I know my Review Title may be a bit harsh but at times thats how it felt. It is also easy to criticise and believe me, if the cruise had lived up to our expectations, we would have provided a more positive review. As experienced cruisers, this was our first P&O Cruise and living in Scotland and with always a doubt about getting away by plane in January with our weather, Southampton seemed a less anxious alternative by car. Unfortunately, it also means that it is the preferred departure port for those of a certain age and perhaps infirmity whom prefer or cannot fly!
Now, this is all well and good as everyone has a choice that suits their age and well-being. What I am very disappointed about is that, from discussions with bar staff in particular, P&O knew the age demographic of this cruise but their website portrays a very different vision with young glamorous cruisers with no suggestions as to whom this cruise would best suit! I am also aware of the heavily discounts being applied near to the sail date which would also have contributed to the overall age bracket of the guests.
It would seem going by the dire entertainment provided and ludicrous scheduling that P&O were well aware of the age demographic and accommodated accordingly... When you are dressed to the nines on formal nights and you leave the second sitting dining looking forward to the beginning of a 'great night out' and you walk past the main venue of the Tamarind Club and they are having a quiz! I might as well have brought my knitting as many of them did!!!
I could go on re; un-engaging, unkowledgable Dining Waiters, lack-lustre food (except for Sindu speciality dining), bar culture entertainers (except for Megan and Joe in Metropolis, thank goodness for them), a ship that creaked and groaned (even beyond our first two hurricane force days at sea) but what really summed it up for me... the emphasis on 'Britishness'. Now I apologise in advance to those whom feel British but may not understand what that may mean to many people across the UK. As a Scot, you may argue that thats what you might expect from me... fair enough but a ship that purports to 'fly the flag' as it does as its livery on the bows and hands out Union Jacks for 'the great British Sailaway' and plays 'Jerusalem' is risking alienating a large number of people from around our culturally diverse islands! I may be sightly wrong but our Californian Cruising Friends were one of a few International guests and they travelled many thousands of miles to join this ship and left with a very poor image of what 'Britishness' really means. American based cruise lines do not push their heritage and are much more welcoming to international clients!
Thankfully, the Canaries were great and we could escape but I'll never sail P&O again no matter how mch Rob Brydon promotes them! Celebrity X have figured it out how a ship should work for guests and to create areas such as the Atrium and bars that work together and pull people together to chat and make for a memorable cruise!
Dated with shower cubicle showing stress cracks! Mid-ship cabin creaked!
Embarkation was well organised
Lisbon is great for walking, eating and exploring!
Wouldn't go there again but worth it to see the Volcano and Lava fields as well as the very unusual vineyards.
Surprisingly, Tenerife (north part) was beautiful and relaxing and I would visit again. Not so sure of the large resorts in the south
Not fully developed as tourist resort and it should stay that way. Good food if you look around!
Must do's: Cable Car and Botanical Garden!