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407 P&O Cruises Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

We chose the cruise due to celebrating my mother's 80th Birthday, she had not cruised before so we wanted a short cruise just in case! We have been on many P&O cruises before but not Britannia. The one problem with the ship was ... Read More
We chose the cruise due to celebrating my mother's 80th Birthday, she had not cruised before so we wanted a short cruise just in case! We have been on many P&O cruises before but not Britannia. The one problem with the ship was the lifts!! They are a lot smaller than the other ships and therefore if a wheel chair is in the lift this does not leave much room. My mother needed to use the lift due to mobility and each time we needed to use it we had to wait a long time as they were always full and two lifts were out of service for most of the time. Also when disembarking the usual routine of an allotted time and venue was detailed in a letter, however most of the ship decided to ignore this, the result being a very long queue to get off the ship. I discussed this with one of the ship attendants and he stated that a lot of the people had not been on a cruise before and did not know the procedure!! He said he couldn't do anything about it.! I feel all it would have took was a person standing at the end of the queue checking paperwork to ensure they were queuing at the right time, if not they could have asked them to sit down and wait. If this is not done then all disembarkment is going to be a difficult experience. Due to these two things I will not be going on Britannia again even if the itinerary is of my liking. Avoid this ship if you are less mobile and need to use the lifts!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I'll get my moan out of the way first ! We booked the cruise last January, specifically for the overnight stop in the centre of Amsterdam, to allow us to easily come and go from the ship, and venture back into the city for the ... Read More
I'll get my moan out of the way first ! We booked the cruise last January, specifically for the overnight stop in the centre of Amsterdam, to allow us to easily come and go from the ship, and venture back into the city for the "night life". A month after our booking, we were told that for "operational reasons" we would now be stopping at Ijmuiden overnight Instead, and being coached in an hour each way. A few months later we were told the schedule had changed, and we would not sail the first day but rather go straight to Ijmuiden, so we didn't arrive at 8am but rather at 10.30am, so we didn't get into Amsterdam until 12 noon. This cocked up our plans and we were given the option to cancel but lose our deposit, and not given the option to pay the tax ourselves. A bit of investigation identified that the operational reason was that Amsterdam have introduced an €8 per person tax, and they aren't willing to be dictated to, but despite repeated e mails and calls they aren't willing to admit this. There is no way that the fuel used sailing there faster, the coaches through the night, and the 385 nautical miles sailed before our next port ( 100 miles away) make this a good decision for anyone. Now that I have got that off my chest, the rest of the break was excellent ! We went on Ventura a couple of years ago, and it has had a refit since, so all the public areas are well maintained. We have been on a couple of TUI cruises since we last went on P&O a year ago, so have something to compare them to. Without any doubt the decor and the food quality / choice on P&O is better, with more in the way of activities. However, the standard of service is far below that of TUI, and has dropped since we last sailed P&O (since the dropped the tipping?). It's not that it's poor service, it's more that it is just functional, and there is no attempt to interact with passengers, which does have a big impact on the atmosphere onboard. The show team at night of drama school kids were of as high a standard as we have seen at sea, and all their shows were excellent. I can't say the same for the other entertainment that came an left the ship, who unfortunately appeared more than once, especially the comedienne. Our stop at Bruges was very good, but unfortunately our stop at Guernsey was cancelled due to high winds preventing the launch of the tenders. I can't vouch for its accuracy, but other passengers said that it was the fifth time this year that they have aborted the port, which makes you ask why they bother if this is the case. Embarkation at Southampton was speedy, as was our disembarkation which went very smoothly an hour ahead of schedule. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our August/September Golden Anniversary Cruise was on P & O’s Ventura, a ship on which we have travelled before, in fact it was on our first cruise just 2 years ago. We chose the itinerary primarily because the date of our ... Read More
Our August/September Golden Anniversary Cruise was on P & O’s Ventura, a ship on which we have travelled before, in fact it was on our first cruise just 2 years ago. We chose the itinerary primarily because the date of our anniversary was mid-cruise and the week-long itinerary included the island where we had our honeymoon back in September 1969, Guernsey, where we could relive all the fond memories of our time there. We had very high hopes since we love Ventura and I had pre-booked a meal in the Epicurean , the ship’s specialist fine-dining restaurant, on the night of our anniversary. That meal was spectacular and the staff were amazing. Apart from being delicious, the food was so imaginative – how about fried custard on your dessert? It was a really lovely surprise, believe me. So, Ventura scores very highly in terms of food and service including the excellent support my wife has for her special dietary needs, and our super cabin steward, Morris. Unfortunately, it was not the cruise we had hoped for in respect of the shore experiences. The first disappointment was to be told, in advance, that we would not be berthing in Amsterdam but at the distant port of Ijmuiden and that a bus shuttle service would be provided. At the time I received the notification I guess I wasn’t too concerned because I hadn’t visited Amsterdam before and didn’t know what impact those arrangements would have on our time there. We were given the usual ‘operational reasons’ excuse. Because details were not divulged, everyone, and I mean everyone, I spoke with believed it was down to the tax imposed on cruise ship passengers. I wonder how much money was spent on the shuttle services and how passenger experiences were thereby enhanced. Come on P & O! Amsterdam is a fascinating city for loads of reasons. It is just the sort of destination that really benefits cruise visitors when they are able to pop on and off of their ship at will. Sadly, a bus shuttle that took between 40 minutes and over an hour in each direction killed that opportunity. Equally, long delays waiting, in blazing sunshine (well at least we had that!), for return shuttles that got stuck in heavy traffic was not the most pleasant experience other than for sun worshippers! This problem must have been known of in advance and precautions taken to alleviate the misery. This was particularly an issue on our first day when we had booked an evening canal excursion that meant we had to ‘shuttle’ back to the ship in order to pick up the excursion bus to travel back in again, thus cutting our time in Amsterdam on our own severely. The actual excursion was great and you can imagine that we really dug into the cheese and wine provided, especially the wine. However, the real disappointment came when we arrived at Guernsey. I queued early to get a reasonable tender time and was given two spaces on the first tender departure. We were thrilled to have such a long time ashore to relive all those wonderful memories. The thrill was quickly stifled when the captain announced that the winds were too severe to operate the tenders although he would ‘hang around’ for half an hour because the forecast was that the winds would reduce. No such luck because, after 30 minutes had elapsed, we were told that it was too dangerous to operate the tenders. We were both so upset, my wife in particular. I am well aware that safety of passengers is paramount and I cannot take issue with P & O over the decision. What I find hard to take is that, having spoken to so many passengers both on and off the ship at the time and since returning home who have suffered the same experience, I don’t understand why either the destination is not removed from itineraries if it is so dangerous or that the largest possible ‘health warning’ of the likelihood of ‘failure’ is prominently published in all the appropriate literature, including glossy brochures. A Golden Wedding comes only once and is so special. Our celebration left a real curate’s egg of memories from the joy of Epicurean to the real sadness of missing out on re-visiting our honeymoon island. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
There's a lot of cruising snobbery with the judging different "classes" of passengers so here's the deal, P&O are clever enough to cater for a broad market, love it or pay more and go Seabourn!! The joy of a big ... Read More
There's a lot of cruising snobbery with the judging different "classes" of passengers so here's the deal, P&O are clever enough to cater for a broad market, love it or pay more and go Seabourn!! The joy of a big ship is that you can avoid the areas which aren't to your liking and if you feel that way inclined the "types" you might want to avoid are away from the areas you probably enjoy. Yes, the ship decor is rather dark and my first reaction was to pine for the bling of Ventura but sultry Britannia grows on you. The public areas are cleverly designed with many nooks and crannies so you can be in the heart of the action or tuck yourself away as you choose. The Glass House is, as ever, excellent. The Crow's nest bar is back at the front of the ship and wonderful for pre dinner drinks. Recommend sitting away from the piano as it can be very loud. The atrium is very spacious with plenty of seating to people watch with a post dinner drink/coffee. Drinks service was excellent everywhere. If we were waiting we only had to indicate to someone and they were there. Crystal room was surprisingly pleasant late evening with lots of people taking to the floor. Didn't frequent Brodies or the casino but it was popular and pretty packed each time we walked through. Breakfast, lunch and evening restaurant food service couldn't be faulted and the attention for special dietary needs was outstandingly accommodating. A couple of meals were overcooked but there was absolutely no issue with getting plates changed. Of course it would be better if they didn't need to be returned but with thousands of guests give the staff a sporting chance by asking for better, they are happy to oblige and would much rather you went away happy. Desserts weren't too special but OK. Didn't frequent the buffet much but when we did there was plenty of room, staff were very helpful, friendly and food good. Spend a moment to talk to the buffet chefs, they don't get much guest interaction and will appreciate it... Joseph, my daughter thought you were fantastic! Theatre plush and the Cinema is a nice addition. I missed the theatre waiter service but my husband hates it so goes to show can't please everyone. Gym well equipped and spacious. First 3 machines I approached were out of action but there were still plenty even when the gym was busy. Came to the conclusion that for the amount of hours spent in it, the Retreat is expensive when securing a fortnight complete package. Would we do it again? yes because the service in the Britannia Retreat was amazing and engaging, Sebastian and Jovan both a real credit to P&O. I've previously moaned about unhelpful reception staff on other ships but not so on Britannia, spoke to Carl a few times and he was very helpful and extremely likeable. Daily service charge has now been removed and here's the interesting bit, we left far more in tips to far more staff than ever before. I've once previously asked for service charges to be withdrawn because of poor service so it was great to reward such a change. I was told that the teenage Reef space wasn't as good as Ventura and Azura but the Reef Rangers were as cool as ever. The great part of cruising with youngsters is that because there are relatively few cruises in school holidays the kids look forward to reuniting with friends from previous cruises, you don't get that with most holidays. Security always checked that minors were accompanied when leaving ship, which showed they were on their game. We've done the port stops bar Cadiz before so no surprises there. Cadiz, Cartagena and Barcelona were our favourites. Although a really positive experience, there were 2 areas which fell short. The first was that the entertainment was by far the poorest we've had on a P&O cruise. Tucker's "comedy" material hadn't changed since last time we saw him! Thankfully, there were a couple of notable exceptions with the superb Lloyd Wade and We3. We paid extra to see La Voix in the Limelight club and were treated to a magnificent night and great food (menu is surprisingly small so we may have been just lucky to have what we wanted on the menu), brilliant vocals and comedy, La Voix, we'll be back to see you again. The 2nd area was the Captains Gala, which we look forward to for the pomp and ceremony. I've never known a Captain to be late for his own party and not have the decency to apologise, we walked out to go for dinner as he arrived and started his speech, really bad form and example Sir. Finally, of course there's the much talked about lack of stairs mid ship. This didn't bother us at all as we consciously try to burn off a few of those naughty calories by walking and climbing stairs, plus our group don't have mobility issues or a pushchair. Heard lots complaining though. Oh yes, embarkation, nearly forgot that. We've always found Southampton port staff to be brilliant and cheerful (even when they are trialling new arrangements for the huge Iona), disappointing that for the first time ever we were checked in by Mrs Sour Face Grumpy but soon forgot about her!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We are experienced with cruising and this is our second trip with P&O. Not expecting too much but more for the company price per nigyt was not exactly cheap but there were not service charges or tips and everything in UK £'s. 3 ... Read More
We are experienced with cruising and this is our second trip with P&O. Not expecting too much but more for the company price per nigyt was not exactly cheap but there were not service charges or tips and everything in UK £'s. 3 night trip with friend for birthday. Bit of a blow to start as ship had a "technical" problem so would not sail on Friday but midday on Saturday to allow for repairs. Disappointed but we would get over it. Then the Captain revised this, for us to leave earlier on Saturday morning so we were cheered up a bit. Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Went to get buffet lunch which was typical P&O roast beef that was fine but not exceptional - as was the case with nearly all meals on board but it was what we were expecting. Then a drink in the Lords Tavern bar. Largish bar with seats very close together. Asked for a Pina Colada - Whoops not on the list so no. Asked about the 3 taster beer selections - Whoops this not available either - I sensed a theme here! Ship looked in generally good condition though a very dated. Liked the Tiffany ceiling at the Tiffany bar and the other smaller bars such as Anderson's. Pacific lounge looked good too. Cabin OK but some funny bits see below. There was to be a life boat drill but they kept this secret till about 20mins before it was due. Had to take life jackets with us - really do not know why. As other lines have abandoned this and you just turn up and get the lecture. Weather raining so under shelter on pool deck for drinks with friends. Now dinner. Bit of a surprise it all looked pretty good and lamb shank is one of my favourites so off to good start. Made the mistake of asking for bottle of Pinot Grigio. "sorry we have run out" Eh! first day of cruise and 24hrs in home port? Seems the ship is being run down for sale in about a month. Great entertainment is the evening - Singers and Dancers did a medley of Bill Board Hits which everyone knew and was one of the best. Then off to the Drifters tribute which was likewise very good. Comedian Mike Doyle was excellent well worth seeing. He did some reminiscing about past cruises on Oriana as he had been there from the start. Mentioned some of the staff that were on this cruise to say farewell to the ship. Sailed as promised at around 930am Saturday. Bought our duty free which was particularly good value then a relaxing day. Had lunch which was a bit bland and then almost time to get ready for formal night and some photos. Guernsey was fine and we simply walked around St Peter Port there was a market and car show on the quay side which was interesting as many of the shops were shut as it was a Sunday. Have to say here didn't they know there would be 2 cruise ships in with people eager to spend their cash! Now the really BAD news as we walked in to the Oriental dining room for early sitting I could hear a loud rumble accompanied by a lot of vibration. This increased as we approached our table and was now overpowering so much so you could hardly hear yourself talk let alone think. So bad that if you left your cutlery on the plate it danced across it! Meal was fine lobster and beef wellington but they do not seem to like you asking for seconds - felt a bit like Oliver Twist. So uncomfortable actually that they won and I never asked again. Once we dropped anchor outside St Peter Port and the turned off the engine all was OK but we were now halfway through the meal and the Sunday night there would be no respite as we hammered our way up the English Channel. We discovered the best bar being the Crow's Nest at the front of the Ship. Large bar with live music - similar in many respects to the Commodore clubs on Cunard. P&O have now said there is not need to tip staff. Well this time around there was really no one apart from our cabin steward that would deserve anything. Service was pretty poor all around and very basic. You had to ask for everything whether it be ketchup and mint sauce or trying to catch someones eye because they had forgotten an order - everything seemed too much trouble. I just wonder if they have dropped the tips and not increased their pay? The ship was fine despite its age and some bad design decisions around the cabins. I liked the smaller bars but it was simply too crammed in the Lords Tavener. I am sorry to say I pity those passengers on the remaining cruises if they have to put up with the engine noise and vibration in the Oriental Restaurant. As we had experienced before there were many on board who cruise only with P&O and there were also lots of ex staff who were saying farewell to the ship. They will just not hear anything mildly critical or constructive said about the ship. Which is sad really because every company should be aiming to improve. There many things on this ship and cruise that were great but others not so. If all you surround yourself with is yes men then you will fail. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Have had some wonderful times on Oriana (we still have fabulous memories of the 5 week cruise we did in 2011&the cruise sailing around Cape Horn in 2004) &wanted to have a final cruise before she sadly is off to a new venture . ... Read More
Have had some wonderful times on Oriana (we still have fabulous memories of the 5 week cruise we did in 2011&the cruise sailing around Cape Horn in 2004) &wanted to have a final cruise before she sadly is off to a new venture . We were not disappointed, had a great 3 nights, (shame it wasn’t longer )with superb food ,fantastic entertainment &very efficient happy staff. It was great to see so many ex crew on board as passengers what a feat of organising.Well Done Steve . The entertainment was excellent .the boundless energy of the Headliners Theatre Company is a credit to them .&the live musicians did not disappoint . We were blessed with fine weather for our stop in Guernsey,(which is a bonus as the stop there is always weather dependent ) A huge thankyou to the in seen behind the scenes crew who work equally as hard to ensure a great time is had by all . Sad to see Oriana go Read Less
Sail Date July 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
I selected a farewell cruise on the Oriana, before she slips away to China. I was not disappointed with the ship, she still felt very special, it will be a shame to see her go. The cruise was an adults only, touring France, Spain and ... Read More
I selected a farewell cruise on the Oriana, before she slips away to China. I was not disappointed with the ship, she still felt very special, it will be a shame to see her go. The cruise was an adults only, touring France, Spain and Guernsey in June 2019. Well worth visiting the destinations, plenty to see and do , either using the tour excursions, or being an independent traveller as I did. It was all very safe. I enjoyed the cruise, but wished there had been a few more younger passengers, it seemed to be overrun with the "more mature aged" travellers. Zimmers all around the boat, a shame really. I guess that must be due to the time of year and maybe the smaller boat. The staff were lovely, as always on P&O working so hard and making the cruise a special one. I loved the sail away, great turnout, flags everywhere! Cabin good, inside one, with plenty of room. ~Great bathroom with bath and shower. Entertainment mediocre could do with changing the repertoire, P&O getting a bit boring and predictable with the headliners. Films and screenings, couldn't fault - excellent. Meals and restaurants - very high standard. Enjoyed the entertainments with music in the Crows Nest, some nice acts playing relaxed music - very nice indeed. So all in all an excellent cruise - thank you P& O. Read Less
Sail Date June 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
Lovely itinerary to Faroes, Iceland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Embarkation was easy with pre arranged assistance. Food was much better than our previous cruise on Ventura, we ate most of the time in the MDR for breakfast, lunch ... Read More
Lovely itinerary to Faroes, Iceland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Embarkation was easy with pre arranged assistance. Food was much better than our previous cruise on Ventura, we ate most of the time in the MDR for breakfast, lunch and dinner as we find the buffet difficult with a wheelchair although staff are always willing to help. A couple of times my partner got us a bacon roll from the buffet and brought it to the room when we had early morning starts. We also ate lunch at the deck bars a few times..We had freedom dining with some lovely and interesting table companions; and a few strange ones, which makes life entertaining. Didn’t see as much entertainment as usual, Havana and Tamarind were always packed so difficult to find seats. However the Arena was easier, as long as you arrived early, with reserved seats for wheelchair users, which many able bodied people selfishly occupied. No staff on hand to police this. Entertainers that stood out were the gentleman talking about space which the layman could understand; Pulse in the Metropolis, great variety of music delivered with humour. Last but not least, Graffiti, four talented young people playing violins, singing, comedy etc. Wow what a wonderful show. On embarkation we ate in the Glasshouse to avoid the buffet, very good. Early on in the cruise we had dinner in the Epicurian with a free bottle of house wine, acceptable and a superb meal delivered with their usual first class service and drama. Well worth the extra fee. There were very few children on this cruise, mostly little ones, several foreign nationals. Most passengers were in their 50s or above. Our favourite bar was the Metropolis with one barman (sorry don’t know his name) standing out as especially helpful and friendly. Ports were very interesting. We booked most excursions privately, which were all well organised. One with P and O on the Faroes, very good. What a beautiful and peaceful place, my favourite. In Isofordur we had to use a tender. It was an extremely difficult transfer for passengers and crew due to the high winds, but we all survived. The weather was kind to us and although it was cold the sun came out every afternoon with only a tiny bit of drizzle in Scotland. On our last sea day on deck I got a bit sunburnt as I didn’t realise how hot it was. We booked another cruise while we were on board on the new Iona as we couldn’t resist the low deposit. Hope we haven’t made a mistake as we think Ventura is pretty large. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Travel outside school holidays on a family ship so expected to see some young children but the ship was packed with children of all ages. It only cost £50 to keep them off school. Screaming and running around for the most part ... Read More
Travel outside school holidays on a family ship so expected to see some young children but the ship was packed with children of all ages. It only cost £50 to keep them off school. Screaming and running around for the most part uncontrolled by parents and guardians. Children sitting and running all over the dance floors until midnight. Young children sitting on the bar counters and none of the staff saying a thing. Health and safety risk also not hygenic! No proper lifeboat drill some passengers told not to bother taking their life jackets to the drill! Didn't meet our cabin stewart for 3 days only after we complained to reception. Berth at Rotterdam not where we expected. At the makeshift tent which was cruise terminal there were no facilities apart from a shuttle bus which took at least 20 mins to get to Rotterdam and there was nobody from P&O at the other end to tell us where the main places were. We were given a map but it showed that the ship was docked at a different place so when the shuttle dumped you you did not know were you were!! Getting back to the ship was a nightmare as no one from P&O was around to control the Q's and the shuttles were few and far between. Very dissappointed and were glad to get off. Standards have slipped and no one seemed to be in charge of anything. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I'd never fancied a cruise - this was a friend's choice for a "girly weekend away" for us 2 older ladies. I expected to hate every minute - but actually really enjoyed it. Our cabin was spotless and the beds were ... Read More
I'd never fancied a cruise - this was a friend's choice for a "girly weekend away" for us 2 older ladies. I expected to hate every minute - but actually really enjoyed it. Our cabin was spotless and the beds were really comfortable. The whole experience was so good that we have booked another cruise for the Autumn. I simply don't understand the poor reviews given by some people regarding the staff/food/bars, etc. All the staff were fantastic: always helpful and cheerful. There were a number of bars, all with different atmospheres. If you don't want karaoke, then there's a lot more to choose from! (We liked The Red Bar, which was quiet and uncrowded.) The food was amazing, considering they were catering for 3,000 people! High-quality food in the restaurant at dinner. The Waterside buffet was busy at peak times, but what do people expect? We did joke that you could probably eat yourself to death if you wanted to - and some people seemed to be trying. We had a late lunch and watched one family finish their (huge) lunches and then go straight on to afternoon tea with mounds of sandwiches and platefuls of cakes! There was one hen-party group on board who were a bit of a pain during the emergency drill, but we never saw them again and we were told that hen parties weren't being accepted in future. Overall, we thought we got excellent value for money and would certainly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our 2nd cruise on P&O after sailing on Britannia last year which we had immensely enjoyed. The reason we chose this cruise was because the dates suited us well, the itinerary was interesting with new ports of call like La ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise on P&O after sailing on Britannia last year which we had immensely enjoyed. The reason we chose this cruise was because the dates suited us well, the itinerary was interesting with new ports of call like La Verdon and Cherbourg in France which we hadn't been to before and the price was great with free parking at Southampton and £45pp on board credit. Moreover P&O removed gratuities from May this year. We drove to Southampton from NW London which took only about 1hr 20mins. We drove straight to mayflower terminal, took the luggage off the car which was swiftly taken away by the porters, handed the keys of the car to an attendant who took the car and parked it in a secure car park. We made our way inside the terminal and were given a boarding card and asked to wait. Although our boarding time was 3pm on boarding paperwork, we were inside the terminal by 12pm. After a short wait, we were asked to go and check in and once that was complete, we boarded the ship by 12.45pm and were asked to go for lunch to the buffet. Whilst waiting for the lift, an announcement was made that cabins were ready. So we headed straight to the cabin to drop off our hand luggage. Our cabin was on deck 8 in forward part of the ship. Lovely cabin with a large balcony, good size of cabin with huge flat screen tv, lots of storage space and a bathroom with a bath rather than a shower cubicle. This was unusual as we hadn't had a balcony cabin with a bath since our cruise on Zuiderdam ( Holland & America line) back in 2003. The cabin was always kept clean by our room attendant, Ariel, who we saw daily. Couldn't fault with the cleanliness of the cabin. Luggage had arrived before we got to our cabins which was really very quick. We then proceeded for lunch to the buffet restaurant on deck 9. Lunch was simple with not many vegetarian choices however was adequate. We then explored rest of the ship which was very elegant with 2 lovely pools ( one of which had a retractable roof), lots of deck space, plenty of indoor and outdoor bars, 2 speciality restaurants (Atul Kochhar's Indian restaurant Sindhu and Marco Pierres seafood restaurant), lovely 2 tier theatre, English style pub, casino, show room for music events, screening room for films, library, spa, gym and of course the main dining rooms. Everything looked great with new carpets and decor. Seemed the ship had a makeover recently. However what the ship lacked was a grand atrium like what Britannia had. The reception was on deck one which had a seating area and shore excursion and loyalty desks nearby but no coffee bar or anything. Hence most of the indoor activities occurred on decks 2 and 3. Despite the inside of the ship being very elegant, the outside of the ship didn't seem to be very well maintained. Lots of rust marks everywhere. The ship needed to be painted through out on the outside. We rarely find this a problem on other ships as there are always crew members painting away but on this ship we never saw anyone maintaining the outside areas of the ship. However indoors was very well looked after which mattered more to us as passengers. The mandatory safety drill occurred around 5.30pm and due to location of our cabin, we had to go to theatre for our drill. It took about 20mins or so and once that was complete we put the life jackets back in our cabins and headed for the sail away party on the open bar located on the aft of the ship. Since drinks are not included in the price of your cruise fare, you had to purchase all the soft and alcoholic drinks ( except coffee and tea unless you wanted costa coffee). The drink prices were reasonable with a pint of beer costing between£4 and £4.80. Small glass of wine was around £4 and large around £6. Bottles of wine started from around £17. You could choose to have all your drinks included at a cost of £40pp per day. As this was pricy, I guess not many would have chosen that. The good thing about P&O unlike many other cruise lines is that you could bring in 1L of wine or spirit per person when you board. Hence we took advantage of that and brought 1L of gin and wine. You could only drink these in the cabins though. However despite paying for beers, wines and some cocktails, we ended up with a surprisingly small bar bill. We had chosen anytime dining so were allocated dining room on deck 3. Unfortunately there was always a wait to get seated in the dining room if you didn't want to share a table. Hence were given a buzzer and the waits were generally from 15 to 45mins on some evenings. This was the biggest disappointment for us as in most other cruise lines which offer freedom dining, this is not the case. I think P&O need to look at having more tables for 2s and 4s. However once we got our table, the service was great and the vegetarian food options were very good with a seperate vegetarian food menu on offer. Hence you didn't have to order meals in advance for following evening which was great. Loved there starters and mains and I don't think we had a single meal which we didn't like. Desserts were good too but less choice compared to some other cruise lines. However their cheese plate was excellent with different types of cheese on offer daily. Very pleased with that. Show times in main theatre were at 8.45pm and 10.30pm daily. Due to the long waiting times to get a dinner table, we rarely could make to the 8.45pm show in time and found 10.30pm show very late. However managed to see most of the production shows which were all very good. Loved their circus (featuring music from Greatest showman) and Queen (featuring music by rock group Queen) shows. We were disappointed by the guest entertainers especially a guy called Grumblewood who somehow featured in 3 shows. Not sure why P&O can't get some good show performers. The 2 girl band Harmony had good voices but Motown music is not something we really like. Again they performed in 2 shows. Surely P&O could have got some other guest performers rather than repeating shows from same artists. There were quizzes, karaoke, bingo, music performances, etc. happening in other bars and lounges of the ship every evening. So plenty to do in the ship and no chance of getting bored. Casino was not very big and only had 2 working poker machines. Films were shown daily in screening room but as it was a smaller venue, needed to get tickets in advance from library or reception. Never got a chance to go there as there was plenty of other things to do. Buffet breakfasts and lunches were disappointing especially if you are a vegetarian. Not much choice compared to buffet meals in other ships we have been on. This is where P&O needs to significantly improve. Also on sea days, it was difficult to find seating in the buffet. Seems seating is a big issue on this ship, whether it's buffet or in main dining rooms. Didn't find that being a big issue on Britannia last year. The speciality restaurant Sindhu was excellent and definitely worth £20pp. Highly recommend anyone who likes Indian food to go there for a meal. Service was good and unlike main dining room, your table was reserved and you were seated as soon as you got there. We didn't get a chance to go to Marco Pierres restaurant but menu looked good and even had a few items for vegetarians. Booking for that restaurant was £17.50pp with certain items like lobsters having a supplement. There were 2 formal black tie nights where we had to wear suits for dinner. This was compulsory in Main dining rooms, speciality restaurants and most bars and lounges. I think P&O should make this optional like most cruise lines are doing these days. Not many want to bring suits whilst on vacation. Generally we enjoy captains night but this time the timing was odd at 8pm. Hence we missed most of it and got there at the tail end as we were late in finishing dinner thanks to long wait in getting a table despite getting to dining room early. Moreover as this ship doesn't have an atrium as such, the captains speech was in the retractable pool area which doesn't give the feel of a proper captains gala event of everyone being gathered around the atrium as we had done in Britannia last year. All the ports of call were excellent and we were lucky to have no rain on any of the days. In fact in Guernsey and Santander, we had completely clear sunny days. In La Verdon and Cherbourg, it was partly cloudy but sunny and warm especially in Bordeaux where temperatures hit 26c. Both the sea days were dry too. The first sea day was very sunny and warm whilst second was bit cooler and partly cloudy. We had shore excursions booked with P&O at every port. In Guernsey (the only tender port), we did an excursion to Isle of Sark. This was the best excursion we did. Took a 45min scenic ferry ride from Guernsey to Sark. Lovely car free island. First we did a walking coastal route tour for 2 hours and then had free time. So much to see and do on this pretty island. Would love to go back there again one day. In Santander we did a trip to Bilbao and visited Guggenheim museum. Another lovely excursion however we felt we needed another couple of hours in Bilbao which is a lovely city. So will need to go back there again some day. In La Verdon, we did a trip to Bordeaux. Passed through the vineyards and chateaus on our way there. Had few hours to explore this beautiful city on our own before going to a wine museum which was excellent. In our last port of call, Cherbourg, we did an excursion to Mont St Michel which was an amazing experience. The only downside was that it was nearly 2.25 hours drive from Cherbourg each way through scenic countryside. However once we got there, we were mesmerised with the beauty and setting of this historic religious place. Spent 4 hours there (half with guide and rest free time) and time went fairly quickly before our drive back to ship. Highly recommend everyone to visit this place once in their lifetime. The week went very quickly and enjoyed every moment of it. Plenty of activities to do on sea days and hence no time to get bored. Also the great weather helped to take advantage of the outdoors. The only issue we had was there was no hot water in cabins on our side of ship due to boiler breakdown for nearly 1.5 days. I had to report it several times before it got fixed. However they offered us to have hot showers in spa if we wanted to. Other than that, we encounters no problems. The service was very good in most areas of the ship and generally most staff greeted and smiled away. However staff in buffet areas were not very friendly and lacked knowledge of food on offer eg. on one sea day they had burgers in pool area but no chips or French fries. I asked around 3 members of staff about location of chips and was sent on a goose chase around the whole buffet area but never managed to find any. Disembarkation was the best we had seen on any ship. We were asked to leave main baggage outside cabin on previous night which is a norm on most ships. On day of departure we were asked to vacate cabins by 8am after breakfast and wait in lounges. No sooner we got there, we were told we could leave ship if we wanted to (despite normal disembarkation time not scheduled till after 9am). We disembarked straight away and after collecting our luggage, proceeded to collect our car and were on the road soon after 8.30am and home before 10am. I highly recommend this cruise for anyone wanting a stress free cruise without any hassle of flights and wanting to visit interesting ports in Spain, France and Channel Islands. We are already planning one for next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Arcadia is an Adult only ship which suits me. Took my mum and a friend and we shared an inside cabin which was larger than many inside ones. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, very little queuing. This was our 1st time on ... Read More
Arcadia is an Adult only ship which suits me. Took my mum and a friend and we shared an inside cabin which was larger than many inside ones. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, very little queuing. This was our 1st time on Arcadia and I was very pleasantly surprised. She is a lovely mid sized ship and easy to navigate round. I was worried initially after reading some of the reviews but I can honestly say that this was the nicest ship I have sailed on with P&O. We had no problems which affected us. If I wanted to be really picky, then some of the lifts were out of use and some of the ladies toilets were also out of order, but there were plenty others around the ship to use. The food was plentiful and tastefully served in the Meridian restaurant, our waiters were very good and attentive. Arcadia has a wonderful 3 tier theatre with comfortable seating and the Headliners entertainment team were the best I have seen on any P&O ship yet. We have another cruise booked on this ship in December and can't wait. Oh and also went through the Bay of Biscay which I always dread and for the 1st time EVER, never felt any movement and didn't have to wear my sea bands. One very happy passenger! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose the cruise as it was available for my significant birthday was only a week long and sailed from Southampton. We also booked a superior deluxe on the sailing for not much more than a standard balcony. We sailed with my oh’s ... Read More
We chose the cruise as it was available for my significant birthday was only a week long and sailed from Southampton. We also booked a superior deluxe on the sailing for not much more than a standard balcony. We sailed with my oh’s parents and had a nice time but both and oh’s parents who are exprencied cruisers felt pretty let down by p and o. We felt the food choice in the buffet pretty poor, fairly low quality and very repetitive. Hence we ate breakfast and lunch as much as possible in the oriental or main dining rooms. The evening meal choice was also pretty limited. I don’t eat sea food or fish, and pretty much all that was left in the mains was pretty much your standard British roast dinner fare. Lunchtime service from the waiters was pretty poor and very rushed. The evening entertainment was generally ok but nothing more, but one comedians act Bernie Flint was exclusively geared for a very old audience ( if I could have walked out I would)P and o generally we have found after two cruises lack daytime activities we enjoy, generally we do our own thing. Overall yes the ship is looking a bit tired in places, but is fine. When you do have issues customer service is woeful. We had no working toilet for 14 hours, my ohs parents had a balcony door that wouldn’t close shut. In a very mild storm, this was blowing open in the middle of the night. PandO assured them it would be fixed the next morning, it took a further two days to be repaired. We took a shore excursion from Santander to bilbo to see the Guggenheim and a walking tour of the old town. We only had 50 mins to explore an internationally renowned museum. The guide was very knowledgeable but the day just felt rushed. In summary not sure we would sail p and o again, unless we got an amazing deal. My oh’s parents are worried about service on a cruise with p and o in the autumn on another ship after this experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Have travelled on Azura before in Caribbean and Loved that experience. I was disappointed on this cruise. I expected the weather to be grim and knew the ports would be basic. Bearing in mind shops were shut on Sunday in Cherbourg and ... Read More
Have travelled on Azura before in Caribbean and Loved that experience. I was disappointed on this cruise. I expected the weather to be grim and knew the ports would be basic. Bearing in mind shops were shut on Sunday in Cherbourg and ciesta in Spain. Disembarking and embarking in Guernsey was an inconvenience, having to queue for about 40 mins to use the tendor . Getting off and getting back on board . Generally standards have dropped. Even noticed the lower brand of biscuit in the cabin. Used to get a good old hob nob, now a Marie biscuit. ....Maybe because lack of staff, the buffet tables need to be cleared quicker. Often walked around looking for a table to sit at. Buffet food very basic. Only ate breakfast there and found that not very appetising. Peninsular restaurant on the other hand, very good. .... Cabin was depressing due to complete view of lifeboat taking up all off the view, would have preferred an inside cabin. No complaints regarding our steward Rex who was always accommodating. Entertainment was pretty good. Not sure I’m happy with the dance area around the shops and costa, continually being used for classes. Would be nice to have a bit of free style dancing there as well. Personally I will try another cruise line now to compare. Which is disappointing as up until this holiday I could only have praised P&O for ensuring an enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Just returned from the Azura cruise to Cherbourg, La Coruna, Santander and Guernsey A911. The weather was not brilliant but generally not too bad apart from our return crossing on the Bay of Biscay. We had winds of 55 Knots, Waves of 9 ... Read More
Just returned from the Azura cruise to Cherbourg, La Coruna, Santander and Guernsey A911. The weather was not brilliant but generally not too bad apart from our return crossing on the Bay of Biscay. We had winds of 55 Knots, Waves of 9 Metres and a 5 Metre swell. to say the ship was moving a lot would be a massive understatement. Some people spent the night in the Atrium wrapped in blankets because they were too scared to go to bed. The entertainment on board was superb, apart from one singer in the pulse band. she seemed unable to remember the words to most of the songs without having to keep looking at her tablet/phone and she quite often messed up. Fair play to her for giving it her best shot though. Unfortunately there seemed to be a foul smell of raw sewerage most days and this was especially noticeable during port visits. I think I heard the captain mention something about maintenance being carried out on the water system during the cruise. It was a pretty horrible smell. We had a bit of an issue with our balcony cabin door. Every time we opened it we had a loud whistling coming from the broken seal at the end of the door frame. I did report this to the cabin steward, but it didn't get fixed. Can't say it was that much of a problem though. Our bed was failrly uncomfortable. It was quite hard, but the pillows were very soft. Can't really complain because that combination might suit other people. Just didn't suit us. The standard of food was generally very good, although in the Penninsular MDR the food on the first night was not great, as the days went on, the food standard seemed to improve. On the last night, I think I had the best staek that I had ever eaten. It was lovely and pefectly cooked. The televison was a bit of a waste of time. Very restricted amount of channels and although we didn't intend spending our holiday watching TV, there was the occasional day when we just wanted to chill out in our room and put the TV on. Soon changed our minds about that, because the programmes shown were really old repeats. We decided to use the laundry to clean two loads of washing, but unfortunately after the wash cycle had finished on both, there was a horrible smell of what I can only describe as stale water. We only took two washing pods with us so we were unable to wash them again. We had to wash everything again when we got home. I know we should have gone to make a complaint but decided not to bother as it wasn't the end of the world. I managed to go swimming a couple of times during the cruise, but the pools were really cold. good in one way, because it meant not many people were using them, but it did mean that I didn't feel like staying in there for very long. On the day we visited St Peter Port I decided this would be an ideal time to go for another swim as there would probably be nobody in the pool. I was right. Trouble was, the pool had been emptied, so nobody could use it anyway. Very strange time to empty a pool. I know there seems to be a lot of negatives, but these are just from our experience. I do need to point out that even with these negatives, we still thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and certainly would not let it put us off. We are already looking at booking a cruise for next year, but we might try a different cruise line, just to get a comparison from another line. I do have to say at this point, that I felt the service from all the staff was excellent and my hat goes off to all of them. They work tirelessly to ensure the passengers enjoy the experience. I just hope they get paid a decent wage for the hard work they do. The Embarkation and disembarkation was really smooth and although it does take quite a while to get off the ship during disembarkation, it's really not that bad because you can chill out with a coffee after breakfast and wait for your group to be called. Overall, a lovely holiday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I boarded Britannia for its France, Spain and Guernsey highlights. Embarkation was smooth for all guests, luggage attendants extremely helpful. And check in staff to security personal where to the highest standards. On boarding ... Read More
I boarded Britannia for its France, Spain and Guernsey highlights. Embarkation was smooth for all guests, luggage attendants extremely helpful. And check in staff to security personal where to the highest standards. On boarding Britannia I was greeted by friendly onboard social hostesses, who dealt with enquires in a very pleasant manner. The overall appearance is a finely and articulate ship with the grandiose it expels. The room steward kiran was trained to be more of a butler than a steward, one in which I would of expected to see on a Cunard liner. Absolutely excellent service from this young man. However it was not long Until you could hear the grumbles of passengers. From freezer packs not being delivered at appropriate times for medicine to be administered for a guest who had informed p and o re medical conditions. I can confirm the ship dealt with this on day of departure. Hopefully to the guest satisfaction. Then there was an issue with the drinks package!! 96 year old female told to pay the fee even though didn’t drink so her son could get his drinks package. I can confirm this was dealt with and he did receive his drinks package and the elderly lady was not charged and training was given. There was another incident on board on the first formal night when the photographer asked two gentleman, as they set to pose for photographs if they were father and son. One of the gentleman replied “no he is my partner” the photographer then replied who is the man and who is the woman” to many passengers in the queues horror and well as the two upset gentlemen. I can confirm there complaint was dealt with. The received compensation of 100 pounds on board credit alongside a meal in one of the fine dining rooms and the photographer was moved to a different area of the ship. However, they are still seeking more than this as they feel money or restaurants don’t compensate it is more to the fact of training and his attitude towards their sexuality. Now to bilboa this was pretty horrific as to disembarkation and boarding for disabled passengers coming off deck 6 rather than deck 5. It was far to long for passengers to try and walk and if a dla assessment officer was watching he/she would have been shocked as people who struggle to walk was actually beyond any Disablement entitlement. If a photographer took a photo. However because of this many were left physically exhausted and one passenger falling, injuring her ankle. Other passengers complained regarding the heating in rooms either being to cold then to hot in the evening. Then came the niggles and the freedom dining. Personally was pretty horrified at the times you had to wait your buzzer not going off, which I did complain about. Then the finest champagne not being open correctly and spilling out over the table. Which was reported. Now to your personal order of drinks bill being given and asked to sign before you had your dessert. I can confirm that this was reported and everything was taken extremely serious and action was taken.many passengers were disappointed not docking in Guernsey. This was down to storm Hannah and I back the decision as passengers and staff safety should always come first and the captain did although to the frustration of some. Disembarkation was delayed due to highs winds in the morning again adding to further frustration. This was out of both P and o Cruises control and ground staff. Unfortunately an act of god is beyond anyone’s control. Safety always has to be paramount. I understand people’s views and expectations are all different whether dining, dressing to entertainment. So yes this cruise didn’t meet a lot of expectations however, look carefully at itinerary of your cruise, and dress codes etc , every ship is different but at the same time it’s like a box of chocolates full of different varieties with a glossy coating. One thing I will say I think I am Amongst the majority that found the captains announcements came across a little condescending “ladies and gentleman boys and girls “ and tatty bye. Not how I expect a captain to address his public. I can confirm that every complaint is taking extremely seriously, and that Britannia staff will do their upmost to sort the situation out. Don’t wait to get home and complain it’s important to address it whilst on board. I would like like to add the bar team in the live lounge were of the highest standard and worked together extremely well. They served immaculately and presented themselves well a proud team supporting Avalon and his Assistant manager, and P and O Cruises. So yes the company needs to keep on top of training to impress the quality of service and fix things as soon as they arise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We left Cunards Queen Elizabeth to join this cruise for New Year thinking the entertainment would be more fun and Indy it was. The ships entertainment crew are quite brilliant and deserve a huge pat on the back for all the shows but ... Read More
We left Cunards Queen Elizabeth to join this cruise for New Year thinking the entertainment would be more fun and Indy it was. The ships entertainment crew are quite brilliant and deserve a huge pat on the back for all the shows but especially for the musical show which got a standing ovation...but alas that's where the good stops. On arrival to the ship our cabins were not ready and we were told to go to the Buffet area for something to eat. My friend chose roast beef - on eating his first mouthful his spat it out saying it tasted horrible - as a chef myself I could see the meat was not right and on smelling it confirmed it was VERY OFF. I immediately told the manager not to serve any more and to remove it from service which he assured me he had done, but no follow up explanation. This buffet area is dire with most of the dishes on offer being made up - one day bangers and mash, awful. Prawn pizza awful, fish pie - like water. We gave up and thought we would try the grill area. Stone cold burgers, stale sandwiches and baguettes - chips shrewd all over the floor just terrible. The chef in a woolly hat and a complete lack of love or care. On arrival at the Cabin, bathroom mirrors dirty, long black ladies hair on the towels ( we were two men) dirty balcony windows and a very unkept feel in dated and very tired cabins. That said our Steward was friendly and rectified what he could. The food in the main dining room is better especially if you stick to the simple things - prawn cocktail was good and a cottage pie on the first night excellent as we're parts of the New Year's Eve gala dinner, especially the rack of lamb. And then there is the Glass House ...... an alternative dining venue. Please don't build your hopes up our first visit was better but the 2nd visit resulted in a 40 minute wait for a table. Follewd by a further 10 minute Wait at the table only to be informed that we might have to wait for a "long time" for our food and that they had run out of most dishes and triple cut chips. Our steak meal inedible resulting in some 20 visits to the loo the day after with severe stomach cramps to boot. Summing up standards are low if you search about you might get a few nice dishes but that shouldn't be the case. If P & 0 are offering something it should at least be edible. I am also concerned about hygiene and stock rotation. No chef should allow food out of their kitchen that is not edible and the roast beef and the steaks in the glass house were not. Neither should we experience a room that is anything other than spotless and ours was not including an out of date yoghurt in the mini fridge. Both my friend and I have suffered stomach pains, sickness and diahorrea for two days this is either caused by the food or by the lack of public hygiene with hand gels. You don't get into a Cunard dining venue without antiseptic gel on your hands. I saw hardly anybody use it on the Aurora Much needs to be done and if you are thinking of going think twice Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Chose this cruise to be with friends and living locally departure was convenient from the port of Southampton. Only second time on P&O and was hoping for a better experience but let down firstly by poor administration and secondly by ... Read More
Chose this cruise to be with friends and living locally departure was convenient from the port of Southampton. Only second time on P&O and was hoping for a better experience but let down firstly by poor administration and secondly by our two experiences in the main dining room. We were only a group of three in two different staterooms. When we made our reservations were promised dining together but on ship the Maitre D,s did not appear to be able to carry out such a simple exercise. We did eventually get a joint table by having met a senior management officer and discussing the problem with her, but by that time we had made the decision to eat in the Glasshouse Bar/Restaurant. The Glasshouse was totally different, a wide selection of dishes, all of good quality and presented with a flair. The team lead by A-Jay provided excellent service. Wine selection and Cocktails were better than a four star hotel. Stateroom, and outside single was snug and kept clean by the steward. It did however require a bit of TLC. Generally however the ship,s public areas seemed clean and looked after. Entertainment and activities are not our thing so no real comment except to say the pianist who played in various public areas seemed to have a rather monotonous itinery. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Where do you start with P&O’s Oriana cruise from Southampton(Madeira/Tenerife/Lisbon etc). December 2018 Firstly, the decommissioning of the vessel in 019 is ambitious. 010 might have been more appropriate. A thoroughly ... Read More
Where do you start with P&O’s Oriana cruise from Southampton(Madeira/Tenerife/Lisbon etc). December 2018 Firstly, the decommissioning of the vessel in 019 is ambitious. 010 might have been more appropriate. A thoroughly dated outfit appealing to a well over 65’s demographic. The activities and entertainment plan were something out of the 70’s. Frontline staff were busy smiling without really understanding our questions and you left with a sense of frustration. Food was hit and miss. The Conservatory is a free for all with one in 6 dishes acceptable. Very bland food in general lacking any real flavor added to the bad customer experience. Room service to cabin was poor. Incorrect order brought complete with soggy bread! Breakfast ends at 9.30.....on a cruise!? Cabins are ok but again way out dated with 14 inch TV screens, yet huge mirrors wasting space. Choice of in cabin entertainment was miserable for this day and age. The incredibly loud PA announcer jovially speaking Ruth Madoc style every morning with......And today on Deck 10 its basket weaving........ The halcyon days of ‘Hi De Hi’ are still with us apparently. Tip.... Do not attempt to let them book a taxi for you. We had to wait 90 minutes! Sniggering British staff behind the curtains on reception letting the Asian front line staff hold the baby A two star operation ‘priding’ itself on 3 Black tie evenings which were poorly attended. Why in this day and age have them? Subsequently we were left with one choice for dinner which added costs to our bill. The final complaint though is too shocking to contemplate. The captain was clearly naive and probably conditioned to P&O practice in thinking it’s ok to give us the negative news about ship to shore communication once he had set sail. He continued to drip feed us ‘we are working on it’ lines knowing full well it was out of order at the original starting point. To depart Southampton on a 12 day trip without the Internet or phone service leaving passengers completely stranded in their quest for contact with homes, business, loved ones was the worst error of judgment we have witnessed. We had to wait for 4 days until first stop to get on land before frantically connecting with anyone. The arrogance of the operator clearly thinking this type of practice in 2018 is acceptable. If you are unfortunate in cruising with P&O please look at their internet packages. The big standard 7.95 a day only covers Facebook and a few sites. No emails, YouTube etc. Those are extras!!!! Our overview of P&O is not good. They are a weak company with a tired fleet and out dated planning. Clearly targeting much older customers who are unlikely to complain about the lack of communicado and the daily grind of school dinners. Bland, boring and a complete lack of empathy with frustrated customers. If you are booking a cruise with them, make sure you check the itineraries thoroughly otherwise you will be in for a comedy of errors which include cribbage, crochet and failed New Faces talent from 1977! A Horror show. Avoid P&O at all costs! The worst cruise company out there. #fail #past glories #arrogant #disaster #cruise nightmare #watchdog #investigate Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Don't believe anyone who tells you that it is a big ship so it won't be affected by the weather. We set off in a force nine gale. Spent the night being sea sick in the cabin, only to be told that we couldn't berth in ... Read More
Don't believe anyone who tells you that it is a big ship so it won't be affected by the weather. We set off in a force nine gale. Spent the night being sea sick in the cabin, only to be told that we couldn't berth in Zebrugge next morning due to the weather and were heading back out to sea. All day the wind howled, for 12 hours the boat rocked and rolled, went round and round in circles and we were unable to leave the cabin or the toilet due to sea sickness. Missed out on all the meals as so unwell. There followed another awful night sailing back to Southampton in gale force winds. I have never felt so sea sick in my life. This was my first cruise which I was so looking forward to, but NEVER again ! Total waste of money and no compensation for not berthing at destination. So please think before you go. On the plus side Embarkation and Disembarkation was quick and efficient. Cabin was clean, warm and comfortable. Ship was in good condition. Can't comment on entertainment and activities as was unable to do anything. Can't comment on dining experience. Service from staff was good Can't comment on shore excursions as ship didn't berth in destination. Did not travel with children Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We had a good cruise to Jersey with Aurora in June 2018, so booked again for Brugges with Ventura in November. The orginsation is good, luggage taken even before the entry hall and it arrives at your cabin door before you do. We had a ... Read More
We had a good cruise to Jersey with Aurora in June 2018, so booked again for Brugges with Ventura in November. The orginsation is good, luggage taken even before the entry hall and it arrives at your cabin door before you do. We had a balcony cabin which was really great. As we were on a two night cruise we didn't see much of the sea, none-the-less good to have. The ship was great in terms of communal spaces and decor, a real feeling of deluxe. The most disappointing part was the food, not the same standard as the Aurora, two meals of dried up fish, tasteless chicken stuffed with quail. The waiter couldn't tell me the names of cheeses offered. Brugges is 20 mins away from the dock gates by coach. This isn't for anyone with any sort of mobility problem as you are left at a bus stop about 1 mile walking from the centre. I didn't see anywhere this was explained in advance. Later came back on board early afternoon and went to the Glasshouse buffet on Deck 16. The salads for starters were all good, The main meals were not very appealingly presented. We eventually chose fish & chips, but the fish was dry and inededible, Something needs to be done about the help yourself chip tongs which produce about 3 chips a time with a long queue of people waiting behind you. We would have liked to go to the cinema as with Aurora, but told no cinema on board. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Booked this cruise as a way of seeing Bruges, fat chance! This was a weekend two night cruise with one port of call Zeebrugge from which we could visit Bruges. On the morning we were due to dock in Zeebrugge announcement was made saying ... Read More
Booked this cruise as a way of seeing Bruges, fat chance! This was a weekend two night cruise with one port of call Zeebrugge from which we could visit Bruges. On the morning we were due to dock in Zeebrugge announcement was made saying it was too windy to dock and we would spend the day at sea! The sea was not rough and there was no movement on the ship. The announcement was very low key in fact 2 hours later at 9.05am there were still a lot of people having breakfast who were still unaware we were not going to dock! I feel we were treated very badly, with very little communication about the situation. The entertainment on board was very average. There were long waits to get a table in the restaurants in the evening but I'm sure P&O are very happy with the extra revenue they made by having everyone onboard all day! We have cruised with P&O several times but certainly won't be booking with them any time soon! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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