I travelled with my husband and we are in our mid forties and our 20 year old daughter. We took the free upgrade to a Virgin flight, which meant we had to collect our luggage at the airport but this was not a problem. It was loaded on to the coach at the airport and delivered to our room within a short while. We did have a delay at Gatwick due to a technical fault and didn't arrive until after 6pm. It was a good service provid by Virgin with a huge choice of films and free drinks throughout the flight. There was no queue at the embarkation hut and within minutes we were in our cabin.
We had a balcony cabin with a separate dressing area with plenty of space for clothes for the 3 of us. We had bunk beds and would have preferred a roll away bed but it was ok. The bathroom was small but functional and we always had hot water day or night. You can use the blue towels for the pool and take them off the ship to the beach.
On the first night there is a welcome BBQ on deck with a wide choice of meats, salads and desserts. We had to take time out to attend the mandatory drill but we were expecting this. Drinks were surprisingly realistically priced with a pint of beer costing Â£3.45 and a J20 was Â£2.00 so definitely comparable to pub prices in the UK.
The first day was at sea and we managed to find 3 sun beds together in the afternoon. There did seem to be some reserving of sun beds and they were tightly packed together. I preferred the terrace pool at the end of the ship. We did get to use the jacuzzis too and they weren't overcrowded.
We were really impressed with the food and I was glad that I didn't read any reviews before I left. We were allocated the late sitting in the Peninsula restaurant and our waiters James and Sanjay were helpful and attentive and nothing was too much trouble. We all thought the quality of the food and the presentation was excellent. At the end of the cruise all 165 chefs on board came out and received a well deserved round of applause. We ate breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea in the self service restaurant most days. We occasionally had a formal lunch and breakfast which was lovely. We also tried the light bites at Sindhu which was worth the additional Â£5.00 cost. We also used the grill snacks kiosk by the pool and the pizza station a couple of times. The chefs also hosted a chocoholics event and I have never seen such a huge range of chocolate cakes and desserts. They even had a 4 tier chocolate fountain. Unfortunately we had eaten lunch so couldn't manage to eat much. We ordered room service for breakfast for Mother's Day and there was plenty of choice. Our daughter loved the pot of hot chocolate and could have had it every day.
The entertainment was good. We saw most of the headliners shows and they did put a lot of effort in. We saw Gareth Oliver which our daughter especially enjoyed. We also liked Jessica Lloyd and some of the other acts. We never had a problem getting a seat in the Playhouse. We also particularly liked Malabar and went to all the other bars too. There was a good range of shops and we used the library service. We found reception to be helpful on the couple of times we needed to use them. We used the gym occasionally and attended some of the stretch classes which were complimentary. My daughter had her hair coloured and she was pleased with the result.
We visited St Maarten, Tortola, Dominica, St Lucia, Barbados, Cura'ao, Aruba, St Vincent and Grenada before returning to Barbados. We didn't book any excursions with P&O. Instead we got taxis to the beaches. We went to Trafalgar Falls in Dominica but the botanical gardens weren't up to much. We pre-booked an excursion to swim with turtles in Barbados which our daughter wanted to do and we weren't disappointed. They were located by the Hilton hotel just outside of Bridgetown. We also snorkelled round a wrech that went down in 1885 and there was a wide variety of fish to see. The see was rougher than it looked in Aruba so be careful.
Disembarkation was well organised and we managed to get seats together and had no delays on the return flight.