Have cruised several times with P & O and check in not normally a problem, this time two hour wait which was not a good start. There just did not seem any urgency and on several occasions the staff manning the check in had no passengers waiting despite the departure hall being overflowing. We joked that our cases would be on the ship before us and low and behold they were at our cabin before us, which was good. Having said that we subsequently learnt that many passengers did not have their cases until late into the evening.
Arrived at the stated time for the lifeboat drill only to told right at the last moment that it was not going to take place for another 45 minutes. They must have known this all along and so why assemble the passengers? The reason given for the delay was that not all of the passengers were on board, not surprising really given the fiasco at check in.
Had booked a standard inside cabin and got what we expected. (More of this later though )
Enjoyed the freedom dining experience which we have chosen before. Our first meal was in the Verona Trattatoria which we really enjoyed. Also went there on a further two nights although it was very popular and so don't turn up and expect to walk straight in. ( One occasion was a one hour fifteen minute wait, which to be fair we did not mind )
The buffet area for breakfast and lunch was as you would expect was really busy on sea days and you do have to take into account this when planning your meals. Found by arriving at 2.00pm there was usually plenty of room.
Good choice of food throughout and really enjoyable.
Dined in the main restaurant in the evenings and on one occasion went to Sindhu. Â£15.00 charge pp although we had a lovely meal, the best of the cruise as you would expect by having paid extra. The restaurant meals were fine though, plenty of choice , piping hot each evening and the waiters do an excellent job.
Really disappointing. This is our fifth P & O cruise and on the first cruise we thought how excellent the entertainment was. However five years later we are still seeing the same theatre shows and tribute acts ! This is not to say that the performers are not good, they are, its just that you need to see something different. Good comedian ( Peter Piper) who we have not seen before and also the cabaret acts, in particular the Johnson Brothers who I am sure will go far.
The films on board were the latest releases although personally we could not watch them on the Seascreen. During the day if the sun is out you have trouble seeing the screen and it is too noisy to sit and watch and in the evenings it is much too cold. Admittedly the films are repeated inside the next day although not in the theatre where you could comfortably enjoy them, but in the other lounges/bar areas.
Overall we had a most enjoyable time although now for the reason we will not cruise P & O again. We booked this cruise in August last year having seen the so called P & O price promise where if the price for the grade of cabin you book is reduced the difference will be passed onto you.
In August last year there was no mention of the "Getaway Deals " which are advertised after all passengers have paid their final balances. My belief , although P & O have denied this, is that they get around the so called price promise by not initially selling the lowest grade of cabin ( Inside, Outside and Balcony ) these lowest grades are then advertised as "Getaway Fares" with passengers booking late not only getting the benefit of a cheaper fare (Â£290.00 pp in our case ) but they also receive a cabin upgrade as well because P & O just sell the lowest grade over and over again and distribute late bookers around the ship accordingly. A pretty despicable way of treating a regular customer and those who have booked early. I did complain at length to P & O customer services before departure and received no satisfactory explanation from them; in fact my later requests to speak to the Head of their Customer Services went completely unanswered. Be warned and my advice is do not book ahead but wait for the Getaway deals.