My wife, two teenage daughters and I recently spent 11 nights on the Oceana cruising to the Med. We have cruised numerous times on the major cruise lines but this was our first time and P&O. We read the various reviews of both the so called pro's and past cruisers and were thinking we would be getting at minimum 3.5 star if not 4 out of 5 star experience. End result, don't believe what you read!
The ship itself is configured in a strangle way with food and entertainment scattered throughout bow and stern of the sip and on various levels making passenger traffic flows haphazard. In addition the highest indoor deck at the front of the ship is occupied by the buffet so there is no quiet place to sit and either read or watch the scenery without hearing the noise of others eating all around you. If you want to see where you are going you must go outside.
The service crew on board like most cruise ships are from all over. They are extremely polite and accommodating. With spending more then a week on board you can actually get to know some of them and they are very engaging.
We occupied one of the very large suites on board as we prefer to all be in one room as this usually gives us the most space and in the past the best value for our room cost. This is not the case with P&O. Simply put don not waste your money on a suite. While most large cruise lines give significant perks to "suite' passenger, outside of priority boarding there is little else. They claim you get "butler" service. We saw little of our butler and as we can do most everything ourselves on board the butler service was of very little value. Two large balcony rooms would have been just as good and substantially cheaper.
Now for the food. Remember in the 1970's and 80 when everyone who travelled to England would comment on how bland the food was, well P&O have spared no expense in recreating that culinary experience. In fact on every menu in the main dining room they state how they spare no expense in creating tradition English fare. The problem is that the rest of the world has moved beyond "pot pies" and mushy peas which forms the basis on most meals on board. While dinner in the main dining room can be at times better stay away from the buffet for any and all meals. As for the specialty dining locations the Café Jardine is good but why the need for a streak place "Horizon Grill" is beyond me. Let's face it cooking steak is not a European thing with, the meat is not great and the result is at best cooked medium but usually comes well done. Again don't waste your money.
The end result is that P&O has carved out a niche market for itself. If you are a 70+ British pensioner from anywhere in the U.K. other then London you will fit right in and feel like you never left home. If you are not a "Brit" the ship is not for you!