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1,385 P&O Australia Cruise Reviews

P&O Recommend passengers bring two bags: On the night prior to disembarking, passengers are required to leave their luggage outside their room for collection. Instead of thinking I was being efficient with only one bag, a second bag ... Read More
P&O Recommend passengers bring two bags: On the night prior to disembarking, passengers are required to leave their luggage outside their room for collection. Instead of thinking I was being efficient with only one bag, a second bag would have been very useful for the last overnight. Bring a lanyard, doesn’t matter what other company it promotes, everyone wears them, all colours and varieties. Book your dinners on the first day, especially if you’re travelling with a large group. Other times at the restaurants you just need to show up as your entire group before being seated. Children are well catered for at the restaurants . This was a great teaching opportunity for us to to share dining etiquette in a friendly environment. The same children’s menu that is offered at all included restaurants. Our older (12 years) children were offered to children’s menu, which was considerate of the wait staff. They were included as adults. When deciding what to spend the day doing, a highlighter marker would be useful to mark up the daily newsletter. Attend a show. They are not going to take very much time. Most were under an hour. After the show the cruise director will give information about the days activities and those coming up on following days. It would be useful to advertise how long events are expected to take for planning and group coordination. Tea and coffee, juice and water were freely available all the time at The Pantry.The Pantry hours on the day of Embarking are generous. There will be something available when you board. The room has a DVD player, but I downloaded some movies before we left. Helped when there were quiet (or needed to be quiet moments) Loved the cruise. The whole family experience was exactly what I was hoping for. A memory maker. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I personally enjoyed my cruise with my family very much! We spend 10 nights on the Pacific Aria and it was awesome! Cons: -We had to skip one of the islands (Kitava) as the weather of the sea was too strong for the wee boats to take ... Read More
I personally enjoyed my cruise with my family very much! We spend 10 nights on the Pacific Aria and it was awesome! Cons: -We had to skip one of the islands (Kitava) as the weather of the sea was too strong for the wee boats to take us to the island. -If there are announcements about the activities throughout the day you can't really hear them from your cabin without opening your door (we were on deck 4). Pros: -The food was delicious and we dined in the pantry most days. We tried Dragon Lady (Asian Restaurant) and Angelo's (Italian Restaurant) once but the portions were really small. The waterfront was perfect for Breakfast and Lunch. - There were many activities to participate in on sea days such as parties, fitness/dance classes, anti-aging courses, coloring, board games, and many competitions. - The Edge was an amazing fun thing for us to do. It is a group you can sign up for and do many outdoor extreme activities like rock climbing, walk the plank, the flying fox and laser tag. -The decoration throughout the ship was really beautiful with an added touch of each elevator having a different design. - The staff was extremely kind and our Steward Dodi was amazing. Every day we were welcomed with a towel made creature and he would often incorporate my brothers' toys into the towel creature. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
this cruise was amazing, coming with one side of the family it was a fantastic trip. Everyone was always occupied and the activities couldn't have been better. There were lots of shows to watch and parties to go to. Our room was a bit ... Read More
this cruise was amazing, coming with one side of the family it was a fantastic trip. Everyone was always occupied and the activities couldn't have been better. There were lots of shows to watch and parties to go to. Our room was a bit small, but our room stewards couldn't have been better. Every day there were great activities on for the whole family, which varied from White parties to Gatsby dance classes. The food in the pantry was pretty good, but could have been better if there was a bigger range. The pizza restaurant on level 8 served amazing food, and so did Dragon Lady (level 5), the only disappointing part was that it cost more to eat at these places.Our cruise travelled to Noumea, Maré, Lifou and Isle of Pines. This trip had been going smoothly until day 6 when the weather in Maré was miserable, as it was raining all day, when we reached Isle of Pines the following day (the last island) we were told that we weren't going to be getting off the ship due to the swell. The rocking of the boat was definitely noticeable throughout most of the trip but sailing with P & O Pacific Explorer was great!. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our 1st cruise and I booked P and O because of their $1 deposit. I've seen and heard many negatives ,particularly the Pacific Dawn. I couldn't fault our cruise at all - and I can be hard to please. But I really think some ... Read More
Our 1st cruise and I booked P and O because of their $1 deposit. I've seen and heard many negatives ,particularly the Pacific Dawn. I couldn't fault our cruise at all - and I can be hard to please. But I really think some people just like to complain and whine about nothing. From our boarding to disembarking the crew were fabulous. I found the food great (if I didn't like what I got , I went and tried something else). The people that looked after our room were warm and friendly, basically at your beck and call They remembered mine and the kids names after 1st meeting us. Waiters serving us pre dinner drinks remembered from the 1st night what cocktail I liked. The evening shows are world class. I thoroughly enjoyed them every night. The activities, whether family orientated or for myself were plentiful and fun. I absolutely was in awe of everything. These holidays are really what you put in and make of it. My family and I had a fantastic time. The best value holiday ever. And if P and O is an entry level cruise , I can't wait to try another cruise line. But I would also book another p and o without hesitation My only and biggest regret...... I didn't book one long enough. As soon as I boarded I knew 4 nights was not going to be long enough. New cruise addict here! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Absolutely loved our time on board!! No, it is not a 5 star ship, but I didn't go on expecting that. We had beds to sleep in, a bathroom and a fridge and tv. Everything else you need is found on the ship. The guys who serviced our ... Read More
Absolutely loved our time on board!! No, it is not a 5 star ship, but I didn't go on expecting that. We had beds to sleep in, a bathroom and a fridge and tv. Everything else you need is found on the ship. The guys who serviced our room every day were friendly and very good at what they do. We ate mostly at the restaurant and loved our wait staff!! They had us in tears of laughter every night. If you go on this ship, ask to have Melvin's station!! Entertainment was great. Trivia shows were so much fun with Jim - he is hilarious! Katie, not so much, but Jim and Ashley are fantastic. They really know how to work the room. The production shows in the Marquee were very well done. Tip- when playing bingo, don't prematurely call "Bingo" or you will need to do the Chicken Dance in front of everyone Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First cruise for us. It was my husband's surprise 50th gift. We never made it to any of the shows, or any of the parties, nor did we partake in any activities. Instead, we spent our three days wandering aimlessly throughout the ... Read More
First cruise for us. It was my husband's surprise 50th gift. We never made it to any of the shows, or any of the parties, nor did we partake in any activities. Instead, we spent our three days wandering aimlessly throughout the boat, stopping regularly to eat, drink, watch wave patterns, and shop duty-free. It was exactly the break we needed forcing us to smell the roses. We travelled nowhere in particular and did the lazy-circle more than once without even knowing it. The staff were amazing. So polite and so friendly but clearly scarred by previous experiences with unkind passengers. There was no rest for the staff but not once did they complain. Food was incredible actually with lots of variety and a daily menu change. Our last lunch included prawns and mussels. It was so easy to eat healthy on this sea-break. But it was also a carb-lovers delight so we were never left feeling hungry. Service at The Waterfront was high class with speed and professionalism at every meal. Entrees are small but there is nothing to stop you from then going to The Pantry for a top up. Yes, there were lots of bogans and loud mouth swearing teenagers but we managed to find peace and quiet every time we sought it out. And yes, we too found an item from a previous traveller, however, having stayed in many hotels over the years we were not surprised at all. Room attendants do not have the luxury of time in these scenarios, in fact, they have approx. eight minutes to clean each room before the next lot of passengers embark. Again, I want to celebrate the staff. My hat goes off to anyone who can put up with daily abuse from drunk and/or entitled passengers and still come back on shift with a smile. Thank you to our stewards Mel and Mai. You made us feel very special. We will remember our maiden voyage fondly, because of you. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I have done 53 cruises and this would be in the top 5. Every thing was great,. The staff was fantastic. They soon learned your name. The Pantry food was great. Especially the asian soups which was special. The Waterfront restaurant was ... Read More
I have done 53 cruises and this would be in the top 5. Every thing was great,. The staff was fantastic. They soon learned your name. The Pantry food was great. Especially the asian soups which was special. The Waterfront restaurant was so-so.and the speciality dinning was ordinary but cheap at $30 Lots of kids on this cruise 470. Lots of young couples. A old and dated ship but lots of character. The smallest balcony I have ever had, about a meter wide. Then cabin was good, clean and well maintained. Entertainment was fantastic, great broadway shows. Comedian was great. When you consider the cost which was cheap as a sole passenger. It was value for money and I would do it a again and again. The staff made the cruise they were exceptional I loved them. The Orient bar had the cheapest beer on tap I'm have ever had $6 a schooner. I would recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
It was somewhere I wanted to go. I wish to thank DR Google from the Waterfront Resteraunt, who looked after my allergies, and made sure I had wonderful meals. I thank you so much you really took care of me and was a lovely friendly person ... Read More
It was somewhere I wanted to go. I wish to thank DR Google from the Waterfront Resteraunt, who looked after my allergies, and made sure I had wonderful meals. I thank you so much you really took care of me and was a lovely friendly person who made me feel relaxed about being allergic. Unfortunately, my friend was put out about my kind caring treatment and I was unable to thank you personally, and give you a good tip. So sorry about that, I felt so bad. Because you were wonderful and I never had any symptoms on board, it was great not to worry about the food myself, I am so grateful. I hope you get to read this, you said say you are Marlon Brando as a joke. Very nice and kind Dr Google I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You made my cruise much easier and enjoyable. :-) 9198 Overall the whole Cruise was fun and exciting. To find places on decks was easy due to information at the lifts. The rooms were lovely with the large balcony. Had an awesome view of the sea. The cabins were looked after very well, staff attending were wonderful and helpful. All food on board was really tasty. The food staff were excellent and caring to my allergy needs. Gatsby party was fun away to sea party was fun and the white party was fun, but what I liked most was the Blue Room where they played Jazz every night. Great musicians, loved the saxophonists playing, really really great to see and hear. The best thing about the whole Cruise was being at sea, loved it. The crew made the trip really easy and relaxing. Thank you P&O I will definitely be looking forward to my next Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This cruise was from Sydney to adelaide, so it worked perfect for my friend and I who live in both of these places. Loved leaving from Sydney harbour and how they played some opera music I thought that was awesome. We saw a pod of dolphins ... Read More
This cruise was from Sydney to adelaide, so it worked perfect for my friend and I who live in both of these places. Loved leaving from Sydney harbour and how they played some opera music I thought that was awesome. We saw a pod of dolphins and some seals which was amazing and going pass Wilson’s promentry was spectacular. I particularly enjoyed the comedy and the piano playing by John Milligan. I went to his show two nights because I enjoyed it so much. I was just very relaxed and loved being at sea. Our cabin was great but maybe a little smelly when we got on, a bit of room spray and was all good. Our cabin person Nash was really friendly and helpful. We used the gym and the spa which was really lovely. It is a bit hard to do yoga and do the exercise machines when the boat is swaying, but was an experience. It was sad to dock and have to come back to reality. Thanks for a great time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Third time cruising with PnO, family of four (kids 10 and 12). We just got back from our amazing week on the Dawn, we were blessed with calm seas and great warm sunny weather, with just the odd shower on port villa stop. But ... Read More
Third time cruising with PnO, family of four (kids 10 and 12). We just got back from our amazing week on the Dawn, we were blessed with calm seas and great warm sunny weather, with just the odd shower on port villa stop. But that's out our PnO's control and not what you want a review on. Food - 8.5/10 Overall we were very happy with the food on board, catered very well for two travellers with gluten intolerance. Our preference was the waterfront restaurant, both for choice of food and service, pantry only used when activities or shore days restricted our waterfront restaurant option. Pantry is quite crowded at peak times but this shouldn't be a criticism in my opinion as everyone has the choice. Avoid the crowd where possible to enjoy your eating experience. Highlight was the seafood platters in the shell and bones restaurant (extra cost) which was a beautiful and special meal on board. Didn't use the salt grill. Food service - 8/10 Our regular waiter Emerson was great, attentive, prompt, polite and recommended the best items on the menu each night. On one occasion (at an alternate seating) a food request (for one of the kids) was completely ignored, which was frustrating at the time, but solved by a trip to the pantry for another meal. Occasionally the wait for food was slightly longer than we wanted but it was during peak times and just gave us more time to chat about the day past. Entertainment - 9/10 Never once felt like we had nothing to do, in fact we felt unable to do everything we wanted on the program as there was so much to do. Sail away party was great (won free beer!!!), theme nights were great (Bianco, formal, Gatsby), they also had a 'back to school' night which had little interest or participation but that didn't worry us. Ben the cruise director was great. Christian was also particularly good and the rest were professional and entertaining. The shows were good, family enjoyed them however some song and dance shows aren't my thing so I wasn't fussed. Comedy nights were fun. Name that tune in the orient bar was a must and provided great atmosphere with 100+ people singing along to some classics after the music stopped. Cleanliness in general - 7/10 The biggest issue with cleanliness is the pigs who think it's OK to leave plates, cups, rubbish in lifts, hallways, upper decks etc. Whilst it is the done thing to leave it all on tables (cleaned away fairly quick most of the time), it is frustrating to see rubbish and dirty plates around the ship. I understand why there are no bins around but it was frustrating having to leave bottles or cups on tables, when other people want to come and use that space. I often walked used bottles or cups to the bar so to not leave them around. Note to others - don't be the pig and everyone will enjoy a cleaner ship. Rooms - 7/10 We were holidaying on a budget and didn't have a flash room, on level 9 towards the front of the ship. The set out of previous rooms felt bigger, often found we were in each others way when all in the room as it was tight. Only an issue a few times a day when getting ready for dinner etc. Cabin steward was polite and prompt however didn't feel like he went above and beyond like previous cruises. Pillows were shocking is probably my biggest gripe. Mabye we were spoilt previously? In any case we managed and didn't go on the cruise to hang in our cabin so it didn't affect the enjoyment of the week that much. Getting on and off - 9/10 It's a big ship, there's alot of people, often doing the same thing at the same time, expect some waiting in cues. Nothing felt like a major hassle. Well organised and as quick as it could be considering the number of people. Noumea - 5/10 Been there 3 times, like it less each time, expensive, less 'pretty' than other stops, just something about the vibe there that says 'get back on the ship'. If we go again, I'll probably consider not getting off. I would like to see the aquarium but with a 3pm arrival it doesn't leave much time to go there before closing time. Lifou - 9/10 Beautiful location, beautiful people, chilled out shopping in the local markets, great spot to swim and relax with a beer or two. Felt safe the whole time. Love it. Port Vila - 9/10 Have improved the market area, used to be hassled by the locals for day trips as you walked through the markets however now seem to have control on when they can approach you (outside the fence line). Negotiated a good deal for an air-conditioned van for the day $150 for the day for 6 people. Went to blue lagoon (11/10) which is a must, had a village tour (from vehicle) which was interesting, had the option of turtle feeding and waterfalls but choose to head to Vila early and get into the markets before back on ship. Best duty free shop on earth? Is a must. Very enjoyable day even though I've been there 3 times. Overall - 9/10 As long as you remember your on a budget ship, and look at the positives and ignore negatives which are out of the control of PnO you will have a great time. We thoroughly enjoyed our week and the minimal negatives way outweigh the positives. Can't wait to book again we are hooked. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
First cruise and I was terrified due to negative reviews on here. Our review...well we are now hooked....an amazing cruise. We ate everywhere...enjoyed it all. The ships crew are constantly cleaning to keep the ship presentable. The ... Read More
First cruise and I was terrified due to negative reviews on here. Our review...well we are now hooked....an amazing cruise. We ate everywhere...enjoyed it all. The ships crew are constantly cleaning to keep the ship presentable. The entertainment is amazing. Attend as much as possible. All incredibly enjoyable especial the Maquee live shows. Entertainment crew hilarious Mathew Dom Pablo Miguel etc. We had the smaller cheaper cabins which were perfect for our budget and needs....hot showers were amazing. Many reviews complained about the interior being old....well I'm no spring chicken either any more but it's how you present yourself and this ship is no different....the decor is gorgeous. We did a few pacific Islands and pre booked our tours through the ship and had a great time being emersed in the culture and saw some amazing scenery. All our kids 3-17 attended kids clubs Turtle cove HQ and HQ+ and loved it experience. We also had EDGE packages. These were prepaid great for 7-25yrs. Our adults would probably pay per session next time as didn't get the value from pre purchasing. Thankyou from the bottom of our hearts for your passion to serve. Sad to see you retiring but hope to travel again with P&O and see some familiar faces. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We thought this cruise was great, relaxing, comfortable, affordable and we enjoyed it so very much. Only downfall was jewellery policy on the water slides. Our theme parks here in Oz do not have that policy so I enjoy the water slides. ... Read More
We thought this cruise was great, relaxing, comfortable, affordable and we enjoyed it so very much. Only downfall was jewellery policy on the water slides. Our theme parks here in Oz do not have that policy so I enjoy the water slides. Body jewellery is an upcoming thing and not everyone can take them out, so I think this policy needs reviewing. Staff were awesome and Bingo/trivia was a blast, so much fun and laughter. Theme night Gatsby was awesome. All in all fantastic.Crew were very friendly, helpful and our room was always clean. We did alot of relaxing on the deck under the shade, and the onshore tours were great. We winged it with all onshore stuff but it was great as we got to take a Buggy out in Noumea. This was an adventure driving on the opposite side of the road to Australia took a little getting used to for my hubby. Isle of pines is definately a place to go back too. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We loved our 8 nights cruise on P&O Pacific Explorer! I thought it will be very basic cruise but all my expectations were exceeded by far! Selection of meals and restaurants was very good, quality of food was good, delicious and ... Read More
We loved our 8 nights cruise on P&O Pacific Explorer! I thought it will be very basic cruise but all my expectations were exceeded by far! Selection of meals and restaurants was very good, quality of food was good, delicious and mostly healthy meals (in comparison to some other cruises where free junk food was so bad and in large quantities). Italian restaurant Angelou’s and Graddi 400 Pizza restaurant were fantastic! Loved quality Italian wines too. Pantry the buffet style dining was very good too, with many healthy and fresh cooking! Beautiful interior of the ship, immaculate spaces, cabins were a bit small but we spent lot of time going around.... Entertainment was fantastic too! For example, Blanco and Gatsby dress up parties, Titanic show, Misbehave show and much much more. The crew did an amazing job, well organised cruise and we all felt very comfortable and looked after. Thank you so much P&O Pacific Explorer! 17/01/2019 A family with kids and grandparents from Sydney. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Our 3rd P&O short cruise - this one for 40th Wedding Anniversary. We booked a suite, 10010, and P&O offered special services for suite customers. So did Holland America (HM) but they failed to deliver on all counts - P&O went ... Read More
Our 3rd P&O short cruise - this one for 40th Wedding Anniversary. We booked a suite, 10010, and P&O offered special services for suite customers. So did Holland America (HM) but they failed to deliver on all counts - P&O went well above expectations. 1. Express check in - YES, very fast and friendly. 2. Cabin fine, really clean, a little old but the ship is going to another company in a month or so. It did not detract from the experience. 3. Tried all the food outlets; ie restaurants, the buffet, and the speciality ones - the Luke Mangan Salt Grill and the Chefs Table- ALL were Fabulous, especially the Chefs Table! At first the price appears expensive but in reality what you get the food, the wine, the afters it would be cheap at twice the price - DO try it! NO bad food on the ship and plenty of choices for everyone. 4. All the various crew members were always happy, helpful and ready to assist. 5. The entertainment was a 1000% better than on HM. The Blue room music variety was outstanding. So many different entertainment venues to keep everyone happy. The shows in the main theatre were amazing! Loved the magician. 6. P&O has restored my faith in big ship cruising after the HM experience killed enthusiasm. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Everything went perfectly on the cruise, went on a 7 night from melbourne around australia. The service was excellent, the atmosphere was excellent and was worth the money. We had a balcony cabin, Our cabin was abit tight but thats ... Read More
Everything went perfectly on the cruise, went on a 7 night from melbourne around australia. The service was excellent, the atmosphere was excellent and was worth the money. We had a balcony cabin, Our cabin was abit tight but thats probably because i didnt know what to expect. The dining was perfect, weather it was the free buffet or the fine dining restaurants. The entertainment was really good. Didnt expect so much but was really happy. There was never a dull moment. Either in the day shows or the adult comedy shows or even sitting at a bar having a few drinks. I went with my partner and i advise couples to get the ultimate romance package. Very good value. The shore tours are good but have to book them in advance to get a good one and be prepared. But once again i cant stress enough the great service from all staff. Thank you guys so much for the wonderful journey Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Second cruise (First was also Explorer). Cruised wih my 5yo and myself. Cabin: 9205 Window cabin with unobstructed view, and a queen bed. This room had more than enough space for our 2x suitcases and drawer space for all our clothes. ... Read More
Second cruise (First was also Explorer). Cruised wih my 5yo and myself. Cabin: 9205 Window cabin with unobstructed view, and a queen bed. This room had more than enough space for our 2x suitcases and drawer space for all our clothes. The suitcases could fit under the bed, but there was plenty of space in the wardrobe for them to stand in so no need. Tv and fridge in room were used daily and both great. My 5yo packed a few toys and there was plenty of space for him to play with them on the ground in our room while watching tv in the evening. Ship: Becuase we done the Chrsitmas cruise, the ship was decorated beautifully with Christmas trees / decorations / gingerbread houses all over the place. We even had fake snow! Food – The Pantry: Food wasn’t too bad. Lots of options to choose from. Only ate at the Pantry during lunch time, so no comment for breakfast or dinner. It wasn’t easy trying to find seating, so that was annoying. Waterfront: Mainly ate here. Could not fault the food. Breakfast menu was the same every day, but enough options to choose something different every day if you liked. Lunch and dinner menus different every day. I enjoyed all of my meals at Waterfront. Dragon Lady: Went once, and never got around to going again. Not bad. Lukes: Yummy burgers and fries. Although you must pay, it is a nice area to sit and watch over the pool area or while a movie is on. Shell and Bones: Beautiful food (extra charge). This is just a sectioned off part of The Pantry, so it doesn’t feel very ‘restauranty’. Angelos: Did not use so no comment Entertainment: Attended four (free) shows in the Marquee, with every single one of them being amazing. The entertainers on board do a fantastic job! I was early to each show, so had no problem finding seats, but it does fill up fast. P&O Edge / Waterslides - did not use so no comment. Kids entertainment: Turtle cove – my son absolutely LOVED it. He would stay there all day every day if I let him. They had so much for the kids to do: face painting, games, songs, play stations, dancing, acting, everything. Service: AMAZING. Room stewards go above and beyond, always there if you need something or have a question. They make the kids feel welcome in an unfamiliar place. Bar staff everywhere I could not fault. Always greeting everyone with a big smile. Waiters in the Waterfront always lovey. Other passengers: A great mix of families / elderly / 20-30 year olds. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There is always a few disgruntled passengers, but it’s easy to ignore them! Money: Used Aussie dollars on all islands. I would recommend changing big notes ($50, $20) at reception on the ship to smaller notes before going on the islands. Islands – Noumea: Bought the hop on hop off bus ticket once we got off the ship. Spent the day at Lemon bay beach which was clean, beautiful with plenty of trees for shade. Lifou: Spent a few hours at the beach the tenders dropped us off at. Nothing spectacular, stayed a few hours and then went back to the ship for lunch. Port Vila: Booked an all day tour via Facebook. (Blue Lagoon Bus Tours). Our stops included Blue Lagoon, Rarru waterfalls, Mele beach bar for lunch and drinks, and then duty free before heading back to the ship. This tour was a 10/10. Would book again! Mystery Island: Spent all day at the beach. The most beautiful island we have been to. You don’t even need diving gear to see the fish swimming around the coral. Markets were amazing, and the locals were all beautiful people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My partner and i were given this cruise as a birthday gift from my daughters. Because we didn’t choose it, we looked for reviews on the Pacific Aria and found a lot if negatives. Well we couldn’t fault it. Embarkation and ... Read More
My partner and i were given this cruise as a birthday gift from my daughters. Because we didn’t choose it, we looked for reviews on the Pacific Aria and found a lot if negatives. Well we couldn’t fault it. Embarkation and disembarkation were so easy and quick. Luggage to our rooms were quick. We love the Ocean Bar on deck 8. We spent most of our time there. They did Trivia a couple of times a day. They had karaoke every night. The entertainment crew were terrific, especially Jeffersen, Megan and Georgie. Jeffersen was fantastic at bingo. He made it so fun. The Sideshow Alley show was our favourite but also enjoyed the others. Our favourite free restaurants were The Dragon Lady snd The Waterfront. Didn’t like Angelos. The pantry was great for quick meals that could be taken and eaten anywhere. We didn’t get to go to Airlie Beach becsuse of a cyclone. We had a tour booked, but was refunded immediately to our onboard credit. We were given a letter regarding the cyclone as sokn as we boarded and had announcements by the Captain on a few occasions informing us of the situation. Never felt scared at all. Lived, loved, loved the Aria and all the staff 10/10 Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
What a wonderful time!! The food, the service, the entire experience - from start to finish - we loved it all! Even though it was our first cruise and we were told by some others that there were fancier cruises out there, for us it was ... Read More
What a wonderful time!! The food, the service, the entire experience - from start to finish - we loved it all! Even though it was our first cruise and we were told by some others that there were fancier cruises out there, for us it was just spot on. Be sure to read the TIPS below for some helpful hints re:this ship, but the following might answer some general questions. The staff? So helpful, friendly - just such lovely people - from servers, waiters, entertainers, activity hosts, security - they just made the cruise so special for you. The food? The Pantry had great offerings - and this from fussy eaters. Additionally, three great, included restaurants provided an up-market pace. The Dragon Lady offering a range of Asian cuisine from different countries was a fave. Irrespective of venue, the service was was wonderful and helpings were endless. We didn't try the non-included restaurants as we just didn't see the need, but a fellow cruiser raved about the Salt Grill. The crowds? There were families and kids on board but we didn't often see or hear many youngsters; same as there our fair share of baby boomer / grey nomads, but they seemed to party just as hard as their younger counterparts! I think the ship was pretty full but we didn't notice - the occasional wait for a barista coffee, but everything else was reasonable. The entertainment/activities? There seemed lots to do for all ages - sample pages from Good Times pic attached. Towel Animal Parade was a huge surprise (pic attached), as were the Sit-Down Comedy shows (definite crowd pleasers, some R18+ and ID checked). Production shows pretty good; trivia; activities; etc. Plenty to do!! Prices? We were amazed how reasonable things were - $4/$5 for barista coffee & frappe's, lots of cocktails for $12 (some $15-$17), $6.50-$8 for a beer, it was even cheaper for the NZ ice-cream on-board than it was on land in Cairns! All except - bottled water - that was ridiculous, and the photos were expensive, but they were very professional and looked it, so, probably cheaper than land prices. TIPS - water and tea/coffee stations available 24/7 - take a travel mug &/or water bottle so you can take drinks easily from the Pantry back to your room or around the ship; - different spa vouchers & offers were given to rooms daily through out the cruise (most days) - fill out the free raffle tickets in your embarkation booklet but for the spa ticket only tick the areas you actually might use (not what you are 'interested in'); - consider the drinks package - although prices are reasonable, you just tend to drink more than you normally would (even/especially non-alcoholic ones); - check what times tours are leaving so that you can avoid those times yourself for getting on/off at ports; and take a back pack / bag when you go - if taking food off the ship and they see it you're up for hassles - most evening show times tend to be 7pm & 9pm so if booking restaurants consider accordingly - most shows went for ~45 mins - If queuing for a show, level 7 starboard door tended to open first; - don't go early, or late, for safety drill - just when told to do so to save unnecessary waiting; - bring a lanyard for your cruise card (one that can detach at the end easily to hand over your card for swiping); - using the cash kiosks was quick and easy - you can keep an eye on your account via the app available through their intranet - hassle free and no charging to cards, even when checking out, no dramas! - level 6 has the best laundry, all use $1 coins - plus our room had plenty of hangers and a line over the shower; and - check the deck plans carefully if selecting cabins - deck 6 had windows out to the walking track so curtains would have to be kept closed most times; dis/embarking occurred deck 3 & 5 so choose carefully if considering as queuing occurred outside many of these cabins; smokers are outside on deck 6, mid-ship/aft starboard side; deck 10 has restaurant, etc., above and can be noisy; deck 9 was fantastic. Mid-ship best for minimal noise (I'd keep away from stairs/lifts). Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I have not cruised with P&O Australia in 3 years and last sailed with Pacific Dawn. When the opportunity to sail onboard the Pacific Aria presented itself my dad and I could not resist. This review will be a little lengthy but to ... Read More
I have not cruised with P&O Australia in 3 years and last sailed with Pacific Dawn. When the opportunity to sail onboard the Pacific Aria presented itself my dad and I could not resist. This review will be a little lengthy but to summarise our expectations were well and truely exceeded. Embarkation- We had been assigned 12:00pm boarding time as our cabin was only allocated close to the sail date. We arrived at the port at approximately 11:00am and dropped our bags off. A staff member told people that they were only allowing people with 11:00am boarding in and others to come back again in an hour. We took the opportunity to go around and get some photos of the ship before boarding. Once we realised that they were letting people board we went right back to the terminal. Check-in was fast and efficient and done in around 15 minutes maximum. It was all brilliantly organised. We waited maybe 20 minutes for our group to be called and then headed onboard the ship. We already had a plan and went straight to "The Bar" located deck 8 aft to book in some of our dinner reservations. On embarkation day you are allowed to book any 3 nights, and then return the following day to book the rest. Overall we never had a problem with booking in to the restaurants and always got the times and dates we wanted. The Waterfront- We ate breakfast here everyday except disembarkation day and found the meals to be great and overall a great way to start your day. We also opted to have lunch here almost everyday that it was open and thoroughly enjoyed it. The few dinners we had here were also amazing. We were unable to fault the food or the service. Angelos- We dined here twice for dinner, once with menu A and once later in the cruise with menu B. This was a great place to go for dinner however we felt that menu A was the better. Dragon Lady- The absolute highlight of the cruise when it comes to food. We were absolutely blown away with the fact that we were on a P&O ship and not in a proper restaurant. The food was impeccable and always pleasing. We dined here twice, once with menu A and again on the final night with menu B. We had such a hard time deciding what to order as simple we could have eaten any of the dishes they all sounded amazing. Everything about this restaurant was a 10/10. The Pantry- We only dined here a few times and found it to be ok, you were able to find something to eat but it was not our favourite. Salt Grill & Chefs Table- We did not dine here and once we got onboard and tried the free food we were glad we didn't waste our money paying for food. The Ship- Absolutely stunning decor all around the ship. The staff work tirelessly to make sure it is looking its best and always feels welcoming. Despite the cruise being sold out and almost at capacity (official count of 1460/1500 passengers) it never felt crowded. Yes we had to wait for service at the bars at times but that was due to going at peak times (the Ocean Bar during trivia, or The Dome at start of service in the afternoon). Overall I would absolutely not hesitate to book another cruise on this ship and actually encourage people to book on this ship and experience it for themselves. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
What an amazing holiday and why did we wait 30 years to do a cruise? We were awake early (4am) due to time difference so grabbed a coffee and made our way day to a viewing deck to watch the Pacific Dawn come in from its previous cruise. ... Read More
What an amazing holiday and why did we wait 30 years to do a cruise? We were awake early (4am) due to time difference so grabbed a coffee and made our way day to a viewing deck to watch the Pacific Dawn come in from its previous cruise. With the sun shining behind her, it was a sight to behold and well worth it. We met a few fellow passengers at the same time. Excitement levels were building!!! You can drop your bags off early which we did at 8am and then went and had breakfast at a local café watching the loading of supplies and bags and the unloading of passengers. Boarding was seamless and again get on board early. We targeted 11am and it took approx. 40 minutes. We could have been earlier if we wanted too. You can book your dinner, find your cabin and get your bearings. Bars are open and so are the restaurants for lunch!!! Munster stations for lifeboat drill before 2pm departure. We were lucky with the weather with fine weather and smooth sailing all the way to Port Vila. On the homeward journey seas were supposedly 2.5m which caused a few bumps at the front and back of the ship at times, but it wasn’t rough, and I didn’t feel sick. I took no travel sickness tablets and I survived. My wife preferred to lie down on Thursday afternoon and slept but was fine on the Friday as she adjusted to the motion. Highly recommend - research, research and research before you go from best cabins, Port tours (check out private operators too), meal times and what to do and avoid. Planning will lead you to a much better and successful cruise experience in our view. We were prepared! You can book Port tours via CruiseControl well before you depart on your cruise. For tours with limited number of places available this is recommended. Only 200 people out of 2000 get to go snorkelling at Lifou and there were a lot of disappointed people on the day. Another advantage of booking via P&O means priority disembarkment to meet your planned tour and you are returned in time prior to the ship departing. Each Port has operators where ship berths with tour options and these are sometimes cheaper than arranging on board or pre-book with a reputable private operator. In Vila beware of paying up front as the operators have known to drop and leave you at your first destination! Paying when you get back to the ship gates avoids this issue. Friends arranged a private tour in Vila and again only paid upon returning to the Port gates but had a great day and a lot cheaper than available on the ship. Research, research and research. Port Vila has cheapest duty free (will deliver to the ship) however the ship will match the price with a photo of the price and product. The product I wanted was only $1 more expensive on board, so I choose to not buy in Vila and get it on board. I found out 2 days after we left Vila, they had sold out on Day 2 of the cruise of the bottle I wanted!! Another recommendation is booking a circular table at a set time each night for dinner in restaurant. You meet new people and food is amazing. We dined there most days for breakfast and dinner with great table service and great meals. No queuing for meals and no crowds. If you are still hungry after dinner – you can go upstairs to the Pantry or snack there earlier in the evening instead. We used to do pre-dinner drinks at 4:30pm and enjoyed a bucket of prawns ($15) with cheeses and sushi from buffet. You can cancel your booking on any night if you wish to go earlier or eat upstairs in Pantry Buffet selection. Indulgence Menu items cost extra if you wish to treat yourself. We didn’t go to the other paying restaurants. We booked at 8pm each night and looking back missed a few activities so planning is important. Pantry Buffet is busy between 5 & 7pm. There is a snack bar, but you pay extra and has chips, burgers etc. There is so much to do on board and this is published daily in a newsletter which you receive the night before, so you can plan your next day if you wish. Take a highlighter and mark the activities you wish to do. Re-reading these newsletters now there were a few other things I wished I had gone to. Plenty of trivia competitions and challenges. Again, another great way to meet people as you form up a team together from your table or those around you. Personal fav was musical trivia with Christian – a great chance for a sing song and laughs. The song title was easy (everyone sang it for you!!!) but the artist was little bit more challenging. Whilst the entertainment shows weren’t to my liking, a search of You Tube shows there can be some great shows and it’s about your ship and timing!! On the other hand - the hypnotist and comedians were well worth it. There are theme parties to attend at nights. These are known before you leave allowing you to plan your wardrobe accordingly. Lot easier for males than ladies. My formal wear one night had braces added for the Gatsby Party! Most people get dressed up but not compulsory. Just adds to fun. We brought a drinks package – got a great deal at third of the normal price and drank lots of cocktails etc without worrying about the cost. On average we would have spent $40 - $60 per day. I doubt we would have brought the cocktails if we were paying for each drink but without worrying about a surprise bill at the end, we could try whatever we liked. Highly recommended. There are photographers everywhere with formal photos on theme nights, boarding the ship, portside and various activities. All available for purchase. We did buy some nice formal photos from theme nights but did so as a digital version (approx. $20 per image) and you can then print and distribute as many as you need and want. All up with port trips, photos, bingo night x2, prawns, indulgence meal, rum tasting activity and other minor expenses we spent an extra $500 over our cruise cost remembering we did have a drinks package which included water which we stored up in our cabin fridge. If you have a special occasion do let restaurant staff know beforehand and your room stewards. They do make a fuss and make that special occasion even more memorable. Disembarkment varies from 6:30am and from your allocated time is approx. 10 minutes. On average you will be off the boat by approx. between 7:30 and 8am. If using, Go Catch promotion these are good services but run to the time you specify. If you are early you need to wait as they are very difficult to get hold of. Our flight arrived early so we were waiting for approx. an hour at the airport the night before and again we booked one for 9am and had an hour to wait after we had disembarked. Worked for us as there were four of us with bags and most taxis don’t take more than four. There are a lot of negative reviews written but our experience was nothing but fantastic. Doing it with another couple or a group of friends is highly recommended or make friends on board and do activities together. Research and research so you know what to expect and you shouldn’t be disappointed. You can do as much as you like or as little as you like however where can you go on holiday and have so many activities at your disposal that are free and included in the price? We are converted and will do another cruise without waiting 30 years. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
we needed a cruise fix . the ship is old and i believe it's sold ..but the staff made up for its age the food was great in the mdr ..didn't eat in the pantry . had dinner at salt very nice .. have been to the ports ... Read More
we needed a cruise fix . the ship is old and i believe it's sold ..but the staff made up for its age the food was great in the mdr ..didn't eat in the pantry . had dinner at salt very nice .. have been to the ports many times .but haven't done the city lights and micro brewery in Noumea ......so we did ......do it it was so much fun . also did the pub crawl in Vila again lots of fun ....the people there are so friendly ..we don't normally drink (very little ) embarkation and Disembarkation went very smooth . as i get claustrophobic we always get a balcony ...this has the smallest balcony i've ever had you couldn't sit looking out to the ocean without your feet resting on the railing ...forget about laying on a recliner entertainment was of the same as all cruises the performers were great .. some of the entertainment was for a younger crowd but we still enjoyed it all service was of the highest quality ..especially at front service desk . didn't travel with children would we go again a BIG YES .. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was my 11th cruise in 6 years. 3rd one for this year. I had the best time. We enjoyed ourselves. We had a balcony suite which was so relaxing watching The water from our cabin. We went to The Gatsby, Bianca White & farewell ... Read More
This was my 11th cruise in 6 years. 3rd one for this year. I had the best time. We enjoyed ourselves. We had a balcony suite which was so relaxing watching The water from our cabin. We went to The Gatsby, Bianca White & farewell parties were all good fun. The band's were so good and the piano player was great. My personal favorite... the show entertainment team. Lead singers, Sam, Katherine & Ben were just awesome so we're the dancers. Loved it. We went to every show. The Crew are super friendly and some of them are so funny. Food was so good in the Pantry. Can't wait till my next cruise next year. I recommend everyone to take a break. Go on a cruise. There is no better place to relax, be pampered and have fun. And the kids have a ball. You'll never get them out of kids club. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We really enjoyed this cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation were both very well organised and fast. The Pacific Explorer feels smaller than it is, and it can be hard to get seating, especially in the Explorer Hotel. We only went to ... Read More
We really enjoyed this cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation were both very well organised and fast. The Pacific Explorer feels smaller than it is, and it can be hard to get seating, especially in the Explorer Hotel. We only went to the Waterfront Restaurant once - the husband's meal was fine, mine was cold and quite unpleasant so I didn't want to go back again. Every meal we had at Luke's was fantastic, and we really like the new Pantry. Food wastage is obviously much reduced and we never over-ate. The blue room is nice, the band "SoundBlasters" was great fun. Bonded Store was too expensive for us so we didn't use it at all. we enjoyed Dragon Lady and Antonio's - I recommend the Primitivo red wine. We also really enjoyed 400 Gradi - the salads are so good we didn't even need to have the pizza - especially the roasted carrot salad - I could eat that all day. Love Riot dinner and show was great fun. The dinner beforehand was a bit disappointing but the dessert made up for all of that - quite a spectacle. We went to Noumea, Mare and Isle of Pines. The snorkling was great at Mare and Isle of Pines. There's a lady on the beach at Mare who cooks chips in oil over an open fire. They were the best chips we've had for a long time. We also went to nearly every show and enjoyed them all. Finding a seat was not a problem except for the last night when there was only one show. Marius, who was tasked with the bingo events, is very funny indeed and made bingo a lot of fun, even though he was a bit too fast when calling out the numbers. The trivia competitions were far too hard (except for the majority rules, and pub quiz). I saw more than a few people give up on the trivia competition because they only had a handful of answers; two, or maybe four, out of 20. All in all, we were sad to leave. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We loved our cruise and thought the food was great, the service good and the rooms comfy. Such a great atmosphere and entertainment staff were so funny! Great bars, nice restaurants. I read reviews that The Pantry wasn’t very ... Read More
We loved our cruise and thought the food was great, the service good and the rooms comfy. Such a great atmosphere and entertainment staff were so funny! Great bars, nice restaurants. I read reviews that The Pantry wasn’t very good but I thought it was very good. Such a huge range of food to choose from and very tasty. Waterfront could be a bit slow but just a good excuse to relax and enjoy our evening. I actually preferred the lunch menus in Waterfront rather than dinner though. There was more variety for lunch. We did a couple of extras- High Tea- great value and the cocktail making class- also great value We watched 3 shows- all which were great but the best was definitely Tenori. They were amazing! We got an amazing price on Groupon for this 3 night cruise and loved every second- definitely won’t be our last cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was my first cruise, I chose this to see if I would like to cruise. I had a lovely time. The crew were reallyfreindly and .helpful. There was always something to do. They had game shows, trivia, dance classes, yoga. I had a massage at ... Read More
This was my first cruise, I chose this to see if I would like to cruise. I had a lovely time. The crew were reallyfreindly and .helpful. There was always something to do. They had game shows, trivia, dance classes, yoga. I had a massage at the spa which was very good. I had my 10 year old grandson with me. The cruise was for his birthday. Everybody made a fuss of him for his birthday. He loved it. I ate at Angelos really lovely service and food, the waterfront which was also good. We also ate at the pantry which has a huge choice of different nationally foods. The live shows were really great. The kids club was great. There was heaps of different places to just chill out. Great music. The only negative thing that I would say was the length of time it took to get to Airlie beach on the tender. over 50 minutes, I’m now planning my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
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