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17 P&O Cruises Cruise to Nowhere Cruise Reviews

Having perused the reviews before we left, I was a bit unsure as to whether my best mate had made the right choice for this one......How wrong I was!!!! A fantastic ship, with the staff being more than helpful, even when I had an ... Read More
Having perused the reviews before we left, I was a bit unsure as to whether my best mate had made the right choice for this one......How wrong I was!!!! A fantastic ship, with the staff being more than helpful, even when I had an accident and ended up in a wheelchair for the weekend! The food and service for the whole duration, was second to none, and the prices were more than reasonable. Our check in was swift and slick, and nothing was too much trouble for our cabin steward. I stayed in a balcony room (5th deck, I think) and it was immaculate from start to finish. Didn't go ashore in Bruges, as I've been there before. Still, plenty to do on board. Disembarkation was smooth, and the food was excellent! It shows that the ship has undergone a major refurb since 2013, and I wouldn't hesitate to go again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Britannia certainly lives up to her name......Big, Beautiful and British!! From the moment you step on board and are greeted with the huge 'Starburst' chandelier in reception you know you are about to be 'wowed' in all ... Read More
Britannia certainly lives up to her name......Big, Beautiful and British!! From the moment you step on board and are greeted with the huge 'Starburst' chandelier in reception you know you are about to be 'wowed' in all things British. The Atrium consisiting of three floors.At the bottom with the Market Cafe...a fantastic place to enjoy Charlie Turnbull's selection of cheeses and charcutries...and not only that but people watch too!!! who doesn't like doing that!! then up a level to the shops then again up a level to The Glass House for some serious wine tasting. Now lets talk cabins...All cabins are either inside or balcony...granted balcony cabins are very compact indeed on the balcony two chairs a footrest and a table that you would not be able to use all at once. The cabin interiors are more spacious in their design than other ships and the bathrooms whilst being compact offer the largest shower cabinets I have seen and with no curtains in sight!! Entertainment on board is excellent...from ballroom dancing to the traditional P&O Crow's nest room, however, one of the newest advances on Britannia has to be the Limellight Club...a traditional supper club with an act whilst dining, making it an evening to remember. Food...oh Food is typically British and so tasty from the main restaurants to the buffet restaurant it is ALL of a high standard and all those other venues in between...Sindhu, The Oriental, The Market Cafe, Horizon, Java, Room Service it is a gastronomic tour of the world with a British base. Outside there is plenty of space for all to relax and enjoy the various pools and jacuzzi's, whether it from the family areas to the Serenity area and then the retreat for pure indulgence, should anyone want to remain fit on board the Gym is the largest I have seen on any ship. I cannot wait to revisit for a longer cruise. I hope you all enjoy this ship as I have.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We sailed on the 2 night 1 day shakedown cruise prior to Britannia's maiden 14 day cruise leaving Southampton on March 14th 2015. Britannia is a beautiful ship, stunning restaurants, lovely colours throughout the ship, well designed ... Read More
We sailed on the 2 night 1 day shakedown cruise prior to Britannia's maiden 14 day cruise leaving Southampton on March 14th 2015. Britannia is a beautiful ship, stunning restaurants, lovely colours throughout the ship, well designed bar areas and public rooms, a really stunning 3 deck atrium with the starburst flowing down in the centre to all 3 decks. On our first night our party of four dined in the Epicurean Restaurant, the Fine Dining Restaurant on Deck 16. It has a cover charge of GBP28 per person, but, it is well worth the money. The starter, main courses and desserts were to die for, I will not mention any particular dish as all were totally stunningly presented, full of flavour, served at the correct temperature and in large specially shaped glasses, bowls and plates further enhanced our enjoyment. I must mention Olivia, our waitress for the first part of the evening who was brilliant. All of the other waiting staff were as equal however, Olivia had that special touch. Our day at sea was spent at anchor off of the French coast and gave all guests on board a chance to explore the ship, she is beautiful. There are spacious sun decks atop if you wish to take in the suns rays, a fabulous "retreat" at the bow for adults only at a charge. There are several public rooms, bars and longes, not once did we feel there were too many passengers on board. On our last night at sea, we dined in the Peninsular Restaurant for Freedom Dining. We chose the menu recommended by Marco Pierre White, one of 5 speciality Chef's on board P & O cruise liners. Oh my God, we thought we were back dining in the Epicurean Restaurant! A superb gastronomic feast, a compliment to the chef's in the Peninsular galley. Following our fabulous meal, we all went to the Headliners Lounge to watch the 10.30pm show. the theatre was soon full, the show superb, however, I must say, P & O have taken theatre presentations to a higher level with their use of LED projectors, LED lit backgrounds, no live band at all but a wonderful musical sound and visual display with the dancers performing at 100%. As our Queen, Queen Elizabeth the 2nd said at the naming ceremony, "may God bless her and all who sail on her", Britannia not only has waived the rules, she will also rule the waves for years to come. I commend Britannia as a "British" cruise liner to sail on. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Smooth embarkation procedure, luggage awaiting us on arrival at cabin, which was clean and spacious as befits a brand new ship. Pleasant cabin steward. Delayed departure and somewhat confusing boat drill, no roll call , could have easily ... Read More
Smooth embarkation procedure, luggage awaiting us on arrival at cabin, which was clean and spacious as befits a brand new ship. Pleasant cabin steward. Delayed departure and somewhat confusing boat drill, no roll call , could have easily avoided it. Departure party on deck lively but bars completely disorganised waited for 15 minutes for glass of wine, apparently had no glasses. Counted 9 waiters for the forward bar dreadful service many peopole gave up. First meal food good but again waited long time for wine,into main course before it arrived, friendly waiting staff but not organised and little sign of maitre d. The ship is beautiful, the art collection lovely, but why not label each picture ? Introduction by captain very short, as was his final announcement before disembarking, how nice iot would have been to have had a few officers by the gang plank smiling and saying goodbye. In fact at no time signs of officers. will be difficult to build a cxharacter of a ship without commnication, no questionaire on departure presumably we will be sent or emailed one at some juncture. P and O haver been in the cruising game for ever so should have ironed out the little niceties, speak to your customers, make them feel special, appoint a cruise director and do not rely on technology for everything and | hope the rumour that she has already been re registered to Hamilton is just a rumour   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I had been preparing myself for my 2 night inaugural cruise aboard the P&O Britannia, excitement was upon me and I was counting down the days until I board P&O's biggest accomplishment - The Britannia. Nothing could quite ... Read More
I had been preparing myself for my 2 night inaugural cruise aboard the P&O Britannia, excitement was upon me and I was counting down the days until I board P&O's biggest accomplishment - The Britannia. Nothing could quite prepare me entirely for all of the "WOW" moments and how many times I would alert my partner to "look at that" or how many times I would attempt to get the perfect picture at the right angle to try and justify Britannia's beauty and to fit it all in. After embarkation we went straight to our Balcony cabin D215 - not too far from the lifts and at the fore end of the ship, quite a good location up on deck eleven. I can honestly say, hand on heart I was blown away by the intricate attention to detail that had been shown within the whole design of the cabin, everything has its purpose, the lay out is great and it truly feels like a boutique hotel. The bed is really comfy, the Balcony more than adequate and the bathroom compact and comfortable. With "The White Company" toiletries and "Dowe Egberts" coffee - what more could a girl ask for? To say I was in my element is an under statement. The beautiful pink fresh flower and the tray of sweeties welcomed us to our home for the next 2 nights and how welcoming this was, we really did feel at home. We decided to find our bearings and went for a wander around this magnificent ship to explore the numerous decks and see what we could find, we were not disappointed. The design and decor of the whole ship is immaculate, it's pure perfection, simple, elegant, modern yet classical - no amount of words or photos can describe the beauty of the Britannia - you must experience it yourself to understand. After venturing out and about and exploring the numerous bars that Britannia had to offer us throughout our stay we decided to retire to our cabin to get ready for the evening ahead. As we got ready I was curious to see what the menu had to offer us as we were booked in at the fine dining restaurant "The Epicurean" I was under the impression that it's a modern twist on Mediterranean cuisine, but nothing could prepare me for the unexpected delight that we were about to experience. We were given the option of where we wanted to sit and were informed that we were the first to sit in this chosen location, a mixture of different sized tables and more private "couch areas" provides a great restaurant to provide an intimate atmosphere, we were introduced to our waitress for the evening and she catered to our every need, she advised us what the dishes were (as it's not your average restaurant experience this advise was definitely required) she helped us choose our wine for the evening and was professional yet friendly. We received an entree which can only be described as a cream of tomato soup in a frozen lollipop! This was a "Bloody Mary" and it was extraordinary! It was packed full of flavour and provided a great talking point for the evening, quirky design and perspective of food is (in my opinion) one of the main aspects of dining at the epicurean. The Bloody Mary lollipop was only the beginning, when I received my bowl of soup I was first of all surprised at the appearance of my starter as it appeared to be one of those pre-conception "A La Carte" meals where there's not a lot on your plate and you're sat there wondering where the rest is . . . . . . . The ingredients for the soup were in my bowl (immaculately presented I might add) then I was served a jug of warm cream which was poured into the bowl which resulted in my most divine mixtures of flavours and texture (my soup). The main course was delicious packed full of flavour and variety complimented by a perfect portion size it was absolutely faultless. Before we received our dessert we were served another entree - I was given (what can only be described as a frozen lipstick) I enjoyed a burst of strawberry & cranberry as I ate my "frozen lipstick" whilst my partner enjoyed what appeared to be a fried egg - which was actually a sweet delight, again another twist on modern cuisine. The dessert was well presented and along with a great mixture of texture and flavour - the presentation was immaculate, this restaurant is certainly worth the visit for the experience alone. After dessert we attempted to go into "Brodies" (the British pub) but it was very busy so we chose the quieter option of the "Blue Bar" a great place to people watch and enjoy a tipple or two. As we returned to our cabin for the evening we enjoyed the turndown service with a chocolate each on our pillow, we hit the hay and woke up the following morning feeling refreshed after a great nights sleep. Up to my 2 night cruise aboard the P&O Britannia I had never experienced a Balcony cabin whilst sailing (only in port overnight) so as you can imagine I was incredibly excited to make the most of this experience. As I pulled the curtain back I was greeted with nothing but ocean - from left to right I scanned back and forth and we was just surrounded by nothing but the ocean. I put the kettle on along with my cardigan (it was so sunny but not too warm) and I sat on the Balcony watching the world go by, it was surreal, so relaxing and therapeutic to hear nothing but the waves was magical, who'd have thought I was on board a cruise ship with over 3500 others, I certainly wouldn't, I was in my own world and could easily have stayed there, if you're a book lover you would have been in your element, imagine just sitting there and losing yourself in a novel written by your favourite author, pure bliss. After a couple cups of coffee it was breakfast time so off we went down to the Horizon - a typical buffet restaurant, loads of choice, freshly made to order omelettes, healthier options or a tailor made full English - the choice is yours. We went down around 09:00 and most of the window tables were already taken, so if you want to enjoy the view your probably best getting down there a little earlier. We then decided to explore and take more photos of this beautiful ship and stopped later on for a "Costa Coffee" at Java, a great spot for people watching, we even spotted the captain himself Captain Paul Brown. We browsed through the shops and I was delighted to see a great choice of British brands aboard the shopping choice including Pandora, Radley, Fiorelli and so much more. Yesterday, we wanted to visit the Crow's Nest which was my favourite place to be when I went on my first cruise, it was too busy so made a pact that when it opened at 12:00 we would head up towards there and we did, a great social place to be, lots of seating options and the best views on the ship! Plus, at 2pm the pianist started to play which created an evermore relaxing atmosphere, it is a great way to spend the afternoon toasting an end to a perfect day After enjoying the view it was then time to go back to the Epicurean as we had booked in for Eric Lanyards afternoon tea, we joined the queue which resulted in a 5 minute wait (even though everyone had pre booked) so pre-booking is a definite must, we were shown to our table where our pretty afternoon tea set was sat waiting, we were then asked if we wanted tea or coffee, which I found great as I'm a huge coffee lover and even though tea is all part of the experience, I was pleasantly surprised when I was given a choice. There was a menu advising of what each delicacy was and also a menu for a wide variety of teas available, the treats were beautifully presented, gorgeous in taste and again very quirky design - an eclair that was actually a sandwich, a chocolate treat in a plastic looking case which you could actually eat, small pink juice filled balls that pop in your mouth, a great modern twist on traditional afternoon tea! We saved ourselves after having breakfast and waited until 3.30pm for this, it was definitely worth the wait and unexpectedly filling, therefore, I'd recommend the wait from breakfast if you book in for the afternoon tea. After several cups of coffee, our tray was empty and we headed back to our cabin to relax for an hour before it was time to get ready yet again. We got ready and went down to the limelight club for the evening with Jaki Graham, a popstar from the 80's (which I didn't know until the night) we were shown to our table and ordered our drinks, we were then served an entree followed by our 3 course meal from the set menu offering 2 choice of starters, 3 choice of mains and one dessert. The food again was great, however, by the time we finished dessert we weren't really enjoying the limelight club experience and was allowed to leave taking the bottle of wine we had just ordered with us, really I should have researched the "act of the evening" prior to booking as we're not really love song lovers and were both born after Jaki's fame, we couldn't really relate to the songs although she had a great voice it wasn't really our scene, so we headed to the Live Lounge. The Live Lounge had 2 young chaps singing recent release songs and then a disco in between, this was more "us" and we felt right at home, it held a great atmosphere as people were getting up on the dance floor when their favourite song came on and it was great to see everyone in their formal attire and some in their casuals too all on the same dance floor. A few times couples had got up on the dance floor and performed a dance together (it felt like strictly come dancing at times) which was fab to get such a great variety of people and dress codes, the atmosphere was fantastic as everybody applauded the cruisers who can dance, the look of enjoyment on their faces was a lovely sight and everybody enjoyed watching them too, a great night was had by all. Then, that was it, time for bed and disembarkation the following morning. I can honestly say this has been my favourite most enjoyable yet relaxing cruise experience I have had so far, everything was great, I had never been on a P&O cruise before and I will definitely recommend them and of course the Britannia to anybody wanting a home from home 4 star cruise experience, although the Britannia appears as a 5 star boutique hotel in certain areas. I can see why P&O are so popular now, with Dowe Egberts coffee in your cabin, the White Company toiletries and British TV channels so you can keep up to date with the soaps it's a fantastic home from home experience that can offer you to see the world yet you only have to unpack once. My plan is to sail on the Britannia again at some point next year when they release the 2016 European/Med itineraries and I would also consider booking a 3/4 night break on her in between "just because", I would have to have a Balcony cabin as I love the Ocean, hearing the waves and find sitting in the Balcony so relaxing, I would recommend our cabin D215 as its not too far from the lifts and it offers a great view! We would definitely visit the Epicurean again and have to do the Eric Lanyards afternoon tea experience again, we would probably like to try the Indian restaurant "Sindhu" also "The Retreat" looked the best place to relax on board so we'd definitely have a few hours planned in there whilst the ship was at sea, I could plan my itinerary on my next cruise (I am a bit of a planner as I like to maximise my time on board and make the most of the whole experience) I'm just counting down the days until P&O release the Britannia's 2016 schedule to see where we may be sailing to . . . . . . . . Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our first cruise with P & O and we had been looking forward to it very much. We travelled with 5 other member of our family celebrating our parents 60th Wedding Anniversary. Our parents had never set foot on a cruise ship ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P & O and we had been looking forward to it very much. We travelled with 5 other member of our family celebrating our parents 60th Wedding Anniversary. Our parents had never set foot on a cruise ship before so this was their big adventure. We have cruised with both Thomson and NCL before. We had high expectations and generally we were very happy with our weekend. Embarkation was little fraught as there was a problem with the walk over bridge and the tide. We were kept waiting for what seemed to be some time at the security end. My parents were standing for some time and we managed to get on the ship just before my Mother began to feel too shaky. Unfortunately the weather meant we were not able to dock at Zeebrugges so spent all our time at sea, but we did not mind too much as this meant it gave us the opportunity to explore more of the Azura. The ship itself is spotlessly clean, with a comfortable but classy feel. Some areas of the ship, including our bathroom in the cabin, smelt of a cleaning disinfectant which was a little unpleasant - smelling a little like the odours they were trying to cover. Perhaps they should change to something with citrus in! Food was good. The buffet Venezia had a varied spread and it was tasty and colourful. The Peninsula restaurant also supplied a lovely array of food, although vegetables were frozen not fresh and the chef did seem to have a penchant for chewy green beans! The entertainment was excellent. Musicians, comedians and singers were talented and professional. We thoroughly enjoyed them all. The biggest disappointment for us was demeanour of the staff and drinks service. We did not see one member of staff who seemed happy. We saw no smiles; they did not want to chat to passengers and were overall a miserable bunch. In the theatre we waited 50 minutes for a drink and were most concerned when they did not return with our card which is used for payments. The waiters seemed overworked, returning to the theatre with very large trays with drinks for scores of people. They seemed to be totally confused at one point who the drinks were for and what card went back to which passenger. Their pockets were full of them and they spent most of the time sorting through them. We have another cruise booked with P & O, this time with our son and partner to celebrate their engagement. We are on the Oceana going to the Fjords in July. Fingers crossed it will tick all boxes this time. Otherwise we will be back with Thomson.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Recently returned from a cruise to Norway (solo) I feel let down , the food on board has lost some of its quality since I last sailed on her ,the Shore excursions were a complete rip off , I could have paid 75% less by getting a ... Read More
Recently returned from a cruise to Norway (solo) I feel let down , the food on board has lost some of its quality since I last sailed on her ,the Shore excursions were a complete rip off , I could have paid 75% less by getting a coach/train at the port ,Norway must be one of the most expensive places I have visited (P&O not to blame)However I do blame them for selling Wi-Fi time when you can not use it for 2 days during the cruise ,when I spoke to the Internet Manager about it she just shrugged her shoulders and said it happens every trip , why sell it then, However I did have a good time ,I did do some of the shows and they were pretty good , met a lot of nice people , the crew were very helpful and polite except for one . My cabin attendant Stanley was very helpful and cheerful and deserves a special mention I am sailing on the Oceana again in November , I hope they have listened to my concerns about the food Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have been on three other cruises with P&O, but this was the smallest ship so far, hence a lot of rolling in a 6 metre swell in the North sea! The cabin stewards were great, but the rooms are past their best - ie. water stains on ... Read More
We have been on three other cruises with P&O, but this was the smallest ship so far, hence a lot of rolling in a 6 metre swell in the North sea! The cabin stewards were great, but the rooms are past their best - ie. water stains on the shower curtain (cabin A245) . The whole ship needs an upgrade. There were buckets placed at various points catching water dripping from somewhere and heaters low down drying out carpets. The food was good most of the time (whitebait was disgusting and the Barnsley chop was over cooked) The entertainment was second to none (the Headliners and the ship's crew!), but it was still a little boring mid-afternoon when at sea for two days - a bigger ship would have had more to do. The captain was very entertaining and kept you up to speed with everything nautical. Bad news... £15 per hour to use the Wi-Fi was outrageous when it is free even on buses nowadays! Some of the trips were overpriced. do not do the reindeer ride - several primitive sledges tied together and a walk across an empty expanse for half an hour or so was no fun would have liked more time at the top of the mountain (cable car ride) at Tromso and the guides in Bergen and Stavanger were terrible - mumbling, erring and generally not knowledgeable . We managed to see the northern lights though and I Got some great shots with a shutter speed of 25 seconds. It was cold though - -26 degrees C - but worth it Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Shall we, shan't we? We had heard mixed reports of cruising but, at the last minute and on a wet, miserable December day, decided to book on a twelve day cruise on Oriana from Southampton to Morocco calling at Portugal, Spain and ... Read More
Shall we, shan't we? We had heard mixed reports of cruising but, at the last minute and on a wet, miserable December day, decided to book on a twelve day cruise on Oriana from Southampton to Morocco calling at Portugal, Spain and Gibralter. We arrived at Ocean Quay in mid- January where check in is faultless: a fifteen minute queue through security then, an hour after being dropped, we are in our cabin with luggage delivered an hour later. It is clear from the outset that cleanliness is a priority with hand wash available everywhere and squirted on to your hands before boarding and before entering food areas. Having heard tales that fellow dinner guests can be pot luck, we had requested a table for two in the dining room. That would have been a mistake and we need not have worried! We found ourselves on a table for six meeting an experienced cruising couple about our age with whom we could chat easily and in a relaxed fashion. The other couple never materialised so we remained a foursome for the remainder of the cruise. On our cruise, we were told that, of 1600 passengers, only about 600 were first time cruisers! During the entire cruise, we never met anyone who was on their first cruise, only well travelled and sociable folk who had found cruising an acceptable lifestyle: the record was one lady who was on her fiftieth (or was it seventieth) cruise! By 1000 on the first morning, we have entered the Bay of Biscay in a moderate sea and F7 winds. Not ideal conditions for a first timer and I had not taken anything. First thing, I was not feeling too good but, after an hour of sleep and the purchase of wrist bands, I had recovered to explore the ship and the numerous food outlets. Chaplins Cinema is a great place to pass away an hour or two in the bleak crossing of the Bay and the choice of films is good: not all latest releases but most within the last twelve months and varied and acceptable. Tea in the Peninsular Dining Room is not to be missed! A choice of teas along with sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and assorted cakes not doing anything for the waistline. A very well equipped gymnasium has more than sufficient equipment and was never anywhere fully utilised in the time that we were on the ship. I enjoyed the cycling and rowing machines but others were using the jogging, walking and weightlifting equipment. Staff were in abundance on day one but left you to your own devices thereafter, which suited me. We enjoyed our cabin, an outside with a window in which thick curtains divided the bedroom and living areas. The bathroom is well lit with ample mirrors and generous bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, soap and shower gel. There are more than sufficient dining choices, most appealing to Brutish tastes. The Conservatory has food available all day from continental breakfast at 6 am through lunch and era to a themed evening meals. The Peninsular Restaurant offers full breakfast, waiter served lunch and, with the Oriental, full five course evening meal. The small Al Fresco is open all day offering whatever is relevant to the hour. Then Tiffany's, the Costa Coffee outlet, is a popular and elegant meeting place, one that we enjoyed later in the evening when the concert pianist was playing. There was too much entertainment for us. It starts at 0800 and continues until midnight. The ship never appeared to be crowded: there was always somewhere to sit and enjoy the cruise be it on deck in the sun or below in the elegant public areas. I enjoyed the library but it would be better if there were a range of magazines to browse: I suggest that you take your own. The Theatre Royal shows were excellent. Clearly, ports of call will vary from cruise to cruise. Suffice to say, that we always arrived on time and had no problem coming and going to and from the ship with the minimum of necessary security. We did not take any excursions taking advantage of the regular shuttle buses. We would not bother to go ashore at either Agadir or Gibralter if they were offered again, the former being intimidation, the later being tatty. Cadiz was best. However, to just remain on board and enjoy the scenery and sun would be sufficient for us. Communication with passengers was good. At the last port, La Coruna, situated at the southern end if the Bay of Biscay, the Captain warned of rough seas with a 10 metre swell - he was right. Just as my soup arrived, we entered the swells and being situated at the stern, the Oriental was the place to experience the excitement! The rough seas continued through the night and all of the final day at sea making walking around interesting. Meeting others and having a chat normally resulted in having a dance: I stopped to talk with one acquaintance and, a few seconds later, he was on the opposite side of the ship. We followed the Captain's advice and purchased some Avamin from Reception enjoying an excellent night sleep in the rough seas. Would we go again? Yes, without doubt. Remarkable value for money, a pleasant way to escape winter with easy travel from Southampton "avoiding flying" being a frequently quoted plus point for fellow passengers. P&O have it right from the friendly and attentive staff through the varied menus to the general pampered ambience: they clearly know their target market and long may they continue as we will happily sail with them again. Roll on next winter! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Picked a mini cruise as a cheaper alternative than flying to Bruges (with airport travel, hotels etc it's very affordable method to just take the mini-cruise!). We've been on Azura for a week to Norway so knew what to expect. ... Read More
Picked a mini cruise as a cheaper alternative than flying to Bruges (with airport travel, hotels etc it's very affordable method to just take the mini-cruise!). We've been on Azura for a week to Norway so knew what to expect. Plus we had a £100 voucher to use up. So-- it's good, considering what you pay. Having an inside cabin (what's the point of a balcony on such a short trip?), we were please with the accommodation. Actually felt larger than I had prepared for. Good dressing area and the shower isn't terribly tight (and I'm a big lad!. Fellow guests were fine in the main although it's going to be the case that on these trips you get people who would never normally cruise and that includes a large number of parties (stag/hen/birthday). The atmosphere on deck is extremely different and largely about drinking. Neither of us drink and to be honest we found that a little off-putting. Having sailed on the sister ship we knew the tricks (such as head away from main areas, eat in the alternative restaurant near the buffet for free and go straight to the bar on the top deck for drinks)- all the things others may not work out until later in their trip. Makes for a comfortable spacious experience. Embarkation was fine as was finding Bruges at the other end. I'd worried about the complication but need not have. You take the free shuttle to Blankenburg and from there buy a very affordable return train ticket to Bruges (at the weekend that was 4euro each!). Fab dual deck trains- quite fun. And to be honest everyone else is doing the same so follow the crowd! From Bruges station its a 20 minute walk to the tourist area which is fine on foot. Not sure this is one for the wheelchair user (that might be a silly assumption, so do your own homework on that). Bruges itself is a beauty. Despite the rain, river trip (about 8euro I think) and listening to the bells in the square was a perfect little day out. Ventura itself is fine. Very clean. Lovely areas. Hated the Glasshouse (because it's so beautiful on Azura and here it's just a half converted area that lacks style entirely). Food a problem in Glasshouse, not up to par with previous experience. Standard Freedom restaurant was fine. I'm sure everyone's said it before but with party-people onboard (some of whom are bored onboard!) this isn't a quiet and relaxing trip. IF you have an edge of snobbery about you (be fair, some of us do!), you're going to freak out a little. I saw one couple making use of the Retreat area-- could have done that in better weather to escape entirely. However, nobody was drunk to the point of illness (that I saw) and it was all in the aim of good fun. I might never forget being approached by a young lady and being asked for a smoke while she interrogated me about the destination however--- "Bruges, so is that in Europe-- Is South America in Europe--- so are we passing Ireland???" I am guessing she might not have been travelling for the sake of getting anywhere. My advice in summary: Don't take a mini-cruise to experience cruising. Do take a mini-cruise to get to a fine city for the weekend and leave your normal world behind for a bit. Top marks to P&O for the important things (feeding us all, cleaning the ship, having some fun). Do take the kids- what an amazing weekend for them, it's still very exciting to take a little trip like this. Only true complaint and it's a tiny one: We are AA so we really like the mocktails in the Metropolis bar. Why take their menu away on the mini-cruise and replace it with only alcohol? Well, we know why-- to keep them all drinking. To be fair it was brought on request but taken away again every time we'd ordered. Odd. Would we sail P&O again-- maybe. We're a bit bored of it after two experiences (Venture and Azura) and we might be the kind of people seeking something more refined. Cunard is next on the list (following an amazing Crystal, one terrible MSC, three 'ok' NCL and two average P&O). PS- I'm gluten intollerant and found everythind I needed (this time!) Oh... and if you are having a hen do-- go for it, looks like a giggle x   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We have just returned from a 2 night cruise to Zeebrugge, we had a wonderful time but there were some disappointing bits The good bits Entertainment was fantastic, especially Josh Adams and a group with a fantastic girl singer Lovely ... Read More
We have just returned from a 2 night cruise to Zeebrugge, we had a wonderful time but there were some disappointing bits The good bits Entertainment was fantastic, especially Josh Adams and a group with a fantastic girl singer Lovely large evening venues where you sit at a table and watch or dance to the live acts Cabins very nice with comfortable beds Drinks and cocktails very reasonable £5.25 for most cocktails and they were fab Lovely outdoor areas to enjoy drinks Getting on the ship was very quick and easy The bad bits The buffet restaurant food was a very poor quality not much choice and if I was on here for longer than 2 nights, I would have to start paying in the select venues, we have cruised before on Royal Caribbean and there is no comparison, they have so much choice and it is much better quality Main dining room food was hit and miss, main courses on the whole were very good but the starters and deserts were very poor. Lots of waiters had an attitude, our waiter at dinner was very surly, on the first night he never offered us the cheese and biscuits and no chocolate with our coffee and when asked for something it was almost an inconvenience One of the bar waiters overcharged us and when I questioned the bill he argued and said he would get into trouble so we felt we had to leave it even though it was nearly £10 wrong A waiter at the afternoon tea gave my husband one small sandwich when he asked for another he rolled his eyes and they could not wait to get you out of the restaurant Our main dinner sitting at 6.30 was badly organised as everyone queued to get in, on Royal Caribbean you were allowed to go to your table as the doors were open well in advance, but they would not let you in before 6.30 so all the stairs and gangways were blocked Also thought there was a lot of movement and the sea was not rough so would be worried on this ship if the sea was rough Getting off the ship was chaos there was no plan just a free for all for 3000 people!! We had a great time but it has put me off going on a longer cruise with p&o, the food and service is just not good enough, I have booked Celebrity next later in the year Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This cruise was booked as a joint stag/hen party. My son proposed to his girlfriend on this 2 day cruise to Bruge last year and she accepted. The wedding is in 3 weeks. They decided they'd like a joint cruise again with all their ... Read More
This cruise was booked as a joint stag/hen party. My son proposed to his girlfriend on this 2 day cruise to Bruge last year and she accepted. The wedding is in 3 weeks. They decided they'd like a joint cruise again with all their mates and some of the family to celebrate. The ages ranged from about 20 to 60, and a great time was had by all!!! Me and my husband have cruised a few times before with Celebrity to the Caribbean, but we did realise that the cruise we were on was not comparable due to the large amount of hen and stag parties aboard, all looking for a good time with lots to drink!!! And boy did they drink, they danced, they joked, were loud and had so much fun!!! In fact my sons mate, became quite a Celebrity doing his own version of Peter Andree's mysterious girl and a Mick Hucknall song while in the hot tub, everyone on deck joined in, it was great. From then on, he became known by us and loads of passengers as 'Hot tub guy'...LOL We have to say the general service was pretty poor, they have waiters everywhere asking to take your drink orders, then you have to wait 20 minutes for it to arrive, because they only seemed to have a couple of bartenders behind the bar, even in the crowded venues. Also trying to purchase photo's was a complete shambles with 2 girls trying to serve people, which resulted in huge queues, which completely blocked the entire area. We gave up in the end, and didn't bother to purchase any for this reason. (About an hours wait) We found the casino quite small after the Celebrity ships, but as we were only on board for a couple of days this didn't bother us (we normally like a flutter). The food in the main dining rooms was very average and I have to say wasn't a patch on Celebritys. Hurried, disorganised service, food luke warm at best, the accompanying veggies tended to arrive about 10 minutes after my rack of lamb was served, then to add insult, what could only have been a bright orange/yellow potato croquet was served to me, looking like it had just come off of the shelf at Iceland....not sure what that was all about, but hardly fine dining!!! We ordered drinks well before our starters and these arrived when we were just finishing our desserts. The main dining room wasn't anywhere near as glam as the Celebrity ships. But having said this P&O do a really good English brekky, but with the usual - people milling about with trays of food, unable to find a table to sit at. We had room R254 on the Riviera deck, we were not overlooked from above. All ok, except the fridge didn't work, we did report it but nothing happened, and the TV remote had a mind of its own, not really a problem on a 2 dayer, but I would have wanted these little niggles sorted on a longer trip. Getting off was a complete disorganised shambles, we queued for 3/4's of an hour, through winding corridors, with our luggage. We spoke to a member of the crew, and asked if it was always this bad, she replied only on the booze cruises, as the company cut back on the amount of staff, which explained the slow drinks service................. You really have to take this 2 day cruise for what it is, everyone on board was calling it the booze cruise, which to be honest it was. If you accept it as that you'll have a great laugh and a really good time!!!! We felt it was like an old fashioned beano....LOL..... In fact we're all planning to do it all again next year......... Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We travelled on Ocean for their New Years Cruise to Amsterdam. The berthing procedure at Southampton was faultless. We spent the first day in Zeebrugge which was lovely. We were then to go onto Amsterdam spending new Years eve and part of ... Read More
We travelled on Ocean for their New Years Cruise to Amsterdam. The berthing procedure at Southampton was faultless. We spent the first day in Zeebrugge which was lovely. We were then to go onto Amsterdam spending new Years eve and part of New Years day in Amsterdam. The captain announced adverse weather conditions and we could not go into Amsterdam. There was no adverse weather conditions the sea was calm there was some wind but I have spent and uncomfortable night in a force 8 gale and I can assure you this ship was as calm and stable as a rock with hardly any movement. I complaind to p&o on arriving home about our cruise which ended up on New Years day in the English channel with a view of Dungerness power station. There response was that there passengers safety was paramount and that we were not entitled to any compensation. I feel this is not acceptable as they did not have to pay any berthing costs in Amsterdam and also they had two days of passengers spending money on their cruise ship when they would have been ashore if we had been allowed to dock. The ship was very crowded P&O chose to keep a large lounge/bar closed therefore very little room to sit around the ship and enjoy any of the facilities. We have cruised with P&O on many occasions and this is the first time I have made a complaint they are usually very good but on this occasion I feel they failed miserably to placate the passengers (a free glass of champagne may have helped)and feel there was another reason that we did not berth in Amsterdam. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We booked primarily to vist the Christmas Market in Bruges and see Russell Watson in a cabaret setting. Arrived and went through a tedious check in process for our £400 a night suite. Once checked in we were informed that the Bruges ... Read More
We booked primarily to vist the Christmas Market in Bruges and see Russell Watson in a cabaret setting. Arrived and went through a tedious check in process for our £400 a night suite. Once checked in we were informed that the Bruges leg was off because of the weather conditions, bear in mind this is an ocean going cruise liner and the captain said in his letter it could be difficult to berth! Our butler we saw once a day when he brought our awful canapes, out of three nights only one lot were eaten, sadly he didn't catch on that we were unhappy. No issues with our bedroom steward he was great and very helpful. Food was perhaps the most dissapointing element, cheap and tacky was my view with overcooked vegetables, frozen peas and soggy cauliflower to name but two. Cheap cuts of meat including micro sirloins which came from cows fed on grass ! well whatever next. Cold food was served frequently and sent back never to re-appear one night several on our table sent 3 bowls of soup back, Spinach & Stilton it was vile. Staff were or seemed very low ? not there usual helpful and courteous lot, though I have to say there were some exceptions in the main they seemed offhand and not bothered ? Information was sparce, anyone who has travelled to France will know that all shops are closed on Sundays yet not only were we to sepnd 2 full days in Le Havre but the shops on board were not allowed to open and we were unable to purchase duty free due to HMRC rules (no problems on your Ferries though Mr P&O) I think we were all being lied to, it seems the staff were already aware that the next sailing was also not going to Bruges ? maybe the same weather had been ordered by the captain. Russell Watson, when we eventually managed to get in to see him, was brilliant but then he wasn't being organised by P&O was he. Travel advice ???? Thinsk long and hard before you book on this line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Our cruise from Southampton to Bruge, a two day taster cruise that left on the 25th March 2011 and returned on the 27th March and cost us £350 per person plus extras, was a big disappointment I'm sorry to say. As quite experienced ... Read More
Our cruise from Southampton to Bruge, a two day taster cruise that left on the 25th March 2011 and returned on the 27th March and cost us £350 per person plus extras, was a big disappointment I'm sorry to say. As quite experienced cruisers we wanted to taste the delights of P.& O. which we thought would be a real treat and cut above the others (Royal Caribbean and Princess). From the very beginning organisation was a real issue. We arrived at the cruise terminal (Southampton) to be handed the colour coded cards with letters on, with no explanation as to the procedure other passengers filled us in, and over an hour later waiting in a huge hot hanger (please please tell me that's air conditioned in summer ?) we were called. Then you que for check in, then you que for security now I understand that some queing when dealing with 3000+ passengers must be inevitable but there are ways to handle large groups with courtesy and tact rather than making them feel like cattle, and this was not attempted here.We arrived on board and a few staff were "hanging around" and we managed to find out where are cabin was ,but on previous cruises this has been handled as a warm welcome with smiles and grace, not so here.Best Bit of cruise was the brass band on the dock which played us off, magic. Our cabin was adequate, with furnishings as expected but the overall feel was that the decor, fabrics and flooring were very tired. A small TV on which little information was ever displayed and PAY per view films ! unlike Princess or Royal Caribbean where the latest movies run for free, with plenty of choice of other channels and information is updated daily in a rolling show recorded by the cruise director. (Dont even think P&O have a cruise director).In the bathroom were decent size toiletries, but a shower curtain rather than a door. In the Room were tea and coffee making facilities and a fresh daisy, all small nice touches. On the balcony, nice furniture two loungers, one foot stool (every one else had two??) and an occasional table (what do occasional tables do the rest of the time? [I digress]).We went for a wander around the ship and came back to find our case had been left outside someone else's cabin, luckily we walked past that particular cabin so reclaimed our case !!! can you imagine the problems we could have had had we not been lucky enough to spot it?There was no explanation of where we could eat (this was the major problem of this cruise there was never any information or help or organisation), we ended up on the deck eating hot dogs and burgers although, I believe, we could have eaten a nice afternoon tea in the buffet but no one told us!The restaurant was pleasant, the food and service excellent, we had first sitting 6.30pm and a table with two other couples and although we were strangers we got on well and I have no complaints about the restaurant and my partner was pleased to note that on the formal night people were denied access to the dining room if they were not adhering to the specified dress code. The breakfast (which we took in the buffet on deck 15) was also excellent with masses of choice and very nice food. My partner had full English and I had continental with fruit and yogurt all lovely and well presented. We will give credit where credit is due the staff and food served on this ship were top notch.The entertainment on board for this two night cruise were awful, a bad comedian, two X-factor rejects, a sub standard tribute to the four tops and a George Micheal tribute act. I hope that normally on longer cruises the shows would be good but might have expected at £350 a head for two nights we deserved better. The crew also seemed to think this was a "Party Cruise" nobody billed it as a party cruise when we booked it, it was described as a "Taster" and we expected a taste of P.& O.'s usual standards.Bruge and the shore excursion- We booked the four hour tour, boat ride and shopping advertised as "A Taste Of Bruge" £40 a head.Our coach was half an hour late leaving the ship due to lots of chatting and checking lists by the P&O staff, so we were instantly late starting our walking tour. No problem for the guide who was 6'4" with a stride to match and decided to do the whole thing at top speed with no "comfort stops", in the end three of us ladies had to demand a toilet break which went down very badly and he went into a complete sulk when half the group decided not to continue with the tour and make their own way back to the ship (at considerable expense). If I were you I would book the "Bruge at your own pace" (£28)which is basically a transfer to and from the ship and look round Bruge at your leisure. A lady however told me that this was also fraught with disaster for some people as when they went to get the buses back, some how the buses filled before every one who had paid were seated on them. The driver of the last bus refused to carry these passengers, despite their having tickets and turning up in good time ( one was even in a wheelchair), and left them to make their own way back to the ship, ten miles away. Perhaps to make your own way to and from Bruge via the train is the best option as many more experienced passengers did. Bruge by the way is lovely. The boat "driver" we had was very funny and we tipped him because he was the best bit of the tour.Disembarkation- We have been on many cruises and are used to the system, you keep the bare essentials with you and put your main case(s) outside the night before you dock. In the morning those who want to get off quick (and didn't put their cases out the night before) get off first. Then the others are kept in different lounges and called in order (usually colour coded) to avoid chaos, no one ques for longer than necessary and you wait in comfort! That's how they do it on other ships, not here though, lip service was paid to the organised way, we waited for the calls for disembarkation but after nothing for an half an hour my partner went to find out what was happening. He was told by a member of staff that they'd abandoned any attempt at organisation and everyone was now queing (3000+ people) to leave the ship by one gang plank!!! madness which we then had to join. What a rubbish way to end a rubbish weekend. Everyone was hot,tired and very fed up, it didn't have to be like that, the fact that the ship was late docking should not have caused this chaos.When we got home a P.&O. brochure was awaiting us, and leafing through I was amazed to find that this ship is only 3 years old, it has not aged well. It needs a deep clean and preferably a complete refurbishment, it needs someone to organise the staff and provide more information, where are the little cards with maps of the ship ? (so handy on other cruises we've been on). The staff need to up their game be polite and informative (one spoke to me so rudely he alone would have put me off P.& O. single handedly) the general attitude seemed to be it's only a two day cruise we dont give a damn about the passengers. You will not be surprised that we will not be travelling with P.& O. again and are having our next cruise with Princess, they know how to treat their customers (and we've already booked it).It saddens me that a great British company has been reduced to this. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
over the past40 years we have used mainly p&o.because of theitems listed above thefriendliness and professional approach is why we have gone to this cruise line (via Bolsover cruiseclub) regularly. From the moment we drop the cases ... Read More
over the past40 years we have used mainly p&o.because of theitems listed above thefriendliness and professional approach is why we have gone to this cruise line (via Bolsover cruiseclub) regularly. From the moment we drop the cases offthe car our holiday is underway,withthe complimentary drinks and sandwiches in the crows nest,down to the restaurant to see where we are sitting,a visit to the library, and to the cabin to awaitour luggage. our holiday has started. the band at the quayside sends us on our way,and we are never disappointed. Over the years the foodhas gone down slightly,( we miss the baked alaska) which was always a nice feature of the Canberra for example. But we realise that to compete on prices, entertainment,staff costs, fuel prices etc. all businesses have to rational their entire budget to survive. We have seen the tremendous growth in the number of ships available. Although far many more people cruise now than ever, and is still growing.A little criticism perhaps,we often book a year ahead, whilst still on the ship, to get an on board credit,and perhaps free parking,and to get a particular cabin, at the best price available. We see regularly now in the press near to the time of our intended cruise,prices well below the price we negotiated 10 months ago.Both we and our friends have noticed this trend, and are of the opinion thatwe should wait until the last minute before making a booking.We realise that we will not get the cabin we would wish for,but the difference can be substantial. We are aware that you need to fill the ship,but unless some other option i.e.upgrading is offered,some of your regulars will be peeved.That apart we still intend cruising whilst our health and finances allow. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Ventura Canaries July 2008 This is our fourth cruise the last on being with the century of the celebrity line to the Baltic, great ship great cruise, so I thought at£3000 more the p and o Ventura would be fantastic, I was wrong! ... Read More
Ventura Canaries July 2008 This is our fourth cruise the last on being with the century of the celebrity line to the Baltic, great ship great cruise, so I thought at£3000 more the p and o Ventura would be fantastic, I was wrong! Firstly the reception at Southampton was poor, We arrived 4 hours early due to flights, we were ignored for 3 1/2 hours the facilities were very poor with no one willing or able to take our bags, there were about 5o people in the same boat. When I asked if we could sit some where sit, could someone take our bags? I was told by one of there reps what I already knew, we were early and no they couldn't take the bags, but were we excited? Em no! Disappointed, uncomfortable yes, excited ,no. It did not impress us particularly as other people were getting the 5 star treatment, future customers apparently, to see if they would book for future trips Those of us that had parted with their hard earned money well they could just wait outside! The Ship The ship its big too big ,it rolls like an old man on skates,even on a milk pond if windy it cant get into some ports because its too big,(we missed Lanzarote). It's also too big because they is a staff ratio of only 1/3 on all other ships we have been on its been 1/2 this means that the cabins are tided, not really cleaned The public areas ,particularly the public toilets are disgusting, with poo on the seats and floor! This is the only ship I have been on where they do not insist you use hand gel When entering the main dining, so prepare for tummy upset down the line There are not enough sun-beds and they were so desperate to fill the ship i think they have let anyone on, a friend of mine has experienced fing and blinding over sun-beds with the only pool patrols being waiters selling drinks. There are several pools and one we use had enough chlorine to turn the kids eyes red and their swimmers green. There is no sign of security to keep an eye on some who look like they would be happier on a beach in Ibiza. The British staff are as pleasant and helpful as you would find at Woolworths the Filipino and Indian staff are much better as are the spa and internet staff. A word of warning the camera memory card viewer wiped out half my photographs and damaged the card, apparently that was my fault! The food is good but the dining experience, in fact everything is not as good as our previous Celebrity cruise. To sum up too big too dirty, too bad ,P and O have got it badly wrong and their Customer service is very poor, the loading manager was very rude and unhelpful to my wife when we were disembarking, funny that! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
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