Our group consists of 3 couples who regularly holiday together. This trip was a celebration for my sister in law who was 60 this year and had always wanted a cruise holiday. Her choice was the Norwegian Fjords.
We travelled to Southampton on an Eavesway Coach; one of the best coach trips I have ever taken. The coach was so roomy and the seats very comfortable.
Embarkation:- As usual this was completed with the minimum of fuss and we were on board within 30 minutes of leaving the coach. Luggage was at our cabin and our steward was available to introduce himself and make us feel at home.
Stateroom:- Our cabins were roomy with a lovely balcony. There was plenty of storage space although we may have struggled if travelling for more than seven nights. The bathroom was spacious with a short bath and shower over. All in all a good start to the holiday.
Ship Info.:- although having undergone a refit in 2005 this ship is still tired. There are some nice touches with coloured glass and lights in the entertainment areas but overall the feel was of a comfortable country hotel not a luxury cruise ship.
Dining:- We dined in the Meridian dining room on the lower floor and were pleased with the location of our table. The staff were helpful but we often felt rushed so that second sitting set up could be completed. The food was varied with adequate servings. Vegetables were often wet and meals would have benefited from being hotter on occasion. Despite reading,on Cruise Critic, that a dress code was suggested but not enforced we found this not to be so. The men is our party dressed for the formal nights and there was no problem. This occurred on the evenings when smart attire was required. P+O appear to equate a jacket with sophistication. The smart shirt and tie ensemble was not deemed appropriate and staff were on hand to single out guests and remind them of this. However we noted T-shirted gents with a jacket enter dining and bar areas without challenge. Also seen was a gent with bottle of wine in his jacket pocket again unchallenged. When we queried this odd imposition we were told by staff that passengers preferred the sophistication of dining with a jacket - preposterous!!
Activities:- There was plenty to do with outside deck games,lectures,swimming, golf and tennis for the energetic.
Entertainment- this was not spectacular, the usual song and dance. The comedian was poor. We enjoyed evenings in the piano bar and the Crows Nest so did not miss going to the theatre.
Time Ashore:- We visited Stavanger which was beautiful with the Cathedral worth a visit;worth it at 4 NK for entrance. Olden;- We took the excursion to the Briksdal glacier when in Olden, this was a brilliant experience with beautiful scenery and the weather was wonderful. Without an excursion Olden is very pretty but can be visited in a couple of hours. Andalsnes was a very small port with not much in the way of anything if not on an excursion. Bergen is beautiful, having been in March when the sun shone it was disappointing to be greeted by the first rain of our week. One can't control the weather.
Disembarkation:- this was effortless and we were back aboard our coach by 9.30 am and on our way home
Overall we had an enjoyable cruise, marred by the 'sophisticated jacket saga'. In all ways this cruise and ship is comfortable not classy and should perhaps try to cater as such. Remember Jacket required!!!