We chose this cruise for its sensible basic price, destination and prospect of good weather during the English winter. It was our second cruise and we were looking forward to making constructive comparisons with our first a year ago, with Princess.
In essence, we were disappointed the last one had to end. But not so with this one.
The matter mostly at stake is that P&O are trying to meet a massive range of tastes on this cruise ship. In parts, they succeed but we feel there were just too many compromises and the lowest common denominator seemed to be the one which often won out.
The good bits for us:
Brilliant efficiency and organisation, especially the excellent "one stop" shop for embarkation and disembarkation
Nice cabin, well appointed and good space. Bathroom was excellent and spacious shower with hot water always available
Friendly, courteous and knowledgeable staff
The range of bars, lounges, the traditional pub, quiet areas and ambience worked well and drinks/beverages sensibly priced
Very well organised arrangements for my wife's dietary needs that had to be planned ahead. The MaitreD quickly established a good rapport and took care of things very well
The not good bits for us
Ghastly Lido Deck. Loud and monotonous music often blaring out during the day, interrupted by some inane entertainment hosted by the inhouse entertainment team and a Scottish boy DJ who sounded like some dreadful reincarnation of the Bay City Rollers
This Lido area was surrounded by bars which served pizza, burgers and chips all day with drinks - so the impression given was that this area was occupied largely by those you could have seen around the typical pool bar in Benidorm or Torremolenos 30 years ago.
There was a quieter pool area on another deck but the sun loungers were so tightly rammed together, it became its own entertainment to get in and out of one
The 24 hour buffet was invariably crowded - not surprising for a ship of this size. The food was consistently good but visiting was not a pleasant experience
Dining was very nice - we chose anytime and were never kept waiting to sit albeit we liked to share a table. Food was reasonable but rarely outstanding
A big range of activities through the day and evening were sometimes good but often average. Plenty of emphasis on items of interest which then turned into a sales pitch - not subtle and rather ittitating
The guest entertainers were very good and performed in exceptional venues - we loved the Live Lounge
The inhouse band PULSE were consistently outstanding and we went to a number of their shows. Plaudits to them - a talented and hardworking group of singers and players.
Not so the Theatre cast. They may well have talent but little was on display. A series of mediocre performances whilst the audience were being told by the Manager how wonderful they were. Great technology is no substitute for unremarkable production values.
Ports of call were varied. Some outstanding like San Juan, St Maarten. St Lucia was good but depended on a local boat tour which took us around part of the island. Unclear why we stopped at St Thomas and St Vincent especially given the failure of P&O to give sufficient notification during booking that US visas would be required. This was a major foulup by an organisation who really ought to have made this a priority during correspondence.
Overall, we were left feeling a bit short changed. The cruise was priced above the standard at which it operated and despite the magnificence of the ship and sheer efficiency of operation, we came away with the opinion that we shan't be using P&O again and perhaps fork out a few more bucks to suit ourselves better.
Very good. Spacious and enjoyed a small balcony with obstructed view. Nice bathroom and excellent shower. Bed linen of high quality and lovely comfortable bed. Good TV
Pleasant town. Not much to see
Lovely beach destination. Easy to access local buses and short trip to wonderful locatio