We chose this cruise for the Itinerary. We have done 38 cruises with many different cruise lines but this was our first with P&O. From reading boards before hand I was lead to believe this was a slightly up market cruise, better than celebrity and Princess but more traditional like Cunard. Having been on many of these lines I thought I knew what to expect.
Embarkation was good very smooth arrived an hour before our scheduled time and was on the ship within 15 mins.
Cabin was a huge disappointment, we had chosen an inside on this cruise as due to the destination we knew we would get little use from a balcony and the cold through the window could be a problem. The cabin was very small we could not get around the side of the bed on one side as the desk was in the way and on the other side of the bed the wall came in about 6 inches. Storage was good but it was tired and outdated looking. The tea and coffee tray was never cleaned properly and the sheets were clean but stained. This has to be the worst cabin we have ever had.
Food - Dining room food was good as was the service but the menus were for the most part foods I cook at home nothing very special. What we had was ok but not great.
Buffet - The buffet was boring, same type of foods each day with perhaps one or two variations. There was very limited ethnic foods perhaps one curry etc. On the last night there were Tacos on the menu which consisted of taco shell, guacamole, cottage cheese, corn, tomato and cucumber but no sour cream, salsa, meat or cheese.....very odd.
The biggest complaint of the buffet was that food was not removed when it became dry or curling so if you are going to use the buffet go early during the service or you will have dried out food.
Bars - The crows nest coffee machine did not work at all, some the cocktails they did not have the ingredients for and did not go get them even though other bars had the ingredients. On the first day I thought it was because they had not restocked but as the days wore on when I asked for a cocktail from the menu I was met with "sorry we don't have the ingredients". Some of the draft beers were not available and no attempt was made to rectify the problem.
Entertainment - This was very poor. Daytime we struggled to find something. However if you like quizzes there were lots of these. The guitar player was very good, the comedian was ok. The casino consisted of a few outdated machines, 2 roulette tables and two card tables.
Overall this cruise line ranks at the bottom for us . We may try P&O again with a newer ship to a hotter destination but would not go on this ship again. The destination to see the Northern Lights in Norway was great and we saw what we went for but otherwise the cruise was disappointing.
We walked around the town then took the train. This was the same as the ships tour except instead of taking the coach down we took the train both ways. Much less expensive and easy to do.
We decided to catch a local bus to the cable car. We were up the mountain before the ship tour so had the place almost to ourselves for half an hour. We then walked to the Artic Cathedral. After we caught the bus back into the center of town where we strolled around the shops. We ended up at the polaras museum which was not that good in our opinion but it was a break from the cold. Although it is expensive here the ships tours are more expensive. It is really easy to do this port on your own and once you get into the town the tourist information offers more options for tours that you can book. We were in port till midnight it was cold so we went back to the ship for dinner.
When we arrived in Alta I could not believe how cold we felt. We had snow boots, several layers, hats coats and thermals and still the cold got to us. We had booked a private tour with GLOD explorers which was excellent. They picked us up just outside the secure area in mini vans and took us to their office where they kitted us out with thermal clothing and over boots. The took us to two locations and we saw a great display of the Northern lights. Without the extra clothing they provided to us we would not have been able to stay outside for as long as we did. I highly recommend this company for a tour.
This port is easy to do on your own as you dock right in the town, We walked around and enjoyed the art work on the walls. We went to the maritime museum and had coffee and a waffle with jam and sour cream that was delicious and exceptional value at 10 nok for two.