We have cruised on a number of different ships in the past including P&O so kind of knew what to expect.
We boarded at Southampton and embarkation was very smooth and was on the ship in no time, luggage is carry on unless you have a bigger case, when they will take on for you. Ship is nice and layout it fairly easy, very similar to Oriana with Andersons bar, not as glizty as the likes of Princess, RCCL etc, but think that is expected on P&O. We hated the layout of the Orangery, feels very cramped and bit canteen like, I know they are always quite like feeding time at the zoo but this was worse than anything id experienced before, didnt think food was great either in here, not much choice, whether this is due to it being a mini cruise?
Our cabin was lovely, we chose a balcony deluxe room which was pretty roomy and a nice size bathroom. Entertainment - Only went to 1 show which was the same as the Oriana 2 years ago, so they cant update these very often, we are on the Oceana in a few weeks so be interesting to see if they are the same as we have previously seen, we are not that bothered with the shows so not a major issue for us. Dining - We ate in the speciality restaurants both times, Cafe Bordeaux and the Pennant grill, both were enjoyable, prefered the food at Cafe Bordeaux (not as good as Orina Rhodes though)and service was brilliant at the Pennant Grill. Service elsewhere on the ship was very average, staff did there job but no one really went that extra mile except the staff in the Pennant Grill. Staff are quite surly and no one just says hi like on Princess. Drinks were reasonable, although they had run out of a lot of stuff. Quite a few hen/stag parties on board but they were well behaved. We had a lovely break and always enjoy our cruises and take the rough with the smooth, we would defintely do another mini cruise, however I think anyone that had not cruised before may be put off by doing a mini cruise as things are not quite as well oiled as on a longer cruise, the "extras" are not there and everyone is moving at a very fast pace trying to fit evrything in, in sucha short space, whether this is a reflection of a mini cruise or P&O in general, I guess we will find out on our next P&O trip in June.