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10 Southampton to Caribbean - Western Cruise Reviews

After being regaled non stop by me about the excellent food and shows you get on a P&O Cruise,I finally managed to convince my wife to take her first ever cruise......We decided on the Caribbean Christmas and New Year Cruise on Aurora ... Read More
After being regaled non stop by me about the excellent food and shows you get on a P&O Cruise,I finally managed to convince my wife to take her first ever cruise......We decided on the Caribbean Christmas and New Year Cruise on Aurora - I cruised on the same ship in 2013 on her Transatlantic and Canada trip and was looking forward to being reunited with the ship. Boarding went well, and the A Deck Cabin was comfortable. We were booked on Club Dining in Alexandra Dining Room. My wife was looking forward to the "fine dining", but when the menu arrived, it was disappointing to see that the menu was quite poor. In fact, the standard of the food, when it arrived,was not of the standard that I had been used to on previous cruises. Silver service no longer exisis, nowadays all the food appears on the plate, and has the consistency of the "boil in the bag" variety. Other guests complained about the bland taste, lack of seasoning - in fact when two meals were exchabged between another couple, they could not discerne the taste difference between Pork and Chicken!. Potatoes were undercooked. We were so appaled by the standard, that we ended up eating most of our meals in the Buffet or at the Speciality Restaurants, where the standard shone through. The headliners were not good, the singing was out of tune. The Star Acts were excellent - Well Done, there!. Service was its usual high standard The best excursion was to Nelsons Dockyard, which was the highlight of all the ports. The weather was glorious once through the BOB. The wife enjoyed the Watercolour masterclasses, although it was crammed into a corner of the Crows Nest. rather than the empty Uganda Room. When the Entertainment Manager, Leon, was buttonholed by the ladies about this, his reply of " We didnt want too many people turning up was astounding and rather insulting. As you can imagine, although the wife wants to go on more cruises in the future, she is adament it will not be with P&O Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
While the service crew were outstanding, and tried their hardest to make the cruise pleasant, the truth of it is that this is a Sea Bus. It is overcrowded (which makes good service very difficult), the ports of call are boring, with very ... Read More
While the service crew were outstanding, and tried their hardest to make the cruise pleasant, the truth of it is that this is a Sea Bus. It is overcrowded (which makes good service very difficult), the ports of call are boring, with very little to see or do (a lot of passengers stayed on the boat and didn't even bother to get off), and far too much time is spent at sea (about half the days are sea days). With 6 of the 14 days at sea, and some shortened (1/2 day) ports of call, you would think Royal Caribbean would step up the entertainment, but the best they could do was multiple trivia games all day long And good luck finding a place to sun around the pool! The hot tubs were always taken over by legions of teens; in fact, children could be found running unsupervised all over the ship. Unless you want to drink heavily, sun yourself daily, and let your kids run amok (or experience others who do), I suggest you find another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Having cruised for over 25 years, several with P& O, we returned from this Christmas/New Year cruise exceedingly disappointed with the level that standards had dropped to. The hygiene levels were very poor indeed. We lost count of the ... Read More
Having cruised for over 25 years, several with P& O, we returned from this Christmas/New Year cruise exceedingly disappointed with the level that standards had dropped to. The hygiene levels were very poor indeed. We lost count of the number of times we had to ask for the tables to be wiped down in the Belvedere Restaurant (Buffet), because of food or drink spills still on the tables. Toilets were repeatedly out of order - on 1 day we visited 6 sets of toilets between promenade deck and the pool deck before we found any working. Some individual toilets never worked for the entire cruise. At other times it was wash basins or hand driers not working - the knock on effect being empty paper towel holders. Other than in the Meridian restaurant there was no effort made by staff to encourage people to use the hand gels. There were also some very strange, garbage type, smells in several places on the ship. One of the days returning from the Caribbean, the water in the Neptune Pool continued to overflow for several hours. This made this important main area impossible to use - water was swimming around the tables and chairs, normally used for eating, reading, playing cards or having a coffee. A very dangerous situation for some of the less mobile passengers. The water travelled as far as the lift areas and upto the Belvedere restaurant. The carpets took days to dry out. Why did it take so long to make the decision to empty the pool? - Bad management!!!! The entertainment listed in the Horizon seemed to be mainly seminars by spa and gym staff - very little else. This seemed to prove our opinion of the ship being very understaffed. It is no wonder so many people on the ship were ill with chest infections, including us. First time we have ever been ill on a cruise. We are in agreement with many that we spoke to on the ship, we will not be cruising with P& O again. We will be returning to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, who still care about the passengers   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
There were so many problems it is difficult to know were to start. The ship itself was clearly not ready following its recent refurbishment ! Toilets in public areas seldom worked, we had several days when they did not work in our cabin ... Read More
There were so many problems it is difficult to know were to start. The ship itself was clearly not ready following its recent refurbishment ! Toilets in public areas seldom worked, we had several days when they did not work in our cabin either. Many public and open areas were filthy. Noisy work was being carried out around the pool areas. Decks were blocked off while painting was being done with the subsequent smell of paint a problem. So many people had so many problems it was moans and groans from everyone we spoke to all day everyday, but they already know that from the number of people we saw at reception waiting to complain ! This was our third cruise with P&O since September 2012 and we were likely to be P&O customers for many years to come but their standards have dropped so much they are now a very poor option for cruisers. P&O had good entertainment sadly Arcadia did not. The Headliners were good but only did 4 shows in 24 nights ! (They were rehearsing shows for “The World Cruise”) The poor catering and lack of silver service was another area of disappointment. The Arcadia seemed understaffed and the staff under trained, a few more cleaners would not go a miss. It is a wonder there was not a health related problem during the cruise. We had a minor fire (only in the laundry !!!!!) They are cutting back so much it is the passengers that are bleeding ! Profits are important but with no customers where are the profits going to come from ? None of our party will cruise P&O again ! "what a shame" is it anything to do with the "new senior manager" WE LOVED P&O until this cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have just returned from a combined transatlantic crossing to New York and Caribbean cruise. We have sailed on QM2 a number of times over the years and were shocked but also saddened to see the state of disrepair, neglect and overall ... Read More
We have just returned from a combined transatlantic crossing to New York and Caribbean cruise. We have sailed on QM2 a number of times over the years and were shocked but also saddened to see the state of disrepair, neglect and overall drop in standards. We were surprised to see that Cunard who heavily market on the ship's iconic history and tradition plus the famous White Star Service, would let things deteriorate so badly. The glossy Cunard brochures certainly do not reflect “What you see is what you get”. Our balcony was covered in rust marks with paint flaking off everywhere including the frames of our deck chairs. We were in cabin 6113 on deck 6. The cabin’s furniture and carpet looked worn and tired and did not reflect the décor of a luxury ship. The towels in particular were old, grey and threadbare with some having holes in them. We were right underneath a door on deck 7, which opened out onto the deck. Form morning to late at night we had to endure the constant noise of door slamming, as people would just let the door slam behind them. This meant we could not sit on the balcony in peace and quiet, enjoying a good book or a glass of wine. Instead we were quite often woken up early in the morning by slamming doors and went to bed with the slamming noise as well. Some of the ceiling panels in Sir Samuel’s were loose and coming off the ceiling. A number of public toilets were blocked and even overflowing. There were cracked tiles and the cotton hand towels have been replaced by paper hand towels from a plastic wall unit, not reflecting the luxury status Cunard keeps advertising but more akin to a public convenience on a Council car park. We saw broken seats in the theatre and broken corners on the orchestra’s screens/QM2 signs. Picture frame sin the corridors were badly scratched and marked. Handrails on corridors were also cracked and badly marked. The security check, when going on shore excursions, was carried out by just one member of staff. In previous years there were at least 2 desks in operation to cope with the volume of passengers, wishing to get on and off the boat. The boat itself had rust marks and was covered in algae on the outside. Against other ships, she looked “bedraggled” and neglected. For the first time I did not take any photos. There was a stale and unsavoury smell throughout the ship, often reminding me of sickness. The food left a lot to be desired. The best meals we had were at breakfast time. The food was repetitive, bland and lacklustre and of low quality. Fresh vegetables and fresh fruit were in very limited supply. In previous years, especially when travelling to destinations like the Caribbean, fresh local fruit would be replenished at some of the destinations and the menu in the Britannia would reflect the destinations travelled to. The time taken to serve meals seemed very long. We experienced 2 hours just to have 2 courses! On occasion we had to run to the theatre so not to miss the show. Some but not all of the waiters appeared demotivated and rude. We sat at table 221 at the late sitting and were allocated one particular waiter who was outstandingly rude and placid when serving. This was not the case this time. The food in the King’s Court self-service restaurant was not just poor but appalling. The dress standard in the evenings was not enforced. Whilst the majority of passengers made an effort, there was an increasing number who did not and strolled around the bars in casual day wear including shorts and Crocs. Cunard uses very stylish and elegant models for their glossy high quality brochures and website. Do not expect to see the standard of dress displayed by the models used on the boat. If you do, you will be disappointed. In fact Cunard would be far better to use photos of real passengers to provide a true reflection of what it is really like on board. Notwithstanding the clientele seems to have changed over the years. The glamorous traveller is a minority now and has been overtaken by a type of traveller who in the past would not have travelled with Cunard and is not shown in their broochures. But even the crew’s uniforms were quite often scruffy and stained. The theatre performances also left a lot to be desired and were of mediocre quality. Performances were repetitive and boring and fell into the category of what is often referred to as “cruise ship material” and not the advertised RADA productions. On disembarkation day our luggage tags turned out to be allocated wrongly and our transfer tickets were missing. Instead to Newark Airport we were sent to JFK. This only became apparent when we were called for disembarkation and added a lot of unnecessary panic and stress. Having travelled on this boat on many occasions I am able to reflect and make comparisons, rather than just merely criticise. We have also been with other cruise lines to enable us to draw comparisons in relation to quality. Yes, we realise the QM2 is a transatlantic liner and not a cruise ship but this does not affect the disrepair, quality of food, standards etc. The ship has definitely seen better times. Summing up, we will not be travelling with Cunard again. Recently we have experienced Celebrity cruises and found them to be of a much, much higher standard. I have got one message to Cunard: you cannot rely on your history alone but you also need to maintain and improve. You are currently not providing what you are selling.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Due to the extremely bad availability of the wifi, I had to make 6 visits to Customer Services to arrange refunds. I also had the embarrassment of a letter, delivered to my suite, stating the bank had declined a payment, when we were only ... Read More
Due to the extremely bad availability of the wifi, I had to make 6 visits to Customer Services to arrange refunds. I also had the embarrassment of a letter, delivered to my suite, stating the bank had declined a payment, when we were only on day 11 of the cruise and in the morning of that day I had my sea pass blocked! Apparently, I was informed that Royal Caribbean take out funds from your bank on a regular basis, despite a lot of transactions being cancelled, my bank informed me that I would have to wait 7 days to see if Royal Caribbean continued to process the requests. It turned out that because I paid a total of £350 cash prior to the letter arriving in my suite, I was actually $250 in credit. But I will have to wait 7 days for that to go back into my account. I went to see Front Desk Manager, when I seen the letter in the early evening, and I was very upset and he explained what had happened and did his best to reassure me, to no avail. These actions have resulted in me coming home to an unauthorised overdraft of £514.32. On the 19th November there were £979.02 outstanding payments on my account to Royal Caribbean. On the 19th November 2014, £758.57 was taken from my bank account by Royal Caribbean. The dining wasn't that special this trip and there were several nights when there was nothing that appealed to me on the menu, in fact the one night I had two starters rather than the main course. We spent the majority of the time using the 'Windjammer' where the selection is far more diverse, although the formal dining would have been my preferred choice for the duration of the cruise. The toilet blocked 3 times, but it was sorted straight away This was my second cruise with Royal Caribbean and my first trip was that good that I booked more trips. This cruise and two others for next year, but I have cancelled them both. I have been charged £75 for the cruise booked for February 2014 and £300 for the cruise in June 2014. Which adds to my frustration in regards to the treatment I have received. The manager in the Crown & Anchor was a disappointment, he didn't act on my request to cancel the two cruises. He didn't contact me the following day, which he promised to do. I had to seek him out 48 hrs later, to be told I needed to cancel the trips myself when I returned home, certainly not a bit helpful, far more interested in arranging return cruises for other guests who obviously enjoyed their holiday more than I did. I was also promised, credit for on board spending, that didn't happen either. The entertainment team were really good with their quizzes, games and promenade events, led by Chris Devine, with a special mention of Bjorn. The only saving grace was our cabin assistant Raphael! Who was amazing and would have a panic attack if we wouldn't let him clean our room twice a day. I did receive two complimentary bottles of Rosa wine, to apologise for the problems with the wifi and my bill. Problem is I don't like or drink wine. I don't see why I should bear the burden of £375 in cancellation fees when the reason for the cancellations is the disappointment of the experience, whilst on board the ship. But under the terms and conditions, this is the case as RCC have stated in their response. I also made my feelings known with the questionnaire at the end of the cruise and complained formally via email, they apologised but declined to reimburse the lost deposits   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This cruise on Aurora was to be a special cruise for our 40th wedding and husbands 65th birthday. Ship found to be tatty and generally food and service below what to expect since our last cruise with P&O. Noise in cabin from slamming ... Read More
This cruise on Aurora was to be a special cruise for our 40th wedding and husbands 65th birthday. Ship found to be tatty and generally food and service below what to expect since our last cruise with P&O. Noise in cabin from slamming drawers and doors in adjoining cabins and unable to sit out on balcony most days due to smoking on balcony either side. Had to book tours due to ship location in most ports of call due to husband being unable to walk far and no shuttle buses in most ports.Tours expensive and quality of transport very poor. Pestered all day long to buy expensive drinks by bar staff. Everything on board is geared up to get money off you and now we have finished up with a large debt on credit card. We think we were miss sold the cruise has we paid full getaway fare after been assured by P&O that it was doubtful it would come down due to high demand and if it came down we may get upgrade which we did not get. The price dropped by £1200 for the both of us 4 weeks later. Last cruise we will do with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We travelled on Queen Elizabeth's Festive Debut as virgin Cunarders, and we weren't disappointed. We boarded swiftly and were greeted, by smiling crew, all offering to help as we were travelling with my mother and two ... Read More
We travelled on Queen Elizabeth's Festive Debut as virgin Cunarders, and we weren't disappointed. We boarded swiftly and were greeted, by smiling crew, all offering to help as we were travelling with my mother and two small children. The cabin size was fantastic, we had 3 cabins, my mother in one and the 2 cabins between my husband myself and the 2 children, unfortunately one of the cabins must have been occupied previously by a heavy smoker, and the smell remained throughout the cruise, even after cleaning, so we all slept in one cabin, which was fine, as there was a pull out sofa bed. The sail away was wonderful with carols quayside, and excitement in the air. We dinned in the Upper Britannia Restaurant which was fabulous, the waiters went over and above service, and always ensured that the children were looked after, and arranged special meals for them. Yes the wine was a little pricey, but I gathered before we left, so was determined not to get hung up about it. The shows were always fabulous, and varied - the children thoroughly enjoyed them all - although Des O'Connor, seemed to over run slightly, it didn't matter, the youngest just fell asleep. The Queens room had dancing each night which we would watch whilst the children had a go, and then we would go up to The Yacht Club and dance away to Serious Sounds, the DJ was a little disappointing as he couldn't download any recent music??? The Islands we visited were truly breath taking and we were all amazed at the sheer beauty of them all, we didn't book excursions through Cunard - we went independently as this offers more flexibility - especially with children, and this option was cheaper too. Christmas day was wonderful with Father Christmas appearing and giving everyone who wanted one a gift. The children's club was fantastic too, although we only let the children go in for 2 hours on a sea day, was amazed that some parents put their children in on Christmas day???? All in all it was a very relaxing cruise, my only trouble was with the other passengers complaining it made me cringe - we all knew the schedule before we booked, so to complain seems pointless, yes shops were closed, but IT WAS THE HOLIDAYS!!!!! Also my family were in the small minority who hadn't travelled Cunard before and to be honest it was a little boring hearing the constant "its not as nice as the QE2" Well your are on the Queen Elizabeth - so just enjoy it!! I must admit I am looking forward to my next trip to catch up with the crew, and it will most definitely be with Cunard - as to coin the company's phrase "We are Cunard!!" Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Our first family cruise has turned out better than expected. The Ventura is a super floating 5 star hotel and I find it difficult to find any faults at all. Holiday costs were great free child places meant that it was a reasonable ... Read More
Our first family cruise has turned out better than expected. The Ventura is a super floating 5 star hotel and I find it difficult to find any faults at all. Holiday costs were great free child places meant that it was a reasonable cost for a family of four. (2011 quotes are 2.5K more expensive) On board prices were good value, Stella at £2.95 G&T for just over £3. You can take drinks on board with you but to be fair to P&O why you would at their prices. On board bottle of Bombay Sapphire 1ltr £12. Jamison's Irish whisky 1ltr £15. Kids club was great for our two kids they were gone all day and night with their new friends leaving me and the wife for some quality time together (a first on our holidays) Food was exceptional with choices of buffet dining or a full sit down five course meal. 4 formal dinner nights which you could avoid if you wanted and a pool restraint serving burger pizza etc. Room service if you really want to be lazy was a nice touch. Entertainment was good with a selection of Movies, shows, singers and comedians. Several bars and plenty of fun and games with the entertainment staff. We had a superior balcony room which was great for all four of us. I would not recommend an inside cabin as they looked a little small. To conclude this was our best holiday ever and we are saving up to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We decided to escape the cold chill of a British winter and head on a 23 night cruise from Southampton to Southampton via the Caribbean on Aurora. Our party of 3 consisted of Myself (29 yrs old) My Mum and Grandma and we had separate ... Read More
We decided to escape the cold chill of a British winter and head on a 23 night cruise from Southampton to Southampton via the Caribbean on Aurora. Our party of 3 consisted of Myself (29 yrs old) My Mum and Grandma and we had separate accommodation. I had the fortune of having a cabin with a balcony,it's such a luxury to have your own personal space outside. Now with ships having balcony cabins on the "standard" grades as well as superior grades, having a balcony is now more affordable. The other members of the party were lucky enough to have a mini suite for the 23 day cruise, which of course put my cabin to shame, but as the cruise was a Christmas present I couldn't really complain!!! Our ports of call were Madeira, Tortolla, St.Lucia, Barbados, The Azores and back into Southampton on a chilly January morning. I find it amazing that people slate the ports of call on these reviews, maybe they should do some research before booking! Embarkation was good, as our party had a mini suite, we were offered priority embarkation, however as it was the Christmas cruise, P&O had mince pies (traditional British Christmas fare) and a choir to sing carols. This made the time pass quickly, but as I said earlier we were ushered onto the ship about 15 mins after completing the check in formalities. Cabin Steward- unfortunately the name of my steward escapes me, after all this review is being written some 18 months after the cruise, however the reason I don't remember his name was that he wasn't any good. Several times he knocked and entered without waiting for a response, catching me twice with nothing on. However he did provide towels, and serviced the room well, if not in a timely fashion (sometimes not until the afternoon) Restaurant- There is a multitude of choice for dining arrangements onboard. The traditional cruise two seating policy, with two restaurants (one midship, the other aft) a 24 hour French style bistro and the normal pizza place. You could eat 24 hours 7 days if you wished. Remember to book at the Cafe Bordeaux if you want to dine there at least 24 hours in advance. Overall the food was fine, traditional British Fare combined with some Indian dishes ( P&O has traditionally used waiters and staff from India for over 150 years) and the highlight was New Year's Eve, where a feast fit for a king was served (no pun intended!!) However on other nights food was good, but not in comparison with NYE. Our waiters were keen to please, and did the utmost in their power to keep us happy, they were so good at their job that we tipped them more than the recommended amount. However some people at our table decided to eat at Cafe Bordeaux on the last night so they could avoid seeing our waiters to give them their tips. The entertainment- Shocking is a word I would use to describe this, they flew in a minor celebrity into Barbados so he could cruise back with the ship ( more to the point so he could spend Christmas in the sun in Barbados) for folks from the UK he was Roy Walker from Catchphrase. Cinema releases were out of date, and the boy band on the ship for all the children acted like children themselves, behaving badly in public places, combined with some shows that could only be described as naff and poor quality. Children- Well it was a Christmas cruise, and as much as I don't mind children, they seemed to be EVERYWHERE, in the pools, in the Jacuzzi etc, and were generally badly behaved. Underage drinking was rife (not the ships fault, but parents seemed to give their cruise cards to the teenagers so they could buy drinks after they went to bed) of course some teenagers bought their own whilst ashore and kept it well hidden from mum and dad. Fitness- two pools for adults, and one for children (not that they paid any attention to the fact that their pool was at the back of the ship!) they were well maintained with plenty of fresh towels. The gym had some nice equipment to burn off all the calories provided by the excess food over the Christmas period. Massages etc were expensive, but if you look in the ship's paper they have offers on port days, if you can spare the time, this is the best opportunity to use these services as you can get at least a 30% discount. The public rooms on Aurora are very accommodating, especially Andersons (named after one of the founders of P&O) drink prices were exceptionally good, a pint of beer was about £1.60, a gin and tonic came in at under £2.00, not bad considering that at a pub at home they could be twice that price. The design of the ship is quite good, except for access to the aft dining room. If you are seated here, make sure that you get down early, otherwise you will be waiting on the stairs until the doors open for dinner. Officers were good, and were found almost everywhere in the evening. Some people complained about officers having a drink in the public rooms, however please remember that they work a 16 hour day, don't have a day off in 6 months and after all it is their home. We had the Captain at our table for one night, a very good communicator and we had an excellent time enjoying his company. So what can I say about the whole experience, compared to other lines (RCCL, NCL, Princess, and Swan Hellenic) they do a great job of looking after you whatever your age. The only real complaint was my cabin steward, and some really rude old people (it looks like they are an epidemic on cruise ships these days) and some drunken teenagers (but hey it was New Year's Eve so they are forgiven) Any questions, please feel free to email me. James Read Less
Sail Date December 2002

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