Cruising aboard Pacific Aria 

Wow what a week away. Hubby and I have just returned from our first ever cruise aboard Pacific Aria. 

A huge thanks to hubby’s parents Marion and Michael for having the children for the week. We really appreciated this and I’m glad you survived it 😍

At first less than 24 hours before we departed, we were informed that our ships departure time would be delayed due to unfavourable weather conditions and a generator which was not working 😪 I was quite upset, disappointed and a little angry too as they also dropped Port Vila from our cruise itinerary. Port Vila was the one place I really wanted to visit and had even booked a personalised private tour with Johnny Sahe.

Once I had calmed down and realised nothing was going to change, I accepted what was to be and made my way to Brisbane Cruise Terminal.

Once you arrive at the Cruise Terminal, drop off your checked baggage into the luggage drop off point. 

Tips:

  • Ensure you grab the Medical Health Forms from here to save time. Fill them out while you are waiting.
  • Make sure your luggage is labelled with the cruise line baggage label and also a hard label too with your full details.
  • Have a bottle of water handy incase there is a long wait.

We met up with my brother and his partner and spent time exploring the many shops st Portside. Make sure you head up to the viewing platform to take a look at the ship too. Was a great place to see the amazing ship. 

We lined up to receive our cruise card. This card is a very important part of your cruise. It opens doors, pays for your drinks and allows you to gamble away too in the casino 😂 You will be asked by the lovely person serving you how you wish for your account to be settled, credit card or cash. We opted for cash so we could keep a close eye on what we were spending. Our cruise card also had our drink package choice sticker on it. We opted for the Refreshment drinks package as we had $600 of onboard credit to spend. ($200 was a good will gesture from P&O for our delays and port cancellation) 

Below are the 4 options for drink packages.



SOFT DRINKS PACKAGE

All Cruises 

 Soda ☑️

 Tea & Coffee ✖️

 Juice blends ✖️

 Mocktails ✖️

 600ml bottled water ✖️

 Beer and cider ✖️

 Wine ✖️

 Spirits ✖️

 Cocktails ✖️

 Energy drinks ✖️

  • Onboard price: AU$7.50 per person per day
  • Pre-purchase before cruising: AU$7.00 per person per day


The Soft Drinks Package includes unlimited glasses of Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Sunkist Orange, Lemonade, Solo, tonic water, soda water and ginger ale. It does not include bottled water, Red Bull or other energy drinks, juice, mocktails, in-room bottled water or order made through room service.

REFRESHMENT DRINKS PACKAGE

All Cruises 

 Soda ☑️
 Tea & Coffee ☑️

 Juice blends ☑️

 Mocktails ☑️

 600ml bottled water ☑️

 Beer and cider ✖️

 Wine ✖️

 Spirits ✖️

 Cocktails ✖️

 Energy drinks ✖️

Onboard price: AU$25.00 per person per day
Pre-purchase before cruising: AU$19.00 per person per day

The Refreshment Drinks Package includes unlimited glasses of Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Sunkist Orange, Lemonade, Solo, tonic water, soda water, ginger ale, 600ml bottled water, juice, mocktails, espresso coffee drinks and T2 beverages. The Refreshment Drinks Package does not include Red Bull or other energy drinks, in-room bottled water or apply to room service.

PREMIUM BEVERAGE PACKAGE
Cruises 7 nights or more 
 Soda ☑️

 Tea & Coffee ✖️

 Juice blends ☑️

 Mocktails ☑️

 600ml bottled water ☑️

 Beer and cider ☑️

 Wine (per glass up to and including $12) ☑️

 Spirits (per glass up to and including $12) ☑️

 Cocktails up to and including $12 ☑️

 Energy drinks ✖️

  • Onboard price: AU$89.00 per person per day
  • Pre-purchase before cruising: AU$79.00 per person per day

The Premium Beverage Package includes unlimited Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Sunkist Orange, Lemonade, Solo, tonic water, soda water, ginger ale, 600ml bottled water, juice blends, mocktails, beer, ciders, wine, cocktails and spirits up to and including $12. Items exceeding AU$12 are not included and full charges will apply to these items. Drinks can only be purchased one at a time by the guest who has purchased the package. If multiple drinks are purchased at one time, the most expensive drink(s) (that is $12 or under) will count towards the drink(s) package and the other drink(s) will be charged to the guest’s onboard account.



The Premium Beverage Package does not include energy drinks, espresso coffee drinks,T2 beverages, in-room bottled water or apply to room service, food, merchandise items, events, special promotions, sponsorships, charitable partnerships or tastings, beverage and merchandise packaged items, New Zealand Natural ice cream products or cover charges. Service is subject to P&O Cruises’ Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Policy, which includes an ability to restrict service.


THE LOT! BEVERAGE PACKAGE

Cruises 7 nights or more 

 Soda ☑️

 Tea & Coffee ☑️

 Juice blends ☑️

 Mocktails ☑️

 600ml bottled water ☑️

 Beer and cider ☑️

 Wine (per glass up to and including $15) ☑️

 Spirits (per glass up to and including $15) ☑️

 Cocktails up to and including $15 ☑️

 Energy drinks 😃

  • Onboard price: AU$105.00 per person per day
  • Pre-purchase before cruising: AU$95.00 per person per day

The Lot! Beverage Package includes unlimited Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Sunkist Orange, Lemonade, Solo, tonic water, soda water and ginger ale, 600ml bottled water, juice blends, mocktails, espresso coffee drinks, T2 beverages, energy drinks, beer, ciders, wine, cocktails and spirits up to and including $15. Items exceeding AU$15 are not included and full charges will apply to these items. Drinks can only be purchased one at a time by the guest who has purchased the package. If multiple drinks are purchased at one time, the most expensive drink(s) (that is $15 or under) will count towards the drink(s) package and the other drinks will be charged to the guest’s onboard account.
The Lot! Beverage Package does not include in-room bottled water or apply to room service, food, merchandise items, events, special promotions, sponsorships, charitable partnerships or tasting, beverage and merchandise packaged items, New Zealand Natural ice cream products or cover charges. Service is subject to P&O Cruises’ Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Policy, which includes an ability to restrict service.

We boarded the ship after proceeding through Immigration and all the usual checks. At this point you must not have any water with you, no photos are allowed too in Immigration.

Once we were on board friendly crew greeted us and guided to where we needed to be (Deck 9). I wanted to take the lift but gave into hubby and took the stairs instead.😂

We checked out our amazing Balcony Cabin Room 9211 and were quite impressed. Plenty of space, clean bathroom and toilet and comfy bed. The balcony was spacious and wonderful. 

We were greeted by our amazing Room Stewards Alvin and Shiva. These guys are workaholics and do not stop. They are some of the hardest working crew on the boat. Always greeting us with a friendly smile and hello when they saw us. They made our room look amazing each morning and evening. Well done guys. Shiva explained how different things worked in our room and was very informative for us as first time cruisers. 


We then went for a walk around the majestic ship. Below are some photos of our first walk.


We were impressed. We headed for the Pantry for some lunch as it was after 3pm once we were on board. The Pantry had many cuisines to offer. I loved how guests did not handle the food themselves, and were served by a wonderful crew member. This to me significantly reduces the chance of nasty gastro outbreaks. I was impressed. 

As a foodie I was in heaven! So many delicious choices 

  • Asian
  • Indian
  • Roasts
  • Salads
  • Bread / Sandwiches / Pastries
  • Fish and Chips
  • Sushi
  • Many many more choices


Other amazing dining options were 

  • The Waterfront (included)
  • Angelos (included)
  • Dragon Lady (included)
  • Salt Grill ($39 lunch $49 dinner)

Tip:

  • Go to the Monkey Bar on Deck 8 and book your dinner or lunch reservations for Angelo’s, The Waterfront, Dragon Lady and Salt Grill as soon as you board. They do tend to book our fast. 

    I will do another blog post about these places. So so amazing.


    Hubby loves exercising and so the gym was one of his favourite hang outs (I borrowed this photo so thank you to the person who originally posted it) 

    Hubby was impressed – well equipped with many different types of equipment. Classes are also offered and health and nutrition seminars as well.


    I however am not a gym junkie so opted for a fire and ice pedicure instead. Our room stewards gave us a $50 voucher which I redeemed on this so my pedicure ended up costing $46 – bargain.

    Roxanne was amazing and so friendly. She was a lovely lady and very professional. 

    There are many amazing activities you can do onboard

    • Play bingo ($30, $25 or $15) I was lucky enough to win a jackpot of $334 
    • Watch comedians (Demo Simis and Ross Oaks were amazing) 
    • We watched a magic / illusion show which was breathtaking! 
    • Watch musical shows / dances
    • Participate in trivia
    • Karaoke
    • Galley tours
    • Cooking demonstrations
    • Visit the casino
    • Go shopping – Pandora store and many others
    • Visit the bars
    • Many activities for the kids
    • Play basketball
    • Do water aerobics
    • Participate in wine or bourbon tastings
    • Take a cocktail class
    • Watch a movie
    • Heaps and heaps of other activities to do. If you get bored you aren’t trying hard enough to find something to do. 

    Our first Port of Call was Noumea. We had an extended 15 hour stay here to give the engineers a chance to fix the generator. I must admit, I didn’t want to stop here. I had heard many stories from different cruisers. However I decided to give it a chance and make my own judgement. First impressions were it looked beautiful from the water side but the city side looked in my words ‘Like Logan’.



    We walked around the city in a group of 4. Take my advice do not walk around by yourself. Safety in numbers. We stopped for a snack at a beautiful bakery. They accept small Australian notes however the change is in French Pacific Francs. 

    Tip: 

    • You can change Australian Dollars onboard at reception or at the Kiosk machines on Deck 7 to French Pacific Francs. We changed $50 and had a heap of $5 notes just incase. We didn’t plan on doing much shopping at all.
    • Book some tours and experience the many amazing attractions Noumea has to offer 

    We chose to do a tour which we booked through P&O through cruise control. The Chou Train. $60 approximately. This tour was amazing and showed us around the highlights of Noumea. Even stopped for small refreshments too. Our guide was amazing as well and very informative.

    Check out this amazing sunset over the sparkling Noumea waters 

    We departed Noumea at Midnight. The next morning we cruised into Mare. The Aria dropped anchor just off shore. Guests were told to meet in the Marquee Lounge when they were ready to collect their tender ticket. We boarded our tender boat just after 7am. This was a simple and smooth flowing experience. 

    Tip:

    • Read your newsletter which is delivered to your room each night. This will enable you to be prepared for the next day. It contains important information. 
    • In regards to the tenders, go early and beat the rush. You must be able to walk down the steep stairs unaided. 
    • Pack a small bag the night before so there is no rushing around in the morning.
    • Ensure you have prebooked your bus for Mare. You need a ticket for each way.


    The trip from the ship to Mare took approximately 20 minutes. 

    What a beautiful island Mare is. 


    We lined up and waited for a bus to take us to the picturesque Yejele beach. 


    Wow the clearest water and crisp white sand I have ever seen. We made our way down the beach and pulled up near a shady tree. Behind us was a little straw shack shop which served beer, fish, chips, freshly cut coconuts for $3 and soft drinks. Check out our amazing fresh fish (we picked it out ourselves) Chips were amazing better than the ones on the ship! 

    Beer was $5, Softdrinks $5, Fish $5 for a small one, Chips $5 and Coconut $3. They accepted Australian Dollars small notes and also French Pacific Francs. The owners were so kind and spoke limited English. They got us a bench seat to sit on too. 


    Look at this amazing ocean. I had to buy a coconut as I’m half Fijian and grew up eating them. The kind man even cut it in half for me so I could eat the flesh. 

    Hubby and I

    Tip:

    • Take your own snorkel set and reef shoes instead of hiring on the beach
    • Also take sunscreen and a good hat as there is limited shade on the beach.
    • Bottled water is a must 

    Being a teacher I took some felt pens to donate to the local school on the island. They appreciate any small donations.

    I will add more to this blog over the coming days. I am still suffering from feeling like the ship is rocking lol. 

    Overall we were so so happy and would cruise again in a heartbeat. A huge thanks to Tamara our amazing travel agent! Visit her page and show her some love ➡️ Click Here 

    Please leave some comments and your own tips and hints below in the comments  ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️

    9 Comments Add yours

    1. Judith says:

      So glad you loved your trip, we did a mini cruise on her last year to show my hubby he would enjoy it and have now booked an island cruise over New Years

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Kerrie says:

      I loved reading your journal, even though we are going on the Explorer of the Seas in August, its good to get tips about what to do on the islands… ummm I think your husband is great to use the gym, especially after seeing all the lovely food. I think I might follow his idea.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. renorta says:

        Thanks for your wonderful comments Kerrie. Please let me know how Explorer of the Seas is. He’s crazy lol I would have been sick in the gym. It was very well equipped and quite spacious

        Like

    3. Julie says:

      Lovely thorough review. Glad you enjoyed your holiday

      Liked by 1 person

      1. renorta says:

        Thank you so much Julie, despite the initial hiccups we had a great time.

        Like

    4. Shanae says:

      My husband and I read this together and loved it! You have made us so excited about our trip on the aria in July! Thank you so much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. renorta says:

        Oh thank you so much! I wish I was off cruising again this week. We really loved it so much!

        Like

    5. It was so good to read your review. I have read so many negative ones on Aria. We are booked on the 21st April and I was getting quite nervous. We have been on quite a few cruises but not on Aria. I want it to be special ad it is a surprise for my husband as it is our wedding anniversary and his birthday and trying to organise kids and plan everything in secret has been difficult so thank you so much for all the positive stuff. Thank god we have booked a balcony cabin too as there aren’t fridges in a lot of arias cabins and husband is a diabetic

      Liked by 1 person

    6. Wayne says:

      Loved reading your blog. Going on the Aria 16th October, can’t wait to visit the islands 🌴

      Like

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