I think the reason for the negative reviews on this ship is that people have champagne tastes on a beer budget.
I went on a 3 night Food & Wine cruise and really enjoyed it. This was my first cruise, and given the negative press, I decided the best thing to do was go with an open mind. I traveled with 3 girlfriends & we all had a good time overall.
A bit of a breakdown:
We shared a 4 berth oceanview cabin, which had 2 x single beds, a sofa & a bunk. The mattresses were reasonably comfortable & there was plenty of space to store all our luggage. The bathroom could use some touching up - there was obvious rusting & the shower curtain had mould stains. Could have used a few extra power points (4 girls getting ready at one time could be a challenge) & the TV quality wasn't great. We didn't spend a great deal of time in the room though so we were happy with what we had.
Housekeeping was a little frustrating. Towels were not being replaced when left on the floor, & after 3 calls made to housekeeping over the course of an afternoon yielded no results, we ended up finding an unattended cleaning trolley & pinching some clean towels from there.
Make sure the first thing you do when you reach your cabin is get on the phone & make a reservation at Salt Grill! Yes you pay extra, but it is absolutely worth it. The scallops were the best I'd had & I'm told the chocolate tart deserves a moment of silence. Luke Mangan was also sailing & popped out to say hello to the guests.
The Pantry is pretty much a food court, we grabbed some food from there on the first day & didn't really enjoy it, so we stuck to Waterfront for the rest of the trip.
Waterfront is lovely. Every time, we were welcomed with a squirt of Purell & never had to wait for a table. We didn't go out of our way to avoid peak times either. Variety in Waterfront is great. I have seen that people have complained about serving sizes - I had no issue, particularly if I was ordering entree, main & dessert. If you're extra hungry, order another serve - it's not going to cost you more! I will note that there were some issues with the food being kept warm on its trip from the kitchen to your table. Service was reasonable. Bircher muesli for breakfast was delish.
Bars & entertainment
Low points: The Gatsby & Bianco parties. Each person in the band seemed to be playing at a different speed making the music jarring. Apart from a couple of props, there was nothing particularly special about the parties. Service - while bar service was mostly great, there was an issue with a staff member who gave my friend still spring water when she'd asked for mineral water (she didn't specify sparkling). Rather than just swap the bottle, the staff member proceeded to argue with my friend until I pointed out that the bottle said Spring water, not mineral. It was a simple miscommunication - the server made it a bigger issue than it was.
High points: The Blue Room - lovely atmosphere & music, a great spot for a cocktail & to enjoy some Jazz in the evening. Trivia - I have never laughed so hard at trivia as I did at the music trivia event with The Alter Ego. Evening shows - love the Mindreader, comedian was great too.
The Marquee can get VERY hot - we didn't stay for the show on the first night because we were sweating as soon as we walked in the door. It seemed that a request to the staff fixed the temperature within an hour or so, although I did have to ask each day.
A great introductory cruise for this beginner. I don't think I'm a cruise convert & I think I might go for a more upmarket cruise line next time, but P&O still delivered on what I paid for. No Noro Virus either!
4 berth oceanview cabin, with 2 x single beds, a sofa & a bunk. The mattresses were reasonably comfortable & there was plenty of space to store all our luggage. The bathroom could use some touching up - there was obvious rusting & the shower curtain had mould stains. Could have used a few extra power points (4 girls getting ready at one time could be a challenge) & the TV quality wasn't great.