There are two things that P and O are brilliant at.
One is the glossy brochures trying to sell excellence.
The other is the way they fleece every single penny from the punters once they are trapped on their ships.
This was our first holiday for five years and we were sold on the wonderful brochure rhetoric about Oceana and the Panama Canal cruise Jan 2011.
A mini suite seemed perfect for us to view all from the stern.
Once aboard, after unecessary security worse than Gatwick, we waited 6 hours for our cases to be delivered to our cabin. 5 hours! A very bad start with no apology or satisfactory explanation. Everyone was fuming.
Oceana is a tatty ship, carpet torn, stuck down with Duck Tape. Carpet edges lifting, rust coming through paintwork, unchanged duff lightbulbs, low pressure hot water, muck in the bottom of the pools and jacuzzi etc.
If P and O spent as much money refurbishing this faded hulk as they do on glossy brochures it could be quite good again.
OK, let's be more specific......
This was a very expensive cruise and we expected the luxury to reflect the price. Sad error here!
This can only be described as Butlins at Sea.
In fact the facilites, entertainment, food and ambience are probably better at Butlins for a fraction of the price.
The prices on board for alchohol are an outrage. One cannot compare with UK prices. Remember, this a Bahama registered vessel and buys it's alchohol locally paying no UK excise. So, one is shafted twice over, the profit margins are obscene.
Smokers are treated like lepers. EU(UK) law should not apply to a Bahaman registered ship in international waters with a mainly foreign and Asian crew.
The full spectrum xray security measures coming back on board from ashore are not designed to protect but to confiscate any booze one buys ashore at sensible prices. They want a totally captive market.
The entertainment team must have come straight from school, lacking any talent, childish and immature, all giggles, hyena laughs and corny. Not a pro amongst them.
The cruise director? Lost for words here, where did they drag her from?
The food, well, think Butlins, bland and average. The Plaza? Think 1970s Motorway Services at Newport Pagnell!
The signature restaurants charge outrageous cover charges for food that is no better than your average town eaterie.
Just remember, this cruise was advertised and sold at high prices!!!!!!!
We are always happy to spend but want value for money, when you pay top dollar you expect top dollar.
All in all, total rubbish, never again.
Sorry P and O, everything about this ship is a disgrace. A two star experience for a five star price. A total miss sell!
The only highlight, The Canal, amazing.