I was travelling solo in a balcony cabin. Booking in via their web site & 4 phone calls to P & O took me 5 hours, 2 of the 4 people I spoke to over the phone told me they have a lot of problems with their web site. With hindsight I should have taken this as an omen early on & not booked with P & O at all. At check-in at the cruise terminal I was confronted by a loud aggressive male who aggressively snatched a small 330ml bottle of water out of my hand - apparently P & O are paranoid about passengers bringing their own liquid anything on board because P & O have the mindset that you wouldn't buy their overpriced liquids if you were allowed to bring your own on board - they are so paranoid that they have a luggage/bag scan that picks up liquids. In my trolley case I had a 'happy trip' gift wrapped 6 pack of lager so you can imagine what happened next, same aggressive white blokey demanded 'open the case!' (no 'please', no sense of humour, got deep psychological problems this bloke), the lager in it's pretty gift bag was confiscated & a female at a nearby desk who I felt sorry for, gave me a receipt to pick up package on morning of disembarkation from Charlie's Bar. I then proceeded to board & made my way to my cabin on deck 10. The cabin was quite pleasant, enough movable hangers for one person in double wardrobe, queen size bed, desk & chair, a bit of room to walk about, 2 chairs & table on balcony, bathroom very small but ok except usual crappy toiletries but I always bring my own (cruelty-free, natural & vegan) & wouldn't use their stuff. When I booked partly on-line I included a note under 'special requests' where I said "I am a vegan, I presume I can get some vegan food in one of the ships eateries, if not please let me know & I'll bring my own food" (I said this a bit tongue in cheek really) & there was a letter for me on the desk from one of the chefs who wrote under the heading (unbelievably) "Vegetarian", anyone who knows anything would know of course that there is a big difference between vegan & vegetarian, not just food but whopping difference in lifestyle. I never bothered contacting this chef who I think would probably be clueless & whom I wouldn't trust. I ate once or twice a day just in the Pantry because there you can serve yourself at the salad & fruit counters, I had same food every meal (cucumber slices, tomato slices or wedges, corn or peas, onion, lettuce and melon). It looked like at the hot food counter there were no separate containers of boiled potatoes, cauli, broccoli or any green veggies. In the Pantry dining area it was interesting watching the young female staff table-clearers who work efficiently & diligently who I imagine get wages & some would be sending most of those wages back to their families in their home country. I had a brief conversation with a couple of these young women. You could only get orange juice in the morning which was free, then they took the dispenser away, if you wanted orange juice any other time you had to pay. There were many instances where staff had their hand out for you to pay for something where you would think it would be free & included in cruise price. Entertainment & Activities: I did a couple of craft activities, origami & making a paper flower demonstrated by Tarryn in the Explorer Bar, the craft papers were free & I think all participants (25-35 of us) enjoyed the 50min workshops. The only entertainment I saw was The Tap Pack, 4 male tap dancers on stage who were quite good & pleasant in that they weren't lewd or crude in any of the spoken part of their act. I wanted to go swimming in one of the pools, where either side there is 2 hot tubs, the pool had a sign up "elderly (meaning over 55 which I am) people not allowed in the pool" then the standard safety cop out crap - how ridiculous this is, Dawn Fraser ("our Dawn") would not be allowed in a P & O pool because of their obsession with pettiness. I encountered another aggressive rude male - at the reception desk when I settled my $8 (I bought one Heineken lager) a/c, male said to me "$9" (no 'please'), I said to him "I was told it is $8" then he said "don't you want to give $1 to save the children?", I said "no thank you, I already give to save the children separately', I think the point is, apart from the aggressive attitude, passengers should be asked (politely) if they want to donate $1 or whatever $$amount & not have that money automatically added to their a/c without their knowledge, I think this beggars the question, is anything else being added to passengers a/c they didn't authorise. The gym is another issue, when I visited the gym there was no-one in charge just 6 or 7 males on the cycles. On the day of disembarking the system seemed to fall apart & people weren't disembarking in the order allotted to them, a bit of a free for all from deck 7 (quite a number of us sat around & didn't join the crush & dash & waited for the rush to ease off which of course it eventually did). There was no library on board. That morning I'd collected my confiscated gift wrapped 6 pack, P & O only alienate passengers with this & other pettinesses. After disembarking, it was good to see that the taxi system was organised & I was was very pleasantly surprised to find my taxi driver a female driver, very smartly dressed & very good driver, very pleasant. I was glad to be home
I enjoyed the view from the balcony during the day & also at night stargazing, it was very easy to pick out The Southern Cross & Orion.