We took this short, 4 day local cruise because my husband has recently become disabled and wheelchair dependent, and we both wanted to see how we would manage by ourselves on a cruising holiday with his disabilities. We were in one of only ... Read More
We took this short, 4 day local cruise because my husband has recently become disabled and wheelchair dependent, and we both wanted to see how we would manage by ourselves on a cruising holiday with his disabilities. We were in one of only 2 wheelchair accessible cabins. Sadly, they were obviously included as an afterthought because they were both located on deck 4, at the very front of the ship (so the ride through rough weather wasn't at all pleasant) but we didnt have any choice. Ideally, these cabins should have been positioned near the elevators to allow easier access for people with disabilities. The cabin had tiny port hole windows - they had paint all over them and were so filthy it was hard to see anything through them. However, the cabin itself was very spacious so as to accommodate our wheelchair and other equipment, although the layout was not at all wheelchair friendly. It was almost impossible for my husband to get into bed because his wheelchair couldn't be positioned along side the bed, necessitating the need for me to push, pull and roll my husband into position from the foot of the bed and he isn't a small man! The corridor leading from the elevators to our cabin was very long and narrow and quite often the cabin stewards and cleaners would block the passage with their cleaning equipment making it all but impossible to manoevre the wheelchair through the obstacle course.
The elevators, we found, were extremely tiny and my husbands wheelchair only just squeezed in sideways, with me and maybe one other person being able to get inside at the same time.
In regards to restaurants it is essential to make reservations the immediately upon embarkation otherwise it is highly likely you will be eating in "The Pantry" for the entire cruise. This is located on the Lido Deck and replaces the traditional buffet however the food is average food court fare, akin to what you would find in your local shopping centre, and is only open at set times, unlike other cruise line buffets which are pretty much open most of the time. There are 3 other "free" restaurants on board - Angelo's (offers tiny portions of mediocre Italian cuisine - you can upgrade to "nicer" food for a fee), The Waterfront (A La Carte dining; tiny portions; we paid a fee and upgraded our main course to steak - disgusting, fatty and gristly - I cook better steaks than that - so it was very disappointing to pay extra for poor quality steak) and finally, Dragon Lady Asian cuisine. This place was wonderful. We ate here on the 3rd night and were fully prepared for another disappointing dining experience, but we were pleasantly surprised as the food and service was wonderful with good portion sizes. There are also 3 places to eat where guests must pay extra - Salt Grill by Luke Mangan (we didn't dine here but we were told that the food is delicious), The Chefs Table (again we didnt dine here) and on the Lido Deck by the pool the is "The Grill". Here guests can purchase hot dogs, chips, pies, burgers etc. We had a pizza late one night and hot dogs during the day after the pantry had closed for lunch. Both were just okay (nothing to write home about), but on previous cruises with other cruise lines, these items were always included in the cruise fare and not an additional fee, so I felt that this was a bit of a rip off.
The actual ship as a whole was just average; the crew and staff, although pleasant and friendly towards the guests, all seemed unhappy and bored. There weren't enough staff around to keep on top of the cleaning and it was all too common in the pool and deck areas to see filthy tables, dirty dishes and food and drink spillages left unattended to, and not a bin in sight. The whirlpool spas were at a pleasant temperature but the spa jets weren't operating and they had disintegrated in places.
In all, I would say our short get away was okay, but the ship lacked atmosphere, fun and excitement. The live musicians were pretty terrible, out of tune and off key, and the whole ship seemed tired, worn and lackluster. I understand that this ship has been sold and would be making its final voyage for P&O in a few weeks which would explained why it was like it was... Read Less