Top 10 issues with the Pacific Aria:
1. The cabins flood. All types of cabin, on multiple levels, including suites and especially the penthouse. This is because the external drainage system doesn’t work and the seals around the ... Read More
Top 10 issues with the Pacific Aria:
1. The cabins flood. All types of cabin, on multiple levels, including suites and especially the penthouse. This is because the external drainage system doesn’t work and the seals around the external doors and windows have eroded and haven’t been refurbished. As soon as any water gets onto the external decks, it ends up in the cabins, goes out into the corridors, runs down the internal stairs, and also leaks down into lower cabins. When the carpets begin to dry out, the smell is unbearable. The build-up of undrained water on the decks also causes the ship to list alarmingly. Don’t leave anything on the floor of your cabin, and pay close attention during the evacuation drill (although the lifeboat used to take us to Hamilton Island also leaked significantly, so perhaps it won’t even matter).
2. The Elemis spa hard sell. The staff at the Elemis spa use all kinds of shady tricks and intimidation to attempt to extort money from passengers. The relaxing effect of a couples massage is somewhat undone when you’re shut into the room afterwards, whilst the masseuses split you up and simultaneously try to pressurise and berate you into taking additional costly products and treatments. Another tactic - telling customers who’ve booked in for a treatment that they have in fact actually booked in for a much more expensive treatment. Continuously trying to pressure customers who are in the middle of one treatment, into taking an additional treatment at the same time, despite the customer repeatedly declining this. It would be nice if the Office of Fair Trading would take some action against Elemis and P & O for this outrageous behaviour. Stay out of Elemis at all costs.
3. The food is low grade pig swill. In fact, it’s so bad, that I’m suspicious about the authenticity of any review which says that the food is “tasty”. Scrambled eggs are made from powder. Disgusting. Sausages are made from some kind of artificial substitute. Disgusting. The black pudding is the most repellent piece of food I’ve eaten in my entire life. It is so unbelievably bad, that I actually recommend you try it once. In the restaurants, the meat (notably the beef) is predominantly fat, and is flavoured with salt, salt and salt. Copious and sickly amounts of butter are also used as the other source of flavour. Everything is a simulation of a piece of proper food. If you order a croissant, you’ll get bread shaped like a croissant. The Pantry is poor. Avoid Angelo’s like the plague. The Dragon Lady is surprisingly passable (if you can get a table). Waterfront was also passable (but then we were comparing it with Angelo’s).
4. There is an incredible amount of ship movement, even in calm seas. I excitedly shot out of bed one morning and over to the window, to view the huge storm I presumed was taking place. Nothing. Calm seas. A touch of breeze perhaps. This lead to full days of many people being sick. One day the pool was closed (and half the water lost) because there was so much movement. One can only imagine what will happen when the boat encounters any kind of seriously rough sea. Stock up on hard-core anti-sickness tablets.
5. The communal areas are shoddy. The ceilings leak when it rains. The ceilings leak when it’s dry (I’m guessing it’s the air conditioning system). Water cascades in from the decks. Buckets everywhere. Areas taped off. Waterfalls cascade down through the lifts, which are out of service most of the time. Inside the lifts, the handrails are broken, and the name ‘Pacific Aria’ is on pieces of cardboard taped over the ship’s previous title. Contact P & O for an early cancellation and a full refund if you have mobility issues, as you won’t be able to move between decks.
6. The staff. Some are very rude (one woman refused to look at me whilst speaking). Some tell outright lies to your face (“this is the first time the cabins have ever flooded”, “we had 2 metres of rain”). The captain woke everyone on the ship at 5am with an in-room announcement about the laundry having to be checked for a fire. He made a second in-room announcement about there being no fire (5.05 am?). He made a final announcement explaining (unconvincingly) why he required to keep making these in-room announcements (5.10am). Coincidentally, the staff drill used a few days later was an identical scenario regarding a fire in the laundry. Annoyingly, all other announcements made on the ship (i.e. the ones you need to hear) aren’t made in-room. Treat everything you’re told by staff with due scepticism.
7. General state of the cabins. They badly need to be refurbished. We were in a suite and bits of peeling wallpaper had been taped back on. The sockets hadn’t been converted to Australian sockets. In the dressing area, you could only use American or European plugs. In our bathroom, there were screws missing from the door handle, there was rusty water running from some of the fittings, and every hook on the shower curtain was completely rusted. I’m also convinced that our towels weren’t changed – just refolded once dry. Bring a plug converter if you plan to use a hairdryer or straighteners.
8. The air conditioning has a mind of its own. From freezing in the morning, building gradually throughout the day to a balmy 28 degrees. It seems to be impossible to override this.
9. The Oasis (the adults only pool deck) is near useless, as there is virtually no shade. Skin cancer all round, thanks.
10. Couldn’t get an advance reservation at Salt, even though we supposedly had priority. I actually didn’t believe the maître-d’ when he told me it was fully booked for the next evening (given that, unless you were in a suite, you weren’t able to make a reservation until 8am the next morning). But by that point in the cruise, I actually didn’t care any more.
Top 5 goods points:
1. The gym is very nicely kitted out, with plenty of benches, free weights and cables, and good opening hours. Also very quiet, as most people ignored it in favour of weird free seminars on weight loss and fat burning. Go figure.
2. P&O ultimately dealt with the immediate flooding issues by replacing smelly carpets in suites and agreeing compensation whilst still on board (which was impressive during the Christmas period).
3. There was a great little band which played the Blue Room (although this was somewhat ruined on the last night when members of the on-board shows interjected themselves into some of the songs).
4. I liked the fact that you could get breakfast delivered to your suite as late as 9.30am (once we’d worked out what was worth ordering). I recommend the banana bread and asking for eggs to be poached.
5. Bed was very comfortable. Read Less