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

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
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
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
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
We were looking forward to visiting the 4 locations, first one (Vigo) had to be missed because of bad weather which was unfortunate. We had travelled with Cunard before and as P&O are the same firm we expected similar high standards ... Read More
We were looking forward to visiting the 4 locations, first one (Vigo) had to be missed because of bad weather which was unfortunate. We had travelled with Cunard before and as P&O are the same firm we expected similar high standards but were disappointed with the facilities and entertainment. The public spaces and bars were crowded. The buffet was more like a scrum than a dining area, finding seats was difficult, you had to take it in turns to get your snack or meal. It was also almost impossible to get a seat in the bars. The entertainment in the theatre was limited to a single 45 minute act, i.e. comedian or ventriloquist or dance group, we would have preferred shorter acts but more variety; the actual acts were good. Meals and service in restaurants were good but afternoon tea a bit hurried. See separate comments regarding cabin, reasonable size but poor options and signal for TV, announcements not relayed to cabin. Public toilets were often out of service and not easy to find. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, ... Read More
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, along with two other friends booked a weekend cruise on Ventura to Guernsey over August Bank Holiday. We sailed on Ventura previously to Brugges, and as Platinum club members with Princess we know the layout of Ventura and Azura mirror their ships, so we were well aware of the ship and what lay ahead – or so we had thought. Firstly upon arrival at Southampton I have to say this was the worst I have experienced to date. Complete chaos. Guests were called in sequence order A-Z depending on what you are given when you arrive at the top of the stairs of the terminal. Waited for approximately 1.5hours to check in (1pm arrival). Terrible. Once onboard we were impressed with the ship layout and how bright and clean it appeared. We had an inside cabin, which was very clean, and enough room for two adults sharing. The bed was probably one of the most comfortable of all liners we have sailed on. The cleanliness is evident throughout from the bars to the pool area, and restaurants. However, in the evenings the majority of toilets throughout the ship smelt really badly – urine quite evident on the floors of several, and also quite a few blockages with no toilet attendant/cleaners in sight (few and far between). On the first evening in the MDR, we had a lovely table for 4. With no introductions or personal welcomes from the waiting staff, we were presented with the main menu - the waiter returned very promptly (in space of 5 minutes) to take the orders. I ordered a lamb shank for my main course and asked the waiter if it was possible to have some mash potato – to which he said he would ask the chef. No drinks, or wine on offer and within 5 minutes our starters arrived. My partner at this point asked was it possible to see a wine list as we felt it was more appropriate to take a drinks order before going full steam ahead and presenting us with our starters! It did feel like a conveyor belt, they wanted us “fed watered and out” with minimal interaction. The bread rolls were dire. Soft rolls, think tesco value on a small scale with zero choice, and put on the side plate with no second offerings. My lamb shank arrived and the waiter took off. I waited whilst my 3 companions tucked into their mains; I assumed the waiter was going to get my potato for the lamb. Again within 5 minutes he returned to clear the plates at which point I asked him did he get the mash as I hadn’t even started to my main yet. He was quick to inform me “no sir there is no mash”. I wasn't happy and I asked why hadn’t he told me this when he presented the plate to begin with. He said he was sorry he had just checked – this itself was a lie as I could see him directly in front of me fiddling with cutlery and the likes. If mash is offered in the buffet, and various other potatoes offered to top that, I didn't quite understand. I again repeated the question you’re telling me there is no mash available, to which he said “sorry no”. I then asked him to fetch me the Maitre’D. when he arrived I asked him if it was possible to have mash – his reply “anything is possible sir”. I told him I was informed mash wasn't available – he seemed surprised. I went on to explain I wasn't very happy at all nor were the others in my party. The lack of wanting to serve us, no drinks menu, orders etc”. I actually handed my main course, untouched, back as I was disappointed by the whole episode. I would like to add to this “Yes this might be a weekend cruise, but you should not treat all guests as first timers on a weekend break whom you assume will probably never return”. We were appalled by the lack of interaction and the lack of personal touch from the MDR waiting staff, their behaviour was definitely the lowest I’ve witnessed. It was quite the contrary in the buffet. Food in the buffet area was lovely, plenty of choice this is one area where the company excel. There were a few hen parties on board who were enjoying themselves Port of Call Guernsey: Tender required. What can I say…….. we docked at 8am – all guests required back on ship for 5pm. We had breakfast and went downstairs to the tender around 11am thinking it will be straight forward as we have tendering numerous times before at other locations worldwide. No - how wrong where we. We were told to join a queue for a ticket to join the tenders. The queue for this alone wrapped around the foyer area back to the art gallery – we waited in line for 1 hour and given tickets to tender. We were then moved into the restaurant, where we waited a further 1.5 hours. With 6 tenders operating, we felt this would have been quicker and should have been better managed. We spoke briefly to the lady (I use loosely as she was abrupt) this was taking forever, she replied by saying “no this is normal”. If this is normal for P&O I would be sacking the management in charge of this process. It was awful. We have experienced several tenders over the years with OTHER liners and never waited longer than 15 mins to disembark the ship, and that also involved a ticket and call by number! Perhaps the ship is too big for tendering to the port, but you've definitely got this so wrong P&O. Guernsey is beautiful, a lovely little place full of charm and very walkable. We had an afternoon tea and stroll, however we felt we should return to the ship around 3 (after just 1 hour on land) to avoid a possible mayhem like the disembarkation to tender earlier . Walking downhill towards the port and tendering area at 3pm, we could see a queue as long as anything with people waiting around. It took us 1 hour 10 mins to board and get back on ship. The whole experience is quite exhausting and not one I will repeat with P&O again. In conclusion, I feel P&O should use smaller ships for the weekend breaks and clearly advertise it involve tendering. Also, other cruise critic members do mention tendering by P&O at Guernsey being the worst experiences witnessed – trust me these people are not telling lies. I for one will NEVER return to P&O on a mini cruise again that involves tendering unless they drastically change their ways - not to mention their manner. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Eight of us decided to go on this two night cruise as a birthday celebration. Friday to Sunday. The layout of the ship is confusing. Cabin acceptable but carpet had stains and the toilet did not work on the final morning. On arrival ... Read More
Eight of us decided to go on this two night cruise as a birthday celebration. Friday to Sunday. The layout of the ship is confusing. Cabin acceptable but carpet had stains and the toilet did not work on the final morning. On arrival the safe was not working and was not fixed until Saturday morning. As a Baltic tier member I am entitled to slippers. I requested these on three occasions and they were eventually delivered to the cabin on Saturday evening. On the first night we arrived at freedom dining at 8.00 pm to be told there was an hour wait. We were eventually seated but the waiters were overstretched and consequently we missed the show in the theatre. At breakfast the following morning I asked for a latte but was told the machine was broken. We arrived at 7.00 pm on the second evening, not through choice but concerned if we left it later we might have the same problem as on the previous evening. I am not sure what the garlic butter consisted of but it was nothing like I have been served in the past! Myself and several members of the party were very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was a short mini cruise to Bruges but I didn't realise when booking quite how short it would be! Our embarkation time was 3.30pm Fri yet we were left waiting in the terminal for over 2 hours making us almost the last on board! ... Read More
This was a short mini cruise to Bruges but I didn't realise when booking quite how short it would be! Our embarkation time was 3.30pm Fri yet we were left waiting in the terminal for over 2 hours making us almost the last on board! Only to find other passengers had been onboard enjoying the facilities since midday. Then we found out we had the earliest disembarkation time of 08.15am Sunday! We felt sort changed to say the least! Add to this a 4hr delay in sailing meaning our time in Bruges was severely curtailed without as much as a 'sorry' and the rest of our time was spent either queuing for the bar or to get on and off in port! We had select dining and ate in the Oriental restaurant. On the first night the waiting staff rushed us so much that we were onto mains before the drinks even arrived and coffee was served during dessert. Plus all 8 meals were lukewarm at best and 5 were sent back cold! Drinks at the bar are tiny and overpriced when you do finally get served. Information on the various entertainment is limited if it even arrives at all and none of the staff seem to know anything about the rest of the cruise beyond their own small part. Food did improve though on the gala night and could even be described as 'lovely' and the choice in the buffet is good too albeit some of it is cold and again there is a queue. Overall the boat (what I saw of it when I wasn't queuing!) is nice. The cabins are reasonably sized but with tiny tiny bathrooms and there are some nice touches like white company toiletries (but only single ply loo paper!) all areas seemed clean but public loos were often without paper and if course there's not enough of them so again more queuing! Not a great cruise experience but issues exacerbated given the high cost of such a short sailing. If you do go my top tip is get a cab from the Port into Bruges - easy and far cheaper than the coach, take your own loo paper and of course be prepared to queue for England! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have never been on a cruise before and we thought it was a good idea to try the mini cruise to Brugge. How wrong was I? To start with, we were heavily delayed in Southampton and did not start to sail till very late at night, I do ... Read More
We have never been on a cruise before and we thought it was a good idea to try the mini cruise to Brugge. How wrong was I? To start with, we were heavily delayed in Southampton and did not start to sail till very late at night, I do understand it was a technical fault but this resulted in a very short day trip to Brugge which was something I had planned for myself and 2 kids for a year! However, whilst waiting for Britannia to start sail, the kids thoroughly enjoyed the swimming pool and the outside Jacuzzi, they loved the pool area where the party and entertainment was, we all looked so forward to the sail away party but we never got one as the ship was very very delayed! Food - We are not fussy eater, we enjoyed the food. Children clubs My children enjoyed the children clubs very well. Service charges I was not aware that £6 per person was payable per night. Nobody mentioned this to me when my debit card details were taken on board. I am not happy with this and so I have complained to P&O Excursions I would have preferred more time in Brugge, due to sail away from Southampton that was heavily delayed, we got to Brugge later than anticipated, by the time we got off the ship and got on coaches to take us to station for trains going to Brugge, it was well past 12 noon, we only had few hours in Brugge as we had to get back to coach to take us back to the ship. Ship Overall the ship was OK to us, we loved exploring it. In Summary, the kids thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I did not enjoy the experience due to so many things, heavy delay, our on board picture taken had a stranger's face in it, I had to complain which was time consuming. We were better off going to Brugge by train! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We just arrived home from a 5 night cruise from Southampton due to call at Amsterdam and Le Havre. We did not end up docking in port at Le Havre, due to a local protest. Which is fair enough, although strikes at this port in particular ... Read More
We just arrived home from a 5 night cruise from Southampton due to call at Amsterdam and Le Havre. We did not end up docking in port at Le Havre, due to a local protest. Which is fair enough, although strikes at this port in particular are an ongoing issue, and the unions do post a schedule of strikes arranged. So in all honesty I am not sure why they even attempted to dock. Aside from the changes to our itinerary; not being able to dock in France and getting an extra half a day in Amsterdam due to wind conditions preventing our disembarkation (Amsterdam was great by the way), I have several concerns and reservations about the standard of cruise that P&O offered. Where to start... Dirty. Once you navigate away from the main atrium the conditions on board slip -substantially. Old, worn out, shabby decor. Add to that the fact that the whole of deck 7 smelt of sewerage. The one night we got into the lift from the atrium up to deck 15, we were greeted by a pair of extremely soiled pants which had just been taken off and discarded INSIDE the lift! Overall the standard on board is no better than a 3 star hotel. Dirty and discoloured carpets. The stagnant smell of cigarettes. Tatty and old tables and chairs in the dining area. Dirty window cills. Dirty Cutlery. Wet and stained carpets - that they were constantly trying to dry out - to no avail. Cold food. Bad smelling public toilets near Malabar. Plastic cocktail and pint glasses. The only reason I have given the overall rating of 2 stars, is because of the staff. They work ridiculously long hours are always happy to help and quite frankly put up with rude, intolerable and haughty guests on board. Would I cruise with P&O again, no. I am so glad that we booked very last minute and paid the saver rate. If we had paid full price for this cruise, I would have formally complained. One last thing, the only drinks that come in your all inclusive package are; tea, coffee and water, no juice. Which I think is totally ridiculous. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I was only aboard the Ventura for a weekend cruise - less than 40 hours. We were celebrating a birthday, and as such for us the trip was really more about making use of the ship's various, delightful-sounding bar and restaurant ... Read More
I was only aboard the Ventura for a weekend cruise - less than 40 hours. We were celebrating a birthday, and as such for us the trip was really more about making use of the ship's various, delightful-sounding bar and restaurant facilities. I would heartily recommend this ship for fans of queuing and waiting. If you're into those, you are in for a treat! Huge lines to get into restaurants - queuing all the way up the stairs to the next deck. Huge queues for the formal photographs. Queues are reception, as one person mans the desk and phones ring off the hook around them. Chaos, basically. A typical interaction with a member of the serving staff on board the Ventura might look something like this: You approach a bar, behind which are two or three people frantically preparing drinks. A waiter dashes up to you, to intercept your attempt to order at the bar. The waiter takes your order. Five minutes later, the waiter returns to take your cruise card. Around 10 minutes later, your drinks arrive. This might sound like an exaggeration, but at one point I waited 25 minutes for a coffee. In a deserted bar. The restaurants were no better - one person assigned to take drinks for a restaurant full with 100+ people. The wine waitress was so stressed and busy that at one point rather than topping up my wine, she just emptied the bottle into it. The fundamental problem seems to me that they were attempting to provide a silver service experience, with greasy-spoon levels of staff training. The food itself was fine, nothing special. The Beach House was absolutely not worth the additional supplements (a cover charge AND supplements on the food), particularly considering its decor and vibe - think school canteen. The ventura has the potential to be a great experience, and perhaps on longer cruises there are more staff laid on. But if this cruise had been any longer than two nights, I'd have found myself wanting to abandon ship halfway through. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was my 7th cruise, having sailed with Thompson, NCL and Cunard before; and this was the worst one yet. Cons -had a terrible encounter with my waiter in the Meridian restaurant on a particular night, as whilst having a ... Read More
This was my 7th cruise, having sailed with Thompson, NCL and Cunard before; and this was the worst one yet. Cons -had a terrible encounter with my waiter in the Meridian restaurant on a particular night, as whilst having a conversation about desserts he preceded to say how the fact I must eat too many puddings is why 'she is so podgy' and 'fat and round like a pudding', with after my mum making a comment replying that he 'didn't care what I thought of him because I was leaving in 2 days and he would never see me again' - we formally complained - poor range of food at the buffet, very repetitive - poor room service menu, and on 2 occasions our orders did not even turn up! - the main (and only) deck on levels 16 and 17 often felt slightly unclean, and dangerously slippy - at dinner in the restaurant, drinks orders took ages to arrive - on one occasion, our cabin steward said 'is it ok if I make up your room later, as I clock off now?' - obviously bad customer service - first night, because we had to wait so long to get a table for the 8 of us, we had a later dinner, presumably meaning that's why the service was slow and food arrived luke warm - very disappointing - P&O had failed to mention that one of the formal nights was a black and white evening, only finding out the day before - there is only one main deck on level 16, which personally I thought meant limited outdoor space, making it feel more claustrophobic -disliked the fact that if you wanted hot drinks it always meant having to have a costa version - hence not good quality or good tasting drinks in my opinion - photographs were very overpriced, £120 for unlimited photos to be put on a memory stick,,,not even printed!! -there was a complete lack of toilets around the ship, often only having 2 or 3 working toilets in each bathroom in the ladies -heard from 2 members of my party in a balcony room, that they could have done with more 'black out' curtains -disappointed to not be able to have gotten off at the port in Guernsey because of weather conditions; one waiter told us that this happens 50% of the time at Guernsey - but weather conditions can understandably not be helped - was quite rocky for a couple of days - just a warning that Bay of Biscay where the ship was mostly sailing is known to be rockier so just a warning for anyone thinking of cruising in this area Pros - enjoyed the entertainment - staff on deck, in crows nest and in the live lounge were very friendly - piano playing in the crows nest in the evening was stunning and enjoyable (forgotten his name but he was a replacement for adam Ellison on that particular night) -rooms were cleaned to satisfaction, however the tap handle did fall off on last day so maybe slightly dated with need for repairs -the décor of the ship was very lovely Overall, we were not made to feel special or spoilt on this cruise, as a paying customer, however this was a cheap cruise so probably getting what you paid for; but still doesn't mean you should get any less of an enjoyable cruise experience. I wouldn't recommend P&O, and won't be travelling with them again. But possibly a good cruise, for first time cruisers with no previous experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Oh dear, It's been some years since my first cruise with P & O and what used to be a real luxury experience is now very disappointing. Ventura is tired and shabby and desperately in need of an up date. For quite a large ship ... Read More
Oh dear, It's been some years since my first cruise with P & O and what used to be a real luxury experience is now very disappointing. Ventura is tired and shabby and desperately in need of an up date. For quite a large ship it feels very claustrophobic, difficult to get a sun bed on sea days as all the decks are so crowded, the Waterfront restaurant feels like a hospital canteen, and the cabins are tiny. The best restaurants all have an additional charge and were excellent. Good food and great service, but avoid the "all inclusive" restaurants at all costs. Entertainment would be great at a holiday camp!! Although the kids club was very popular with my two and the staff there were great. Ports were a real mix of interesting (Madeira) and awful (La Palma). Expect lots of over weight tattooed passengers making the most of the all inclusive food options. Overall this holiday was a real hit and miss experience, some good and some bad . Would never cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I'm not normally a negative person so let's start with the positives. The staff at Southampton Ocean terminal were efficient and helpful and the people in the town of St Peter's Port Guernsey were warm and welcoming. There ... Read More
I'm not normally a negative person so let's start with the positives. The staff at Southampton Ocean terminal were efficient and helpful and the people in the town of St Peter's Port Guernsey were warm and welcoming. There was a lovely member of staff in the Verona restaurant, the staff in The Beach House were brilliant, the cabins are nice, the Electric Avenue show was good and mum loved the cocktails.The team running the tenders were lovely and looked out for the travellers with disabilities.The large number of hen parties even sang in tune........... All of that couldn't make up for the sarcasm from the member of staff who did the life jacket demo in muster station D, the lack of food & drink availability when we arrived and very few staff. Just someone to say welcome and then no one. Just a blip I hear you say, must have all been getting the ship ready to sail. And so I thought....until breakfast in the buffet restaurants was chaos and then a two hour wait to get off of the ship (after the busy time they told us to avoid). Take a ticket and sit an wait til called. All stuck in one of the lounges for two hours with no offers of drinks. Told to stand by the side of the room and constantly being told to be patient as they have 3000 to get off of the ship. Surely, you say, they knew how many people they have on the ship and would have thought about this.........Eventually got into St Peters Port at about 12.30 and only stayed a couple of hours as last tender leaving at 5 and they have to get the 3000 people back! Went to The Beach House and paid £10 extra each as not impressed with food in buffet restaurant. Food was good and apparently the extra money buys you the service you should expect anyway.. Didn't even see our cabin steward but they must have been around because we got a chocolate every night. Disembarkation was just another dose of totally disorganised splendour. People had kept their luggage with them rather than trust P & O with it but had to be out of their cabin by 8am. So off they went in the lifts to the buffet restaurants which mean't we couldn't get lifts down to get off the ship. This was meant to be a lovely birthday treat for my dad, who is now 80 and has lost his sight. Have been on cruises with Thomson so thought that he would receive the same consideration and pampering as we have had with them. Made sure that we let P & O know about dad's disability but, other than a scrappy A4 sheet of paper on the first day with large print of the excursions, nothing. Unfortunately dad had a fall whilst getting of the tender but no one bothered to check this morning to see if he was ok. So considering that surely a taster cruise is the 'shop window' for more cruises with P & O, would I ever travel with them or recommend them? I'm sure you can guess.......... Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We have done five cruises with RCI on the news ships, Anthem and Harmony being the most recent. We wanted to try P&O before booking a main holiday cruise with them so going on a two day trip was a good way to see what they have to ... Read More
We have done five cruises with RCI on the news ships, Anthem and Harmony being the most recent. We wanted to try P&O before booking a main holiday cruise with them so going on a two day trip was a good way to see what they have to offer. Very glad we did this as we now know it's not for us! In general it's just not as good the main disappointment being the food, the best thing we ate all weekend was a burger and fries from the deck restaurant near the pool on deck! The buffet restaurants are dreadful, very cramped in the area where you queue up and very hot. You literally have to snake your way along, in one end out the other. No good if you forget something and want to pop back! You have to go one at a time too when travelling as a couple as one of you has to save the table otherwise no chance of getting one with food rapidly going cold on your tray! Choice of food very poor in comparison to RCI and the quality was awful awful awful..... someone from P&O needs to go on the Anthem of the seas to see how to deal with crowds in buffet restaurants. Ate in Sindhu the Indian on the 1st night, cost us an extra £70 with a bottle of wine and really wasn't worth it. No atmosphere either as barely anybody else in there eating, still tried to sit us at a rubbish table for two in the middle of the restaurant though.....ended up next to a window in a larger table. Food quality better than the main restaurant but still nothing stand out. Ate in the main restaurant the next night for formal night as figured this would be when the best menu would be on. Cramped table for two so close to others that we might as well have been sat with them! Could hear everyone's conversation without trying, awful. Food quality was rubbish and portions small. Service very slow and hit and miss, they brought the wrong food twice! Left before dessert couldn't wait any longer and just wanted to get out of there. Bars all pretty quiet with bland background musicians apart from one bar I think it was called Malabar which had a bit more life. Entertainment an Annie Lennox impersonator....that's as far as we got. Went to the casino to play, no chance of getting on a table not enough of them. Listened to the karaoke in there instead which was probably the best entertainment of the cruise! Ship itself is difficult to navigate, several dead ends and having to walk through restaurants to get to other places .....weird. Also pretty dated now and lots of furniture in the bars and restaurants showing it's age and needs replacing. Definitely an older crowd on P&O which is fine but probably not for us just yet..... Tried to get off to visit Guernsey but the tendering system a nightmare with a two hour wait in a long queue to endure first so didn't bother, shame. Cabin was very dated and quite battered, the tv remote sensor was being held to the cabinet under the TV with gaffa tape! Nice! Cabin steward nice and efficient. All in all a disappointment not to be repeated. Back to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity for us, we should have stayed loyal to royal as there slogan says! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Firstly, this was our 1st cruise with P&O out of 9 cruises...and will most definitely be our last P&O!! We had heard many good reports about P&O that we couldn't wait...how disappointed we were. It certainly did not live ... Read More
Firstly, this was our 1st cruise with P&O out of 9 cruises...and will most definitely be our last P&O!! We had heard many good reports about P&O that we couldn't wait...how disappointed we were. It certainly did not live up to our expectations. We sailed from Southampton to France, Spain and Guernsey. We didn't have the best weather...but that's out of anyone's control. We liked the layout of the ship...although she was a little small. We liked club dining idea in the Oriental....although the menu choice left a lot to be desired, as did the service...can't possibly swap cream for ice cream, didn't know our names and we were often given the wrong meal!!! but by the end of the cruise when they were all expecting their tips they couldn't do enough for you!!! We liked our cabin, an outside...but unfortunately, that's where the "we liked's" ends!!! The title of the review is "Rest home at Sea"...because that is exactly how we feel about our cruise (we are just in our 50's). The average age appeared to be an "old" 75 yrs old (and that's being polite). There was no "atmosphere" on the ship....bars were often silent like a library where you dared not speak because people were asleep with their false teeth hanging out. The entertainment was definitely not for us....bridge, whist, crafting, waltz lessons, knitting...OMG!!! For the first time ever... we so desperately wanted to get off ship.....!!!! The Captain had most of the passengers petrified with his OTT announcements when the weather took a turn for the worst. If it's going to be so bad....stay in port....but oh no.... that will cost money!!! Add into this... we couldn't get off in Guernsey. The Captain decided that the sea conditions were too rough...hmmmm!!!! it was the best day weather wise of the whole cruise!!! everyone was so disappointed that we could not get off but could do no other than sit and watch the little sail boats circle us while we sat there like lemons!! We contacted P&O on our return re compensation for missed port but they didn't want to know.....maybe the bar takings were down for the cruise and so the Captain needed to get those till ringing for one last time???? Will we try P&O again??? no....Not good enough P&O....plus, we're not ready to wait for God yet!! P.S. can't wait to get back on NCL. and P.P.S. ....can't wait to get back on Thomson!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
The itinary was the main reason for booking but.... The whole cruise was a let down. We sailed on this ship in March of last year(2016) and could not really fault any aspect of the cruise, however this time it was a complete let down. The ... Read More
The itinary was the main reason for booking but.... The whole cruise was a let down. We sailed on this ship in March of last year(2016) and could not really fault any aspect of the cruise, however this time it was a complete let down. The so called entertainment team lacked drive,enthusiasm and talent even looking bored when hosting on board activites. The food was of a poorer standard too. The sea days of which there were 7 extended from 6 as we could not dock at Reykjavik were boring, listening to passengers comments there was nothing to do apart from spending the little amount of on board credit, in the shops,bars or casino. I can say few positives on this occasion apart from two guest entertainers Julian Smith and Manuel Martinez who where very good. Resident band Jet Set should have a higher profile too and bin Accent. This may result in been the last cruise with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Wife treated me to this cruise as a birthday present St.Peterport and Bruges being two places we'd never visited before. Couldn't fault embarkation at Southampton and luggage was already in cabin when we got there but we ... Read More
Wife treated me to this cruise as a birthday present St.Peterport and Bruges being two places we'd never visited before. Couldn't fault embarkation at Southampton and luggage was already in cabin when we got there but we immediately noticed the air conditioning wasn't working although the steward was straight on the case and it was fixed within a few hours. The cabin itself looked tired and not as clean as some of the other ships we've been on indeed the whole ship seemed to look a bit tired and jaded as did some of the staff in the buffet restaurant who didn't seem very happy . I seem to recall reading that she's due for a refit in October and I could see why. Our toilet stopped working after 3 days as did several others in the public areas and several leaks became evident in various areas with buckets strategically placed. We dined in both the Meridian and Belvedere restaurants, the service in the Meridian was great, even when my wife on the formal night couldn't find anything that tempted her the head waiter arranged an alternative menu for her whilst I tried the Marco Pierre White menu which I have to say was delicious. Whether it's because the Arcadia is a smaller ship I found the food didn't measure up in the buffet restaurant to other ships we've been on e.g Celebrity, Ncl, or even Thomson. Our main disappointment with the cruise was being unable to be tendered ashore at Guernsey due to the winds being too strong and then leaving nearly 3 hours early on the Thursday and having a very slow cruise up the channel to anchor up off the coast of Belgium at 5pm on Friday ready to dock at Zeebruge Saturday, begs the question why couldn't a plan B be put into effect when the Captain knows the weather is too severe when he first arrives at a port that requires a tender ashore rather than waste a whole day hanging around. When we did arrive in Zeebruge we had booked a See Bruge in a day excursion which I have to say ,due to the excellent guide we had we both really enjoyed. We're booked on the Britannia in October around the Med and hope it will restore our faith in P&O because we're also booked on th Azura next June for Iceland , but having done the Balltic on Azura can't envisige any problem. As regards on board entertainment nothing really tempted us to see any shows in the main theatre although on other cruises we always have , we did catch a duo in one bar called Lyrical Flame and remember remarking to my wife on finishing our drink come on let's leave the crime scene, nuff said. My wife used the spa and had a pedicure and manicure which she enjoyed but she did point out to me her nails had started to chip within 2 days. It's fair to say we've had much better cruises the highlight of this one being the Bruge experience rather than the ship experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Chose this cruise for a bit of nostalgia as once worked for this cruise line years ago, we have done many cruise lines for holidays over the years, RCIL, Princess, Holland, P&O Australia , MSC and Marco Polo etc, we thought we'd ... Read More
Chose this cruise for a bit of nostalgia as once worked for this cruise line years ago, we have done many cruise lines for holidays over the years, RCIL, Princess, Holland, P&O Australia , MSC and Marco Polo etc, we thought we'd take my parents on this one for a short Jaunt over the channel, Food was very average, and absolutely no quality control with the deserts, puds were dry and sauces tasteless, but what really left a bad taste in our minds during and after the cruise was the so called "Black Tie Night" now we are both used to formals (which is what we expected) and in todays terms has always meant smart, trousers, shirt and tie as minimum, needless to say , not on this one, we were told , no jacket ,no entry (with the words "ENFORCED" used, but we can use the Buffet or speciality restaurant, (how nice of them) unfortunately the buffet on the night was dismal , limited and appalling, and i was virtually fuming, now i normally carry a waist coat and jacket but overseas travel weight limits us, what is most annoying is the feeling of being penalised for not being a traditionalist, don't get me wrong i like tradition and silver service along with fine food, but this is a ship that does neither, its a slap the plate on the table and whos next. certainly wont be rushing back, and its sad to see such an iconic cruise line go down hill and not keep up with the times Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We were told this was a taster cruise so we thought before we committed to two weeks away we would try it. We queued for over an hour to get on board. Not a good start. No apaology or welcome drink straight unaided to cabin. Having ... Read More
We were told this was a taster cruise so we thought before we committed to two weeks away we would try it. We queued for over an hour to get on board. Not a good start. No apaology or welcome drink straight unaided to cabin. Having spent close to £600 for a two night cruise we were not prepared to pay extra to dine in a fancy restaurant. The food in the Peninsula restaurant was at best mediocre I can honestly say I have eaten far better food on a cross channel ferry. The waiting staff were surly and uninterested. It was not a pleasant experience. Friday evening entertainment was very enjoyable - we went to the 80's disco in the Live Lounge. This was marred only by a huge amount of very drunk people, one mature lady had to be supported on either side as she was so inebriated. A further lady was punched in the face by a drunken man who was a stranger to her! We arrived at the Peninsula at literally 9am for breakfast but were denied entry as it closed at 9!! Buffet breakfast was available in the Horizon however there were no sears available and we wished we hadn't waited as the food was greasy, undercooked and Luke warm. Saturday trip to Bruges was amazing - we did the walk yourself around Bruges tour - had we known we could have saved £50 by utilising the free shuttle bus to the station, then the train. The organisation when the coach returned to the ship was horrendous so we spent at least an hour sitting on the coach, then queueing on the dock. Saturday dinner in the Meridian restaurant was slightly better - four different cheeses tonight - then we watched a Rock and Roll band who were very good. We were due to leave the ship at half ten on Sunday morning but decided to utilise the one hour slot between 7 and 8 to "free disembark as the cabin had to be vacated by 8 anyway. Breakfast in the Peninsula was table service to hot plate food which was still barely cooked and luke warm. The final straw came when the cabin steward ignored me putting a do not disturb sign on my door and asked if he could make up the room at 7am. I told him no but he still asked if he could go in and make the bed which I refused as it had our partly packed bags on it. This is not the cruise to go on if you are looking to book a longer cruise as we have now been put off cruising, certainly we will never cruise with P and O again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Arcadia is looking dated. We have cruised with P&O for a few years now, but each time we do so, we spot ever more "cut-backs" in service, standards and facilities. Too few staff for the sort of personal attention P&O ... Read More
Arcadia is looking dated. We have cruised with P&O for a few years now, but each time we do so, we spot ever more "cut-backs" in service, standards and facilities. Too few staff for the sort of personal attention P&O promise - clearly an area where cut-backs have been made in recent years. Despite these cut-backs, prices have increased by considerably more than inflation would justify! Whoever designed the current cabin layout should have been sacked - weak reading lights and light switches directly where one rests one's head when sitting up in bed; a bath only big enough for a child; a TV mounted on the stained wall which clearly shows signs where something has previously been removed from the wall! A distinct lack of seating on sea days throughout the ship. Breakfast and Lunch in the Self service Restaurant were poor with a limited selection; items often ran out but took some time to be replenished. Evening entertainment was a mixed bag; one of the planned shows, we had seen twice before! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We have spent several Christmas holidays on cruises and have loved them! However, this was our first time with P and O and we were sadly disappointed with the whole ship. The Baltic itinerary was enjoyable and we were well prepared for ... Read More
We have spent several Christmas holidays on cruises and have loved them! However, this was our first time with P and O and we were sadly disappointed with the whole ship. The Baltic itinerary was enjoyable and we were well prepared for bad weather which was surprisingly pleasant except for a serious storm which meant we could not get to Amsterdam. We didn't mind the enforced change of plan ( visited Le Havre instead - not too exciting!!) as this can happen on sea cruises. BUT - the ship was a total disappointment in so many ways. We paid extra to ensure our choice of dinner sitting but found ourselves on "Freedom" which we did not want and joined a queue of many others wishing to change their dining arrangement. We accepted a table on 1st sitting which proved FREEZING COLD - unbearably so as it was right by the back wall of the dining room. After several nights we were placed on a table with a delightful welcoming couple and at last we could dine without wearing our outdoor fleece jackets! The food offering was of very poor quality with few vegetables and strange menu options often not properly described ( 3 chocolate desserts on one night / a salad starter with no mention on the menu of the cold poached egg on the top).The Christmas dinner was a disgrace - 2 overcooked sprouts and a shrivelled sausage and stuffing garnish accompanied the turkey. The buffet restaurant was also poor and breakfast was equally disappointing. I had to ask for a banana and hunt for a natural yogurt . The only bread was off a cheap and nasty sliced loaf. I felt the ship had little festive atmosphere with little in the way of Christmas decorations in many public areas including bars. I was concerned about the staff, many of whom had a poor command of spoken English and seemed to have had little training for their roles. Our cabin steward did a very good job but some of the bar and buffet staff seemed demoralised and lacked any enthusiasm for their jobs which impacted on customer service and the general atmosphere. The evening entertainment options were OK,but the most fun we had on the entire cruise was the crew pantomime. There was no real party atmosphere and the late night dancing spot fell very flat. We have cruised with other companies but sadly. will probably not be going with P and O again unless there is a real change in attitude and evidence of an improvement in standards to match their competitors in a similar price range. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Where to start?A booking of Four which included two frail passengers needing two nearby cabin,s placed fifty cabins apart? .I know that because I counted them every morning. They said we had got a special price and couldn't choose ... Read More
Where to start?A booking of Four which included two frail passengers needing two nearby cabin,s placed fifty cabins apart? .I know that because I counted them every morning. They said we had got a special price and couldn't choose but with the state of our health a bit of flexibility would not have gone amiss. We have travelled with most cruise lines and never had any trouble. Forty pounds for a shampoo and blow? Did I take it? No.Fifteen pounds for a book of bingo tickets? Did I play? No. Hair dryers with pins that wouldn't fit into the socket? Could we use them? No. Barely a morning in Gibraltar which we had so looked forward to visiting? Didn't even get as far as Marks and Spencers. On the plus side the cabin staff and catering staff were great. Maybe they should let them run the ship. Would I take a cruise with P and O again? No. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We booked this cruise as a last minute getaway with the intention of not getting off and spending the day in the spa and eating. P&O wouldn't normally be my first choice of cruise line and after the cruise, I would actually have ... Read More
We booked this cruise as a last minute getaway with the intention of not getting off and spending the day in the spa and eating. P&O wouldn't normally be my first choice of cruise line and after the cruise, I would actually have to say never again. The ship itself appears to be nice but upon closer inspection, a lot of the materials used felt cheap, as a result the ship, which is only 18 months old is very tatty in certain areas. Our balcony cabin felt small and cramped with low ceilings and an almost impossibly small bathroom. There were stains and marks all over the sheets when we first arrived so I had to ask the cabin steward to change them. The real let downs for me were the food and the service. The food was quite frankly disgusting, the buffet options were limited and the quality nowhere near the standard of P&O's competitors. The food in the dining room was somewhat better but was all either cold or overcooked or tasteless. Not one member of staff even smiled at us throughout our two days on board. The spa is nice, although awkwardly positioned near guest services. I felt that throughout the day they oversubscribed it to the point where it was no longer relaxing. I wonder if it was because it was a two day cruise and possibly wouldn't happen on a longer sailing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
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