Arrived in Southampton for my 1st Cruise and was just a little apprehensive.
We were dealt with quickly and efficiently on check in and within an hour of our arrival we were onboard. The first impression of this huge ship was WOW!
The staff onboard were attentive and welcoming and we made our way to the cabin we were allocated (last minute booking at an excellent price) B504 which was situated on deck 11 and was abalcony cabin on port side. This cabin was nicely furnished and presented and was very clean. It had a large hanging space with plenty of shelf storage and a small dressing area outside the shower room. All cabins have a safe which is free to use and once you have set your code you can store all valuables inside safely.
Our Cabin steward, Cristo was excellent, very helpful and attentive making us animals from towels each evening when we returned to our cabin. The choice of places to eat are many and all food and choices are excellent to say the least. There are theme nights if you dont want to eat in your designated restaurant and everywhere we ate was faultless, In particular we ate in the Beach House restaurant (Back of ship) were admittance is limited so arrive there at 6.30pm to secure a place as the food is 1st class, some is with a small supplement but many items are at no additional cost.We ate there 3/4 times and our waiter Hamil was 1st class too even remembering on our return our likes and dislikes. I was very impressed as they were fully booked each night. The choice of entertainment is huge and there is something for everyone no matter what age you are. We had Rachel Allen onboard this trip and she held a question and answer session with signings of her new book. We never used the Spa which looked lovely but I personally felt it was a little expensive and they bombarded you with flyers as if desperate for you to go there. There was a well equipped Gym at the back of the spa, although I never used it many did. There are a few shops onboard, however, Duty free shop closed all trip and you had to make purchases ashore when you stopped. Costa Coffee shop service was appalling and the staffs attitude could be greatly improved no way anywhere near the level of service in the rest of the ship! Coffee with attitude served here, eventually!! We ordered on 1 occasion and were told *Too busy madam, come back a bit later*!!! Not impressed. Plenty of excursions in the ports but these too were expensive, however free shuttle buses to the shops much appreciated. All in all a fabulous 1st Cruise and would definitely do it again as soon as possible.
Disembarkation...totally confusing with long delays. You book your choice of time at reception on ship a couple of nights before home and they notify you of where and when to go and be ready. We were packed into a bar for 45 minutes and kept being told we were delayed due to a bottle neck at the exit. Some people had flights to Scotland to get and were very distressed, nobody cared we were just told to wait. Eventually we all headed to the exit where there were no queues, no bottle necks and disembarked quickly without difficulty only to find in the luggage hall most of the luggage had been collected by passengers already left. So P and O you need to organise this better and it would be perfect! I would go again tomorrow and highly recommend it.