The ship has no soul ( Or WOW factor as one guest told me ).
1. The ship.
Having cruised many times before with RCI, Princess and others we felt it was time to give P and O a go.
What a mistake that was.
On first entering the ship and on later explorations around the ship two things struck me.
1). The artworks, if you can call them that are dread full with nothing of interest within the corridors, Atrium or stairwells but floral prints framed by black shiny plastic that were purchased from B and M by the look of them.
The art work on other ships has to be seen to be believed, stunning.
2). The designers of the ship must have been a first year primary class who were set a task, there is no form or semblance of order within the ship, without going into lots of details you would have to visit it to understand.
You cannot walk further than ten metres without having to traverse some obstacle whether it be a person lying on a sunbed or some obstructive part of the ship or a waiter asking it you would like a drink.
I love to walk and explore these floating marvels but was hindered from doing so to my frustration.
On the promenade deck you are told how far it is to walk around it but (unless you are Daley Thompson and can hurdle as well) this is impossible as certain people pull the chairs and loungers to the side rail of the ship making it virtually impossible to complete the circuit, I saw one poor chap with a pram unable to get through. I do not have this problem on any other line and they are policed regularly to ensure it.
The other problem the promenade has is the obligatory smoking habit you have developed by the time you managed to get around once.
I do not mind people smoking in the least but I do not want to.
The first visit to the Lido deck 15 was an experience I shall cherish for the rest of my life, I did not think it possible that so many bodies could get into that area.
Sometimes good, mainly mediochre.
The best meal we had there was in a bar called The Glass House which to be fair was very good but carried a cover charge and being a bar was continually full of drinkers.
We put our names on a list the length of the Doomsday book to eat at the Sindhu Indian restaurant but were never lucky enough to get there, we could only look through the windows like Victorian urchins watching the grown ups eating although what I failed to understand was the fact that there only ever seemed to be three people within there at any time.
Compared to what we are used to it was very amateurish and lack lustre but in fairness I think the staff tried their best.
The act’s that were brought on board with the exception of a couple were club land and quite dated.
The cruise director was a non entity, on previous ships they always seemed to be everywhere but perhaps I’m being to critical.
Exceptional, I cannot praise the staff enough, admittedly I can only vouch for the ones we met but they were all superb especially our cabin steward Desmond.
5. Ports of call.
I will not mention these as we have been to most of them before and everyone has their own opinions but the best for us was Tortola by a mile.
6). Nickel’s and Dimes mentality.
It is easy to get carried away on a review so I’ll try to be candid but my biggest moan has to be the lack of technology we suffered from with regard to the TV and internet.
Last thing at night I enjoy relaxing by watching some TV ( along with many others we spoke to it would seem ).
This proved impossible as the TV channels were appalling.
I cannot believe in this day and age we only had reruns of ancient TV program’s and films.
You had to pay for certain films at £1.99 which I did not mind but that was for the likes of “A street car named Desire” and Hitchcock’s Rear Window for goodness sake.
For a moment I thought I was back in the fifties and nearly started smoking a pipe and calling my wife the “little woman”
I think they used the reruns because they probably didn’t have to pay royalties or some such.
We run our own business and I find the internet indispensable for business and pleasure. Nearly everyone on this planet has a tablet or smart phone of some sort these day’s and I think P and O ought to realise that we are now in 2014 not 1914.
Not only was the internet connection terrible but also very very expensive. I deal in this sort of technology and am fully aware of it’s cost’s and limitation’s and feel that P and O are just milking the guest’s for every penny they can.
I paid for a 250 minute package which cost me £63.00 I believe plus a one off connection to the network fee of a couple of quid ( ha ha ). After a couple of day’s I demanded a refund as the ship network and internet connection was appalling as I have mentioned. This was given to me without quibble in fairness, probably because they realised how bad it was. As a result I was without communication until we reached a destination.
As I said elsewhere, we can only compare with what we have experienced on other lines and unfortunately P and O need to join the modern day.
P and O could probably do a deal with Sky or Virgin and provide these services for nothing as long as the glasses on board had a small logo on them I would have thought.
To sum up I thought we were on a budget cruise line which wasn’t reflected in the cost of the cruise and I cannot see us choosing P and O again.