We sailed with P&O on a Christmas cruise on the Arcadia out of Southampton in 2013. It was heavy weather but we are used to bad weather and the whole cruise was a relaxing, enjoyable experience. We'd booked late for unavoidable reasons but it was inconsequential.
My husband was 80 on Christmas Day 2015 and we booked on Ventura to celebrate. True we had to book late again because a family member was terminally ill and subsequently died.
We booked a superior balcony cabin which was not allocated and no explanation was given, P&O couldn't even answer our email. We telephoned customer services to ensure freedom dining and were given that assurance.
1 The weather was not quite as bad as we have experienced previously but the effect on our cabin was appalling. We had fitful sleep for 7 days because of the constant vibration of ill fitting walls and ceiling. There was also a noise which can only be described as like wet washing hitting a wall.
We complained continuously. Wedges applied to the ill fitting coving made no difference. 2 On 19th we received a letter informing us that we were allocated a dining time of 20.45 on Christmas Day. No effort had been made to tell us that freedom dining would be suspended. We do not query their right to do this but they should have warned us prior to booking when they were given an opportunity.
The restaurant manager told us he had been innundated with complaints about the later sitting and he could do nothing about it and we could eat in the buffet if we didn't like it. He was irritated an dismissive. I have a medical condition and cannot eat late.
Christmas Day evening was like a school canteen. Their were long queues and the food was luke warm and really inedible. The restaurant manager acknowledged that the situation was unacceptable but asked what he could do about it? We had already passed a closed dining room where the ship's officers were dining in style.
3 A lot of passengers are not using hand sanitisers before entering restaurants. On the Arcadia a crew member was allocated to each dispenser and courteously but firmly directed diners to use it.
This ship is not well managed. The cabin staff and the waiters etc are lovely, kind and considerate. The management is inept and P&O is too focused on marketing to concentrate on providing essential information to passengers.