I wont re-iterate other reviews about our 24 hour delay due to Thomas Cook, but I would like to say that the organisation of the Arora Hotel in Crawley was fantastic. However, we waited almost 2 hours to retrieve our luggage at Gatwick and many of the cases were inexplicably wet! Having waited at the airport for nearly 12 hours everyone was exhausted.
We finally got on our way having had a 4am call at the hotel and the plane was delayed another 2hrs 20 mins from what we had been told when checking in. When we finally arrived at the ship we set sail immediately and were sent to the Buffet dining for something to eat - nothing very appetising was available. Also, we were not taken to our cabins on arrival by staff and were just told to go to our level by the lift, which it turned out was not on our side of the ship, so we had to go back to the Atrium to find out where the appropriate lift was.
I have to say that it took about 3 or 4 days to get over the journey and I slept for hours (which isn't usual). We booked cabins with limited view due to lifeboats being in the way, so no complaints there; as long as we had light to wake up to each day. We saw our cabin steward that evening and only saw him once more for the whole of the cruise. Cabin a bit small. There were no bed side tables but a 3 drawer chest of drawers on one side which was difficult to open and nothing on the other. I used the dressing table seat (all wood) next to my side. You couldn't walk round the end of my side of the bed, but I had to climb over the bed in order to get out. Otherwise cleanliness, toiletries etc were good.
I was disappointed with the food and I think P&O are trying to cut corners. On previous cruises with other companies, if you want a main course as a starter portion you could have it. You could also have a second portion of anything if you wished. The Christmas Day meal was very disappointing. I think nearly all the Brussels Sprouts were sent back as you could not cut them with a knife let alone eat them. A lot of the food was tasteless - very disappointing. I actually lost weight on this cruise! We enjoyed afternoon tea, but they cannot prepare crumpets, they are just shown the grill and not toasted at all! Very limp and pale.
The entertainment was mediocre - Jimmy James, The Fortunes and Tony Gubba were good. The show team were a bit amateur but what I couldn't understand was that each show was repeated the following night. Therefore we didn't get many shows. One night the show was cancelled as one of the cast was ill. What happened to "The Show Must go on"? I once went to see the skater Robin Cousins, he was ill and the understudy skated in his place. We had a fantastic night and booked to go again when Robin was better!
We were not impressed with Marco Pierre White's Restaurant. Although we only went to lunch one day the food was not good. Also, I didn't like the idea that passengers trying to get from one side of the ship to another walk through the restaurant. It was just like a motorway service station.
We didn't go on any trips organised by P&O and we had a good time in every port taking trips or booking taxis ourselves.
Next time I book a cruise it will more than likely be with Princess or Celebrity.