I have been cruising for the last 20 years on P&O and other lines (last cruise on Oceana in December), this cruise was picked out by my daughter as it was a strictly come dancing theme along with James Marting cooking school. We consisted of a group of 6.
Embarkation was a breeze with all staff members vey helpfull , first impressions of ship smart and modern. Cabin was an adapted cabin on deck 11 situated at the very rear of the ship room was clean and large enough for easy use of wheelchair. TV larger screen and had good selection of programs. Steward Salvio up to the usal very high standard of P&O nothing too much trouble and always with a smile and a joke. Only gripe was when service trolley was being used impossible to pass without having to call out for someone to move it further up the corridor so I could get acces to the lifts, this was about 3 times a day every day for the 13 nights.
We had late setting in the Orientel table 29 our waiters "Negi" & Noel both great guys along with cabin steward made the holiday. Food was an improvement on last cruise nearly back to the silver service standard of old. Used beach restaurant for two meals and glass house for 3 lunches both very good and supplement charge worth it. Food pool side from the grill was disappointing with burgers , hotdogs prepackaged and left on hot rack in greased paper , pizzas the same made and left to stand. Both Azura and Oceana much better. Take away sandwich bar very good equal to M&S. Overall I would give an 9/10.
Layout of ship similar to Azura/Ventura with deck 7 being main thoroughfare. Many people complaining anout lifts but no real problem sometimes a bit of a wait but what do you expect when idiots who want to go down decide to take the up lift because its empty, therefore adding to the problem.
Cooking school was great probably better when James wasn't there as it was £55 cheaper and staff just as good if not better. Went 3 times 1 with James.
So you may be asking why I only rated 2/5 well that is down to cleanliness of toilets, and back of the ship on decks 17 & 18 , a beautiful location with lovely sofas but spoiled by dirty cushions to sit on , these were either stained with who knows what and or with black soot , bar man when there told us to remove them and sit on the hard plastic sofas not really the answer on a new ship.
Now the real reason for my score of 2 was the lack of any interaction with any member of staff (excluding waiters, stewards, cleaner, bar staff) the entertainment team were non existent apart from when they were screaming down the microphone during quizzes and karaoke, why so loud ? Or flocking round the come dancing team like star struck kids. 2 met and greet events ended in a free for all. The sail away was the same old routine that I saw 20 years ago nothing new except a few face lifts and hair dye ( and I don't mean the passenger). And has for any sport related activities these just did not seam to part of the ships entertainment brief . When I asked about the FA Cup final I was told " nobody likes football on this ship " , Not all of us were there for just the sequins. There were not any balls for the sports court and told " you should have brought your own with you" is there anyone who has taken a football or basketball on a cruise before?.
Most of these points were being shared by quite a few people I met in various locations great ship but let badly down by any sort of leadership from the top down perhaps the captain wasn't brave enough to walk round and ask passengers what they thought or there again he may have heard the demented screaming from the entertainment team before.
Very large inside cabin , hanging long dresses restricted and no bed side reading light. 9/10
Just a port