This was our first and and definitely our last, cruise on P&O. Had we not cruised before, we might never have cruised again. I have worked hard all my life in the NHS and retired last September. I wanted a cruise that would help me celebrate that. The christmas cruise on Ventura sounded ideal because it would take us to Lisbon for Xmas Eve and Madeira for the NY fireworks. Both of these cities we love. The canaries were new territory. I paid £7000 for a SUPERIOR DELUXE BALCONY out of my retirement fund. "This is the life" they promised. It most certainly was not.
Our cabin was filthy dirty with mould on the bathroom tiles, and the floor tiles. The dressing gowns were thin; one had holes in it, the other had stains. The Bath was chipped (its a Villeroy & Boch for heaven's sake), the loo was black throughout and our sink was badly scratched with some deep grooves. Carpets were filthy dirty, furnishings were definitely sub-standard and fit for throwing out. Our sofa bed was shiny and stained through age and wear and tear and there were evident greasy head marks on the bedhead. Our balcony was a rust bucket and the furniture was old, stained and unfit for purpose. The binoculars were broken as was the hairdryer, and an electric socket was hanging off the wall.
Our biggest frustration was getting it sorted whilst on board. The deck housekeeper (Mr Chai Gadgill) was nothing short of useless and we couldn't get past him to complain to anyone senior. Management were invisible.
Holidaying with guests more akin to my patients and competing for spaces in the public areas was frustrating to say the least. I have never holidayed with such a bunch of moaning minnies. We were happy to share tables initially, but got fed up listening to people moan about slipping standards, pill popping and insulin injecting - yes at the dining table! I lost count how many times I stubbed my toe on someone's walking stick or frame.
Then we had Norovirus - as a Nurse who recognises the importance of good hand hygiene practice and other preventative measures, I can only say that P&O staff who worked tirelessly to clean were not being supported properly by managers and in effect, all they were doing was spreading it. Very disappointing.
Entertainment was poor (OK if you like Butlins' standards). We ate in the Saffron MDR mostly and I credit Reggie and his crew for the humour and courtesy they offered but when Norovirus struck, being served by waiters wearing blue plastic gloves was not exactly superior standards. We enjoyed the Glass House and Sindhu, but the Epicurean was a rip off at Christmas. Paid £105 for dinner in all our finery including the wine package. But we left after the second course, because we felt we were sat on an engine with all the vibrations and they could not find us another table.
And then finally trying to get off our ship was the last straw - it took 5 hours competing with all the wheel chairs and other mobility devices. Never again.
WE have formally complained and they have accepted liability but their offer of compensation is ridiculously poor and we are now taking the matter further.
Dirty, dated and shabby - needs ripping out and starting again. Recent refit of carpets noted but simply not good enough. Could have had a better and less expensive holiday at Reids Palace Hotel in Madeira for far better quality.