Holland and America
This cruise was by far the worst cruising experience that we have had for the following reasons
Pre Flight information
This was some what lacking, I opted for paper free but information was not available until very late on and the information about the trips available was very limited so it was very difficult to establish what the trip would cover. There was no information provided in respect of what would happen in the event of the adverse weather conditions.
This was misleading as the information in your brochure at the time of booking stated that a scheduled flight via British Airways would be used, but instead a charter flight was provided with Thomas Cook.
Our flight was due to leave at 8.30am 18/1/11. When we arrived at our hotel the night before the hotel informed us that we were delayed until 12.30. When we checked in at the terminal at 5.30am we were not advised of a delay, there was no bad weather at this point. Information provided was very poor. We spent 6 hours in the terminal, 2 hours at the departure gate (which had no facilities and was extremely cold) and another 4 hours on the plane during which time we were only offered 1 cup of water and a bag of pretzels, and the air conditioning needed to be turned off for de-icing so it became very hot. During this "11hours 55 minutes" we were only provided with one £5 voucher for refreshments. You notice that I have stated this "11hours 55 minutes" this is because we managed to take off just before any compensation claims would need to be paid. We finally made it to our cabin at 3.30am the following day.
Whilst the layout of the cabin was good there was less space than we are used to with similar grade cabins with other providers. Our cabin did his best to keep the cabin clean but the carpet was filthy and every night the cushions were put under the bed on the filthy carpet before being put on the bed again the following day.
We had to request more shampoo and soap and we were told that the shampoo could not be replaced until he could hand the empty bottle in, which was not convenient when two female are on board for a month and wash their hair every day.
Your promotions state the following which is misleading:
P&O Cruises is passionate about food - so prepare your taste buds for a treat. All of our chefs have been inducted into the Chaine des Rôtisseurs and the cuisine they create has been inspired from around the globe. They use only the finest ingredients in their kitchens and will keep your holiday full of mouth-watering flavour. Each of our superliners has a tempting medley of venues for you try and culinary adventures for you to experience. This is just a quick overview of the level of dining available on board, for full details of our dining options click on the link.
- Selection limited
- Food cold
- Plates often unavailable and dirty
- Cups often unavailable and dirty
- Cutlery often unavailable and dirty
- No service
- Tables not cleaned regularly
- Pastries were not edible
- Fruit was often not ripe
- First two weeks we had back bacon second to weeks only very fatty streaky
- Selection limited
- Food cold & tasteless
- Cutlery often dirty
- Service not professional - no recommendations made, often couldn't remember who had ordered what
- Not sure how they could make potatoes taste so poor
We eventually learned that if we wanted hot food in the dining room you had to order the steak as this would be cooked to order, and if you wanted food that wasn't bland overcooked or cold that you paid extra and ate in the speciality restaurants. The speciality restaurants food and service were of a standard that I would have expected in the main dining room
- Wine service - Service not professional - no recommendations made, and on the first evening I was asked to choose my wine for the second days meal. When I replied that I didn't know what that I would be eating I was provided with the next days menu and told that it would be better if I ordered it then as he was very busy!
Your promotion states:
We wouldn't be where we are today, Britain's favourite cruiseline, if it wasn't for our team. Regardless of how impressive our ships are, if we didn't have the high levels of service that we do on board, our passengers wouldn't come back, but they do.
Time is invested in our carefully selected staff. Before they step on board, they are inducted into P&O Cruises through a comprehensive on shore training programme. Once on board the training continues with On Board Trainers visiting each ship for up to a month at a time to ensure your holiday cruises with us are truly special.
You will find a passenger to staff ratio of 2:1 on board equalling an intuitive, but unobtrusive service at all times. From our British Officers to skilled galley staff, all are completely professional and nothing is ever too much trouble.
This is misleading most of the staff could not speak good English. They are on 9 month contracts and work 12 hours a day 6 days a week. Bearing in mind we were sailing for 28 days, they didn't remember our names or drinks and I think we got 3 Merry Christmases and no Happy New Years! If the ratio was 2:1 some people must have had 20:1 as staff were no where to be seen and we spent most of our time getting out of there way as we were made to feel we were inconveniencing them by asking for anything.
Your promotion was misleading as it states:
An eye for detail
With so many companies offering holiday cruises, what makes P&O Cruises a cut above the rest? Maybe it's because we think the little things are just as important as the big ones:
• Providing personal in cabin pamper treats - Not sure what you mean by this - there was a chocolate on our pillow but nothing more than this!
• Ensuring your glass is never empty at dinner - We had to serve ourselves a lot of the time as the wine waiter was too busy
• Producing a daily ship's newspaper with the latest headlining stories - this was often not available and we usually had to go back 3 times during the day to try and obtain it
• Stewards who remember your favourite drink - Never happened as the staff e=were not interested
• Turning your bed down every evening - Yippee this one is true!
When you combine these with our other unique touches we hope that you will agree our service is second to none.- totally disagree - I don't believe we received any more service that you get at MacDonalds
Your promotion states the following which is misleading:
P&O Cruises offer the very best in cruise entertainment. Evenings are the social highlight of the day when you are on board a P&O Cruises superliner. When the sun goes down your ship begins to come alive with the hum of conversation and music, and you can be sure you are in for a memorable night with our on board cruise ship entertainment.
Our fleet presents an exciting range of venues and cruise ship entertainment:
Cocktail bars, nightclubs, casinos and theatres; Live bands, dramatic musicals and deck parties; Cabarets singers, comedians and speciality acts; Classical recitals and concerts; Quizzes and panel games to play, with prizes to be won; Special theme evenings including tropical, 60's & 70's or Black and White Ball themes; Cinemas and games rooms.
Diverse and fun, each ship has its own distinctive signature venues and experiences. So chat into the small hours or hit the dance floor. The special ambience of evenings on board will ensure your nights will be sociable and filled with entertaining fun.
There was no nightclub - someone played records after the cabaret finished so there was no atmosphere at all
The tribute bands were very poor
The casino was so small and was tacked on to the end of a bar that held quizzes and karaoke so there was no glamour and no atmosphere
There was no cinema - a film was played in the cabaret lounge - this was delayed for an hour as they couldn't get the "projector" to work - not very 21st century
You bill this cruise as "sophisticated" several times we heard passengers refer to it as Butlins at sea which is much closer to the mark.
To say that we were very disappointed would be an understatement. My sister and I are both self employed, so to take a month off meant that this was a very expensive bad experience. I have read the comments from other "customers" and the comments seem to be very similar to those I have made and yet somehow you have recorded them as 5 stars.
Most of the people we spoke to, like us, were so disappointed they may never cruise again.
We made several complaints on board ship and to date no one has responded therefore at this stage I am copying in the Advertising Standards and Watchdog in the hope that other people do not get the same disappointing experience