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430 P&O Australia Family Cruise Reviews

We went on this cruise as a large family group, 13 people across 4 cabins, as the dates and length of cruise suited everyone. I have been on the P&O Eden once and the Carnival Legend (twice) before. Highlights of the Aria - kids ... Read More
We went on this cruise as a large family group, 13 people across 4 cabins, as the dates and length of cruise suited everyone. I have been on the P&O Eden once and the Carnival Legend (twice) before. Highlights of the Aria - kids club, both turtle cove and shark shack, the staff were terrific and the events they held across the ship were great fun. The Edge, lasertag and zip line, we had a great team member - Kimberly, she was very knowledgeable and was on the ball. Entertainment - we watched a great band do Elton John and Billy Joel covers. They were terrific. Not so great about the Aria - Food. The Pantry was the best of the bunch but saying that it was only just slightly better than a shopping centre food court. We definitely noticed a decrease in quality from our previous P&O trip (2018). The deserts were so bland and dry, and no fresh cream or ice cream on offer. Mains were hit and miss, sauces were all watered down. There was a ‘custard’ that came with a desert - it was positively fluro yellow. Very strange. Carnival definitely win in the food stakes. We went to Waterfront once, it’s a beautiful looking space but again the food isn’t anything special and the staff didn’t really seem to know what they were doing. A request for a plastic cup, at a 1/3 full lunch sitting, took several requests and along time to appear. Angelo’s, we went once as well - the food again wasn’t great. An osso buco was inedible. Pumpkin pasta was dry and stodgy. There was a lovely waiter there who made the meal more enjoyable. We realize that cooking for such a large number of people is challenging but it can be done so much better than P&O is managing at the moment. Staff - there were some stand out staff who were knowledgeable and welcoming but overall we found the staff attitude was pretty poor, alot of them definitely looked as though they didn’t want to be there. I realize it’s a hard job and they are away from their families but it really stood out compared to other cruises we’ve been on. The P&O messaging app is rubbish. Hardly worked for any of us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise because we were looking for a getaway from the kids for a week, and to see Tasmania. We stayed in Melbourne for 2 days prior to leaving. The weather was nice until it was time for us to sail. It became rough with ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were looking for a getaway from the kids for a week, and to see Tasmania. We stayed in Melbourne for 2 days prior to leaving. The weather was nice until it was time for us to sail. It became rough with gale force winds. We left port over 12 hours late. Then the first day at sea was very rough. Almost half the ship out with sea sickness. Embarking was easy, as was disembarkation at each port. Very smooth, we ran into no issues. The staff were amazing, they could not help you enough. Entertainment was good. Lots of good bands, quality shows. A lot of activities geared toward very social people or an older generation or families. Not a lot for couples. The food in the pantry was a little MEH for our tastes. A lot of the food was a hit or miss. We either loved it...or hated it. However the decor in the public areas was nice. You can tell they have put a lot of effort into it. As were all of the restaurants. The coffee in the machine in the pantry was the worst. Just absolutely disgusting. The bought coffee was better. Coffee in the waterfront restaurant was at least coffee. We also bought the edge passes, gold. And it was a waste of money. Young children and teens would have got more use out of them. We would have spent less if we paid for each individual activity we did. A lot of the activities geared towards adults were on days that it was rough (so they were cancelled) or when we were in port exploring our destinations. We got to do 3 activities (my partner did 4). The abseiling was okay...would have been nice if it was from higher up or if it was more challenging. The most fun was the flying fox. And the least fun was the VR, very basic and could be done in your living room. The archery was a good solid activity. However, these activities were placed all over the ship with absolutely no privacy; most were in the main public area. It would have been better if they had a dedicated space, room, for their needs. The staff on these activities were great. Knowledgeable and fun. Well suited for their job. The Spa was great. Mahummod was fantastic at cutting hair and did a wonderful job. Overall, we had an average, just okay, time. Maybe we had built the trip up in our heads a little (first holiday in 8 years) and we were a little disappointed when it didn't live up the expectations we had. Everything that seemed to want to go wrong did. Flight delays, uncomfortable beds, food that wasn't great, rough weather which lead to cancelled onboard activities and a late port arrival which also lead to us having to cancel a shore tour due to it leaving a lot later than we wanted and having other plans on shore, and a shore tour that went longer than we expected and then didn't feed us lunch (arriving back at the ship after even The Pantry had closed). The last day was the worst. Waking up all the passengers with loud music through the halls at 6am is NOT OKAY. Essentially a big get the hell off our ship, leaving everyone with a bad taste in their mouth. We heard other passengers grumbling as well. We arrived home tired and a little wrung out. Just happy to be in our own beds. For the money we spent over 7 days (5 on the ship) I feel a little cheated. A little disappointed. IF we ever went on another cruise...I don't think it would be with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My daughter had been on Carnival and Princess Cruises. She wanted us all to go on one together. A lovely ship with the majority of staff that were just so friendly. Room decor a bit dated and the windows had obviously seen many days at sea ... Read More
My daughter had been on Carnival and Princess Cruises. She wanted us all to go on one together. A lovely ship with the majority of staff that were just so friendly. Room decor a bit dated and the windows had obviously seen many days at sea so they looked dirty although they weren't. Very spacious, a/c worked great. It was the last voyage from Brisbane as it will remain in Melbourne for a bit of time. We mostly had to dine at "The Pantry" or " The waterfront". The Asian and Italian Restaurants were booked out for the entire cruise on the first day obviously by Cruisers who knew the ropes. A more fair system would be to be given a voucher with your cruise ticket to all of the restaurants. A lot of the meals in the pantry that had meat (Asian, Indian meals) were very tough and not very flavorsome and often not hot at all. The desserts looked good but very underwhelming to eat. A lot of variety so you can find something you'll like. Majority of staff are very hard working and very pleasant. A handful of staff that serve up the food weren't impolite but very disinterested in being there. So many were serving tiny portions so I'd often hear younger guys asking for bigger serves. Great entertainment all around the ship. There is a lot of things you pay for on P&O that is included on other cruises. I heard many people continually mentioning this. Many people were also questioning their accounts. I think by 9.30 the only food available is a place that sells pizza's, pies, hamburgers. I cant emphasize enough of how friendly and hard working the staff are. We stopped at Eden, it was so beautiful to arrive at. We visited the little marked on the pier. Brought some lovely organic chilli relishes. You must check that out. My daughter and husband enjoyed the onboard parties. The view and comfortable chairs up at the Dome is not to be missed. So many lovely sitting areas. A seperate pool just for adults as well as the one kids can go in. If i could be guaranteed a spot in one of the 2 restaurants we had no hope of getting into, then I'd consider going again. The crowd on board were the friendliest, happiest people I've come across in a long time. The atmosphere was amazing. Young, old and inbetween everyone was so beautiful. Elma up at " The Waterfront Restaurant" was a real sweetheart. Elfy at " The Pantry" was always smiling and her happiness is infectious. Make sure you get hold of the daily itinary so you know what's on. We didn't get 2 days so we missed out on a lot. I didn't realise i needed it until people mentioned it. I assume someone took it from outside our door. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We read all the negative reviews expecting this cruise to be substandard. This cruise was perfect, staff great. I have no idea what people complain about and wonder if there is an expectation beyond what people pay for. Service great, food ... Read More
We read all the negative reviews expecting this cruise to be substandard. This cruise was perfect, staff great. I have no idea what people complain about and wonder if there is an expectation beyond what people pay for. Service great, food in buffet and free restaurants average, but you get what you pay for. If people expect high quality food while travelling 7 days to 2 countries with five star service while not paying for it, then complain away. Cruise was awesome. Please people see for yourselves and don’t believe the negative comments as gospel. A tip, a drink package at 100.00 Australian a day gives you 15 drinks a day. I could not use it and think next time will pay for the drinks as I go along. I feel people complain over minutiae. Great cruise and would book with them again. Please book salt restaurant, you pay for it and it’s the best food on board. I go back to saying, you get what you pay for otherwise don’t complain. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Our family of 4 had a 5 nights cruise to Tasmania. Both the embarkation and disembarkation were quite smooth. The public area of the ship is nice, but the cabin shows its age. We had a inside cabin. This was the first time for me to be in ... Read More
Our family of 4 had a 5 nights cruise to Tasmania. Both the embarkation and disembarkation were quite smooth. The public area of the ship is nice, but the cabin shows its age. We had a inside cabin. This was the first time for me to be in an inside cabin, so can't compare with other ships, but to me it is really small and there was no room to store our suitcases. I enjoyed the food at Angelo, other restarunts are okay, not fantastic. Especially the food at the Waterfront was disappointing. Our last dinner on the cruise I ordered a salmon dish. It was dry, overcooked and tasted like cardboard. The Pantry had a good variety of food, but not good quality. My kids really enjoyed the food there though. Entertainment and activities on the ship was good. My teenage daughter really enjoyed the shows at night and my 9 year old son enjoyed the waterslide and the pool. My husband and i went to the Love Riot show. We paid for a VIP ticket which included a 5 course dinner at the Waterfront before the show. We booked because we heard it was good, however I was disappointed. The 5 course dinner looked and sounded fancy, but the flavour was disappointing. The show iself was okay, but not worth the money. It's not any better than the free show you can get on the ship. The cruise director was very good. Other staff are a mix. Our cabin steward was very lovely. The lady who served us in the Dragon Lady was very nice, but some other the staff in the restaurants looked like they didn't want to be there. We curtainly didn't feel as welcome as we did on other cruises in some of the restaurants. We enjoyed the our shore excursion at Port Arthur and the tenering process was good, but it was possible because we booked the excursion with the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My husband and I absolutely loved this ship. There were lots of entertainment and there was always something to do. If you are not into their activities, then you can spend your time eating at their amazing restaurants. The Pantry has ... Read More
My husband and I absolutely loved this ship. There were lots of entertainment and there was always something to do. If you are not into their activities, then you can spend your time eating at their amazing restaurants. The Pantry has plenty of options but the food in D Angelos and Dragon Lady and Waterfront are superb. 400 Gradi has awesome pizza and meats and cheeses but you need to pay. However, the quality of their food is as best as the top restaurants in the Sydney CBD yet at half the price. D Angelos and Dragon Lady were included in the fare but were just as good too as any 5 star rated restaurant. The staff were all lovely and we throughly enjoyed their classes. All of their staff were helpful and knowledgeable and always looked happy to see you. Drinks are also reasonably priced. We didn't get to swim in the pools though and do the waterslides but they looked enjoyable as there were quite a lot of people. But it is alright as we got to swim a lot during the shore tour. Our cabin was very functional. Although it was a bit small compared to a hotel room it was in no way less in quality. Their airconditioning worked well and they had plenty of space and drawers to put all your stuff in. Their shower area even had more racks than most hotels we have stayed in which was amazing. Our room steward was very caring and was always happy to help and kept our room clean. We enjoyed the cruise so much we booked another. Would highly recommend P&O Explorer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Me and the wife chose this cruise because the ship sailed from brisbane and we took our kids with us so it worked for us to sail on aria. As my review title stated good that p and o are getting rid of this ship in the next year or so its ... Read More
Me and the wife chose this cruise because the ship sailed from brisbane and we took our kids with us so it worked for us to sail on aria. As my review title stated good that p and o are getting rid of this ship in the next year or so its old and in need off a massive makeover rust everywhere on the ship the entire cruise maintenance was getting done cutting rust off the ship and repainting which left a toxic smell in our cabin for most of the cruise. There is not alot to do on the ship so if your someone that likes to always be doing something you will get bored very quickly. To the positives crew was very polite and helpful our room stewart's yuyus and budi were great and to len and freddie in the restaurant areas where fantastic great with my to little children always happy to see us. Food on board was better than i thought it was going to be the restaurants which were complementary were really good. Boarding and disembarking the ship was brilliant very will organised and a easy process. I would not book another cruise on this ship though but i would book another cruise with p and o this was our first cruise with p and o. i hope this review is helpful to someone Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We have sailed 2X with Pacific Aria and now did our second trip with the Dawn due to the kids section as we took our son and his family with us which made it their 1st cruise and our 4th cruise. Needless to say the kids play area was too ... Read More
We have sailed 2X with Pacific Aria and now did our second trip with the Dawn due to the kids section as we took our son and his family with us which made it their 1st cruise and our 4th cruise. Needless to say the kids play area was too cold for the kids so there were hardly any kids in there, the main pool was very dangerous as it just went down so he couldn't swim in there as hot tubs just too hot but you could have up to 12 kids in it at anytime.There was hardly any entertainment for the little kids. They only had 2 waiters on top so you had dirty plates and glasses sitting there for hours, no waiters to come and take your drink orders unlike the 1st time. The Aria was on top of their game on that one at all time. Plus the Aria has 3 free restaurants as to only 1 on the Dawn. The Aria Pantry also had more selection as oppose to the Dawn pantry. The waterfront restaurant, I will give our waiter Khaled for table 4 10 out of 10 as not only was he entertaining with my grandson, but alway very polite and helpful. The whole ship could have done with more of him. The entertainment fell down badly. I would rate 2 out of 10.Not good at all. I bought some inch of gold jewellery and when I got home, found that I was given a dodgy clasp that didn't open or close.Won't make that mistake again. The staff although tried to be happy, you could see they were very tired which was sad to see. Needless to say my son and family will never cruise again and we will never cruise the Dawn again. If I could get my money back I would as I paid for all 5 of us. We like to go every 6 month so it will be the Aria until the new port is open with more ships on offer. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Staff generally trying hard to please but let down by poor planning and ignorance. Do not travel on this vessel if you are vegetarian, vegan or allergic to anything. Examples include chicken in the vegetarian dishes, not by accident. ... Read More
Staff generally trying hard to please but let down by poor planning and ignorance. Do not travel on this vessel if you are vegetarian, vegan or allergic to anything. Examples include chicken in the vegetarian dishes, not by accident. Evidently chicken is a vegetable? One of my party is allergic, two don’t eat meat. One restaurant catered if preordered but everything else was unwilling to modify even a salad roll. Very disappointing. The cabin is worn, needs painting and the fridge acts like a hot box (it does not work). Room service breakfast for my mothers room never showed up and an industrial dishwasher opposite our room blew up leaving our room filled with a pungent, fowl smell. Also, the shower fittings seem to have been retrieved from the titanic. All in all, it’s a cattle class experience at a first class cost. May the fleas of a million camels infest your armpits, or, take a cruise on the Pacific Aria. Suggest it only for those you wish to scorn. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
It was advertised as a Bounty Adventure, to follow the route taken by the mutineers from the Bounty after they put Bligh and some onto a whaling boat. We visited Norfolk Island, two places of Tonga including Nuku'alofa, three for Fij ... Read More
It was advertised as a Bounty Adventure, to follow the route taken by the mutineers from the Bounty after they put Bligh and some onto a whaling boat. We visited Norfolk Island, two places of Tonga including Nuku'alofa, three for Fij but only two were possible due to high winds for Dravuni Island, we were able to visit Port Denarau and Suva before our final stop at Noumea. We had a descendent of the mutineers who lives on Norfolk Island to give us talks about the island and the mutineers, very interesting. We were disappointed by the lack of variety for activities, most were held inside eg trivia and bingo during the day, it would have been good to have more exercise activities such as gentle exercises or aquarobics. Our Tai Chi class which was much enjoyed was discontinued after the teacher had to disembark at Suva ? reason. We had a couple of sessions from a doctor who spoke about healthy living, this would have been good if done at beginning of cruise, so many grossly overweight passengers on board. The Black Circus venue needs a lot of work done, old tired seats, too few seats for so many people wishing to attend the morning trivia and bingo sessions. The whole ship looks tired and will need refurbishment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We went on this 7 night cruise with our two young children (2 &3) it said family friendly and plenty to do etc. Cons- I wouldn't bother taking little kids on this cruise ship there wasnt much for small kids to do they ... Read More
We went on this 7 night cruise with our two young children (2 &3) it said family friendly and plenty to do etc. Cons- I wouldn't bother taking little kids on this cruise ship there wasnt much for small kids to do they couldn't do any of the activities, turtle cove was good but have to leave the kids there and go and some kids don't like to be left with strangers. There was messy play which went for 20mins in the morning and then the water park which was freezing even on a 30 degree day. Took way way to long to get off the boat was lining up for over an hour for Noumea, and 45mins for Lifou was fairly quick at Port Vila but to get off to come home was waiting way to long again really unorganised. They Also broke my brand suit case and were very rough with throwing them on and left them in the rain. Towards to end of the cruise the youth workers started to seem grumpy obviously getting over working 7 days a week but weren't as cheerful. Pros- Food was good and big variety Ports were really nice and loved them Workers at resurant were really lovely and always tried to make the kids laugh All up was a nice trip but would definitely not use the cruise ship with kids as its not very family friendly as they advertise Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We thought we would give a cruise a go for the first time and it was a huge waste of money and it was a stuff up right from the start. We didn't get the room we paid for and the day we got on board was very close to the day we were ... Read More
We thought we would give a cruise a go for the first time and it was a huge waste of money and it was a stuff up right from the start. We didn't get the room we paid for and the day we got on board was very close to the day we were getting off. The room is no bigger than a jail cell and the bathroom you cant hardly move as it was that small.We went with a child and they hated it with a passion.Even though we had a balcony you could not sit outside or have the door open without the really strong smell of cigarette smoke so get a blacony if you want to end up with CANCER. On the pool deck adults could not get into the very small spas as it was built for 2-3 adults comfortably and even then all you could do is breathe the strong smell of cigarettes so again stay on if you want second hand smoke and CANCER.Everything was a money grab including bingo / eateries on board / hardly anything for free. Its all a gimmick to rip you off and the money on your account you had better watch that as they will take money out without your knowledge and then say oh you dont want to donate ?? What a lot of CRAP and the so called on shore tours are so bodgy and overated it has a bloke that uses cheap camera gear that doesn't even work or set up properly i think 5 year old kids could do better that was so badly done and disorganized. The labour they have on the boat are been ripped off in wages and im talking about anyone that is not in a white uniform as like kitchen staff / cleaners etc and we felt so sorry for them as they get paid $28 a day , yes thats right a DAY for a 10.5 hour shift and that is 7 days a week. What a misjustice for these poor people and P&O cruises take advantage of them and treat them as slave labour.These cleaners and kitchen staff are the most freindlest people and hard working i have ever seen especially in the pantry. They will bend over backwards to help you and are always helpful. We gave a lot of them good tips even though you don't need too and a lot of them send most of their wages back home to their own country and what we were told are on the boat for around 7 months at a time working 7 days a week. We were disgusted at the way P&O crusies take advantage of people from other countries and use them as slave labour.These people were the only ones that were polite and courteous as the ones in the white uniform wouldn't give you the time of day.The ONLY reason it made it a bit better was the cleaners / kitchen staff / and manual labour they had working on the decks as they were so much more polite and helpful than the P&O staff that were just there to take your money which ever way you could. We went to make a booking with some of the PAID resturants on board but their attitude sucks but we gave it a go anyway. What a joke as the food was sloppy and dripping with oil and even the meat was hard as a rock. YOU wouldn't even give it to the dog so for a meal for 3 of us cost us $167 and it was just rubbish / Mcdonalds or KFC would have been better and you know what that is like at times. Over rated and poor quality rooms and dont be surprised if you dont get the room you pay for as we talked to another couple who did not get the room they paid for and had to have 2 of the kids sleep in the same bed as the parents as they did not get the room they payed for and P&O staff said nothing they could do on board. So watch out people Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our first cruise, just myself and my partner. It was the Fiji Adventure 12 night cruise, sailing on the Pacific Aria. We stayed on deck 6, in cabin 6023, a sort of oceanview cabin but the view looked out onto the deck which ... Read More
This was our first cruise, just myself and my partner. It was the Fiji Adventure 12 night cruise, sailing on the Pacific Aria. We stayed on deck 6, in cabin 6023, a sort of oceanview cabin but the view looked out onto the deck which people could walk around on. It’s due to make stops at; Port Vila (Vanuatu) Port Denarau (Fiji) Suva (Fiji) Mystery Island (Vanuatu) Isle of Pines (New Caledonia) Everything went as the cruise says, except due to rough sea, our stop at Isle of Pines was cancelled and changed to Noumea so we didn’t lose a stop. We didn’t buy the drinks package, and still only spent $800 on board for the whole trip. Ship: The Pacific Aria, I believe is the smallest ship P&O Australia currently have in their fleet. From the moment I stepped on this ship I liked it a lot. The carpet and decorations were nice, staff greeting people in friendly manner, as expected, and the whole new experience of been on a cruise ship for both of us added to the excitement. Within the first few hours we were familiar with the location of most on board shops, bars, pool areas, casino, marquee for the shows, etc. It was a good layout and easily remembered. Cabin: We stayed in 6023. It’s classed as an obstructed oceanview room on deck 6. It looks out on the the deck which people can walk the whole way around, and is underneath the marquee. You see many people walk past this cabin at all times of day and night through your window. It was a nice cabin, very clean and well kept, size was bigger than I expected. Shower worked well and was in a bathtub. The only negative thing I can say about the cabin was the fact that it was underneath the marquee, and you can hear bangs and music pretty loudly from above during show times, if your not at the shows that is! Dining: We were happy with what the pantry had to offer. All sorts of different food every day, served pretty much throughout the whole day. Plenty of tables so always somewhere to sit even at the busiest times. We managed to get to the Waterfront Restaurant & Angelo’s. Both restaurants need booking and there is no charge for eating at them. I suggest booking tables at these places as soon as you can as we only managed to go to each restaurant once. The Waterfront was average. Not too much on the menu, but something for everyone. Angelo’s, in my opinion, was absolutely fantastic. I had the lasagne and would definitely say it was the best lasagne I have ever had. Entertainment & Activities: Every night you receive a newsletter for the next day, which has what’s going on’s and show times through the whole day. Easy to read and definitely a lot going on. You will never get bored, there is something for everyone. Shows, fitness, sales, and more. Shows in the marquee were 19:30 and 21:30 every night, and we went to quite a few. I believe there was a few on later on certain nights also. There is also a cinema that has a few movies on a day, which we went to a couple of times. There’s plenty of stuff on the tv in your room also. Cruise director Cole is always telling you about what’s going on so you don’t miss out. Service: It was great. Our room attendants were a lady called Joy & a fella who’s name I can’t remember, but they were fantastic. Every day smiling and asking how we are, and they did an amazing job with our cabin. Service throughout the whole ship was great, in the restaurants and bars, reception & activities. The captain every day explains your position in the ‘mighty’ ocean, and talks about the weather & times your expected to dock at wherever your going. Not sure of his name, but he was Italian and regularly walks around the ship. It was also his idea to cancel our stop at Isle of Pines due to rough sea, and make a stop at Noumea instead, so we don’t lose a tour day. We wouldn’t of been able to get onto the tender’s at isle of pines. Ports & Shore Excursions: The only difference Port Vila; This was our first stop. It was a really nice place. We did the turtle sanctuary shore tour, which took us on a 45 min bus ride to a small beach, then about a 45 minute boat trip across to another island. We saw some dolphins on the way. We then stopped for an hours swim & snorkel, the water was really clear and lots to see. The gear provided wasn’t in great condition but was still usable. After the swim we had lunch cooked by some locals which was a really nice bbq. Then we made our way to where the turtle sanctuary was. There was lots of baby turtles separated into different tanks for different ages, and then eventually released when they become less easy to be preyed on. I think we would of got back to the ship around 15:30/16:00 so was not much time to go anywhere far due to the ship leaving around 17:30 so the tour is pretty much a full day. Port Denarau; We did the Oolala Island tour, so didn’t spend much time in Port Denarau at all. Upon arriving we got on a locals tender but it was big, so heaps of people transferred quickly. Then we took a boat from Port Denarau to Oolala Island, which took a little over an hour. Oolala Island was my favourite place we went, it is visually stunning and the sea is so warm and clear, snorkelling here was truely unbelievable. The staff on the tour were friendly and the is lots to drink, and snacks, and there is multiple things to do on the island. You can borrow snorkelling gear and do your own thing, or go with a guide, or you can go on a glass bottom boat. They cooked a bbq lunch which was nice and offered free beer during lunch. Suva; We did a city tour, which a tour bus took us on a drive around Suva, some local towns and made a stop at the museum. Plenty of interesting things to see at the museum. The bus got back to Suva around 12:00/13:00 so still plenty of time to explore the city. We got some hassle from locals, trying to get us to buy from certain shops, but I suggest just try stay with your group and don’t stop and talk to anybody that seems overly friendly. Mystery Island; We only did a small snorkelling and clear kayak tour here. It wasn’t great, the gear was in poor condition and the snorkelling guide didn’t say much or seem interested as been a guide at all. The kayaks were in very poor condition and a bit of rough sea made the floats on the side break off. We didn’t eat on the island so can’t comment on the food. Cancelled Isle of Pines stop and changed to Noumea; Noumea was my second favourite stop, and I’m glad we ended up coming here. Lots of French culture, markets, and easy to get around with the red & blue busses that circle the city every day. We did our own thing here, and only bad thing I can say is it’s pretty damn expensive. Shops close from 12:00 - 14:00 or something too so be prepared for that. There’s a nice beach nearby with amazing sea colours, and a restaurant area with lots of choice. Also an aquarium but we didn’t make it there. Tours Overall; We did a decent few tours, booked through p&o and spent about $1000 for them for the two of us, but I’d suggest to people not to book tours through p&o because we found that it was half price for some of the same tours once your on shore. Cruise overall; We both had a fantastic holiday on our first cruise and enjoyed every stop in a different way. We had fun on all the sea days and enjoyed all the shows. We didn’t buy the drinks package, and still only spent $800 on board. We would definitely return on this same cruise, on the same ship, with the exact same crew anytime, and P&O have done a great job with everything. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise as it was the only one that suited a family holiday in School holiday times. 5 of the 7 guests have cruised extensively before, 2 were new to cruising. They will not cruise again after this experience. The rooms ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was the only one that suited a family holiday in School holiday times. 5 of the 7 guests have cruised extensively before, 2 were new to cruising. They will not cruise again after this experience. The rooms were terrible. Torn carpets, everything is falling apart. The rooms are dirty (could clearly see spilled drinks and food just left on the walls) mould throughout bathrooms and around windows on oceanview rooms. The sheets are just nasty, stained from years of use. You did not feel like lazing around in your room that is for sure. One of the rooms was so bad it took several days of complaining but eventually the bathroom was regrouted and siliconed. It shouldn't take days to get an issue sorted. And for all these inconveniences a bottle of wine was offered and dinner at salt. No room change or refund, disgusting customer service. The rooms smelled, they are in need of a thorough deep clean. Add to all this that for most of the cruise the a/c around the boat seemed to not work very well especially in the rooms. Some people we spoke to could not get there rooms below 25 degrees. On the last few nights it did start to work better but black dust and dirt was coming out the vents. Back to the smells, the boat is just old. All the bathrooms in the main areas always seemed to be overflowing constantly, not just 1 but everywhere you went. You spent a lot of time holding your breathe as you walked past certain parts. As for activities, there is not a lot to do on p&o ships. It was our second time on board one of there ships and I don't think i would ever cruise with them again. There are plenty of other options and good deals out there. If your just looking to buy a drinks package and get hammered drunk all day, then maybe this is for you but everything about p&o compared to other lines is budget. Everything is an extra. I've been on budget ships before and you get what you pay for, but for the price of these cruises for a few hundred extra i would definately go on something else. Pacific aria should be retired well and truely. P&O should be ashamed to be charging guests for such a horrid experience. I also feel extremely sorry for all the staff stuck on board, they seem severely over worked. They all look tired, and fed up, cant blame them. 2 guys cleaning 36 rooms, no wonder they are filthy. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We'd previously done the Pacific Islands Cruise on Pacific Dawn with P&O and wanted a cruise departure from Brisbane. Papua New Guinea wasn't even on our radar but the dates aligned and we thought 'why not'? We ... Read More
We'd previously done the Pacific Islands Cruise on Pacific Dawn with P&O and wanted a cruise departure from Brisbane. Papua New Guinea wasn't even on our radar but the dates aligned and we thought 'why not'? We booked our first balcony cabin and we wont go back to ocean view again. With school holiday pricing it was not a budget cruise like our first one but it was nice to treat ourselves. It's so nice to have extra space in the room as well as the deck which had 2 chairs, sunlounge and small coffee table. Our room (9070) had a great queen sized bed while our daughter slept on the converted sofa. She loved having her own space. There's loads of hanging and drawer storage too, though large suitcases wont fit in cupboards (tip..they will fit under the bed if left opened which is great for shoe storage) Our room had a bar fridge (other rooms don't). We were able to take our own soft drinks which was great given we didn't opt for a drinks package this time and saved a heap of money. The bathroom was fitted with spa bath which we loved. The toilet looked new and the shower pressure and temperature control were great. Our room stewards were brilliant as always and it was great coming back after lunch to an immaculately presented room. Aria is an excellent ship. Just the right size with good facilities and heaps of restaurants and bars to choose from. The decor is great and beautifully fitted out. The lounge are in the Atrium on level 6 is great for playing games or reading. There's always organised games here too and some cool prizes to win. We always found room by the pool on the sun lounges. The pool and 2 spas were crowded with kids but being school holidays that's understandable. The sliding roof is brilliant and the lounge areas to the side of the pool are very popular. We didn't get to go to the adults only area as our daughter decided HQ was not for her. (one day!!) The gym is amazing with great panoramic views. My wife is quite the gym junkie and she found everything she needed. She also indulged in a massage at the spa which we paid more than we should (the same massage was offered on the last day for much cheaper) Our daughter also got a great hair cut which she is busily instagramming everyone about. Food was generally good. The Pantry is a great concept and the food is better than the old buffet style with lots of variety. Some hit and misses but great breakfasts! Angelos Italian was very disappointing. Flavourless and bland. Dragon Lady was above average. Salt grill was sublime. The Waterfront is a beautiful restaurant but the service has gone down hill. I don't know if P&O are pushing for more business like service from their waiters but many have little personality and aren't friendly. Very robotic. There were of course some exceptions. The menu feels very limited and my daughter struggled to find anything on the main menu. Entertainment was good. Its very cabaret in style which is not to our liking but the movie theatre was great and the TV in the room had some good shows and movies. There's also a massive DVD library. We picked 2 but they were never delivered. Ports of call for PNG are hit and miss. Alatou was not very pleasant and not much to see if you don't do a planned tour. Kitava was missed due to weather. Kiriwina was good. Very cultural with heaps of markets and great beaches to swim in. The locals are very friendly and we enjoyed our outrigger canoe ride across the reef. The highlight though is Conflict Islands. Its paradise in one easy to navigate small island. Sublime beaches and snorkelling. Tip- take your own snorkel gear and make your own way to eastern tip of the island. Save yourself $100 in excursions which happen off the same beach. It's a beautiful walk along the beach or through the middle of the island. Weirdly this island doesn't use money, rather a voucher system. You have to buy the vouchers from a kiosk (long lines) and then use the vouchers at the bar, gift shop, water activities kiosk or restaurant. Food is pretty good and the bar is well stocked with local and international beers. There were no issues with gastro on board that we knew of. Disembarkation took us about 15 minutes, we were home in 45. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We went in to this cruise expecting to be impressed. Everyone I know who has been on a cruise has loved it, raved about it, told me "you'll LOVE it - once you cruise you never go back!" And many people are repeat cruisers, ... Read More
We went in to this cruise expecting to be impressed. Everyone I know who has been on a cruise has loved it, raved about it, told me "you'll LOVE it - once you cruise you never go back!" And many people are repeat cruisers, so I was expecting it to be pretty enjoyable. Well....it was OK. I mean, it was better than being at work. However it was pretty massively disappointing as well. The ship itself was pretty dated. Our cabin (4007) wasn't awful, it was spacious enough, but the bathtub was grotty and full of mold, the fixtures all seemed a bit cheap and like they had lived a hard life. The bed was reasonably comfortable. The food was a massive disappointment. The Pantry was just gross - the food was cold and inedible 90% for the time, and it was like feeding time at the zoo - just a herd of bodies trying to ram as much food in to themselves as possible. We preferred the Waterfront, which had table service and was a generally nicer atmosphere, but the food here was extremely disappointing as well, generally tasteless and often cold, with very few options. My kids hated the children's choices as well, with the gruel-like "kid's favourite soup" and other strange choices. Kids like chicken nuggets and chips, standard sandwiches, pizza....these shoudl be standard, consistent options. We tried Angelo's one night and were hugely disappointed here as well. The chef seems to think Heinz tomato sauce is a pasta sauce, as it seemed to feature heavily in the pasta bolognese and lasagna. We cancelled our second booking. We tried Dragon Lady once. The grilled trout available one night was amazing. Everything else was again, cold, weird and barely edible. It was like they were trying too hard to make the meals interesting and exotic, but they missed the mark wildly, and we would have been far happier with standard Asian fare actually done well. Service was OK in all restaurants. Not great. Not terrible. A bit slow, but not like we had anywhere to go. The best food we had were the pizza's at The Grill that had to be purchased. They were pretty cheap, but felt like a bit of a rip off given it was meant to be all inclusive. The ports were were interesting, although we were MASSIVELY disappointed that the volcano tour in Rabaul didn't actually go up (or anywhere near) the volcano. We stayed on shore as long as possible at each port to feel like we were actually traveling. The evening entertainment, bars etc weren't bad, but got old quickly. As my husband said "it's like being on a floating Wests club". The pool was pretty tiny, but ok. The Dolphin statues seemed like a pointless decoration given they were draped in signs saying "Do not enter this area". The cocktails were pretty tasty by and large. My kids loved the kids club, and here I would give them 5 stars - the kid's staff were amazing, and they had a ball making new friends and going to all the kids' events. All in all - pretty sure we aren't "cruise" people after this, and I tend to think that the people who are (if this was all standard) have very low expectations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were offered this cruise at a great price we like the P & O dining arrangements and love the entertainment. The prices of duty free also equaled the best at port which was a real bonus, that left more time for leisure when in ... Read More
We were offered this cruise at a great price we like the P & O dining arrangements and love the entertainment. The prices of duty free also equaled the best at port which was a real bonus, that left more time for leisure when in port. The service in the dining rooms was excellent as was our room service. The Pacific Explorer has a bowling green on deck 11 and we had a great time there with fellow passengers and the host was great. the tendering arrangements were much better than we have experienced before with more tenders operating which made it so much quicker. We didn’t need to get tickets as it was so efficient. The balcony cabin was the standard Princess balcony as the ship was the Dawn Princess previously. We found it nice and clean and the stewards kept it tidy for us. Service at the bars was good but we noticed that they didn’t remember our drinks next day as they did on the Pacific Eden which is a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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
We chose this cruise because we wanted somewhere different to the Pacific Islands and it suited our timeline. We flew to Singapore and had a few days there before embarking on the Dawn which was an easy process except for the “Taking” ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted somewhere different to the Pacific Islands and it suited our timeline. We flew to Singapore and had a few days there before embarking on the Dawn which was an easy process except for the “Taking” of our passports, with no receipt of SUCH. Wasn’t impressed by this. Our cabin was OK. Plenty of room for 2 people. I think it went downhill from there. Went to the Pantry to have a look, well if you call it a look. We could not see out of the very dirty windows. Can’t take decent photos through windows as they are all almost opaque, we were told it is because the ship is old and it’s on the inside of the double windows and can’t be cleaned. Just terrible. The whole ship is like this. Have to go on deck to see clearly, and not on the smoking deck or you almost suffocate in the smoke. Air conditioning, or lack of it in our room from day 1. Was eventually fixed albiet, could not adjust it at all, till the second last day when it died again and then we were offered a fan as a replacement!!!!! A couple of days in and our sink plug would not unplug. Their solution to this was to pull it right out and sit it on the side of sink which left a gaping hole, we could not fill and heaven help if anything fell down the hole. Then our toilet would not flush, first thing in the morning, both busting to go. It really was a nightmare with the plumbing. The rest of ship had many, many problems with toilets not working in public area and cabins, air conditioning only worked overtime in the Marqui area where it was freezing cold every day for activities and entertainment. No wonder everyone was coughing by the end. Apparently this virus has been on this ship for years as per other reviews. Now for the food, was fabulous the first night in the Waterfront restaurant, but it went downhill from there. Very strange combination of described flavours. Mostly you could not taste any of these. Fresh basil was described on one, well one miniscule flake of green was probably basil? Meat is also inedible. Veal saltimboka was full of gristle and unchewable. Orange, marzipan bread & butter pudding had no orange at all and not sure on the marzipan, I couldn’t tell. And, their signature “crispy cream puff” with passion fruit. What a joke. Dense, doughnut like ball with no passion fruit in sight, just maybe a touch of orange colour with no flavour is on the menu every night. YUK!!! The Pantry has a wide selection of different cultures of food but usually it is cold. All the food is out by 5 o’clock to feed the under 15 kids, but is there for the rest of us. It sits for hours if not popular. I had Indian food on the last night and when I tried it the rice was dead cold, the curried veggies were tepid and the curry almost cold. Could not eat it. So much waste. The bacon at breakfast is almost unchewable, the toast is cold and you have to go two or three stations down to get rock hard butter for your toast. Ridiculous!!!!! Now to the swimming pool. Postage size pool. Over 6 foot deep with vertical ladders at the sides. People could not stand in it, kids who could not swim could not use it. Very, very difficult to get out of it. There is a kids water play area next to it that used to be a pool. I think I only saw kids playing in it about 3 times. What a waste, could have been a shallow pool for the kids. Activities, they had lots of trivia but was so hard to get a seat or join in as there just isn’t enough seating areas except for the Marquis which they only used for bingo and night entertainment. Only had 1 movie in the Marquis area and it was packed. Should have used this area more but it was always freezing in there. Shore excursions are very expensive, but did one in Bali and the Komodo tour. Very well organised and enjoyed them both. Only got off ship yesterday morning so this is very fresh, had to be out of cabin by 6-30, what is with that?? Needless to say I will never ever do a P&O cruise again if this is there standard of service. Oh, almost forgot, on the morning of disembarkation we had our onboard account in our box outside door. There was a $30 onboard credit stated on there. I queried this and it was for compensation for aircon, toilet issues. I asked for it in cash, but no they said I could spend it onboard. On what, nothing is open when in dock. Laughable!!!!!!!! NEVER AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date August 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
Chose this cruise because it was going to Singapore , what a mistake , smell of sewerage everywhere , our toilet kept blocking up .Over crowded ,swimming pool was more like a bath tub .Had to wait hours to get on and off ship by tender ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was going to Singapore , what a mistake , smell of sewerage everywhere , our toilet kept blocking up .Over crowded ,swimming pool was more like a bath tub .Had to wait hours to get on and off ship by tender .Staff as usual were excellent hpwever management treated everyone lime cattle .Never again ,got charge for visa to Timor , only out about the day before we arrived there , then price went up 33 1/3 % overnight . Lined up everywhere for food , half the time couldn't get a seat when dining or for shows . Found most ot the staff who were higher up in rank rude and arogant . The ship itself is old , there is rust everywhere and bits were actually falling off .A lot of the facilities were out of order and were never fixed the whole time we were on the cruise . Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our 1st ever cruise was some 10/12 years ago on P&O Pacific Star. Well, haven't things changed (for the better). We were very happy with the offering from P&O and in particular the crew on board the ship. They were a credit to ... Read More
Our 1st ever cruise was some 10/12 years ago on P&O Pacific Star. Well, haven't things changed (for the better). We were very happy with the offering from P&O and in particular the crew on board the ship. They were a credit to the Company and although the ship is an older vessel (certainly showing external signs of age) the vibe on board was friendly and efficient and the crew appeared (primarily) to enjoy their job. Admittedly we did have lower expectations having travelled with the more highly rated Celebrity and Princess Lines, however we were overall quite impressed with the majority of aspects onboard. A special mention to the bands. . . both Popcorn and The Lazy Leis were fantastic and the jam session on the last evening involving all performers was truly memorable . . . very talented. On board crew shows were excellent, a couple of guest performers are past their use by date and appeared to be simply topping up their super. Production shows were considered to be a significantly higher standard - crew shows were particularly entertaining viz LipSync Battle. Having Petro Civoniceva on board was a nice touch as well. . .thanks to him for his valuable time and open participation. A couple of constructive comments . . . the Tendering situation needs work - whoever made the decision to honour the tickets from the aborted tender operation in Port Douglas in preference to distributed tickets for Dili needs to consider their future. . . a real howler. Actual Shore time was significantly reduced in both Dili and Bali due to sea swell and the large number of Ships Tours and "Priority" passengers. Made our own arrangements re a tour in Timor Leste and also Bali - understand cruise coys favour their own shore excursions though we prefer the small group experience v's a coach load. Anytime dining in the Waterfront took a few days to sort out - many passengers had made permanent bookings which meant there was initially up to an hours wait for anytime dining - this resolved itself after 4 nights when some perm bookings were a no show and therefore cancelled. Could easily do with an additional lunch menu in the Waterfront restaurant for variety . . .only 2 menus for the 14 days. . . though there was the variety in The Pantry. Drink prices are excessive though consistent across all lines - what did happen to duty free prices??. . .would like to see a similar policy to that of Princess. . ie allowed to bring a bottle of wine pp onboard. There was sufficient entertainment with usual trivia etc however big screen movies were heavily weighted in favour of children's themes and animations - this despite the small number of children on board. Special mention to the Captain for his accessibility and daily broadcasts - very approachable and informative (luvs his "Minions") . Upon arrival in Singapore, we skipped the long taxi lines and got the MRT direct to the Airport for flight back to BNE. Very efficient disembarkation, despite the fact the ship was advertised as docking at Marina Bay - instead we turned up at Harbourfront - this caught many off guard. Singapore has such a great public transport system - even with luggage. Extremely happy with our decision to revisit a P&O Aust classic ship - overall a good value for money cruise - we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose the Great Barrier reef 10 night discovery in a balcony room. The positives Housekeeping and entertainment were good with no issues. There are a few negatives The food particularly in the pantry was bland and dry. No ... Read More
We chose the Great Barrier reef 10 night discovery in a balcony room. The positives Housekeeping and entertainment were good with no issues. There are a few negatives The food particularly in the pantry was bland and dry. No variety unless you like curry or a roast. The breakfast options were a bit better. The waiters never came to us to offer a drink, They clean tables only. On Princess Cruises they routinely would ask if you wanted a drink. That counts for paid drinks as well. On that note, without the drinks package all that was included was water or watered down orange juice. The poocific explorer on some days there was a sewerage smell around deck 12 and even in our room. We notified reception and they sanitized our room promptly to their credit. Also they don't tell you at time of booking that the waterslides cannot be used at the reef. Travelling with a child we would have liked to have been informed. I think i will stick to princess cruises Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Having downsized our large property after our children left home we’re now in a situation where we can spend money on traveling to the places that we have been dreaming about for years, the question was where to start first? Having done ... Read More
Having downsized our large property after our children left home we’re now in a situation where we can spend money on traveling to the places that we have been dreaming about for years, the question was where to start first? Having done a reasonable amount of Australia when our children were growing up, we decided that a trip to our local House of Travel in Motueka to investigate cruising was the best place to start. Friends and family had already been on Princess Line cruises with great feedback on how much they had enjoyed themselves. After seeing what was available to suit our schedule and what we considered to be the best value we decided on the Fiji Encounter with P&O and promptly booked and paid for our tickets. Excitedly we returned home and started further researching our dream breakaway only to be horrified by the online reviews of what seemed to be the holiday from hell so if you’ve just found yourself in this situation I want you to take a breath and relax, Pacific Aria is not five stars but be realistic you haven’t paid for five stars so if you board Aria with a determination to have a great holiday you won’t be disappointed. The ship; Pacific Aria is the smallest ship in the P&O fleet but still packs in all the features that you would expect on the larger ships just on a smaller scale. I would have to say that the Aria is not the greatest ship that I’ve traveled on after we encountered a few days of rough weather, neither of us suffers from motion sickness but there were onboard reports of our fellow travelers struggling with the conditions. Our advice would be to take a sea legs tablet the day before you depart and keep taking them for the remainder of your cruise if you’re concerned about seasickness. We had a balcony room on deck 10 and the condition of the room had lost a bit of its gloss from new and could do with a refresh up. Still, it was very clean, and our room Stewart’s were amazing at keeping it spotless. Again, the Aria is not five stars and we spent very little time in our cabin anyway. The restaurants and bars have faired better and still retain a lot of the original shine. Dining; This is where we feel that the Aria has been unfairly slammed the most in online reviews, so we took special note of what was on offer. The Pantry, is where you can eat as much as you like pretty much when you like and has a good selection on café type food it looked well stocked and clean we only had one quick lunch here and it seemed to be on par with other cafes that we’ve grabbed a quick bite at when in a hurry. In short nothing spectacular but by no means bad. The Waterfront restaurant is where you can dine for all three meals on sea days and has a varied menu with great service. We tried a bit of everything, and it was nicely prepared if slightly lacking in imagination. Again, they’re preparing a lot of meals and dealing with a lot of dietary needs, so we gave them a solid 7 for food and a 10 for service. Angelo’s is one of the two specialty restaurants onboard the Aria that is included in your fare and is well worth a visit. We dined there twice and sampled both menus A and menu B. Angelo’s has beautiful décor and good service. We gave Angelo’s an 8 for food and an 8 for the overall dining experience. The Dragon Lady; “Wow” This is not what we expected when we paid our fare, we would have to rate Dragon Lady as one of the best restaurants that we’ve dined at. This is qualified by over forty years of combined experience in the hospitality and service sectors. We gave menu A, a well-deserved 10 and Menu B a solid 8. Service was exceptional. We dined there on four occasions and would’ve gladly eaten there every night. This is the best GF menu that we’ve ever seen, anywhere! Just needs another GF dessert option on menu B. Salt Grill by Luke Mangan; This is billed as the best dining experience onboard P&O and is the only place where you have to pay an additional surcharge so we were looking forward to something special and at the risk of upsetting our Aussie brothers and sisters we were underwhelmed with both the menu and the service. The food is good, it’s just not as good as it’s hyped up to be and we found the service to be slightly arrogant. In fairness, I do have a GF diet so maybe some of the ingredients had to be removed from the dishes, but this wasn’t an issue elsewhere on Aria. We gave Salt Grill a 7 for the food and a 7 for service. Entertainment; this is where the Pacific Aria shines as the production shows held in the Marquee are world-class with slick choreography and singing which is supported by great lighting and sound. Our favorite was Johnny Balance the Comedian Magician who had us laughing so much that it hurt. Name that tune with Georgie, Cruise Director Cole’s morning Trivia, Bingo with Cameron, Pacific Popstar and the riotous Rock the Room were some of the other standouts for us. Unfortunately, the Ocean Bar is just not big enough for all of those wanting to participate in the fun. This is also where the Aria fell short with the themed parties that were a bit of a let down as we had visions of us dancing the night away in a grand setting, but full marks must go to Cole and his wonderful team. If you can’t find something fun to do on the Aria, we would suggest that you check your pulse. Music and Bars; There is a range of theme bars with matched live music that is of a high standard our favorites were Kawai and Ian Berry, but they were all great. As far as the bars go the Blue Room was the standout for us due to the excellent service and late-night coffees. It’s a great place to chill out reading with a premium coffee during the day or to enjoy live music and a cocktail in the evening. We would also like to rebuff the online nonsense regarding short poured drinks as the drinks that we watched being made were always prepared using the correct standard measures. Bar hygiene was also of a very high standard. We weren’t cruising with any children of our own and there was plenty on board, but we hardly ever saw them we can only assume that they were locked away in the engine room or having the time of their lives in the kid’s clubs and pools. Shore excursions; These were of an acceptable standard for us but we would suggest that P&O send some undercover team along from time to time to make sure that standards are being maintained our tour guides were great on the bus but left us to our devices once we arrived at our destinations. We found a lot more was on offer once we moved away from the group and went exploring on our own. The standout was the amazing cultural shows and singing. The only bad point was the tender trip into Port Denarau which took an hour in very hot and humid conditions. Overall, we had a great time cruising with P&O and would do it again on one of their bigger ships but in saying that the letdowns due to the size and age of Pacific Aria were expertly papered over by the outstanding crew. Pacific Aria is still a fun place to spend a value-packed holiday and a great introduction into the world of cruising. David and Gaylene, Motueka NZ. Read Less
Sail Date July 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
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