Having read the negative reviews we set off for our cruise with a little trepidation.........from arrival at Manchester airport we found the organisation extremely efficient indeed. Our flight left at 6.15am and by 9.30am we were sitting on the Lido deck taking in the Italian sunshine having already familiarised ourselves with the main areas of the ship, well done P & O I say!!
We had a superior deluxe balcony room which was spacious, very clean and in good condition. The bed was very comfy and our cabin steward kept it spik and span all week, he was very friendly and competent indeed.
We were freedom dining and prefer to dine alone out of the 6 nights that we used the Cinnamon dining room we were immediately seated at a table on 3 the other 3 nights the longest wait was 35 minutes giving us time to enjoy a pre dinner drink. We did not find this unacceptable or annoying at all we just utilized the time to enjoy a cocktail before dinner. The food was very nice and well presented, there was usually something to suit our taste and if there wasn't the classic menu was there to order from, a couple of nights we mixed our order from the 2 menus. The waiters were polite and friendly, we never had to ask for our water to be topped up and were asked at every course if our meal was okay. When I struggled to decide between deserts our waiter just bought me both bless him.
We found ample choice of food in both bayside and the beach house for breakfast and lunch and the only time we found them to be overly busy was the morning of disembarkation back at Genoa, again to be expected as many people had to vacate their cabins by 7am. The deck grill on lido deck turned out some tasty snacks and the pizzas were prepared as you ordered so queues did build up there at times.
The lido and sun decks did get very busy on sea days especially but this is to be expected. On these days the bar staff and waiters on deck worked very hard but they did chat when serving you if you took the time to chat and be polite to them. I didn't find any of the staff impolite, miserable and rude but I did come across some very impolite, miserable and rude passengers that were nothing short of professional moaners. I believe that people should complain when unhappy about something but the aggressive manner in which we witnessed a complaint being made on one occasion was shocking!!!!
The shows I believe were very busy and you had to get there early to get a seat but we didn't go to any, the musicians and singers that we did see in the bars were all easy listening and not bad.
As smokers I feel that I have to comment on this......actually previous reviews are wrong. Yes smokers are catered for as they should be, there is specific areas of outside decks that are for smokers, namely one side of the promenade deck, the same side on lido deck there are specific table and chairs by one of the pools, one side of breakers bar up on deck 16 and one side of the terrace bar at the aft of the ship. Overall this is a very small percentage of the outdoor space being allocated to the smokers clearly this offends some people but hey the very same peoples rude, offensive behaviour offends me!!!!!
To summarise we found the organisation overall very efficient, the food was good in all eateries that we used, the cabin was clean and well kept. We had no issues with any of the P and O staffs behaviour and just wish the same could be said for the behaviour of some of the passengers. My only complaint if I had to have one would be the lack of soda packages etc on offer in comparison to the ones we have been able to purchase on Princess and RCI, however, I certainly wouldn't let this put me off booking with P and O in the future.