We returned in the early hours of this morning from Ventura's repositioning cruise to the Caribbean, having joined the ship at Malaga. (We should have arrived home 24 hours previously, but a medical emergency saw our plane diverted to the Azores!}
Overall, we enjoyed ourselves, but the cruise itself would have been interesting for any sociologist. Generally, the P and O experience is "safe." The food is good without being hugely imaginative and the standard of service and the quality of cabins is also pretty good. However, for those who have cruised before, be it with P and O or other lines, there is a certain, intangible feeling that, due to today's very competitive market, some corners have been cut and the overall experience is not what it once was. A number of "serial" cruisers were heard to voice the above comment, and I think I would agree with them. e.g. Why bother to kit up for a formal night if the dining experience is absolutely the same as any other night? Why not some theme or just something to make it a little special? Also, silly little mistakes such as, only one film per day during the six days crossing the Atlantic, but two per day(and better films) whilst in the West Indies, when most passengers were not aboard! Also, the entertainment was variable; perhaps inevitable when trying to cater for all tastes.
However, the most noticeable aspect, and much commented upon by various people we met when "freedom" dining, was the clientele: or should I say the pretty sharply drawn social differences in the clientele. To be blunt, the very competitive prices of cruising these days seems to be attracting people who might once have felt more at home at Butlin's , with the ship tending to divide between those who enjoyed this aspect and tended to mainly frequent the Lido Deck and self service restaurants and the others who avoided such areas as much as possible.
Cabin was satisfactory, with good sized hanging space.