Having enjoyed a wonderful P&O Azura Baltic cruise last year, this holiday was to celebrate my partner's 70th and had been planned for months. Flight with Thomas Cook was fine although having paid to upgrade to Premium Economy, it was infuriating that seats could not be confirmed at the same time and it cost £80 to secure the seats when they were released for booking.
Embarkation on to the ship was a bit slow. Processing on board cards was good but then only one single security checkpoint meant a very long wait.
Cabin very good. Shower and TV much better than Azura and Anthonio our steward was superb throughout the cruise.
No public staircase mid ships is a huge design fault. Lifts inadequate capacity and speed.
Freedom dining in Peninsula on the first night was appalling. Poor service and tasteless over cooked food. A huge disappointment also, that when awaiting a table for two with a "buzzer" there's no bar on that level to have a drink pre dinner. Just shops. Things improved considerably with our decision to switch to freedom dining in the Meridian on level 5 where the beautiful central atrium lounge/bar area was excellent for a pre dinner drink.
Food was good but definitely not as tasty as on the Azura. More importantly the serving staff were just not as engaging as our previous P&O experience.
Separately the food and service in Sindhu was five star fabulous as was our experience in the Limelight nightclub, delicious dinner and brilliant Eric & Ernie tribute. A real treat for our last night.
Entertainment generally was superb. Neil and his team work very hard delivering excellent shows and having Ruthie Henshall on was a bonus.
Drinks in Blue Bar and Crow's Nest, while gorgeous venues were spoiled by slow and disengaged staff. Training should be a priority here and in the freedom dining restaurants.
Two final gripes were extortionate wi-fi costs at £12.50 per 24 hours and being unable to access on board spend account on the TV, which feels a real backward step versus previous cruise experience.