P&O Cruises Australia - MV Pacific Aria - 10 Night PNG Cruise ex Brisbane November 14, 2017 - An Comprehensive Cruise Review

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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Please be assured that I am NOT associated with any cruise company or any travel or cruise agency, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for around sixty-six years and although I am now retired, but I am delighted to continue to share my vast knowledge with those who love to take their vacation by sea. Thus I continue to write in relation to worthy Cruise ships and their respective companies in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts 1; for their pleasure, 2; but more so to ensure that you, my wonderful readers will make the best-informed choice possible on which ship will be just right for you.

MV Pacific Aria seen at anchor off Kitava Island in Papua New Guinea on November 18, 2017

Photograph by & © copyright - Hun-Eng Tan & ssmaritime.com

 

Page One

Cruise Review, Public Venues & Dinning Experiences!

Introduction - Reminiscing:

Since 2016, my close friend, associate, Mr. Hun-Eng Tan and I have now enjoyed a ood number of cruises on the Pacific Aria. We first undertook an eighteen-night South Pacific cruise on the Pacific Aria on August 15, 2016, and we then decided to head off cruise departing on December 9, 2016. But, unlike the August cruise that was a somewhat shorter cruise, not something we normally tend to do, but it proved to be as delightful as the previous voyage, for the service, cuisine (food) and entertainment was once again of an exceptionally high standard! Our first two voyages were so good that we booked further cruises including one departing Brisbane on February 10, 2017, being a 14 night Papua New Guinea cruise and it was a destination that Eng Tan had never visited before, although I had travelled the PNG extensively overland some time back.

The PNG cruise proved to be such a hit as well as being so colourful, very soon it was decided to book another 10 night PNG cruise departing on November 14, 2017. And I am currently writing this review from my suite #10058 located portside on Deck 10, which has become our regular home whenever we cruise on the Aria. One again the voyage is proving to be a delightful experience, as well as being a fascinating voyage of discovery for more reasons than one!

For interest, on this page, being Page One and Page Two, and there will be a comprehensive cruise review of this our latest cruise on MV Pacific Aria, but I will also take you on a complete tour of the ship, commencing from Deck 6 and slowly head up to Deck 12 and Deck 14 to discover “P&O THE EDGE.” I will cover all her fine Lounges, Bars, Restaurants, Theatres, and her other facilities available on board.

 

The author is seen aboard Pacific Aria.

Thereafter you will discover a very special Three Page “Papua New Guinea Experience” feature that will cover all the wonderful ports that we visited during this cruise. However, I did originally created this fascinating feature for our first 14 day PNG cruise in February 2017. During our November 2017 cruise we visited; the port of Alotau, the Island of Kitava, the port of old Rabaul, Kiriwina Island and finally the Conflict Islands. But on the whole this voyage was much is like the previous just a little shorter, but it still offers the same exciting and colourful PNG experiences and pure white beaches.

For those who had never been to such a rare and non commercial destination, where you can mix with the kindest of villagers, visit their homes and be made welcome, and see their ancient customs, dances and hear songs from villagers from the coast, locals from various Islands and from the Highlands, even Goroka Mudmen, the PNG is the most remarkable cruise experience and it is certainly, a MUST do, and you should check with your cruise specialist or travel agency when the next cruises depart.

Before our 2 PM departure from Portside Cruise Terminal, All passengers gathered for their compulsory Boat Drill and safety instructions, and then we had a wonderful departure up on Deck 10 aft as usual!

During the cruise, my good friend and carer, Mr. Hun-Eng Tan (Eng) went ashore to explore, as well as partaking of several shore excursions during the February cruise. And although Eng has been on so many cruises and seen most ports around the world, including some of the most exotic ports imaginable, but the February 2017 Papua New Guinea cruise was his first one to this unique and Eng hoped to do it all again, and here we are in November of that same year returning to the PNG. For back in February upon arriving home, Eng clearly stated; “The PNG Cruise was the Best Cruise Ever!”

Reuben Goossens.

Maritime Historian, Author & Cruise ‘n’ Ship Reviewer.

Commenced in the Passenger Shipping Industry in 1960.

 

Please Note: Photographs on this page were taken by & are © by Reuben Goossens & Hun-Eng Tan, unless mentioned otherwise

The Ship & its Venues:

The Pacific Aria, as I previously described in my cruise reviews is a fine ship, considering she was a perfectly designed cruise ship especially designed and built for the luxury 5 Star Holland America Line and named the ms Ryndam. When she was transferred to P&O Australia in 2015 she was given an amazing refit and makeover, and as I revealed earlier, be assured that the delightful 55.820-ton MV Pacific Aria will provide you with some wonderful décor surprises as soon as you board this beautiful ship!

But now, let us discover what makes the Pacific Aria (and her identical sister, the Pacific Eden) such a beautiful, as well as a friendly and an intimate style of ship!

Deck 6 (Promenade Deck):

On the lower level of the Atrium you will find a very spacious venue complete with a fine lounge area as well as the “Internet Café” located in the very centre of the Atrium that has a high level opening looking up to Deck 8. The venue features floral style blue carpets and dark blue curtains that rise up high with the golden stairs running along the Atrium walls. Some marble covers a wall below the lower stairs and white pottery is part of the décor As well as a beautiful spacious lounge area with luxurious armchairs glass topped tables, there is also the Internet Café located in the very centre of the Atrium. The computer systems sit on raised desk complete with comfortable high chairs all located on a floor of black tiles. On the aft wall of the Atrium Lounge, besides superb furnishings, there is a showcase set into the wall and it is filled with the most amazing collection of fine pottery you will ever see! On both sides of the ship are doors that will take you out to the wide and spacious open Promenade Deck.

 The Internet station, the Photoshop up on Deck 7 (on top of the stairs) can assist if required

 

This is the Internet station with its fine pottery

 

 

Above & below: Deck 6 of the Atrium has an excellent Lounge area with some magnificent décor

 

A Special Comment: As we have just looked at a number of photographs around the Atrium, I am sure you will have noted the careful detail that has obviously gone into the décor of its beautiful interior decorations, for every small detail seems to brilliantly harmonise with one another. The fine Asian inspired pottery and fine bone china in the traditional white and blue, all accentuate with the carpets and the other surrounding details! Just take a closer look at the starboard lounge on Deck 6, the delightful art works on the starboard wall, and the sublime variety of pottery on the aft wall is something that is simply missed by the vast majority of passengers, which is rather sad! However, right beside this valuable collection of rare pottery are two rather comic framed items, one being Mr. Rabbit, and who else? Can you work it out; just take a good look at the photo further above and the two below

 

Heading out through the side doors on Deck 6 there is something very traditional, and that is that is the full walk-around Promenade Deck being a very popular activity for all those early morning brisk walkers, but it can be done at anytime of the day of course. Sadly many of the newer and modern ships being built no longer have a promenade deck, or if the have a viewing deck, it is certainly not a full walk-around the entire superstructure anymore, for sadly those days are disappearing, as adding more and more accommodations is more important than ocean-going tradition. Let us be truthful, it is really called making as many dollars out of every cruise as possible, thus pack them in to the max! Sorry, I just happen to be honest.

Here we see that wonderful full walk-around Promenade Deck, enjoy it while you can, for soon they will all be gone!

 

Here we see the stern of the ship, providing a stunning view of the ship wake sail at a good speed to the next port

Lifts:

Pacific Aria has two banks of for lifts each located near the forward main stairwell s well as the aft stairwell. Each lift has a unique interior theme, from the dramatic grand staircase in an Opera House, to a Jetty jutting out into tranquil sea, a track through a Cane field near Bundaberg in Queensland, or Tropical rainforest. There is even one with the traditional Dutch yellow tulip fields, but whilst in the lift try and count the odd red tulips!

This is what we call the high Class lift

 

Here we see two lifts with their doors open at the same time, it is a very rare event on a busy ship!

 

The forward lobby up on Deck 10

 

Come take a skywalk in the treetops

Deck 7:

We now head up to Deck 7 where we will find the Reception Desk and the Tours office on the starboard side as well as another Lounge area.

Here is one of these stands with the much-loved black Bulldogs, range of fake Books

(wish there was a real Library aboard) a large Vase, Glassware and Orchards, etc

As we continue aft you will we reach the *Cellar Door” where there are wine tasting sessions at various times and of course wines may be purchased. Directly opposite is the “Torquay Cinema” and further aft are a several rooms that can be used for a variety of purposes, one is used for cooking demonstrations, the other two as required.

Please Note: Venues offering services showing a blue * do have a reasonable optional charge.

 

Above & below: The popular Cellar Door

 

 

The Torquay Cinema shows the latest up to date movies

The ‘Marquee’ Showroom:

Of course I have not forgotten that forward on Deck 7 is the lower level of the magnificent “Marquee” the ships Theatre or Showroom, with its the balcony located directly above on Deck 8 and I will show both levels below.

The lower level on Deck 7

The “Marquee” is one of the most comfortable Theatres compared to most ships for it offers comfortable deep sofas with ample drink tables at hand, and there is a huge amount of leg room, enough to stretch them right out, which is very, very rare on ships. I will cover the entertainment and guest artists later in this review on Page Two.

Above & below: These two photographs one of the lover and the other of the balcony level reveal of the spacious legroom that is on offer, proving that this was previously a 5 Star luxury cruise ship! Today, P&O has improved their product and given these ships an amazing refit with fine new facilities, with the MIX remaining much as was previously, but now all their ships are being upgraded to the Pacific Aria & Eden standards!

The Marquee Theatre is seen from the balcony on Deck 8

Deck 8:

As we head aft from the Marquee along the port side there are shops that sell, clothes, souvenirs, duty free alcohol & tobacco, as well as a chocolates & general shop.

Part of the forward stores offering mostly clothes, followed by souvenirs, then duty free, and sweets and general needs

Without a doubt, from our very first cruise on Pacific Aria my favourite venue aboard is the wonderful “Ocean Bar” on the starboard side by the top level of the Atrium. Here you will not only find all your favourite drinks and cocktails, but the very best made *Barista Coffee at sea! The coffee is made from the finest of beans by Barista trained staff. The venues décor has that delightful casual, if not a homely elegance that somehow remains with you and you after you leave the ship, and you just would love to renovate your lounge at home in this style. It has that slight touch of the tropics, as here and there you will discover touches of gold bird legs or corals and shells as well as other items that provide that warm atmosphere of the South Pacific! Check the photographs below carefully.

Above: Here we see the Ocean Bar’s long and well shaped bar! The two chairs and round table in the image is where Eng and I always sat, for I could reach it with my scooter, although I usually sat in the chair with the back to the camera.

 

Above & below: two views of the Ocean Bar; Here we see the Bandstand and the Dance Floor

It is a spacious venue, which has many activities during the day as well in up in The Dome

 

 

Eng and I have enjoyed excellent Barista coffees at the seen above table countless times, and please note the detail on the cabinet behind and the photograph below. I rated coffee, drinks and service at the Ocean Bar as 9.5 out of 10.

Heading just aft again along starboard side you will not only discover the delightful venue named “The MIX,” which set towards the interior of the ship, whilst on the exterior you will find a large Duty Free Shopping Arcade, which is later followed a little further aft by the high end famed boutique jewellery outlet - “Pandora’s”.

 

Above and below: Two views of the Duty Free Arcade

 

 

Pandora is slightly further aft of Arcade

The MIX” is two amazing Bars that specialise as follows; the forward bar is the “Spirits & Ales Bar” and its venue has a décor all of it own as well as a solo performers stand where performances are held in the afternoon and at night.

“Spirits & Ales Bar” and its Lounge

The second “Mix” Bar is the very popular “Martini Bar” and Lounge, complete with a sit-around Grand Piano. Both of these two Bars are based on the principle where cocktails and drinks are top shelf, and the scene is very “Chic.”

In both venues there were regular nightly performances by artists, pianists and vocalists! On this voyage, in the aft Lounge and bar we had the wonderful “Piano Man Hunter” playing and he was simply amazing as were the variety of Martinis on offer! of Piano Man Hunter scored 8 out 10.

Each of the two bars has its own Lounge, in the aft Lounge and bar there is a sit-around Grand Piano where there are regular nightly performances by some of P&O finest artists including; a piano man and vocalist! On this voyage, in the aft Lounge and bar we had the wonderful “Piano Man Hunter” playing and he was simply amazing as are the variety of fantastic Martinis from the Bar, and at the forward bar performers stand acoustic guitarist “JW” as well as other performers on a regular basis.

The “Martini Bar” and Lounge, note the sit-around Grand Piano for the nightly performances

Along the starboard side to the aft is “THE MIX” side lounge, with its green and purple high backed chairs and round black drinks tables, all located alongside large window with a grand exterior view.

“The MIX” Side lounge

Whilst on the port side, alongside of “The MIX” is the large “Casino”, which is complete with a variety of tables as well as all the popular slot machines for you to lose your money on. OK, I will never go to a Casino, but be assured that your money is most welcome there!

 

Above & below: The ships Casino has countless slots, as well as many tables, playing a host of games!

 

Back on the starboard side, just forward of “Luke Mangan’s Salt Grill” is the Grill Lounge, with its rich blue tones and domed high chairs and comfortable lounges. During the day, this is a popular lounge for those who love to read a book, but remember to bring your tablet with book downloads or books with you. The reason being is, when the ship was refitted the magnificent huge library was sadly removed and now the Pacific Aria has no library whatsoever, therefore BRING YOUR OWN READING MATERIAL!

 

Above & below: Here are three delightful scenes of the Grill Lounge

below is the chair facing the camera on the right, I use early in the morning to read my book

   

 

As can be seen below, almost opposite the Grill Lounge is a wide passage that looks towards a long Bar, this being the Blue Room Bar located on the portside together with three sectioned Blue Rooms, having different functions.

A view towards the Blue Room Bar from the Grill Lounge

These three separated venues are generally considered to be one large venue, but, the forward larger section obviously is the main venue as we will soon discover. Apart from the Grill Lounge, only the Ocean Bar, the MIX bars and the Blue Room offer great music either during the day or at night. The larger of the Blue Rooms located forward is the music venue, having a large bandstand located along the forward wall, which is covered from floor to ceiling with matching blue curtains that match in with the rest of the venue.

 

Above & below: This is the main section of the Blue Room, with Band Stand forward

And there is a wide range of music available in this fine venue. The second image looks aft towards the bar

 

 

Those white looking sections in the bookshelves here in the middle Blue Room are supposed to look like real books

For when this was the Holland America Line ship, the Ryndam, this was the ships library, but P&O decided to sadly scrap it???

 

 

Above & below: With the curtains are kept wide open during the day, this can be a pleasant room.

 

The Dome - Deck 12:

Topside far forward on Deck 12 is the amazing “The Dome” and besides this, the Dome offers the best view during the day. At night it becomes the Night Club and the Disco and goes until the early hours in the morning for those who can make it!

The view from entering on the portside looking forward to the bar

 

Looking towards starboard and the DJ box, the bandstand and the dance floor

During the day, the Dome is the perfect venues to read a good book, whilst watching the ocean pass by. Also there will be a number of classes held here during the day, be it Ballroom Dancing to Line Dancing as well as a vast variety of other activities. However, I do feel that the Dome needs a desperate refit, as it looks somewhat dated! P&O has already refitted the Pacific Eden, and the Dome is now just beautiful, as is the Marquee and all cabins were also refitted, which was much needed! For interest, the Pacific Aria will receive a refit in the near future!

The Dome the Dance floor

 

The Dome’s Bar is located on the starboard side and it provides a superb view as well over the bow of the ship!

Dining Venues Onboard Included in Your Fare:      

For those who have never cruised before, I can tell you with great honesty having cruised so many times, a feast awaits you onboard the Pacific Aria! Let us first look at the wonderful choice of dining venues you can opt for during your cruise, and I am speaking of those that are fully included in your fare!

1: The “Waterfront Restaurant” Deck 7 Aft: This Restaurant is known for an extensive a la carte menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This modern Australian restaurant offers a wide selection of both classic dishes as well as cutting-edge cuisine from around the world for the evening meal. Here you can have a fully served hearty or a light Breakfast, a three course Lunch or an extensive Dinner all served by waiters who will provide you the best and friendly attention! And on P&O, you know this is done with that genuine friendliness and expertise, as their training are of the very highest standards!

The restaurants décor was done by some of the finest Scandinavian decorators, and it certainly shows! The mid section has raised ceiling and it has that elegant feel. Whilst the surrounding Dining Room as can be seen form the bottom two photos has that more casual feel, although still has a delightful décor!

But let take a brief look at the delightful Waterfront Restaurant.

The somewhat raised centre part of the casual, yet elegant Waterfront Restaurant

 

This is looking from the forward (my) table along the portside looking aft

Please Note: Although I have not greatly covered “My Personal Dining Experience,” you will find this covered, after I have listed all the “Included Dining Venues,” and those that are available at an “Additional Cost.” These being the glamorous “Chefs Table”, the “Salt Grill by Luke Mangan both on Deck 8; and more “The Grill” up on Deck 11 being Lido Deck and is located poolside.

2: The Pantry” Deck 11 Aft: Here you will discover a more relaxed Café style setting where you can enjoy food all over the globe, as well as good old Fish’n’Chips or at the “Fat Cow” which is a meat lovers heaven! As you enter the Pantry you will feel more like you have arrived at one of your much loved popular food courts, except there are no charges for as dishes are included in your fare. You will discover dishes from exotic places such as; Australian, Mexico, Asia, India, as well as Vegetarian, the Grill, and not to forget the Sweets station or the Sandwich bar. And not to forget that both fore and aft there are Coffee and Tea Stations, which is available all day. In the evening the Pantry steps it up a notch for a casual Dinner. There is something for everyone at The Pantry day and night!

At each end of the Pantry there are Coffee and Tea making facilities and it is open day and night.

 

Hook’s Fish & Chips, Stix (Asian), Curry House, Mexicana, The Fat Cow (roasts), McGregor’s Garden (salads)

Nic & Toni’s (Mediterranean) Kettle & Bun (soups & sandwiches), Sugar Bar (desserts galore)

 

Fish & Chips and so many other amazing delights at The Pantry!

 

Please Note: At the next two venues in this review, on other cruise companies you would have normally to pay an optional fee in order to dine these restaurants such as the Italian “Angelo’s” and Pan Asian “Dragon Lady”. However on the Pacific Aria you are invited to dine here absolutely free of charge for an evening meal, whenever you desire. All you have to do is make a booking in advance, for as you can imagine these venues are extremely popular! I rated the Pantry 8 out of 10, which is far better than most buffets I have found on other ships including of ships of a far higher star rating!

3: Angelo’s” Deck 8 starboard side Aft: Do you love fine Italian cuisine? Well this is the restaurant for you, for this is upscale Italian dining with great décor and charm! Angelo’s is open only for Dinner and the venue features an elegant environment. As it is said, it is the perfect setting to enjoy “La Dolce Vita” as you indulge in a meal to remember. We dinned here on a number of occasions and had amazing waiters. The cuisine and service was simply out of this world, in other words, it was without a doubt simple perfection! In February 2017 I rated Angelo’s 9.5 out of 10. I will cover our November experience after the following photographs.

Angelo’s Italian Restaurant features large photographs of the superbly beautiful Italian actress, Sophia Loren. In fact our very first table was directly under the Sophia photograph seen below. Our future table can be seen in the foreground on the left, as it was more suitable for my scooter to reach.

Eng receives pepper on his delicious meal provided our superb waiter during our first very visit to Angelo’s

 

With the perfect pasta at Angelo’s would you like some freshly grounded pepper?

 

Our November 2017 visit

 

 

Above & below: Our return to Angelo’s on Saturday evening November 21, served by some good waiters

 

We had dined at Angelo’s on November 21, and during the first menu, and it went very well and the food was excellent. We both had antipasti as our entrée and as the main I had the Penne Pasta Puttanesca”, prepared with green olives, fresh tomatoes, caperberries, salted anchovies and black pepper and the pasta was andante and the sauce although OK, it but not perfect. Dessert was great! Of course we returned for the second menu to savour it delights! I can tell you that we concluded our time at Angelo’s with that wonderful dessert - “Tiramisu”, which is always delicious! For our November cruise we rated Angelo’s 9 out of 10.

4: “Dragon Lady Deck 8 portside Aft: Dragon Lady offers Asian cuisine in a dark and moody setting. On offer is a mix of Chinese, Thai, Indian, or Japanese cuisine, and the promise is that you will be seduced by the exotic flavours of the orient. However, we did not dine there during this cruise. I did speak to those who said they enjoyed the food and went back a number of times, and others who said that the service was very cold and not pleasant, which is what we experienced during our cruise in 2016. Based on (57) passengers experiences as conveyed to me I would rate Dragon Lady - 1. Food 8 out of 10 & Service 5 out of 10.

The Interior of Dragon Lady Pan Asian Restaurant has regular seating or cushions on the floor, you choose

The image above was obtained from a P&O media release

 

Another section of Dragon Lady

Dinning Venues with an Additional Charge:

The *Salt Grill” Starboard side amidships to Aft Deck 8: The “Salt Grill” is operated by Australia’s first Celebrity Chef Luke Mangan. The Salt Grill is has been known ashore as a good dining experience, and dinner at the Salt Grill is around $50. However, as all my readers are well aware, I am completely honest, when I write my cruise reviews, and although there are those who did enjoy their experience there, many who dined there where not overly happy with their experience, and the comment I did hear on a good many occasions was; “Not worth the Money, Angelo’s was much better.” I rate the Salt Grill from 26 guest reviews received as 7.5 out of 10.

Luke Mangan’s “Salt Grill”

The image above was obtained from a P&O media release

*Chef’s Table” Portside Aft Deck 8: Here comes what I call “The Caviar Dining Experience” and it is certainly a Dining Extravaganza that is a must aboard the Pacific Aria. It is perfect for those who have a desire to experience one of the finest food and wine experiences at the “Chef’s Table.” Should you decide to join this wonderful and a fulfilling evening, be assured, it will be an evening you will certainly never forget!

Your evening will commence with a cocktail and canapé reception hosted by the Maître d’Hôtel, in the exclusive Grill Lounge.

Then it is time to head for the elegant Chef’s Table Dinning Room, where you will be seated and will partake of the most exciting Dining events you will have ever experienced! The Executive Chef will introduce each and every course, which is expertly matched to a fine wine by the Maître d’Hôtel! These extravaganzas cost A$99 per person, but remember this is no ordinary evening dining event; it is something you will have never done before, and will most likely never experience again! From Guest reviews, I rate the Chef’s Table a full 10 out of 10 experience.

The very exclusive Chefs Table Dining Room

Later in the cruise a full and an exclusive tour of the Galley will be arranged for the participants of the “Chef’s Table” it will be fully guided by the Executive Chef or the Maître d’Hôtel. There will also be a very special gift given, something that has already won worldwide acclaim and awards, but I will not reveal what it is. That is for you to discover, but it is very special!

Please Note: The only reason I did not participate in a Chef’s Table evening is that 1; I do not drink alcohol these days, due to the high level of medication, and each dish comes with a matched fine wine, etc. And 2; As part of the “Chef’s Table Experience” comes an extensive exclusive tour of the ships galley on a separate occasion, which is lead by the Executive Chef or the amazing Maître d’Hôtel. Obviously I am unable to do this as well as sadly, in my somewhat mature age, my legs are failing me and I am sadly scooter bound these days!

*The Grill” Deck 11 Starboard forward: The Grill is located forward of the Lido Swimming Pool where the vibe is very casual and certainly very “Al Fresco.” On offer are beef burgers, Chorizo and Egg Wraps, or maybe a pulled Pork Burger and much more. Nominal charges apply. Not worth rating, but it is just basic good tucker!

My Personal Waterfront Dining Experience:

I always have Breakfast, Dinner and Evening Meal at the Waterfront Restaurant, and once again, the Maître d’Hôtel was so kind as to arrange the table we have occupied on our previous cruises, located on the portside forward corner, at a table being the most suitable where my scooter can be parked, and I do not have to step too far to be seated. Everyone at the Restaurant so helpful, and there is not a better crew to be found anywhere. It was wonderful to see that bright and happy face of Restaurant & Beverage Supervisor (RBS), “Christwell,” amazingly he has been on every Aria cruise that we have been on! During this cruise we had a new waiter, “Kapil” like our previous waiter he was, like our previous waiter during our three cruises, the wonderful “Farman,” from India. Kapil was wonderful in every respect, and he gave us great good service, always with that happy smile on his face, and he certainly went out of his way to ensure everything was just right! Also, how will we ever forget some of his excellent and perfectly clean jokes.

Our Maître d’Hôtel “Edison Fernandez” who was simply outstanding in every possible way, and he was always there to assist his guests in the dinning room, he would check if his guests were happy with the service and the food, and have a brief chat with folk as time permitted. Both Eng and I had some great times chatting with Edison as he is such an interesting man, and as it turns out, he is a long time friend of our previous and brilliant Maître’d, Mr. Rish Dias, who is now aboard Pacific Explorer. Other mentions for outstanding service and assistance should be made to Angelo’s RBS “Bimal”, who during the day assisted in the Waterfront, and he also did everything in his power to ensure all was well he is without a doubt a wonderful man and is a great asset to P&O! I must not to forget “Alex” (Ruben) a wonderful man with such a kind heart and he was of great service to me personally when I was in need to get from the scooter to my table, etc. And then there the delightful “Ronnie”, or as we know him best “Jackie Chan” for he really looks like a slightly more mature version of the famous actor we all know so well. Ronnie is a man with an amazing attitude, and a desire to serve, which he does in the finest tradition!

Left is our cheeky waiter Kapil, who was simply excellent and our wonderful Christwell, we have now known for years

 

This time, seen on the right is the wonderful Bimal, who did so much for me during this cruise!

Thank of the wonderful P&O staff in the Dinning Room, as they are without a doubt a superbly talented Restaurant staff, believe me you are greatly appreciated by me and Eng for you made such a great team, thus making our cruise so much better! Our experience at the Waterfront is rated 9.5 out of 10. The service you so cheerfully provided was simply excellent and thus you deserve this high rating.

Again looking from our daily table looking towards the centre section

Obviously we enjoyed our cruise, for the big thing on the Pacific Aria, apart from some stewardesses at Dragon Lady who tend to be a little short, the staff onboard are simply amazing, helpful and polite, and always beaming with that genuine friendly smile! I would have liked the some of the food to have been little better at times, and thus there is a slightly lower score than previously, but remember, I am extremely fussy, where others may be quite happy. But I score everything in the same manner and in complete honesty … Thus rate (food) the cuisine for this cruise at the Waterfront 8.5 out of 10.

*************************

In Conclusion:

The Pacific Aria certainly as a ship has brought back the meaning that the passenger comes first when it come to excellent service, great entertainment in the Marquee Showroom, as revealed on Page Two, and the Aria’s superb public venues and vast number of dinning options, etc, as well as the wide range of activities available! She certainly became my ship of preference at this time, being the perfect size and this review will have said the why that is so. With this being my fourth cruise on this delightful cruise ship, and I wish to say a special thank you, and congratulations to Mr. Sture Myrmell, President of P&O Cruises who has been responsible for bringing both the Pacific Aria and her identical sister, the Pacific Eden to Australia for they are remarkable ships indeed! They indeed brought in a whole new era for P&O Cruises, for only when these two new ships arrived a new era commenced and now the arrival of the Pacific Explorer will further enhance the fleet with even more features, adding what was started on the Aria and the Eden! In 2020 there will be a further large ship already much loved by Australian’s ship, being the 108,865 ton Golden Princess, which I have provisionally named the Pacific Navigator, and she will not just be the new flagship, but will offer facilities never seen before on a P&O ship!

I still believe that a P&O cruise offers one the best value vacation options but remember to look for the fare specials available in your weekend newspapers, especially if you have not cruised before. I highly recommend that you go to the www.pocruises.com.au then at the very bottom/centre and click “Subscribe Now” to receive P&O’s News Updates and they will also send you the latest fare specials that are available, and often they will have all sorts of extras added, including onboard spending money! BUT, please book through a good Cruise/Travel Agent, as P&O phone or online services are based overseas, and they are nothing short of useless! You will not receive any service whatsoever, whilst your cruise agency will look after you all the way!

Please Note: It is vital that I state once again, I am 100% non-commercial and I am not associated to any Cruise or Shipping Company, and the same applies to any Cruise or Travel Agency. The truth is that I always pay the full fare for my accommodations, for I must be completely truthful in what I write! Also you will note from my sites, there is no advertising whatsoever, thus I do not make a single cent from what I do. Thus what I write is for all those who love ships and those who are thinking of going on a cruise vacation, for many who have never been on a cruise before and want desire to know what to expect after the deposit has been paid what they will receive once they board the ship. Bon Voyage!

As you may have heard it said on TV, “But wait, there is MORE”:

Page Two:

On the next page you will discover The Production Shows and the Guest Artists onboard, as well as the activities side of the Pacific Aria, such as the two Swimming Pools and their spacious Decks and Bars, the special Sports Decks, the Fitness centre (Gym), as well as the super fun and excitement part of the ship, known as *P&O EDGE.” This feature offers a number of thrill seeking adventures; that is “IF YOU DARE?

Thereafter I will cover the variety of Accommodations that are available onboard. In conclusion you will be able to view the ships Deck Plan, which will complete this Page Two. By the end of this page, you will know with full assurance what to expect from a cruise on the wonderful Pacific Aria. I certainly trust that I will have been of assistance, for this review has been written with complete honesty and without any bias, as it is, as I have clearly stated 100% non commercial, and I am not related, or connected to any cruise company or agency, etc! And remember, this is my third cruise on her within six months.

Page Three:

Page Three is a separate Three-Page Feature; it is entitled “The Papua New Guinea Experience.” It covers, all the ports, backgrounds and some history as well as several tours undertaken by Mr. Hun-Eng Tan (Eng). His photographs are simply great, as well as mine taken from the ship. In addition, there are some taken by shipboard friend Mr. Terry Whitten. Page Three contains a special “Papua New Guinea Photo Experience” being a photo album with some stunning images by my photographer, Mr. Hun-Eng Tan (Eng) and some by Terry. This PNG Feature is mostly based on our previous 14 Night Cruise in February 2017, although I have added just several new photographs from our November cruise 2017.

 Pacific Aria is seen at Anchor at Kitava Island on November 18, with tenders moving passenger to and from the ship

 

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MV Pacific Aria Cruise Reviews Index - 2017:

Page One         Cruise Review, Public Venues, & Dinning Experiences.

Page Two         Shows, Sports, Fitness Centre, P&O EDGE, & Suites-Cabins & Deck Plan.

Page Three-1   The Papua New Guinea Experience. (Based on Feb 2017 Cruise).

Page Three-2   The Papua New Guinea Experience.              

Page Three-3   The Papua New Guinea Photo Experience.           

 

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A remarkable view of the Pacific Aria at anchor taken from Conflict Island on November 21

This Island is famed for it perfectly pure white beaches and its fine coral!

 

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