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503 P&O Cruises Cruise Reviews

Several previous cruises with P&O. This one ruined - not because of the cancelled port visits (due to the current virus panic) which the captain handled well - but because the ship stank of sewage. We had paid for a good ... Read More
Several previous cruises with P&O. This one ruined - not because of the cancelled port visits (due to the current virus panic) which the captain handled well - but because the ship stank of sewage. We had paid for a good midship balcony cabin but could not use the balcony because of the constant vile stench of sewage. Public rooms and the promenade deck midship also stank of sewage. It was reported by numerous passengers. P&O knew about it (and have done for months) - and did nothing about it. Entertainment apart from the excellent comedian Tucker, was very poor. Food in Sindu was very nice but service was rushed which spoilt it. Despite only being 10 years in service, the ship is tired. Although it is going in for a "refit" it is doubtful Carnival will spend the required money. Beds are poor, all bedding (pillows are especially bad) needs replacing. Very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I haven’t cruised with P&O for over twenty years and as this cruise coincided with school holidays I thought I’d give it a try. Very disappointing. To begin with the Indian and Philippine staff are perfect and a credit both to ... Read More
I haven’t cruised with P&O for over twenty years and as this cruise coincided with school holidays I thought I’d give it a try. Very disappointing. To begin with the Indian and Philippine staff are perfect and a credit both to their respective countries and to P&O. The problem on this ship is the U.K. staff. All very well being a ‘British’ ship but if you cruise with them you can expect a British attitude. The ship is run for their convenience and not for the passengers. The kids club needs decent management. Although there are lots of children on this cruise, opening time and registration is a disgrace. Once inside, the kids love it but you’re given strict instructions to pick your child up fifteen minutes before closing. If any of the officers (conspicuous by their absence) happen to read this can I suggest you attend the opening of the club tomorrow and witness the shambles for yourself. Does this ship have any officers? We’ve yet to see one. All the hot tubs are closed. Don’t blame the weather either. I’ve been in worse and it’s just down to them not being bothered in my humble opinion. No request goes answered and the miserable Scottish receptionist would be better suited to serving criminals in Barlinnie jail just outside Glasgow than deal with customers on a supposedly ‘luxury’ cruise. On the upside, the main restaurant is very nice indeed. Thanks but no thanks P&O. It’s a shame but it’s back home to Celebrity for us! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Made a mistake by booking Ventura - Very noisy ship especially in the atrium with dance classes going on all day so unable to relax in the bar or coffee lounge. This went on in the evening so instead of having a pianist we had blaring ... Read More
Made a mistake by booking Ventura - Very noisy ship especially in the atrium with dance classes going on all day so unable to relax in the bar or coffee lounge. This went on in the evening so instead of having a pianist we had blaring music to contend with -very unpleasant so went to Glasshouse. Excellent cabin and "Elvor" our cabin steward was very professional and did a excellent job. Waiters were excellent and always asked if everything was O.K. which it was. We even had the chief come round one evening and ask if everything was satisfactory. Entertainment and shows were a disgrace P&O must do better. Far too many people for size of ship. Could not get into shows talks or lectures. Had passengers playing cards in the restaurant at breakfast and no action taken by staff. Water bottles being filled from water machines while staff were watching and no action taken, Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The Ventura cruise departed on ,11the February for a USA/Caribbean cruise of some 35 days. Initial impressions of the ship were a bit mixed, some good, some less so. Our cabin was a balcony on deck 12, a reasonable size and a comfy bed. ... Read More
The Ventura cruise departed on ,11the February for a USA/Caribbean cruise of some 35 days. Initial impressions of the ship were a bit mixed, some good, some less so. Our cabin was a balcony on deck 12, a reasonable size and a comfy bed. Our cabin steward was good and he did his duties well. Our first port of call was La Corrina, we quite like this call and went ashore for a shop and some tapas. After this we aimed west to our USA/Caribbean calls. It was on this leg that the ships shortcomings came to light. Cabin - whilst the bed was comfy, the pillows were not. The entertainment on the TV was almost non-existent. No wonder they don't put a TV guide in the cabin, it would consist of one page of blank A4 paper. We had BBC and ITV, plus 2 prime channels. These had repeats and stuff that was on the whole very poor. Our TV broke down a few times, and there was a long wait for it to be repaired. These TV sets are very old, and offer square screens for films that need wide screens. As the theatre was put of bounds for a number of days, (the dance troupe were practicing) films were shown in other venues. Both the Havana and the Tamarind are rubbish venues when used as cinemas. The nickname for the Havana is The Meerkat Bar', you can guess why. Ships shops - in a word, poor !! The usual collection of overpriced stuff, the general store didn't even have decent souvenirs. Don't expect a fridge magnet, they didn't exist. Day after day they wheeled out the same stuff, but little sign of a good buy. BUT the drinks shop was the exception, they had a reasonable range at half decent prices. There is also a new rule that a bottle can be taken and enjoyed in your cabin. So a big old well done here. Food - the menu sounded good, but the stuff we were served was down market to say the least. I felt that sometimes the waiters were embarrassed to bring it. Tough steaks, and old lamb (or was it mutton dressed as) potatoes with eyes in, poor choice of veg, altogether not great. The ship did get some carrots in Miami (?), This made a change to the never ending dollop of runner beans we were given. The exception to the poor evening food in the MDR, was the breakfast in the MDR. It was fresh, tasty, and offered a good choice. The pay restaurants were on the whole good, we used the Epicurean once and we were "happy enough". We used the Glasshouse twice, and were very happy. Tea/coffee in self service - this setup is a bit rubbish. The decaffeinated coffee sachets are difficult to open, and the sweetener dispenser is not suitable for this. Getting a hot drink was a nightmare and it was easy to start a queue. I understand that P&O want to reduce plastics and waste in general, but can I suggest they consult a passenger who has to put up with this nonsense. Ships entertainment - for a 35 night cruise, it was as my teacher used to say to me "could/must do better'. I'm afraid the singers achieved the screatcher and screamers zone, could be that they were trying to hard if I'm being kind. The quizzes were good, but the prizes have deteriorated to "win a crappy badge" level. No wine? In the evening in the Havana the music offered prior to the main act had such delights as "How ,much is that doggy in the window,". What drivel, he (the entertainment guy) had the cheek to call it a classic. Well I guess you can get classical drivel? It's an insult to our intelligence. My wife did speak to the entertainment manager about having some "modern music", but his view was that this was what the passengers wanted. He did commit to getting the groups to up there game, and initially it worked. But not for long. The 3 groups were reasonably young, and I suspect they would have loved to offer better music. And by better, I mean something from this century. Just because we are "old", (I am 72) it doesn't mean I am into doggy drivel. We did the 28 day Caribbean cruise in January 2020, and the most popular show by miles was the Freddy Mercury show. The theatre was packed, do can I suggest that more of this please? And less doggy stuff. I will make one exception here. The ships crew did a show, it was very good and even the captain joined in. Guest entertainers - a mix of good, bad and indifferent. But the ones we chose to see were ok. Our favorite was David Copperfield, we walked out on the tap dancers. Well done to the acts that put on extra shows when new acts couldn't board on the Azores. Crew - generally a bit miserable, but after 'issues" in New Orleans when somone jumped ship, and shore leave was stopped. The morale dropped to new lows. This became more obvious when we shared a taxi to a mall in San Juan with crew off the Explorer of the Seas, they were 100% happier, and they actually had smiles on their faces. I will add a "but" here. It did seem that when Captain Willard took over, morale did get a bit better. The waiters were another mixed bunch, some would rather talk to each other than serve us. But some were ok as well. I.will single out 2 crew as outstanding. #1 - the young lady who stood outside the restaurant on deck 6 dispensing hand gel. A warm smile and hello is all it took for her to please. #2- the young lady in housekeeping doing toilet duty on deck 6 by the dining room. A warm smile, and hello, plus some very good singing at the crew show. Both the above are assets to P&O. Ships facilities - this ship on the face of it must need a refit. The worst facility by miles were the midship lifts. At one point some 3 out of 8 were non runners. One lift in particular had a habit of wiping the floors selected, and essentially doing its own thing. Ports of call - these are to a point out of P&O's control, but I will summerise. Bermuda - a very short call to an expensive port. Supposed to be an overnight stay, ended up at about 5 hours. This was due entirely to the weather. So not worth the time Freeport - this was a substitute for Nassau for refuelling. Usual port facilities, but passed a few hours at the Senor Frog bar. A good call. New Orleans - we did US immigration clearance here. It was supposed to be a 2 day trip, but by the time we had landing clearance it ended up as 1.5 days. The paddle boats were not running for whatever reason, and as we went the day after Mardi Gras the city was in need of a clean up. New Orleans is now off my bucket list forever. Just for info, if you are mobility impaired, then the distances involved in New Orleans to clear immigration are best avoided. Key West - the best call by far. A lively town, plenty to see and do and best of all. It was interesting. Miami - we decided to do the Sawgrass mill trip. A good excursion and price to a very busy mall. It was HUGE !!! We enjoyed the visit, and beat up our credit cards. We also sampled the key lime pie, it was excellent. San Juan - again we opted to visit a mall. It was quite good, and the cheesecake lunch was superb at the Cheesecake Factory. St Kitts - a typical Caribbean port with various shops selling the usual stuff. T shirts, souvenirs, very cheap drink, and of course the ever popular fridge magnets. Like this port, it's unpretentious, friendly and a nice way to spend a day. Dominica - we took a shore side trip to the waterfalls and sulpher pools. Our guide was a very pleasant girl called Ash who did an excellent job. After this we popped into the Ruined Rock bar. It's a 2 minute walk from the ship, and this place has real atmosphere. Look it up sometime, you won't be disappointed. Barbados - we usually go to the Boatyard, but for a change went to Accra beach. It was not crowded, the water was clean and warm (ish). We had a snack (fishcakes) and drink at one of the sheds, and it was cheap. We will do this again. Azores - due to the coronavirus issues, we were refused permission to dock. We did dissembark one sick pasenger, but we just bobbed around and used the free WiFi. In summary - after checking this review I thought I would do a brief summary. The trip had to few ports, and way to many sea days. The weather was generally poor, and the entertainment was dull. So we decided to book for the 2021 Caribbean only cruise. I know it sounds a bit 2 faced, but we love the Caribbean, so will continue our exploits to this area only. Should P&O wish to discuss. I was in cabin (not kennel) to 6240. Pardon my cynicism. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We did the same cruise last year, when it was somewhat better. This ship is going in for refurbishment and it certainly needs it. The cabin toilet failed on four days, we had to seek puiblic toilets. The carpets are tired and stained, the ... Read More
We did the same cruise last year, when it was somewhat better. This ship is going in for refurbishment and it certainly needs it. The cabin toilet failed on four days, we had to seek puiblic toilets. The carpets are tired and stained, the drawers stick and were difficulat to open and close. The cabin steward was excellent. The entertainment was appalling. Far, far too loud and much too young for the average age of passengers. Even in the buffet restaurant, Venezia at 7am we were lambasted by screaming women and moaning men through the sound system. which can only be described loosely as music. One night, the main entertainment was a girl playing a saxophone, she missed one night and was on yet again the night after doing exactly the same thing.. A comic who was not funny and an illusionist who would have nothing without audience participation.Elsewhere the so called music substituted volume for quality. Appalling.The theatre company were good, but their material, such as Reel to Reel and Astonishing is so old and is repeated so often that we declined to attend. Trouble is that the entertainment is run by young people for older audiences. They just don'y get it ! It is more like a down market Butlins of fifty or sixty years ago. Cheap and nast, particularly on the 15th deck where the sound was skull shattering.The one bright spot was the Sindhu restaurant. Exquisite food but costs 20 pounds. extra, each. This was our 23rd cruise. We have had some great ones but was the second worst. Nothing can be nearly as bad as MSC cruises !! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Great ports we had a great room attendant George he was lovely kept every thing lovely and clean room was very nice balcony small but fit our needs. Food was dreadfull in the buffet and main restaurant you can see p and o have let there ... Read More
Great ports we had a great room attendant George he was lovely kept every thing lovely and clean room was very nice balcony small but fit our needs. Food was dreadfull in the buffet and main restaurant you can see p and o have let there standards drop cold food tough stake Very small portions very little veg boring choice whent to beach house 4 times only time we had a good meal .staff were lovely and helpfull could not fault them . We cruise regularly with p and o but it's time for a change entertainment was boring also kept changing venue to what was advertised very confusing .ports of call all very nice loved Valencia . Loved oceaner our second cruise on her but the food and entertainment let her down we can usually find something food wise to suite use but very poor food this time I enjoyed our cruise but will be looking to cruise with some one else next time its bean a slow decline with p and o for the last 3 cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Staff good other than our first waiter he was very very poor and sarcastic on one occasion throwing mince sauce all over my food.We asked to be moved and were. Our first cabin was rubbish as toilet kept blocking up air con was faulty the ... Read More
Staff good other than our first waiter he was very very poor and sarcastic on one occasion throwing mince sauce all over my food.We asked to be moved and were. Our first cabin was rubbish as toilet kept blocking up air con was faulty the fridge was warm and more. we were moved to another cabin and we were very well looked after. The air conditioning on this ship was bad nearly every passenger had a dry cough and some were quite ill. I had to move my bed away from the air con as it made me cough. The food in the dining room was not on par with the Oriana. The entertainment was poor and we didn't bother going half way through the cruise. The excursion team were very misleading on various subjects and even on the day of a tour had no idea what type of coach we were in which meant i could not take my wheelchair. I thought the ship was to big and poorly laid out as when i wanted a quiet costa coffee there were dancing lessons going on which could be heard on three decks. I struggled with the wheelchair due to not being able to get an adapted cabin. I won't be going on the Ventura again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My experience on P and O cruises was a first however it sure will be my last. The buffet food is the same each night and is of a low standard. The entertainment onboard was next to none and they had an awful comedian who was on twice a ... Read More
My experience on P and O cruises was a first however it sure will be my last. The buffet food is the same each night and is of a low standard. The entertainment onboard was next to none and they had an awful comedian who was on twice a night and on, on more than one night. The drinks package is completely pointless unless you become friendly with the bar staff or walk from bar to bar as theres a 15 minute wait time on the drink and they serve the drinks in the smallest glasses possible it may as well be served neat. The customer service is appalling there is no Ps or Qs upon that ship and all the staff look unhappy except clifford in the Havana bar and he was the only one with any manor or able to crack a joke with you. Security dont know what day of the week it is let alone helping you out. Someone also made a noise complaint about me and my mate next thing there was two guys at 4am in the morning outside our cabin who came in arguing with us in relations to this and was very unprofessional. To top the entire experience of i was charged over £1300 when i got of the ship and had to get the bank to cancel payments as I was charged twice as well as that I was considerably over charged for the mini bar in the room. The toliet blocked over four times on the cruise and the last night we was informed it would be sorted but it never was.Overall would recommed celebrity, NCL or royal Caribbean. You get what you pay for on P&O and no more, if not less. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our second cruise ,we traveled with a completely different cruise line on our first and the difference was more than evident. As there are are lot of hardworking staff on the ship our observations are not aimed at them , more the ... Read More
This was our second cruise ,we traveled with a completely different cruise line on our first and the difference was more than evident. As there are are lot of hardworking staff on the ship our observations are not aimed at them , more the robotic head office culture that is present on the ship. Flying from Manchester on a 9 hour trip in economy,I was taken aback when I asked for a blanket for my wife due to the cabin being especially cold.Other passengers has complained . To do this I had to enter premium class , where most passengers were tucked in blankets ,only to be told that only premium passengers get blankets ,!!! Seriously I thought heat , food , and water were a basic human necessity ,not a Victoria first class privilege. Arrived on ship , clean ,Tidy , nice cabin , Booked Sindu Indian restaurant for first evening . The menu in no way represents an Indian offering in anyway whatsoever . Will upload picture and you decide. Pretty tasteless , no spice and did not recognise any of the dishes. Asked for it to be made spicy , told “ it is cooked to British Taste ,bland “ asked waiter to ask the Chef has he being to England ,answer no ! Head office instructions. Food in General Tasteless in most restaurants , apart from Mendia , were the best dish is the Sirlion steak Spaghetti, contained no tomato sauce or any herbs , is was a stew Try to book Beach House told no tables available for two nights , went up the same floor at 7pm to witness a couple walk up and ask if they had any tables , to be told yes . Discussed this with the Restaurant Manger who invited us back the next day . We arrived , ordered the full Chicken to share , it arrived inverted on a spit , when we cut into it was full of blood. We do have a picture but will not publish here as it may spoil you dinner. This picture is going to Head office ,disturbingly the Restaurant Manager thought this was ok ? Breakfast omelette contained raw egg, so check especially if Pregnant. Thai curry prepared while you wait was good , but only when I requested some chillis ,only to be told again we do not serve food will spices on this ship as the British do not like them . He reneged and chillis arrived . All of a sudden everyone in the queue behind said “ I want so chilli in mine please” including Ship Two officers . New Year’s Eve disaster When to Brodie’s bar ,crowded as expected 7 minutes to midnight , no sign of Big Ben on the screen entertainment team finally turned up ,start fiddling around, got screen on ,no sound ,everyone shouting to put sound on for Big Ben , just managed it with 40 seconds to go ! This was turned off immediately, so not sounds with fireworks. New eves dinner was cold and tasteless , this was due to insisting that all guest arrive at the same time for two sittings ,,, Staff over run , kitchen over run , food left uncollected from kitchen, hence cold food . On a final note , can some explain to me the logic on one barman behind the bar , 6 waiters on the floor , leaving 10-15 people at the bar waiting , then the orders from the waiters given priority , madness , when questioned by all , Told “orders from head office “ In summary 1 Seriously tasteless food across the Ship and in places dangerous . 2 General Management draconian/ Head culture - orders are the orders !! 3 Entertainment team in Brodie’s , less than entertaining and competent 4 Bar serving system incompetent and does not meet standard of service required customers There are other observations, but that just our tastes , so pointless to include . But I will mention that previous customers on the Ship has said “ it has gone downhill “ . As the ship goes to refit after this season clearly P&O will get the benefit of wiping the criticism slate clean , so for this season It’s all about “ stack it high and sell it cheap . Advice book next year when refitted and restaffed with Management who care and not Management who at end of the season go to another Ship or don’t bother to come back . Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Ship was looking very tired. Really poor layout! Unnecessary amount of black tie nights for no real reason. New Year’s Eve wasn’t even 1 of these for which they did nothing special. The buffet was of very poor standard. ... Read More
Ship was looking very tired. Really poor layout! Unnecessary amount of black tie nights for no real reason. New Year’s Eve wasn’t even 1 of these for which they did nothing special. The buffet was of very poor standard. Selection was small and in general not very fresh. All restaurants require long trousers. They are okay. Getting a drink could be hard work and in particular at shows was regularly 20 minute waits. There didn’t seem to be enough staff for the bars and in general a lack of bars and areas to go. Steward was very good in keeping our cabin clean. Entertainment wasn’t great and you had to arrive 40mins prior to the popular shows as the Manhattan room isn’t big enough. I don’t know why the theatre wasn’t used more. Ship badly needs it’s refurbishment! Seems to be too many people for communal spaces and not quite enough staff. Really disappointed with the ship and the cruise line is not in the same league as NCL(out last cruise before this). All bars were shut by 12-1am most nights also which we found strange. Caribbean stops were good but disappointed that the schedule changed and we got a poor substitute of a stop. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
All temperatures in Celcius. Times in the 24 hour format. Currency onboard GB£ Embarkation/Disembarkation. I flew from Manchester (UK) on a Dreamliner. My bag was checked in and I went through the usual security. We landed at around ... Read More
All temperatures in Celcius. Times in the 24 hour format. Currency onboard GB£ Embarkation/Disembarkation. I flew from Manchester (UK) on a Dreamliner. My bag was checked in and I went through the usual security. We landed at around 1630 local time and we were bussed to the ship which took around 45 minutes. Unusually, we didn't go through passport/customs when we arrived. I expected to go through the normal checks but this didn't happen. We did, however, have our passports checked when we arrived back to Barbados. I think that this needs to be reviewed. We entered a large building with literally hundreds of people waiting to check in. P&O don't do online checking in (although a recent announcement from P&O for the new Iona will introduce online checking in) so I had no choice but to wait inline. I eventually boarded at around 1830 and by this time I had been travelling for around 17 hours, I was very tired so I went directly to my cabin to wait for my bag. My bag was not there so as I had a bit of onboard credit, I decided to have a few beers in Brodies-the "pub" style bar. My case didn't arrive until well past 2300. I only found it because I was coming back from Brodies and my bag was in the corridor. I realise that "turn around day" is the busiest time for the staff, but everything was in this bag and I needed to unpack before turning in for the night. Disembarkation was a different story. I will say at this point that most of the problems were not of P&O's doing. My flight was scheduled for 1820. I left the ship at 1500 and I was bussed to the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA). Again we went through security and I settled in for the wait. I got talking to a couple of sisters who was on the cruise which helped kill the time. At around 1630, the airport display said that we were boarding at Gate 13-this is on Friday 13th. Not a good omen. At our time, the plane had still not turned up at our gate. The GAIA is around three to four soccer pitches long but only half as wide. There is ample seating but the main walkway is only around 15 feet wide. At around 1700, a Virgin Atlantic plane turned up-not our Dreaminer. We were then told that our gate was now Gate 12. This meant that up to 900 people had to swap gates. Taking into consideration the width of the walkway, things got a bit busy and tempers started to fray a little. By now it was 1900 and we were 40 minutes late. At 1915, we were bussed to our plane. GAIA does not have the usual international airport style bridges to board the planes and all of the planes sit on the tarmac. Everyone was onboard by 1945 but the captain came on to announce that there were still 18 wheelchair passengers to board. He also added that the airport only had one lift for the disabled passengers. This one lift had to serve-what I estimate to be-16 to 18 planes. We eventually took off at 2100-over two and half hours late. I arrived back to the UK only one hour late but the GAIA needs to sort out it's procedures quickly. Demographics. Exclusively British. I didn't hear any other accents (apart from the crew). There was a large contingent of Welsh and a some from the ethnic minority community. There were around 20 or so children (under 12-I don't count teenagers). As this was (UK) school term time, I didn't expect this many. The ages of the passengers varied from young couples to senior citizens. The ship and it's staff. The staff were brilliant and nothing was too much trouble. My steward kept my cabin spotless (and he was well rewarded) and the ship was kept very clean for the entire cruise. Well done to the staff! The ship is a mess. Azura is looking old. Worn carpets, threadbare seating, chips in paintwork and a general feeling that it had seen better days From the outside, Azura has rust streaks all over the hull. The crew repaint the hull but this is just painting over the cracks. Azura is scheduled for a refit this year (I believe this will happen in March or April) and she really needs it. Food and drink. The food was the usual high standard that I have come to expect. I had my evening meal in the Oriental restaurant on a table of six. Myself, two married gay guys Danny and Ryan, A senior Dutch lady Henrietta (who has been living in the UK since 1971), A girl Clova and Andrew. Clova only had one meal with us and disappeared. I didn't see her on the ship again. Andrew only turned up four times (he said he didn't do "sit down" meals) which left the four of us. We got along very well. At the start of the second week-just before we arrived in Antigua-Henrietta was visibly upset. She explained to us earlier that she was supposed be on the ship with her sister but she was taken ill and couldn't travel. She said that her sister had died in the morning. We were upset at this news and tried to console her the best we could but the trauma was obviously evident. The next night after we left Antigua, Henrietta didn't turn up and we never saw her again. The ship kindly allowed her to use the phones to contact relatives in Holland but we were convinced that she left at Antigua as the island has an international airport. The breakfast buffet was the usual "full English" bacon, sausages, eggs cooked in vareity of ways, tinned tomatoes, baked beans, cereals, porridge, Danish, muffins (for breakfast?), smoked haddock and kippers (to non British readers, kippers are heavily smoked herring-I particularly enjoy kippers for breakfast), minute steaks, fruit. The lunch buffet featured carveries, seasonal veg etc. They also had themed days..Italian, Caribbean, curries, English pub food. All very good. Evening meals were similar to lunch with much the same style of foods. There was a small selection of foods for people with dietary requirements-gluten free, vegetarian and vegan-but these were very limited. Now to a subject that really gets up my nose-alcohol prices. P&O claim to charge UK pub prices. Not where I live they don't. Draught beer (served in UK pints) was around £4.50 to over £5 a pint for some premium beers. Bottled beers of 330ml are around the same price. I was drinking Corona which was £4.40 a bottle. If I lived in London, I would expect these sort of prices. My regular pub charges £3.30 for lager and if I went to my local Wetherspoons (to non British readers, Wethersoons is a major UK pub chain) I would pay around £2.80 for a pint. So no P&O don't charge pub prices and they charge as much as they can get away with. If P&O dropped these prices, it would make me happier and I'm certain that a lot of people would agree with me. Our intinerary/excrsions. We visited St. Maartens, St. Lucia, Tortola, Grand Turk, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Antigua and Grenada. I did several excursions-mainly sightseeing-but I did enjoy a coastal hike, visiting a chocolate processing factory and a beach hike. I will say that the official excursions are a little pricey and I felt that some of these were a bit "whistle stop" with not much time to see or visit properly. I did my own thing on two of the islands-Grand Turk and Tortola. Grand Turk is a mess since the recent huricanes and beyond the "tourist" port there really is nothing to see. NOTE: If you do your own thing and miss the sailaway, it's your responsibility to get to the next island at your own expense. The ship will not wait. If you do one of the official tours and you're delayed, the ship will wait for your return. The local taxis and guides are not obliged to get you back to the ship on time. It would only take a breakdown or a puncture to ruin your cruise. Entertainment. I don't do shows but I did see a Tina Turner tribute act. She was exceptionally good. There was the usual troupe "Headliners" doing West End musicals in the main theatre. I heard mixed reports as to how good they were. There was two resident bands-Pulse and The Fantastic Four. Pulse were ok but The Fantastic Four-although there were four of them, weren't "fantastic". There's an orchestra-who apart from accompanying the Headliners in the theatre-also did a Glenn MIller tribute. This was very well attended and they were very good. There was also a guest speaker-a retired criminologist-who gave lectures on serial killers and the like. Although murders are a gruesome subject, these lectures were very interesting but sadly not well attended. There were the usual pub quizzes and karaoke in Brodies and of course football (soccer to non British readers). I don't do football (I'm F1 and Rugby Union) but they only sport shown in Brodies is football. The ships TV system had Sky News (the only news channel that doesn't have any news), Sport 24 (football again) and a selection of free and pay-per-view films and TV shows. Weather. The temperatures were in the high 20's to low 30's during the day and didn't drop much below 20 degrees at night with almost wall-to-wall sunshine. We did have a couple of days of rain but overall the weather was excellent. Observations and other stuff. Sadly, we had two deaths on the cruise. One in the first week and one in the second. Obviously, no details were forthcoming about the people concerned due to medical confidentiality. There were also two medical emergencies. We were leaving one island and we were about 50 feet from the quay when we had to reberth due to a medical emergency. The person was carried off the ship to a waiting ambulance. The day after we left Grenada (our last island) the captain announced that we were diverting to Martinique due to a person who had suffered a heart attack. The medical facilities onboard are limited at best. Ambulances were on the quay to take the passenger off. We weren't allowed to get off and we were only there for an hour and a half. On the first day of the cruise, I went to the smoking area on deck 7 main promenade. There were three 20 something blokes having a smoke and a beer. An senior lady also joined for a cigarette. This lady spoke to these guys and told them in no uncertain terms that they'd "ruined over a thousand peoples cruise". Upon hearing this, the three guys let loose on this lady with language I can only describe a disgusting and they didn't care one bit. As I didn't want to get involved, I left to go to the smoking area at the other end of deck 7. Upon making enquiries with the staff, it turned out that these three guys were treating the cruise as a two week Stag Night (again to non British readers, Stag Night=Bachelor Party). Apparently, they would start drinking as soon as the bars were open and didn't stop until they were shut. They were also shouting all the time and generally being obnoxious. I'm actually surprised that they weren't kicked off the ship and I was pleased that they were getting off just as I was starting my cruise. Going back to the resident bands. In the open air bar, Pulse would sometimes play. The band was on the other side of the open air pool around 50 yards away. On one night I was sat with friends (on a formal night) and the band was so loud, my beer was rattling on the table. I was trying to talk but I had to shout just to be heard. A friend-Sabina-was only a couple of feet away but she couldn't hear me. I realise that the ship has to provide entertainment, but does it have to be so loud? For the first four days, the staff were extra vigilant in the public areas and the buffet. This was because they had Norovirus onboard the previous cruise. There were reports (from the previous cruise) of people filling up water bottles from the taps in the public loos. There was a member of staff on duty all the time (day and night) for the first four days at all of the public loos to stop people doing this. The water is perfectly safe to drink so why didn't people fill up in their cabins? The buffet staff didn't allow us to have self service-again for the first four days-which was a little inconvenient but necessary to stop any virus. Additionally, although the water is safe to drink, it did have a nasty metallic aftertaste which wasn't pleasant. This did clear up a little, but teas/coffee from the buffet didn't taste right. Conclusions. Food. Excellent with a wide variety in the buffet and main dining rooms. Drink. As I said in my review, alcohol prices are far too expensive and P&O need to think about this. £1 less per pint would be better. Staff. Again excellent and they kept the ship spotless all the time. Well done! The ship. Tatty, threadbare and going rusty. She desperately needs a refit which as I have said above is going to happen in March or April this year. Entertainment. MIxed reports of the "Headliners" shows. Guest speaker was very good. The Fantastic Four weren't, Pulse are too loud. All in all, the cruise was very good. Excellent staff, good weather, good food and friendly passengers. I am giving this cruise six out of ten. If you're thinking about travelling on Azura, wait until she's had the refit. 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
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
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
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Give Ventura another try as this was only cruise from Southampton for Oct school holidays. This time not impressed with Ventura. Check in was quite slow Once on board we went to buffet, very poor selection available. Went to ... Read More
Give Ventura another try as this was only cruise from Southampton for Oct school holidays. This time not impressed with Ventura. Check in was quite slow Once on board we went to buffet, very poor selection available. Went to cabin which appeared to be ok visited buffet a few times, first occasion there was no cutlery available, once i can let go, twice and someone needs to say something, but this happened either no cutlery or no plates or no cups for tea and coffee 10 times which is inexcusable and shows standards are slipping. The Buffet itself is very poor, very little choice, poor layout, people going through exits and going wrong way causing problems. no-one to police this when entering buffet, first items you come across are the rolls and butter cut up into little blocks - put these little blocks onto your plate and in 30 seconds you have a big pool of melted butter on you plate. (will not put butter on tray as it could be dirty) Entertainment quite poor- we had 2 comedians. One was called Tucker, who came on with a song then spent the next 10 minutes talking to the late arrivals (in a 45 minute shoe this is not good) the second was Jack Ryan telling old jokes and basically dying on his feet. The Flyrights and Serious sounds were brilliant. Thank god for the Theatre showing some films. Quite a few quizzes and the Bingo - The Bingo is a major rip off, very high ticket prices £15 for a 6 strip book of 5 games £12 for a 3 strip book of 5 games Many people were paying the 6 strip approx 60-70 but the prizes only totalled £250 for all games (serious profit taking) Hardly saw anyone in the shops. On this cruise we has a man overboard and a few hours later we has to return to port for a medical evacuation. We missed a port of call to Cherborg due to high winds instead staying in the sea near devon seriously swaying all over the place for about 15 hours. Disembarking was a joke but not a bad a trying to get out of CPS car park (took over an hour) Clearly staff numbers have been cut which caused some of the problems will not be going on Ventura Again as not a lot to do. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was a last minute cruise booking because we had to cancel our earlier booking on Azura due to having to care for my mum. We have been cruising now for 4 years, my wife loves it. This is the third cruise with P 0 Cruises and second ... Read More
This was a last minute cruise booking because we had to cancel our earlier booking on Azura due to having to care for my mum. We have been cruising now for 4 years, my wife loves it. This is the third cruise with P 0 Cruises and second on Ventura. I have to say despite this bad review the staff and crew were always courteous and polite - could not fault that. Our issue started when we arrived at the docks - P O decided without forewarning any of its customers that no porters were available and you had to find trolleys and move the cases a couple of hundred yards and queue to drop off your cases. There were two places we finally got in the queue near the front, when we told them our cabin they told us we were in the wrong queue and ended up at the back of the midships queue no board or information stating which queue to be in. Our view, several customers who were older age struggled to load and push the trolleys, this was not the only time and many people were affected. Not a good experience when you have just driven for 4 hours to have to lug two trolleys as my wife couldn’t manage it. We get up to terminal and are given a card with a letter to wait (not like Royal Caribbean we got straight on board and far more efficient) we waited for over 2 hours, finally got on board. My wife wanted to go to Barcelona, the sail date was 6 October later than usual but that was my wife’s interest to see the famous church Sagrada Familia as we missed it last time. To be honest we did not look too much at the rest of the itinerary until we were on board but noticed that PO cruises had cut out a stop - instead of 7 ports we only had 6 - this was later confirmed on their 2020 bookings where cost cutting reducing a port seemed to be prevalent across even 19 day sailings. On our last cruise with Royal Caribbean we got a drinks package, we are not big drinkers but enjoy the occasional spirit or wine so we enquired about the drinks package we were shocked at the exorbitant prices £39.95 per day and my wife would have to have one too as we could not share it. So just under £80 per day for 14 days - you do the maths and is you do not use it up each day you loose the balance. So going offshore for the day could cost you £79.90 if you do not have a drink on board. Absolutely ridiculous and a ludicrous package. Next in the cabin we see cards about the footprint for the environment - yet PO decided to cancel the cabin tv log of your onboard spend and had to request a print out instead to see a statement - so much for being environmentally concerned. Over the course of the 14 days we became bored with the old fashioned, staid entertainment and activities and all the health and well-being talks ended up with a sell on expensive so called remedies. We got caught with this on our first cruise not again. The headliners singers were awful screechy female lead and the male lead was just as bad. The only decent act was comedian John Evans. There was nothing innovative nothing new - same old boring stuff. It is disappointing that no real effort had been made to change anything. How many people buy paintings on board none from any of the passengers we spoke to - why not put that enormous space to better use. Disembarkation - the biggest gripe by many, we wanted to get off early due to our long drive home, so we asked for 8-8.30, we were given 8-30.8.45 am. We arrived early around 7.30 as we had to vacate the cabin before 8 am. If we wanted to go earlier we had to carry all our cases down ourselves and we were booked with CPS which was some considerable distance from our car. We sat down on the Starboard side with many other early passengers. At around 8 am the so called manger responsible for our disembarkation arrived and started herding passengers to the port side, unbeknown to all the early birds, disembarkation was to be in sections port side first so all those who arrived after 8:30 am got off first. Not only that young and older passengers with prawns and wheelchairs had were given no consideration at all. It is not rocket science to organise the disembarkation more efficiently and give some credit to this passengers who ensured they were there on times during people with prams and disabled go off first. Get you act together PO. We planned to book the Greek islands next year with PO as that was the one we cancelled but PO are not running it next year in September and the one one in October only has 7 stops in the 19 day cruise. Overall there were many other niggles PO had cut over 500 crew on the cruise, and many times we had to wait for stragglers arriving back late after a day in port, there is no excuse for this yet PO do nothing to penalise these people. Overall we enjoyed the break but this cruise was lacklustre from all sides and we were very disappointed in this old fashioned boring cruise. We have decided to try other cruise lines who have been recommended as we were not the only ones who felt the same as us and we are pretty laid back but this time we had had enough. If you want to chill out and not drink, not participate in any of the activities then this is the cruise for you otherwise go elsewhere - we will not go again with PO until they improve. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
For this review, I have compiled the facts and written them in an easy, logical way to read, however, as will become clear, the information from the Captain was given after the acute crisis event, during a Q & A session, with a ... Read More
For this review, I have compiled the facts and written them in an easy, logical way to read, however, as will become clear, the information from the Captain was given after the acute crisis event, during a Q & A session, with a proportion of the affected passengers. This is a factual description of our experiences. Facts: 1. The Captain had warned P&O 3 years ago not to include Monaco in any itinerary during the annual 4 day Monaco mega yacht show (which this year was 25 -28 September 2019). This is because all hotels in and around the area are completely booked, areas are closed, the Monte Carlo pier and tendering is not available, taxis are not available, buses are limited, it is packed and you have to pre pay 280 Euros to walk in the harbour promenade; 2. The Captain informed us that 2 weeks before our sailing, they tried to change the port to Villefranche, but 2 other ships were already there; 3. The Monte Carlo tender port is notoriously choppy and unpredictable and a quick scan of the forums shows how frequently the tender port is cancelled or has to be suspended; 4. Google states that in 2003 a modern cruise ship pier was opened to prevent the need for tendering in the known unpredictable swells. So why do some cruise companies still not pay to use it and instead choose to tender? 5. Upon questioning by the passengers the Captain revealed there is a written P&O protocol and procedure for exactly what to do when tendering has to be suspended and passengers are stranded – the 1st thing is to acquire hotel accommodation. This was never going to be available during the yacht show. A simple, common sense, uncomplicated risk assessment by a layperson would reveal that no ships should ever tender during the yacht show and the P&O protocol could never be accomplished; 6. Monaco offered P&O a tender area adjacent to Monte Carlo called Fontvieille and P&O / Carnival took the risk, that despite there never being hotel availability and P&O not being able to fulfil step 1 of their emergency protocol, that they would tender there; 7. The Captain’s weather forecast was for “good boating” that day. We got on the tender at around 9.10am. We have always loved tender ports and are excellent sailors. We noticed how many passengers could never have fulfilled the compulsory “step” test and were being lifted into the tenders. There were many wheelchairs and scooters. Our tender was choppy and many passengers were bumping their heads and being thrown around in their seats. Other passengers said how later this became progressively worse and the tender operation was extremely slow and interrupted; 8. When we joined the enormous, return tender queue at 14.15, passengers told us that the tender operation was suspended and apparently had been for some time, hence the vast queue. We considered going back into town, but it is a long, hilly walk into Monaco Ville from Fontvieille and I could not physically repeat it. We opted to wait…..and wait……and wait. The queue must have had 400-500 passengers by 15.00hrs and then the excursion coaches arrived at around 17.00. I overheard the Intercontinental excursion man, upon meeting the guests, informing them not to join the queue and to go to the nearest shopping centre to use the toilets, get refreshments and rest. The queue had not been told to do this. Information was extremely minimal i.e. it was passed down the line that they were still trying to resume tendering. Meanwhile, the water canisters ran dry and there were no toilet facilities that were open and we all remained standing in the Monaco sun. In the Q&A meeting the hotel manager claimed, as per protocol, that there was plentiful water at the tenders. She had clearly not been informed that this had long ran out. And anyway, the exceedingly patient, compliant queue did not move from their spots to walk the 100-200 meters to where the water containers would have been. At one stage, as the queue was right in the sun, the excursions department manager and a colleague carried what was left of the water along the queue until it was empty. After the risk of heat stroke and dehydration, the sun went behind the buildings and the wind whipped up. It quickly became very cold and of course we were all in strappy T shirts and shorts; 9. At 18.00hrs, all the staff in the queue were gathered together and debriefed. At 18.10, these various staff members went along the enormous queue. We realised something was up, because suddenly the previously unmoving queue all moved to the right and into 2 tiny restaurants / pizzeria and a bar. Eventually we were told we could spend up to 20 Euros per person for food / drinks, which would be refunded. By the time we got this information, the small eateries were full. The 18.10hrs message also stated that there would be a further announcement at 18.30. There was no way we could get food anywhere within that time, so we stuck with the queue as did some others. There never was a further announcement, but staff did go along the line at approximately 19.30 hrs asking if anyone had any priority needs, e.g. medications. I have a brain tumour, which I volunteered and was invited to go to the front of the queue. As I look relatively young, fit and well, I knew (as indeed happened) I would get dagger stares for moving to the front and so I declined, but the staff member escorted me; 10. At the front the brilliantly assertive senior nurse, who happened to be on shore leave, was organising the immediate priority group 1 and the 2nd priority group, where I was put. We waited and waited and we then boarded 1 of these 2 tenders. It was extremely rough. Again, many passengers who could barely walk and certainly not unaided, were being lifted into the tender. There is no way that they would have been able to fulfil the “step” test. 70 passengers were in our tender, but then the exits of the tenders were completely blocked by numerous wheelchairs, scooters and buggies. The 2 tender crew had to keep climbing over them. The voyage to the ship began at approximately 20.30hrs in the pitch black of night. We have never experienced such a rough tender ride. Passengers were having panic attacks, some screaming, crying and virtually all were vomiting. We have never seen so much vomit and we are hospital / medical professionals. Our tender was unable to get up alongside the ship, as tender priority 1 had to abandon unloading half way through, as it was far too dangerous. Passengers on the ship watched in horror and disbelief at the extreme rolling and pitching of the tenders. After approximately 45 minutes of these awful conditions we got back to the quayside, but we could not go alongside, as there were 3 empty tenders parked alongside. We, as passengers, had to tell the crew to move the empty tenders, so we could dock and be unloaded. It appeared that the entire tender crews and officers on the jetty had no control and were floundering. Eventually we unloaded and stood right on the jetty water’s edge, in the pitch black, back at the front of the enormous queue. We stood there for some time and then the safety officer in a quiet, sheepish voice, barely heard by most said “the police and authorities have taken over”. We were all led for a 15 – 20 minute walk to a sports centre, attached to the football stadium; 11. This whole time we had no information and no clue what was going on. It was now approximately 22.15 hrs and we had queued for 8 hours without seats, toilets, food, water, or shelter. We were all exhausted; 12. Most passengers were led into the basketball arena with had massive, steep, concrete steps to climb, without rails, to the plastic arena chairs. 1 elderly lady face planted down these steep steps and was taken away to hospital. We found 2 chairs in the hall. Some wonderful, off duty, non-officer staff were sharing the foods they had purchased for their personal use; 13. Eventually, the tender crews managed to collect some boxes of biscuits, dry crackers, nuts, tortilla chips, bottles of water, towels and blankets – anything that could be thrown from the ship into the tender. We later found out this food supplies mission had to be abandoned at 23.30hrs as a crew member fell from the tender pontoon, into the sea, between the ship and the tender, sustaining multiple head bangs. Clearly, any food transit had to be abandoned. Thankfully, we can now tell you, that the crew member survived, but the Captain told us that as it was a near fatality, the entire ship’s crew were naturally very shaken; 14. At the point when the snacks, towels / blankets arrived the calm, pleasant, courteous P&O passenger characteristics changed into 2 groups……- the considerate, selfless, carers group and the self-centered, just look after yourself group. Whereas I took 1 biscuit, others were seen hoarding entire, large, wholesale packets; 15. The senior nurse demonstrated strong leadership skills, effectively prioritising those with life threatening needs. There was still no information; 16. At approximately 22.45hrs, a policeman, of which there were loads, asked us if we needed a bed? Of course, we did need one, but we thought others showed greater need, so we declined; 17. At around 23.45hrs, a sudden surge of police and Red Cross staff arrived. A policeman came to us and instructed us “follow me, bed”. We were led into the basketball stadium, down the extremely steep stairs and into a further hall that had been set up with 100s of stretchers as makeshift “beds”. The majority were barely off the floor, narrow and metal and were of the type seen on TV news during earthquake / person evacuation / disaster zones. It was at this point we realised we were there for the night. There was still no P&O information. It was a complete disgrace and a total failure of communication; 18. The influx of police and Red Cross volunteers formed a human chain, passing more stretchers into the hall, which they then assembled. We were given a “couverture de survie” – a life saving foil cover. In a way we were lucky to get 1 of these orange evacuation metal stretchers, as we found out from passengers the next day, that they had to rest on the cold floor, on tables, or on broken up boxes, or sit all night in the arena plastic bucket seats, which must have been even more truly awful. However, these passengers told us that they had seen many passengers hoarding 5 towels as pillows or multiple blankets. 1 passenger at 3am saw an empty blue camp bed with a neatly folded blanket on it. As she took the blanket, the nearby man shot up and shouted at her to leave it, as it was “taken”. A few hours later she returned and saw the same empty camp bed and neatly folded blanket. In our hall there were many Red Cross workers who gave out the tin foil covers, some table cloth type covers and some duvet type sleeping bags, which we used to soften the hard, metal of the evacuation stretchers. The Red Cross went around the hall all night, checking on people and covering them with the tin foil, however all passengers will relay how exquisitely irritating the noise of this foil was – it became a torture noise in our sleep deprived state. Some passengers managed to sleep, but the extreme snoring, was for most, a further noise torture. For me, the worst torture was the bright overhead fluorescent lights that were left on, so any rest was futile and broken by foil / snoring / fluorescent light and the hardness / narrowness of the stretchers; 19. At no time were any hot drinks available from the Red Cross, which was a surprise to us, as hot drinks are commonly used in any emergency first aid crisis. However, there was now plentiful water obtained from the ship and at 3am we found some other snacks in the main basketball arena. During this time we spoke to a shore side food and beverage man that happened to be visiting the ship. We asked him if there was any information and were told that we were going to be got up at 5am, to leave by bus at 6am, to go to the Monaco train station to get a train to Villefranche, to join the ship. This information had not been communicated to anyone outside the basketball arena, so at 5am we asked the officer in charge – the customer service manager to announce it to our hall and other areas where passengers were. My husband also asked him if the ship was actually in Villefranche, as it would be ridiculous for us to leave shelter with toilets, snacks and water to be left stranded in the outside, without any facilities. He replied “that’s the plan from above”. My husband suggested to him that he should confirm with the ship that they were in a position to sail to Villefranche, before any of us left the sports centre. He remained silent and did not move, so my husband went upstairs to the basketball arena and found the food and beverage man from before and explained that there were whole areas that had not been made aware of the plan and announcements needed to be made. The ship’s food and beverage manager officer then came to our area, but no one could hear him, but, as before, passengers followed other passengers’ lead. We tried to stay, but were told to leave. We now know, that at this stage, as we predicted, it was still not possible for the tenders stranded at the quayside to be loaded back onto the ship. A ship is legally not allowed to move without the tenders in place and yet the passengers still had to be moved from the shelter of the sports centre; 20. We were put in queue groups for public buses, which did not have many seats and were taken by police escort to the train station. We personally got the 7am train which arrived at Villefranche at 7.15 (there were 3 trains 6.30, 7 and 7.30). A further 15 minute walk took us to the newly reassembled, enormous queue, which we personally arrived at, at 7.30. We saw the ship sailing towards us in the distance, but by the time it arrived, anchored and dispatched the tenders, we had had to stand for another 2 hours, without seats or toilets, in a totally sleep deprived state, before getting on a tender; 21. At 7.07, whilst on the train to Villefranche, some passengers received a text from P&O, but most phone batteries were now dead. The text read “Good morning. We have now started the bus operation from the stadium to get you back to Azura. If you are not at the stadium, please make your way to Villefranche cruise terminal without delay”. A further text arrived at 7.45 “Good morning and thank you for your patience. Azura will shortly be at anchor and we plan to start the tender embarkation as soon as possible. Thank you once again”. When this arrived all 1000+ passengers were standing in the queue. It was noted by passengers how P&O had failed to send any texts of information until this point; 22. Whilst we were in this final 2 hour queue, we came across the Events Manager and I sarcastically asked him how this event had gone. Unforgivably, he replied “very well”!!! 23. We arrived back at the ship at 10.00hrs and were told to go to a particular restaurant for breakfast. We went via our cabin to wash our hands and found a letter of apology from the Captain, which included a statement “we will be refunding you a full day of your cruise (on a pro rata basis). Also, a gesture of £50 per person will be automatically placed in your onboard account today, for you to enjoy”. The letter stated that there would be a 16.00 hrs Q&A session and that we would be contacted to confirm the venue. Notification of the venue came in a letter around 14.00hrs, when most of the affected passengers were asleep and therefore did not know! 24. We attended the 16-17.00hrs meeting and the general, overwhelming themes were: a) complete failure of communication, b) failure of senior staff to manage, control, or lead the situation, c) the 1 day offer was insulting, as we were already on day 2 of impact and for the majority, it would take additional days to physically recover and a lot longer emotionally and d) the £50 “gesture” is empty if it is on board credit, as the money goes straight back to the company. Already flown in from shore side and present at the Q&A session, were a representative from guest experience and a representative from guest relations. It is interesting that despite the passengers having been given no information that P&O managed to coordinate 2 shore side staff members to be flown in to meet the ship. There was positive recognition and thanks of some P&O staff who were fantastic, particularly the non officer junior staff, who showed the greatest empathy and kindness, when they were also stranded in their off time. Summary P&O blame this event on a force majeure, however as outlined, we strongly feel this was a completely avoidable crisis. We should never have tendered during the yacht show as a risk assessment would clearly have demonstrated that there would never have been an ability to execute their emergency protocol (for hotel accommodation) in the event of tender difficulties, in an area of proven track record for unpredictable sea conditions and aborted / delayed tender operations. This was a foolhardy gamble that went wrong and could easily have resulted in crew and passenger fatalities or serious injuries. In this regard P&O were extremely lucky. Goodwill Gesture / Refund and Financial Remuneration: 1. The promised refund of maximum 20 Euros per person was applied as on board credit at an exchange rate of 1.25, giving £16 non-refundable OBC, therefore the money went straight back into the pockets of P&O. The Bank of England rate on the day was 1.12 = £17.86. Monaco is one of the most expensive places to eat and drink, so 20 Euros would not adequately cover a meal; 2. The one day refund was never increased, despite the shore side guest experience representative saying that they would reconsider it, so we personally got £117 per person simply for the loss of 1 day on the ship. There was never any recognition for the extreme suffering, physical and emotional distress, sleep deprivation, stress and disappointment and for us, the ruination of the entire 2nd week of the cruise and therefore half of the holiday; 3. A letter was received in the cabin to claim on insurance for the loss of the port in Corsica. As an additional point of note, this incident happened after the major news event of day 5, when the ship rescued 17 migrants floating on a dinghy. This 10 hour rescue meant that we could not reach Barcelona as planned; 4. A few days after the incident a bottle of Prosecco was brought to the cabin; 5. On arrival home an unimpressive, small hamper was delivered with a message “A warm welcome home for all to enjoy. From P&O cruises”. Lessons learnt for tender ports: 1. Before the cruise, research on forums the specific tender ports to establish if they have a history or strong likelihood of being aborted, delayed or cancelled; 2. Do your own risk assessment and assess the sea conditions before and on the tender out and immediately return if it feels unusually choppy; 3. Take emergency provisions for that and the next day – food, water, warm clothing, sun protection, inflatable pillow and mattress, spare phone batteries and chargers and most importantly any medications for that and the next day. Consider the need to carry all this in a carry-on luggage wheelie suitcase; 4. Captains’ weather forecasts can be seriously flawed – supposedly calm, good conditions can adversely and extremely change. Are you prepared to take the risk? 5. Beware that P&O itineraries still have tender ports at Monte Carlo during yacht shows in future years. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have been with NCl and Royal Carribean before. This itinerary worked for us and just trying something new. So Disappointing.The positives first. Embarkation was easy and well organised. Cabin L224 inside was fine. Staff were ... Read More
We have been with NCl and Royal Carribean before. This itinerary worked for us and just trying something new. So Disappointing.The positives first. Embarkation was easy and well organised. Cabin L224 inside was fine. Staff were very nice. Nightly entertainment was good . Plenty of outside space and sunbeds. Food was seriously poor. The mdr was terrible and the 4 times we were at it always someone at the table sent it back.(this is people who i do not know) The buffet food tasted fine but the selection was poor.You had a choice of tea coffee or water to drink except in the morning where there was orange and apple juice. Bars were totally under staffed. There was times i had thought they were brewing the beer. The staff new this and asked for this to be put into the survey. You had to go to deck 15 for a tea or a coffee or deck 5 and buy it at costa. No atmosphere on this boat at all.This may not be the cruise lines fault but the live music at the pool was good but for sleeping to. Ballroom dancing or knitting day time activities. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chose this cruise for convenience of date to fit in with our Golden Wedding anniversary celebrations, As such we booked the Strathaird Suite C751 Boarding and welcome buffet absolutely first class plus. Our suitcase was waiting at ... Read More
Chose this cruise for convenience of date to fit in with our Golden Wedding anniversary celebrations, As such we booked the Strathaird Suite C751 Boarding and welcome buffet absolutely first class plus. Our suitcase was waiting at the cabin door as expected. We entered the suite, first impression , dull drab and old looking furnishings looking very tired!! Gosh what have we done? Nearly £5K spent already just to get this far!! In due course the Butler arrived to explain what he could do for us but really was a passed master at explaining what he did not do.Frankly no need for this individual at all not even for the delivery of the stale canapes each evening The wash hand basin in the unheated bathroom was cracked, the sofa bed in the lounge area was so flat and uncomfortable the bottom on one side was falling away. Servicing by the cabin stewardess left a lot to be desired One excellent Perk of the suite is the invitation to breakfast every day in the White Room at the Epicurian fabulous service. Our special dinner there was exceptional. All in all a very disappointing cruise, the ship only actually sailed in and through the fjords at night and was either in port or at sea during the day Definitely NOT value for the money on this occasion Our dining experience in the Bay Tree restaurant was the food dull and uninspiring with 50% of the menu repeated every night Entertainment was quite good with Comedy from Tucker on two great nights and Magic from the Astonishing show Overall onboard was just ok but we have already cancelled our Christmas cruise on Ventura and booked on another P&O ship We found the public rooms a little too cool and the Costa area needing a good clean, eg The back of the chairs had coffee spillages on them and needed wiping and cleaning Service was just ok but we have seen better Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife and I have been regular passengers with P&O over the last 9 years having just completed out twentieth cruise. In August we sailed on the Arcadia and I have to say that there were a lot of things wrong with the ship. We have ... Read More
My wife and I have been regular passengers with P&O over the last 9 years having just completed out twentieth cruise. In August we sailed on the Arcadia and I have to say that there were a lot of things wrong with the ship. We have seen standards fall over the years but the situation is becoming critical. Where has all the serving staff gone? There are nowhere near enough waiters in the bars and it is almost impossible to get served anywhere without having to go to the bar and order there. This ties the one or two waiters to the bar area which stops them going around the tables to take passenger’s orders. It’s a Catch 22 situation. The quality of the draught beers was terrible with beers tasting of cleaning fluid which forced me to drink only bottled beer for almost the entire cruise. There is no bar service on the promenade deck at all leaving passengers to have to fetch drink from an internal bar and carry them all the way outside. The Cabin Stewards have been downsized so much that they now have to do around twenty cabins each and the strain is showing as, despite their best efforts, the stewards are not doing everything they should. Take balcony cleaning for instance: According to the Deck Managers I have spoken with on various ships, cabin stewards are supposed to clean the balconies daily but, yet again, my wife had to suffer dirty furniture, dirty glass, dirty handrails and a dirty balcony floor. We finally took action ourselves and asked reception of a mop, bucket and squeegee so that we could do the job ourselves. This had an effect as our steward was instructed to clean our balcony daily but it didn’t last long. Arcadia is looking tired and rusty and in port, she looks filthy with unclean glass and windows and rust everywhere. The cabin and bathrooms are showing their age. Most public areas are clean I’m glad to say. The food is just awful in the buffet restaurant, too little choice, poorly cooked and arranged in a totally illogical manner. The move by P&O to bulk sauce dispensers rather than sachets, has led to the demise of Salad Cream which has now been replaced with a substitute that is nowhere near as good. Who thought up the idea of serving frozen butter portions? It is impossible to butter a roll unless you wait 10 minutes for the butter to soften enough to be spread. What has happened to the availability of Flora spread? It has been replaced with a generic “Margarine” which tastes awful. The service in the Main Dining Room is just awful, too slow and haphazard and the food quality is poor compared with previous cruises. The waiters work very hard and I do not blame them at all but the management and P&O themselves need to take a step back and realize that passenger comfort and service are what really matters on a cruise ship. Everything seems to be about saving money! My wife and I have five more cruises booked with P&O and we are already considering cancelling some of them next year (luckily they were booked onboard so we paid only £50 deposit each). We very much doubt that we will sail with P&O after 2020 as we would rather pay more to get proper service and quality with other cruise lines. Arcadia was in Norovirus lock-down when we boarded and this lasted for four days.Everything is served to you, even a glass of water in the buffet. Thankfully it ended but the lock-down returned for the last four days of the cruise due to a “few” cases of Norovirus, our sources said that it was a large number of passengers affected. Considering that Norovirus was being reported on the Arcadia back in June of this year, they clearly have a serious problem. We still enjoyed our cruise despite all the above and we cannot fault the waiting staff and our cabin steward. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was the second time that we’d cruised on this ship. Standards have certainly dropped. Firstly the good points. Embarkation at Southampton was excellent and totally stress free. The cabin was ready as soon as we walked onboard and ... Read More
This was the second time that we’d cruised on this ship. Standards have certainly dropped. Firstly the good points. Embarkation at Southampton was excellent and totally stress free. The cabin was ready as soon as we walked onboard and our room was very good. The ship has recently been upgraded and is very nice.Our cabin attendant was also very good throughout our holiday. Entertainment was also generally good. The bad points. The food was very poor in the main dining rooms and buffet areas. With the choice in the Waterside very limited. The payable restaurants were much better. The catering staff didn’t have any interest in the passengers and appeared sullen and unhelpful. I wonder if this is anything to do with the discontinuance of gratuities . I think that P&O need to ‘up their game’ to keep up with Celebrity and others. The overall experience has certainly put us off another P&O cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have sailed on a dozen occasions with P&O including three previous cruises on Ventura. We previously enjoyed our cruises on Ventura several years ago and wanted to cruise on the ship again. We have been regular cruisers several ... Read More
We have sailed on a dozen occasions with P&O including three previous cruises on Ventura. We previously enjoyed our cruises on Ventura several years ago and wanted to cruise on the ship again. We have been regular cruisers several times each year for 15 years and aware of the standards of service to be expected and normally provided. We noticed a significant fall in standards in the dining room compared with our earlier Ventura cruises. Table clothes were often dirty and stained and not changed between diners. Butter dishes were left between consecutive diners with visible signs of part use and contamination. Cutlery was left on the tables between consecutive diners. On two occasions we asked for some items of cutlery to be replaced as these appeared to have already been used. On another occasion, the waiter openly removed a fork from my starter plate and replaced it on the table to be used for the next course. On day three, we arrived at “Amsterdam” - the port had been changed since our booking was made to somewhere an hours coach journey from Amsterdam. We were informed that Amsterdam had introduced a new passenger charge for the original port which P&O had decided not to pay. The result was an extra two hours of inconvenient coach travel for passengers to get to and from the destination. Far worse, was that when we finally reached the places we wished to visit, entrance tickets for the whole day had been sold out. We returned to the shuttle bus stop early afternoon to find a queue 203 passengers (I had time to count them) and no sign of coaches. When coaches finally began to arrive (after approaching an hour queuing) it was clear that no planning had gone in to managing loading passengers. The hour wait meant the queue now had 400 passengers in a queue. Many passengers had arrived during the wait who had disability challenges. Six empty coaches arrived together and staff concentrated on first loading those with disabilities on all six coaches before loading passengers from the queue on to any of the coaches. This was completely illogical given that once wheelchair users had boarded the first coach other passengers could have boarded and the coach made its way and so on. We waited an hour and 44 minutes in the queue before leaving on the coach. Having to stand (unnecessarily) for such a period led to my knee being injured and I’m certain caused harm to others. We had been looking forward to the cruise itinerary of “two days overnight” stay in Amsterdam” but the next day my wife had to obtain a wheelchair for me as I could not walk and, like many others would not have wished to repeat the shuttle debacle of the previous day. I complained about the shuttle arrangements at the excursions desk. I was told that this was a new arrangement and it was being trialled by them to see if it worked! No apology was offered by P&O staff to the many customers unknowingly submitted to this disastrous experiment. After three days of using a wheelchair ( I’ve never previously had mobility difficulties), my wife explained to the excursions desk that we could not do the excursion we had booked. The staff member informed us there would not be a refund unless I obtained a certificate from the ships doctor (at an equivalent cost of the tour we had booked)! We paid an additional charge to use the Oasis quiet area and steam rooms to relax. Steam rooms were out of order (being painted). Infusers in the relaxation area were not topped up and working and... the disabled toilet facilities had visible faeces present for two days! The Oasis quiet area did not have its no mobile phones rule enforced by staff who stood by whilst an element shouted at their phones using Skype. The theatre entertainment and other performers also held little to write home about and were considerably poorer quality than the high standards we’ve seen before on P&O. Our many previous cruises with P&O spread over five of their ships have been enjoyable but this one was simply awful. Customer service, cleanliness and standards are extremely low on Ventura and I would not recommend this ship which fails miserably to live up to the standards which are expected of P&O . We have booked a suite on Iona in 2020 with roughly the same itinerary which hopefully, will restore our faith in P&O. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We wanted an adult only cruise in the peak summer period. This was our first P and O cruise for a few years and boy have they joined the race for the bottom. Prepare to pay for anything and everything that makes the cruise a little ... Read More
We wanted an adult only cruise in the peak summer period. This was our first P and O cruise for a few years and boy have they joined the race for the bottom. Prepare to pay for anything and everything that makes the cruise a little special. When did they start charging for room sevice?? Drinks prices on the rise to encourage the packages? Postives- Large cabin with decent size shower. White company products. Ports of call very pleasant. Shore excursions enjoyable. Tea and coffee in room. Costa coffee available. Pricing in GBP and not $ or EURO. Buffet food not too bad. Meeting shore excursion on the pier much better than sitting in a theatre. However We arrived at Southampton and the embarkation was delayed and chaotic due to a faulty gangway. No cruise staff to be seen, no water available and no chairs in the part of the building we were stuck in. The dock staff told us the equipment breaks down all the time as if this was meant to make us feel any better. Arcadia is really looking tired. Rusty and unkempt. It really needs radical work or selling on. Our balcony cabin was tatty with broken binoculars and filthy furniture. It just feels like they have given up on it. The carpets were curling up and should have been replaced. Our steward looked weary and now the tips are included did little to go the extra mile. The clientele was very old, very white and it had the ambience of the local Royal British Legion. Service was pretty dire we had the laughable 'freedom dining' which means share a table or always wait 45 minutes. Not once did a waiter introduce themselves. They just plonked the food down and rushed off to the next table. If you got a wine waiter once you were doing well. No point in having a drinks package as you would struggle to get a refill. The captain was miserable and avoided all contact with the customers. I guess that attitude works it way down the crew ladder. The smell of sewage/drains was ever present around deck three. How can they leave that situation unchecked? The casino slots were museum worthy. How tricky is it to replace the slot machines once every decade? This will be our final cruise with P & O. Princess and Celebrity give a better service even If they also have some older ships. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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