Having never done a cruise before, I was unsure quite what to expect. However, I have been generally very pleasantly surprised.
However, I do have some constructive comments and observations.
We were flown out to Bridgetown on Thomas Cook from Manchester. Despite booking well in advance, we could not get seats on the Gatwick flight, so rather than having a one hour trip to catch our flights, I had a four hour drive, and the additional cost of a hotel at Manchester. In the general scheme of things, a minor problem, but one which could have been addressed more effectively by P and O.
We contacted them to request the Gatwick flight, and we were told that we would be put on the wait list. No one from P and O contacted us proactively, we had to chase on a number of occasions. This tarnishes otherwise good customer service.
The flight was well managed by Thomas Cook and P and O, with swift check in and boarding, and a punctual departure and arrival.
Having arrived at Bridgetown, we were taken by coach directly to the docks, on a "Bonded" coach, so the immigration and clearance process was conducted in a giant shed at the dock.
During the process, we were issued with a plastic cruise card, which was linked to a credit card. In this way, we were saved from the "inconvenience" of having to carry wallets and or money around on board. The card could be used for all and any spending on board. It could also be used as a substitute for a passport at the destinations.
Boarding the ship was simple, and once through the security process (X Ray belongings and pass through detector arch) we were directed to our cabins - or staterooms. This is a Grandiose title that did not adequately summarise the size and decor of our accommodation.
We were on deck 8, and our cabin was compact, but with a small balcony overlooking the sea. We were about amidships, so we were well appointed. Toilets are not normal flushing, but vacuum assisted like aeroplane lavatories.
In the interests of health and safety, we were instructed to assemble at our muster point for. Safety briefing in the early evening before we slipped our moorings. This was a 20 minute slot where we were briefed on the emergency alarm signal, the use of the life jackets, and the location of gangplanks etc.
There are a number of restaurants on board, consisting of The Conservatory on Deck 9, the Sedona, the Pavilion and the Grill, which allows for different tastes to be accommodated. We ate mainly in the conservatory, as this was buffet style, and normally had an excellent selection of menus from breakfast onwards. We chose to eat in the Pavilion Restaurant on a number of nights, including the formal nights, as this enabled us to mix with our fellow passengers. Table sizes range from 2 to 10 guests. So whilst we were a Couple, we chose to dine at a table for ten.
There were three formal nights, so for gentlemen, evening dress should be a tuxedo, bow tie and formal shirt. Ladies should bring party frocks!
The ship benefits from a sun deck, a walking track, and a reasonably well equipped gym, where I went each morning for a half hour on the exercise bikes, and lifting a few weights. The spa was frequented by my wife, and our friends with whom we accompanied.
There is a general shop on deck 5, which sold not just duty free items, but those other essentials such as sun cream. However, the frustration here, is that when one needs sun cream, one is normally in dock, and about to disembark, and due to the duty free nature of the shop, it shuts when in port. Frustrating if you don't know this in advance.
However, these are all very minor issues and should be seen In Perspective, given the wider context of the cruise.
We went to the Curzon Lounge most nights and the entertainment was superb. The Adonia Theatre Company were excellent, and performed two proper plays, and numerous cabarets. The plays were Private Lives, a Noel Coward farce, and the Opposite Sex, another comedy, which was a risqué comedy.
The entertainment team were excellent, and Tracy, Beverly and Laura should be congratulated for keeping the shows rolling.
Other features were guest artists, including Roy Walker, who gave excellent performances.
The excursions were of good value, if expensive. We chose to organise our own tours on some islands, but the excursions that we did book were great. My wife enjoyed a Caribbean cookery course, and we both enjoyed snorkelling with turtles and a submarine trip. I particularly enjoyed the train trip on the St. Kitts Railway.
Disembarkation was smooth and glitch free, and we were bussed to the airport, where our baggage had already been delivered. Security was quick, and out flight back to the UK was fairly uneventful. The only comment was that due to poor weather, aircraft substitution had happened, and our aeroplane was not as comfortable as the outbound flight, and the seats were, to put it bluntly, uncomfortable.
The only feedback that I would offer to P and O is that a Caribbean cruise should feature Caribbean food on the menus. Most meals were either Indian, Asian, or bland British. I know that this could be due to the perceived passenger demographic.
Secondly, be aware that the Costa Coffee is likely to be shut whenever you need it most - which doesn't help breakfast!
That being said, I shall look back on my cruise on the Adonia with great fondness, I had a fabulous trip, and the experience delivered by the staff and crew was exemplary.
Overall I rate this cruise as one of my best and most memorable holidays.
The cabin was well appointed with adequate wardrobe space, and lots of drawers. A flat screen tv was provided. The double bed was comfortable, with a firm mattress. This was excellent. Wilfred, our cabin steward was excellent, and kept the room spick and span, and replenished our teas, coffees, and ice buckets. He even arranged for more coat hangars, and later on in the cruise, extra ice when my wife suffered a sprained knee.
The toilet was a little temperamental, and sometimes wouldn't flush without repeated button pushes. The balcony is small, and private, and the wifi reached it with no problem. There were more than adequate power sockets.
The wifi is decent enough, but prices at 62.50 GBP for 200 minutes.
A very pleasant trip. We were taken by bus from the cruise port to the station to pick up the train, which runs over an 18 mile stretch of line that runs through the old sugar plantations. The train carriages are double deckers, but everyone chose to ride upstairs which are open to the elements, but afford a good view of the passing scenery. The tour guide was helpful giving a commentary on the history of the line, and the points of interest. We were offered complimentary rum punches which were rather more punch than rum. Otherwise an ideal way to spend three hours, soaking up the wonderful scenery of St KittsView All 303 Scenic Railway Reviews
Pricey but worth it! We were driven by bus to the Atlantis facility, and were then taken to the sub, which was moored in the harbour. The tender was large, fast, and barely have time for the required safety brief to be delivered. The sub tour was fabulous, taking us initially to 50 feet depth, around the crest of the reef, and then down to 147 feet to see the floor of the reef. We saw a great variety of marine life. It lasted about 45 minutes. Upon return to the tender, we were offered rum punches (Good) whilst a DJ played loud unfamiliar reggae (Not Good) so much so, that virtually all the passengers vacated the cabin to stand on the fore deck outside. Overall though I give this 10/10View All 15 Submarine Tour Reviews