Rather than subject the reader to a tome I shall bullet point our views;
Good, quick assisted boarding. Advised to use Orangery for lunch before accessing our inside cabin.
Orangery... cold, draughty and smokers sat just outside the doors at either end so wafts coming into this awful space which is no better than an aged ferry. Food- breakfasts on similar lines to a bad greasy spoon. Tongs to withdraw chosen items from various units similar experience to those claw machines where you win a teddy once in every 13 attempts. Staff surly and obsessed with removing plates, cups etc with barely a grunt to be sure you have finished.Avoiding eye contact & smiling? well only a very few bothered with that courtesy even when greeted with a smile and a thank you from us. One gentleman was communicated with by a "waiter" tapping his arm with his bent forefinger and then pointing at the chaps plate to which he replied "Yes I have finished". The operative rude and clearly displeased with his lot in life. Nearer the end of the cruise a supervisor with a dark beige Neru jacket went around to various table instructing guests to ensure they ticked the "Excellent" box on their feedback forms not just Good, re-iterating this several times, I could not believe he had the nerve. Incidentally, our cabin steward said exactly the same thing to us, write "Excellent" nothing else please. I reassured him that we had indeed ticked this box but only this one question as we were about to go for dinner. When we returned to our room another box had been crossed in "Excellent". I asked my husband if he had done it but he said no. I asked our steward who had done this but he didn't really know. I asked for another form. I did tick Excellent but I wanted to do so myself.
The ship is old, tired and dirty. Tea & other stains on the woodwork, seating & tables in the hideous Orangery remained for the duration of the cruise, Painted rust everywhere.
Alexandria restaurant very nice and the food well prepared. Our waiter, assistant waiter & Somelier all very professional and attentive without being over the top.
Entertainment dire. A couple of the shows had clearly had a lot of time and energy spent on them but it was hardly cutting edge and one of the singers sounded like a strangled cat.
The "Captaaain's" question and answer session degenerated into an ex-wife verbal battering session calling her a cow and saying one might see her flying round on her broomstick etc etc. He clearly didn't like her but using that arena to vent his spleen was inappropriate to say the least.
Security when disembarking sullen and surly. They might have an important job to do but they could at least smile....it's supposed to be a holiday not entering GCHQ.
Clientele. What is the point of professing that P&O is about the finer things in life, that they require every passenger to observe their various dress codes when people in jeans, scruffy shirts and trainers mull about unchallenged on formal nights. It's an affront.
We did not get a last minute vastly reduced deal and perhaps that adds to our venting our spleen here but when you're accompanied in a lift by a burping, flatulant, tattooed person who declares that he got a balcony room for £306 it kind of describes what P&O are about. Forget the pretention P&O.