We have just returned from a 2 night "Taster" cruise that was originally booked for Bruges, however due to the recent attacks, the destination changed to Le-Harve. This was OK with us as it was more about what holiday life on a ship would be like as this was our first cruise experience before we think about booking a longer 2 or 3 week holiday.
On the back of this experience, I would not return to P&O. As with a lot of other passengers, we were considering booking a cruise as our main holiday and thought this would be a good way to try things out. Although the ship itself is great, clean, plenty of space in public areas, the whole experience from check in to disembarkation was one of the worst examples of customer service and service delivery I have experienced.
Check in staff - Can’t recall one of them cracking a smile. When you board and go through security, our cards were snatched out of our hands before we could present them and then were pointed to a queue to join with as little enthusiasm and engagement as possible. Its difficult to give further examples of the poor service level as there simply wasn’t any. Remember, this is supposed to be a taster cruise.... a chance to sell and promote a product and this is the first experience we have.
Once on-board, the experience continues in the restaurants. Waiting staff simply looked borderline angry, little dialogue, interaction, recommendations. I asked for a jug of water and was told "No....is not possible” before I could respond...he had turned his back and walked away. When asking for a clean cup, the waiter gave a long sigh followed by him walking away again with no idea if her was coming back. a short time later, he returned with a cup and just put it on the table....no dialogue, no interaction, no eye contact. They would be better placed in some kind of zombie movie, as Oscars would be a guarantee.
Waiting time for drinks - gave up, and asked if we could order drinks and actually have a look at a menu as none on table. Again, remember...taster cruise....a chance to sell and promote a product.
As for checkout - carnage. a 200+ queue to exit that had no organisation - people joining the queue wherever rather than the back, people jumping the cornered off areas whilst staff just stood there presumably rehearsing for the upcoming part in P&O Zombie "Apocalypse at sea" movie.
Its such a shame as the Britannia as a ship is large, quality finished ship. The rooms are good and the beds are very comfortable. The whole experience is let down by those on shift over this last weekend. I am not sure if the tie in with Ant and Dec's Saturday Takeaway is part of the problem, in any case, as a paying customer, it shouldn't matter as part of customer service is delivering this in a reliable and predictable manner. We will not be booking P&O Cruises again and encourage others to avoid at least until some explanation comes from P&O to explain or justify such as poor delivery of there product.