I have cruised many times - 22 over the past 35 years. Having said this, my last cruise was 12 years ago from Fort Lauderdale in Florida aboard Royal Carribbean's Explorer of the Seas which by the way was amazing. I have not cruised P & O for some 13 years.
I was stunned beyond belief the way P & O cruising has changed. Everything was based around what they can sell you. I truly felt I was aboard a floating TVSN commercial. Everything from Lose 5" in 2 hrs to Botox parties. Magic pills for sale to by a "Snake Oil Salesman" striking fear into people's hearts spouting fear facts which in truth were absolute lies. How they get away with what they do is beyond me. They really need to be challenged. The "Salesman" muttered obsenities at my Daughter and I as he walked past on his way out. Guess he didnt like the way were not buying into his sales pitch. Disgusting but very true. The only reason we were there was because we were waiting for the next Game Show to start and he had gone over by some 20 minutes.
Have your footprints taken so they can sell you something else. On and on it went. This was on a 3 night cruise mind you.
The drinks were good however varied dramatically in size and cost depending on what bar you went to. I would seriously question the alcohol levels in the drinks also. I think the alcohol is diluted or halved particularly in the cocktails.
Cruises are normally known for the smiles and happy dispositions of the staff. Not on this one. All but 1 member of staff were incredibly unhappy. Miserable I would go so far as to say. Many were outright rude. Again, I was absolutely stunned. This is not the cruising I remember.
The food was disgusting.. Stale bread and pastries. I am certain they were left over from the previous cruise. I very much doubt that any of the bread or pastries were freshly made aboard. The only exception to this was the bread rolls at night. Portion sizes in the Restaurant were pitiful. The food was the worst I have ever encountered on any ship by far.. Orange juice was reconstituted which is fine but diluted 20 times over what it should. The soups were watery and flavourless. The sauces ie tomato sauce was diluted and was like tomato juice. Muesli was cheap rolled oats not muesli. Lemon meringue tart was served on a large plate with 3 squiggles of sauce with this little teeny weeny tart approx size of a 50 cent piece. The meringue was runny and not fully whipped and it had been blow torched slightly. Not only did it look ridiculous on the plate, it was inedible. I could go on and on and on. Most food was left on the plate - what there was of it. We went to the buffet once and that was enough. Lots of nothing. People eating from the buffet line. The rating I would give the food is a 1/10.
We went to Salt - a Restaurant aboard that you can pay for. $30 for lunch and $49 for dinner per person. We went to lunch. It was OK. By comparison it was heaven but I still did not feel it was as good as it should have been. I would rate it 6/10. The Salt Restaurants on land are far superior to this one.
Cabins are now tidied once per day - that is fine but a change from the previous 2 times per day. Room service is available but at a hefty price. Bottles of water are in your cabin and are $4.95 each for 1 litre.
The cruise was a Comedy Cruise and it was very hit and miss with the commedians but that is very normal and really a personal thing as to taste. Trying to get into the shows and get a seat was sometimes impossible as it was already full.
The weather was fantastic.
Boarding and disembarkation were flawless. This was with the exception of the woman at the end of the line assisting with disembarkation. I believe she could have been African American. She was screaming and was abusive. I understand that people need to be assertive however she was extremely rude screaming abuse at people and it was just so unnecessary. P & O should be ashamed to have someone like this as your last memory leaving their ships. Many people were talking about her as we all went to collect luggage. Lasting memory on top of all the rest of negatives.
I will cruise again. I love it. I however will NEVER cruise P @ O again. Disappointment plus. I will go back to Royal Carribbean. Far superior in every way.
I would rate this cruise 1/10 Poor is being generous.