We have been on a lot of cruises,but this was our first time with P & O. I will try to give an accurate report of how we found the cruise,as although we had read other reviews of the ship before we took the holiday, I have tried not to ... Read More
We have been on a lot of cruises,but this was our first time with P & O. I will try to give an accurate report of how we found the cruise,as although we had read other reviews of the ship before we took the holiday, I have tried not to let the good and bad points influence what I have written.
We booked the cruise at the Daily Telegraph Cruise show back in January, for two reasons:
(1) Our recently widowed friend was coming with us,because her and her husband usually cruised with us, so she wanted to come
(2) I thought we might get a better deal booking at the show and booking early
Wrong. Our friend couldn't get single occupancy and the price was the same as anywhere else.We were also a bit miffed,because 6 weeks before the cruise ,you could book it for just over half of what we paid.
We booked an inside cabin each. Paid the extra fare that P&O offer, to get you first choice on an upgrade,possible choice of dining (we wanted Freedom) and free shuttles in ports . We did get an upgrade to a higher deck, but the same cabin, anyway. Dining options weren't confirmed until we were on board and shuttles were free everywhere anyway. When on board my wife and I had two cards in our cabin,one saying Freedom dining and the other saying Second (8.30) dining. Our friend (remember booked at the same time so we could have close cabins and same dining option) and she just had 2nd dining. We went to where you have to go to book your freedom dining, and told by a surly officer that she had been allocated 2nd sitting and we had as well. I showed him our freedom dining pass and he said there must have been a mistake and we had been allocated 2nd dining, so that is what we had to settle for.
Anyway ,on to embarkation
Quite smooth (20 minute wait in car til P & O took it away),checked in and into our cabin within half an hour.
Had a look around ship,attended the sail-away and obviously the life boat drill, bit of lunch and unpacked. This is when we found the lifts, and all the criticism of them and lack of stairs mid-ship is completely justified. I won't go on about them,just read reviews that others have put on.
The weather for the cruise was poor,but if you are cruising Britain, then that's what you're likely to get. This is where I found P & O to be lacking. Entertainment when you can't go ashore and at sea days when you can't get on deck, is very very poor. Just a quiz in the morning and in the afternoon, and a juggling workshop for 20 minutes and a couple of rounds of interactive bowling. Other cruises we've been on,have arranged a lot more for passengers when there's been inclement weather
Food is A1. Best we've had since the early days of cruising. Starters,soup,mains,dessert,cheese and biscuits and coffee
We went to the self service Lido for breakfast and lunch and that was good as well, and unlike a lot of previous cruises we found a table for 3 very easy and hardly any queuing.
Over 70 types of English bottled beer in Brodies (where they held very good picture quizzes) at £3.75 for a 500ml bottle. Slight criticism, they are kept very chilled so they need to be left a little while to warm up
Entertainment. The Headliner shows were very good. They had a interactive screen in the theatre that was excellent. We didn't find any problems getting seats for the three of us together, but it is best to get in half an hour before the start. A problem here is,that if you are on 2nd sitting dinner ,you can't see the show at the theatre and the live act in the Live Lounge as they both are on at the same time. There's an 8.30 show and a 10.30 show at both. When the Headliner Cast did their 3 shows (make sure you take in The Underground show,superb) they do at least do a performance at 7 ,but the guest acts don't,so if there's one on in the theatre and one on in the live lounge,you can only see one.
On the next to last night we went to what was supposed to be, a super pub quiz at Brodies. This was hosted by the two most inadequate, lack of talent and moradic quiz masters it's ever been mine and most other peoples misfortune to see. Nick and Tom were their names and they were truly awful and embarrassing, acting like two loutish teenagers. They were trying to be funny but only succeeded in making themselves laugh. The quiz should have been 30 questions but because of their tomfoolery, they had to stop after 20 questions, because it had gone on for over an hour. Mind you,lots of passengers had walked out by then.
This was round Britain, and although we hadn't been to any of the ports we did them on our own, and saved a fortune by not using the P& O extortionate trips. We went to one port talk, which was probably the worst we've ever been too. The speaker was directly reading off a prepared list, and was only interested in ships tours and wouldn't answer questions or give any info on doing it yourself.
Al in all, an average sort of cruise,but in my opinion not up to the standard of Royal Caribbean or Princess which we are going on in August , Read Less