Ventura, 1st April Med cruise
All started well with a B&B with parking and transfer at Chilworth Hilton, Transfer got us on the way before 12 and with an excellent check in we were having lunch on board soon after 1pm.
We went to check out the cabin and we were told not to go in because it was being used as a show cabin (very abrupt). When we were let in our Superior Deluxe Balcony Stateroom, we were overcome with the smell of urine in the bathroom, the flowers in the cabin were dead, the white room pamper pack was missing, the carpet was stained, the settee was threadbare, the window was covered with children's hand prints and every flat surface was covered in thick dust. I ran my finger over one area and could have knitted a jumper with the fluff. On investigation of the bathroom we found the bath had black mould all round it as did the shower curtain, the toilet seat was badly chipped and ingrained with yellow stains, no guessing what that was.
We reported the issues to reception who said it may not have been cleaned yet, so we left it for another hour and reported it again. The housekeeper came round had a look in the bathroom and said it was the ventilation. I explained to him it was due to the mould on the shower curtain and the state of the toilet. We left the matter with them and they changed the shower curtain. This did seem to reduce the smell, so my wife cleaned the room for them with ant-bacterial wipes and this got rid of most of the smell. The following day a man came to strip out the bath seal and replace it, at least this looked more inviting to have a shower or bath. The toilet seat was never changed and is still there for the next people, I just hope they notice and put paper on it. The cabin was never dusted in all the time we were there so I wrote DUST on every surface this was still ignored and will be there today.
So that was the cabin but in general the ship is not very clean, the only parts are the bits you can see; but if you look if it does not move then no one will notice its not been done. The public don't help with leaving plates etc. anywhere on the floor, stair wells, lifts, but then there does not seem to be any member of staff willing to move them. If you want a real shock that should but does not shame P&O, then check out the floor in "Havana". Without exaggeration I have seen cleaner underpasses in city centres. It is the type of tiled floor you get in a shop and should be stripped and polished every week and buffed daily. It has less foot fall than a shopping centre and they seem to be able to keep them clean. This should be a dance floor but it is covered with chairs and never used for its original purpose.
As expected for an Easter cruise there were a lot of children on board, in the main they seem to be catered for very well apart from the pool areas. Be aware if you have children this is a danger area in every sense of the word, it is unsupervised and they are allowed to "bomb" into the pool and even go in on very rough days when waves in the pool could have smashed a child's head on the side of the pool. They were allowed into the Jacuzzis unsupervised with adults, and it only needs the wrong sort of adult to be in with them and who knows what could happen. I did report this as a child protection issue as many adults had also expressed concern and no action had been taken.
The entertainment in the theatre was first class and they worked very hard throughout the cruise, there were some low points with the one off acts but the show team, band and production staff put on some class shows.
The food in the main dining room was very good and varied; we never felt the need to try the specialist venues due to the quality of fare. The staff who attended us were first class, and though the tips were now put on the bill it did not seem to affect the attitude and service we received.
Yes we did have a lot of gripes but feel they were justified and put a damper on the cruise, we visited some very nice places and on the whole had good weather, apart from missing Laverno due to strong winds; but this was compensated for by moving quickly to our next port of Monte Carlo for an afternoon docking and an overnight and next day stay. The original port of Cadiz was also changed to Gibraltar, this did not bother us but had upset others who were meeting people in Cadiz.
The disembarkation went quite smooth and again we were well looked after with the Hilton having the transfer waiting for a quick return to pick up the car.
In summary far from being a superior deluxe cabin though it was a good size it was more "inferior". The ship looks impressive from the outside, but very dull on the inside, not very clean, a lot of "dead spots" during the evening away from the theatre, the entertainment just does not seem to flow. The tribute acts left a lot to be desired, Freddy Mercury looked like a cross between Bugs Bunny and Billy Bunter and Phil Collins tried to sing with a fake cockney accent and sounded more like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Our standard of cleanliness is as a minimum what we have at home, but if paying a lot of money expect this with extra touches. You get the latter but this does not cover up the dirt. Do not be fooled with the brochure or internet as it must have been done when the ship was new.