The cruise was last week and took us from Southampton to Brest, Bilbao, Cork and Dublin. The weather was very poor and through the Biscay we had a force 7/8 wind. It was choppy but we thought the ship rode well.
Check-in was fairly quick, about 40 minutes from arrival to boarding the ship but nowhere near as quick as Cunard in New York and Princess in Florida. Security is rather over the top particularly the x-ray checks every time you get on board.
Our cabin was excellent, a very good size with a good balcony. The cabin steward was very pleasant.
We dined in the Peninsular Restaurant and had a table for two. Had good service from the waiters. Food is not as good as it used to be and the portions seem to be very small. Breakfast in the Peninsular every morning was good and we had afternoon tea once which we thought was very good.
Had lunch in the self-service once but did not bother after that because of the scrum and lack of tables. Generally thought the bread served on board was of very poor quality even the baguettes for lunch from the deck burger stall.
Dined in the specialist Indian retaurant Sindi at an extra £15 per head which was excellent and had an absolutely superb meal at 17 for an extra £20 per head. Once upon a time the ordinary dining on P&O was much nearer to what you have to pay extra for now. Anyone remember the superb seafood buffets they used to serve at lunch time once or twice a cruise?
The little things such as the quality of the menus and the paper on which the cruise log is printed are nowhere near the quality of the past.
Bars generally seemed crowded, entertainment was not as good as on previous P&O cruise, quite a few loud and ill mannered people on board and many not bothered about dress codes.
Port visits apart from Brest which is a waste of time where good with efficient shuttle bus transfers laid on. Did not have to wait more than 15 minutes despite the ship being full.
Would think long and hard before going P&O again. Last time we went Berlitz rated the ship Premium and 4 star+. They seem to rate P&O standard and just 4 star. I think they are rapidly becoming 3 star and that it is only the quality of the relatively new fleet which keeps them four star.
P&O have a lot of large ships which they need to fill and as a result are cutting the quality of the experience to make the prices competitive. Getting on for 50% of those on the ship were first timers.