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2 Acapulco to Caribbean - Southern Cruise Reviews

Let me start by saying that overall the cruise was very enjoyable. We were due to fly from Gatwick at 8.00am on December 20th but the flight was pushed back until 4.30, so having arrived at Gatwick the night before we didn't bother ... Read More
Let me start by saying that overall the cruise was very enjoyable. We were due to fly from Gatwick at 8.00am on December 20th but the flight was pushed back until 4.30, so having arrived at Gatwick the night before we didn't bother going to the airport until midday. Once checked in we popped up to the Executive lounge to relax until the flight was called. When 4.30 came around, the information board informed us that there would be more information by 5.30pm. When 5.30 came with no new information, we decided to go the information desk where we were informed that nearly all of the P&O passengers had been taken to a hotel for an overnight stay as the plane had been cancelled and would now be departing the next day. Being in the lounge there had been no announcement of this. I must clarify that the plane was cancelled not because of the snow but because of a 'technical issue' with the plane that was due to fly down from Manchester to collect us. After waiting two hours in the main departure lounge for a Thomas Cook representative to lead us out, we were helped by an airport operative who took us to the luggage claim to collect our cases and take us to the Thomas Cook desk in the arrivals hall. Once there, we were met by a very unhelpful chap called 'Mike' and when we informed him of what had happened he simply dismissed us by saying 'the other 300 passengers managed to hear the announcement so I don't get why you didn't'. Very helpful after waiting eight hours in an airport!! It would have been helpful if there had been a P&O representative at the airport to coordinate and ensure that all passengers had left the airport to go to the hotel. We arrived at the hotel around 9pm, but had an alarm call for 4am the next morning with the flight due to leave at 9.15am. Well, we did board the plane at around 9.15...but had to wait another two hours before taking off, so we were on the plane for a total of 17 hours!! Bit of a killer! We missed the day in Acapulco, which was a shame. The cabin (outside with a balcony) was fine, and kept nice and tidy and clean by the attendant. The public area's on the ship were good, clean and well maintained. The food was good throughout the two weeks, and at one point I felt a little sorry for one of the waiters in the plaza grill as one of the other English passengers was having a go at him for taking away the cooked tomatoes five minutes before breakfast was due to finish. The Marco Pierre White restaurant was a good experience with fantastic food, simple but very good. The only gripe about Cafe De Jardin is that it is a little dated. It could do with being a bit more contemporary as the dEcor does not meet the expectation of a MPW restaurant. We also booked the Horizon Grill, which is alfresco dining, for an evening meal. We were all looking forward to this but our table of nine ended in walking out of the restaurant due to the noise of the band directly below the dining area. It was impossible to hold any kind of conversation. With the deck being empty, it mystified us as to why the band were playing in the first place!! Three of us rebooked the Horizon Grill for another night and again it was a bit of disaster, this time is was due to service, with simple orders being mixed up and sent back. Shame really, as the setting is very nice. The Panama canal was excellent, Nicaragua was also good and the Caribbean islands are always good. St Maarten in particular is the place to invest in Cigarettes and alcohol! Overall, the cruise was very good and after a day or two on board we had forgotten about the debacle of getting there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
First off the cruise was great. We were giving P and O a second chance after trying Ventura two years ago and finding it to be very poor compared to the dozen or so Royal Caribbean cruises we had previously experienced. This was mainly ... Read More
First off the cruise was great. We were giving P and O a second chance after trying Ventura two years ago and finding it to be very poor compared to the dozen or so Royal Caribbean cruises we had previously experienced. This was mainly because of lack lustre food and dismal entertainment. However, the Oceana turned out to be a very pleasant littel ship, friendly and helpful staff and food that was almost up there with Royal Caribbean's. Our particular cruise was made even better by the great people we shared our dining table with - hello Ron & Evonne, Chris & Petra and Sue and Stew. On to the warnings, stay clear of inside cabin A506. It's next door to some machinery. We noticed the noise on our arrival, which incidentally had been delayed by 24 hours due to snow. We arrived around 22.30 after a 15 hour flight so being very tired we fell into bed with the machines' noise a constant background hum. No problem you might think - as we did, however from about 02.30 the damned machine kept tuning on and off. After complaining to reception we spent the rest of the night in C517 from 04.30 where we had a restful sleep. The next day I asked to be moved to that cabin but was fobbed off with replies that they would check the noise and get it rectified. I suspected that this was not a machine that they could actually do anything about and that they knew this. It was only at 18.00, some 30 minutes after we decided to fully unpack that we were told we could move to C517. Very annoying and frustrating. The other comment relating to P and O concerns the rip-off prices for their tours. We did two, one in Mexico that cost £70 to take us to the next bay along from the ship to snorkel over some dead coral and one in Nicaragua to get a glimpse of the country. This one cost £68 and amounted to a short bus ride to a town so we could take a look around, plus a stop at a lakeside hotel to look at two volcano's. Not very engaging. I estimate P & O took over £1,500 for our fully laden bus, yet their costs only amounted to the local guide and bus driver, plus fuel. Given that we didn't drive for more than an hour in total and assuming cheap labour costs, P and O must have made over £1,000 from us. This a blatant rip-off and while I like to support the economy of poorer countries P and O should have charged £10 - £15 for such a trip. Anyway, my biggest gripe is with Thomas Cook Airlines. The operator chartered by P & O to take us to Acapulco. This is probably the worst airline bar Ryan Air and not a patch on Thomson Airways who are also used by P & O. We flew 'Premium', principally because I need the legroom. Nothing premium about the service though. Firstly they have an outdated in-flight entertainments system with a small seat back TV that if the person in front is fully reclined means you cannot see properly. Secondly it is not interactive, meaning you have to wait for films to start. Thirdly there is only a very limited choice of channels with no games or the like. Fourthly, on our return flight from Barbados it was not working at all - despite repeated efforts by cabin crew to re-boot. All-in-all it's pants. The second gripe about Thomas Cook are the meals. For our 15 hour flight we had one hot and one cold meal - if you can call it that. My main meal was a chicken breast that was no larger than two McNuggets. The starter was some cold pasta thing, which incidentally was the same coming back. The desert was small but okay and this was followed by a piece if cheddar two inches long, one inch wide and 1/2 inch thick. Barely enough for a mouthful. Mid-flight we were given a tiny cornetto type ice cream that was half melted so that when you peeled back the wrapping it dripped everywhere. Now for the second meal(?), and bearing in mind this was a 15 hour flight was nothing short of a disgrace. A large cardboard box containing two sandwiches not more than 3 inches by 1 inch, both with indescribable contents. It wasn't much better for the return journey with a very small hot meal and then a breakfast(?) comprising of only orange juice and a small blueberry muffin - yes, that's all!! To cap it all there was no toiletries bag on the return flight - which is when you need the eye mask and no headphones were given out, (which in the end didn't matter as the so-called entertainments system was down). As I said, nothing wrong with the actual P and O cruise but avoid Thomas Cook Airline at all costs. And unless you're tall like me don't bother wasting £400 per couple on booking Premium, 'cos premium it ain't. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010

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