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4,256 P&O Cruises Cruise Reviews

I normally cruise with P&O, especially Britannia and have had some marvellous holidays on her. This was my first Christmas cruise. Therefore, let’s start with the Pros: Initially I was so happy to be back on Britannia, usual ... Read More
I normally cruise with P&O, especially Britannia and have had some marvellous holidays on her. This was my first Christmas cruise. Therefore, let’s start with the Pros: Initially I was so happy to be back on Britannia, usual B deck after an excellent TUI flight. The food was good and had again booked the Epicurean and Sindhu restaurants, which were up to their usual standard, preceded by a pre-meal drink in the Crow’s Nest Bar. The crew were still excellent; polite, helpful and friendly. Monahar, my cabin steward was very attentive and kept my cabin to the usual high standard of cleanliness, including the balcony. This was my first time sailing with Captain Camby, who was very much a ‘people’s person’ and very eloquent in his speech-making. He also conducted a very good all-round Christmas Day service. A lovely gesture to be given a Christmas gift by P&O on Christmas day. The catering staff worked exceptionally hard dealing with the two sittings on Christmas and New Year’s days. The tours were very well organised with a good selection of choices and us solo travellers were well looked after. The islands were lovely. Now to the Cons: Where do I begin? What a disappointment this cruise was and never again will I do a Christmas cruise with P&O. OMG, the rude, uncouth people. It is true we have a North/South divide and didn’t it show. The pushing and shoving was unbelievable. Far too many families, of generations, who were obviously not used to and did not know how to behave on cruise – or probably generally. (One of the receptionists actually said to me that Jane McDonald has a lot to answer for!) The waiting staff in the Horizon are there to help, not to clear up after your kid drops its food all over the floor – you know who you are – couldn’t you at least have cleared it up yourself? Generally, please keep your kids under control, if you know how to. Normally, the solo travellers are invited to mix, but not on this cruise. It was very lonely and not helped by the fact even on port days, while the 9.00 a.m. coffee sessions were stated in the newsletter, when turning up, nothing was laid on for us, not even a cup and saucer. Whilst the meals were good, the turkey dinner on Christmas night was cold. There are a lot of notifications about reserving sun loungers and that after 30 minutes items would be removed if the loungers weren’t claimed. This was not done and I heard of some people saying loungers had been reserved for over two hours. Why don’t the crew adhere to what they say? Likewise, in Horizon, why didn’t the senior staff send out the people who were underdressed, including walking around with no shoes? This is far from appropriate, but the people themselves should know better, which goes back to my comment about the types of people on board. I presume to P&O it’s all money if they can sell a cabin, without worrying about their reputation. Sadly, this cruise had no atmosphere and the activities were all geared towards families and kids. Drunken teenagers were reeling most nights – where were the parents? Re the entertainments; the shows were good, but the act brought on for Christmas - was that really the best P&O could provide? At least the holiday ended with a good flight back and I will remember the kind crew (thank you) and feel sorry for those who had to put up with abuse from certain passengers, it’s really disgraceful and sad cruising has come to this. For noting; now no trays in the buffet, which was a nuisance when travelling solo and had to ask for a facecloth – these are just two of the cut-backs. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Family cruise. The good - nice ship and facilities. Food quality also good. Buffet was never crowded and never had to queue. The bad - Dining room service was hap-hazard and very slow. Clearly a lack of staff for the dining ... Read More
Family cruise. The good - nice ship and facilities. Food quality also good. Buffet was never crowded and never had to queue. The bad - Dining room service was hap-hazard and very slow. Clearly a lack of staff for the dining rooms. Aft cabin - no smoke/smut issues as others have recorded. But the carpet near the balcony door was dirty and very badly stained. They didn't refresh the cabins during her recent refit that's for sure. The p and o tours were awful - a whale watching experience turned into a beach day - after challenging the tour desk on return, got a refund. first it was unavailable, then they added an extra tour, then they cancelled on the morning, then they made it available on the dock side - total chaos! another tour was really just a drive to a dirty pool and dried up waterfall - described as a jeep tour - wasn't a jeep but a truck - is you like to drive in the heat for 4 hours with a crap stop, then book this. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My wife and I went on the Arcadia Christmas cruise to Norway and Denmark on 19th December 2019. We have not been on this ship before but have been on other P&O ships. I do not know how this ship gets bad reviews, mind you looking at ... Read More
My wife and I went on the Arcadia Christmas cruise to Norway and Denmark on 19th December 2019. We have not been on this ship before but have been on other P&O ships. I do not know how this ship gets bad reviews, mind you looking at some of the passengers I don't think they would enjoy anything. The ship was clean and tidy and well decorated for Christmas. Yes there are a few paint chips and scuff marks but how does anything like that spoil a cruise. There were new carpets in the lobby and gangways, we could not fault the ship. The food was excellent. We only used the buffet for breakfast and occasional lunch which again we could not fault for quality and choice. We were seated at the same table in the Meridian restaurant with two other great couples. There was a wide choice of food. One evening we went to the Sindhu and had a great meal and the service was very good. We also went to the Ocean Grill one evening and were both disappointed by the food and the service. The food was not very nice and the service was rushed. If this is supposed to be a menu that Marco Pierre White designed then we think he should go back on the ship and check it out. The Headliners Theatre Company put on very good shows and the visiting acts throughout the 10 days were entertaining. The Entertainments Manager was newly arrived and together with his team did an excellent job. The bars around the ship were always buzzing with something happening. The Captain was informative and quite funny with his announcements. The shore excursions are expensive but that is the same on any cruise line. We went on two excursions but one was good the other not so good. Our cabin was A15 on Australia deck. The cabin has a balcony but compared to other P&O ships the cabin itself was quite small. The cabin was kept immaculate by our cabin steward Beverley who did a great job nothing was too much for her. Overall we had a great time and would say that you should not take any notice of the negative reviews .Some people will complain all the time and some would collapse if they had to smile or say "Good Morning". Some don't even look at you and seem amazed when you speak to them. Perhaps they don't do that on Cunard which we heard on many occasions being dropped into the conversation! We Loved it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise as we have been on Ventura before. I can't express how disappointed I and the rest of my party were. The headliners seemed under rehearsed, the special guests weren't special - comedians that weren't ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we have been on Ventura before. I can't express how disappointed I and the rest of my party were. The headliners seemed under rehearsed, the special guests weren't special - comedians that weren't suitable for a Christmas cruise, and a lack of entertainment during the day unless you are a fitness fanatic The dance lessons were in the central Atrium - who wants to learn with two left feet with people walking in and out I went to a talk in the Art Gallery - people were struggling to stand (if there were 40 chairs there were 60 people, not counting those that left!) - you couldn't lean on the walls or posts so people with zimmer frames and walking sticks struggling to stay. They did say it would be repeated for those that couldn't stay but no mention of when The same could be said for the Salsa class - got cancelled (understandably due to ship movement) after waiting in the room, to be rescheduled at a later time that never materialised (or wasn't made clear!) The cabin was fine, though again cut backs - no flannels, soap not being replaced when used, shampoo not being refilled. The bathrobes were available to buy, but as the threads were loose and "well worn" why wasn't the option to buy new ones? Also, considering it recently had a refit the area around the patio doors was less than acceptable The dining room and staff were excellent - food top notch in the restaurant, The buffet not so much, and you'd expect the same food to be in throughout the buffet - not so! Some things, like brown sauce and black pudding, were very difficult to find! Often there, but literally walking the full length of the buffet to find The gym was well equipped, but difficult to find - I went three times before realising I was in the right place due to pushy spa people wanting to sell a massage and what-not - you couldn't get to the gym without getting past them! Lastly, the route was ridiculous with the first port cancelled, it meant we didn't actually get to first port until the fifth day of a twelve-day cruise - four days, five nights at sea were slowly getting to us Would I use P&O again? Not this ship (The Arcadia trip I was on the previous year was fabulous - second to none!) Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Both My wife & I having cruised before were looking for an enjoyable Christmas with warm weather, good accomadation, tasty food and entertainment/ activities and good service We found The Azura to be lacking on so many points. On ... Read More
Both My wife & I having cruised before were looking for an enjoyable Christmas with warm weather, good accomadation, tasty food and entertainment/ activities and good service We found The Azura to be lacking on so many points. On Freedon dining found the food no better than an average pub,the Christmas dinner was nothing special at all! Food service was slow . certainly not polished & professional- on one occasion the waiter did not know the difference between Cheddar & Brie, and on another occasion on asking for a second cup of coffee after dinner you would have thought I asked the waiter for his first born! Trying to order wine would often require 3 request to get a wine waiter. We did have an excelent meal on paying the suppliment for the Eppicurian Resturant, on previuos ships this would have been the norm not an Extra Charge. The ships is tired looking and does need the refit, but was generally clean. Biggest gripe is with the apauling entertainment. An Entertainments manager with no personality or passion and a team not interested in their customers.Standatds have been allowed to slip so badly or staff not managed that on 2 seperate occasions in Brodies bar the staff were hosting Karaoke but drinking aglass of wine that she hid on the floor and another time a different girk was hosting a quiz wilst eatinga bowl of nuts! Main acts were second rate at best, in fact the best entertainment over the 2 weeks involved the childrens club nativity play, Well Done Kids Club Leader. The onboard speaker/ presenter was a weird choice for a Christmas cruise, as she was all about healthy eating and not putting on weight. Part of one talk being about not eating too much food by picking a smaller plate and start with the salad at the buffet rather than the meat !!! Its Christmas a time when we know we going to eat too much. What looks like a full days activity program is about 50% chargable activities or an advert for a 'special offer' from one of the onboard shops or pop up Christmas market (tat shop). This is also the first cruise I have been on when so many staff were seen on ship whilst off duty. The buffet restaurant was like a staff canteen at times, and most evenings small groups of staff could be seen having a drink in one or other venue. I know staff can earn a deck pass privalage but..... There was very little cheer on this Christmas Cruise from the majority of the staff except the cabin stewards who without exception would greet you when walking through the ship.The same could not be said for the rest of the crew even the Ents team would walk past without a 'Hello' and they are supposed to be the extroverts. In general Standards have been lowered to the extent is P & O worth the money they charge? Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was a Christmas cruise and so had a premium price. Good things 1. Food and waiting staff 2. Steward 3. Balcony cabin Poor things 1. Most entertainment was not worth watching but two tribute acts were OK. The best ... Read More
This was a Christmas cruise and so had a premium price. Good things 1. Food and waiting staff 2. Steward 3. Balcony cabin Poor things 1. Most entertainment was not worth watching but two tribute acts were OK. The best offering was only on for one night but this was NOT made clear and so I didn't see it. 2. Entertainment staff on the Lido deck did not engage with guests but mainly danced with each other. 3. Solo guests pay a significant premium and the value is poor 4. At times it felt like Butlins at sea 5. Some entertainment offered was left to guests to organise e.g. bridge and whist. If no guest has the experience to run a tournament I assume it won't happen despite being advertised 6. The Christmas 'gift' we were given was an insult (a plastic P&O luggage label) in a very grand and attractive box. 7. The gym was awful with machines not properly fixed and noone to advise or help 8. The talks held in the gym were no more than sales pitches. The one I went to was very poor and the information shared was at best questionable and at worst wrong. 9. Shore excursions were over priced and I avoided them I was relieved to have a balcony because the pool areas tended to be very crowded and noisy. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Our flight on the Friday was on time and even arrived early into Bridgetown. The entertainment and food on the flight was fine and was a pleasant 9 hour flight. When we landed, a few showers delayed us getting off the plane however ... Read More
Our flight on the Friday was on time and even arrived early into Bridgetown. The entertainment and food on the flight was fine and was a pleasant 9 hour flight. When we landed, a few showers delayed us getting off the plane however soon enough we were on the bus straight to the ship. When we got there we were the first flight to land so there were no queues so we got straight on. We found our balcony cabin on B deck quickly and it was everything we needed and was really happy with it and our cabin steward who was fantastic throughout the cruise. Azura is in need of her refit which is due to happen very soon however we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. We had 2nd sitting dining in the oriental restaurant on a table of 6 which we enjoyed and the food was lovely and we dined in Sindhu, The Epicurean and The Beach House which were all stunning and worth the extra surcharge. We have been to all the Caribbean Islands we visited before so it was great to visit again and either visit some new places or go back to old favourites. We had fantastic weather with only a few showers which passed quickly. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas and like us many passengers decorated there cabin doors which was great. Santa arrived on Christmas eve and it was a lot of fun and the children on board looked to be having a great time. We have done this Christmas cruise a few times and look forward to being back on board again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Excellent deal . We were going on Oceana from Dubai but it was cancelled. Never been on Oceana before. Out of part of winter. Weather perfect . Very good captain. Lovely older ship . Cosy balcony cabins.lovely food. Only gripe was ... Read More
Excellent deal . We were going on Oceana from Dubai but it was cancelled. Never been on Oceana before. Out of part of winter. Weather perfect . Very good captain. Lovely older ship . Cosy balcony cabins.lovely food. Only gripe was entertainment. Hardly any good shows .(probably had to be cobbled together for 35 nights). Great service. We had great service in the restaurant and food was of a high standard. The beach house was as good as ever and we did manage to have one of the meals there, on deck during the tropical night. My cabin steward in c619 was excellent and nothing was too much trouble. However, the cafe jardin was cold unwelcoming and food was not good and maybe better turning into a sindu with better food and service. It is in a very good location overlooking the atrium I think it would be good to have the Oceana as an adult only ship as the bars are quite sophisticated and the champagne bar is too small to be adult only. Very happy and clean well run ship . Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because we thought the itinerary looked really interesting & we wanted to experience a smaller ship - we had only ever cruised on Britannia before.We were checked in promptly by friendly staff at Southampton & ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we thought the itinerary looked really interesting & we wanted to experience a smaller ship - we had only ever cruised on Britannia before.We were checked in promptly by friendly staff at Southampton & quickly found our balcony cabin on B deck. T The Horizon buffet was very well arranged & a very pleasant area to sit in, there always seemed enough seats for everybody. As we expected the food was the same as Britannia. We were freedom dining so dined in the Medina dining room each evening. This was lovely, sometimes we shared a table & other times we had our own table. If a table for 2 was not available we only had to wait a few minutes. The food was excellent, served beautifully & always hot. The waiting staff were on the whole very friendly & efficient. We also had afternoon tea (at 4 p.m.) in this restaurant which was superb. The entertainment on board was outstanding especially the Headliners Theatre Company who were fabulous, there was also a good variety of other entertainers & most evenings we saw two shows - on either side of dinner. On the sea day afternoons there was a concert pianist who gave a an enjoyable recital of well known classical pieces. The weather as we set off & on the first sea day was windy (force 8) but Aurora handled it well, in order that we were able to dock in Hamburg the captain sailed at full speed & we docked in Hamburg about 10 hours early - the alternative would have been out at sea waiting it out in very rough conditions. Our first port of call was Hamburg, there was a shuttle bus which dropped & picked us up close to the Rathaus (town hall). It was an interesting city & had a great Christmas Market. It was damp & cold but it didn't spoil our visit. In Oslo, our second stop, we docked next to the fortress which was brilliant & handy .It was extremely chilly but dry & a great place to visit before Christmas. Next stop was Copenhagen, a shuttle bus dropped us off in the centre & we walked backed to the ship both days. Our final stop was Zeebrugge - here a shuttle bus took us to nearby Blankenburg. From here there are hourly trains to Brugge, which take 15 minutes & cost 5 euros return. A beautiful city which looked extra special with the Christmas decorations. By the end of the cruise we loved Aurora & would probably now choose her over Britannia - never thought we'd say that! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Hammering, Drilling and Maintenance We were on our third cruise with P and O. We were so looking forward to this which was my birthday present cruise in December. We thought our cabin had seen better days but had the very professional ... Read More
Hammering, Drilling and Maintenance We were on our third cruise with P and O. We were so looking forward to this which was my birthday present cruise in December. We thought our cabin had seen better days but had the very professional Hilda as our steward and she took care of usvand was always smiling. Most of the staff were wonderful and so happy. On boarding we decided to loaf around in the pool area and had to leave pretty quick as the pool was empty and being painted. I have asthma and paint doesn't serve me well. The paint stench last a few days. The Meridien restaurant was superb and the staff were magical professionals. MAINTENANCE... For a few nights we heard something like a ball continually bouncing above our cabin....then scraping and banging. It kept us awake for hours and we eventually informed reception who said we should call when it's happening (snotty attitude). Must say that Katarina at reception was superb and suggested a wonderful walking tour of Lisbon which included history and shopping at smaller stores. Our walking talking tour was the highlight of our cruise and we thank Katarina. MAINTENANCE... Bang, bang at night again. We called reception and someone was sent to check it out (above cabin A 098) We were told that it was kitchen staff washing dishes and prepping food which we thought was a lie as the ships map didn't show a kitchen above us. The banging eventually stopped and we couldn't sleep as we were too wound up. We are happy go lucky and easy going but this was too much. Next day I heard banging and scraping whilst in the buffet and there was a white sheet covering an area which hid a worker banging and scraping. I have a video recorded ready for YouTube. It seems the floor area and the mural above were more important than us passengers. Everyone was upset. I was as this was my 68th birthday and I was but days out of hospital and in need of peace. The first part of the cruise we were often, snottily, told that we couldn't sit in a certain area as it was for officers only. That's fair enough but a whole side which was never full??? One night there was a lot of banging in the balcony area of our cabin and a polite maintenance guy came and fixed it in the morning. We were given $200 extra onboard spend and a beautiful bouquet of flowers as an apology but what price an unhappy holiday? Is there anything that can be done to stop the stench of cigarettes wafting into the buffet? Or the awful people that smoke in the public toilets???? We thought the entertainment wasn't up to much and the sound testing could have been more professional - continual 1 2 ing is not necessary these days. The four piece in the Rising Sun looked terribly miserable. The food and service was very good in the Belvedere although the continual upselling at the tables was too much. The Meridien food, service and ambience was high quality. I hate giving bad reviews but be careful folks. I've been in the Hotel, Club and Entertainment business for most of my life and, ironically, not fussy but this was way too annoying for us. I feel cheated DS Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Firstly the price paid is a huge factor in the context of any review - your expectations are naturally higher paying £1000 per night than our bargain £79.00 each for a balcony cabin. At this value my expectations were certainly exceeded. ... Read More
Firstly the price paid is a huge factor in the context of any review - your expectations are naturally higher paying £1000 per night than our bargain £79.00 each for a balcony cabin. At this value my expectations were certainly exceeded. We have sailed on 20 cruises, mostly Cunard, and this was our first trip on an adult only ship. I hadn’t expected much difference but it was SO much calmer without noisy children rushing around. The weather was dreadful on the departure day from Southampton and rather than put us all through hell the captain delayed leaving until 3.00 am the next morning when things were forecast to be calmer - at no doubt a considerable cost to P&O in port fees. Impressive touch. Tip - if you are a delicate sailor when seas get rough there is considerably less movement in the cabins midship compared to where we were at the front. And you don’t hear the loud bangs of the waves hitting the bow. Food was excellent and even better in the speciality dining venues - worth waiting for the special offers to sample. In fact no meal disappointed but the Lido was a bit of a scrum at breakfast and lunch. Much more relaxing in the dining rooms. We opted for Freedom Dining but the queues and waits were so long unless you ate right at the beginning or towards the end of the session, when the food took a while to arrive. Next time we will go for fixed dining and have our table waiting for us. The ships interior wasn’t up to Cunards high boutique standards but then the price was considerably lower. And it felt comfortable all round. Cabin fine, You do have to climb into a uselessly small bath to have a shower which could be a mobility issue but beds were comfy. Not many tv channels. Our cabin steward Maria was just lovely - prepared everything with such care. The was a smell of sewage at times in the central atrium area but perhaps they will sort this next April in the refurbishment. No tips or service charge on the drinks which along with the excellent shore excursions were much cheaper than Cunard. Excellent entertainment in a stunning theatre. Lovely spa too and one acupuncture session instantly cured my frozen shoulder after two years. Would we go back? For the right destinations at the right price definitely! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We took a Caribbean Cruise on P&O Azura Cruise number A930A. We had a fabulous time overall but in the interests of honesty there were a few minor things wrong with the ship/service that we will address during the course of the ... Read More
We took a Caribbean Cruise on P&O Azura Cruise number A930A. We had a fabulous time overall but in the interests of honesty there were a few minor things wrong with the ship/service that we will address during the course of the review. Flights out- Manchester to Barbados, aircraft was comfortable, lots of legroom and decent screens in the seat backs...it was our first time on a dreamliner tbh we struggled to understand what the fuss was about, its just an aircraft like any other long haul aircraft. We had seats away from the toilets which helped( i guess it was a different experience if you were next to the loos). The food was poor on the aircraft especially for my wife who cannot eat cheese (our fault we didnt warn them) there were no cheese free options. Embarkation- Transfer from aircraft to ship was super slick time from sat on aircraft to stood on ship was 45mins. No passing through customs at airport just bussed straight from bottom of aircraft steps to the cruise terminal. Excellent transfer. Our Cabin was immediately available. Cabin- We were on deck 12, Cabin A433 it was clean and tidy, everything worked. Typical cruise ship cabin, nothing spectacular but perfectly acceptable. The handrail could have done with a scrape and repolish but other than that nothing wrong. A big plus with P&O is that there is a kettle but if you like a particular coffee or tea take it with you. We had some free water provided in the cabin on arrival due to having cruised previously with them. There was a mini bar but we never used it. Chocolates on the bed at night and biscuits (for the tea and coffee) were replenished a couple of times a day if required. The Ship - Tired, its going for a sparkle and it needs it. Tatty carpets in heavy use locations, much of the seating is worn out... particuarily seating with a velvety finish looked worn...the 45000 rubs have been more than exceeded. In the lido buffet room on deck 15 there was an issue with the food service units that led to leakages onto the worn carpets which led to closure of the walkways so passengers were diverted through the eating areas...it led to a feeling of chaos in the areas concerned. Repairs were facilitated whilst we were onboard her and it wasnt an issue in the 2nd week. The hulls exterior paintwork is in need of repainting, she is showing her age especially when other ships pull along side her in port... Azura looked shabby from the outside in comparison. One more thing is the smell. It is there and is worst midships on Promenade deck Port side... but it wasnt so bad as to spoil any holiday as some would have you believe... also folk who say there wasnt a smell must not have had a cabin near it or walked that way or maybe have something wrong with thier noses perhaps.... it was worst on port days and it seemed to eminate from what we assume are heat exchangers at lifeboat level. Whilst the list of issues here seems long, none were major areas of concern and the ship was otherwise seemingly well maintained. Space on board was ok, maybe there was an older passenger list than usual but there always seemed to be a sunbed on sea days even for late risers... its a nice ship and very similar to the Ventura. Dining- Big plus here. We tried all the restaurants at some point or other and they were all excellent. We had great food everywhere. We particuarily enjoyed Sindhu. but the main restaurant was also very good and unless you like a change there is not a great deal of point paying the extra for the speciality dining locations...we do them as part of our trying things out type of holiday experience that we do. You will be fine staying in main dining room if funds are tight. The only thing i would say is that puddings could be hit and miss.. some were excellent and some were just a bit odd. Bars- OK ish... tbh.. we didnt like the bars that much.. when i go to a bar i want the barman to serve me.. but even if he does he involves the waiter and on more than a couple of occasions our drinks sat there a few metres away whilst we waited for a waiter to fetch them to us...i just didnt get it... it didnt happen all the time but we never quite understood what was going on. We took out the all inclusive option on 2nd day but we will address that issue at the end. It was our biggest beef about the cruise. Entertainment- Some ok acts, the magic show 'Astonishing' was what it said on the tin. We were sat on 2nd row and I still dont know how some of the tricks worked...even when watching for it i couldnt see the actual move.. great show... watched a couple of the main ensemble shows and they were fine. Usual cruise ship fare. We have done many cruises now though and wish that it was a bit more modern and a bit less crooner/cover bandsish based. That said a very lot of people would be very happy with the shows. Its us that have seen it all before rather than the quality of the acts at fault here. The entertainment team were approachable and friendly... average stuff again though. Quizzes were decent enough. Some were quite tough, which was nice. My wife particuarily enjoyed the lecturer who was a crime writer and ex police... some great insights over the 4 lectures apparently. What was good was the lack of hard sell by the staff. Unlike some cruise lines the staff didnt push things all the time. Spa & Gym- We didnt use the Spa itself, but did use the gym..5 times actually..honest... it is pretty basic and a few machines were down.. but it did the job and it is much nicer using a gym cruising the caribbean than it is on a damp day at home. On Board Shops- Usual gear, some decent prices for some items too... check first though on tinternet before committing. We bought a watch for £310 which when we arrived home found same locally for £540..so there really are bargains but i guess not everything is as good as that one was. Crew/Staff- Generally very nice and chatty, no issues other than they were more laid back than usual... is that the new P&O no tips policy in action? ..we dunno.. but tbh it was nice to be not pushed to spend more. Itinery/ports of call- This is where our holiday really took off, we had a wonderful time ashore at every port. St Vincent: We booked our own trip here at home prior to the holiday. We went to the waterfall at the far end of the island..its about 75 feet high and quite spectacular, we then visited the Pirates of the Caribbean set and then onto Fort Charlotte.. it cost $40 and was a nice day out. We had a good laugh at the waterfall in particular. Be careful, some trips go to waterfalls that are little more than a river running over rocks... very few went where we went. St Kitts: Made an error here, used the ships trip and the minibus was less than good. The windows were tiny and they had been obscured by vinyl which put on badly distorted everything. We should have just got off the ship and caught a taxi for same money. Anyway, once we arrived at our destination it was superb, we visited Fort Brimstone which is in a stunning location, very carribean. We loved it. St Maarten- We went to a mountain and did the Flying Dutchman zipline 1050 feet high (steepest zipline with greatest decent in world)... this was fabulous fun... there was a ski type hoist to the top and then 4 ziplines between two mountain peaks before the Flying Dutchman down the hill... there wasnt a rush and you could have a look around at the top first. After the dutchman it was back on the ski hoist upto the first level for some tubing runs... a great day was had and we were back at the port for 2pm in time for a beer and a look at the shops. My wifes fave day out. Grand Turk: Ship parks at the beach so why go further. Paid a few dollars for sunbeds (although early birds can get free ones) and chilled by the sea..and in it... its a truly stunning location and no chance of missing ship. They blow the ships horn half an hour before to let you know to get on. Tortola: We jumped in a minibus/taxi onshore..cost $20 dollars each for a trip to a beach coupled with a bit of sightseeing along the ridgeway out to far end of the island. A stunning island, we also called at an old rum distillary and sampled some wares. Pussers Beach where we stopped was beautiful, there were pelicans flying along its length from time to time... another great shore day. Antigua: We booked a ships trip to Prickly Pear Island, wow this was stunning too... we were lucky this day, apparently on the mainland they had some rain..but we missed it all... apart from when we returned to the port where we popped into a bar until the rain eased... Prickly pear is very basic, some people were not that happy with it but for us it was perfect. Its only 100m x 30m and there was a cabin with all inclusive drinks and a lunch service... the loo was in a wood hut and was a pump type yacht loo... best not to dwell on it too long... the sea was amazing, superb snorkelling on the sandbar and reef..lots of fish to see... i ended up getting a very burnt back due to spending 5 of the 6 and a half hours half submerged in the water. We spent the day with a couple off the ship and had a great time with them. My fave place of the holiday, but its not for everyone i guess. There was probably about 30 people in total on the island...all off the ship i think. St Lucia: Another ships trip, this time a catamarran to see the pitons, tbh we saw em on St Vincent at start of the holiday(its not that far from St Lucia) and as the ship pulled in to St lucia that morning too... but the fun is the journey here.. it stopped at a beach for snorkelling and then went onto the pitons... Rum flowed, there was dancing and generally everyone had a lovely time.. we did. Afterwards we ate in a bar near the ship and continued the fun there with a couple we met on the catamarran. It was a good day. Grenada: Weatherwise this was worst day of the holiday. It rained before we arrived, it rained a little bit in the morning and rained very hard toward the end of the day. However we lucked out massively, we prebooked on tinternet a ATV experience...and the inclement weather only made it more exciting. There was only 4 people doing the trip too so it really was a one to one experience with the guides. We also visited what would probably have been the most beautiful beach of the holiday had the sun been out. Grenada is stunning, we just need to see it in the sunshine and not with grey skies. One thing, if you are considering buying jewellery whilst out in the caribbean wait until Grenada.. they undercut all the other places for the exact same item of jewellery by quite some margin. It was my wifes 50th and she ended up with a diamond and Sapphire necklace and a watch for the same price as the necklace elsewhere (am looking at you, St Maarten and Antigua)... Barbados: we boarded on a saturday, so the friday at barbados for us was a full day and night there before our flying home day on the saturday. We have been before to barbados so looked online at what to do diiferent from last time when we did a island tour by taxi... we read about the boatyard.. so went... wow, what a great day... the taxi driver tried to talk us into going further down the beach to a bar there that didnt charge entry.. what he didnt say was that the sunbeds there cost $20 each..at Boatyard entry is $25 dollars but you get the sunbeds and a free drink, every two hours theres a 241 happy hour and inbetween that there are free shots and a free snorkelling trip in a boat to swim at two sites in the bay... one has a wreck the other as turtles.. it was fabulous and rounded our holiday off perfectly. The ships entertainment crew and in fact many of the other crew go there to party on days off too so it must be good. Glad we went there.. not to be missed, if you havent done it..do it. Drinks Package- Now before we sum up...the thing that annoyed the most. The drinks package. Firstly it is expensive but we just about managed to reach the total everyday, we like a drink but are not massive drinkers..so people who drink a lot will cane it... we won because the speciality coffees and soft drinks /water are in so we took water ashore with us every shore day and had a few coffees a day too...we were £30 into the money before we touched alcohol so it was fairly easy to reach the outlay cost. That however isnt the issue... the issue was not being able to have doubles and then drinks being overun with the mixers so they tasted like dishwater... and generally being made to feel somehow 2nd class by the bar staff... Is that a large wine?.. they asked, is that a double? ... no we are on the package...and we showed our card.. oh they said.. and then they turned up with a small wine and a single short over run with mixer unless we could stop them in time... i know its not thier fault, but there is a serious flaw in P&O policy here. We spent a very lot of money with them and somehow managed to feel less special than people who didnt. I know its silly but it was annoying... am not saying that spending that money should have made us more special but it shouldnt have put us at a disadvantage. If P&O are doing All Inclusive then they need to do All Inclusive not this half arsed carry on they have concocted... I understand that some people may take the piss but we are not those people and we just couldnt get the drinks of the quality we expect ....it was as if they had our money and we could just do one. Thats the biggest gripe of what was an otherwise terrific holiday. Disembarkation- Went very smoothly, was a long day, but we went last minute shopping in the morning, had a bit of deck/pool time, had lunch and then changed and showered in the spa facilities before catching bus to the airport. Flight was delayed about an hour and a half but time soon passed and they pretty much managed to land on time back in Manchester. Summing up- This was our 20th cruise with a variety of different lines so by now we know a thing or two about cruising so our views are honest, constructive and considered with plenty of experience to measure the ship and overall cruise against. This was a 5 star holiday experience with a 3 star ship board experience so overall we give it 4 stars. We have attempted to be uber honest. Some will disagree ..but this is our experience of this cruise so please accept it as truthful from our perspective. There is nothing that should put you off from cruising with P&O or on the Azura..we would do it again, and on this very ship without any worries. Many of the minor issues will no doubt be sorted in the sparkle before next season begins so the only real beef is with the P&O All Inclusive drinks policy... we dont understand it (it seems designed to piss us off) and it detracted from what was an other wise wonderful experience. We wouldnt take the P&O drinks package on this experience again (it may depend on what it is you prefer to drink of course). Hope you found this helpful. Happy Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
have cruised with p and o last five years on azura and brittania but was very disappointed this year. Cabin was ok but three times in the two weeks we could not flush toilet for several hours and although this was repaired eventually ... Read More
have cruised with p and o last five years on azura and brittania but was very disappointed this year. Cabin was ok but three times in the two weeks we could not flush toilet for several hours and although this was repaired eventually never got call back from reception as promised. The main pool (not the side of cinemaI deck 15 was unusable for the whole two weeks as there were children and teenagers diving in although it states no diving. Numerous staff saw this happening and ignored it only once were they told and as soon as staff looked away they resumed diving in so no one else could use the pool Deck 15 smokers side the tables were constantly filthy and not cleaned for hours . The food was quite nice and our waiters were lovely as was cabin steward. The standards are definitely dropping on this ship and will look elsewhere next time I know it is having a refurbishment but no excuse for not being clean Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We have cruised with P&O on a number of occasions, and have particularly enjoyed those on the adults only ships. We liked Oriana and were disappointed when she was sold. So we waited for Aurora to be refurbished as an adults only ship ... Read More
We have cruised with P&O on a number of occasions, and have particularly enjoyed those on the adults only ships. We liked Oriana and were disappointed when she was sold. So we waited for Aurora to be refurbished as an adults only ship and chose this 13 night cruise to Madeira and the Canary Islands to escape the fogs, rain and dark days of November. It proved to be a good choice! Embarkation was speedy and efficient. We were on board be 1pm and first impressions were good. We enjoyed a welcome on board lunch in the Medina restaurant which was most enjoyable, then repaired to our cabin, mid-ship on B deck. We were blown away by our mini-suite which was spacious and well appointed. Everything was clean and fresh and looked new. Tea and coffee making was available, but my husband declared that the coffee pods supplied with the machine did not make the very strong coffee that he prefers, so he only used it once! Our steward Maria kept everything spotless and even cleaned the exterior windows, but we were concerned that she had too many suites to look after and that we had little time to chat and get to know her better During the first three days we were at sea so there was plenty of time to explore the ship, try the various restaurants and see what entertainment was available. The elegant style of the refurbishment has given this traditional ship a new lease of life. Crossing the Bay of Biscay the weather was rough, and access to the promenade deck was restricted, but the ship coped well. Tip - if you suffer from motion sickness, choose a cabin on the lower decks and avoid the forward cabins. As we gained calmer seas we were able to enjoy walking along the wrap-around promenade deck and to appreciate the teak decking and elegant sweeping aft decks. We always choose freedom dining and prefer a table for two. Sometimes we had to wait for a table, but usually no more than 15 or 20 minutes. The food in the Medina restaurant was mostly good. On formal nights the choice and quality of the food was excellent. The wine list is much improved than hitherto and the prices were reasonable. Service was good, but the waiters had too many tables and often seemed rushed. We did not much like the food in Sindhu, but that is probably down to personal taste. The waitresses in Sindhu were charming. We would have preferred an Italian speciality restaurant rather than the Ocean Grill - the menu did not appeal. We had lunch a few times in the Glass House and enjoyed being able to try a wide selection of wines by the glass - the selection of wines by the glass in the main restaurants is limited. The lectures on sea days were interesting and the resident musicians were mostly good - depending on one's personal taste. One guest performer, Wild Sax, was excellent. We would have preferred more jazz and classical concerts. It was disappointing that the piano in the central atrium area was not used more. What should have been the heart of the ship was far too quiet. Listening to the piano, cocktail to hand, while waiting for dinner is one of the greatest pleasures for us. Unfortunately the pager system for your table does not penetrate as far as the Crows Nest where the pianist was usually playing around the pre-prandial hour. We only went to one production show by the Headliners, as the times are not convenient if you dine between 7 and 9pm. For the early show one needs to arrive in the theatre early, otherwise there are no seats. The late show was usually too late for us, specially on port days when we had been on shore. However, there is a separate cinema and a show lounge which offer alternative entertainments, so there is always something to do in the evenings. We enjoyed our visit to Madeira - our favourite island. It has so much to offer: stunning scenery, exotic flora, beautiful gardens and a mild climate. We took a taxi to the Botanic Gardens, bought some Madeira wine for Christmas, then enjoyed strolling around Funchal in the warm sunshine and seeing the Christmas decorations. Then on to La Palma where we went on an excursion to the centre of the island which is a huge crater called the Caldera Taburiente - more scenery surrounded by mountains. It has a world class collection of observatories set up there because of the clear air and low light pollution. Next was Gran Canaria where we visited some attractive villages and gardens - very different from the tourist beaches in the south of the island. We then called at Lanzarote, which is still volcanically active - lots to see there is one is a first-time visitor. Finally Lisbon where we went on one of the antique trams up and down the hills, along narrow streets - great fun. Sailing towards the sunset down the River Tagus was a fitting end to our pre-Christmas holiday. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Cruise Norway 26/11/19 What can I say, been on a good few P&O cruises and enjoyed them all even in bad weather and heavy seas but this one to Norway on Arcadia was bad. The cruise was advertised by Iglu as a 12 nighter with 4 ... Read More
Cruise Norway 26/11/19 What can I say, been on a good few P&O cruises and enjoyed them all even in bad weather and heavy seas but this one to Norway on Arcadia was bad. The cruise was advertised by Iglu as a 12 nighter with 4 stops two of those being overnight, good selling point, to us overnight means overnight so less time at sea but Iglu's overnight meant leaving port at 1 or 2 am so more time at sea not less. Itinerary clearly stated six sea days but with bad weather and not docking at Stavenger because of that weather, we spent 9 days at sea, no joke and not pleasant. Another selling point of this cruise was sailing down Romsdalsfjord where we hoped to take photographs, what they didn't say was we would be going through the fjord in pitch dark at night, (pointless). The weather was bad most of the trip, can't be helped no fault of P&O's, and most of the trip the Arcadia moaned, groaned and creaked day and night the noises she made were very unnerving and scary at times as I said above we've cruised in bad weather before but never had feeling of dread as on this ship the captains broadcasts were no help and never inspired confidence, prophet of doom, you know things are bad when people tell you they are afraidfor their lives indeed so afraid some abandoned Arcadia at Tromso to fly home at their own expense and many first time cruisers on board said they would never cruise again, we held our nerve and stuck it out. On a lesser note but very concerning the food was almost as rough as the weather and restaurant layout illogical. First day there I could find no individual yogurt pots instead P&O have gone down the money saving route and are now using large open tubs of different flavoured yogurt which you scoop from yourself, fine, until I saw a woman dipping her fingerin each tub of yogurt and tasting each in turn, disgusting, needless to say no yogurt for us on that trip no wonder you read of norovirus problems on Arcadia. I enjoy a sachet of brown sauce with breakfast, no more sachets, just bottles of HPwith crusty brown tops, lots of curry on board but if you prefer french fry's instead of rice with it you must queue again on the other side of restaurant while your main course go's cold, no real butter or cream served to go with a scone the list go,s on. As said, I have enjoyed P&O on past cruises and hope to do so in future but I doubt we'll go on this ship again the way the itinerary differed from that advertised I would class Arcadia a tramp steamer not a passenger liner, infactI would have to be press-ganged to board her again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
O.K. so if you opt for a cruise to Northern Norway at the end of November you've got to expect that the weather might be problematic and it was! This was not a great cruise experience and unfortunately this was not entirely due to ... Read More
O.K. so if you opt for a cruise to Northern Norway at the end of November you've got to expect that the weather might be problematic and it was! This was not a great cruise experience and unfortunately this was not entirely due to the various storms and gales that we sailed through. To warn future searchers for the Northern Lights you should research the itinerary carefully. Technically we were in Narvik and Tromso for 2 days each but we left in the very early hours of the 2nd day in each place so less than 20hrs in each case would be the truth.Also luck was not with us. On safety grounds the captain took us to Narvik first ( we were scheduled to visit Tromso).  Narvik was cold,windy and very snowy and there were problems with Shuttle buses into town. It was walkable, in the right gear, but a 15 minute wait to get back on board in pretty poor conditions with no shelter I could have done without. The weather in Tromso, when we did arrive, meant that there was very little chance of seeing the Northern Lights. We had a chat with some local guides and they told us that all trips that evening had been cancelled as there was no chance of a sighting but to add insult to injury they said that on the day that we had originally been scheduled to be there, there had been a fine display. Boo! Also they were busy refunding the ship's passengers who had booked private tours. P&O clearly had better local knowledge, or worse ethics, than the locals as their Northern lights tours at nearly £100 a go, went ahead. I understand that they were unsuccessful. Due to the bad weather going back (as opposed to the bad weather going!) we missed Stavanger entirely, which resulted in 4 sea days before Southampton. We were o.k. as regards sea sickness and coped well with the movement of the ship. Also it didn't seem to affect our appetites but the decks and indoor swimming pool were all closed for most of the time and I must confess to a touch of 'cabin fever'. The ship creaked and groaned, various buckets appeared to catch the drips and there was a spectacular eruption in the floor of the Belvedere restaurant. The ship did show considerable signs of wear and tear. Our first cabin's balcony partition had to be wedged closed with a wooden peg and the emergency exit in the Meridian flew open spontaneously several times at Dinner. Coffee machines malfunctioned and various toilets were out of order. The ship was noisy as you would expect in stormy weather and some nights sleep was very difficult.So all this is pretty negative, but there are some positives. We were very impressed by most of the crew. Our cabin steward was superb, most of the waiters at dinner were friendly, efficient and helpful and the staff at reception were cheerful and effective. It was deemed necessary for us to move cabins and the move was well organised by various members of the crew. A problem in the dining room was dealt with in a most sensitive and professional manner. The captain kept us well informed as regards the weather and the itinerary changes but there were times when I felt that I was listening to Eeyore as regards his less than optimistic utterances. "We are all in this together' springs to mind.The food varied from the good to the excellent,the entertainment in the evenings was interesting, in a good way, although one Headliners show fell victim to the weather at the last minute. The lectures by John Maclean were most interesting.So there were some pluses.  However, back in Southampton the failure of the Airbridge caused disembarkation chaos.Sometimes you can't catch a break!  Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our first cruise...so tentative and apprehensive.. Food ...huge variety available seemingly at all times of the day. Pretty much faultless, with the buffet restaurant especially providing seemingly endless variety, quality and ... Read More
This was our first cruise...so tentative and apprehensive.. Food ...huge variety available seemingly at all times of the day. Pretty much faultless, with the buffet restaurant especially providing seemingly endless variety, quality and quantity. Entertainment....simply excellent, the quality of the professional theatre artists especially Danieli and Amelia and the guest acts was nothing less than exceptional and despite a couple of instances where the shows had to stop for some technical reason, these instances did not detract from the thoroughly excellent entertainment and quality performances from start to finish. Ship... huge..and a beautiful example of wonderful design and engineering. Everything you could need ...Spaces and 'frontline sunbeds' not always available immediately due to the pressures of people numbers, but that's not a fault of the ship and wherever you go, that will always be the case for popular activities. Staff... almost faultless, some bars where staff did not smile, but we tended to avoid them. All the catering staff and cleaning staff and maintenance staff were polite, professional, dedicated and seemed to care that everyone was not inconvenienced and had the best time possible. Black tie evenings.... entertaining to experience lots of people in their finery once in a while...a little something different, for us anyway. Ports... some excellent locations, some less so, but everywhere is worthy of visiting at least once and it's all relative. Overwhelmed by the high level of organisation of both the managed trips and the 'local' providers.. Tourism is their life...so lots of evidence that people will go out of their way to please. Met some really nice people...the world is full of them. Caribbean Sea... the sea was like a millpond throughout our 2 weeks...is it always like that ? we've no idea.. but it certainly couldn't have been any more calm which made our holiday even easier to enjoy. All in all..we will definitely be going cruising again...and P&O are very high on our list.. We did see some other liners from other providers whilst in various ports...we were not at all disappointed with our choice. If you're thinking about going cruising for the first time...we'd certainly recommend it and we'd recommend a balcony room...it's a real joy to sit out in a warm breeze and simply listen to, and watch the waves go by....at unearthly hours of the night. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Ventura N933 12 nights Madeira, Canaries and Lisbon, 17 to 29th November 2019 Embarkation at Southampton on the 17th November was quick and efficient. All the cabins were supposed to be ready for occupancy at 1.30pm, although we were in ... Read More
Ventura N933 12 nights Madeira, Canaries and Lisbon, 17 to 29th November 2019 Embarkation at Southampton on the 17th November was quick and efficient. All the cabins were supposed to be ready for occupancy at 1.30pm, although we were in E227 before then. Ferdinand the cabin steward was self-effacing and well worth the personal tip on the last day of the cruise. E227 is on Deck 8, just above the Promenade Deck starboard side a quarter of the way back. It is an Ocean View with no balcony and its window part obscured by the mechanics of the lifeboat davits. However, it is as big as a standard balcony cabin, albeit without the balcony, and at £812 pp with free parking was excellent value for this cruise. Since, apart from the mid-voyage part, it was generally cold and wet outside, not having a balcony was no disadvantage. P&O no longer do the bed ‘turndown’ service with free chocs’ on Day One, no face flannels are supplied unless requested and our fridge was 100% empty – in other words if we wanted drinks from it, we had to order and pay upfront. We never used the shipboard internet as our phones with data were included by the service provider when we were in the EU ports. Food? Main served restaurants were Holiday Inn ‘Plus’ standard I would say, as I have before about Britannia. Alternative dining? Sindhu is well worth the cover charge but it is best to go on Day One or Two of the cruise as they give either a free bottle of house wine for two or a third off the £20 pp charge. Glass House? On this cruise the service was diabolical. The food was excellent as always, but the service dismal. So dismal in fact that a group of us complained and we all got the food (eventually) for free. The deserts are to die for. A meal for two with drinks will be around £22<£30 total. Beach House? Huge portions and the basic cover charge is only £7.50pp. Drinks across the board on P&O are almost as low as Wetherspoon prices and if you have done 15 or more days or so with P&O then you get 5% discount as well. The other passengers? Michael Macintyre would have a field day! For example, in the Tamarind Club venue one morning they were having a talk about their Iceland and Norway cruises. We arrived, the venue was quite full and as usual couples (elderly usually) had selected the middle two of any four seats, clearly wanting to guard their individual space. Asking them nicely if they would mind moving up one seat this particular couple refused, so we sat either side and talked over them to their annoyance! They got the message and left soon after moaning about sub-standard passengers nowadays! The same sort of thing happened on disembarkation day when our meeting point was Deck 6 of the Arena Theatre for off-loading at 8.45. We arrived at approx. 8am to find without exception ALL the end couple of seats of the rows were occupied, no doubt so the inhabitants could be first out of the blocks to the gangway at the ‘call’ time. Since everyone had carry-on cases/coats/bags etc., it meant the ‘end sitters’ were climbed all over to their annoyance as 100’s more guests then arrived which served them right when the obvious thing to do was to move up the row to let in the new arrivals. As it so happened sitting at the end of a row also made no difference since we were, as always, called off by row and on this day to the opposite side of the ship! In other words, it seems to me that some people don’t like to be challenged and are inherently selfish. A final example of this was in the buffet one day, when an able but elderly lady, was peering at the offerings just as a new batch of omelettes were put out. She pushed in, grabbed the flat metal server, put it under an omelette, stepped back with it and then gasped ‘I have no plate’ looking at me as if it were my fault, and she then promptly dropped the selected fresh omelette on the floor! So, be prepared for a degree of selfishness amongst the passengers, many of whom were old(ish). Entertainment? The Turnaround Kids were good and Paul Stickler who gave six talks on unsolved or solved but possible miscarriages of justice murders, was good and he always had a full-house – lots of single seats either sides of couples until the entertainment staff told them to move. Ports of call? Lisbon it rained – we took a taxi to El Corte Ingles - a huge department store like Selfridges in London where you could stay all day if you wanted, and not that expensive either. Madeira it rained until lunchtime. Warning – if you want to use the cable car to see the botanical gardens etc., there are long queues. An organised trip might be better. Gran Canaria? The main city, Las Palmas which is where the cruise ships dock, is like a smaller version of Lisbon and good for quality shopping with big discounts. Lanzarote on a Sunday has little to commend it in Arrecife where the cruise ships dock, but the Mountains of Fire excursion into the Timanfaya Volcano National Park was very good with an excellent guide. You cannot do the drive around the volcanos by taxi or car, so an organised coach trip is best, Santa Cruz, De La Palma, can be easily walked from the cruise terminal. Quite a nice small naval museum, cathedral and a monastery if they interest you. Main street has a range of traditional shops and bars. Ventura as usual suffered a minor hiccup with her machinery on the way South from Southampton and on the way back we made an emergency unscheduled brief alongside stop at Vigo to offload an unfixable medical emergency. It was all a bit tasteless as passengers were standing four deep on Promenade Deck 7 to see the unfortunate lady being offloaded into an ambulance with local doctor, nurse and paramedics. In summary: Good value, decent enough cabin, adequate food (but you have to pay extra for something really special) and the drinks definitely won’t bankrupt you. No auto gratuities nowadays and if you book a future cruise but then want to change it before the balance deadline, there is also no £100 special charge. The other passengers if the cruise is from Southampton (and not in school holidays) will largely be from the older generation. Most are pleasant, but one or two can be quite inconsiderate. Although we did not use Scubas, the P&O childcare nursery facility, it looked good and seemed to be popular. P&O will NOT book more children on a cruise than it can accommodate. I know this because we are taking our entire family mob on Iona next year and the adviser confirmed this fact and we have also booked another cruise on Ventura just for us, which says it all I guess. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Where do I begin? The cruise was absolutely fantastic. Whoever faults this cruise needs there heads checking. The ship itself is beautiful, In fabulous condition. The rooms were cleaned every day and night. Our room cleaner even left ... Read More
Where do I begin? The cruise was absolutely fantastic. Whoever faults this cruise needs there heads checking. The ship itself is beautiful, In fabulous condition. The rooms were cleaned every day and night. Our room cleaner even left little chocolates on our pillows which went down very well with our children! There was jam packed entertainment on throughout the day! The theatre shows were like going to the west end every night! Most of all we couldn’t get over how amazing the food was. A 4 course sit down meal every night! It was Michelin star quality. Even breakfast was a sit down meal! You could go to a buffet that served fabulous food all day if u liked but the dining in the main restaurants was too good to miss! The main restaurants even did afternoon tea every day at 4pm which was incredible! We ate like kings on this holiday and were treated like royalty. I read someone has put the food was basic in the buffet?? Is this person joking? I don’t know where these people eat but the food in the buffet was the best buffet I’ve ever experienced! I don’t know how anybody could complain about this cruise, I read reviews before we went away and some people said they didn’t like the captains sense of humour and that the service was slipping? What is wrong with people? Do people want slaves??? Every single member on the cruise gave top class service and was a joy to come across! The waiters couldn’t do enough for you, we were greeted with smiles from all sorts of staff everywhere we went on the ship. Even the man who stood at the front of the restaurant giving people hand sanitizer was smiling non stop and happily joking with our children making them laugh hysterically! P & O should be very very proud of all their staff, because they were honestly top class. I can’t wait to book again! This is an honest review, by a real family who went on this cruise hoping for a nice time. What we got was a holiday of a lifetime. Thank you so much. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Before adventuring on my first ever cruise I did some extensive searching on who to travel with and chose P&O partly due to price but also it suited the dates I wanted to travel, the Islands I wanted to visit and the departure ... Read More
Before adventuring on my first ever cruise I did some extensive searching on who to travel with and chose P&O partly due to price but also it suited the dates I wanted to travel, the Islands I wanted to visit and the departure Airport. As an ex Pat living in Germany it was extremely important that the Journey went smoothly as I had to travel from Germany to the UK the day before flying to meet the Cruise. I was quite impressed that P&O had its own dedicated check at Gatwick and the queue was painless. The time of 3hr advised to be at the terminal before departure was generous and I found myself in the terminal shopping for 2 hours due to the smoothness of check in. Upon arrival in Barbados we were met at the terminal by busses who took us straight to the ship where we boarded without too much delay and found our bags arriving within 2 hours. I had booked an outside cabin which was clean and tidy, it was a little small but adequate. I had booked a set time at the restaurants as im not a buffet fan, this is recommended as queues do get long. The food itself was fair however I found the Variety limited and certainly not adventurous. I didn't like the entertainment, this was very like Butlins especially once on the top deck which reminded me of a bunch of people drinking and eating as much as they possibly could whilst lying on sunbeds listening to 60's and 70's music blaring at full volume. This went on for most of the day. The service onboard was good except for the way how the staff treated each other. This was sometimes very obvious. The ports we visited were as expected, some were better than others and I think that everyone has there own views on what they want out of them. The excursions were certainly tailored towards the masses and I found prices extremely high when looking for an alternative. I have my doubts that I will cruise again and if i do I doubt whether it will be with P&O but this is mostly due to having higher expectations especially when it comes to entertainment however if you like loud music and Butlins style holidays im sure you will like it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Hello !! We were sailing on the Ventura in November in the Canary islands and we have really enjoy it. The ship had everything that you needed.The room was spacious and always clean and tidy. the food could be better, I expected more ... Read More
Hello !! We were sailing on the Ventura in November in the Canary islands and we have really enjoy it. The ship had everything that you needed.The room was spacious and always clean and tidy. the food could be better, I expected more quality but there was enough variety. Making friends is easy on the boat and you never get bored. The ports where we arrive are quite accessible. without thier the reef is quite ugly, dirty. The city of Arrecife is far and not pretty. Unfortunatly the trips they offered we found to be expensiv. We came across a company by accident called Lanzarote experience tours, on their web site they offered their tours in small groups for cruise ships and only in English. What a discovery!! We were 8 in the group and only English. Truthfully if you are in the same situation I would recomend them 100% Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our first cruise with P&O having cruised several times previously with Princess. We chose P&O due to the convenience of a direct flight from Manchester to Barbados. We will not be choosing P&O again and I would ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O having cruised several times previously with Princess. We chose P&O due to the convenience of a direct flight from Manchester to Barbados. We will not be choosing P&O again and I would advise anyone booking the Azura to think carefully. The most noticeable features were the poor standard of service and the poor quality of the food. Only a very few of the staff are friendly, engage well with passengers and show an interest and pride in their work. When you come across a smile it stands out against the norm. Most staff carry out their work to the minimum of standards; they are indifferent, appear to be unhappy and treat passengers as if they are commodities. The standard and quality of food in the formal restaurants is average and the choice and quality of food in the self service is limited and mediocre. However, the quality and standards in the Sindhu and Epicurean speciality restaurants is excellent, demonstrating that P&O can provide a good service when they choose to. Of course, you are charged extra for these restaurants. You pay for ice creams on board and these are expensive and the choice is very limited. For this reason there is little uptake from passengers and therefore the ice cream counter is rarely staffed. The coffee shop is a Costa, complete with paper cups. It offers a small choice of unappetising cakes and snacks and as passengers are not tempted by them they sit in the counter for most of the day. Though I like and often use Costa in the high street I do not consider them a luxury or highly 'star rated' coffee shop. The ship itself is tired and scruffy with clear signs of damage to some walls. The atrium, compared to other ships, is small and uninspiring. Overall, this was a mediocre 3 star holiday. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Chose this cruise on the spur of the moment when we spotted a bargain fare. We drove down to Southampton and were quickly on board and exploring. Our first impressions were that the ship was in good condition. We headed up to the buffet ... Read More
Chose this cruise on the spur of the moment when we spotted a bargain fare. We drove down to Southampton and were quickly on board and exploring. Our first impressions were that the ship was in good condition. We headed up to the buffet for lunch. Having only been on larger ships my husband was surprised by the small size of the buffet and was looking for the rest of it lol. Having said that we found that there was plenty of choice and everything was hot and tasty. Our cabin was a balcony on deck 9. Everything here was fine and the bed was very comfortable. The dining was mostly very good. We had freedom dining and had no problems getting a table. We shared a few nights but we don't mind that and our table companions were so nice we shared with them again on the last night. Food was always good but the service was not as attentive as usual. We had to keep asking for the water to be topped up and service was very slow sometimes. One evening a table mate asked for a small portion of the main course of mussels as a starter and it was made very clear that the waiter didn't want to provide it. He was told that this would make everyone else's starter late . the waiter did agree to provide it and so i also asked if i could have the same and was then told the same thing about everyone else would have to wait longer for their starter . i pointed out that if the other man could have it then i didn't see why i couldn't. It did arrive and was possibly the best starter of the cruise. The main course took ages to arrive and only did after a word with the head waiter. We also ate in the beach house which we really enjoyed and would do again. The lava rock cooked fillet steak was amazing. Drinks - fairly well priced and we had lots of onboard credit to use up BUT the cocktails were so very weak - I'm not much of a drinker and usually find one cocktail will effect me but on here it was as though i was drinking pop. Not worth the £6 -£7 price tag. The entertainment was not so good. Fogwell Flax the comedian was on a few too many times - 3 evenings out of 7 is too much, We saw him once but didn't want to see him again. The Runaround boys were excellent and we saw them twice. Astonish was astonishing even though we have seen it on another ship - excellent. The quizzes were good but the cumulative quiz was only on one day - we turned up for the second sea day and it wasn't on- all a bit strange and no one seemed to know why it wasn't happening. The service was OK, not as good as on other ships , Our steward was excellent but the dining staff were nowhere near as good as on other cruises - maybe the tipping policy change hasn't been good for them. Ports were Amsterdam (about ship shuttle 45 mins away), Zeebrugge (shuttle to Blankenburg and then a 5 euro train into Brugge) and Hamburg (another shuttle). All were excellent and we had good weather so had a great time. The aft pool was open and heated and the changing rooms had a sauna and steam room in them which were FREE ! I made much use of this and it was fab being up on deck in the hot tubs while others were wandering around in their winter coats. Pricing Policy. We booked a select fare which is more expensive buy about £200. This gets you credit, choose your cabin, shuttles and choice of dining. Although we got a lot of onboard credit We couldn't choose our cabin and more annoying all of the shuttles were free to everyone (If that's a benefit to select then they should be charging the saver fare passengers). The only benefit to us was the choice of dining and i really don't think that booking select is worth it unless you get all of those benefits. We were struggling to spend the credit and we wouldn't have spent anywhere near as much if we had booked the saver fare with no credit. Moral of the story is do your research and only book select if the benefits are useful to you. Reading this back it looks as though we didn't have a good time but Overall it was a very good cruise, we met some lovely people and had a very relaxing time, We have already booked a black friday bargain for next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We last sailed on Oceana back in 2015 and felt the ship was really beginning to show it’s age. Some spectacular ports of call including Venice, Kotor, Florence, Rome and Capri together with beautiful long warm, sunny days more than made ... Read More
We last sailed on Oceana back in 2015 and felt the ship was really beginning to show it’s age. Some spectacular ports of call including Venice, Kotor, Florence, Rome and Capri together with beautiful long warm, sunny days more than made up for it. Due to recent events in the Gulf, Oceana was repositioned from it’s planned itinerary and this meant there were some really good bargains to be had. We decided to book a 7 night cruise in the English Channel and the North Sea in November. Despite the great value we felt it was a bit of a risk as we knew we would have to spend plenty of time inside the ship. As the Captain joked such an itinerary allows you to see all “50 shades of Grey”. Since last sailing on Oceana we have always preferred other ships in the P&O fleet and have sailed many times on Cunard and Princess (our most recent cruise being 2 weeks in August on Queen Victoria, which we always find to be absolutely immaculate in terms of decor). I have to say that Oceana really delivered, firstly the ship is looking far better than it was in 2015. All of the pool areas have had brand new tiling, new AstroTurf and loungers. The Yacht and Compass bar and Winners have been transformed with brand new furnishings and carpets. The Yacht and Compass is in my view the best looking pub at sea, far better than the Golden Lion on Cunard ships and Brodie’s bars on Britannia and Azura. It just seems a shame that the Hand pulled Real Ales have been added to the Winners bar. Despite this there is a brilliant selection of Real Ales and the Beer flights on offer in the Yacht and Compass (at good value). The Atrium has seen the dated Palm trees disappear and brand new carpeting throughout. It is without doubt the most impressive and most functional atrium in the fleet. It is the absolute hub of activity on the ship, in a way that even a refitted Britannia atrium can’t achieve. To put it into context the 4 level atrium can simultaneously host, professionally organised dancing on the lowest level, shopping on the level above, a musical act (whether it be a pianist, band or guitarist on the deck above) and the fantastic Cafe Jardin on the top tier overlooking all the action. Even by the end of the week you couldn’t help be wowed by the beautiful views, the Glass lifts, Grand staircases, Water features and Tiffany glass ceilings. Cafe Jardin is a real stand out! Serving complimentary breakfast and lunch, freshly cooked to order. Breakfast runs from 8am-10:30am and Lunch from 11am until 5pm. The food is delicious and it’s an offering incomparable to that found on other P&O and Cunard ships. You also have a buffet station with fresh salads and desserts should you wish to add further to your ordered dish. It’s especially brilliant when you return at 4pm from a trip to be able to sit down, order from a menu and have water, tea and coffee served to your table. We paid the additional £8.50 cost for the evening meal and had a really tasty meal. I wouldn’t describe the food as gourmet, it certainly isn’t as good as Epicurean or the Verandah on Cunard before they turned it into a steakhouse. However it’s well worth the cost and is a really refreshing alternative to the Main Dining Room. We didn’t try the Beach House on this cruise. We did back in 2015 and it was one of our stand out nights on the ship as we dined al fresco on the terrace. I think we may no longer be here if we had attempted to relive the experience on the North Sea. Despite the plaza buffet being more attractive in design than most ship buffets I felt the inside Beach House area was a little close to the buffet stations to convey the ambience you would expect of a select dining venue. The main dining room was good, dishes ranged from outstanding to generally good to occasionally poor. The Plaza buffet doesn’t have as wider choice as that on Cunard or the larger P&O ships but we found breakfast to be every bit as good on Cunard or the bigger ships. Lunch however was more average. The Plaza however has a great location at the front of the ship with great views and it’s all been completely refreshed since 2015. It has a really lovely ambience especially of am evening. Where Oceana really excelled was in terms of the entertainment. The theatre isn’t huge so the brilliant bonus of this is that each night the ship has two simultaneous shows. On our cruise that would be the Headliners (who seriously were far and away the best cast we have seen in dozens of cruises on P&O, Cunard, Princess, Thomson and RCI) in one venue a comedian/guest singer/group in the other. There would also be at least two other acts on from the resident entertainers, which included a fantastic singer and guitarist, vocal duo, pianist, party band and big band. We were often really disappointed on P&O Britannia (sailed on it 3 times) that despite the vastness of the ships there were often times from 6pm until 8pm when there was very little good live music (The same can often be said for Cunard). In terms of improvements we would love a Glass House, we are still surprised they didn’t convert Winners bar. However the bar has been really improved after the refit. The plumbing system is still a little ropey and we had one toilet failure that lasted a few hours and the occasional odour in places on the ship (it didn’t last for more than a couple of hours and was due to emptying or venting of tanks). The theatre lacks the brilliant LCD screens found on Britannia and the Cunard ships, which slightly compromised certain scenes in “Astonishing”, which required a wait for the old fashioned projector screen to move down and awkwardly projected unwanted images onto the cast. The TV system in the rooms is very dated and my iPad has a bigger display. The bedrooms are equivalent to those on Azura, not as nice as those on Britannia and the Cunard ships but storage space is the best I’ve seen. The bathroom however was probably superior to those on the Cunard ships in terms of layout and space. I really like the Sindhu Indian restaurant as well, so I’d love to see that onboard but not at the cost of Cafe Jardin which offers far more to the ship, as it was a venue we used twice every day. I’d only visit Sindhu once per cruise. In terms of drink prices P&O continue to remain very competitive in the cruise industry. The prices on Cunard, RCI and Princess have become ridiculous in our view and on Cunard in the summer meant many bars were empty and lacked any atmosphere. You are talking £9 for 250ml of wine (third of a bottle) on Cunard and £6 on P&O (£27 bottle Cunard compared with £18 P&O) and £5.50 for pint of Beer on Cunard compared with £4 on P&O) RCI are even more expensive than Cunard. In summary we fell in love with Oceana once again. It proved to us that small ships have a real charm and character that perhaps the really big ships (that we also love) lack. The atrium is spectacular and has a superb atmosphere and other public rooms such as the Yacht and Compass are absolutely top draw. The Headliners theatre cast were utterly outstanding (definitely the best we’ve seen) and the ship was always buzzing with music and life. Having two proper shows running simultaneously every night offers brilliant choice and sets he ship aside. Cafe Jardin is the best daytime complimentary venue on any P&O or Cunard ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Having visited the Caribbean several times on a/I holidays we decided to do our first cruise after taking some advice from our travel agent. Holiday got off to a good start when Thomas Cook folded and we were give Virgin flights as an ... Read More
Having visited the Caribbean several times on a/I holidays we decided to do our first cruise after taking some advice from our travel agent. Holiday got off to a good start when Thomas Cook folded and we were give Virgin flights as an alternative. Being excited but very apprehensive we got to the terminal at Barbados and check in was really quick and efficient. The boat itself was amazing, plenty of sun Ed’s although did get a little cramped on sea days but not really an issue, staff were good at removing towels from reserved beds after the allotted 30 mins. The food was really good, whether it was the buffet restaurant or the other freedom restaurants, no complaints at all about the food. The updates from the Captain and his crew were really good and informative, ports of call were great, some better than others which is normal, the entertainment was amazing, the shows in the theatre were like the west end, plus the guest acts were also really good quality acts, the staff don’t stop, ever, constantly serving, cleaning, always with a smile. The room (an inside cabin) was ok, comfy bed but would definitely consider a balcony on our next cruise. Overall we were both really really impressed with our first cruise and will definitely cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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