Won't be returning: Pacific Aria Cruise Review by craigbro159
Overall Member Rating
Won't be returning
Destination: Australia & New Zealand
As a suite passenger we were eligible for priority boarding which we took advantage off. Having boarded in Brisbane quite a few times we found this process fantastic. From check in to ship in under 15 minutes. Once we got to Deck 10 we noticed all the bags just laying around - not in front of doors like you would normally see but just piled up for people to collect after they've identified. Nobody was minding the bags though, so effectively they could have been taken by anyone. See below for specific review.
CABIN: Wow! These are in desperate need of an upgrade. We booked a suite cabin 10006. The cabins are so old the artwork is the same artwork that was on the old Statendam before it even became a P&O ship. There are mirrors More everywhere (incredibly unflattering). Cupboard door broken, old brown furniture, squeaky bed. Worse of is cabin 10006 is right next to the bridge and absolutely stinks of cigarette smoke - it's in the hall, on the walls, the carpet - - horrible!!! There was no real benefits to a suite apart from that early boarding.
FOOD: On the Aria you need to make your dinner reservations, if you don't then you won't have anywhere to eat but the Pantry. The Pantry is a great concept, no sticky fingers and no plates piled high with food that gets thrown away. However, it was lacking a bit in choice. 1 indian dish, 1 asian dish etc. There really should have been more. The dining was all very bland. Angelos - I had pasta that looked and tasted like glue, it really wasn't nice. Dragon Lady has a spectacular decor but is let down by horrendous food that isn't even trying to be Asian. Salt Grill was ok. Not as wonderful as I remembered it. Waterfront was exceptionally slow. 3 hours for lunch because there was such a lack of staff.
PUBLIC AREAS: This is where they've spent the money and they look great, however some areas have a sewage smell (not very nice). We particularly liked the Spectacular show on night 1. What we did find annoying was they kept holding trivia in inconvenient places. It was different every day and every time we settled down with our book the 'rowdy crowd' would arrive. It just seemed we couldn't escape. In terms of what was on daily, nothing really - apart from Trivia there never seemed to be much around.
SPA & GYM: I don't think I've ever used a gym on a cruise (defeats the purpose of a 'holiday') but my hubby tells me that it was nice and fitted with modern equipment. We did use the spa. Really loved the thermal suites - they were run down but I viewed them as a place to escape screaming kids. The only problem we had was that even though the passes were limited to the first 20 passengers on board ($129 for the duration of the cruise) the first 4 passengers were loud as crazy and did ruin the experience - but that's a people problem not a P&O.
If I'm being honest, they are tracking in the right direction with ideas such as the pantry etc. however, there was just too many failures like the terrible food (one cake mix for all desserts & just different toppings), disgusting room decor that has not been updated since the late 90s and really bad service.
However, I will say this. P&O is let down by their service for this one reason. They lack staff. 1 room attendant for the entire floor. Princess has 1 per 16 cabins - so you definitely notice this.
All in all, won't be back.. Sorry P&O! Less
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