeable during our cruise and we avoided that area as much as possible. Secondly, apart from our cabin stewards who were fabulous, I thought a lot of the crew on board were unengaging and disinterested. The restaurant reservation desk on deck 8 was a source of frustration for many passengers. However the staff in the day spa were very nice. It would have been nice to sight the ships captain. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
My sister and I both retirees decided on this last minute cruise attracted by the discounted rate and wanting to try the Aria. We had read the negative reviews and thought we would be open minded in our expectations. We were very ... Read More
My sister and I both retirees decided on this last minute cruise attracted by the discounted rate and wanting to try the Aria. We had read the negative reviews and thought we would be open minded in our expectations. We were very pleasantly surprised with the ship, particularly the public areas which were very comfortable and uncrowded. We liked the mix of passengers from very young to old and everywhere in between most people seemed friendly and happy. We found the stewards particularly helpful & courteous. We were impressed with the fact that food was served by staff and not handled by patrons however the tables were often tacky and we resorted to using our linen serviettes as tablecloths. The food did leave a lot to be desired, most often served lukewarm to cold and very monotonous food in the Pantry? Not so good in The Waterfront either, definitely could do with better chefs. We did eat in Angelos and Dragon Lady and Salt Grill which were all acceptable. The only deck available to walk completely around was deck six however we were obliged to walk through the clouds of cigarette smoke. This is particularly hard on people wanting to exercise and not wanting to breathe in smoke. I think that smokers should be allocated the area on deck 12 where the smoke does not interfere with others. Not withstanding the negatives we would still sail on the Pacific Aria again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Read all the reviews , but prefer to have my own opinion , great cruise, great boat, brilliant staff, no complaints , some things i didnt like but thats only my opinion and others may see them differently. Heard a few whingers on the ... Read More
Read all the reviews , but prefer to have my own opinion , great cruise, great boat, brilliant staff, no complaints , some things i didnt like but thats only my opinion and others may see them differently. Heard a few whingers on the boat but lets get real , most people payed from 50 to 150 dollars a day, thats great value, its a P and O not the Queen Mary. A bit of cold bacon, go get some more , theres no limit. A bit slow to get a drink, go to the bar yourself, served straight away. We were off the boat and on a bus within 30 minutes of being called. Shows were great , there not going to be for everyone, so many different age groups on the boat. Staff are brilliant , they do long hours but are always smiling , call you sir, madam, get to know them they are good fun. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We really enjoyed our cruise to Vanuatu on the Pacific Aria. The ship was beautifully refurbished, and the service was good on the whole. The cabin wasn't updated for some reason, but the bed was really comfortable. Champagne Bay and ... Read More
We really enjoyed our cruise to Vanuatu on the Pacific Aria. The ship was beautifully refurbished, and the service was good on the whole. The cabin wasn't updated for some reason, but the bed was really comfortable. Champagne Bay and Mystery Island ports were superb, but watch the strong currents on Mystery Island. We weren't very impressed with Santo but the Blue Hole was lovely. Vila was okay (more down market than Noumea) with very cheap duty free alcohol and cigarettes. The food was mostly very good on the ship, and the entertainment was excellent. The Pantry was reasonably good, once you knew what you liked. I think I prefer the old-fashioned buffet, however the Pantry would be more hygienic. Breakfast in the Waterfront restaurant was always nice. Dragon Lady was quite delicious one evening, but a bit average on another. Embarkation was a bit slow, but not too bad. There were some plumbing problems, but our cabin was fine. The ship was very clean, and the crew very hard working. I would recommend this cruise, and value for money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice the ship was. Having been on the Pacific Jewel the previous year and finding that super budget, my expectations weren't high for the Pacific Eden. However, it was well maintained, the room ... Read More
I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice the ship was. Having been on the Pacific Jewel the previous year and finding that super budget, my expectations weren't high for the Pacific Eden. However, it was well maintained, the room was lovely, very comfy beds and a roomy bathroom, including a bath. Unfortunately the weather was the worst Perth had seen for the year, however, we remained in Port for the first night, it really didn't matter where we were as the facilities on the boat were great and we had a great night. It was a comedy cruise and all the shows were first rate. The afternoon of the second day we finally set sail, and for those who have cruised before it wasn't really a problem, however, more than half the boat disappeared with most travellers suffering sea sickness. The third night was also forecast for bad weather, so they again docked in port early for the comfort of the passengers, and they all came out to play again. It was just a shame that it was the second night that had all the best entertainment, so a lot of people would have missed out. There was a bit of a plumbing problem it would seem as there was a very strong sewage smell in The Pantry, however, as we choose to eat in the restaurant it didn't bother us, they came around and put a treatment in all the toilets, so I think that fixed the problem. The only negative about the cruise, is the staff that work on the boat, we found them very unpleasant, only a few seemed to enjoy their job, and there were many errors in the dining room as they clearly weren't interested. It felt like we were an inconvenience to them by going in there to eat, but the people in The Pantry did not look any happier. Its just a shame as you go with such hope of a good time and then come away disappointed as you are made to feel unwelcome by such sad people. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
VANUATU EXPLORER via Cruiseship Pacific Jewel ISLE OF PINES: Is a tender port and is a delightful place to visit. The tenders bring you to a jetty near the old ruins on kuta bay. Everything is a short walk, there are generally a small ... Read More
VANUATU EXPLORER via Cruiseship Pacific Jewel ISLE OF PINES: Is a tender port and is a delightful place to visit. The tenders bring you to a jetty near the old ruins on kuta bay. Everything is a short walk, there are generally a small set of markets set up near by with some food stalls selling cooked lobster and fish. One beach there has a cafe and boutique shop. For swimming there is good snorkelling around the sacred rock, whilst the other area is calm beach for swimming. The daily newsletter delivered to your cabin will provide you with information on each port you visit. Kids simply love the place it has very child friendly shallow waters, plenty of shade and excellent snorkelling. Definitely take snorkel gear. P&O provide a beach towel so that's all good. When we have been to Isle of Pines we just used AUD. You can do also do this at Champagne Bay, Mystery Island, Vila and Santo, this is so convenient. MYSTERY ISLAND: Cruise ships anchor off the coastline of Aneityum Island. Passengers are tendered to the north side of Mystery Island on a newly built jetty. Had a great day swimming and snorkelling, there were lots of markets stalls in the centre of the island they took AUS$ and Vatu money, lots of fun, beautiful place the water was so clear and lots of fish to see. The Island is narrow and long a walk around the island takes less an hour but we did it very slowly the path was easy to walk... Beautiful beaches for swimming or snorkelling again all within seconds off the jetty onto the sand. This is a really relaxing and laid back little island. VILA: Arriving at Port Vila, Vanuatu. Cruise ships dock at Port Vila’s commercial pier, on Wharf Road, about five kilometres southwest away from the center of town. To get into Port Vila you can either take a locally-operated shuttle (sardine) van for about $3 each or Take a water Taxi $5 each or hire a taxi. They all drop you in the centre of town. Hardy people may opt to walk it, but be warned it gets very hot and humid. This is your duty free shopping town. There is one main street to the town where of most the shops trade in both A$ and Vatu$. On this trip it was evident that Vanuatu and Islands were still suffering the wrath from Cyclone Pam. The streets were still a little dirty. CHAMPAGNE BAY doesn’t have the capacity to dock large vessels. Ships tender boats to and from the jetty again straight onto the beach. Voted as one of the best 10 beaches in the world Champagne Beach will take your breath away with its white soft sand and crystal clear blue water turtles and coral reefs, on cruise days the local markets and bar set up near the jetty and along the foreshore, the local brew is called Tusker @ $5 per stubby. Excellent snorkelling and plenty of shade. It reminded me a little of Gilligan’s Island. SANTO: Ships dock at the port which is at the end of the main street of Luganville it is a small 1 main street town. The port has a lot of construction going on. The walk into town takes less than 5 minutes; you can see the shops from the ship. At the end of the main street they have a park where there is a market. You'll see the same stuff that was at Champagne Bay and Port Vila etc. I would advise booking a tour or excursion in Luganville (Santo) as there isn't much to see on foot. A suggestion, The Nanda Blue Hole features a magical crystal blue water hole surround by natural green forest. Built around the blue hole is a large bungalow, bar, boardwalk and picnic area for day trippers. For thrill seekers a wooden water slide, rope and swing platform have been incorporated around the blue hole. The facilities at Nanda Blue Hole can cater for up to 100+ visitors at a time. Entry Fee – A$7.00 or about 500v per person. A van ride to the Blue Hole should be no more than $10.00 per person. Always agree on a fare before taking a ride. The Blue Hole tour can also be done from Champagne Bay. Most preferred to enjoy the beach and snorkelling there first before docking in Santo. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Four of us travelled on the Pacific Jewel. My 90 year old sister, feisty and healthy and my two nieces. We shared adjoining cabins on Deck 9. We had a ball - more or less entertaining ourselves. Staff superb - can not fault their ... Read More
Four of us travelled on the Pacific Jewel. My 90 year old sister, feisty and healthy and my two nieces. We shared adjoining cabins on Deck 9. We had a ball - more or less entertaining ourselves. Staff superb - can not fault their desire to please, our two cabin stewards gave excellent friendly service. Entertainment ranged from average to superb. Deck entertainment awful - no deck quoits spaces, only a shuffle board area and not much done there. The screaming music all day and night on the pool deck was too much for us - how people could stand it sitting there sunning, I will never know. Early hearing aids after 11 days of that! Food was very good and once again, dining staff great. So, you might wonder why I have to write this sad tale. We decided to do our own thing on every island except for the last stop, Santo Espiruto. We wanted to go and see a Blue Lagoon and swim - one look at the dock side of our port made me think it was perhaps best to join a P&O Shore Tour this time. We booked 4 spots and were loaded into a mini van and drove at harrowing speeds (half an hour) to our Blue Lagoon. We were "dropped" there by our guide who took off with the driver and we did'nt see them again. So there we were, two mini bus loads in the middle of a jungle scene with the water looking blue and inviting., We changed in fairly primitive chambers, but that was OK - we had been warned in the literature that this was "basic". It also mentioned that "steps leading into the lagoon made for safe entrance". This is where it all went wrong. The facilities at this particular lagoon were well below standard. Steps were slimy and slippery and loose, and my sister would not negotiate them. My niece leapt in, the other niece found it all too dangerous and I very carefully managed to get into the water,. Someone pointed out a sloping ramp into the water and this was the ramp my sister used. Little did she know that just below the water line a plank was missing on the ramp, and her leg slipped through the hole, landing her in the water with her leg jammed. She was screaming in pain - and my niece and I managed to get to her, and in half a panic, I grabbed her foot, had to twist it to get her foot out of the hole. It was a terrible experience. But now we had another problem - how to get her out??? Across the lagoon where a little cafe was situated we saw some more modern wooden steps, and so this brave 90 year old swam across the lagoon with each of us at her side. Now we had a real problem -the steps began above the water line!!! There was no way we could heave her out. Luckily a fairly strong fellow passenger had walked across and whilst he grabbed my sister's arms, we pushed her from the bottom. She was out! She was shaken, and her leg was already bruised. No skin broken and there did not appear to be a break. A miracle! Because the driver had gone, we had to sit and wait for well over an hour for transport to come and collect all of us - let me tell you, that afternoon was a nightmare. However, compared to the accident, the attitude and lack of involvement or care from P&O management was far worse. As soon as we were back on board, we reported this and were told by the Tour Director that "we should go and see the doctor" but she could not guarantee that this would be reimbursed by P&O!! I couldn't believe it! Let me tell you fellow passengers - you are only a walking Dollar sign - and nothing more to P&O. The bruising on my sister's leg was horrible - I had to buy some creme from the pharmacy shop and rub her in every few hours. She bravely continued to do everything we did - but when we came home she visited the doctor who confirmed she had severe burising and that she was extremely lucky nothing was broken, It is now July and the bruises can still be seen. I wrote to management of Carnival, Florida (which owns P&O and almost every other ship cruising in this area) - enclosing two photos, and a description of the afternoon. I expressed my disappointed at the lack of duty of care shown by P&O, and the misleading phrase in their tour brochure, of safety. Nothing was heard in return. I then wrote to Carnival Australia in Sydney. The CEO no less. Absolutely nothing, I think their lack of response disgusting. It shows they care even less than the local Blue Hole caretaker who was devastated when he saw my sister so distressed. I will never sail with P&O again, although I have the feeling that every ship under the Canival flag would show the same lack of care. Such a shame as the staff were really great. I should add that we were reimbursed for our tour, which showed that they felt SOME responsibility for our dreadful afternoon. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Our 3-day Fremantle to Fremantle cruise with P&O Pacific Eden was a family holiday for my wife and I and our two kids 6 and 3. We used it as an opportunity for us to sample the newly renovated pacific Eden and compare the P&O ... Read More
Our 3-day Fremantle to Fremantle cruise with P&O Pacific Eden was a family holiday for my wife and I and our two kids 6 and 3. We used it as an opportunity for us to sample the newly renovated pacific Eden and compare the P&O cruiseline to our previous trips with Royal Caribbean. It was 3 days of our life - we really enjoyed our stay on the boat and didn't think twice about trying to get on a bus. I booked directly with P&O with out a problem and it wasn't anyone's birthday so we really missed a bullet there. We are regular travelers and familiar with good service on cruise ships. With this in mind, I booked what we could afford and expected a high level of service and quality. I didn't pay for the Daily Water Delivery as that would be a waste of my money. I was not advised by the agents that all Suite passengers received FREE water during cruises but had previously read that during my research. Upon arriving on the boat - oops i mean ship - we were greeted with smiling faces and a clean surprisingly spacious room and a larger window than expected, however there was not even "Happy Anniversary" balloons and no cake in the suite... a small issue, but the surprise of having Happy Anniversary balloons and a cake waiting for us was ruined. Thankfully it would of been a surprise so we were not expecting it so it went unnoticed. But still the surprise wasn't there. Opening our Welcome Letter we were completely not shocked to find the right date and the right destination listed - apparently we were sailing to where we thought we were. So within 10 mins of boarding we were past the Reception Desk on to the lido deck with numerous glasses of wine. The wine, weather and 2 well behaving kids gave us a clear insight into what we could expect over the next three days... cold beers, smiling small crowds and unhelpful diets for losing a few kilos. We walked away very happy - a lingering shiraz taste in our mouth before the boat had even left the dock! The rest of the these words are simple... FOOD, ROOMS AND COMMON AREAS, STAFF. Food - at best, food court quality. Not up to the standard expected when compared to Royal Caribbean, irrespective of how much you paid for your room strangely. Cleaning - Our cabin was great, not immaculate but more than we expected and on par if not better than our previous Royal Caribbean inside cabins. I didn't spend much time searching for mould in the bathroom or checking for stains. Although i did notice that one of the wooden arms of the chair had lost a lot of its varnish from wear and tear. When siting on the chair i couldn't tell the difference, If i was planning on looking at the chair a lot or was an avid chair photographer this would of been a dreadful turn of events and photos would of been taken. Luckily I was only going to sit on it a few times over the 3 days. photos were not taken! Staff - what a hard working lot of employees... we saw a lot of smiling faces and a lot of warn out looking faces. Service existed, we ordered meals and drinks and they arrived within adequate time. We regularly had 3 course meals that were turned around in ~40 minutes, with the 2 kids i thought that was pretty good. Any special requests were met with a can do attitude and fulfilled. There were no Tender boats as there were no ports of call - however there were a few passengers that it would of been nice if they literally were gassed by fumes filtering inside tiny boats... not a pleasant experience to be around those people. Happily, we simply can recommend P&O Cruises Australia for the money we payed - we didn't relate any of this to the company as we are lazy and they were just providing us with what we expected. On a side note our cruise for the 4 of us cost a few bucks under $1000 AUD so for the money we spent we thought i was a great little weekend getaway for the 3 nights. Was it up to the previous experience we had on Royal Caribbean, probably not. But there were definitely some aspects that were better. Less crowds, younger clients, far more and better live music, a lot more nice chilling out areas just to relax quietly in, not as busy lifts, the new refurbished common areas all were lovely and modern. Overall it was better than we expected. They could definitely work on the food tho, we were happy with 90% of what we got, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
My husband and our 10 year old daughter have just returned from a 3 day Wine and Cheese Cruise off the coast on the Eden, we all had a great relaxing time, it was my birthday celebration. Last year we did RC Voyager for 14 days Freo to ... Read More
My husband and our 10 year old daughter have just returned from a 3 day Wine and Cheese Cruise off the coast on the Eden, we all had a great relaxing time, it was my birthday celebration. Last year we did RC Voyager for 14 days Freo to Singapore and we loved it so I was looking forward to enjoying being on a ship again. We upgraded to a oceanview cabin. The cabin was spacious and loads of room to store your luggage. Shower/bath was good rather than being confined in a separate shower booth, as a always feel a bit unsteady with the boat rocking. My daughter had a rollaway that was never put back to a sofa during the day so we had ample room to move around in the cabin. This is our second cruise and I never nit pick on small cracks on tiles or chips on wall etc as long as the cabin is cleaned properly, for the price we paid it was good value. As soon as we boarded booked Luke Managans Salt Restaurant cause I knew bookings would go fast, also booked up some activities with the P&O Edge and enrolled our daughter into the kids club. Only the first afternoon we had a late lunch at The Pantry I had two wraps and my husband had curry all quiet okay. In the evening we had some more curry there because it was quiet late mine was very dried out. Our breakfasts at the Waterfront Resturant was lovely I enjoyed the eggs and the coffee was excellent. The Salt Restaurant had good options for my fuzzy daughter staff were very friendly in there. We had one dinner at Waterfront a fish dish, but the sauce overpowered it. We had warm weather on this cruise for this time of year so we spent time around the pool deck relaxing. I loved the lounges, with no smoking in this area which we had on RC Voyager last year. We did Flying Fox and Walk the Plank, the staff at Edge were lovely and very big on safety. Our daughter went to kids club at night small numbers there worked well for her she was always wanting to go. On the second night we went to a show "The Velvet Rope" I really enjoyed it I never attended any of the Food and Wine Events on this cruise didn't really have time and you had to pay a small fee to go to these. I loved all the bars and the music entertainment was good. I didn't find the staff very friendly in the Waterfront Resturant I think because not same people and waiters on assigned tables in the evening so they don't end up getting tips. My daughter and I had our hair done in day spa girls were lovely, price was okay but massage treatments prices was too high. The swell on the ship was I bit unconfortable on the first night then we all adjusted okay. A lot of first time cruiser would have been put off which is a shame. We would probably look at book this ship again in the future I felt the ship was a excellent size for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was my first cruise and I can say it was great, I was a bit apprehensive before leaving with the amount of bad reviews but I can say I had little to complain about. The room we had was quite large for an ocean view room and the ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I can say it was great, I was a bit apprehensive before leaving with the amount of bad reviews but I can say I had little to complain about. The room we had was quite large for an ocean view room and the room staff were excellent, room cleaned twice a day and the room attendants we had were very friendly and only to happy to please. The ship itself was quite good you could see it was refurbished but overall nothing to complain about although some passengers still had trouble with the toilets not working. The meals were fine in most of the eating places and the tours on the different Islands were good although its much cheaper to book local tours when you arrive on the Islands . Overall we had a wonderful time and would sail again on the Aria, hopefully they can fix the toilet problem which seems to be the main problem Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After reading reviews about Pacific Aria we were a bit apprehensive but I must say we were presently surprised. We have cruised on Carnival Spirit & Legend & found the Aria to be just as good. We didn't have any issues ... Read More
After reading reviews about Pacific Aria we were a bit apprehensive but I must say we were presently surprised. We have cruised on Carnival Spirit & Legend & found the Aria to be just as good. We didn't have any issues with Embarkation & Disembarkation. The ship is lovely and has numerous bars to relax in with comfy lounges. Our cabin was good (Quad level 4 with a window) & our room stewards were great. I read previous reviews & people complaining about the food but we found the selection of different foods were good and The Pantry was great. We also ate at The Waterfront Lounge which was also very good. Some of the staff in the bars and eating areas are a bit boring but we found the odd staff member who appeared happy. The entertainment/shows were ok. If you want to eat in one of the specialty restaurants make sure you book early - I would suggest as soon as you board the ship - we tried to book late in the afternoon just after we boarded & all were booked out for the 4 nights - unless you wanted to eat early. We ate at Dragon Lady (at 5.30pm) & the food was good but small portions. The "White Party" was great & is held on the rear deck in the Oasis area. Our children are 15 & 16 & founds the Kids Club (HQ+) a bit boring compared to Carnival - there weren't many kids as we cruised out of school holidays but the kids just didn't seem to have as much fun as on Carnival. One issue we encountered was our room toilet would sometimes not flush - & a number of the public toilets around the ship also got blocked. The maintenance staff were aware of the problem & did their best to try & fix it. This wasn't a real drama for us, just a talking point! We had one Port being Moreton Island - the tendering service was good & the staff did a great job considering how rough it was. We did our own thing on the Island & walked up to the Ship Wrecks & snorkelled. The walk is about 25 minutes but is easy and the snorkelling around the wrecks is great. Overall we had a good time and would cruise with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose the Pacific Eden because it was based in Fremantle which meant no flying! We were very wary of how this cruise was going to go because we had seen so many poor reviews but I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. This was ... Read More
We chose the Pacific Eden because it was based in Fremantle which meant no flying! We were very wary of how this cruise was going to go because we had seen so many poor reviews but I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. This was only our second cruise, first was on RCI and very hard to compare, so I won't. Getting on the ship was a breeze, no drama there and when we got on board we were able to access our cabin and found one of our suitcases had arrived with the second arriving shortly thereafter. Arriving back in Freo was just as efficient, we were off the ship at 8.10 a.m. and in a taxi about 30 minutes later. Everything was very well organised. Our cabin was fine, we had a couple of fantastic Cabin Stewards in Arvin and Martin, nothing was too much trouble for them, very efficient and friendly. Plenty of wardrobe space and coat hangers, I would have liked a kettle in the room though so I could make a cuppa. The beds and pillows were very comfortable. We ate mostly in The Waterfront, Angelo's and Dragon Lady and had no problems at all, the menu choices were excellent. The drinks did take a little while to arrive but really it wasn't that big of a big deal. As it was my husband's 60th we booked Salt and found it to be fantastic but then so was Angelo's and Dragon Lady. We used the Pantry a few times and found that to be fine. The ship's bars were great, beautifully refurbished and were also comfortable to sit in during the day for reading etc. Each bar had a coffee machine so you could get a flat white/cappuccino etc. The entertainment was great, we enjoyed everything we went to. We never do bingo but found ourselves there most days and 'discovered' Marius - boy was he entertaining! What a crack-up. We enjoyed the Bianco and Great Gatsby nights, not so fussed on the Back to School night tho. We didn’t use the pools at all because we aren’t water babies, having had skin cancer doesn’t help, but they were both lovely, the adults only pool could have done with a little more shade. The shore stops were so-so and the only one we really wanted to do was Bali and that turned into a fizzer due to the heavy swell. We only got off the ship in Makassar and Lombok and didn’t enjoy either spot. All in all we had a great time on our cruise and would consider travelling on the Eden again if it had a different itinerary e.g. better destinations. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Pacific Aria A619 from Sydney to the "Loyalty Islands" departing Tuesday 26/4/16 for 9 nights. I travelled with two friends but had a cabin of my own. Embarkation: So, so easy. Dropped off our bags, and filled out ... Read More
Pacific Aria A619 from Sydney to the "Loyalty Islands" departing Tuesday 26/4/16 for 9 nights. I travelled with two friends but had a cabin of my own. Embarkation: So, so easy. Dropped off our bags, and filled out departure cards & paperwork. Joined the queue for check-in, got our photos taken, and went straight through to customs. The whole thing only took about 25 minutes until we were on board. Cabin: Oceanview cabin 5055 (starboard, forward). Nice and big, huge bed (for one), with abundant storage. Sofa & TV in the room. Bathroom had a bathtub with the shower over, which would be a problem for anyone with knee or hip problems. Bathroom layout is good, and shampoo, conditioner & bodywash are provided and are of decent quality too. The bathroom decor is a bit dated but is clean & functional. The room stewards were very friendly & helpful, and the cabin was always cleaned well. Dining: There are lots of choices for dining. The Pantry on Deck 11 for informal meals and the Waterfront Restaurant are the main areas. Dragon Lady (Asian) & Angelos (Italian) are specialty restaurants which do not yet have a cover charge. You do need to book them in the morning of the day you want to go and I'd recommend doing this early (get in line about 8am). Luke Mangan's Salt Grill & the Chef's Table are additional fee dining. Breakfast: - It's available in the Pantry & Waterfront. Each food station in the Pantry serves breakfast with stations serving: toast & jams cereals, muesli, fruit & yoghurt, bacon, sausages, potato, tomato & fried eggs poached eggs, boiled eggs, baked beans & bacon french toast, pikelets, english muffins & bacon danishes, croissants, muffins, pastries etc. The Waterfront does a la carte breakfast but we only did it once. The coffee & tea were luke warm, and the food no better than that in the pantry. We preferred to sit up in the pantry (or out on deck) where it was light & airy. in the Waterfront the curtains were all closed and it just felt a bit claustrophobic for us for breakfast. Lunch & Dinner: The Pantry: - I like the idea of the pantry, but apart from breakfast I found the food choices very boring & uninspiring. There are a number of stations: Fish & Chips, Mexican, Asian, Indian, Roast & Veg, Sandwiches & soup, a salad bar, and then the sweets bars, but the problem is that they serve the same thing day after day, for both lunch and dinner. There is very little variety, and if you want a light lunch that isn't a hot meal there is really no choice. The salad bar is very boring, and the sandwiches are pre-made and either stale or soggy (depending on the content) by the time lunchtime comes around. The desserts are pretty good :) Waterfront Restaurant: - The food here is good and we never had a bad meal, but there is no such thing as a leisurely dining experience. Once you've ordered entrees turn up within minutes, plates are cleared as soon as you put your fork & knife down and the next course is served very quickly. This is great if you want to eat quickly to catch a show or head to one of the entertainment gigs, but not good if you want a relaxed meal. Dragon Lady: - the atmosphere & decor is fabulous. The food is good, but not as good as it should be to match the atmosphere & decor. Serving sizes are pretty small as well. If they make this an additional-fee dining venue then they need to step up on the food. Angelos: - this was really very ordinary. When we went the place was no where near full, but we were seated down in the back corner behind a pillar and felt forgotten. We had to ask twice for drinks to be refreshed and it seemed that the waiters were not happy to be there. Of the three of us, one had a bad meal, and two of us had ok ones but nothing special. if I had to pay extra for this I'd be really annoyed. Luke Mangan's Salt Grill. This is an additional fee ($39 for lunch or $49 for dinner) but is so so worth it. It's the same menu for lunch as for dinner, and dinner books out quick, but lunch is only available on certain sea days. The food is fantastic, and decent sizes as well. The staff were really friendly, and you had the time to really enjoy your food before they cleaned up & brought the next course. Highly recommended. The Chef's Table: - this was the food highlight for us. A fabulous experience. It's $95 a head for 7-course degustation menu with matching wines. You start with champagne & canapes and get to meet the chef, the have a tour of the galley & a group photo with the executive chef before the food. The food. Where's the drool emoticon? In order of enjoyment I'd classify the dining experiences on Aria as: 1: Chef's Table 2: Salt Grill 3: Dragon Lady 4: Waterfront 5: Angelos 6: The Pantry Entertainment: We went to most of the shows in the Marquee theatre and they were really enjoyable. The entertainment team of singers & dancers are pretty good, and the in-house band are very good. The very first night they did a preview show of the entertainment and from that I chose to give the magician show a very big miss. I'm a bit of an early to bed person so I didn't s ee a lot of the musical entertainment, but what I did see seemed OK. I did find though that there wasn't a lot of entertainment. We went to an early show and then to dinner which would be finished at about 7.30pm. There really wasn't a lot happening or to do from then until the dj/band started. It's like they expect everyone to be at dinner later so don't put anything on unless it's teen orientated, or the daily music trivia. It would have been nice to see some musicians after dinner, but nothing started until 9.00 or 9.30 pm. Service: I was pleasantly surprised. I'd read a lot of reviews and wasn't expecting a lot but it was great. At the end of the day, it's a 3.5* ship. If you expect 5* service you'll be disappointed. For what Aria is we never had any major problems. The Ocean Bar is very busy in the afternoon / early evening and you do have to wait for service / drinks then. The same with the pool area. The adults only pool area Oasis now has a pop-up cocktail bar and they have roaming drinks waiters so service here is pretty good. My room stewards were great, there were a couple of things I asked of them which were dealt with very quickly & efficiently. They were very friendly and the cabin was cleaned well. Ports & Tender Service We had some pretty bad weather on the way over so we were a few hours late to our first port. I think most people were understanding of this, but unfortunately the way the tender service at this port was dealt with wasn't great. We had a film crew on board who were given priority over paying customers which peeved a lot of people off. The tender service was very slow, and the call for people to go to the tenders was sporadic. It did improve at the next ports, but the service was still slow Disembarkation: This was a very simple process. We were given instructions the night before on where to assemble (we did self-assist) and given the customs forms etc to fill in. I had an item I'd bought which I wasn't sure about so decided to go through customs to check.it. Even having to go through customs, we were off the ship and in a taxi in about 15 minutes from our scheduled departure time. General Overview: I really enjoyed our time on this cruise. It's a smaller ship but at no time did it feel crowded. Food & service were overall very good, and the decor & atmosphere in the main areas is wonderful. The cabins are clean & functional, and the crew were great. From reading earlier reviews, it now seems like the old HAL crew & the new P&O crew are now working well together. The ship is clean & maintenance crews are always visible. The only problem that seems to be a hangover of being an older ship is the plumbing. I'd say 60% of the time the public toilets were "out of order". I had maintenance knock on my cabin door twice after 10pm at night to check the toilet. I always made sure that the toilet was flushed after I used it, but sometimes I had to flush it three times or more to clear the bowl, and that was just for a wee & toilet paper (sorry if that's TMI). Often I'd flush and then an hour later notice that even though I'd checked I'd flushed there would be toilet paper back in the bowl. Thank goodness it was just toilet paper. So, would I go again? Yes, I think I would. I probably wouldn't choose P&O or Aria as a preference, but if the price was right I would book another cruise There was nothing that put me off completely, and I think they are really trying to improve their service Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We went on this cruise for our anniversary and after reading the bad reports were not happy,however we found it to be very good. not too many people so the public areas were not too crowded. Waterfront and Pantry were very good, Salt ... Read More
We went on this cruise for our anniversary and after reading the bad reports were not happy,however we found it to be very good. not too many people so the public areas were not too crowded. Waterfront and Pantry were very good, Salt had the best meal on land or sea we have had in a long time and Dragon Lady and Angelio's could be better. The crew very good and we had no complaints, our cabin stewards we great. We would go on this ship again. We went the whole hog and booked a suite and this was great and so large and well appointed, it lacked nothing. We never had problems getting into Waterfront and the meals were good, not too big a menu and it look like it changes each week between two variations, how-ever we could select something we liked. The bars were well appointed and well served with some of them quiet zones The pool area was nice and well used as it was always busy and plenty of people about. Boarding and disembarking was the easiest we have ever done The boarding of the tenders was a bit of a problem as there seemed to too few as it took hours to get the people ashore and temper were a bit short at times Things for P&O will improve when Dawn Princess and Sun Princess join the fleet and the Jewel and Pearl leave as these are very good ships on which we have travelled. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
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