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485 P&O Cruises Cruise Reviews

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
we chose this cruise as first time cruisers and to see Etna, also to celebrate my big birthday. What a disappointment. First we were informed by P & O that we would not be stopping at Messina ( Etna ) due to remedial work that ... Read More
we chose this cruise as first time cruisers and to see Etna, also to celebrate my big birthday. What a disappointment. First we were informed by P & O that we would not be stopping at Messina ( Etna ) due to remedial work that needed doing in Malaga, Now a print out given to us on our last day a board stated that 22 divers plus equipment was coming over from USA to do the work, now that was not organised in 24 hours!! The work took longer than stated & we eventually sailed at 12:07 am four days later. During this time any information from the bridge was sparse, nothing from the Cap'tain' for 2 days. Norovirus then broke out.....just what you need on your holiday, again very little Health Education or advice from the Bridge, on one occasion the Captain could not even say the word 'symptom' Swimming pool had to be drained after what looked like faeces floating in the water. Rust on ship, and very little care taken to spruce her up. Davets on lifeboats would not retract one life boat at Dubrovnik, so more delays, also due to the long stay in Malaga we could not moor up at quay in Dubrovnik and had to use the tenders but only if you passed the step test which meant another location missed by many. Cabin adequate and bed comfy, Dining staff & waiters excellent and polite but officers rude and snobby. This cost £6.500 pounds, was it well spent? I dont think so. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My wife and I have cruised about seven times from the Caribbean through the Med: 5 with Thomson on various vessels and latterly on Britannia with P&O. The cruise on board OCEANA on 11th July to the Greek islands was the latest and ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised about seven times from the Caribbean through the Med: 5 with Thomson on various vessels and latterly on Britannia with P&O. The cruise on board OCEANA on 11th July to the Greek islands was the latest and the most disappointing. What we liked: The Atrium, reception area and the Costa coffee section was second to none. The shops were brilliant and my wife has no complaint there. The sun deck was good although crowded (not unusual for a day at sea etc). The cabin was spacious and wardrobe space more than adequate. What was wrong: the general points . . . 1. The ship decor was drab throughout 2. The lifts were unpredictable and extremely slow 3. We found the buffet food monotonous. Often we found there were no tea spoons available and we had to ask one of the officers in white to provide some. Once a female crew member who was responsible for providing a tray with cutlery repeatedly provided two forks without a knife or two knives without a fork etc. Twice during the voyage this happened to us. We found the crew to be rather sullen and didnt seem to want to interact with passengers. One actually made an inappropriate comment when the wife and I were making a decision on any pudding/sweet: I just joked with my wife saying they were fattening and this male commented: "Too late Sir". He then asked my wife and I had a twin brother (for what reason I do not know). The next time I saw him he rotated his eyes in different directions independently and he thought it was funny. I was not sure what his objective was. This occurred in the buffet by the way on two separate days. Specifically to us: 1. The bathroom was antiquated and particularly the toilet bowl had a black ring around it when we embarked which remained there throughout the voyage. The television was small and the programmes repetitive. There was only one three-pin socket to the entire cabin and that was used for tea making. The lack of sockets was very inconvenient. 2. I unfortunately cut my ankle slightly on the first day which bled overnight and which stained the lower sheet. That sheet remained on the bed and was not changed throughout the voyage. The cabin steward on a few occasions failed to replenish the coffee/tea making facilities and once failed to provide cups/mugs and we had to ask reception to get him to bring them along. 3. We were freedom dining: We often had to wait up to 45 minutes to get a table and this seemed to be case whenever we attended the Ligurian to dine. The service in the Ligurian was slow and often we had to attract attention that we were waiting another course. Again the waiting staff did not seem that interested in providing a good service. A factor which irritated us in particular was black tie nights. This was the first time I decided not to take a dinner suit or black tie. We were denied access during the two black tie nights in both the Ligurian and the Adriatic restaurants (on a 7 night cruise) and we had to eat in the buffet. This was not what we expected from P&O and has completely shattered our confidence. Frankly we were glad when we arrived at Malta so we could get off the ship. We are not going P&O again: Having written to them expressing our disappointment and pointing out our points we eventually received a wholly dismissive letter which implied either we were exaggerating or just a pair of natural complainers. that in itself was enough to put us off going with them again - this is the first time we have complained on any holiday (land or cruise) Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Wanted value for money to cooler place in summer. Had read mixed reviews . wanted to find out for ourselves. Speaking to others, you love it or hate it. Marmite ship was someones description. Geared to under 50s = constant background ... Read More
Wanted value for money to cooler place in summer. Had read mixed reviews . wanted to find out for ourselves. Speaking to others, you love it or hate it. Marmite ship was someones description. Geared to under 50s = constant background carcophany of pop music apart from last 2 days when the food also seemed to improve slightly too. Small balconies with swing doors requiring loungers to be in position to hold them open = noise. Pivot doors taking up space in already small shower rooms. Duvets too heavy and pillows with no resilience. Smaller lifts gave rise to queues.especially for disabled and some passengers were not overly polite or aware/bothered! Some plain rude.Spacious ship though = easier getting about. Public areas were freezing. Cold outside 11 to 13 degrees but do not expect inside to be the same! Complained = ignored! Contradiction was that many .passengers seem happy to roam in flip flops ,shorts and vest! Sunbathing even. How? Why? Booked car in St Petersburg.Kind helpful very pleasant in spite of having no knowledge of our needs from P&O. Complained = smiley apology! Cobbles we were aware but for wrong shuttle drop off presenting more huge cobbles.No.Other wheelchair users were so afflicted, Complained =smiley apology. Peninsular restaurant = yellow broccoli. Complained got extra dish of it! Black eyed potatos , Sloppy prawn cocktail, Plum pudding with scone for sponge on top. Carrot cheesecake =dry cake.Inadequate over embellished menu with slow service altering to rushed 1/2 hour before closing time. Limelight Club read Ruth Madoc and Hi Di Hi. Food and service abysmal, Starter was 4 small breadsticks and 8 1/2 inch cubes of something.... to share! This, spaced out over 2 hours because the act was scheduled to play in sections.Paid £70 pounds for this! Not happy. Gareth Gates was superb however.Excellent singer . Wish he had sung 1 or Frank Sinatra as his early years. Lecturer Dave Wright was also superb. Heard every word and entertaining delivery made for good assimilation of facts. = Romanovs, Russian Revolution, St George and Mary Queen of Scots. Amazed with 3,600 passengers and small lifts, self help people at disembarcation were given the same time as the rest for vacating cabins. Chaos! Some people were juggling 4 maxi size suitcases! [2 week cruise!] Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This cruise was a disater,stuck in Malaga for 3 days to carry out repairs that were known of in southampton.if booking a cruise beware,they reserve the right to change the schedule at a moment's notice.cabin staff were grumpy,we ... Read More
This cruise was a disater,stuck in Malaga for 3 days to carry out repairs that were known of in southampton.if booking a cruise beware,they reserve the right to change the schedule at a moment's notice.cabin staff were grumpy,we couldn't see out of the window it was filthy,first job on board for us was to clean the cabin,hairs in the bath and the bed from previous guests.food was at best average,ocean grill was very good as was the spa.the habit of reserving Sun beds is rife and out of control not managed..the crew were constantly working on the lifeboats with the prom deck blocked off for most of the cruise,the noise was horrendous.if this is p&o standard it falls well short.Water on board is as expensive as beer,there was an outbreak of norro virus. My tip for going on this ship pack a bottle of anti bacterial spray.I asked for some hand gel but was refused.on a positive note the entertainment was first class.but wouldn't book with them again.loyalty is all very well but value for money is sadly lacking,a tired looking ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
SOS
Day 4 in Malaga due to engineering problem. This appears to have been kown about for some time - is its coincidence the remedial work was undertaken on a longer length cruise? I think not. On a 20 day cruise thats a lot of time. One post ... Read More
Day 4 in Malaga due to engineering problem. This appears to have been kown about for some time - is its coincidence the remedial work was undertaken on a longer length cruise? I think not. On a 20 day cruise thats a lot of time. One post missed so far with warning of changed itinerary to come Communication bad, yesterday found a message on return from day out to advise another day in port. With modern technology this could have been achieved by group email/ SMS. ship noticeably cleaner after infection control measures were taken to avoid potential norovirus outbreak. Food awful. Limited choice and poor culinary skills. It's truly a bad day when you are likely to return from a cruise lighter than you arrives onboard. Cabin and restaurant excellent. I can only conclude this is the reason many people are so loyal to them. In the present cruising climate they need a serious shakeup if they want to continue to make happy cruise memories. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports of call. Just before departure we were advised that we would spend 3 and a half days in Malaga to repair the ship Azipod which was damaged on a previous cruise. Why was the ship not fixed before? Every ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports of call. Just before departure we were advised that we would spend 3 and a half days in Malaga to repair the ship Azipod which was damaged on a previous cruise. Why was the ship not fixed before? Every port of call was a disaster because we were late at every port and had to suffer more crowds of tourists than expected. Messina was cancelled as was our tour in Venice. We were not impressed. Maintenance was a continual activity on the prom deck every day and the noise of tools could be heard inside the ship, the general state of this ship was very poor and generally tired. The food in the main restaurant was no better than a one star place, tasteless, lacking imagination and rather boring. Glasses were not clean. Norovirus started on day 3 and remained for most of the cruise.Entertainment was mediocre and only 2 speakers in 19 days. Service was average and it seemed as if there had been a reduction in the numbers of staff in the bars.Cabins are in need of updating and rather beige.The ships tour presenter was extremely condescending to passengers. We paid a lot of money for what is advertised as a luxury cruise experience, we beg to differ after our experience and its debatable we would ever use P&O again. Loyalty does not seem to count for much these days. We wrote to P&O and wonder if we will ever get a reply? Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Although I am a regular reader of reviews I have never before felt the need to write one myself. We have always taken the view that you can’t please all the people all the time and there will always be some professional complainers. We ... Read More
Although I am a regular reader of reviews I have never before felt the need to write one myself. We have always taken the view that you can’t please all the people all the time and there will always be some professional complainers. We do not fall into that category. So having cruised with P&O eight times in the last four years on all their ships I think we are capable of offering a balanced view of expectations and a benchmark for comparison purposes. Our experiences have always been favourable with no complaints, resulting in repeat bookings. Having booked this cruise some 18 months ago mainly because of the destinations it was disappointing to receive an email four days before departure advising that one of the ports of call (Messina) would be cancelled because essential repair work need to be carried out in Malaga. Not a deal breaker in itself, although we have experienced P&O cancelling ports at the last moment at least twice before, but what followed certainly tested any loyalty we feel to P&O. Somehow the essential work (to a propeller) did not prevent the ship arriving in Malaga a full 18 hours ahead of schedule, the work then ran into four days with little or no communication from the Bridge on the delay. It was obvious to all that the work had been pre planned for some time with a diving team having to be flown in from the US to complete the work. Draw your own conclusions why the work had to be done in the middle of a cruise when it was known about some considerable time before. This led to the ships Customer Services Manager issuing a letter to guests “for Insurance purposes for any potential claim” confirming that “no refunds or compensation had been given by P&O” for the changes. At best it was a clumsy and misguided attempt to deflect responsibility. Sorry P&O but my contract is with you and I am not going to make a claim on my insurance (even if I could) and incur increased premiums because of your inability to provide the contracted service. The senior management on the Bridge were conspicuous by their absence with communication poor at best, particularly during the delay in Malaga. In fairness communication did improve slightly after Malaga but we think that was because of all the complaints. We then had an outbreak of norovirus, (P&O claimed it was brought onboard at Southampton). For the record, neither we nor a number of other guests we spoke with had been asked to complete the health declaration at embarkation, (a similar situation occurred when we travelled with P&O last March). If this simple procedure had been complied with perhaps the virus outbreak would have been prevented or contained. On a positive note there did seem to be a plentiful supply of sun beds. We were not sure if this was because more had been provided or because half the guests were struck down with norovirus and the other half down at reception complaining! Throughout the 19 days there was continuous “essential” maintenance work being carried out, mainly on the lifeboats, with intolerable noise from early morning, it was like being on a building site. Lets be clear, this was not the routine maintenance that you always encounter on a cruise but full blooded heavy duty work. It got so bad guests were calling it the Maintenance Cruise. This essential work continued right up to the last sea day. One night we were sat in the Crows nest at midnight to the sound of sanding or similar accompanying the music. Of course this raises the question of how you define essential; essential for safety which raises questions, or essential to P&O and their profitability over the enjoyment of guests. Incidentally, it was quite ironic that following this “essential” lifeboat maintenance one of the tenders could not be lifted back in to position because of a ”technical problem”, necessitating a two and half hour delay in leaving Dubrovnik. You could not make it up. The ship has absolutely no wow factor, no focal point in terms of atrium and we felt it had a bit of a strange layout, consequently there was no atmosphere. Much of the ship looked tired, with warped decking particularly Deck 10 Port side which was dangerous, dirty tatty window frames in the restaurant, just to mention a couple of areas. Most public areas appeared clean on first glance, but having said that we often saw cups, glasses and ashtrays that were not cleared away from outside areas for at least 24 hours. We only saw a vacuum cleaner being used twice and had doubts that our cabin had seen one throughout the 19 days. Likewise we saw litter on a carpeted stairwell that stayed there for at least two full days. Many of the staff seemed unhappy (it was almost as if something had happened prior to departure which had upset them all), we felt there were fewer staff and certainly our steward had a huge workload. Generally the Medina restaurant appeared disorganised with long waits to be seated, further long waits to be served and then food which was mediocre in relation to our previous experiences. At times we felt it was a training ship for new recruits as the food and service differed from meal to meal. One final point, P&O have a dress code, please apply it or dispense with it. Some people were going to dinner in tatty jeans and T-shirt, not quite the dress code P&O advertise. So there you have it. A cruise we had been looking forward to for 18 months proved to be a major disappointment. Thankfully the destinations did not disappoint (not fussed on Cagliari), however the bits in between left a lot to be desired. We did meet some lovely people, (one who had booked the world cruise on the ship for 2020 and was cancelling), and without exception they all said they were bitterly disappointed with the ship and their experiences mirrored many of the aspects I have mentioned. By the way I have just read a review of the same cruise on CC congratulating the Capt and crew for their outstanding service saying what a great cruise and criticising a negative, whinging hostile group of passengers – mostly senior. Well I don’t fit into any of those categories (far from it), but there are times when you do have to call out poor service, shoddy communication and a lack of respect for guests enjoyment. I leave you to draw your own conclusions but if the majority of reviews and online comments about the cruise are negative then it says a lot. For the first time ever I have not been contacted by P&O to provide a review of the cruise. I wonder why? Would we cruise on Arcadia again? Most definitely not. Will we cruise with P&O again? Well we have two further cruises booked with them and are waiting their response to a formal complaint. We will see how they respond and then decide. If you have already booked to go on Arcadia I really hope that you have a better experience. If you are thinking on going on Arcadia my advice is to keep reading all the reviews and then make your decision based on the balance of reviews. Good luck. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Booked a year early as a medical report put this to be probably my last cruise. Period. First I received a few days in advance that one port would be eliminated due to repairs needed to be done in Malaga meaning an extra day annoyed! ... Read More
Booked a year early as a medical report put this to be probably my last cruise. Period. First I received a few days in advance that one port would be eliminated due to repairs needed to be done in Malaga meaning an extra day annoyed! Then off we go with a dicky propulsion unit needing divers etc in Malaga Malaga was fine as we knew we had an extra day but soon after arrival we were told that we had to stay another day meaning 3.6 days in Malaga ! See my extra info on divers later. So we left Malaga but the next announcement was we had norovirus which started to kill the pleasure even more. We raced at 22 knots to venice . It was just as we left Venice we met the USA divers who told a slightly different story . The Malaga stop had not had Spanish diving approval which took some time before two faults we found . The repairs needed that extra day after all but even then the divers explained they had to dive in Venice BUT these was only allowed with Italian diver plus. The divers were leaving Venice to check out the bits at split and that is where I did not see them any more. P&O never explained all this and generally were poor in information . The norovirus controls were lifted at about 2 thirds of the cruise ! So P&O will probably point at their terms of business in removing a ports for repairs and Put norovirus down to other reasons. As this was to be my last cruise I can only explain that after a multicruise life this was a different P&O and a poor show even though some items were good. As regards the Arcadia as a ship I comment it is poor with 30 seat only cinema, a dining room aft which to my 91 year old near cabin user in B2 as against my B22 Was a trek ! The spa helped my poor feet in place of a massage due to walking round Malaga on a Sunday with not much open. I,m home sad at this last cruise and leaving my view of modern P&O to be forgotten. Nothing can compensate for that last bad cruise but nothing likely to come....will tell you if! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Chose this cruise because of the ports and the time of year. First three days were excellent then the Norovirus outbreak god out of hand and pools were emptied, buffet was closed, all venues on the ship were single entry with staff ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the ports and the time of year. First three days were excellent then the Norovirus outbreak god out of hand and pools were emptied, buffet was closed, all venues on the ship were single entry with staff enforcing the use of hand sanitisers. Loungers were put away mid afternoon to scrub the decks. Handrails and lift buttons could not be touched. Menus, condiments, etc were removed from the restaurants. Crew were wiping down everything daily with virox. Crew were ignoring the sanitisers. This lasted for the following 11 days. Atmosphere on board was ruined. Compensation from P&O: nothing. Would not sail on this ship again. Entertainment was really good, particularly main theatre. Ports were really interesting and not leaving Barcelona until late night was a bonus. Dress code, however, was not enforced and hygiene standards were poor. Crew attitude was very variable, cabin steward was the exception. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Could not get a shore excursion as both my choices on wait list. So I put my name down for both. Rang up just before leaving and told no change so asked to come off wait list to book private. Told that not possible and it did not matter as ... Read More
Could not get a shore excursion as both my choices on wait list. So I put my name down for both. Rang up just before leaving and told no change so asked to come off wait list to book private. Told that not possible and it did not matter as I would be emailed and have 72 hours to reply if I did not reply it would just be dropped. Got on ship to find a ticket for one of the excursions, suddenly found seats only 36 hours after that call. But too late, I had booked privately. Went and stood in line, wasting my time, to give them their ticket back and they had to consult about cancelling it AND repaying the money to my onboard account. They then told me that I had another confirmed booking and been charged for the other wait list I had gone on the excursion was at the same time as the other one. They had to consult again to take me off and return my money and they had not even checked to see if we could do it. If you want this hassle then go on wait lists, but personally I was very cross that they had not told me anything a few hours before whilst on shore, that they refused to take me off the wait list, that they then booked me on both excursions WITHOUT asking me and took the money from my account and for all this gave me stress at the start of my holiday. Overshadowed and marred the whole experience., Dining was OK but I had to eat twice from the always menu rather than the daily one and two days of steak does not spell good food to me. Cabin was fine but we did have a mini-suite. Looked after well by Rosie. But all balconies are narrow in width and this was no exception, just that we had double the length. Just managed a chair. Entertainment was Ok but nothing outstanding. Thought the magician would be good, but whilst he got some very right he did a couple of tricks in such a way that gave them away. Did not do any day time activities and only one shore excursion, which was good, the issue was tendering, but that always can be a problem. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Embarkation was a disaster. P&O sent an email out the evening before but hardly anyone got it. They should have rang each party leader. The boat didn't arrive until 5pm on the day then there was 2-3 hours of guests getting off ... Read More
Embarkation was a disaster. P&O sent an email out the evening before but hardly anyone got it. They should have rang each party leader. The boat didn't arrive until 5pm on the day then there was 2-3 hours of guests getting off until everyone else could get on. PO staff were telling arrivals one thing, whilst the car parking company told everyone something else. They laid nothing on for anyone. No refreshments - just pandemonium as 100's of cars jammed the roads surrounding the port. After an hour in the embarkation area we eventually we got on at 9pm and went straight into the canteen, i mean buffet for some mediocre food before going to our cabin. For losing an entire day's use of the boat we were given a paltry £20 each "credit" so not even real money. The boat itself was a real disappointment. Very dark and disjointed. All the lift areas had no natural light. It was like the dim entrance to a cinema screen. Queing for a lift for 2-5 minutes every time we used them - and they stop at every single floor they pass. There is a 2-storey section in the middle which doesn't really work and it also makes getting from the back of the boat to the front a chore of going up and down levels to pass it. The restaurants did not have a very grand feeling to them. They rely heavily on indian staff whom dont really have much to say. Usually on say royal caribbean, you'd have everyone from Peru to the Philipines - all smiles and fun. The staff here lacked any sort of personal feelings and none made conversation. "Do you want a bread?" and then you'd pick a bun out of a basket. "Order sir?" then you'd roll the dice on the main course which were edible but nothing special at all. For example on say the Independance of the seas, the soup would be like French Onion soup with melted Gruyere cheese and baked mini loaf. Whereas on Britannia it was powdery tomato cup-a-soup complete with croutons. Served in a little cat bowl ! The only food that we thought "mmm this is nice" was the pizza place near the pool. The rest of the places were similar to what you'd eat on a ferry. The pool area was poor. There was too very small jacuzzi and there was always teens in there splashing each other in the face and squealing. Nobody really policed it. There was two pools and one was shut - so the other was utterly rammed with kids aged 5-12 all bombing and diving. Whereas on other boats there is a big screen playing movies or music videos, the Brittania had nothing. There was a bit of a DJ whom played banging music like Baby D 'Be my fantasy' and Robin S again and again, every day. No classy chill out music - it was more like Butlins. When we visited Guernsey it was a complete farce. We went to the buffet for breakfast and qued like cattle to get a clean table, then we went down to like Deck 5 to get the tender - and we were shuffled into the Theatre and given a raffle ticket. The entire theatre was full to the brim at one point - and they'd call off a couple of dozen people every 15 mins on to the tender. We sat in the theatre at 11.35am and it was bang on 1pm when we landed on land !!! We sat for half an hour on the tender itself for no reason at all. As it happens, my friend and his family were on the Sapphire and they were there at the same time. We text each other. They had 3-4 boats taking them to land it start to finish it took 20 mins. Why did we take 1hr and 25 mins ? The only saving grace was the room was nice and quiet. The bunk bed system worked well. The balcony was really small. On Royal Caribbean you can order food or view your bill via the interactive TV menu - but nothing like that on Brittania. Even room service or breakfast was done via a form that was completed and put outside of the door. Breakfast choice was poor - toast, coffee, croissant or this panini thing with tomato and sausage in. It was damp and soggy. Room attendant was utterly useless. When we got there the first night, for a moment we thought our two kids were sleeping on the tiny single-sized sofa bed. We hadn't noticed the bunk that drops out of the ceiling. I called in the attendant and she shrugged and said yes it must be that they both sleep on the sofa bed ! then later on she was in our room with another woman who magically dropped the sofa out of the ceiling for us. Why didn't she know this when we spoke to her? there was no animals made out of towels on an evening. We just had 2 naff chocs left on bed (there was 4 of us in the room!) I spoke to several other guests and nobody was impressed. Several said the other P&O boats were better - but after experiencing the food etc, it just is nowhere near as good as RC's. Not even close. Finally - kid's club.... the negativity continues. It was terrible design. My son is 11 and on Indy he could sign himself in and out - but not on Brittania. He didn't have much to do except Ping Pong. My youngest would go to club after evening dinner and they sat them all in the corner and put on a film. No fun whatsoever. Meanwhile all the staff stand chatting in the office having their own little social. No painting, no music, no fun whatsoever. They were bloody ignorant as well. The time we'd stand there buzzing the door and they would just ignore and ignore it. A parent in front of me had a little row with the woman in the room with 5-8's in it after she knocked and rang the buzzer for about 5 mins and the staff stood chatting to themselves. We were fuming. In closing , the entire trip was very very very average. I will likely never try P&O again. Certainly not the Brittania. I picked this boat as it's the biggest and newest. Dont make the same mistake as us. It's garbage ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this ship/cruise because it was stopping over at the Monaco Grand Prix (although more of that later). The trip was out of Malta - a 1st for us - and arrival embarkation was faultless and well staffed. The ship is a bit ... Read More
We chose this ship/cruise because it was stopping over at the Monaco Grand Prix (although more of that later). The trip was out of Malta - a 1st for us - and arrival embarkation was faultless and well staffed. The ship is a bit 'tired' in parts but the cabins are of a good size (we were on C deck) and clean/tidy. So why only 2 points:- Drinks Package Unless you want to engage in a constant battle with staff my advise is stay well clear of the 'Ultimate Drinks Package'. Way too many rules and regulations. Diet Coke is not included but Diet Pepsi is (who makes these rules?). You can order a small bottle of water but not a large one. Don't try the "OK so can I have 2 small bottles then" because that will be met with "sorry I can provide one small bottle but you have to have drunk that one before I can supply another small bottle" (I guess that I should not blame the staff someone told them that this was a rule). You cannot order a large Pina Colada but you can get a small one and then order another when you have drunk that one........Really! Internet To be fair this is true on most cruises but only 2 words adequately describe the Internet access packages (there are 3 levels) and they are the words "rip off" Staff and Service Sorry P&O but your staff have to be amongst the most grumpy that we have ever encountered. Some exceptions of course but mostly in need of retraining in customer service and simply how to smile Activities Generally good. We went on some sort of adventure pretty much every day that we were not at sea. The only day that gave cause for complaint was ironically the day that mattered most. On the day of the Monaco GP the ship was docked in VilleFranche and therefore access to/from the port was via tender. The day before the daily newsletter announced that last tender back to ship would be at 5.30pm. Keep in mind that the GP didn't start until 3.15pm. There was very little chance that we could watch the entire race and get back to the tender for 5.30pm. I will acknowledge that we spoke to a number of officers and they all did the nod and wink thing and said don't worry I am sure that it will be OK; but no-one offered any sort of certainty. The only comfort that we drew was that the 'official P&O' trip to the GP was by coach (we were travelling by train) so we convinced ourselves that we would beat that trip. As it transpires the last tender was around 7pm; but really P&O; you promoted this cruise as one that offered an opportunity to attend the GP and then set the last tender return at 5.30pm and promptly gave rise to a worry (all day) that took the edge off the whole experience. Food I would rank the food as OK but the selection offered to casual diners at the restaurant on top deck (The Plaza) was pretty poor. I would include breakfast in this observation. Breakfast at Cafe Jarden on Deck 8 was waiter served, options limited but the poached eggs were excellent. We were 'free diners' for an evening so we were allocated a restaurant called the Liguarian. Wait times on a table for 4 was always around '1 hour' so we ended up sharing. I know lot's of people love sharing a table with strangers (my wife is one of them) but I would rather pull my teeth out with a pair of pliers. Hey ho. We spent most of the time at one of the extra fee paying restaurants which were fine (my personal favourite being the Beach House). Entertainment Good Disembarkation Was very good - probably the best we have encountered - they didn't insist upon you leaving cases outside of the cabin until mid-night - nice touch which meant that you could don your glad rags for one last evening of merriment and the whole trip to the airport - bags checked directly on to flight - staff at airport to point the way - was excellent - sadly in my case it did mean that I ended up sitting across the isle from my wife - who is not a good flyer - but this might have happened anyway. Smokers To be fair to P&O this is an issue that I could make of most cruises we have been on over the past few years - but do you have to make us smokers feel like 2nd class citizens. No smoking on balconies, few enough 'smoking areas' and those areas also had the crappy plastic garden furniture. Maybe the cruise we attended was the exception to the rule but of an evening the crappy furniture smoking permitted area was rammed and its sister area across the other side of the ship, an area with excellent furnishings was empty. Why make smokers feel so unwelcome and if that is the point then at least be honest and ban smoking altogether. Overall Not great and not sure that we will hold the provisional booking we have made on another P&O ship for next year Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The overall ship was fine perhaps a little tired food was great could have had a bit better entertainment on the pool but over all the ship was ok The entertainment wasn’t to great but ok Staff as usual on a cruise very attentive ... Read More
The overall ship was fine perhaps a little tired food was great could have had a bit better entertainment on the pool but over all the ship was ok The entertainment wasn’t to great but ok Staff as usual on a cruise very attentive no complaints with them at all The cabin was a different matter no paying passenger should endure the noise from the cabin every time we came into port or left the noise was terrible grinding noise and vibration there was no sleeping through it .the cabin was situated between a broom cupboard which was used at six in the morning and a crew staircase . and one morning in Athens we docked before four in the morning the first time it happened we thought we had run aground it was so bad, We were offered another cabin two days before we left the ship after Athens but at that point it wasn’t worth it as we are both in our seventies the upheaval would have been awful The receptionist said most people were up and about before eight so it would be ok They were selling off cabins at last minute cheaper then We both paid five months earlier Shame on you P&O in you won’t use them again Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We are veterans of twenty cruises and this was our first time with P&O, we chose a seven night trip to the Norwegian Fjords leaving from Southampton. Parking was superb, boarding efficient our bags were outside our cabin by the ... Read More
We are veterans of twenty cruises and this was our first time with P&O, we chose a seven night trip to the Norwegian Fjords leaving from Southampton. Parking was superb, boarding efficient our bags were outside our cabin by the time we got there, room attendant excellent and beyond reproach. The ship itself was just dull, no wow factors at all everything Brown and beige. The shops were likewise dull with low end products nothing exciting on show. Food in the main dining room just not good same menu every day with a couple of changes not well presented and everything was just bland. The waiters were indifferent to rude, never introduced themselves just took orders and slapped the food in front of you. The buffet option was so small and cramped to be a joke the food simply dreadful. The late night snack options a joke. Entertainment was a mixed bag, one funny comedian one that should have been sent home. A couple of good tribute bands and an excellent rock headliner show. Day time offerings poor. Drink prices very attractive compared with RCL and Celebrity around £5 to £6 for a cocktail. Staff generally just not helpful or up to the standard we have learned to expect. We heard to of them chatting about passengers and laughing at them, to my mind totally unacceptable. Our first and last trip with P&O Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have just returned from our holiday to the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Guernsey on board Azura. This was our very first cruise as a family and we were very much looking forward to the whole experience. However we were sorely ... Read More
We have just returned from our holiday to the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Guernsey on board Azura. This was our very first cruise as a family and we were very much looking forward to the whole experience. However we were sorely disappointed with issues we experienced onboard the Ship. Our shower room floor leaked for three days of the cruise causing a pool of water to the bathroom floor this was only rectified on the third day of the holiday following several calls and a visit to reception. The corridor of our cabin location on deck five often smelled strongly of fumes , if not fumes it was fresh paint or sewage. There was a lot of maintenance being carried out on this corridor during the holiday and a dehumidifier was left on all day and evening outside our cabin causing a lot of noise which i had to contact reception regarding as we were not able to sleep due to this. I understand that this is a working ship and requires maintenance however there seemed to be ongoing issues regarding the sewage systems onboard the ship, during our holiday, we encountered blocked toilets throughout the public areas and a strong smell of sewage was present to the public areas on deck seven especially to the malabar lounge which was noticeable throughout the week both when in port and sailing. The roof to the buffet restaurant was leaking badly all week causing saturation to the carpets in the dining area towards the back of the ship, water was running down the wall and through the ceiling as we were eating. The carpet was absolutely soaked and therefore caused a bad small of damp to a large area of the buffet restaurant which was very unpleasant and we reported to reception staff, they were already aware of the issue. Entertainment on board the ship was dire !!! The Irish so called comedian was awful i believe his name to be Shaun Heggaty, people walked out in droves complaining - Music acts on board pretty unoffensive but nothing really magical. The quiz's and so called entertainment in brodies bar was poor - there does not appear to be much effort put into this by the entertainment staff , The quiz host Pearl was quite rude and condescending to fellow passengers. Azura as a ship was very disappointing she seems shabby, tired and in need of some TLC - we understand she is a working vessel however we left feeling very disappointed in her current state and our first experience of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I have cruised with several different lines but P&O has always been my favourite. This time I was travelling with someone who had never been on a cruise before and so went with P&O and a cruise I had already done a few years ago ... Read More
I have cruised with several different lines but P&O has always been my favourite. This time I was travelling with someone who had never been on a cruise before and so went with P&O and a cruise I had already done a few years ago to be sure he would have a good experience, My partner did enjoy the cruise as did I, however, I was very aware of the difference (not in a good way) between this cruise and every other P&O cruise I have taken. I will not be going with P&O again. It was apparent from the outset that staff were 'going through the motions' Everyone seemed disinterested and as though everything was too much effort. Service and food in the main dining room was so poor that we choose to use the select dining options on most evenings. Mainly these were good experiences, in particular the Indian. My issue is that the experience should have been as good in those areas that are included as in those that you have to pay for. Usually this is the case, but sadly not this time. For example, meals arrived with bits missing, (sauce, dressings and veg on one occasion!) with no apologies and a take it or leave it attitude. We asked for an extra bread roll one evening, and after chasing it, it finally turned up after both starter and main course were finished. Made to feel a nuisance because we don't eat meat. Every single day they brought me the veggie menu once I had reminded them and we had to request a second one for my partner every time. All sounding like tiny points, and in the overall scale of things they are. This isn't my previous experience and so my expectations were not met. Long delays between courses and food clearly been sat under hot lamps for some time as congealed. Only thing that was consistently prompt was the drink bill for signature. Also, the little things generally missing, no robes in cabins any more. Shower cap not replaced even though clearly broken after second use. Room service breakfast failed to show up on two occasions! When it arrived on third try, toast was inedible, which actually was the case throughout. In buffet big delay if wanting veggie sausage as they are cooked to order, take ages and always loads of people waiting for them. Why not cook some in advance, like regular sausage. We did one trip, which was effectively a 15 min bus transfer from the port to the glacier and back. £120 for us both!!!! I could go on...... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them ... Read More
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them for the amount of passengers, of which there were far too many; one couldn't move in any of the swimming pools! We ate in the buffett restaurant, Saffron and cinnamon restaurants and the poolside grill. All food was OK but nothing really stood out, not even on the formal nights; A cheese board consists of 2 tiny bits of cheese and a couple of jacobs crackers! The ship is generally clean and tidy and in a good state of repair. P&O are the Ryannair of the ocean...EVERYTHING is extra! P&O need to stop being so greedy and bring the luxury back to cruising or they wont be around for much longer. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Not impressed with the food. Had breakfast in the main restaurant. Bacon was very fatty. toast was cold, and hard. Also not very much choice of daily dinner choices in the main restaurant. Four items were always on the menu. Had eggs ... Read More
Not impressed with the food. Had breakfast in the main restaurant. Bacon was very fatty. toast was cold, and hard. Also not very much choice of daily dinner choices in the main restaurant. Four items were always on the menu. Had eggs benedict one morning in the buffet restaurant, the muffin was very hard and dry. Had to pay extra in The Beach House for our evening meal to get food that you usually get on a cruise ship. Attitude of some of the staff where not what you normally get a on a cruise. Bit rude, and not very helpful. Not very much going on at the day at sea. Was looking forward to hear one of the guest speakers. Which we have experienced on previous P & O cruises. That did not happen. The entertainment was very good. We were very disappointed. Will not be cruising with P & O again Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
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