Review of Aegean Goddess deck 8 (Pacific Aria deck8-Casino-Shops)
Upper Promenade Deck layout starts with “The Marquee” theatre (balcony level 2 of 2).
Next is the Atrium’s upper level is served by the Ocean Bar (starboard). This is the lobby bar, providing a home-like environment, furnished with comfortable lounges and small coffee tables. Ocean Bar is a new concept for P&O Cruises, designed to be the living room of the ship. Armchair aerobics, trivia and word games are also held here. At 8:00 p.m. live music starts and guests can partake of the selection of wine, beers on tap and cocktails.
Deck 8 has the ship’s all three “Tax and Duty-Free Shops”, including a general store for convenience goods. One shop is located portside in the Atrium area, the other two are with starboard location. The onboard shops sell liquor, tobaccos, brand perfumes, cosmetics, sunglasses, fashion and accessories, luxury watches – all at duty-free prices. Shopping on P&O Australia ships offers up to 40% discounts off the retail prices. Check the “Pacific Daily” onboard newsletter for daily special offers and shopping promotions.
New PANDORA shop sells luxury brand jewellery also at duty-free prices.
The Casino Lounge is located portside. It has roulette, blackjack, pontoon, 3-card poker, Texas Hold'em Poker tables and poker machines. Complimentary gambling lessons are offered for beginners. The Casino area is served by the MIX bar. The opening hours are subject to international regulations, so it is closed when the cruise ship is in port and only open when cruising in international waters (a few km off the coast of Australia).
The “MIX” Lounge & Bar has a specialty cocktails bar that doubles as sports bar (with large TVs broadcasting live sports) and also serves the Casino. The MIX lounge offers as entertainment live music and dance performances.
“Blue Room” (portside) is a classy bar with comfortable furniture and live music entertainment (funk, jazz, blues, R&B).
The Aria ship’s Library (books and bard games) is combined with Internet Cafe (rates are per minute, Internet packages start from 100 min).
The traditional for all P&O Australia ships “Salt Grill” is a reservations-only specialty restaurant (at surcharge PP) run via partnership with the Australian celebrity chef Luke Mangan. This signature restaurant is open for dinner (US$49) as well as on select sea days for lunch (US$39 PP) and high tea (US$20). Sashimi and oysters cost additional US$2 each. Reservations are essential. The Salt Grill Restaurant is closed on port days. The top favourites include licorice parfait with lime syrup and crab omelette. The menu also includes top-quality lamb chops, steaks, fish, and other seafood like lobster tail and scallops, salads, tapas and soups. “Salt Grill Bar” is a new venue serving Luke Mangan’s specialty cocktails.
“Chef’s Table” is another specialty dining venue at surcharge PP. The “Chef’s Table” package offers gourmet private dining experience for up to 14 guests (reservations are required). The package is inclusive of cocktail reception, gourmet canapes made by the Pacific Aria ship’s Executive Chef, and tour of the galley. Once seated, guests are guided through each course of the menu and matching wines. Chef's Table is held every evening and takes 3 to 4 hours.
Cellar Door is the first cellar door at sea in Australia, stocked by Hunter Valley Glandore Estate Wines. Guests are guided through a couple of tasting menus online via a tablet, and can have a bottle sent to one of the onboard restaurants to enjoy with lunch or dinner.
The Bar / Monkey Bar is nicknamed after the monkey motifs inside. The Bar is ideally positioned between Dragon Lady and Angelo's but it also provides an important function as the only spot to book in person for the 2 sought-after restaurants, along with Salt Grill and Chef's Table.
The “Dragon Lady” is the Asian cuisine, dinner-only restaurant – the ship’s second dining room, all blue lighting and black leather, reminiscent of Sydney or NY-based cocktail bar. There is a row of booths and a row of tables, with padded seats for 2 or 4. The back section features cushions on a raised floor along with sunken tables with space for the legs to fit underneath. The attentive Asian waitresses are in Oriental costumes. The menu is folded up like origami and features Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, Singaporean and Indian specialties. Dishes are offered banquet-style as the idea is to order a few to share. All guests are welcomed with ginger, pear and orange juice shooters along with crispy kumara and parsnip chips. Shareable meals include duck samosas, soft shell crab and butterfish curry. The desserts feature salted 70% dark chocolate cake topped with sesame seed ice cream, jars of apple caramel milkshakes, whisky and wasabi souffle.
The “Angelo’s” is the Italian cuisine, dinner-only restaurant (named after A. Frontoni /photographer) – and the third dining room on the ship. It is stylish and a little more formal than the Dragon Lady, with white tablecloths and cream leather chairs. The menu is divided into 5 traditional sections: appetisers (antipasti), first course (primi), second course (secondi), side dishes (contorni), sweets and cheese (dolci e formaggi). Pumpkin arancini balls, soups, crispy breadsticks and dips precede pastas and meats such as slow-cooked pork neck and 8-hour braised veal osso bucco. Fish dishes feature roasted sardines from Fremantle, while desserts include cannoli cones or tiramisu. Guests can only book on the same day, so it's recommended to make a reservation by 8:00 a.m.