I have travelled with P&O before and therefore I had fairly low expectations as I know they are at the low end of the cruising spectrum.
But we still had fun on our first P&O cruise and so when friends asked us to join them on another we decided to accompany them.
I wish we hadn't gone!!.... P&O ignored the very public travel warnings advising all vessels.. including cruise ships NOT to travel into the seas around New Caledonia and Vanuatu due to dangerous weather conditions caused by Cyclone Donna.
The passengers, including us, who contacted P&O the day before we were to set sail, the same day that the travel warnings came out, were advised that passenger safety was P&O's first priority and that we would be advised of any itinerary changes that would need to be made due to the cyclone. We knew and accepted that cruise ships often need to reroute and change the itinerary destinations due to weather conditions and so we began to laughingly call this our "Magical Mystery Cruise" and wondered where we would end up.
What we DIDN'T expect was for the ship to try outrunning the cyclone in a vain attempt to keep to the scheduled itinerary. Especially when it had already been reported that the ports in those islands would be closed due to the cyclone. A senior crew member even admitted to one of our fellow passengers that they always knew the ship would never make it past Noumea.
And yet they continued to sell onshore tours for those islands without a word. Refunds were eventually given for prepaid shore tours but were paid into our on board credit instead of cash back or back into our Visa account where it originally came from.
We made it through awful weather conditions to Noumea where we docked in a cargo port for a day and a half (on a public holiday so nothing was open) before being told that the ship must leave immediately because it was too dangerous for us to stay.
Instead of getting us all back home to calm seas quickly... the captain chose to draw out our trip back so they could still give us a 7 night cruise.
One of these nights was terrifying when the ship obviously HIT something with a huge BANG and then listed at a severe angle for over an hour... bottles fell off of shelves and smashed... the bar staff had to try to hold on to the large coffee machine to try and stop it sliding onto the floor... both passengers and crew looked scared but there was no announcement from the bridge to let everyone know it was ok.
It was obvious to everyone that the ship was not coping with the weather conditions, there were leaks everywhere and the next day the captain announced that he had to suddenly change course to prevent the ships rudder from further overheating!!
I spent most of this "cruise" feeling either sick, anxious or terrified.
P&O is still refusing to take any responsibility for this nightmare... even though I know they have received hundreds of complaints.
Be very careful when you choose to cruise with P&O... it would seem that they are allowed to do whatever they want with you once they have your money... even sail you into a cyclone!!... DON'T expect them to try and provide you with an enjoyable holiday...
It has been two weeks now, I am still sick and shaking and have had to seek medical attention as a direct result of this hellish experience... which I PAID for!!...
Travel insurance will only cover me if I have any "out of pocket" expenses... I could have received a full refund of my fare if P&O had the common sense to cancel the cyclone cruise.... Or had given me the choice to cancel in light of the travel warnings.
The response that I and probably hundreds of other upset passengers have received from P&O is basically..... You paid for a 7 night cruise and we delivered a 7 night cruise.. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it but that's not our fault.
I wonder how many other companies would get away with this type of attitude and treatment of their customers.