1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. P&O Cruises
  4. P&O Cruises Cruise Reviews

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

Azura Mini Cruise to Zeebrugge and Guernsey.Embarkation was slick and painless apart from the overzealous security,why an 80+ years old lady should have anything threatening in her flat shoes is beyond me.The ship was very clean and ... Read More
Azura Mini Cruise to Zeebrugge and Guernsey.Embarkation was slick and painless apart from the overzealous security,why an 80+ years old lady should have anything threatening in her flat shoes is beyond me.The ship was very clean and despite what a previous reviewer has stated our cabin was immaculately clean and very well equipped. Freedom Dining in the Meridian was very enjoyable with good quality food well presented and hot,the staff though very busy were attentive and professional. The "Seventeen" fine dining restaurant was worth every penny of the £58 surcharge and was an experience to treasure.Sindhu was a little disappointing in that the food though good was served by a bored,tired Waitress and was not worth the £40 surcharge. 72 for 2 people to take the coach to Brugge was bordering on usury,so we took the free shuttle bus to Blankenberg station and for the princely sum of 11Euros 80 return for 2 tickets we enjoyed the 15 minute journey to Brugge and a had a very nice time exploring this very pretty but very busy town. Guernsey was a bit of a disappointment as we arrived on a Sunday and it was shut! Entertainment on board was varied and ranged from awful to brilliant with Charlotte and Jonathan being brilliant. All in all a nice relaxing break on a well run very hard worked ship at a great price and we wholeheartedly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Just returned from a 2 night Mini Cruise from Southampton to Zeebrugee. We booked the mini cruise as a surprise for our friends 40th Birthday. 6 of us travelling all on C Deck (floor 10) in a Balcony room. Check in was swift and ... Read More
Just returned from a 2 night Mini Cruise from Southampton to Zeebrugee. We booked the mini cruise as a surprise for our friends 40th Birthday. 6 of us travelling all on C Deck (floor 10) in a Balcony room. Check in was swift and effortless -- we were only waiting half an hour and were called in groups to check in. Within 15 mins we were on board and heading to the buffet. Food: Lovely -- Buffet's were hot and plentiful with loads of options. However in the buffet rooms the ceilings felt quite low and therefore due to the layout did feel small. There were 4 sections -- 2 on each side of the ship. Main restaurants always seemed busy, we ate in Cinnamon on both nights on the Freeway dining option. On both nights we had to wait to be seated but were offered a buzzer so we could drink in the Antrium whilst waiting. The food in here was again very nice with 5 courses served. The portion sizes were spot on albeit the service was a tad slow (due to how busy it was). Other place to eat was by the pool bar which served burgers and hot dogs. Very nice again. All in all couldn't fault the food at all. Drinks: Cheap -- in fact cheaper then UK Pub prices, Cocktail of the day was £3.95 (normal price £4.75). Pint of Stella at £3.65 and wine @ £4.25. Excellent again. No service charge on drinks and no VAT added. Service: Every time you sat down a waiter asked what drink you wanted. They were quick and pleasant. Well Done. Service in Restaurant was equally pleasant. Everyone, down to the cleaners were friendly and smiling. Room: Having sailed on NCL Epic and RC Independence we weren't expecting to be blown away by the rooms, but, they were adequate and mighty comfortable. Loads of storage space and loads of coat hangers to use. Beds were twin beds and so so soft. Individual Air Con in room. Fridge and coffee/Tea making also. Large free electronic safe. Fresh towels changed twice a day along with turn down service at night. Bliss. Entertainment: Hit and miss to be honest. Just your normal cruise type of entertainment. Live show twice a night in the Theatre and various live singers in different bars. All very professional though. Casino was awful though -- right next to the very loud Karaoke bar. Full of drunk guests and deafening..... They need to sort this part out. To summarise: A lovely 2 night cruise on o lovely large ship. But, doing 2 nights really does tire you out. Not a negative but P&O should change it to a 3 night Cruise with 1 night in Port to allow its guests to do and see everything. The 4 other people in our party had never been on a Cruise. Now they have, they are ready to book their next one. No negatives about the whole cruise, Well Done P&O. Spot on!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Following an easy approach to the port and seamless courtesy parking we had a superbly organised embarkation. Once on board all public restaurants and public areas were operational until staterooms were ready (within the hour. Having ... Read More
Following an easy approach to the port and seamless courtesy parking we had a superbly organised embarkation. Once on board all public restaurants and public areas were operational until staterooms were ready (within the hour. Having treated ourselves to an upgrade to luxury balcony cabin to celebrate my wifes birthday we were disappointed to find that we had to ask for the promised :- Flowers (a fish bowl of 2 orchids was supplied the following day) Bathrobes (told that they would be delivered either that evening or the day after - it was the second afternoon after repeated requests that they were delivered! Bowl of fruit - 1 apple, 1 banana, 1 orange and 3 grapes were left in the room on the second day. We also had to ask for housekeeping to look over the room again due to lots of dust and pencil marks on and around the tea and coffee making area. Such omissions and having to make a number of repeated requests certainly takes some gloss off the 'extras' that are paid for and which should be in place on arrival. Food on board was available at a number of outlets and we found, in contrast to sister ship Ventura last year, that the food in the buffet restaurants to be very greasy at all meals. The freedom dining option in Meridian was fully booked and tables had to be waited for (up to 45minutes at a time) on a number of occasions. The food and service here was of a high standard apart from the poor selection of sweets offered along with an extremely limited cheeseboard. Evening entertainment was variable in quality with excellent tributes (Elton John and Annie Lennox) and live acts (Clem Curtis from the Foundations).The main theatre comedian was rather poor with a very dated act in comparison to another comedian in Manhattan showbar who was topical and an excellent ad libber. The in house troupe were enthusiastic but lacked some sparkle, particularly the male vocalists. Day time entertainment, whilst available, was very low key often dominated by quizzes which, in turn, were dominated by larger groups of almost 'professional' quizzers giving the occasional attenders little or no chance of winning. The ports of call (Stavanger, Flam, Geiranger and Bergen) were excellent and certainly helped by the weather. P&O offered trips at inflated prices and the proximity of many trip services in Port made this even more exasperating for some who had booked on board The return journey was slowed by an issue to one of the propulsion engines giving a 3 hour delay in docking in Southampton. Whilst the fault could not have been foreseen the lack of organisation at disembarkation surely should have been - it was a shambles! The early self help disembarkation was, it appeared, to be massively oversubscribed. The overcrowding of passengers with luggage wishing to get off early was disorganised and ill conceived with little communication from staff in the various lounges (many 'trapped' in the theatre with several suitcases). When the doors finally opened the ensuing scramble of many fractious passengers ensured that politeness went overboard and a number of quite threatening exchanges took place as those who had waited patiently in hot, cramped conditions were kept at bay whilst many opportunist latecomers jumped the queues add to frustrations - all this in complete contrast to the superb organisation of embarkation, please learn some lessons from this as there were 2 days to prepare. However, believe it or not, we did have an enjoyable cruise and find P&O remain good value for money with on board charges being in sterling and without the unfounded addition of a 15% service charge on every purchase Again on disembarkation the CPS parking service were exemplary offering a quick exit from the dock area. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
I'm an avid Ventura fan but I have tried to give an unbiased and honest account of my most recent time onboard. I can talk the hind legs off a donkey given the chance, so I've tried to mention the important bits rather than a ... Read More
I'm an avid Ventura fan but I have tried to give an unbiased and honest account of my most recent time onboard. I can talk the hind legs off a donkey given the chance, so I've tried to mention the important bits rather than a day-by-day account. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Generally this was ok. We only live around 45 minutes from Southampton so we arrived in plenty of time to check-in, but were then met with various queues of cars all waiting to use the CPS parking. We probably sat for a good hour waiting for them to call our row of cars, but when they eventually did the porters were very efficient in taking our luggage and they also park the car for you, which I hadn't realised when I'd booked the parking. Check-in was very quick and we probably went from car to our cabin in around 10-15 minutes. Disembarkation was busy, as you would expect with some 3000 people all wanting to get off. They ended up calling our colour card in the middle of breakfast as everything was ready ahead of schedule, so by the time we had finished and got out of the restaurant, a huge queue had formed which looped around the Atrium and through the Exchange bar. It moved fairly quickly though and we were off within around 15-20 minutes. Cabin: I managed to upgrade our Inside cabin to a Balcony last minute but hadn't told Mum. Her 'Oh wow, a balcony!' reaction made it worth the extra money, and we definitely made use of the extra space (though I think I've now spoilt her so nothing but a Balcony will do!). Our cabin, B743, was a JF grade standard Balcony on B Deck. It was the last one on the starboard side at the rear of the ship and had a fantastic view down the length of the ship. We overlooked the balconies on decks C and D below, although this wasn't a problem for us and the people below didn't seem to mind us being able to see their balcony either. Our cabin was clean and tidy with plenty of storage space. The bathroom was small but perfectly comfortable for a few nights - my only gripe is it had a shower curtain which I hate (I prefer the sliding doors I've experienced on RCI and Celebrity). Our cabin steward, Sadashiv, came and introduced himself shortly after we arrived, and he kept our cabin spotless and was always very chatty and polite the few times that we passed him in the corridor. I've never had a cabin at the rear of a ship before and I'm not sure I'd choose to do it again. The first night was pretty bumpy and there was a fairly constant roll even on the calm days, and when the ship was manoeuvring backwards the whole cabin shook. Dining: We'd been booked on to the 2nd sitting at 8.45pm with a table for 8 in the Saffron Restaurant. Our table companions consisted of another mother/daughter combo, grandparents with their granddaughter and a single traveller on her first cruise. We all found plenty to talk about and I really enjoy this type of dining as you get to know people, swapping stories and tips along the way. Our waiters were fantastic, although I didn't think to make a note of their names. The food itself I thought was excellent and each night there was something completely different so it never got boring. We had breakfast here twice too, which was also very good and I was surprised at how much choice there was. The only other place we ate was in The Waterside and The Beach House, which are the buffet restaurants. We ate here for supper on embarkation day as we'd skipped lunch and dinner was several hours away. The Waterside was heaving but that's to be expected, and as the Beach House was effectively closed we brought our food through to eat there where it was quieter. The choice of food wasn't great and it all tasted pretty bland. There was also only water or tea/coffee available which I wasn't best pleased about - surely they could have had juice or squash too? Other cruise lines do. We ate here once more for breakfast the next day and then decided that it wasn't for us. The choice of breakfast food was good, with hot, cold, cereal and pastries but again it was all very bland and didn't compare to the breakfast we had the following day in the Saffron Restaurant. Frankie's Grill and Frankie's Pizzeria seemed very popular so we will probably try that out when we go again in September. We also saved trying the speciality restaurants East and The White Room, as it's difficult to get a reservation on a short cruise. Ramblas seemed like a nice area and I heard other people saying the food was nice too, but to me it seems a bit forgotten and was usually empty whenever we walked through it. Entertainment: The Sail-away Party was brilliant despite the overcast weather. The live band played a real mixture of classic and modern songs that seemed to appeal to everyone. We saw 2 of the 3 shows in the Arena theatre, with the first being Destination Dance which was like a mini-musical showcasing lots of different styles of dancing as well as live singing. The best part for me was the end where the whole of the Headliners dance troupe performed a Riverdance-style Irish jig, which was just fantastic! The second show we saw was on the last night and was a Boogie nights-style show, with disco music throughout the decades, and some acrobatics thrown in for good measure. Considering there are probably only about 14 or 15 members of Headliners they do an amazing job, with constant costume changes and not a single note out of key. They are probably one of the best shows I've seen so far. We went to Havana's once but it was rammed full (they had the Robbie Williams tribute act that night) and also only went to Metropolis once as we found the music a little depressing (a quietly spoken woman and a keyboard does not qualify as entertainment in my book!) We didn't bother with The Exchange as karaoke isn't for either of us, but it was always packed when were walked to and from the theatre. The Red Bar was nice for a spot of people watching as its right by the Atrium and one night the pianist got some of the waiters singing which was great. Can't really comment on the daytime entertainment as we were off the ship, and obviously not travelling with kids I've no idea what the kids' clubs were like either. Gym/Spa: I only encountered these areas on my tour of the ship, but I will be making use of them on my cruise in September. I love the spa, and use of the thermal suite seemed very reasonable to me, working out around £10 per day. The people in the gym were perhaps a little over-enthusiastic but I imagine that's the only way to encourage people to use it! Overall, I still really love the Ventura but she is definitely starting to show her age and I think the refurbishment next Spring is well-timed and well-needed. I still maintain that she's a great ship for young and old and I didn't see any of the so-called 'Butlins' or 'chavvy' people that I've seen mentioned on so many reviews. All the staff I encountered were superb, the food for the most part was excellent and the entertainment was top notch - I can't wait until September when Mum and I go back for more! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Arrived at Ocean Terminal just after 11.30 and was given a lettered ticket for check-in (previously been used to been given a card after checkin but I'm sure the numbers we are talking about for Ventura explains the difference. Most ... Read More
Arrived at Ocean Terminal just after 11.30 and was given a lettered ticket for check-in (previously been used to been given a card after checkin but I'm sure the numbers we are talking about for Ventura explains the difference. Most people looked like me in the terminal i.e. excited and with a daft "expectant holiday" grin but there is always a percentage of people with the expression like the Queen watching the Olympics. Why is that? You're going on a cruise!!Anyway, check-in was a breeze and we were through that and security within 20 minutes. We were directed straight to Waterside Buffet ( I was going there anyway!)Greeting staff were all very smiley. I was very impressed the quality and variety of the buffet throughout the cruise much better than on Oriana and Oceana in my (more recent) other experience of P&O in my opinion. I can see what people mean about the congestion for the various stations at the buffet which is partly due to the "angled" nature of the different parts but also down to people "zig-zagging" backwards and forwards when they either have forgotten things or have spotted something appetising on someone else's plate(the gastronomic equivalent of the grass being greener).When particular a logjam was being created by a zig-zagger who was elbowing a member of staff out of the way I commented to the crew member you have to be slim to work here he returned a knowing look... Anyway, for the record, I had stir fried chilli prawns which were excellent a small piece of salmon (bit dry and overcooked) lamb dopiaza which was very tasty and succulent, followed by a cream horn which was also very good. Securing a seat was always a challenge and we usually carried our food into the Beachouse part. Both the log jam stations and seating are something P&O should consider addressing at the impending refit in my view. We then had a bit of a potter around the open decks and went for a swim in the Beachcomber Pool with my daughter whilst my wife enjoyed a spot on a sun lounger. The roof was open for the entire cruise apart from the last night and disembarkation morning a testimony to the beautiful weather we were fortunate to have. Felt sorry for the children whose parents either didn't know or had forgotten to pack swimwear in carry on luggage.However, I can't be too smug as I'd forgotten to pack towels as of course the blue pool towels now reside in your cabin. So I snuck down to the cabin feeling a bit like a naughty schoolboy as the all clear was yet to be sounded and grabbed a couple of towels and had a sneak preview of the JF grade balcony cabin on B deck aft, first impressions were good and i was able to put our 2 cases in the cabin as they were already there. Had lovely swim followed by a dry off on the loungers and a first drink. By then, there were plenty of loungers as most people stampeded when the announcement of your cabins are ready but we took our time .Met our cabin steward Santance who was very quiet but polite and smiley and very efficient and made a point of remembering our names every time he greeted us which I always think is nice. Had longer inspection of the cabin (I can never call it a stateroom although the word cabin does still remind me most of an incredibly pokey 4 berth cabin on Canberra). My wife was particularly impressed with the walk-in wardrobe which was a useful feature but I didn't get quite so excited..Liked the (pretty compact) balcony although was quite surprised that much of the varnish of the balcony rail was on the missing list. Bathroom I would describe as compact in fact exactly the same size as an inside cabin on Oceana which was a bit of a surprise. My daughter's bunk hadn't been pulled down but as in the other days it appeared at night time turn down .It did have a special duvet but despite being assured by P&O beforehand that all children received a welcome balloon and jelly sweets neither appeared although we did notice numerous children on the last day with balloons. Then off to lifeboat drill which didn't seem as crowded as Oriana last year and it appeared to be taken more seriously (people were more attentive) perhaps a symptom of recent events. After sail away ( a lovely member of staff took a photo of the 3 of us ) we decided to give the Beachouse a try. We really enjoyed the experience had a lovely table with a sea view. I had French Onion Soup with cheese crouton, The sizzler combo and apple crumble. The first 2 courses were excellent the third just ok. We formed the impression that waiters here were being tried out to see if they were up to main dining room standard and service here was patchy, but the food I thought was very good. We then fancied both the Soul tribute in the Arena and Fogwell Flax but plumped for Fogwell. We found him very funny his impressions were good and gags appropriate for a mixed audience.Liked his Ventura walk gag which whilst mainly visual gave the impression most have which is you are never quite sure which way you are going not helped by the numerous dead ends. We had 2 lovely cocktails raspberry crème brulee and gin and sherry cobbler served with a smile which always helps. Liked Havana as a venue- nice decor. So to bed -tired but happy. Slept ok but beds quite small(I'm tall but not all that wide but wider than I was!) and not all that comfy in my view compared to Oriana last year. Day 2-Zeebrugge.Went to Bruges last year from Oriana so had already decided to just go into Blankenberge so had leisurely breakfast at buffet. I was impressed with range of choice hot & cold options. Always found the fresh fruit to be delicious and at right stage of ripeness in particular the melon and pineapple. There was then an announcement about 10.30 I think saying that there was a long wait for shuttle buses so perhaps people might consider delaying their departure. We had a quick look over the side and it didn't seem too bad so we went off anyway. We waited less than 10 minutes. Weather was scorchio! We went into Blankenberge which is a popular seaside resort with Belgians, it was packed! We had a look around the shops, some fascinating cake and chocolate shops and followed the throng to the seafront. The beach is ok nothing spectacular but we went into the Serpetarium (snakes spiders etc) which was reasonably priced and well set out. We had a nice picnic on the seafront and then a stroll on the Pier and had a Belgian Beer (it would be rude not to) at the cafe at the end of the pier. Then we went back on the shuttle to return to Ventura. Our daughter now being 10 had said she wasn't going to the kids club, but a note had been left offering the chance to pick up a free gift between 6 and 7 in the Peninsula room. She was seduced by this and received a nice "Reef" holdall. The staff then "sold" the club in a gentle way pointing out the benefits and doing the "I know you're 10 but going round with Mum and Dad all day must get boring give us a chance" .It worked as she asked to go back to have a look after dinner and went every night after that. Some people have mentioned that there are no cocktail parties for cruises of less than 7 nights but whilst that is true of 2 nighters, I am happy to confirm we did have a "reception" party in the Atrium with free drinkies. We timed our escape just before everyone else to sample Cinnamon freedom dining. The Food was excellent and the service was good too. I had Mushroom and white wine soup(one of the nicest soups I've ever had),Glazed Duck which was nice(portion a bit small but then I'm greedy) and Fresh Strawberries with Whipped Cream, Toasted Flaked Almonds and a Warm Chocolate Biscuit which was lovely, followed by good cheese board. The wine waiter appeared promptly and we had a nice bottle of Montepulciano D'Abruzzo. My daughter then went off to the kids club and was introduced to the other kids, we kept coming back to check on her and were told to go away (you are cramping my style). We had a drink in Metropolis and enjoyed the views (and the cocktails). As a change of scene we also tried Ramblas, we loved the decor and atmosphere in there and had a glass of red propping up the bar .I do hope the rumours of Ramblas possibly being replaced during the refit are unfounded as we loved it. Day3-Le Havre Had a huge buffet breakfast(as usual) today the Beachouse server part was open previously only used for seating at breakfast ,expect that was because the venue just got busier and busier. Had a quick look at Terrace Pool my daughter keen to try this later as Laguna and Beachcomber were very packed the previous day. Took shuttle into centre and had a mooch around the Hotel De Ville nice gardens and fountains. Planned to get shuttle back to 2nd stopoff-Docks Verdon (big out of town shopping centre)but jumped a taxi instead very pleasant taxi driver who seemed pleased to have English passengers, his English was excellent(far better than my French).My Daughter headed for what appeared to be the French rival to Toys r Us La Grande Recre which stocked some Monster High items(her latest great interest) that are not available in the Uk and therefore will afford her some bragging rights back home.The centre was like many out of town centres although built in an old dock area the exterior of the building had more charm than usual and it was nice and cool on a very hot day. We had a lovely sandwich and cake from a Boulangerie although my daughter insisted on having hers from Subway(sigh) We then returned onboard for a swim in the Terrace Pool and a pleasant dry off in the sun on the wooden stepped area, whilst having afternoon tea from the buffet(jam and cream scones-my idea of heaven, cheese & pineapple toastie-yum and duck and hoi sin wrap-also yum) and drinking "mocktails"-Bananberry Crush ( Strawberry, fresh banana and pineapple juice) which excellent bit like a smoothie and Longboat Fizz( Ginger beer and lime juice) which sounds wrong somehow but was very refreshing actually and worked. We then went to the Beach House for a 2nd time but more people had cottoned on to this option so we were sent away with a buzzer but it did buzz bang on the time we were given. This time I had Buffalo wings which were ok nothing special and the Steak which was excellent. However, the service was much less attentive second time around and we were basically forgotten and people after us "overtook" us and had their sweets before we had even got to plate clearing of our main. In fact our waiter was physically absent for ages. We gave up in the end and went to the buffet for cheese and biscuits and a coffee. We struggled to find entertainment we were interested in tonight and apart from the clash on the first night, this was a theme and normally I've felt it to be a strong point of P&O. My daughter went to Kids Club again and enjoyed putting her own mocktails together. Day 4-Guernsey A further buffet breakfast (again excellent fruits) and then off by tender (took a while with ticketing system but seemed much better organised than when we were here on Oceana). We had arranged to meet my Mum's lifelong friend here she's from Guernsey and was an evacuee who lived with My Mum and they have stayed firm friends ever since and her daughter which was bittersweet as my Mum has dementia which has now progressed to the stage we felt we couldn't bring her with us, we have taken her with us on 4 previous cruises since My Dad passed away. I did feel guilty (especially today)but Mum did love hearing about the lovely time we had. We had a whole tour of the Island which has some truly beautiful coves and beaches. We went to Port Soif beach which is beautiful and had a picnic made by our hosts including egg sandwiches with eggs from her own hens and Gache for pudding (a type of Guernsey fruit loaf-very Moorish with real butter).We also swam in the sea which was bracing but lovely.We then went to Bordeaux -not France but Guernsey style a lovely cove with a view and had a drink outdoors.There were some people painting the bay which was a lovely tranquil scene but all I could think of was the fast show character Johnny who paints everything black! We then headed back to St Peter Port having a lovely view on the way of Ventura and stopped off to buy some Gache back home.Our hosts were wonderful and very proud of the Island and they have every right to be. It being our last night I had fully planned a formal restaurant meal but encouraged by others i went to see what the buffet had to offer and succumbed. Had Tomato and Basil soup(nice butt Basil a bit overpowering followed by Roast Beef and all the trimmings which was very nice although they were a bit skinny with the meat and I had to do an Oliver and ask for more.I also snuck a steak and mushroom pudding on my plate and this was sublime. Had 2 Banoffee pies (they were very small your honour) and cheese and biscuits for "afters".My daughter asked to go to kids club so we went to see Martin Gold who we thought had a big build up but Fogwell Flax was funnier he wasn't bad but not that good either.Nice to be able to sit and relax though and have drink in your seat. We were ready for bed before our daughter!She came back with a goody bag which nice a few games in it-Pairs-Uno etc. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Just returned from a 3 night mini cruise departing Southampton and stopping at Zeebrugge and Le Havre. Other than a Disney mini cruise this was our first experience for 12 years and a taster cruise for a longer 12 night cruise booken in ... Read More
Just returned from a 3 night mini cruise departing Southampton and stopping at Zeebrugge and Le Havre. Other than a Disney mini cruise this was our first experience for 12 years and a taster cruise for a longer 12 night cruise booken in August on Celebrity Solstice. The weather was hot 23 - 26 degrees which was great although the embarkation lines were full of people fanning themselves whilst waiting in line. The embarkation was smooth and the wait was approximately 20 minutes which was fine for us. We were sat at the riviera bar by 2.30 and getting ourselves settled in nicely. I did think that as Oriana was adults only that it may have turned out to be booze cruise style experience. However despite there being some large groups of female birthday and hen parties the mini cruise did not suffer as a result. We had an inside cabin on deck 10 which for 3 nights in the Channel/North Sea was more than adequate. We ate in the orintal restaurant on 2 nights and 1 night in Ocean Grill, and in my opinion opting for the Ocean Grill experience despite the £17.95 cover charge was well justified. The menu selection in both the Peninsualr and the Oriental is the same and was good (but not great) Breakfast we decided to opt for the Peninsular as I'm not a fan of "cattle class" buffet style venues, however when walking through it didn't seem too bad. The service at breakfast was a little slow, however we were in no rush so it didn't bother us.......however on debarkation day the waiters seemed to be "on speed" and rushed the food to us rather too hastily. The experience has given us an insight into what we may expect on future longer cruises and we were definitly not disappointed and would reccoment to anybody who is uncertain about cruising. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We embarked Arcadia on 9 March, 2012 in Sydney, enroute to Southampton on 27 April. Embarkation was easy, staff receptive. NOTE: 10 of my previous cruises have been on Princess ships. We got a very good deal from our agent $100 per day ... Read More
We embarked Arcadia on 9 March, 2012 in Sydney, enroute to Southampton on 27 April. Embarkation was easy, staff receptive. NOTE: 10 of my previous cruises have been on Princess ships. We got a very good deal from our agent $100 per day pp. Our cabin was NA grade, obstructed view on E deck, what we paid for and what we got, nothing special about he cabin, lifeboat outside window. Bed a little hard, good shower and bath, small TV, but no real complaints about cabin. Steward very good. I am a Coeliac - Gluten Free and on most occasions I got the correct advice from staff re GF food. The food on board was adequate in both Food Court and in MDR. We took second sitting. Food service was very good. Food Court layout very good, not much congestion due to seperate areas for different food. The mainly Indian staff on board were very good. Entertainment reasonable, Headliners singers/dancers very good. Bands on board good. Sophistication Duo in particular, we became their fans, even buying a CD. Drinks on board very reasonable prices and you could buy liquor from ship's shop and consume it in your cabin, plus no restriction on what you brought on board. Excellent ! Condition of furnishings on ship a little tardy, overdue for refurbish. Now the VIRUS and HYGEINE, like many others on board I contracted the dreaded Arcadia Virus after leaving Singapore, various symptoms, coughing, high temperature, just felt like dying. etc. Went to Ships Doctor, confined to cabin for 4 days. Even the Doctor remarked the hygeine standards of many pax on board were not good, leading to spread of the virus. I noted also lack of cleaning in toilets and handrails, which you see a lot of on Princess. Ports were good, missed Seychelles due to Pirates and St Helena because of seas, such is life. We did ships shorex not private tours. We did a walk off in Southampton, off the ship at 0745. Would I travel on P&O UK again? probably not due to HYGEINE standards. Also TOO MANY Formal nights for me ! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
well here we are back today (4/4/13) from barbados on board a very friendly ship. we embarked on our first ever flight from gatwick where,after an accident to my wife on the escalator we were fast tracked through the airport and looked ... Read More
well here we are back today (4/4/13) from barbados on board a very friendly ship. we embarked on our first ever flight from gatwick where,after an accident to my wife on the escalator we were fast tracked through the airport and looked after very well by very concerned staff at both the airport and on the plane,the 8 3/4 hrs flight was very enjoyable and we were well fed and watered throughout. bit of a bumpy landing but apparently any landing you walk away from is a good one.at barbados we were asked to sit tight whilst everyone was off loaded then we were directed to a private mercedes who transferred us to the ship. we didn't ask for any favours but thank both p & o and thompson for their concern over my wifes dilemma.getting on board was very easy and quick and as we had been on the ventura we knew the ropes and where to go so went straight to our room.the room we had we selected ourselves about 12months ago and was R748 RIGHT ON THE AFT END ON THE CORNER.A LOVELY CABIN THAT ATTRACTED THE SUN MOST OF THE DAY.the cabin steward (cagi) was first class and looked after us very well.the room was kept clean at all times and he was very thorough.we had freedom dining and were treated to a culinary feast most evenings.we ate in the glass house on one night and had the best steak i had tasted for a long while.i will add here that the service in the meridian was very polite and and acceptable but the waiting on several occasions was unnessasarily long.during the day and for breakfast we used the buffet dining and found something to suit our tastes on all occasions.the bars were very enjoyable and we spent the most time in brodies .as i am akin to a bit of karaoke.again we had some fun in there and made some nice aquaintences.p & o have their prices right in the bars so a very well done to them for that. the entertainment was quite good with a choice of variety.the azura orchestra was great peters band .that played for the dancers was the best i had heard for a long time.a vent act went down well as did a micheal buble tribute in the theatre.jet set suffered from jet lag most of the time. the girl singer .a very nice young lady with a voice that doesnt match her personality.the entertainment team pulled out all the stops for the great british sailaway in st.kitts where we gave an american crowd a taste of britain at its best . they were on a rc boat and pulled out before we did so giving us a chance to wave em goodbye.the best sailaway ive ever been too. most interesting speaker was ricky bastin who gave a series of talks on the life of concorde. very interesting. overall.we traveled with friends who were first time cruisers and had a damn good time. if i reflect positively i did not enjoy so many sea days.and this was the reason we picked this cruise.i would rather fly out and fly back than sail transatlantic.i would certainly recommend the azura and will be back soon for probably the fiords Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
I and 5 friends set sail for a two night mini cruise on the P&O Aurora, Southampton to Bruges mid-November. Although the embarkation line was long, it did move quickly. In fact we were on board and having lunch in under an hour of ... Read More
I and 5 friends set sail for a two night mini cruise on the P&O Aurora, Southampton to Bruges mid-November. Although the embarkation line was long, it did move quickly. In fact we were on board and having lunch in under an hour of joining the queue. My single cabin C102 was very comfortable. However I'd say you would be a bit hard pushed for space if it was sold as a double. The "White Company" toiletries were a real nice touch. The ship itself is very clean, lots of open deck space including a full wrap around deck (all with teak floors) and modern public lounge areas. For a mid-size ship, there were plenty of bars and lounges to hang-out and relax. Although this was only a two nighter, the second evening was a" formal dinner". That meant trying to pack a full, formal dinner suite into a small carry-on weekend trolley bag... Something I think is a little over the top for such a short trip. But it was fun nonetheless to dress up. The food on both occasions was tasty, presented well and the lobster on formal night went down very well. One thing I did notice different to the American lines is that the waiters make a bit of a "thing" if you ask to have more than one item of a particular choice. So getting a lobster and a steak or even two starters brings with it a real sense of "ummmmmmmm" wellllllll I'll have to ask! Another difference we all noticed was the friendliness of the staff. Don't get me wrong, all the staff did what they needed to do, but that was it.... The staff didn't seem to be able to have a laugh with you, have a joke with you or have any understanding of what it was you were talking to them about (if it wasn't to do with the task you had them do... i.e. bring you a drink from the bar). They often just looked at you and walked away. I have to say, doing a cruise longer than 2 nights with this sort of customer service fills me with dread, I think I'll stick to an american style service. I can't comment on what the ship tours of Bruges were like as I didn't get off the ship. Instead I managed to spend a few hours swimming in the heated pools and hot tubes, very relaxing indeed. The age ranged from the very young running around in nappies to the very old, snoozing in any area that had a couch. Given there were lots of stag and hen groups, the bars were often in full swing by late afternoon. Even the staff in the all night disco, were given their run for their money on both nights. So much so extra staff was needed to cope with a full house of party goers. As they say "all good things must come to an end", so I guess this cruise was no different. Yes I would cruise with P&O again but if it was for a cruise longer than a few days, I'll most probably choose an American line or Cunard first. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Guernsey,France & Spain 6th Aug 2011 7 Nights My Mother and I are experienced cruisers and have sailed with Princess, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Fred Olsen & Cunard. Pre-cruise information by email was good and ... Read More
Guernsey,France & Spain 6th Aug 2011 7 Nights My Mother and I are experienced cruisers and have sailed with Princess, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Fred Olsen & Cunard. Pre-cruise information by email was good and P&O send a beautifully presented bound folder with all the information about your cruise, excursion information and ready printed luggage labels. We arrived at the Ocean Terminal in good time and after leaving our car with Cruise & Passenger Services we had a short wait before checkin. Then it was through security and onto the ship. All our cases arrived within a very short time of arriving in the cabin. Our Balcony Staterooms on Britannia Deck were compact but clean and well presented. There were decent wardrobes and good shelf space but good size drawer space was lacking. The ensuite had a shower only but there was always plenty of hot water. The TV was very out of date and the picture quality was poor. The balcony doors were extremely heavy, and in the case of my elderly Mother's cabin very stiff due to lack of maintenance. Maintenance were called later on but some adjustments made very little difference. After a freshen up it was off to the Plaza (Lido Cafe) for a drink and something to eat. The food here was generally very good indeed, with a wide range of hot & cold food available, in the evening sometimes with a particular theme. It has to be said however that the level of waiter service and organisation in the Plaza was nothing like as good as on the Crown Princess we cruised on the previous week. Help usually had to be requested and there were much fewer staff available for this. Also Butter, Jam and UHT milk were all in small pots in large bowls, which we felt did not assist hygiene matters (see our separate report of the Crown Princess). We never had to queue when using the Plaza. It is also worth mentioning that hand gel was actively insisted upon whenever anybody entered the cafe and was freely available in all areas throughout the ship. Our evening meals were taken in the Adriatic Restaurant where we were on a table for eight. Our Table waiter and his assistant were very efficient catering for our every need. The quality of the fish and meat at times however left a great deal to be desired, and pastry items were often very solid. Afternoon Teas were also served in the restaurant and these were most enjoyable, with a wide variety of sandwiches, cakes and scones to choose from. The layout of the ship is good, very easy to get around with the Promenade Deck containing most of the public lounges, bars and theatres. The Piazza (Atrium) which covers three decks is the central hub with an attractive Coffee Bar and some shops on the other levels. One major hassle however is the elevators. These are slow and the direction indicators are poor with virtually no audible warning of arrival. On occasions the call button lights would go out but no elevator would appear. All this resulted in much frustration and delay and at times people just gave up and used the stairs. Attended only one of the shows by the resident company, but volumes were far too loud and so left after a short while. Joined in some of the deck games and evening quizzes which were well run by pleasant entertainment staff. PORTS OF CALL ST PETER PORT, GUERNSEY The only tender port on the cruise. The short crossing to the landing stage was a bit bumpy particularly on return. A local coach driver was our guide for this short afternoon tour, which took us on a circular route around the island. Generally we were not over impressed, it is pretty enough but some how lacked the wow factor. We also missed going through the town, which was closed off due to a charity event. BREST Did not leave the ship here as we had no tour booked, so can't comment on this port. LA ROCHELLE It was a pleasure to return to this attractive but very busy port. Our afternoon tour took us first to the little town of Saintes, where we visited the Cathedral of Saint Pierre. The second destination was the La Roche Courbon (Courbon Castle). Transformed into a residence in the 17th Century it was restored in 1920 and a tour of the interior revealed a series of interesting rooms many with painted wood panelling and beams. The gardens, best viewed from the terrace, are beautifully kept with a large ornamental lake dominating the scene. Our excellent and knowledgeable guide provided a continual commentary on the many historical facts of the region while we viewed the unspoilt French countryside on our return journey. BILBAO No tour booked here, but took the free shuttle bus into the centre to visit the Guggenheim Museum. You may have to queue to get in, I waited about twenty minutes and a further ten minutes to get my ticket and free audio guide. I found the building difficult to navigate, with galleries scattered all over the different floors and the signage is very poor. The audio guide was OK if you wanted to spend time listening about the building, but not much use for the galleries. On my visit there was a mixture of Abstract art displays and other more 'off the wall' sort of exhibits. However I enjoyed the visit and seeing the building. LA CORUNA Booked a short afternoon tour here and took in some of the city highlights with a stop at the Tower of Hercules, Europe's oldest working lighthouse. We enjoyed some drinks and snacks at a local hotel before returning to the ship. An excellent well informed guide looked after us all. Disembarkation was smooth and trouble free and all the cases were grouped in Deck Order which made it much easier to locate them. Overall an enjoyable cruise on a well run ship, with good service, accommodation and food. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Decided to stay in Bournemouth for 2 nights prior to embarking, great idea, got across to Southampton before the traffice built up, short visit to West Quay, and then to the berth. Unfortunately P&O changed the berth at the last ... Read More
Decided to stay in Bournemouth for 2 nights prior to embarking, great idea, got across to Southampton before the traffice built up, short visit to West Quay, and then to the berth. Unfortunately P&O changed the berth at the last minute, and although having informed the Travel Agent I didn't find out until I got back - guess who I am no longer booking with!!!!!! Onto Oceana -Cabin was great good location easy access to the stern deck, A Deck ideal location. Cabin Steward was excellent as usual. On board service no problem, great table 166 in the resturant. Food also good. Entertainment - Main shows and solo performers no problems, only area of concern was the group who played in the Yacht and Compass - absolutely appalling - allegedly Hungarian, with extremely bad commancd of English. The ship itself, growing a little tired in the public areas - in need of some refurbrishment - as an example the chairs and settees in the Yacht and Compass need their cushions replaced, some carpet also needs replacing. The itinerary - great choice Vigo Lisbon Cadiz Casablance and Gibraltar, went on the Santiago Tour again good value for money. So if anyone from P&O reads thisreview, how about a little spend on seating and carpets apart from that change the Yacht and Compass Band. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
First time with P & O so we were not sure what to expect, arrived around 11 am to check in, once this was completed we board around 12 noon. Cabins would not be ready till 14.30 but not a problem as we had lunch then went to explore. ... Read More
First time with P & O so we were not sure what to expect, arrived around 11 am to check in, once this was completed we board around 12 noon. Cabins would not be ready till 14.30 but not a problem as we had lunch then went to explore. Plenty of bars to choose from, we liked the planet bar and Glass house best . We ended our evenings at the Java bar, listening to a very good group, when they finished a piano player carried on, which we could still hear as he was on the floor above in the Blue bar. Manhattan very good for entertainment if you could get a seat!, theatre was more easy but only went once as so much choice of entertainment and you just cannot do it all. We had a table in the Oriental restaurant, good choice of food, waiter service could have been better, felt as if we were thrown our menus then immediately asked if we were ready to order. Wine waiter was very good though. Would suggest that P & O put more signage up as this restaurant not that easy to get to, would choose any other one but this one another time. Cabin steward very helpful, he kept everything very clean and tidy. Disembarkation went well although chaos in the dining room as everyone wanted to eat at same time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our 5th Cruise with P and O, and first time both passing through the new Ocean Terminal,and embarking Azura. Check in was overstretched and only just keeping on top of the situation: a problem we have not encountered previously. ... Read More
This was our 5th Cruise with P and O, and first time both passing through the new Ocean Terminal,and embarking Azura. Check in was overstretched and only just keeping on top of the situation: a problem we have not encountered previously. The new Queen Elizabeth had been named by Her Majesty a mere three days earlier: perhaps this was why we were subjected to more stringent Security screening than any Airport we have passed through. The belts upon gentleman's trousers had to be removed, shoes with buckles taken off and screened, etc. I wear Orthopaedic footwear, complete with steel shanks: and I did not appreciate the staff who were conducting the screening, drawing unfavourable attention to my mobility problems. Having been sat upon a chair whilst my shoes were scanned, insult was added to injury by telling me that I would have to walk through the machine bare footed. This I cannot do:which is why shoes are hand made to support me. Had this been my first experience of Cruising, it would have been my last.However, once we were allowed on board the Ship, the enjoyment of the voyage began. The Atrium is stunning; and we squeezed into one of the scenic lifts to ride up to Lido Deck, where Lunch was available in both of the Self Service Restaurants:Venezia and Verona. (Verona becomes an Italian Trattoria with Waiter Service, in the evenings.) Cabins would not be ready for occupation until 2-30pm, so after we had finished our meal, we made our way down to the Manhattan Night Club on Deck 7, at the Stern. This is a vast, beautifully decorated , and most comfortable room. And so to our Deluxe Balcony Stateroom on 'D' deck: immaculate! Clean, welcoming, and with a fantastic Steward, named Jude. Champagne, chocolates, and flowers as a special touch. We settled in like Ducks in a favorite pond: and the 3 nights on board went far too quickly. Another week would have just what the Doctor ordered! A word of warning regarding the Balconies on D Deck: they are completely open to the elements. No shade at all: and are overlooked by C Deck above, and both A & B Decks above that. This we discovered when we went outside with our Champagne to listen to the Jazz Band Sail Away, which was great fun. We ate First Sitting Dinner in the Oriental Restaurant, at the rear of the Ship; only accessible from the back set of lifts. (Azura has several 'dead ends' to overcome.) The food was mouth watering, with our Waiters Prayson and Nishi very pleasant and eager to be of service. Some tables for two are sited very close to one another, as was ours: but we had friendly neighbours in the shape of Jill and Rita, whose conversation enhanced our Dinner Times. Our fellow passengers whom we shared tables with at Breakfasts and Lunches were all friendly, and the common gripe amongst us was too few lifts for the number of people on board. Azura is huge, and it wasn't possible to explore her fully across 3 nights. We paid a visit to the Spa on our second afternoon, and paid for access to the Thermal Suite. The Aromatic Steam Rooms and spray showers are great: but there are only 5 heated Ceramic Loungers to go around when one wants to relax, afterwards. And once reclining upon one of these, it would be oh so easy, to doze off for ages. Other participants warned us that the supposedly specially heated Oasis pool, was malfunctioning: and the water was stone cold!! Another point to make about the Spa:there are not enough lockers, in the Ladies Changing Room. Spoiled for choice for Bars and Entertainment, but we are not Night Owls, and didn't get the most out of all that was on offer. Met some ladies whose Cabin was above Manhattan: they stayed up until 2-30 a.m, because the noise from both the Nightclub, and the Ship engines far below, meant that they hadn't been able to sleep, the night before! All in all, Azura gets the thumbs up from us; and pleased to conclude by saying that disembarkation went like a dream. Our colour coded card was timed for 10-00am, but we were called at 9-10. Very sorry to leave the Ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Embarkation Arrived at Southampton and was immediately faced with an enormous queue. Took about 1hr 20 mins for us to finally get on board as opposed to previous cruise in May with RCI which took only 20 mins. Thought P&O would have ... Read More
Embarkation Arrived at Southampton and was immediately faced with an enormous queue. Took about 1hr 20 mins for us to finally get on board as opposed to previous cruise in May with RCI which took only 20 mins. Thought P&O would have had this down to a tee by now but obviously not. Stateroom Had a superior deluxe balcony cabin on deck 9. Room was long but quite narrow, nicely appointed though with a good size settee plus a table and 2 small chairs. Room also had 2 televisions (not sure why though some may find them useful). Bathroom was compact but again nicely appointed and fine for a cruise, taller people may find the shower a problem as you would need to be under 5 foot 2 inches to stand under it without stooping. Storage space was fairly good with plenty of hangers plus cases could be stored under the bed. Had champagne, chocolates and flowers in room on arrival, with the use of binoculars + world map, umbrella, gowns and slippers . I wouldn't say I was wowed by the stateroom but certainly not disappointed by it and thought it was worth the price paid. Food Breakfast in the buffet was fairly good, not quite as much choice as other cruise lines but still more than enough. You could also get freshly made omelettes and poached eggs from a separate station which was very welcome. Usual crowds of people but that is to be expected with buffet dining so either go early or try for a table just outside as they seemed to be rarely used. Lunch was probably the most disappointing part of the food experience on Azura. The hot meals never really looked very inviting or had that much variety with a lot of repetition over the week. Desserts were disappointing with very little taste. I think P&O have done quite a bit of cost cutting at lunch. Fortunately you could always get a nice salad with cold meats etc so not all bad news at lunch. Afternoon tea, again disappointing with tasteless cakes, dry scones and tiny portions of whipped cream. The only highlight for me was the one occasion they served bread and butter pudding which was moist and tasted delicious. Main Dining Room Dinner Fortunately this was much better! I found the choice of food to be very good. All of the meals were of a high standard with a good selection of vegetables with each meal. The meals on formal night were of an even better standard, well done P&O! Always managed to get a table for 2 each night, sometimes with a small wait for a table but never more than 15 mins. My only complaint with the dining room was the staff, who nearly all seemed indifferent almost to the point of rudeness. Nowhere near the level of service received on other lines where staff seemed genuinely pleased to help you. Speciality dining Where do I start. 17, Sindhu and the Glass house were all fantastic. Excellent food, good service and nice surroundings. This for me is what dining is about. If you can afford the extra cover charge then this is definitely the way to go, as dining in any of the above restaurants was far superior than any main dining room meals. Best to reserve early as after a couple of days 17 and Sindhu were fully booked. Drinks and Wine Very good value all round, could not fault this in any way with reasonable prices in all the bars and wine prices to suit all budgets. The house wine being a very good example! Entertainment Definitely the best entertainment I have had on any cruise. The main P&O cast called The Headliners were absolutely brilliant with shows that would not be out of place on a London stage (have heard this claimed before but not witnessed it till now). Very good tribute acts Phil Collins and Mick Hucknell who not only looked like their famous counterparts but sounded really good too! Female vocalist Lynda Radcliffe was fantastic as well. Good piano music to be found in various locations around the ship. In my opinion P&O have got this absolutely right with some great venues for these shows at the Playhouse Theatre, Malabar and Manhattan Bar. The stage, sound and lighting are second to none. The shows are also on 2 or 3 times a night giving everyone a chance to see them. Also worth a mention is Planet Bar at the top of the ship for a sophisticated pre dinner drink or cocktail. Disembarkation First of all I should mention that P&O need to get a better system for this at some of the ports visited. For instance Brest in France had quite a short stop planned, by the time we docked and several hundred passengers dawdled off the boat to join lengthy queues for the shuttle buses there was hardly anytime left at the port. I appreciate that getting the vast number of people onboard a large ship ashore is no easy task but surely P&O should be able to handle this by now? Fortunately disembarkation at the end of the cruise went very smoothly with everyone getting off about an hour before the scheduled time. Overall an enjoyable cruise with room for improvements. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Pre-Cruise Flew from Durham Tees Valley to Southampton on Sunday. Less than 3 hours from home to hotel. Pre-booked taxi at Southampton, waiting when we arrived - very slick. Stayed for 2 nights at Novotel, clean, convenient and good value. ... Read More
Pre-Cruise Flew from Durham Tees Valley to Southampton on Sunday. Less than 3 hours from home to hotel. Pre-booked taxi at Southampton, waiting when we arrived - very slick. Stayed for 2 nights at Novotel, clean, convenient and good value. Dinner in the hotel on Sunday but too long a wait on Monday so walked across to the 'golden arches'. Monday visited friends in Cowes via Red Jet - expensive for an adult, cheap for a senior! Embarkation (Tuesday) Taxi from hotel at 12:15, bit slow through the traffic, allocated green X and waited about 25 minutes to be called to check in then about another 25 minutes to clear check-in, photographer and security to board ship. Lunch in buffet - not as busy I expected and easy to join others at a large table. Cabin Inside cabin forward on Barbados Deck; functional and clean just like Ventura and Princess Grand Class Ships. Set up as twin, much more usable space than as a double. Dining We had selected freedom dining for this cruise to guarantee the Meridian restaurant in the centre of the ship. Dined in Meridian on four nights. No wait on any evening, always happy to share, arrived at various times from 7pm to 8.15pm. Three good tables, one dreadful when we shared with three others from one family, Very opinionated male who could only compare food service to fine dining restaurants which was a little unfair, had loads of other complaints which he should have known about if he'd read the brochure. He ruined our dinner that night and it was the black and white formal night - he had on a grey suit, straw trilby and sunglasses!!!! Have to say that food in main dining room was a little disappointing and in one area we weren't happy with the waiters - kept touching you or thrusting menu right in your face. Other areas were better. Two evenings we ate in the Trattoria - what a great experience; excellent service, interesting menu and excellent food. We also ate in XVII one evening - supplement for this cruise was £25pp. What can I say; a wonderful evening with superb food and superlative service, more than worth the supplement. Glasshouse: we had tapas in the glasshouse on the first sea day, this was very good. Buffet: generally ate breakfast and lunch here.Choice is a little limited compared to the American ships but generally OK. We usually had to join a table but never wandered around hunting. Entertainment Attending two Headliners shows; both were enjoyable. Listened to various music ensembles, all good. Phil Collins impersonator was good first time and not so good second time around. Went to cooking demonstration by Atul Kulchar and wine talk by Olly Smith - both were personable and easy to listen to. Theatre was too full to get into Martin Lewis talk. On board Only real disappointment of cruise was the complete lack of organisation when arriving at Port. We were late into Dublin and then Captain announced gangways were open when they weren't and there was a real scrum. I though the crew would have learnt from this but at Brest when again we were late it was even worse. No separation of those on excursions from others and the queue was huge to get off so some on excursions got very upset when they couldn't get off to get to their meet point at the right time. Why did P&O not meet the excursions in the theatre and use one gangway for excursions and one for everyone else??? Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We've recently returned from our first cruise and enjoyed it so much that we're now cruise converts! We'd been interested in booking a cruise for sometime but weren't sure if it was our sort of holiday. We did lots of ... Read More
We've recently returned from our first cruise and enjoyed it so much that we're now cruise converts! We'd been interested in booking a cruise for sometime but weren't sure if it was our sort of holiday. We did lots of research as to which would be a suitable ship and eventually picked P & O's Ventura, we thought we'd go for 7 days only, just in case we didn't like it. We used the P & O website to book the holiday, getting a 10% discount and double on-board spend. We had staterooms A501 with a balcony and A517 inside and also chose the freedom-dining option. Living only three-quarters of an hour from Southampton, we had a short drive to the Ocean Terminal and were impressed with the CPS parking arrangements. Wasn't really sure what to expect with the check-in procedure but were pleasantly surprised with how smooth, efficient and stress-less it was. We arrived about 1.00pm and it was busy - it was announced later in the day that there had been 2,500 people in the terminal at that time - but considering the amount of people checking in we couldn't believe that it only took 45 mins between arriving and boarding. We went up to the Waterside Restaurant, had something to eat and it was announced that the cabins were ready at about 2.00pm. Following a quick walk around Deck 15 we went to our cabins. Some of the luggage was already outside the door; some didn't turn up until a few hours later. We had a balcony cabin and an inside one. Both were very comfortable. The beds were really comfy, plenty of storage space, etc. The hairdryer was powerful enough to dry my thick, shoulder, length hair; it was an ordinary plug in one (not one of those powerless wall mounted ones you sometimes find in hotel), so don't worry about packing a hairdryer. My GHD's also worked perfectly. Two small bottles of water were supplied, along with tea, coffee, milk, biscuits and sweets. Complimentary toiletries were by the White Company. Beach towels were also supplied. The balcony was great, enough room for three of us to sit out on and wasn't overlooked, although we could look down onto Decks C and D. We used either the Beach House or the Waterside for breakfast. Lots of choice from traditional cooked breakfast, through to cereals, pastries, fruits, etc. Although the ship was full we never had a problem finding a table. You could also have breakfast delivered to your room. Lunchtimes (when onboard) we used the Waterside Restaurant (wide choice of food) or Frankies, where they did lovely pizzas to order and a good burger (perfect for when you're relaxing on deck or using the pool). Occasionally we would pop into Waterside for a bit of afternoon tea, where there was a selection of sandwiches, cakes, etc. There was a silver-service tea in Saffron each afternoon but we never got as far as getting there; next time maybe..... In the evenings we used either Cinnamon (we went at about 7.00pm and never had a problem getting a table), Beach Bistro or Waterside. Again, a wide range of food, always well cooked and presented. I'm veggie and had no problems finding something to eat. We had a quick peek into Marco Pierre White's restaurant and it looked very inviting, they also did a good veggie option. However, we were so busy trying the other restaurants that we ran out of time to go there. Apparently, MPW was on Ventura the week before, so we just missed him. Entertainment was very good. My favourites were the Four Tops and Drifters Tribute Groups. We also saw Saturday Night Fever and a Freddie Mercury Tribute. There were also plenty of different quizzes including a Dr Who one, talks, classes, etc. Cheryl Baker was guest speaker, not my cup of tea but others who saw her found her enjoyable. The facilities for children looked fantastic and my nephews would of loved them. All the children seemed happy and were well behaved. I had a quick look round but didn't use the gym. Plenty of equipment and great views. At the Oasis Spa is a sauna and steam room for general use. Also for £10 a day you had unlimited use of the Thermaspa. This I did use and it had a couple of steam rooms and a lanconium, complete with warm tiled beds for relaxing on. I felt great after using this. Outside is the adult pool, which although slightly chilly is meant for swimming in, rather than playing in. It was also a lap pool but unfortunately the machinery was out of order last week, due to some rough weather on the previous cruise! There were also two lovely Jacuzzi's too. We used the indoor Beachcoomber Pool on the wet days and the Laguna Pool on the sunny days both were lovely and warm. Didn't get to try the Terrace Pool as we tended to always be down the other end of the boat. Weather wise we had a real mixed bag, so you'd be wise to take summer and winter clothes on a trip to the Fjords. Our first full day at sea was gloriously hot, with lots of sunbathing, swimming and general relaxation. The North Sea was also very calm - not what we were expecting at all, even the Captain commented on how kind the North Sea had been to us. The four stops were as follows:- Bergen - when we arrived at Bergen it was drizzly/low cloud/foggy. We used the shuttle bus and had a good walk around Bergan. We were also going to use the funicular railway, which can easily be done independently, but as we couldn't see the top of the mountain because of the poor weather we decided to abandon this and went back to the boat after a couple of hours. As soon as we got back to the boat the weather improved and the sun came out! Bergen is a pretty little town and well worth a look around. Flam - it rained all day One of the Costa boats was already moored up at the quay, so Ventura used its tenders instead. We'd already booked via P & O to do the Flam railway trip but I expect it would be cheaper to do this independently. The line is 12.4miles and at its steepest gradient it's 1 in 18. There were lots of stunning views and waterfalls, especially the Kjosfossen. At the top of the line we visited the hotel where we had coffee and waffles with raspberry jam and sour cream, yum, yum. Ventura and the Costa ship had a bit of a competition with their horns, which was great fun. Olden - raining. We visited the Briksdal Glacier, again pre-booked with P & O. I expect it would be difficult to get here independently. There are two options with this tour, either walking the whole way or getting the troll bus halfway and walking the rest. We walked the whole way and it can be a steep walk in places (especially in the pouring rain). The troll bus takes you up the steep bit and then drops you off to walk the rest of the way to the glacier. There is a steep bit after the troll bus drops you off and I saw one old lady struggling to make it up this bit, however after this it's a much flatter walk and well worth the effort to see the retreating the glacier. Again, there's a thunderous waterfall half-way up the steep bit, so you might get wet there, even on a dry day. We also had a nice selection of coffee and cakes at the Briksdal hotel on our return. Stavanger - in the morning the weather was overcast, however in the afternoon there was wonderful blue sky. Ventura moored up in the city centre and this was perfect for a gentle wander around. On our last day at sea, again the weather was warm, with blue skies, perfect for a last bit of relaxation before our return to Southampton. Disembarkation was equally smooth. We were given an allocated time of 8.15am to leave the boat and our luggage was waiting for us in the terminal. There was a short walk over to the CPS Car Park and we were on our way back to Bournemouth by 8.45am. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and loved the Ventura. We're now looking at the Caribbean Cruises for next year. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Embarkation was very well organised and the new Ocean terminal was spacious with a pleasant atmosphere. Azura is a beautiful new ship. We opted for a balcony cabin which was very nice but a little smaller than other balcony cabins we ... Read More
Embarkation was very well organised and the new Ocean terminal was spacious with a pleasant atmosphere. Azura is a beautiful new ship. We opted for a balcony cabin which was very nice but a little smaller than other balcony cabins we have had in the past. The public areas are very stylish and sophisticated. One of our favourite aspects of cruising is the food, however the food in the main dining venue was not very good and a lot of the staff appeared very unhappy and miserable. Our waiters were quite rude; no introduction on the first evening and no greetings each evening on entering the section they were covering. Instead they actually walked away when we approached our table. Also rudely pushing closed menus at us and then shouting over other dining guests 'what do you want?' I also was told off by the waiter for leaving some food on my plate and for leaving a hot drink! This is not what we have experienced before with other P&O OR Princess cruises. It did spoil our dining experience so much that we decided to eat elsewhere. At night the buffet on one side turns into an Italian restaurant and we ate some lovely meals here. The food was delicious and the waiters all very polite with very good service. The food at linch time was also good both in the restaurant and buffet. The room service was very good and easy to order with interactive TV. Entertainment was very good. Ports Cobh very quiet and not much going on here perhaps it is better to go into Cork by train. The train station was right next to the ship. No shuttle was provided at this port. Dublin free shuttle took you to the heart of the city and dropped you at the bus stops for hop on and off buses and tours. However we walked the short distance to Grafton Street for main shopping area. Try Bewleys for delicious scones , cakes and coffees and hot chocolate! Bilbao again free shuttle stopped just around the corner from Guggenheim museum, lovely city, walked around the charming old quarter and explored the shopping area where there is El Cort de Inglis department store - the 7 th floor has a lovely cafe / restaurant and toilet facilities. 6th floor has a good supermarket. Brest free shuttle takes you to three places, the main shopping area was in chaos due to roadworks and lots of upgrading of seating area, etc but I think once this work is completed will be very nice. There was a La Redoute shop here which was good and a 1 - 2 euro shop which had alsorts! Great choice of chocolate shops here! A very good cruise just a pity about the evening meal experiences! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Having spent 15 days on Ventura in the Caribbean some 18 months previously,we had am element of reassurance that we at least knew our ship, if not our destinations. Southampton proved to be an easy port to use apart from P+O's ... Read More
Having spent 15 days on Ventura in the Caribbean some 18 months previously,we had am element of reassurance that we at least knew our ship, if not our destinations. Southampton proved to be an easy port to use apart from P+O's ridiculous alphabet boarding which meant if you arrived on time there was a full ships worth of passengers in the embarkation hall! No matter we let that one pass and were duly embarked without fuss. When we on Ventura the first time we noted that it rolled around a bit and we were still in Barbados harbour, which we thought strange; and it continued to do this throughout that cruise. Many thought it had a stabiliser fault, but it did not worry us too much and we enjoyed the great itinerary. This cruise was different, in that the ship still rolled around like a pig in a bath, but the weather was foul which was disappointing in the first instance, and bad luck in the second. The first port of call was La Coruna on the North Western peninsular of Spain, a pleasant enough town to wander around for an hour, but not much more. Excursion options on this day and for most of the cruise were limited so we were soon back on the ship minus a few shekels which madam deems customary practice to spend in a shop or three! The third day was Bilbao a short distance along the coast and the main city in the Basque region. A few more places to visit such as the Guggenheim museum, and a big city to explore. Transfer time from the ship to the city was slow and of course it rained.I think I would sum up the city as ok, probably better in the sunshine, but I would not rush back too quickly. On day four we arrived at La Rochelle somewhere we were looking forward to visiting. This French town is on the same level as Cognac, and has a lovely old part to it as well as a nice harbour. P+O decided to berth the ship 25 minutes away and bus everyone in on complementary coaches, not perfect but hey ho? The town was a dream, old narrow streets full of quaint unusual buildings, and to our delight a beautiful food market. The fresh fruit and veg was displayed quite rightly with pride in the outdoor stall area, with every imaginary species available. We then entered the indoor food hall, housing fish, meats poultry, bread, cheese and cakes, all a joy to behold. We had big grins on our faces the whole two hours we spent there. We bought a giant piece of french crusty bread and a slice of ripe Brie to eat on the balcony.A bowl of Moules et Frites in a small cobbled street finished the visit of perfectly, until the heavens opened!!We quickly headed back toward the pick up area. We then noticed a bunch of fellow passengers on a street corner doing nothing which seemed strange? On rounding the corner, to our dismay we saw the rest of the ships quota queued as far as you could see toward the coach collection point. We heard some had been there for 1.5 hours already.Being an impatient so in so, I decided we would go and remonstrate with the people responsible at the stop. It turned out that the French drivers decided they were going for lunch regardless of the contract...C'est la vie! Embarrassingly, as I walked along past the front of the queue and the only coach to arrive for an hour, the lady organiser waived down a different coach type, gave a few terse orders in French to the driver and said to me, Ventura? Oui, I said as quick as a flash, and we were on. I was so ashamed, sitting there on the front seat when those poor folks had queued all that time. Ok, I'm sorry if it was you but we were owed a slice of luck and I guess that was it? Two minutes into the journey I heard complaints about bad feet..oops, brie me thinks? We got back to the ship, ordered red wine and sat on the balcony spooning the ripe brie on to the crusty bread...Fantastic. The next day was Brest, on the North West part of France. Now I guess Brest looks grim when the sun shines, but when it rains.....yuk. All passengers made a hasty retreat back to the ship. The last port was Guernsey, when it again rained in the morning!!!The town of St Peter Port was really nice and as you may have guessed by now we had lunch. Fresh seafood on the harbour front, lovely. Lets deal with the ships amenities. We ate in the White room on day one and the food and service were immaculate, and Marco himself was on board as he was the last time we were on the ship. Whatever you have heard he is a very gracious man, who listens intently to all you say. If you get a chance eat there do so, you will not be disappointed. The main restaurant was ok but not special. The food was average and the waiters seemed to be practicing for a cutlery juggling contest. They need more practice! We also ate in the Tapas bar, fantastic, and on the final night, East, which seemed grossly under used which was a shame as the food and service were brilliant.P+O's drinks prices are really good, half the price of the American alternatives. We were drinking beautiful wine with our meal for under £10; not bad eh? The evening shows were quite good, particularly Mike Doyle the Welsh comedian/singer who did two nights. Nothing was sacred in his mickey taking of the passengers and crew, and everyone raved about the performances. Elsewhere there was a good mixture of music to suit all tastes, and most seemed content. So, it may seem to readers that there were a few negatives, and yes there were, but we had a good time and would not want to put others off. Add some sunshine and it could be a delightful cruise. Disembarkation was the quickest and most painless ever. Well done P+O. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We have cruised on a number of different ships in the past including P&O so kind of knew what to expect. We boarded at Southampton and embarkation was very smooth and was on the ship in no time, luggage is carry on unless you have a ... Read More
We have cruised on a number of different ships in the past including P&O so kind of knew what to expect. We boarded at Southampton and embarkation was very smooth and was on the ship in no time, luggage is carry on unless you have a bigger case, when they will take on for you. Ship is nice and layout it fairly easy, very similar to Oriana with Andersons bar, not as glizty as the likes of Princess, RCCL etc, but think that is expected on P&O. We hated the layout of the Orangery, feels very cramped and bit canteen like, I know they are always quite like feeding time at the zoo but this was worse than anything id experienced before, didnt think food was great either in here, not much choice, whether this is due to it being a mini cruise? Our cabin was lovely, we chose a balcony deluxe room which was pretty roomy and a nice size bathroom. Entertainment - Only went to 1 show which was the same as the Oriana 2 years ago, so they cant update these very often, we are on the Oceana in a few weeks so be interesting to see if they are the same as we have previously seen, we are not that bothered with the shows so not a major issue for us. Dining - We ate in the speciality restaurants both times, Cafe Bordeaux and the Pennant grill, both were enjoyable, prefered the food at Cafe Bordeaux (not as good as Orina Rhodes though)and service was brilliant at the Pennant Grill. Service elsewhere on the ship was very average, staff did there job but no one really went that extra mile except the staff in the Pennant Grill. Staff are quite surly and no one just says hi like on Princess. Drinks were reasonable, although they had run out of a lot of stuff. Quite a few hen/stag parties on board but they were well behaved. We had a lovely break and always enjoy our cruises and take the rough with the smooth, we would defintely do another mini cruise, however I think anyone that had not cruised before may be put off by doing a mini cruise as things are not quite as well oiled as on a longer cruise, the "extras" are not there and everyone is moving at a very fast pace trying to fit evrything in, in sucha short space, whether this is a reflection of a mini cruise or P&O in general, I guess we will find out on our next P&O trip in June. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Summary. My wife and I took a seven day cruise from Southampton to Vigo, Lisbon, Bilbao and Brest. We have cruised about ten times but this was our first cruise with P&O. We liked the ports of call, thought there was a good selection ... Read More
Summary. My wife and I took a seven day cruise from Southampton to Vigo, Lisbon, Bilbao and Brest. We have cruised about ten times but this was our first cruise with P&O. We liked the ports of call, thought there was a good selection of evening entertainment and found the drinks prices very reasonable. We were less impressed with the food, which although well cooked was uninspiring and too British, and at times we found the atmosphere rather too much like a holiday camp. Overall we enjoyed the cruise and thought it was pretty good value for money. Arrival/Departure. We drive to Southampton and parked using CPS. There was about a 15 minute wait to check our car in on arrival and then about a half hour wait to check-in for the cruise, but it was all quite orderly. Departure was excellent. Passengers are allocated coloured tags indicating a time to get off the ship. We swapped ours without difficulty to get earlier ones and it took only fifteen minutes to get off the ship, collect our bags, and get our car back. Food & Drink. We had wanted Freedom Dining but that was unavailable (we booked quite late) and we were allocated to a table for eight in 2nd sitting (usually 8.30pm). Although the ship was full only one other person turned up for dinner at our table each evening. Presumably the other five preferred to eat in the buffet or perhaps one of the extra cost dining venues. We sometimes ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room and sometimes in the buffet restaurants on the pool deck. The quality of the food was consistent and reasonable but we were disappointed with the lack of variety. In the dining room all choices were meat, potato and vegetables. By the end of the week we were longing for pasta or rice dishes. On the rare occasions where a main course was more interesting (e.g. calves liver with pea risotto or barramundi with Japanese noodles) they came with tiny amounts of rice/noodles and then the waiters brought mashed potato and boiled cabbage to heap on the plate! I don't see why it should be necessary to pay extra for the premium restaurants to get a good meal. Entertainment. Everyone's tastes are different but we thought the quality of the evening entertainment was pretty good and varied. The only disappointment was the guest speaker, Sir Henry Cooper, who was embarrassingly awful. We found less to interest us among the organised daytime activities on sea days, but lots of the events seemed well attended. Ports of Call. We had read that Vigo had little of interest so had booked an excursion to Santiago de Compostella. Then at the start of the cruise we got a note from the shore excursions team that Santiago was likely to be extremely busy and we might be unable to get inside the cathedral. This was because 2010 is a Holy Year and the day we were in Vigo was a local public holiday. We opted to cancel the excursion and just wandered around Vigo. Perhaps because we had low expectations we actually quite liked Vigo. There's a lovely garden area within castle walls above the town, with great views. Although all the shops were initially closed with it being a holiday, by lunchtime quite a few had opened. We did our own thing in Lisbon, having bought a guide book and got various tips from CruiseCritic and TripAdvisor forums. We took the first shuttle bus into the centre (they drop off and pick up in the Placa dos Restauradores) and went into the adjacent Metro to buy day travel cards. For 4.20 Euros each you get unlimited use of trams, funiculars and buses for the day. We spent the morning walking around the city centre, including a trip up the Elevator de Santa Justa and taking tram 28 over to the cathedral and up to the Castle. In the afternoon we took tram 15 to Belem. As Ventura had moored just upstream from the big suspension bridge we were able to get off the tram on the way back at the fist stop after passing under the bridge approach from where it was an easy walk back to the ship. In Bilbao we also did our own thing. We got the first shuttle bus, walked along the river, took the Artxanda funicular up for great views over the city, then back down and continued around the river to the Guggenheim. The building is great. We were less impressed with the art (?) inside. We then walked back to and around the old town, then took the metro to Areeta to see the Vizcaya transporter bridge. From there it was a 45 minute walk back to the ship. You could shorten the walk by taking the metro out a couple more stops but the walk is very scenic - well worth doing if you aren't exhausted. In our final port of call, Brest, we had booked an excursion to Quimper. We booked one with a guided walking tour of Quimper but quickly abandoned the guide and walked around on our own. With a large group the guided tour was taking forever and we would have seen far less (but perhaps learned more about the few things we did see). Quimper is lovely. Service. Staff were efficient and generally very pleasant. Compared to other (mostly American) ships we found the waiters less sociable. They did their job but had no conversation, even though their English was at least as good as it has been on other ships. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
It came to pass that the Mighty P&O did invite all Portunus Gold Tier Members to a Walkabout tour of the latest addition to their Family . The Azura. The Pilgramage led 1500 of this august band to the impressive Ocean Terminal. And ... Read More
It came to pass that the Mighty P&O did invite all Portunus Gold Tier Members to a Walkabout tour of the latest addition to their Family . The Azura. The Pilgramage led 1500 of this august band to the impressive Ocean Terminal. And there she was resplendent in the Southampton Sun.These lovers of The Crows Nest,Andersons,el et assembled two by two waiting for embarkation.Old friends from bygone Cruises renewed aquaintances as they waited.Wise men Shepherds and Masons waited patiently.We were kitted out with our Boarding Pass swinging jauntily from a natty Lanyard.Ours was Green.The wife did say that it it did not match her shoes or bag but I assured her that no one noticed. So.After much sercurity checks we finally got a first real look at Azura. First The Atrium . Where have I seen that before ? Up and Up and Up to Decks 15,16 and 17 and The Coral Pool and Bar.Nice enough I suppose but nothing special.Except those Sun Loungers.Blue and Brown even I could appreciate that it would be difficult to match accessories.Then The Oasis Spa and The Retreat.It looks an absolute picture.Wicker Sun Loungers,Cabbanas all sheltered under a Canopy similar to that at Goodwood Races.All well and good I hear you say but how much ? Well I heard figures of £10/20 pp per day bandied about and that was just for entrance to this exclusive area.So boys if 'They' insist it may mean only single G n Ts for the duration of your Cruise.Many of the pieces of Equipment in Spa area looked painful but I am reliably informed by one who knows that it was the latest.So what do I know . The Accomodation.Starting at the top . The Suites.If Camelot does its duty I'll have one of these.Well equipped furnished and appointed.I might have trouble negotiating a path to the Thunder box for my nocturnal calls of nature but must say I liked this.Smashing Bose Stereo tucked away.On to the head [naval jargon for bathroom] expensive looking Seperate Shower Enclosure Spa Bath. Could just imagine the good lady scrubbing my back as the Bose belts out a bit of Ole Blue Eyes.'Strangers In The Night' Dooby Dooby Do.Did have a bit of a problem with the Balcony.Why on earth did P&O choose to showcase a Luxury Suite with a balcony that has a steel pillar protruding floor to ceiling.Try again. Nearly forgot the Walk In Wardrobe doubt if even she could fill this but no doubt she would give it her best shot. Balcony/ Outside. Again Well furnished nicely appointed.Walkin Wardrobe of sorts but practical .Smallish Bathroom usual facillities.Room for Biscuits and Tea and Coffee makings.Reasonable Drawer Space for the smalls etc. Overall very good but on the small side. Inside: Its OK but it is Inside and on the small side . Appointments Furnishings and Fittings similar to the Outside cabins.Small Bathroom you would have to take turns for your ablutions . Bars Etc.Have you been on Vetura ? Do you remember,how could you forget The Havana Club. Well they have done it again and called it Manhattan this time with Blue Strip Lighting.Reminded me of a Tanning Studio.And those Partitions high enough to test Red Rum.Poor sight lines.Not for me. Just along from Tan U like there is an Oasis of Calm and Serenity The Sindhu Restaurant.Very tasteful and if the food is as good as the surroundings you could be in for a treat . Next door we are transported to Morroco and The Malabar Night Club and bar.She didn't like the chairs but I felt a bit like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca but in colour.Room to cut a rug if you fancy a bit of Strictly.Just a pity about the constant flow of people passing through. Now The Glass House : A modern Wine Bar which I think also serves food.Will the P&O Grandees ,Dotties and old dears take to it?.I wonder. Then there is Brodies Pub Named after one of P&O Founders.Quite brash shares the area with The casino has a small stage big enough for say a Trio.I am not one for Pub Style Bars on ships but it is what it is . Certainly not the place for a quite drink.But I am more of an Andersons Man myself.It was a pity that we did not have time to see all of the Bars and facilities but I hope that I have given you a flavour of Azura. With our time running out we only had time to pop into The Playhouse Theatre.On three tiers similar to Ventura's Theatre.Looked to have good sight lines. The PA system announced that lunch was about tobe servered in The Meridian Restaurant. Like many of the features of Ventura Azura is very similar.The Meridian is no exception almost identical to The Cinnamon Restaurant on Ventura.Glass Partions tables for 2,4,6and 8.We were to be fine treated to a very meal so future Azurains you should have no complaints.The lady chose Atlantic Cod.No comment. I settled on a Smoked Salmon Platter followed by Lobster Scallops and King Prawns and just to be sociable a rather nice cheese board.To accompany this excellent fare we quoffed a couple of pleasant little wines.A Cheeky Chilean Shiraz[don't mention the Aussies] and a Saucy Pinot Grigo. During the course of this excellent lunch P&O's MD Carol Marlow gave a short speech. She explained that Azura had been designed with the Traditional P&O Passenger in mind and there would be Formal Semi Formal and a few Casual nights on all Cruises. Let us hope that that this is enforced. Although the speech was politely recieved I felt that most of the audience may have preferred a new Aurora or Oriana,but we do have The New Adomnia to look forward to and the jury are still counting the votes for Arcadia. But what of Azura. Overall she is very similar to Ventura perhaps the decorations are more subdued and I must say that the Carpetting throughout the ship is nothing short of spectacular particulary in the passenger corridors. The service in The Meridian was very good, not fast but unobtrusive and the waiters were excellent.Would I cruise on Azura Errrrr. One last point then I'll leave you to post your rude remarks.On our way from Azura we were presented with a Pen as a momento of our Visit.Think P&O must have bought them off the QVC shopping channel. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Have cruised with Celebrity, R Caribbean, Costa and Princess, so have some reference points - ship is a bit tired, passengers almost entirely Brits, and although my wife and I had a great holiday, the frills were definitely missing. Some ... Read More
Have cruised with Celebrity, R Caribbean, Costa and Princess, so have some reference points - ship is a bit tired, passengers almost entirely Brits, and although my wife and I had a great holiday, the frills were definitely missing. Some good points - smooth crossing and reasonable weather; main dining room food and service excellent; usual stuff like newsletter of daily activities provided and quite a lot to do (essential of course for transatlantic) Lots of minor reservations on quality - self service food choice limited; speciality restaurant not impressive - more of a bistro; entertainment patchy in quality, and choreography/costumes for shows not up to competitors; staff attentive but glum; room service limited, often with extra charges; some localised maintenance lacking such as torn seats, toilet fittings and lights not operational, rusty spots on bulkheads on balcony, unvarnished handrails Just to add to things, there was a norovirus outbreak on board, with rigorous quarantine and sterilisation programmes from day one - all passengers in affected cabins (not just ill person)strictly quarantined to cabin for days - self service closed for several days. Anyone who had to visit the ship`s doctor was quick to express surprise at the level of (immediate)charges, and sometimes also the overzealous diagosis/treatment. This is not necessarily a criticism - better safe than sorry - but be aware. Computer system broke down for boarding, so long queues in a warehouse in the heat, after a wait in the bus due to multiple simultaneous flight arrivals. Balcony limited in size and is hole in bulkhead rather than glass like more modern ships. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This cruise really started for us in October last year when we attended a Dinner Dance organised by The Crows Nest, an on-line Cruise Forum I use. I was fortunate enough to win first prize in the Raffle, which was a choice of 2-night ... Read More
This cruise really started for us in October last year when we attended a Dinner Dance organised by The Crows Nest, an on-line Cruise Forum I use. I was fortunate enough to win first prize in the Raffle, which was a choice of 2-night P&O cruises in 2009, kindly donated by Cruisekings and arranged by Les, one of the staff there. As we had already travelled on some of the ships and don't fancy Ventura, we opted for Oceana, as she would not be our first choice ship. Fast-forward almost a year and we set off on the Friday afternoon to stay overnight in the Holiday Inn overlooking Southampton Water. We had cruised aboard Oriana in June and enjoyed the company of Kathy & Mike (amongst others) on our table. Kathy & Mike are local to Southampton so we were pleased to be able to arrange to have dinner with them on the Friday night. We went to La Regatta on Town Quay for a very pleasant Tapas meal. The food & wine were good, service okay and prices reasonable. After a hearty breakfast on Saturday morning, we re-grouped the packing and left for Dock Gate 4 about 1110. I wondered if we would be some of the first to arrive that early but there were at least 100 - 200 people already there I would estimate. We got the car parked and strolled to the Ocean Terminal, popped the one large case through the 'hole in the wall' and then up the escalator to departures and were given 'E' check-in cards. We then relaxed with some refreshments from the 'cafe', some complimentary magazines and that day's copy of Horizon - what a great idea to give it out before actually boarding! I wondered why, when they spent millions on the new terminal, the cafe has been built like a 1950's Rail Station 'hole in the wall'. Surely you can do better than that Carnival/ABP? Check-in started around noon and the first 4 groups took about 20 minutes or so before we were called and the formalities were quickly and efficiently completed. We were directed to the Plaza for some lunch but Tony took a swift detour via our cabin to drop off the valuables. There was a good selection for lunch and I was fortunate enough to be at the counter when some lovely freshly cooked fish goujons were brought out. I followed that with a tasty dutch apple pie and custard (oh P&O, why do you have to challenge the waistline so J). After lunch, we had a wander around the ship to familiarise ourselves. We had been on Sea Princess so at least we had an idea of the layout. Overall, I was impressed with the Ship. I thought it would probably be much glitzier than Sea Princess as she was known to be quite restrained. I am pleased to say that I didn't think Oceana was wildly glitzy - well maybe Winners Bar is a bit over the top camp but other than that she is quite pleasing to my eye. We then made our way to our cabin - a JA grade Balcony Cabin on A Deck. Again, I was very pleased with this. We had upgraded from the Inside I won in the Prize Draw to a Balcony for a modest charge and Les at Cruisekings certainly did us proud procuring this particular cabin. The cabin was quite compact, especially the bathroom but as we like to spend a lot of time around the ship, this did us nicely. It was very clean and well maintained. Lifeboat drill was carried out without too much fuss and then we enjoyed our usual glass of Champagne on Promenade Deck whilst we sailed away to the strains of a Caledonian Pipers Band - from Essex! Tony fancied an afternoon nap, so I went to Explorers Bar for a Coffee and read a magazine. We had been allocated a table for 6 on our requested 2nd sitting and went for a pre-dinner drink in Tiffany's. We immediately felt comfortable with our table- mates, one couple slightly older than us and one considerably younger than us - who were celebrating their 1st Wedding Anniversary. Conversation flowed easily and we had to move quickly at the end to catch a show. The food was very pleasant indeed - well cooked, hot and tasty. Our waiters were pleasant and efficient. We went to see Jimmy James (of the Vagabonds, if you are old enough to remember) who did an absolutely excellent set. After this, I went for a wander around the ship. Most venues were absolutely heaving with passengers determined to have a good time. The nightclub was jumping when I passed about 1245 and we found out the next day it did not close until 5.45. I am pleased to say however that none of the noise or boisterousness reached anywhere near our cabin. I awoke early enough to see us slide into Zeebrugge around 7.45 on Sunday morning. The day started quite overcast but gradually cleared to sunshine. We had breakfast in the Adriatic Restaurant to avoid the likely chaos of the Plaza - it was first morning on board after all. The food and service were a bit of a hit and miss affair, although I suspect that is not the case on longer cruises where the passengers and waiters both get into the swing of it a bit more. After breakfast we got the free shuttle transfer into Blankenberge about 15 minutes away. We had decided not to do Bruges because of a previous visit and so thought we would relax a bit more this weekend. Blankenberge is pleasant enough for a stroll around and has a fair selection of restaurants, cafes and shops. We had thought we might have lunch here but the combination of a stiff, cold wind off the sea and the weak pound making food expensive, swayed us to take the shuttle back to the ship about 1245. Once on board, we checked out the Adriatic menu and decided to look at Cafe Jardin. We settled there and had a lovely lunch in very calm, peaceful surroundings. Both food and service were very good indeed. We then took a stroll around the ship to see what was happening. Obviously not too much in the way of organised entertainment (it was a port day after all) but lots of comings and goings and sport on the large TVs in Winners Bar. A little later I opted to go to the spa area for a relax in the sauna and steam room (which are open to all and free). Unusually on this ship they are single-sex areas. Both were very pleasant and not at all crowded. The changing and locker areas however are very small and poorly equipped. We had arranged to meet out tablemates in the Atrium before dinner to toast the 1st Anniversary. It was Formal Night and I must say that the dress code was (thankfully as far as I am concerned) very well adhered too. Captain Reid had announced that he would not be at the 'Gala Reception' as he would be "driving the boat" but I was very surprised that no-one stood in for him. Consequently, although the drinks were still free, there was certainly no 'reception' and the whole Atrium was packed. This was followed by a wonderful Gala Dinner, which for me included a beautifully rare Beef Wellington and Hot Raspberry SoufflE. The whole meal was absolutely delicious. After dinner, once again the ship was buzzing - although maybe just a little quieter than the previous night. Perhaps some of the partygoers were struggling with the pace? Had a good wander around the ship inside and out and then retired to the cabin. I awoke several times in the early hours (as I am prone to do) and saw the lights of the South Coast twinkling in the darkness. Also awoke just as we were approaching Southampton to find the most dreary, damp morning beginning. Welcome back to Southampton! We were taking our own luggage off with us but our stewardess was quite happy for us to leave everything in the cabin until after breakfast, which we took in the Plaza. Naturally, it was very crowded but we found a table without too much problem and I tucked into a tasty, traditional full English (but restrained in quantity!) followed by a pancake with some maple syrup. I was quite surprised that there seemed to be no rush getting people off and when we were ready, we made our way to the disembarkation point and joined the moving hordes in getting off the ship. We then easily found the car and left the docks for a straightforward journey home without delays. So - overall impressions? This trip certainly exceeded my expectations. I am left feeling that a weekender is a good way to see a ship for the first time and gives a good impression of whether you would like being at sea if you haven't cruised before. I don't however think it really represents an actual cruise as there is not enough time to fit things in. I would not rush to do another weekender unless maybe combining it with a full cruise before or after on the same ship. As for Oceana, she too exceeded my expectations but still would not be my first choice of P&O Ship. This is more a personal taste issue than anything else - I would much prefer to be aboard Arcadia, Oriana or Aurora. I would certainly not rule her out for another cruise however but it would need to be one to guaranteed sunny climes as I feel her outdoor spaces are much better than those indoors. As nice as the Plaza is, I would miss a Crow's Nest lounge and overall feel the public spaces of those other ships appeal to me much more. I am however extremely grateful to Les at Cruisekings and the Crows Nest Forum as their raffle provided us with a great weekend away and the chance to experience the lovely Oceana. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Travel from Bradford to Southampton was by Eavesway coach, as usual great coach (09 registration) and for the first time we were able to rate the coach from a wheelchair point of view, the coach passed with flying colours. Eavesway drivers ... Read More
Travel from Bradford to Southampton was by Eavesway coach, as usual great coach (09 registration) and for the first time we were able to rate the coach from a wheelchair point of view, the coach passed with flying colours. Eavesway drivers were as ever very pleasant and helpful. Embarkation procedure was fine, long queues but that was down to a few coaches arriving at the terminal at the same time. I was disappointed to find that having boarded we were simply pointed towards a lift and left to get on with it ourselves, other cruise lines (e.g Celebrity) allocate a crew member to escort you to your stateroom, this was fine for seasoned cruisers like ourselves but could be daunting for passengers cruising for the first time. My wheelchair bound son was given priority boarding with his helper (his sister), we chose to board in the usual way, because we had also cruise virgins in our party. Is it me or is Aurora like a maze gone wrong? I find lots of dead ends on the ship, where you have to cross the deck to find your way around the ship. The Alexandria Restaurant for example can only be directly accessed by one set of lifts. Whilst on the subject of the Alexandria Restaurant, I have to say great venue, good food , attentive wait staff, but why oh why do P&O put wheelchair passengers in the restaurant when the Medina restaurant is so much more accessible in a wheelchair AND has access to a disabled toilet. The Alexandria doesn't! Entertainment: Star attraction on this cruise was Derren Brown, great entertainment, had lots of people speculating on just how the hell he does what he does. How on earth do you look - look is probably not the word to use there because he is blindfolded! - at someone in the audience and tell the lady her age, that she is pregnant and is a nurse or tell another lady that her cat is called Captain Catfish, well that last one is easily explained doesn't everyone call their cat Captain Catfish!!!! Headliners team were very good, great voices and dancing, they did tribute shows to Queen and Abba. From an entertainment point of view 5* from a production point of view 2*. Queen show especially was poorly lit. I would love someone to explain to me the sense is putting a theatre company in a poorly lit cabaret lounge, where the dance floor is the stage and putting a cabaret singer in the theatre? When I'm in a cabaret bar I expect to see an act on a small stage I don't expect to see the backs of singers and dancers on a dance floor. On more thing Headliners performed to a backing track, nothing wrong with that, but why have a TRIO who couldn't be seen because they were behind some sort of metal grill augmenting the backing track - I'm sure this trio could have been better employed on the ship in another venue. I chose not to see the soul singer in the theatre - nothing against the guy , just not my cup of tea. I have to say that entertainment on P&O does seem to be getting a little scarce I may be entirely wrong although as I said previously there did seem to be a redundant trio in the cabaret bar. Agnes was the resident pianist but her "spots" seemed to consist of 30 minute periods in different parts of the ship - I hope she didn't have to lug her piano around with her :) - when our paths did cross , Agnes was good entertainment. A point about clocks moving forward or backwards, the last night of the cruise the clocks had to be put back one hour - no mention of this was made by the cruise director i the cabaret bar, the cabin steward didn't leave a card telling us to put our clocks back - so the only confirmation we actually had was 2 lines of normal print in the text of the back page of Horizon the ships newspaper - now this wasn't really a problem for me and at worst we would have gotten up 1 hour early for disembarkation - but what would have happened if all these factors had taken place on a day when the clocks went FORWARD and I has a tour ashore - attention to detail please P&O Another thing the people who were travelling with us as first time cruisers didn't receive the Horizon newspaper for the first two days of the cruise and of course as first time cruisers were blissfully unaware of the significance of not have the information that the newspaper contained - this factor brought about the title of this review " Have you been to the Theatre" but more of that later under the review for the port of Zeebrugge. Tours Ashore Zeebrugge - We did Ipres and the Flanders Fields. It seems an anathema to say wonderful tour for this particular tour, it was more of a pilgrimage but it was very very good and very thought provoking. We have all seen war memorials in out cities, towns and villages, but these in no way prepare you for the lines and lines of immaculate simple gravestones on Tyne Cemetery . After the grave visits we were taken to the Menem Gate in Ipres, to see the names of 58,000 YES 58,000 soldiers who were listed as missing in action and who have no known grave - truly thought provoking. I have mentioned before the 2 cruise virgins - they decided to take the Brugges tour together with the Roune tour in Le Havre. Now starts a period of , if you are doing something for the first time, if it can go wrong it will go wrong - They looked at the Roune ticket the night before instead of the Brugge ticket and thought the tour left at 8am - they duly presented themselves on the quayside with the right tour ticket at what they thought was the right time - REMEMBER they hadn't had the Horizon newspaper telling them to go to the theatre and therefore didn't have sticker for a coach. A lady from the ships crew approached them on the quayside and asked where they were going - Brugge they said, well have you been to the theatre? Puzzled he replied "Yes" ( he'd seen the show the previous night hehehe). "Well where's your sticker then" at this point he confessed he hadn't a clue what the hell was going on. It turned out he was on the AFTERNOON trip to Brugge. Lessons to be learnt here passengers ALWAYS check your tour tickets VERY carefully and P&O if you are printing a ticket for a tour why not put ALL the information on the ticket all it needs is Please assemble in the theatre at least 10 minutes before your tour is due to commence. Le Havre We didn't do a formal tour, just used the Shuttle bus into the city centre. A point now about wheelchair passengers and tours ashore. Alarm bells started ringing about 6 weeks prior to the cruise when the promised Tours Ashore for disabled passengers didn't materialise. Calls to P&O were made and we were told we WOULD receive them - we didn't! A final call 4 days before the cruise started final got the information from P&O there were NO tours available for wheelchair passengers! Fortunately my son was able to arrange via the internet a taxi company to take him into Brugge - that cost 90 Euros for the trip. Had he had had more time to arrange the trip he might have been able to car share of find a better price. Moral - P&O please say earlier if you cant provide transportation at any port wheelchair bound passengers and give them a fighting chance to make other arrangements. My son was unable to find a taxi firm in Le Havre - yes I know that there are always taxis in the port but not all of them are capable of taking a wheelchair. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
My wife and I and 15 year old son went on a cruise to the Canaries. First impressions , great organization and the ship has the wow factor when you enter the atrium,. We had a mini suite with balcony and a separate adjacent cabin with sea ... Read More
My wife and I and 15 year old son went on a cruise to the Canaries. First impressions , great organization and the ship has the wow factor when you enter the atrium,. We had a mini suite with balcony and a separate adjacent cabin with sea views. All was ok, and we had a great cabin steward from Goa. ( Horrified to learn later about his pay and conditions , 9 months with not a single day off) First experience to wave goodbye to relatives on outer decks, invitation received have a glass of champagne,. We were horrified them to be asked to pay for it ! Sorry P and O, a stupid tactic, and naive start to the cruise experience. Its set a tone for the rest of the trip. A real pr disaster. It would cost P and O nothing to throw this in, and start the adventure in the right spirit. Many passengers refused to pay, a view expressed by most .. We chose freedom dining, but its very congested and in the end we often paid extra to have more space and solitude in the Plaza and Horizon Bistros. Food overall very good,verging on excellent but nighttime dining, only one option with very limited menu. Also in the main dining area, the Ligurain service was at high speed with next course out and held whilst still eating the previous one. To be rushed at high speed through the courses is not what you expect Kids club 13-17 doesn't work for teenagers., A new 15 year old is worlds apart from 17 year olds going on 18/19. Romantic liaisons were on their agenda, not activities.. Think again P and O. It needs to be 13/15.. Over that " kids " don't need to be organized. It was very clicky and lots of teenagers avoided it. Some staff seemed to have the same agenda , romantic liaisons between themselves not overly concerned about the guests. Entertainment in two theaters, largely provided by a fantastic group of young people called " Headliners" Amazing changes of shows, costumes and choreography..However, some entertainers , it seemed, were plucked from karaoke competitions. A singer and comedian, Shaun Perry was embarrassingly bad. People were leaving after two songs.. In another bar, Winners, the duo sang repeatedly out of tune. Come on P and O..pull your socks up.. the Passenger cabaret had better acts from among the guests ! There was a future cruise desk manned by the most inept person I had ever met. He was unable to answer any questions, and when one day I said I found the brochure and pricing confusing, he read it for 10 minutes and said " I agree with you ! " How much revenue must they be losing because of him? organization generally was excellent, but you left feeling the main objective was to get you to part with as much money as possible in two weeks. Photographers roamed the ship like cockroaches, and at £14.95 for a one minute photo had everyone groaning. There were hundreds if not thousands of unclaimed photos. Make them more affordable P and O ! Laundry facilities were poor, and overworked. My wife spent hours walking to find them unavailable.. Overall we had a good first cruise experience and the ship has a nice feel about it... The Canaries, las Palmas in particular are not too exciting. I think Gran Canaria should be skipped and instead make an overnight stop in Tenerife.. We had a two hour open top bus tour of las palmas which can only be described as a touring Toxteth by the sea.. Getting passengers on and off the ship was very well planned and executed..and we left the ship having made some new friends, and a little sad. We'll probably come back to the Oceana but we hope that the Cruise directors at P and O read the survey forms and make the improvements that would make the Oceana experience memorable for the right reasons... If we cans see these things why cant they, so simple to fix, and make the Oceana a true champion of the seas... Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click