Well as all my previous reviews I try to keep things real giving my honest opinion of good and bad, the good news is there is not much bad to report here! a real pleasant surprise.
First we have never considered a P&O cruise before, this is mainly due to the 41% ratings by previous reviewers, very offputting. We have mostly travelled with Princess.who regularly have 80% ratings.
However never say never, we were made an offer on a suite which we could not refuse, embarkation was a breeze due to priority check in, took about 20 mins to suite. I did notice that even without priority check in the queues were moving quick, my impressions were they were very organised.
Our suite was incredible, huge amounts of space inside and out, so good we eat breakfast on our balcony each day, a lovely perk.
We were concerned about kids on board due to school holidays but there were only around 50 and were mostly well behaved.
We found the food at the pantry very good, the watermark very good and Angelos very good. If I was to find fault it was not easy to eat healthy in the pantry, I had one choice per day, the rest pretty junky. There was much confusion regarding the Asian restaurant, on booking we were advised that Gluten free was not an issue, but upon checking at the restaurant we were informed that there were no GF option so it was back to the Watermark.
My wife has a sweet tooth, but unfortunately requires Gluten Free, despite numerious little tasty afters, most days she was limited to ice cream or jelly!
At night we eat at 5.30pm with no problems, however I think readers should be aware that if you are a 7.30pm diner you face long queues and can be sent away with a buzzer to await a table. You are in a different table each night so you don't really build any rapore with staff. Also as per other diners there does not seem to be enough drink staff, we were left on many occasions with a meal with no drinks. We solved this issue by buying a bottle of wine with our meal. There did not appear to have dedicated drinks staff.
TIP You need to book the speciality restuarants in person as soon as you board, they do not answer the phones and get booked up quickly.
The excursions were interesting, however we were unable to visit Kiriwani, although as stateroom passengers we had priority tendering this was nil and void because the ship had stopped tickets to get ashore, we sat along with 200 others in a very hot corrider which did not move for an hour so we gave up.
Also very disappointing we could not get to the Conflict Islands due to swell, they did not have a plan B and sailed away shorty after arrival.
Bars were very good and the service was excellent, I had a drinks package but unless you are a very serious drinker you will not get the full value of this.
Cant' comment on the shows as we did not attend any but can say the entertainment in the Mix Bar was very good with acoustic and piano sessions very enjoyable. Kudos to the young passenger who played a few tunes on the piano after the show, very entertaining and must have took a lot of bottle!
For people (like me) who want to stay in shape I was very impressed by the gym, it was never crowded and was larger than average.
Disembarkation was again a breeze.
So overall we had a great time and really cannot believe the amount of bad reviews this ship has had in the past, I definitely recommend it and as we speak we are trying to book another! best value cruise we have ever been on.
Do not believe the bad reviews, you will not regret it if you go on this cruise.