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

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
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 chose this short cruise to take our two Granddaughters on to see if they would like a longer cruise with us at a later date. Big mistake!! We have cruised with P&O before and had a great time but this was a disaster. The booking in ... Read More
We chose this short cruise to take our two Granddaughters on to see if they would like a longer cruise with us at a later date. Big mistake!! We have cruised with P&O before and had a great time but this was a disaster. The booking in was fine and the cabins were good but the stewards seemed a little confused! As we moved out from Southampton we became aware that we had booked on a 'booze cruise' with the number of Hen and Stag parties on board. The food in the restaurants for adults was fine but very restrictive for young teenagers.. Evening entertainments were good. We only had one stop at Guernsey but the following morning this was cancelled due to weather and the fact that we needed to transfere by tender. My granddaughters were so disappointed. Had we been informed that transfers were subject to weather we would have booked a different cruise where we would have had a definite berthing so they could enjoy the experience of 'going ashore' We were told by the Captain we would have an enjoyable day at sea. It may have been enjoyable for the parties that dominated the pools and hot tubs but for two young girls it was not. I am not a prude but I don't want them subjected to the language we heard. When we finally got into a hot tub just after 6pm it was littered with half eaten food and half empty plastic drink glasses.At this point the crew started to clear all the sun loungers away so we got out. I do not blame the crew for the mess, this was due some selfish passengers. Final point...dining..It was 'hunt the vacant table' time.We ordered drinks with our meals on three occasions and each time they arrived at the end of our meals.Due to the lack on empty tables it felt we were rushed to eat and leave but all of the catering staff. I know that these mini cruises are used to help train the staff but we paid a lot of money for this trip and were all looking forward to it but at the end both granddaughters said thanks but never again,which is a shame as my wife and I have had good cruises with P&O.If your going to take a mini cruise with P&O then be prepared..( I submitted a request to review the cruise with them and to complain but they still haven't replied to date)..We will continue cruising but not with P&O Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This cruise was my 70th birthday celebration, a short cruise with 4 destinations. Because of the engine problems we were late getting to Vigo in Spain, Late to Lisbon and missed out Oporto in Portugal altogether. Very disapointed with ... Read More
This cruise was my 70th birthday celebration, a short cruise with 4 destinations. Because of the engine problems we were late getting to Vigo in Spain, Late to Lisbon and missed out Oporto in Portugal altogether. Very disapointed with this spent an extra day at sea, 4 days out of 7.The cabin we had had broken lampshades with holes in them and a chair that was threadbear with holes in the arms. We complained but only our cabin stewardess was interested and she fetched light shades from another cabin to replace the ones with holes. The food is definitely going down hill with P& O we have been on many cruises and this is noticable. The entertainment was average we spent an extra day at sea with not much to do.At Guernsey we waited 90 minutes to get on a tender ashore and an hour in the harbour to get back. Put us off cruising for good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Mini cruise to Zeebrugge. This cruise was a nightmare from start to finish, as we spent half the cruise queuing. Departure delayed for over 4 hours, muster delayed 45 mins, passengers left standing. We missed our Dinner Friday night as ... Read More
Mini cruise to Zeebrugge. This cruise was a nightmare from start to finish, as we spent half the cruise queuing. Departure delayed for over 4 hours, muster delayed 45 mins, passengers left standing. We missed our Dinner Friday night as pagers did not work. Arrived 3 hours late in Zeebrugge, Missed our Segway experience. We waited over 45 minutes to get off the ship, There were 3 gangways out, only 1 in use. waited over 30 minutes to get back on, again 3 gangways out but only 1 in use.There was no organisation the staff were like headless chickens. Reception staff ignorant & miserable, very unhelpful. Watched an entire show, but could not get a drink. Some of the Captains announcements were inaudible, and his tone sounded more like Butlins at sea. Still no bill provided, money including what should have been on board credit was taken from our banks. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
3 Nt cruise from Southampton to Zebrugger November 24th to 27th 2017. My partner and I have returned from a short cruise. I enjoy cruising and this was about my 20th cruise in 10 years. I felt the need to write this review as we felt ... Read More
3 Nt cruise from Southampton to Zebrugger November 24th to 27th 2017. My partner and I have returned from a short cruise. I enjoy cruising and this was about my 20th cruise in 10 years. I felt the need to write this review as we felt the service on board was sub standard. The ship itself is very tired looking but what really let us down was the service. I appreciate P & O do not offer a drinks package and advise drinks are of "pub" prices. If these are Pub prices than there that of London prices! We were charged £9.95 for a bloody Mary cocktail. The queues to be served in most of the bars were long. At lunchtime in the Buffet we had to search out and ask for a waiter to be served or offerred drinks. The tables around the swimming area on Deck 15 were often full of empty plates/cups, I seldom saw any member of staff cleaning as I have on other ships. The crew staff were not friendly, it was a rare occasion when any of them would say good morning/evening exc..... Disembarkment was a nightmare, we were advised to wait on deck 6 when we got there they said to go to deck 5 and then when we went down to deck 5 they said to go back up to Deck 6...this happened again and then finally we were told to go to the Cinimon restuarant to wait further instructions. When we did finally swipe our card leaving the ship we were asked by security to return to Reception. We had no idea why we were being recalled and unable to leave. We returned to the reception area to find out there was a computer glitch with there payment systems and although I had cleared our account with cash the night before, the system had deleted our payment card details which they required us to complete again. I questioned why this was being asked as we had paid our bill off night before but was advised the system lost a few members accounts...a computer glitch and they required this information before we could leave????. The ship was due to dock Southampton at 6am we did not dock due to ill weather until 10am. My partner suffered sea sickness in the night due to bad weather, this was mentioned to one of the staff members when we were asked to move downstairs to deck 5 from Deck 6 a second time. As soon as this was mentioned we were advised we HAD to go back to our rooms and contact the Nurse/Doctor because it could be the Nero virus. We did as instructed and waited for half hour for a nurse to contact the room when she decided to give us the all clear and allow us to leave the ship. In the end we were very thankful the cruise was only 3 nights and glad leave. Usually when I finish a cruise I look forward to planning the next one.......not this time. We will never sail with P & O again. Unhappy P & O customer From Swansea Wales Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We booked this 2 day cruise for our grand daughters birthday treat. Checking in at Southampton was a long tiring affair, taking almost an hour and half. We had a balcony cabin as we like watching the world sail by. As usual the cabin was ... Read More
We booked this 2 day cruise for our grand daughters birthday treat. Checking in at Southampton was a long tiring affair, taking almost an hour and half. We had a balcony cabin as we like watching the world sail by. As usual the cabin was clean and functional, the cabin Stewart was very efficient as he cleaned the cabin twice a day. At reception a sign said the ship was fully booked, a mix of families and hen do's. The pool area was very busy with certain groups taking over the jacuzzis all afternoon, drinking using real glass's rather than the plastic ones everyone else had to use. They used the sides to place their glasses and bottles. There were groups of people drinking to excess and jumping in the pool wearing their outdoor shorts, there was no one to stop them. The staff were more concerned in selling them more alcohol. Ordering drinks was a long affair as there wasn't enough staff to serve everyone. The restaurant was no better, trying to get a bottle wine was a long time, we had almost eaten our dinner before we got our wine, even when we pre booked it on the wine channel. The food in the restaurant wasn't up to much, portions have been reduced and much less choice. The choice on the formal night was pretty dire, coming out Lukewarm. One of my grand daughters is a vegetarian and the starter choice was goats cheese and the main course was also goats cheese. When we asked if there was anything else, we were told no, we should have ordered it 2 days previous , which would have been hard as we weren't on the ship then. The staff were slow and uninterested. Having been on the azura seven times before, I can honestly say this was my last time. I think they should just name these cruises booze cruises because it seems p and o are not interested in families, just groups who drink as much as they can in the shortest time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
There were many issues and mainly to do with the dining experience, members of staff, certain basic food and drinks not being available. First, I would like to advise this was my first cruise. I travelled with my mother, and has been ... Read More
There were many issues and mainly to do with the dining experience, members of staff, certain basic food and drinks not being available. First, I would like to advise this was my first cruise. I travelled with my mother, and has been on many cruises but never P&O. My mother has always referred to the service as being outstanding on every cruise (cruise Maritime, Thompsons, Fred Olsen). First morning, I attended the buffet breakfast area (conservatory) at around 9.30am to be faced with huge queues waiting for hot food, these queues seem to be taking a considerable amount of time to move. I have been to many 4-5-star hotels all over the world and I expect to queue at busy periods but the queue would always move quickly. After observing for 10 minutes while I wait (moved ever so slightly in this time), it was instantly clear why the queues were not moving. The hot food was not being replenished quick enough, now this was simple things like mushrooms, bacon, fried eggs as so on (basic breakfast food that is normally consumed by most people). I queued and eventually selected what I wanted, but the overall wait was approximately 25 minutes. I did contemplate getting more but the waiting time outweighed the hunger. This continued throughout the duration of the cruise, (every day apart from the last day, this was mainly due to me and my mother arriving at 6am so we could disembark early). Day 3 and onwards, again I had to wait around the same time as above only to be told there was no mushrooms today or they had completely run out. One day that stands out, the 5th day 28th July 2017, I even asked the member of staff behind the counter, only to be told there had not been any mushrooms cooked and there is none being cooked. At my amazement, when I returned to my seat, my mother had mushrooms. Clearly, I was lied to and again they had simply run out, bear in mind, we always attended breakfast between 9am and 10am. The staff in the conservatory buffet seemed very under trained and had no idea how to interact with the guest. Not once did they say, "good morning", Good Afternoon", or Good Evening". Most of the time they spent talking amongst themselves, it also seemed they had their own game going on. I like to watch people, several of the staff would look at each other and make some form of facial gesture, the other one would then laugh, this was though they were insulting the guest and this made me and my mother very uncofortable. As a little test, I left my plate on the side of my table, 3 members of staff were just chatting and laughing, the plate was eventually removed after about 15 minutes. I am unsure what uniform the Management wear, but to me it was a clear there was lack of supervision in the so-called restaurant. I also witnessed a waiter clearing a table and rather than sweep the crumbs etc. from the table on to a tray or their hand, with my astonishment they just swept it on the floor, there was still around 2 hours of service left, appalling. Throughout the duration of the cruise There was no draught Larger in the Crow’s Nest, (well this is what we were advised). The first club dining night, our table (55) had to wait around 45 minutes between starter and main course. This was nothing to do with the waiters. I would like to say the club dining waiters were very professional and an asset to P&O. I I have made an official complaint via P&O website. I have received a reply (took 29 days which falls outside their complaints process, and only I feel i only received a response due to chasing twice) which basically told me what P&O set out to achieve (type of mission/vision statement) but nothing on how they will be dealing with my dissatisfaction. There was also no apology for the late response and they had the cheek to advise they would welcome me back on board. I have replied back to still state my dissatisfaction, and guess what no response. I have even called the customer services to be told we can not put you through to the complaints department, you need to send an email (trust me this doesn't work), I was advised a Manager would call me ASAP (this call took place on 6th September 2017 and i m now writing this on 7th September 2017, and surprise, surprise, I am still waiting for a call. To sum up. DO NOT BOOK A CRUISE WITH P&O and look for an alternative operator. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Myself and my husband ( with our two children) were sailing for 6 days cruise to Spain ,France and Guernsey. Before this cruise, we regularly go cruising, with different companies. But we never sailed with PO Cruises before. Overal ... Read More
Myself and my husband ( with our two children) were sailing for 6 days cruise to Spain ,France and Guernsey. Before this cruise, we regularly go cruising, with different companies. But we never sailed with PO Cruises before. Overal I will describe a cruise to be like a boarding school experience with terrible food and really bad service. We had many issues with the service on the cruise, such as: There were 2 black tie nights during our 6 nights on board. My husband did not bring a black jacket and boe tie . We, because if this, were not allowed in the restarant and on desks during those nights. We had a terrible problem with our room card is not working and we had to go to reception 5 times to sort it out. It took us nearly 3 days and during this time we were not able to buy drinks. The food was just not eatable. It can be described as very bad quality pub food, the same every day. The were very long wait at every port and everyone had to wait for up to an hour for transportation and to go back onto the ship. The staff either ignored our complains, or constantly told us off. They appear to be only interested in selling extras to us. Our last port of call was cancelled by the captain due to the 25 knots wind . It looked fine and snny to me, butthe captain just told us that there will be no stop in Guernsey. We both felt that PO cruises provided us with the experience which we can not described as a holiday. We were so glad to arrive back to Southampton. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I've cruised many times before as a solo passenger so had a pretty good idea as to what to expect - but what a disappointment! Embarkation was straightforward and easy, although I had to pretty much beg a porter to take my suitcase! ... Read More
I've cruised many times before as a solo passenger so had a pretty good idea as to what to expect - but what a disappointment! Embarkation was straightforward and easy, although I had to pretty much beg a porter to take my suitcase! On board the cabin was absolutely fine (Balcony cabin on A deck mid-ship), and yes the ship is looking tired in areas, but on the whole no complaints there. I'm sad to say it was the very poor attitude of the staff which really let this cruise down. It started with breakfast at the buffet on the first morning, a handful of passengers, me included, were waiting for cups to be brought out to the drinks station when we were approached by the head manager, he asked a lady what she was doing and she just said that we were waiting for more cups, not complaining just stating the fact. He got very irate and told her to go to the other drinks stations to get a cup, when she said that her table was close to this one he was incredibly rude and told her to just to walk to another station and that "it wasn't difficult!" and then he walked off. We were all speechless, I've never heard anyone be spoken to like that on a cruise. No one was complaining, we were all quietly waiting and bearing in mind this was the first morning and we were still trying to get to grips with the layout of the ship. Later that day I had to go to the Reception desk as the tv in my room was still showing the names of the previous passengers and so I was blocked from certain things as it still had their settings. When I asked a lady at Reception about this she bit my head off stating that they knew that they had an issue and were trying to sort it out! I understand that she may have been asked that question a few times that day but there was no need to be so rude about it. They could have had a notice up on the reception desk or made an announcement if they didn't want to be constantly asked the question. Unfortunately I had to make a further trip to Reception a day later, same woman, same appalling attitude! The waiting/bar staff did not smile, there was no friendly greeting, I felt like it was an imposition on them by my being there, they genuinely seemed to hate having to be there. The only person who was actually friendly was my cabin steward, however when I passed other stewards they all ignored me or just grunted a response to my greeting. The ports of call and the excursions which I went on were fine, no issues there. Getting on and off the ship in port was very straightforward. Entertainment - hit and miss really. I saw some of the shows in the Arena by the ships' entertainers and they were very good. There was an extraordinarily good young male singer (I can't remember his name but he disembarked at Lisbon), and 3 comics - two of which made me laugh, but the third one (who played in the Arena Theatre), well I thought that we have gone back to the 70s and 80s, his jokes were sexist and xenophobic, I cringed the whole way through and would have left early if I hadn't been in the centre of a row. My experience was so poor that I seriously considered disembarking in Lanzarote and spending the last 5 days of my holiday there - in hindsight I really wish that I had. Needless to say I will never sail with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise as we wanted a short break and to visit Brugge .Please do not book suite cabin G733 or the cabin next door which is G731. The vibrations that we encountered in G733 from the engines were horrendous .They are so bad ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted a short break and to visit Brugge .Please do not book suite cabin G733 or the cabin next door which is G731. The vibrations that we encountered in G733 from the engines were horrendous .They are so bad that you won't be able to sleep for much of the night.You will also get loads of soot on the balcony . The problem with cabin G731 is not the same vibrations from the engines BUT you will hear all the noise from the Live Lounge which is situated under this cabin. We did think that we may be able to hear distant music but not to the extent that again you cannot sleep.It sounds as if the music is coming from the other side of the wall!! This not only happens all evening and into the early hours of the morning but also every time they have rehearsals. The vibrations from the music can also be felt and you will notice if you put something on the table that you can physically see it moving even when you are docked. The staff are aware but P&O still sell these cabins. The service onboard was ok,nothing great but the food was well presented. We went to the shows which were of a good standard. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We traveled as a group of 17 for the weekend from Southampton to Bruges to celebrate my mother's 75th birthday, while we had a great time this was rather in spite of the cruise experience than because of it. At check in we were ... Read More
We traveled as a group of 17 for the weekend from Southampton to Bruges to celebrate my mother's 75th birthday, while we had a great time this was rather in spite of the cruise experience than because of it. At check in we were left to carry our own luggage to the room and also left to find the room ourselves with no directions, which is less straightforward than you might think. The only thing to greet you on board is a man insisting you use handsanitiser - a pretty obvious precusor of what was to come. The lifts are woefully inadequate for the number of people so be ready to lug your bags up and down multiple floors or have a long wait - a very long wait. The cabins were a pleasant surprise, although of dubious cleanliness. Water was provided the first night but not the second - personally I would drink nothing from the taps and wash hands at every opportunity. Before dinner we had the safety talk which was fine and tried on our life jackets - then explored the ship. Top deck had all the activity late afternoon and was heaving. Two small pools and a few hot tubs - if your thing is getting very drunk and watching status quo from a hot tub along with a few hundred others then good luck. There were a lot of hen parties and it seemed perfect for this. The walk around the top deck was quite short and totally uninspiring. The tennis/football extremely small and full of a lot of well oiled men playing football. Golf nets? Forget it. Gym on the other hand was well sized, quite empty and in a prime location on the ship. We had to go early to dinner (6.30pm) as we were a large group, if you came later there was quite a wait. The food choice was probably about what you expect - prawn cocktail and steak and chips etc. Portions were small and the food mediocre to poor. A pub serving this would struggle. Service is slow - but we were a large group. Wine selection is again poor and at cheap end. After dinner saw the ollie murs tribute band - singer was pretty good, atmosphere was lacking and ollie murs doesn't really have enough hits to sustain a tribute band. Tried to go to Karaoke, but it was too busy. Retired to bed. One of our party was up all night being sick, probably from the food - I think this is almost inevitable with a group of our size on a ship like this. Be ready to be woken at about 7am (6am UK) with a huge shuddering as the ship slows and then an announcement telling you about disembarking for Bruges. Breakfast in most restaurants finishes at 9.30 - 8.30am UK so very easy to miss, not that you are missing much. One restaurant stayed open until 10am (9am uk) - very overfull and queue for poor food. Scrambled eggs from packet, no fresh milk, revolting bacon - surely P&O can do a little better?? My wife dropped her toast on the floor and when she picked it up it was covered in hair, not one or two a matting of hair - this boat is not clean. Our day trip to Bruges was a coach to the city and then 3-4 hours to walk around "at our own pace", well as there were 5000 others it was not really at our own pace, more the pace at which you are drifted along by the huge crowds. Also for a return coach I think c.£30 per head is extortion, I can fly for less - get a taxi quote...Bruges was a pretty city but too busy and very touristy. Chocolate is of course delicious and a good purchase. Back on the boat re-embarkation took about 40 minutes! Sitting on coach and standing in queue - thank goodness we are only doing this for one day. We researched supper more diligently and went to the Glass House - a dinner requiring a supplementary charge (worked out about £10-15) per head. Well worth it as the food was good. Sitting 17 was a challenge, so we arrived early - but the waiter managed it and took it all well. It was 30 minutes though before we were seated with a drink. We were all in black tie as were a lot of other passengers which was a nice touch. Armed with the knowledge of the previous night a small group left dinner early to get a table in the karaoke bar. Spent the rest of the evening subjecting the bored looking passengers to our terrible singing - great fun! Woken again at 6.45am and need to vacate cabin by 8am. Even my 19 year old son arrived fully dressed at 7.20am demanding that we leave ASAP - first time I have seen him before noon for a while. Overall, fun for a hen or stag night - although be prepared to deal with waits and crowding - otherwise go if you a curious about what a cruise on a 3000+ vessel is like as it's about as short as they come and you never have to go again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Our embarkation time was 1430 but we arrived a bit early to find chaos in the embarkation hall that was bursting at the seams. The IT system had been down since 1130 and no one was moving. They eventually decided to embark us and for ... Read More
Our embarkation time was 1430 but we arrived a bit early to find chaos in the embarkation hall that was bursting at the seams. The IT system had been down since 1130 and no one was moving. They eventually decided to embark us and for credit cards to be swiped on-board, but then the IT system came online so it was back to normal and wait. At check in I was given our (2) cards and also a map of the ship and told to keep my card in the pocket in the map. I asked for a second map for my wife and was told that this was not allowed, 1 map per party. We did meet a couple on-board and asked them about their boarding experience. They said that they had avoided the turmoil as their daughter worked for Carnival and they had been taken straight on-board. It's not what you know but who you know. Arrived on-board to be told that the conservatory restaurant was still open so dumped our bags in our cabin and made our way there. The BBQ was still open although the sign said that it would close at 1430, our initial boarding time so if it were not for the IT glitch it would have closed before we boarded and no BBQ for us. Our cabin was spacious and well appointed but I did not realise that they made TV's that small. The bed was fine but had 2 of the hardest pillows I have come across in a long time. The ship is obviously showing it's age as there was a fixed ashtray in the bathroom next to the toilet. As we had booked late we had been given anytime dining in the Peninsular Restaurant. After our late lunch we made our way there at about 8pm. The card we had been given from P&O said that the Restaurant. Manager would make every effort to seat us straight away but that there could be a slight wait. The manager appeared very officious and told us that there would be a 50 minute wait for a table. I pointed out the information supplied by P&O and I did not feel that 50 minutes was a slight wait. I was told that he was not responsible for what P&O told me but he was telling me there would be a 50 minute wait. We therefore agreed to share and were seated with a young couple. Starters were fine, soup for me and prawn cocktail for my wife but it went downhill from then. My wife selected the specialty stew for her main course, not good. I had steak and it was 1/4" thick and could only be described as a piece of very poor frying steak. Pudding was no better, my wife's sticky toffee pudding was a piece of dried up ginger sponge that had been sitting around so long that when the sauce was poured over it failed to be absorbed. My Pavlova was a hard disk of meringue, no cream and 3 slices of Kiwi fruit sitting on top and our table companion had exactly the same experience. Petit fours with coffee was 1 tiny square of soft shortbread per person. This experience was so poor, officious manager and very poor food that we decided there and then not to go back the following night, Even though we had taken black tie etc we gave it a miss and went to the Conservatory in smart casual. Even here the food left a lot to be desired. Squid in Chill Sauce was part of the mains. When have you seen squid rings that are perfectly uniform and when cut through the cross section is perfectly circular, bringing to mind rubber "O" rings? Have they now progressed from crab sticks? Breakfast was generally good but on both mornings I had a chocolate muffin, and both times the muffin was dry and stale. Rather than pay P&O for the excursion to Bruge our taxi driver had advised us to take the shuttle to Blankenburg and then the train, and as P&O were not my favourite people at this time that is what we did and had a great day out. There were 2 nights of entertainment on-board, the first by the ships dancers who started off a little slowly but soon warmed up and it was a very enjoyable evening. The second night was a Freddie Mercurie tribute and he was excellent. Half the ship seemed to be taken over by hens, no problems but they really enjoyed the entertainment and by the end of the show he had everyone on their feet and waving their arms. Because we look after our grandchildren we found we could go on this trip at very short notice, and had gone to enjoy the black tie night. We did not do this mainly because of the attitude of the manager at the Peninsular and the very poor quality of the food. Having had chaos during boarding disembarking was not much better with lack of information and long lines. My lasting impression is that P&O set themselves an extremely low standard and consistently failed to achieve it. I very much doubt if we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I've always disagreed when people describe cruising as 'Butlins at Sea'. I still disagree, it was far worse than that. The ship was huge - which of course we already knew, but didn't really appreciate the impact of ... Read More
I've always disagreed when people describe cruising as 'Butlins at Sea'. I still disagree, it was far worse than that. The ship was huge - which of course we already knew, but didn't really appreciate the impact of that. The staff at mealtimes were nowhere near as efficient and polite as they used to be. The meals were no better than we would get in our local pub and no longer had that 'wow' factor. Meagre helpings and hardly a vegetable in sight. The entertainment was the most disappointing. Instead of the West End type shows we have been used to in the past, we had an OK singing group, a few tribute bands and an ageing 'comedian'. That's in inverted commas as he wasn't even funny 40 years ago. Then all the acts were repeated another night. If you didn't enjoy them first time round you didn't want to see them again. We had planned this trip as a 40th birthday treat for our daughter who had not cruised before. Her comment was 'It's not very glamorous is it?' Bilbao as a port of call is a waste of time as there's nothing in its favour apart from the Gugenheim and that's quite ugly. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
cruise holidays I was very very disappointed...everything went wrong.... - staff on reception very unprofessional, miserable, unfriendly and unhelpful staff ( dont know why they are there?!) - cruise with no tv licence????? ... Read More
cruise holidays I was very very disappointed...everything went wrong.... - staff on reception very unprofessional, miserable, unfriendly and unhelpful staff ( dont know why they are there?!) - cruise with no tv licence????? -every tv series had only 2 episodes???? - Pay for internet??? every holidays we went to.. the internet is free of charge...but not on britannia....?! -pay for coffees, teas and ice cream??? free of charge on royal Caribbean cruise - day time entertainment very poor...5 quizzes join the day whats that all about ??? pool entertainment "pool quiz" wohooo very exciting...dont forget to mention pianist who sent people to bed !!!! -buffet food horrible....on Italian day we had lasagna, pasta and garlic bread nothing else...and they called it " Italian day" -our sitting time was 8.30pm we missed nearly every show as the show time join the night was at 7.30pm or 9.30pm and you have to be in theater least 40 mins before the show will start otherwise you wont have a seat !!!!! -we went to see kiki dee cost us £22 waist of money as everyone in a room was asleep..... she was very boring and the night didn't have soul.... - had to pay for a shuffle bus....free of charge on royal Caribbean -every port we went was terrible...apart from Lisbon -morocco was one of our ports never ever again!!!! we were followed by 3 people every where we went and felt so uncomfortable.... the night before we came to marocco we received a letter saying that it was dangerous and we need to stay in a groups?! why would you got there when you know its dangerous?! - another port was grand cannaria but they had a bank holiday and every shop was closed....waste of another day that was.... - shops on a board are bad... not enough choices....and quiet expensive!!! -cant see your bill on a tv you have to go to reception and ask for it every other day just encase they will charged you extra for something you never had or never used!!! -spa so expensive - our cabin was very small and didn't have enough space for 2 people....especially bathroom area where me and my partner proper struggled as only one person could fit in a bathroom and me being pregnant lady i found it very hard and didnt have enough space to move -lifts were a problem for some people never knew where they or the lifts were going -the only one good thing was night show but than every show was only for 45 mins Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was a taster weekend to Bruges Brussels however the port was changed to Le Harve in France due to the terrorist attacks. We understood this but there is nothing to do in Le Harve and it was a terrible choice of port. Embarkation ... Read More
This was a taster weekend to Bruges Brussels however the port was changed to Le Harve in France due to the terrorist attacks. We understood this but there is nothing to do in Le Harve and it was a terrible choice of port. Embarkation - nightmare absolute nightmare we travelled as a family and were told we could board together, not so the check in staff were utterly rude to us really upsetting my elderly mum. Insisting she either board or wait another 3 hours until we were allowed to board. I found it all to be madness we booked this trip in August 2015 and to be told we could board at3.30 was disgraceful especially as we paid to upgrade our room to a cabin suite. Once boarding our luggage didn't arrive until 6:30pm so we couldn't make use of the swimming pool we were sent the wrong luggage labels and the cases went to another room! No apology here either, as first time cruisers we didn't check the luggage tags they sent us to our boarding card why would we! Once aboard service was slow waiting 45mins for drinks, half of the facilities were closed and only one jacuzzi open to the whole ship!! Unless of course you paid £25 each extra for the retreat! Erm who is prepared to pay this when we have paid £650 already for a weekend taster !! Disembarkation was like a cattle market no staff visibility people pushing in all over the place! It was awful and never been treated so bad from a tourist company. Expected more from P&O ship is beautiful but that is nothing with shoddy rude service and lack of ownership !! I would warn all people who are considering parting with their cash to think booking with another company Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was a taster cruise and as such was fairly inexpensive. You would expect however that this would be a chance to impress potential new customers. Couldn't have been further from the truth for us. We experienced 2 days of ... Read More
This was a taster cruise and as such was fairly inexpensive. You would expect however that this would be a chance to impress potential new customers. Couldn't have been further from the truth for us. We experienced 2 days of queuing, lacklustre service, poor communications, poor to non-existent entertainment and borderline incompetence. At our emergency muster, when we eventually got on board having been treated like cattle during embarkation, they didn't even explain how to put the children's life jackets on which were very different from the adults. Its our first cruise experience and we where flabbergasted at how low rent was. If your on a hen or stag do or just want to sit doing nothing but stuff your face in a canteen all day then it ideal. The ship is a huge, bland, poorly designed block of flats with no heart or soul. We where very glad to get home. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We spent New Year 2015/2016 on P&O VENTURA on a 4 day cruise going to Zeebrugge and Amsterdam. And the bad outcome was my fault 100%. Of course the question is “why did I choose P&O ?”. Two main reasons: 1) Never been on it and ... Read More
We spent New Year 2015/2016 on P&O VENTURA on a 4 day cruise going to Zeebrugge and Amsterdam. And the bad outcome was my fault 100%. Of course the question is “why did I choose P&O ?”. Two main reasons: 1) Never been on it and I just wanted to try and 2) Previous year I was on Queen Victoria on the same type of cruise and itinerary and I was thinking that being under the same corporate umbrella the experience will be more or less the same. On top of that my favourite cabin was not available on QV so I choose Ventura to spend the longest night of the year. BIG MISTAKE ! Why ? Ventura, which launched in 2008, aimed apparently to transform what many people consider P&O's somewhat stuffy ambience to one more in tune with the times. The result was a floating pub resembling more a ferry than a cruise liner. As I read, in April 2013, the ship had a multi-million pound makeover including new soft furnishings in the cabins and new carpets throughout but the result is a ferry pretending to be posh and taking you back in ’70 cheap all-inclusive sea side resorts. Embarkation/Disembarkation Even if a fast track embarkation and a dedicated check-in desk are promised for suites on our arrival in Southampton a “charming lady” sent us in a line shouting that P&O don’t do dedicated check-in….”maybe only for the Cpt”. On disembarkation we were queuing on stairs, in a very well organised chaotic way ignoring any safety rules but having an “intellectual touch” as the queue was passing twice the Art Gallery. Quite happy when we reach the shore ! Accommodation Ventura has 1,555 cabins, of which 434 are inside, 1,103 are outside and 881 have a balcony. Aiming for the best experience we choose the most expensive cabin on board (£2000/person/4 days) – ORIENTAL SUITE. There are two of this kind on Ventura, side by side on Deck 12 right at the aft of the ship, 742 square feet (with a 216 square foot balcony). And the Penthouse was the first shock on board. The living area and the bedroom were very generous from the living space point of view, with a lot of storage space and big balcony and bathroom. The deco was what made us scream; a lot of unused space, with furniture that reminds me of a ‘70s all-inclusive cheap resort in Spain with some random paintings who seems to come directly from a B&Q sales. When spending a quite afternoon in the living room I had the feeling that the deco was the result of a “choose the ugliest and the cheapest stuff you can find” competition. According to P&O website a Penthouse includes some “special touches: Butler service, daily canapes, and a Senseo coffee machine with complimentary pods included”. The reality was a little bit different: the coffee machine was replaced with a kettle and the coffee pods with some instant coffee sachets, the daily canapes were randomly selected from the yesterday buffet’s leftovers. The Butler was like a drop of fresh water in the seat: very kind, polite and excellent manners. “Fortunately” his first class service was “well balanced” by the rudest steward I ever meet who has as a main duty to moan every day, sometimes twice a day about almost everything. Even the tip (50 Euros for 4 days) wasn’t good enough for him and he told us off after we had a little cocktail party with some friends in our room. Looking again at P&O website I can see that is mentioned for Penthouse “a flat screen TV, MP3 compatible music player, an iron and ironing board and trouser press plus White Company amenities”. And again … 25% correct! The TV hand an excellent free movies selection but the system didn’t work most of the time and the “play&pause” option was a non-sense. The music system was indeed Bose (wow, wow, wow!!!!!) but didn’t work (still pretty as a piece of furniture) and the iron was probably recuperated from Titanic after staying on the bottom of the Ocean for couple of decades. Initially I was very happy with the amenities as the 4 bottles (shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion) of White Company were a bonus for the cabin. The surprise was that after 2 days when we requested an replacement we were told by the “nice” steward that we are not entitled to get new ones – “only one set per cabin per cruise”. I was checking the P&O website again and didn’t find any information about 2 mandatory showers/cabin/cruise … maybe I missed the page! Dinning P&O’s marketing blurb claims there are 10 restaurants. There aren’t. There are five genuine restaurants (Bay Tree, Cinnamon, Saffron, The White Room, and East); the rest are more casual eateries. Having a penthouse we were entitled to have our dinner in Cinnamon (Deck 5, midships) on a freestyle basis. No difference in the menu between this restaurant and the main one - Bay Tree and to be honest I don’t believe that Marco Pierre White, the creator of the menu, apparently, will be happy with the “corner pub” style of food or “whatever, I aint bovvered” rushed service style. I think for those who will be brave enough to try P&O in the future and eat in the main restaurants the safest option is a salad and a “eat quick and run” dinner style. I manage to take a photo of the “delicious” petit fours at the end but unfortunately I missed the “alien” lamb served that night. For a company that sells its cruises on The Fine Dining experience. Silver Service has gone, but they won't tell you. Wine waiters have an impossible work load, not leaving their previous duty until they are already required for Dinner Service and then too many tables. It's obvious then that most tables are not even going to get their wine order taken until after they have started eating and most will not get ... their wine until they have started main course. This is far from Fine Dining and nothing like the claims made in the brochure about attention to detail to the whole food and beverage experience. In the Cinnamon the portions were a bit mean - one floret of cauliflower and broccoli as vegetables on one occasion (no opportunity to reach '5-a-day!). We had dinner twice here and we decided to try our luck in the speciality restaurants. And there was a different story. Atul Kochhar, the first Indian chef to be awarded the coveted Michelin star, brought his highly sought-after talent and years of experience to Sindhu, a fine dining restaurant where you can experience modern Indian cuisine with a British twist. Fabulous service, elegant deco and amazing food mad worth it the fee that you pay for dinner there. Dinner menus are changed twice a cruise and are drawn from dishes in Kochhar's Benares Restaurant in London. For starters expect shammi kebab (spiced lamb cakes), jai tarang (pan-fried hand-dived scallops) and gosht ke dhuandhar soole (marinated smoked beef skewers). For mains we had Atul's signature plate of lamb rogan josh, chicken murgh and cod jai pari which was sublime .And Sindhu was actually the best dinner we had on board. For New Year Dinner we opted for The Epicurean, positioned right at the back of the ship high up on Deck 17. The former White Room now is an elegant space, with plush carpets and dark furnishings; the menu for kind of imaginative, creative cuisine - molecular gastronomy type - which has style as well as content. The menu presents as traditional but the dishes are re-interpreted for today's modern palates. The New Year dinner, which has a double price than a normal one, included different types of wine with each course and lots of other fun touches: Bloody Mary lollipops to start with a dash of Worcestershire sauce in the centre; salt and pepper oyster and jumbo prawn tempura that comes with an artist's 'paint tube' of sweet pimento sauce; a sorbet designed as a tube of lipstick or a 'poached egg' with a 'yolk' of mango and a 'white' of coconut milk. Again a great decision to spend the night there. One of the few drops of style and class on Ventura. Entertainment I always believe that cruise entertainment attempt to be generally of high quality but this is clearly where P&O cut costs. Very little entertainment during the day and the quality and choice in the evening was not much better. P&O doesn't go in for the huge West End-style productions the big US ships have popularised. Instead, expect British comedy; revue-type shows where the emphasis is on the singing talents of the performer rather than what's going on behind her; and magicians, ventriloquists and tribute acts. On two evenings the entertainment was a film, yes that's correct, a film. On another day a young artist called Karl Lewis was an Olly Murs (!!!) tribute who later in the week returned as himself. He bore no comparison to either. The band called “The Flyrights” were more interested in “chatting up the chicks and having some booze” than performing on stage. Havana, the main nightclub and entertainment venue, where movies are sometimes shown, is an activities room by day and a sultry Cuban-inspired club by night, but sight lines are extremely poor from many seats. Lucky the band “Serious Souls” performed time to time there making the venue more attractive. A video wall in the Cosmopolitan club lounge screens real-time footage of the world’s seven most famous city skylines – Sydney, Paris, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and London but in the evening reminds me a pub in Crawley Friday night. P&O claims the 785-seat Arena Theatre, at the front of the ship and spanning two decks, is the largest show lounge aboard a UK-based cruise ship but in fact the show lounge aboard Queen Mary 2 is larger, with 1,094 seats, as is the Show lounge aboard Independence of the Seas. But that was the place were we have a surprise. “Destination Dance” was the only real entertainment during our 4 days on Ventura. Excellent choreography and performance, amazing lighting and costume, fantastic choice of music and vocals made this show even better than the same production seen couple days later on Queen Victoria. But in general to set a comparison the entertainment was at a level that would expect from a local town talent show. Ventura Fellow Passengers That’s a very delicate point because, based only on what I experienced on board Ventura between 29th december to 2nd of January, I think P&O build its business model around the crowd on board. Food, entertainment, service style (a lot of “All right mate ?!” and “Cheers mate !” in the staff vocabulary) are created for fans of “let’s get pissed in the pub” kind of fun. A typical short cruise will have one formal night and the rest will be 'evening casual', which is defined as open necked shirt and 'tailored trousers' or smart jeans for men; dress or casual separates for women. Forget the rules don’t expect something like that on board. Ventura during this New Year Celebration Cruise was an invasion of bad hair extensions, massive fake eyelashes, cocktail dresses two size smaller when the dress code was formal and of course jackets, ties and bow ties removed and abandoned on chairs, sofas or necks after 5 minutes of wearing. Class or style can hardly find a place on corridors or decks full of ladies collapsed on the floor and crying for lost love around 1.00AM, having in one hand a glass with Echo Falls and in the other the shoes. Was like they were filming a new episode of Benidorm on board! By the way Ventura is the first cruise ship where I saw in the buffet an “Enomatic wine dispenser system” … and that’s says all! Of course reading P&O Facebook page and other sites I realised that P&O and Ventura in particular have a big army of fans. From this point a view P&O scored big time as they created a product for a certain type of market. However if you look for style, class, service standards, elegance and enchanted experience for sure you have to look somewhere else. Is nobody to blame….P&O do the right thing for the right market. Was me who booked the cruise! But at the end of the day our journey was part of a learning curve. Fortunately for us after 4 days on board P&O Ventura we board Cunard Queen Victoria for a 7 days cruise. And, like in the L’Oréal advert, that will smooth the wrinkles of Ventura’s experience! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
As avid cruisers, this was our first cruise in the winter for New Year and it ended up a choice between Cunards Queen Victoria and POs Ventura, both offering similar itineraries from Southampton to Amsterdam for New Year and as we've ... Read More
As avid cruisers, this was our first cruise in the winter for New Year and it ended up a choice between Cunards Queen Victoria and POs Ventura, both offering similar itineraries from Southampton to Amsterdam for New Year and as we've sailed with PO before, we decided to trust the brand we know, big mistake. "Discover the best of Bruges and celebrate the New Year in Amsterdam" is what the brochure said......... What it failed to add is that you're highly unlikely to get there in the winter unless the weather is perfect and the seas are calm, why..... the Ventura only has a 5 metre tolerance to maneuver up the narrow canals to Amsterdam and does not have the same type of thrusters as the Queen Victoria (who made it), least that's what we were told by the captain as the we approached Amsterdam in the early hours of New Years eve, then turned around! This was a cruise with an advertised itinerary of Southampton, Bruges, Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Southampton, which turned out to be Bruges with 3 days at sea! As a consequence we spent 2 days over the New Year drifting in the North Sea on an over crowded ship with very little entertainment or things to do. To cap it all off, the final evening after dinner we thought we'd try our luck in the casino only to find signs on all the tables and machines saying it was closed, presumably because we'd came home early to Southampton and we were no longer in international waters! Knowing what we know now, we would never have booked the Ventura for this cruise and why PO would plan this ship and itinerary is a mystery. Apparently this same New Year cruise was on the smaller Oceana last year, maybe they got greedy and took a risk on the bigger ship, who knows. Overall, apart from Bruges which is a beautiful city any time of the year, this cruise was a disaster and we would certainly not recommend it to fellow passengers. PO had no 'plan B' despite the obvious indications that we would not make Amsterdam, they offered a lukewarm apology at best from the captain and no compensation whatsoever, not even a free drink, despite what I would consider a major change on the itinerary advertised. We will certainly not be returning to any PO cruise ships in the future. Embarkation / Disembarkation An excellent start to the holiday, early arrival, small queues and on board within 45 minutes so no complaints there. Just as swift a departure, called at 9.15am and in the car by 10.00am. Accommodation We had a balcony cabin on R deck (14), the cabins are a decent size and well laid out with plenty of storage although they are starting to look rather tired and dated. This deck is just under the main pool deck and food hall and we had read reviews about noise from sunbeds, but we thought as it was winter this would be ok, we were wrong, the noise from dragging chairs and tables was constant from around 7am until late in the evening. Dining My previous experiences with PO dining has always been very positive however this was by far the worst dining we'd experienced on any cruise ship in the main dining room. We were on freedom dining and allocated to the Saffron restaurant, overall the experience was slow with poor service, bland food and really small portions, like Gammon, egg, few peas 4 chips! Although this was freedom dining, New Years was changed to a set dining time and this should have been the highlight of the cruise. Wrong again, the whole evening spoilt by the fact that we sat at 8.45pm, asked 4 times for a waiter to serve us drinks which we eventually received when we were being served our dessert around an hour later. I seen some people walking out of the restaurant to go and collect drinks themselves from the red bar nearby, not what I would call a fine dining experience! Entertainment The usual combination of live bands and tribute acts, overall standard was average. Other than a few movies there was very little on offer during the day, however this is probably because we not supposed to be on the ship! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I chose this 2 night cruise because I wanted to try a different cruise line other than my usual NCL. Big mistake! Whilst the ship was large it was so badly designed it was very difficult to get around. There are 4 pools on board, oasis at ... Read More
I chose this 2 night cruise because I wanted to try a different cruise line other than my usual NCL. Big mistake! Whilst the ship was large it was so badly designed it was very difficult to get around. There are 4 pools on board, oasis at the front, pool terrace aft, an indoor pool and another outdoor pool in the middle of the deck. Oasis is adults only I believe. I was surprised to see that I had to take a ticket and wait to be called for check-in and the woman at check-in gave me no information whatsoever. I had no clue why she had taken my credit card, she did not explain anything to em about the auto gratuity that was added. A fellow passenger told me that I did not have to pay this and should have been given the option upon check-in. After I checked in it was then to go through security and striaght onto the ship which all went smoothly. The staff in general were a miserable lot with one or two looking a little happy every now and again. My single cabin F328 was located next to the Exchange Bar. Karaoke went on here until late and so it was impossible to sleep until this had finished. I was offered no sympathy from either the cruiseline itself via the phone nor the reception staff and there was no offer of compensation. I was actually told that when it was time for me to go to sleep for me to go to reception and ask them to turn down the bass. I am firmly of the opinion that these cabins shoud not have been built because they are subpar. I will say this however, the cabins are far bigger than NCL, although as you are not in it much apart from sleeping this isn't the be all and end all for me. A good night's sleep is. The food was hit and miss. The buffet was a joke it was so small with ropes cordoning off certain parts and it was very difficult to find seating due to the sheer number of passengers. Fajitas with tortillas were advertised and I had to stand there and ask for the fajita as it was not there and for the tortillas. I was provided with a warm fajita to place the chilli in myself but no tortilla. Everythign seemed too much for the staff at the buffet. Thankfully, the evening meal improved with lobster thermidor which I thoroughly enjoyed, althoug the mushroom soup was of such a bizarre consistency I could not eat it. i finished my meal with pached strawberries but there were no strawberries on my plate whatsoever just some ridiculous coulis amde from strawberries. Dinner the following night was mediocre. The best food by far on the ship were the small homemade pizzas with 4 types to choose from as well as a daily special. I thoroughly enjoyed these. The drinks could've been better priced (£6.50-£8.50) and are cheaper with NCL. Beers are mainly British. The entertainment was laughable. the comedian on the first night was so bad I would've left but I was stuck in the middle of a row and wouldn't have been able to get out without some comment from the imbecilic man. There was also a Take That tribute band which was pathetic. If I coudl have got off the ship that night I would gladly have gone. The tender service to Guernsey the next day operated well and it only took me 25 minutes to get onto the tender. Disembarkation was also fine, however I feel being made to leave the cabins at 8am is asking a bit much. We had to queue to get to breakfast which was annoying as only one restaurant was open. In short this was my first and last cruise with P&O as it is well below the standards I am used to. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
If you ever wandered what a holiday camp at sea would be like this is the ship for you. When I say holiday camp I am going back to what they were like in the sixties as holiday camps nowadays are much improved. Myself and my wife believed ... Read More
If you ever wandered what a holiday camp at sea would be like this is the ship for you. When I say holiday camp I am going back to what they were like in the sixties as holiday camps nowadays are much improved. Myself and my wife believed all the hype when this ship was being built and as a result booked a 12night cruise in September and this two night cruise in early July from Southampton to Guernsey. The reviews we read since the ship went into service made us regret booking the September cruise. So much so that we cancelled it before the cost balance was due. We obviously lost our deposit but better that we thought than paying out a lot more and regretting it. The obvious risk was that we would enjoy our two night cruise and have a massive regret losing our deposit for the longer cruise. We needn't have worried. All the negative reviews were correct and we enjoyed this two day cruise knowing that we had made the correct decision and saved ourselves a packet and never having to return. I can understand what a lot of people have said about the negative reviews. Go with an open mind. However in the back of your mind is always that thought. Can all those people who wrote those bad reviews be wrong and the answer is no. First of all let me list the positives about this ship. Right now that that's done lets list the negatives and these wont be new to anyone who has read previous reviews. Very poor lifts. Poor bland food and choice of food. Uncomfortable seats in the theatre and far too small for the size of ship. Poor viewing from cinema seats unless in the front row. Small dirty stateroom balconies. Areas around the pools dirty and this was the case even the next morning after the crowds had left from the previous day. Glum staff in the Horizon buffet who looked as if they didn't really want to be there. I could go on but its all been said before. The happy passengers waiting to disembark said it all really. P and O really are the poor relations when it comes to cruise holidays. Never mind it was a lesson learned and we now have another cruise to look forward to but on a proper cruise ship. Hi De Hi campers Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Just got back from a 2 night cruse to Bruges. This ship is very very tired. we had an outside cabin that you could barely see out of the window due to the stains on the window. The bathroom was very old a beaten up with rust on the door ... Read More
Just got back from a 2 night cruse to Bruges. This ship is very very tired. we had an outside cabin that you could barely see out of the window due to the stains on the window. The bathroom was very old a beaten up with rust on the door frame and fittings, a dirty old shower hose greeted you every time we had a shower. The sink looked like it had had a respray at some point but most of that paint had pealed off and looked very ugly. The staff on the ship clearly do not want to be there and are just going through the very basic of motions. Food was very poor compared to other cruses that we have been on, I would compare it to those cheep pub chains where you can eat what you like for £3.99. Drinks are very expensive, £6.25 for a small glass of wine. We spent an hour or so in the Casino where the English croupier was a complete novice and was very very scruffy. The overall experience was poor and speaking to fellow passenger's they felt the same. We got the feeling that the ship is about to go out of service and that they are just trying to get every penny out of the ship before they decommission it. I had high expectations as the broacher on line makes it out to be one of the best ships on the ocean but I have to say I have been on better passenger ferry's.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I have sailed on P&O's Arcadia and Ventura and cruised with RCI,NCL, Cunard and Thomson. This cruise was a complete let down when compared to all of the other cruises I have been on. The food selection and quality is poor and the ... Read More
I have sailed on P&O's Arcadia and Ventura and cruised with RCI,NCL, Cunard and Thomson. This cruise was a complete let down when compared to all of the other cruises I have been on. The food selection and quality is poor and the organisation in the Orangery buffet restaurant was chaotic. We paid £12 each extra for the Pennant Grill (which is basically part of the outside deck of the buffet restaurant, with tablecloths). The food was ok but if you wanted certain menu items such as steak or strawberries you had to pay an extra £3 to £5 per item on top. The food wasn't even worth the extra money and I have eaten better in some of the main restaurants on other cruise lines. The ship is a smaller older ship, which we knew when we booked the cruise but there seems to be no atmosphere. The staff have to be the worst I have ever experienced. They seem miserable and uninterested and at times I felt like I was putting them out. I don't want to be waited on hand and foot but I have had better service in McDonalds. The only staff member who was pleasant and helpful was our Cabin Steward 'Glenn'. I was really glad this was only a 2 day cruise, I wouldn't like to spend any longer on this ship (perhaps the staff feel the same way and that is why they are so miserable). I feel very let down by this cruise, I traveled with 6 others experiencing their first cruise and feel I have let them down and should have suggested a different cruise. Save your money and precious holiday time and choose a different ship or cruiseline. P&O you need to sort things out on this ship, the standards aren't acceptable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We have just returned from our first cruise from Cape Town to Southampton, and to be honest this was one of the most regrettable choices that we could have made. To list all the disappointing items would be a mammoth task, but here goes ... Read More
We have just returned from our first cruise from Cape Town to Southampton, and to be honest this was one of the most regrettable choices that we could have made. To list all the disappointing items would be a mammoth task, but here goes for the main ones: The food in the Medina restaurant was awful, our first meal of roast pork was inedible and quickly convinced us to try the Cafe Bordeaux the next day. We checked the Medina menu each day, and realized that the choice of food was basically very poor British type 1980 pub food. The alternative, cafe Bordeaux was not much better and this at a premium of Pound 9.50 per person preposterous. Food rarely reached the table hot, was certainly not fine dining, desserts were the same as those found in the Orangery. Coffee was worse than our nescafe in our cabin. In order to have a half decent cup of coffee we had to pay Pound 2.20 for a cup of Costa The entertainment aboard the ship from Cape Town was very limited, listening to an athletic champion of 1988 in 2014 was very poor to say the least. Discussion on the Big Five or the sonnets of Shakespeare became quickly the best way for afternoon naps. The captain was often funnier than the comedians. My partner tried watercolor lessons, but a 45 minute (contract from P&O) for over 40 people was a total waste of time if one was there to learn something. Line dancing, Bridge, cha cha cha, along with poor food, awful and expensive shore visits seemed to be a very expensive first time cruise holiday, which we will clearly not do again. Luckily we had paid for and received a good cabin with an excellent steward that enabled us to spend a great deal of time playing solitaire, reading and longing for home cooking and finally being able to leave the ship. ( I dread to think what the passengers that have basic inside cabins without a balcony could be doing ) We will add this letter to the growing dissatisfied P&O forums, so really do suggest that you listen to the complaints, maybe invite Marco Pierre White to take the ship more often, maybe incognito? Finally having to pay 30 Pound for 100 minutes of internet time is the biggest rip off of the century, back in Southampton there is free WiFi on a local bus!!!. And in most hotels and guesthouses.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
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