We booked the cruise as a postponed honeymoon, we had been on the Oceana 2 years previously and hadn't wanted to revisit. However it was the itinerary we wanted. Previous to joining the ship we stayed at the Sofitel at Gatwick a great ... Read More
We booked the cruise as a postponed honeymoon, we had been on the Oceana 2 years previously and hadn't wanted to revisit. However it was the itinerary we wanted. Previous to joining the ship we stayed at the Sofitel at Gatwick a great way to start your holiday. The flight was chartered via Thomson and the check in was so smooth, the next time we saw our luggage was in our cabin. P&O have this part of your holiat off to a fine art. We were kep't informed of our pre cruise travel really well and love the cruise personaliser. We researched our shore ex trips and booked them all before boarding.
Once landed in Genoa the journey to the trip is relatively quick and getting through customs was super quick. The check in and embarkation once again was really good, very friendly check in staff, then the usual photo as you are about to board. Once on board, there was no cabin staff to show you to your cabin, just pointed in the right direction and find your own way. The last time we were on board, we were informed the ship was going into dry dock for a refit, we were intrigued to see what changes had been done. That will be none then, nothing has changed and the ship is looking really, really tired. We registered our son for the Reef and the team here are great, the activities are really good and he loved going on an evening, whilst we we dined as preferred to go to the children's tea. The reef team really engage with the children and also know how to converse at all levels.
Our first evening we dined as a family in the Horizon Grill, the food was nice, the cover charge to eat here is quite expensive for the choices and sizes, the service was terrible and considering the restaurant wasn't full, the food did take a long time to come out. The restuarant staff were more bothered about people walking through. The migration of passengers is very confusing. We travelled to Pisa on the next day whilst docked in Livorno, our local guide was really good and we were escorted by one of the ships photographers whom decided to fall asleep on the back seat and then badgered everyone for photographs. Day at sea was very relaxing, the crew once again were stretched and more bothered about throwing people of their sunbeds than actually servicing the decks. It was quicker and easier to go to the bar than wait for a waiter.
On this evening we started to eat in the Adriatic Restaurant, once again the restaurant hasn't changed, we had a table of 8 with 3 other couples. Our table was really pleasant and we looked forward to our evening meal. However we were on a second sitting and have to say, I have never experienced such bad service, no engagement from the waiters and no choice, meals were more or less thrown down and none of the great service we had received previously with P&O. To be honest the same service was replicated across the ship, it wasn't suprising to hear other passengers commenting on the same topics.
We would always pop to Cafe Le Jardin and once again the crew are more worried about passengers walking in through the rear doors than observing the passengers. The food options has dramatically reduced and is very evident to see, there are no labels informing you of what is available.
Our next shore ex was the island hopping in Croatia, this was excellent, the tour guide, the trip, the weathe the reason we took this itinerary. The shore ex guide from the ship however was more interested in speaking with the local guide about her bulgarian boyfriend and gossiping, something I personally don't want to hear. Which continued on the returned trip to the Ship, including the local guide then telling her all about her life? Our last shore ex was a Gondola trip in Venice, it was a great experience apart from our local guide, who's english was so bad, no-one could understand what she was trying to say, the walk from the tender to the Gondola was a good 30 mins and to be honest if we had known would have probably made our own way in and sorted it ourselves.
The Entertainment is probably the worst I have seen from a cruise ship standard, there was no Cruise Director on board, events cancelled with no alternatives, the cast just didn't want PR or speak with you. Which is a must for those all important CSQ's, however Paul Lau the host was brilliant, a real professional. The visiting attractions were great Roy Walker, The Octaves and Tony Adams. The sailaway parties are very dated with put a flag in your hand and pump, the conga and dated party dances.
The constant hounding of photographers get's on your nerves after a while and it is very expensive for what you get.
All in all we had a relaxing week on an itinerary that we had wanted, the ship is tired and the service in not good. The crew did mention that there had just been a crew change and it was evident. In their words all the good ones have been pulled onto the Britannia. Read Less