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673 P&O Cruises Europe Cruise Reviews

Ventura N933 12 nights Madeira, Canaries and Lisbon, 17 to 29th November 2019 Embarkation at Southampton on the 17th November was quick and efficient. All the cabins were supposed to be ready for occupancy at 1.30pm, although we were in ... Read More
Ventura N933 12 nights Madeira, Canaries and Lisbon, 17 to 29th November 2019 Embarkation at Southampton on the 17th November was quick and efficient. All the cabins were supposed to be ready for occupancy at 1.30pm, although we were in E227 before then. Ferdinand the cabin steward was self-effacing and well worth the personal tip on the last day of the cruise. E227 is on Deck 8, just above the Promenade Deck starboard side a quarter of the way back. It is an Ocean View with no balcony and its window part obscured by the mechanics of the lifeboat davits. However, it is as big as a standard balcony cabin, albeit without the balcony, and at £812 pp with free parking was excellent value for this cruise. Since, apart from the mid-voyage part, it was generally cold and wet outside, not having a balcony was no disadvantage. P&O no longer do the bed ‘turndown’ service with free chocs’ on Day One, no face flannels are supplied unless requested and our fridge was 100% empty – in other words if we wanted drinks from it, we had to order and pay upfront. We never used the shipboard internet as our phones with data were included by the service provider when we were in the EU ports. Food? Main served restaurants were Holiday Inn ‘Plus’ standard I would say, as I have before about Britannia. Alternative dining? Sindhu is well worth the cover charge but it is best to go on Day One or Two of the cruise as they give either a free bottle of house wine for two or a third off the £20 pp charge. Glass House? On this cruise the service was diabolical. The food was excellent as always, but the service dismal. So dismal in fact that a group of us complained and we all got the food (eventually) for free. The deserts are to die for. A meal for two with drinks will be around £22 Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We last sailed on Oceana back in 2015 and felt the ship was really beginning to show it’s age. Some spectacular ports of call including Venice, Kotor, Florence, Rome and Capri together with beautiful long warm, sunny days more than made ... Read More
We last sailed on Oceana back in 2015 and felt the ship was really beginning to show it’s age. Some spectacular ports of call including Venice, Kotor, Florence, Rome and Capri together with beautiful long warm, sunny days more than made up for it. Due to recent events in the Gulf, Oceana was repositioned from it’s planned itinerary and this meant there were some really good bargains to be had. We decided to book a 7 night cruise in the English Channel and the North Sea in November. Despite the great value we felt it was a bit of a risk as we knew we would have to spend plenty of time inside the ship. As the Captain joked such an itinerary allows you to see all “50 shades of Grey”. Since last sailing on Oceana we have always preferred other ships in the P&O fleet and have sailed many times on Cunard and Princess (our most recent cruise being 2 weeks in August on Queen Victoria, which we always find to be absolutely immaculate in terms of decor). I have to say that Oceana really delivered, firstly the ship is looking far better than it was in 2015. All of the pool areas have had brand new tiling, new AstroTurf and loungers. The Yacht and Compass bar and Winners have been transformed with brand new furnishings and carpets. The Yacht and Compass is in my view the best looking pub at sea, far better than the Golden Lion on Cunard ships and Brodie’s bars on Britannia and Azura. It just seems a shame that the Hand pulled Real Ales have been added to the Winners bar. Despite this there is a brilliant selection of Real Ales and the Beer flights on offer in the Yacht and Compass (at good value). The Atrium has seen the dated Palm trees disappear and brand new carpeting throughout. It is without doubt the most impressive and most functional atrium in the fleet. It is the absolute hub of activity on the ship, in a way that even a refitted Britannia atrium can’t achieve. To put it into context the 4 level atrium can simultaneously host, professionally organised dancing on the lowest level, shopping on the level above, a musical act (whether it be a pianist, band or guitarist on the deck above) and the fantastic Cafe Jardin on the top tier overlooking all the action. Even by the end of the week you couldn’t help be wowed by the beautiful views, the Glass lifts, Grand staircases, Water features and Tiffany glass ceilings. Cafe Jardin is a real stand out! Serving complimentary breakfast and lunch, freshly cooked to order. Breakfast runs from 8am-10:30am and Lunch from 11am until 5pm. The food is delicious and it’s an offering incomparable to that found on other P&O and Cunard ships. You also have a buffet station with fresh salads and desserts should you wish to add further to your ordered dish. It’s especially brilliant when you return at 4pm from a trip to be able to sit down, order from a menu and have water, tea and coffee served to your table. We paid the additional £8.50 cost for the evening meal and had a really tasty meal. I wouldn’t describe the food as gourmet, it certainly isn’t as good as Epicurean or the Verandah on Cunard before they turned it into a steakhouse. However it’s well worth the cost and is a really refreshing alternative to the Main Dining Room. We didn’t try the Beach House on this cruise. We did back in 2015 and it was one of our stand out nights on the ship as we dined al fresco on the terrace. I think we may no longer be here if we had attempted to relive the experience on the North Sea. Despite the plaza buffet being more attractive in design than most ship buffets I felt the inside Beach House area was a little close to the buffet stations to convey the ambience you would expect of a select dining venue. The main dining room was good, dishes ranged from outstanding to generally good to occasionally poor. The Plaza buffet doesn’t have as wider choice as that on Cunard or the larger P&O ships but we found breakfast to be every bit as good on Cunard or the bigger ships. Lunch however was more average. The Plaza however has a great location at the front of the ship with great views and it’s all been completely refreshed since 2015. It has a really lovely ambience especially of am evening. Where Oceana really excelled was in terms of the entertainment. The theatre isn’t huge so the brilliant bonus of this is that each night the ship has two simultaneous shows. On our cruise that would be the Headliners (who seriously were far and away the best cast we have seen in dozens of cruises on P&O, Cunard, Princess, Thomson and RCI) in one venue a comedian/guest singer/group in the other. There would also be at least two other acts on from the resident entertainers, which included a fantastic singer and guitarist, vocal duo, pianist, party band and big band. We were often really disappointed on P&O Britannia (sailed on it 3 times) that despite the vastness of the ships there were often times from 6pm until 8pm when there was very little good live music (The same can often be said for Cunard). In terms of improvements we would love a Glass House, we are still surprised they didn’t convert Winners bar. However the bar has been really improved after the refit. The plumbing system is still a little ropey and we had one toilet failure that lasted a few hours and the occasional odour in places on the ship (it didn’t last for more than a couple of hours and was due to emptying or venting of tanks). The theatre lacks the brilliant LCD screens found on Britannia and the Cunard ships, which slightly compromised certain scenes in “Astonishing”, which required a wait for the old fashioned projector screen to move down and awkwardly projected unwanted images onto the cast. The TV system in the rooms is very dated and my iPad has a bigger display. The bedrooms are equivalent to those on Azura, not as nice as those on Britannia and the Cunard ships but storage space is the best I’ve seen. The bathroom however was probably superior to those on the Cunard ships in terms of layout and space. I really like the Sindhu Indian restaurant as well, so I’d love to see that onboard but not at the cost of Cafe Jardin which offers far more to the ship, as it was a venue we used twice every day. I’d only visit Sindhu once per cruise. In terms of drink prices P&O continue to remain very competitive in the cruise industry. The prices on Cunard, RCI and Princess have become ridiculous in our view and on Cunard in the summer meant many bars were empty and lacked any atmosphere. You are talking £9 for 250ml of wine (third of a bottle) on Cunard and £6 on P&O (£27 bottle Cunard compared with £18 P&O) and £5.50 for pint of Beer on Cunard compared with £4 on P&O) RCI are even more expensive than Cunard. In summary we fell in love with Oceana once again. It proved to us that small ships have a real charm and character that perhaps the really big ships (that we also love) lack. The atrium is spectacular and has a superb atmosphere and other public rooms such as the Yacht and Compass are absolutely top draw. The Headliners theatre cast were utterly outstanding (definitely the best we’ve seen) and the ship was always buzzing with music and life. Having two proper shows running simultaneously every night offers brilliant choice and sets he ship aside. Cafe Jardin is the best daytime complimentary venue on any P&O or Cunard ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise having enjoyed a similar cruise in 2015.Same ship, same time of the year but very different. 6 of us travelled together to celebrate a significant birthday and, as a group, we could enjoy each other's company and ... Read More
We chose this cruise having enjoyed a similar cruise in 2015.Same ship, same time of the year but very different. 6 of us travelled together to celebrate a significant birthday and, as a group, we could enjoy each other's company and the facilities of the ship which made this a better experience than it would have been had we been on our own. The weather was pretty rough all the way to the Canaries and back tho' we did have enough good weather to enjoy each of the destinations.Many passengers (which included a lot of first timers) were sick on the sea days which made the public areas quieter than they might have been as everyone was 'trapped' inside the ship for most of the time spent at sea. The ship was very noisy with excessive background noise all the time and musicians who behaved as entertainers rather than cocktail artistes.We raised this with the hotel management who acknowledged our comments but had no success in changing things. Fortunately the Glass House bar was reasonably quiet. We were surprised that many of the passengers were elderly and/or infirm. In the past we only noticed this on longer P&O cruises. We suspect that the very competitive pricing and the short duration of the cruise may have influenced this. But we made some lovely contacts and there was always a buzz about the ship. Check in was very fast and efficient but the first day gave us some surprises. Firstly the room stewards went off duty for the evening after we sailed. We didn't mind this at all as the room was already made up and the stewards have a very heavy day in Southampton. However we were missing some items in the bathroom and despite our calling Reception, nothing happened until the morning. In the (Freedom Dining) restaurants the waiters now have tablets to take all orders, including drinks. The 'wine waiters' were therefore reduced to running around trying to find out who had ordered what. On shore, these arrangements are pretty standard but it doesn't work well in a big, busy ship's restaurant. We were told that Ventura was trialling these arrangements for Iona. In Club dining the original arrangements applied. Presumably this is because wine waiters are very busy at the beginning of each sitting in Club (while the load is spread in Freedom) and the same applies to the load in the Club galley. However the staff throughout the ship were very competent, efficient and cheerful and Captain Willard was engaging and 'led from the front'. We fully exploited the speciality restaurants - Glass House, Beach House, Sindu and Epicurean. The latter was exquisite and well worth the high cover charge. The tours provided at each port were quite adequate and we enjoyed several. The lecturer who talked on Air Accident Investigation was very good, as was the classical pianist (altho' the amplification did distort the piano's sound sadly). The weather truncated Headliner's shows unfortunately - they were very good. The craft instructor 'missed the ship' which upset the artist in our group. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Give Ventura another try as this was only cruise from Southampton for Oct school holidays. This time not impressed with Ventura. Check in was quite slow Once on board we went to buffet, very poor selection available. Went to ... Read More
Give Ventura another try as this was only cruise from Southampton for Oct school holidays. This time not impressed with Ventura. Check in was quite slow Once on board we went to buffet, very poor selection available. Went to cabin which appeared to be ok visited buffet a few times, first occasion there was no cutlery available, once i can let go, twice and someone needs to say something, but this happened either no cutlery or no plates or no cups for tea and coffee 10 times which is inexcusable and shows standards are slipping. The Buffet itself is very poor, very little choice, poor layout, people going through exits and going wrong way causing problems. no-one to police this when entering buffet, first items you come across are the rolls and butter cut up into little blocks - put these little blocks onto your plate and in 30 seconds you have a big pool of melted butter on you plate. (will not put butter on tray as it could be dirty) Entertainment quite poor- we had 2 comedians. One was called Tucker, who came on with a song then spent the next 10 minutes talking to the late arrivals (in a 45 minute shoe this is not good) the second was Jack Ryan telling old jokes and basically dying on his feet. The Flyrights and Serious sounds were brilliant. Thank god for the Theatre showing some films. Quite a few quizzes and the Bingo - The Bingo is a major rip off, very high ticket prices £15 for a 6 strip book of 5 games £12 for a 3 strip book of 5 games Many people were paying the 6 strip approx 60-70 but the prizes only totalled £250 for all games (serious profit taking) Hardly saw anyone in the shops. On this cruise we has a man overboard and a few hours later we has to return to port for a medical evacuation. We missed a port of call to Cherborg due to high winds instead staying in the sea near devon seriously swaying all over the place for about 15 hours. Disembarking was a joke but not a bad a trying to get out of CPS car park (took over an hour) Clearly staff numbers have been cut which caused some of the problems will not be going on Ventura Again as not a lot to do. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I am well known within my family for not liking flying or sailing at all. Last week was my 50th birthday and as a surprise my family arranged a mini cruise to zeebrugge /brugge for my wife and I. Its not something I would have ever done ... Read More
I am well known within my family for not liking flying or sailing at all. Last week was my 50th birthday and as a surprise my family arranged a mini cruise to zeebrugge /brugge for my wife and I. Its not something I would have ever done due to being a bad traveller but obviously had to go. I have to say I was blown away by the whole experience, The ship, entertainment, staff, food and everything else was stunning. It is an experience rather than a holiday, we were made to feel very spoilt and rather special. Every member of staff were so so lovely and spoke to us like we were friends and not a customer. The atmosphere was amazing. We especially liked the gala / black tie evening as it made it even more special and rather romantic. We only returned a few hours ago but are already looking at booking a longer cruise for next year. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We love cruising and love P&O but standards seem to be slipping a bit. Embarkation/disembarkation: Emabarkation was very smoothe. Cases taken at Southampton and was on the ship within the hour. The same goes for disembarkation, ... Read More
We love cruising and love P&O but standards seem to be slipping a bit. Embarkation/disembarkation: Emabarkation was very smoothe. Cases taken at Southampton and was on the ship within the hour. The same goes for disembarkation, very smoothe. We chose to take our own cases off and was off the ship by 09:00. Food/Drink The drinks package was good value for money but had such a stupid policy (not allowed to order a soft drink at the same time as an alcoholic?). There was a large group of us (6) and ordering a round of drinks was a mission! It took about half an hour to order a round which was very annoying, especially at dinner! Each drink had to be ordered individually on an individual card, we know the drinks package is relitively new and staff are trying their hardest to get to grips with it but I feel P&O should take a leaf out of other cruise line’s books (RCL/MSC) as their systems are a lot more smoothe. The food in the main restaurants was very good, excellent choice and excellent quality. Sindhu was fantastic, service great and food spectacular. One note though we do miss the fish course in the main restaurant. Cabin: Cabin was very nice. The beds are amazing and our cabin steward worked very hard. The bathroom is small but that is expected. The only negative thing is P&O have removed the onboard account from the stateroom tv’s? This made it quite difficult having to keep getting print outs of the account at reception. Ship: We love Azura so had high hopes for Ventura. The entertainment onboard was great but the ship felt generally shabby. A lot of the rooms need a good face lift, the furntitre was battered in some places and it just felt a little dated. We noticed that the promenade deck was dirty in some areas as well throughout the whole duration of the cruise. Overall we had a nice cruise. The ports were great (especially Amsterdam) and the food was lovely. The ship however leaves something to be desired for. It needs a good refit to bring it back up to standards! We are sailing on Iona next year so hopefully the drinks package would have sorted itself out by then. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Initially, we chose this cruise because it was quite cheap and we could pay monthly. As the time for the cruise drew nearer I was quite nervous because I'd seen some bad reviews for the ship. My fears soon vanished when we arrived ... Read More
Initially, we chose this cruise because it was quite cheap and we could pay monthly. As the time for the cruise drew nearer I was quite nervous because I'd seen some bad reviews for the ship. My fears soon vanished when we arrived at the terminal. Embarkation was simple and quick and we were soon in our room. The cabin was much larger than I expected, very roomy and plenty of storage space. We had a great room steward, Thomas, who looked after the cabin really well. We had a meal in the Belvidere Buffet which was excellent. Later we went to the Meridian restaurant where we introduced to our waiters Joe and Lee. The food and service were absolutely fantastic, every single day. I can't praise the service highly enough, nothing was too much trouble and the food was so lovely. The Palladium Theatre was excellent and provided first-rate entertainment from the Headliners and various other entertainers. The ship talks were interesting and varied. Gym facilities are excellent and there are free dance classes. The spa is lovely and I had an excellent series of acupuncture sessions with Koko and learned a great deal about Chinese medicine. The two pools are excellent, especially the whirlpools. There are several excellent bars and the Globe does some very interesting talks too. The library is good. The shore excursions were fabulous and good value for money, especially the Corfu and Sardinian ones. Was there anything I disliked??? Yes, there was, the cruise had to end. It was an experience of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was a last minute cruise booking because we had to cancel our earlier booking on Azura due to having to care for my mum. We have been cruising now for 4 years, my wife loves it. This is the third cruise with P 0 Cruises and second ... Read More
This was a last minute cruise booking because we had to cancel our earlier booking on Azura due to having to care for my mum. We have been cruising now for 4 years, my wife loves it. This is the third cruise with P 0 Cruises and second on Ventura. I have to say despite this bad review the staff and crew were always courteous and polite - could not fault that. Our issue started when we arrived at the docks - P O decided without forewarning any of its customers that no porters were available and you had to find trolleys and move the cases a couple of hundred yards and queue to drop off your cases. There were two places we finally got in the queue near the front, when we told them our cabin they told us we were in the wrong queue and ended up at the back of the midships queue no board or information stating which queue to be in. Our view, several customers who were older age struggled to load and push the trolleys, this was not the only time and many people were affected. Not a good experience when you have just driven for 4 hours to have to lug two trolleys as my wife couldn’t manage it. We get up to terminal and are given a card with a letter to wait (not like Royal Caribbean we got straight on board and far more efficient) we waited for over 2 hours, finally got on board. My wife wanted to go to Barcelona, the sail date was 6 October later than usual but that was my wife’s interest to see the famous church Sagrada Familia as we missed it last time. To be honest we did not look too much at the rest of the itinerary until we were on board but noticed that PO cruises had cut out a stop - instead of 7 ports we only had 6 - this was later confirmed on their 2020 bookings where cost cutting reducing a port seemed to be prevalent across even 19 day sailings. On our last cruise with Royal Caribbean we got a drinks package, we are not big drinkers but enjoy the occasional spirit or wine so we enquired about the drinks package we were shocked at the exorbitant prices £39.95 per day and my wife would have to have one too as we could not share it. So just under £80 per day for 14 days - you do the maths and is you do not use it up each day you loose the balance. So going offshore for the day could cost you £79.90 if you do not have a drink on board. Absolutely ridiculous and a ludicrous package. Next in the cabin we see cards about the footprint for the environment - yet PO decided to cancel the cabin tv log of your onboard spend and had to request a print out instead to see a statement - so much for being environmentally concerned. Over the course of the 14 days we became bored with the old fashioned, staid entertainment and activities and all the health and well-being talks ended up with a sell on expensive so called remedies. We got caught with this on our first cruise not again. The headliners singers were awful screechy female lead and the male lead was just as bad. The only decent act was comedian John Evans. There was nothing innovative nothing new - same old boring stuff. It is disappointing that no real effort had been made to change anything. How many people buy paintings on board none from any of the passengers we spoke to - why not put that enormous space to better use. Disembarkation - the biggest gripe by many, we wanted to get off early due to our long drive home, so we asked for 8-8.30, we were given 8-30.8.45 am. We arrived early around 7.30 as we had to vacate the cabin before 8 am. If we wanted to go earlier we had to carry all our cases down ourselves and we were booked with CPS which was some considerable distance from our car. We sat down on the Starboard side with many other early passengers. At around 8 am the so called manger responsible for our disembarkation arrived and started herding passengers to the port side, unbeknown to all the early birds, disembarkation was to be in sections port side first so all those who arrived after 8:30 am got off first. Not only that young and older passengers with prawns and wheelchairs had were given no consideration at all. It is not rocket science to organise the disembarkation more efficiently and give some credit to this passengers who ensured they were there on times during people with prams and disabled go off first. Get you act together PO. We planned to book the Greek islands next year with PO as that was the one we cancelled but PO are not running it next year in September and the one one in October only has 7 stops in the 19 day cruise. Overall there were many other niggles PO had cut over 500 crew on the cruise, and many times we had to wait for stragglers arriving back late after a day in port, there is no excuse for this yet PO do nothing to penalise these people. Overall we enjoyed the break but this cruise was lacklustre from all sides and we were very disappointed in this old fashioned boring cruise. We have decided to try other cruise lines who have been recommended as we were not the only ones who felt the same as us and we are pretty laid back but this time we had had enough. If you want to chill out and not drink, not participate in any of the activities then this is the cruise for you otherwise go elsewhere - we will not go again with PO until they improve. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Having just completed our first P&O cruise (aboard the Ventura )I thought I’d post my comparison with the Celebrity Solstice class ships, as most of the cruises we have done were aboard Celebrity, the last one being on the Silhouette ... Read More
Having just completed our first P&O cruise (aboard the Ventura )I thought I’d post my comparison with the Celebrity Solstice class ships, as most of the cruises we have done were aboard Celebrity, the last one being on the Silhouette this time last year. The ships are roughly the same size in tonnage , but Ventura carries more passengers, and I believe has a higher ratio of crew to passenger. So on that score the Silhouette seems to come out on top. I would also say the Silhouette has a plusher interior, but that said the Ventura is still a nice interior just not as glitzy. On the Ventura we had a superior deluxe balcony cabin, because it had a bath. On the Silhouette we had a standard cabin; albeit in the past we have had an Aqua Class cabin. Again the Silhouette cabin has a bit plusher feel, but doesn’t compare in size and storage to the Ventura. Without doubt the Ventura cabin wins hands down. Can’t comment on standard cabins on Ventura, other than to say a few passengers remarked on how tight the shower was. Obviously food and drink are a big factor in any cruise. We’ve never had any complaints on a Celebrity boat about food. Quality, choice, service have always been consistently good. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Ventura. In the main food was ok, but never exceptional, and in a few cases quite bad. Both ships have specialty restaurants, for which you pay a premium; although quite a bit more on Celebrity. We tried them all on Ventura and found their top restaurant – The Epicurean to be passable but not memorable, but did enjoy Sindhu, the Indian themed restaurant, and the Beach House. There was, generally, a noticeable difference in the waiter service, with Ventura being very mixed, and at times not overly efficient, whilst Celebrity consistently good. If you are a foodie then, based on our experience, Ventura is not for you. Conversely, when it came to entertainment we think Ventura was much better. The ship had an excellent entertainment team and programme. The shows in the main theatre were of a good standard, and the final show on the last night – “Astonishing” – was probably the most enjoyable production we have had on any cruise. All round the entertainment team was more engaged with passengers; even at disembarkation they were high profile and involved with folk waiting to leave the ship. Passengers on Ventura were 99% Brits; whereas Celebrity has a more mixed nationality passenger base., but mainly American. So many features on Ventura were targeted to British taste, including prices in sterling and 3 pin plugs. Certainly the Brits made more of an effort about dressing up on formal nights; in contrast Celebrity and others appear to be moving to a more smart casual style throughout the cruise. In summary Celebrity is a bit more upmarket, but of course quite a bit more expensive. If I had a choice between a like for like cruise, at same price, I think I’d opt Celebrity, but the lure of the Ventura cabin, with its decent size, and bath, might be hard to resist. Best on Celebrity – the food Best on Ventura – cabin; closely followed by excellent entrainment team. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My husband and I chose this cruise as we wanted a taster cruise of the Greek islands. We were very lucky with the weather for October. 28 degrees most days. We have stayed on the Oceana before about 7 years ago and although it is ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise as we wanted a taster cruise of the Greek islands. We were very lucky with the weather for October. 28 degrees most days. We have stayed on the Oceana before about 7 years ago and although it is supposed to have had a refit it is definitely not in the same good condition. It is looking very tired. Atrium is an exception to this - still beautiful. Our cabin was inside f229 on deck 5 . Very handy for reception, gangway, bars, restaurants and theatres. Small long not wide cabin with fixed twin beds. Lots of storage space. Decor tired and could do with brightening up. Very loud engine noises coming from empty rooms to the side and read of the cabin. Did not get much sleep. We would not recommend it. We did not use the main dining room. We chose 1St sitting and table for 2 as we booked select. We were given 1St sitting but table for 6. Decided to use buffet as we wanted to do things in our own time. We would probably choose freedom to dining next time. Food was very average in buffet with limited choice and quality not as expected. Roast beef was raw. We enjoyed the barbeque on deck though. Breakfasts in buffet not the best. Eggs were tasteless without an egg station so tried eggs were in a tray on top of one another. Bacon was good but no mushrooms on offer. Entertainment was excellent day and night. Faultless. Deck quoits are a hazard with an extremely rude elderly male player who thought it was acceptable to block me from passing by pushing his arm into my bosom. I have him a piece of my mind. Chivalry is definitely dead. Our cabin steward Mira was lovely and always happy. Reception was excellent and we used them lots as we had problems with our almost daily. They were there to help very quickly. We enjoyed our time at the ports in Crete and Brides. We went on an excursion to the Acropolis and Plaka booked with P and O. Very good day out and guide Irene was extremely knowledgeable. Not for the unsteady though. You need flat, strong, antisocial footwear. It was very crowded on the way up. Views at the top are stunning. Watch out for the rose sellers. They have you a rose and say 'free!'. But what they really mean is Three. 3 euros!!. Easy to embark and disembark. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our second cruise on Oceana, and we were not disappointed. However, there were some inconsistencies by comparison with 2018. Firstly, a positive - the Headliners last year were beyond terrible, this year? It was difficult to believe that ... Read More
Our second cruise on Oceana, and we were not disappointed. However, there were some inconsistencies by comparison with 2018. Firstly, a positive - the Headliners last year were beyond terrible, this year? It was difficult to believe that these performers carried the same name, well-rehearsed, well danced and well sung routines in great costumes. The show “Astonishing” was exceptional, perhaps not so astonishing illusions performed with song and dance in an exceptional mix. The Stephen Mulhern video card trick had most people gaping in amazement. Top marks!! In 2018 we attended a singing workshop with entertainment host Andy Jones. Andy whipped up his audience with an excellent warm up followed by some good singing, the sound of this small group ending the session singing “Can you hear the people sing” from Les Miserables was memorable. This year the workshop was hosted by “Taff” (the onboard musical director). Taff clearly wanted to be somewhere else directing professional singers. We walked out as it was too dreary for words. There were a couple of problems. Having returned from a shore excursion in Olbia there was a huge queue for the scanners only half of which were in operation, this was made even worse by the port officials instructing the passengers from the Marella Explorer II to walk past the queue to the front! No explanation was given and a lot of people including me were very angry. When the Captain made the sailing announcement later that afternoon, he apologised for this and explained that as soon as the ship was made aware the port was requested to open more lanes. Excellent public relations! We had cause to complain regarding the service in Café Jardin and we were not the only ones who were unhappy. However, when my wife complained on the following morning she received a fulsome apology and we were offered the opportunity to dine at Café Jardin that evening without the usual surcharge and would be served by a waitress who has served us so well on three previous occasions. Once again excellent public relations! We noted that the ridiculous flag waving sing song party “Land of Hope and Glory” “Jerusalem” etc was at the end of the final sea day and not within earshot of a country which had been our host which we felt more appropriate than as we sailed out of Rhodes last year. However, we stayed on our balcony! We had booked the ferry from Naples to Sorrento in advance. We found it difficult to believe that Sorrento has not changed at all since we last visited 28 years ago! We travelled by Circumvesuviana train to Torre Annunziata to visit the Villa Poppea (Oplontis) which was virtually deserted. These remains are totally astonishing given that they are nearer to Vesuvius than Pompei. We also travelled independently in Rome where we visited Ostia Antica. We went by taxi which was expensive but returned by train. Ostia Antica is huge, and we will be returning to take in more of this exceptional site. In Corsica we took the Mountains and Maquis coach tour which given the narrow and precarious roads is not for the faint hearted! What we saw of Corsica was nothing less than fabulous. In Sardinia we took the Ancient and Modern tour. The Ancient Nuraghe were very interesting, and the architecture of the 1960’s Porto Cervo was striking in its’s use of Historic Sardinian style. However, unless you are interested in very expensive shops Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari etc etc. many of which had already closed for the season and looking at the outside of five-star hotels also closed for the season, this is one to avoid. All in all an excellent cruise and doubtless we will return to Oceana in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The itinerary interested us. Malta,Naples,Rome,Corsica,Sardinia,Athens, Crete and Rhodes. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth and professional. The Oceana is a medium sized very friendly ship. This is our 3rd time on this ... Read More
The itinerary interested us. Malta,Naples,Rome,Corsica,Sardinia,Athens, Crete and Rhodes. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth and professional. The Oceana is a medium sized very friendly ship. This is our 3rd time on this ship. Dining staff excellent and cannot fault. Lots of menu variety and beautifully presented.Food very good. The restaurant manager went out of his way to ensure we were happy with our seating arrangements. . Entertainment variety is great and Headliners in particular are very professional and high standard. Elias Hendricks sang Classical Soul and was excellent. Cabin steward attentive and kept our cabin spotless.. The excursions we chose were led by very knowledgable agents, we did five organized by the cruise line, the rest of the destinations we did our own thing. We were in Crete twice and Malta on first day, middle of the cruise and the last day. A very good talk by a marine conservationist Alexander Sanchez Jones. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
For this review, I have compiled the facts and written them in an easy, logical way to read, however, as will become clear, the information from the Captain was given after the acute crisis event, during a Q & A session, with a ... Read More
For this review, I have compiled the facts and written them in an easy, logical way to read, however, as will become clear, the information from the Captain was given after the acute crisis event, during a Q & A session, with a proportion of the affected passengers. This is a factual description of our experiences. Facts: 1. The Captain had warned P&O 3 years ago not to include Monaco in any itinerary during the annual 4 day Monaco mega yacht show (which this year was 25 -28 September 2019). This is because all hotels in and around the area are completely booked, areas are closed, the Monte Carlo pier and tendering is not available, taxis are not available, buses are limited, it is packed and you have to pre pay 280 Euros to walk in the harbour promenade; 2. The Captain informed us that 2 weeks before our sailing, they tried to change the port to Villefranche, but 2 other ships were already there; 3. The Monte Carlo tender port is notoriously choppy and unpredictable and a quick scan of the forums shows how frequently the tender port is cancelled or has to be suspended; 4. Google states that in 2003 a modern cruise ship pier was opened to prevent the need for tendering in the known unpredictable swells. So why do some cruise companies still not pay to use it and instead choose to tender? 5. Upon questioning by the passengers the Captain revealed there is a written P&O protocol and procedure for exactly what to do when tendering has to be suspended and passengers are stranded – the 1st thing is to acquire hotel accommodation. This was never going to be available during the yacht show. A simple, common sense, uncomplicated risk assessment by a layperson would reveal that no ships should ever tender during the yacht show and the P&O protocol could never be accomplished; 6. Monaco offered P&O a tender area adjacent to Monte Carlo called Fontvieille and P&O / Carnival took the risk, that despite there never being hotel availability and P&O not being able to fulfil step 1 of their emergency protocol, that they would tender there; 7. The Captain’s weather forecast was for “good boating” that day. We got on the tender at around 9.10am. We have always loved tender ports and are excellent sailors. We noticed how many passengers could never have fulfilled the compulsory “step” test and were being lifted into the tenders. There were many wheelchairs and scooters. Our tender was choppy and many passengers were bumping their heads and being thrown around in their seats. Other passengers said how later this became progressively worse and the tender operation was extremely slow and interrupted; 8. When we joined the enormous, return tender queue at 14.15, passengers told us that the tender operation was suspended and apparently had been for some time, hence the vast queue. We considered going back into town, but it is a long, hilly walk into Monaco Ville from Fontvieille and I could not physically repeat it. We opted to wait…..and wait……and wait. The queue must have had 400-500 passengers by 15.00hrs and then the excursion coaches arrived at around 17.00. I overheard the Intercontinental excursion man, upon meeting the guests, informing them not to join the queue and to go to the nearest shopping centre to use the toilets, get refreshments and rest. The queue had not been told to do this. Information was extremely minimal i.e. it was passed down the line that they were still trying to resume tendering. Meanwhile, the water canisters ran dry and there were no toilet facilities that were open and we all remained standing in the Monaco sun. In the Q&A meeting the hotel manager claimed, as per protocol, that there was plentiful water at the tenders. She had clearly not been informed that this had long ran out. And anyway, the exceedingly patient, compliant queue did not move from their spots to walk the 100-200 meters to where the water containers would have been. At one stage, as the queue was right in the sun, the excursions department manager and a colleague carried what was left of the water along the queue until it was empty. After the risk of heat stroke and dehydration, the sun went behind the buildings and the wind whipped up. It quickly became very cold and of course we were all in strappy T shirts and shorts; 9. At 18.00hrs, all the staff in the queue were gathered together and debriefed. At 18.10, these various staff members went along the enormous queue. We realised something was up, because suddenly the previously unmoving queue all moved to the right and into 2 tiny restaurants / pizzeria and a bar. Eventually we were told we could spend up to 20 Euros per person for food / drinks, which would be refunded. By the time we got this information, the small eateries were full. The 18.10hrs message also stated that there would be a further announcement at 18.30. There was no way we could get food anywhere within that time, so we stuck with the queue as did some others. There never was a further announcement, but staff did go along the line at approximately 19.30 hrs asking if anyone had any priority needs, e.g. medications. I have a brain tumour, which I volunteered and was invited to go to the front of the queue. As I look relatively young, fit and well, I knew (as indeed happened) I would get dagger stares for moving to the front and so I declined, but the staff member escorted me; 10. At the front the brilliantly assertive senior nurse, who happened to be on shore leave, was organising the immediate priority group 1 and the 2nd priority group, where I was put. We waited and waited and we then boarded 1 of these 2 tenders. It was extremely rough. Again, many passengers who could barely walk and certainly not unaided, were being lifted into the tender. There is no way that they would have been able to fulfil the “step” test. 70 passengers were in our tender, but then the exits of the tenders were completely blocked by numerous wheelchairs, scooters and buggies. The 2 tender crew had to keep climbing over them. The voyage to the ship began at approximately 20.30hrs in the pitch black of night. We have never experienced such a rough tender ride. Passengers were having panic attacks, some screaming, crying and virtually all were vomiting. We have never seen so much vomit and we are hospital / medical professionals. Our tender was unable to get up alongside the ship, as tender priority 1 had to abandon unloading half way through, as it was far too dangerous. Passengers on the ship watched in horror and disbelief at the extreme rolling and pitching of the tenders. After approximately 45 minutes of these awful conditions we got back to the quayside, but we could not go alongside, as there were 3 empty tenders parked alongside. We, as passengers, had to tell the crew to move the empty tenders, so we could dock and be unloaded. It appeared that the entire tender crews and officers on the jetty had no control and were floundering. Eventually we unloaded and stood right on the jetty water’s edge, in the pitch black, back at the front of the enormous queue. We stood there for some time and then the safety officer in a quiet, sheepish voice, barely heard by most said “the police and authorities have taken over”. We were all led for a 15 – 20 minute walk to a sports centre, attached to the football stadium; 11. This whole time we had no information and no clue what was going on. It was now approximately 22.15 hrs and we had queued for 8 hours without seats, toilets, food, water, or shelter. We were all exhausted; 12. Most passengers were led into the basketball arena with had massive, steep, concrete steps to climb, without rails, to the plastic arena chairs. 1 elderly lady face planted down these steep steps and was taken away to hospital. We found 2 chairs in the hall. Some wonderful, off duty, non-officer staff were sharing the foods they had purchased for their personal use; 13. Eventually, the tender crews managed to collect some boxes of biscuits, dry crackers, nuts, tortilla chips, bottles of water, towels and blankets – anything that could be thrown from the ship into the tender. We later found out this food supplies mission had to be abandoned at 23.30hrs as a crew member fell from the tender pontoon, into the sea, between the ship and the tender, sustaining multiple head bangs. Clearly, any food transit had to be abandoned. Thankfully, we can now tell you, that the crew member survived, but the Captain told us that as it was a near fatality, the entire ship’s crew were naturally very shaken; 14. At the point when the snacks, towels / blankets arrived the calm, pleasant, courteous P&O passenger characteristics changed into 2 groups……- the considerate, selfless, carers group and the self-centered, just look after yourself group. Whereas I took 1 biscuit, others were seen hoarding entire, large, wholesale packets; 15. The senior nurse demonstrated strong leadership skills, effectively prioritising those with life threatening needs. There was still no information; 16. At approximately 22.45hrs, a policeman, of which there were loads, asked us if we needed a bed? Of course, we did need one, but we thought others showed greater need, so we declined; 17. At around 23.45hrs, a sudden surge of police and Red Cross staff arrived. A policeman came to us and instructed us “follow me, bed”. We were led into the basketball stadium, down the extremely steep stairs and into a further hall that had been set up with 100s of stretchers as makeshift “beds”. The majority were barely off the floor, narrow and metal and were of the type seen on TV news during earthquake / person evacuation / disaster zones. It was at this point we realised we were there for the night. There was still no P&O information. It was a complete disgrace and a total failure of communication; 18. The influx of police and Red Cross volunteers formed a human chain, passing more stretchers into the hall, which they then assembled. We were given a “couverture de survie” – a life saving foil cover. In a way we were lucky to get 1 of these orange evacuation metal stretchers, as we found out from passengers the next day, that they had to rest on the cold floor, on tables, or on broken up boxes, or sit all night in the arena plastic bucket seats, which must have been even more truly awful. However, these passengers told us that they had seen many passengers hoarding 5 towels as pillows or multiple blankets. 1 passenger at 3am saw an empty blue camp bed with a neatly folded blanket on it. As she took the blanket, the nearby man shot up and shouted at her to leave it, as it was “taken”. A few hours later she returned and saw the same empty camp bed and neatly folded blanket. In our hall there were many Red Cross workers who gave out the tin foil covers, some table cloth type covers and some duvet type sleeping bags, which we used to soften the hard, metal of the evacuation stretchers. The Red Cross went around the hall all night, checking on people and covering them with the tin foil, however all passengers will relay how exquisitely irritating the noise of this foil was – it became a torture noise in our sleep deprived state. Some passengers managed to sleep, but the extreme snoring, was for most, a further noise torture. For me, the worst torture was the bright overhead fluorescent lights that were left on, so any rest was futile and broken by foil / snoring / fluorescent light and the hardness / narrowness of the stretchers; 19. At no time were any hot drinks available from the Red Cross, which was a surprise to us, as hot drinks are commonly used in any emergency first aid crisis. However, there was now plentiful water obtained from the ship and at 3am we found some other snacks in the main basketball arena. During this time we spoke to a shore side food and beverage man that happened to be visiting the ship. We asked him if there was any information and were told that we were going to be got up at 5am, to leave by bus at 6am, to go to the Monaco train station to get a train to Villefranche, to join the ship. This information had not been communicated to anyone outside the basketball arena, so at 5am we asked the officer in charge – the customer service manager to announce it to our hall and other areas where passengers were. My husband also asked him if the ship was actually in Villefranche, as it would be ridiculous for us to leave shelter with toilets, snacks and water to be left stranded in the outside, without any facilities. He replied “that’s the plan from above”. My husband suggested to him that he should confirm with the ship that they were in a position to sail to Villefranche, before any of us left the sports centre. He remained silent and did not move, so my husband went upstairs to the basketball arena and found the food and beverage man from before and explained that there were whole areas that had not been made aware of the plan and announcements needed to be made. The ship’s food and beverage manager officer then came to our area, but no one could hear him, but, as before, passengers followed other passengers’ lead. We tried to stay, but were told to leave. We now know, that at this stage, as we predicted, it was still not possible for the tenders stranded at the quayside to be loaded back onto the ship. A ship is legally not allowed to move without the tenders in place and yet the passengers still had to be moved from the shelter of the sports centre; 20. We were put in queue groups for public buses, which did not have many seats and were taken by police escort to the train station. We personally got the 7am train which arrived at Villefranche at 7.15 (there were 3 trains 6.30, 7 and 7.30). A further 15 minute walk took us to the newly reassembled, enormous queue, which we personally arrived at, at 7.30. We saw the ship sailing towards us in the distance, but by the time it arrived, anchored and dispatched the tenders, we had had to stand for another 2 hours, without seats or toilets, in a totally sleep deprived state, before getting on a tender; 21. At 7.07, whilst on the train to Villefranche, some passengers received a text from P&O, but most phone batteries were now dead. The text read “Good morning. We have now started the bus operation from the stadium to get you back to Azura. If you are not at the stadium, please make your way to Villefranche cruise terminal without delay”. A further text arrived at 7.45 “Good morning and thank you for your patience. Azura will shortly be at anchor and we plan to start the tender embarkation as soon as possible. Thank you once again”. When this arrived all 1000+ passengers were standing in the queue. It was noted by passengers how P&O had failed to send any texts of information until this point; 22. Whilst we were in this final 2 hour queue, we came across the Events Manager and I sarcastically asked him how this event had gone. Unforgivably, he replied “very well”!!! 23. We arrived back at the ship at 10.00hrs and were told to go to a particular restaurant for breakfast. We went via our cabin to wash our hands and found a letter of apology from the Captain, which included a statement “we will be refunding you a full day of your cruise (on a pro rata basis). Also, a gesture of £50 per person will be automatically placed in your onboard account today, for you to enjoy”. The letter stated that there would be a 16.00 hrs Q&A session and that we would be contacted to confirm the venue. Notification of the venue came in a letter around 14.00hrs, when most of the affected passengers were asleep and therefore did not know! 24. We attended the 16-17.00hrs meeting and the general, overwhelming themes were: a) complete failure of communication, b) failure of senior staff to manage, control, or lead the situation, c) the 1 day offer was insulting, as we were already on day 2 of impact and for the majority, it would take additional days to physically recover and a lot longer emotionally and d) the £50 “gesture” is empty if it is on board credit, as the money goes straight back to the company. Already flown in from shore side and present at the Q&A session, were a representative from guest experience and a representative from guest relations. It is interesting that despite the passengers having been given no information that P&O managed to coordinate 2 shore side staff members to be flown in to meet the ship. There was positive recognition and thanks of some P&O staff who were fantastic, particularly the non officer junior staff, who showed the greatest empathy and kindness, when they were also stranded in their off time. Summary P&O blame this event on a force majeure, however as outlined, we strongly feel this was a completely avoidable crisis. We should never have tendered during the yacht show as a risk assessment would clearly have demonstrated that there would never have been an ability to execute their emergency protocol (for hotel accommodation) in the event of tender difficulties, in an area of proven track record for unpredictable sea conditions and aborted / delayed tender operations. This was a foolhardy gamble that went wrong and could easily have resulted in crew and passenger fatalities or serious injuries. In this regard P&O were extremely lucky. Goodwill Gesture / Refund and Financial Remuneration: 1. The promised refund of maximum 20 Euros per person was applied as on board credit at an exchange rate of 1.25, giving £16 non-refundable OBC, therefore the money went straight back into the pockets of P&O. The Bank of England rate on the day was 1.12 = £17.86. Monaco is one of the most expensive places to eat and drink, so 20 Euros would not adequately cover a meal; 2. The one day refund was never increased, despite the shore side guest experience representative saying that they would reconsider it, so we personally got £117 per person simply for the loss of 1 day on the ship. There was never any recognition for the extreme suffering, physical and emotional distress, sleep deprivation, stress and disappointment and for us, the ruination of the entire 2nd week of the cruise and therefore half of the holiday; 3. A letter was received in the cabin to claim on insurance for the loss of the port in Corsica. As an additional point of note, this incident happened after the major news event of day 5, when the ship rescued 17 migrants floating on a dinghy. This 10 hour rescue meant that we could not reach Barcelona as planned; 4. A few days after the incident a bottle of Prosecco was brought to the cabin; 5. On arrival home an unimpressive, small hamper was delivered with a message “A warm welcome home for all to enjoy. From P&O cruises”. Lessons learnt for tender ports: 1. Before the cruise, research on forums the specific tender ports to establish if they have a history or strong likelihood of being aborted, delayed or cancelled; 2. Do your own risk assessment and assess the sea conditions before and on the tender out and immediately return if it feels unusually choppy; 3. Take emergency provisions for that and the next day – food, water, warm clothing, sun protection, inflatable pillow and mattress, spare phone batteries and chargers and most importantly any medications for that and the next day. Consider the need to carry all this in a carry-on luggage wheelie suitcase; 4. Captains’ weather forecasts can be seriously flawed – supposedly calm, good conditions can adversely and extremely change. Are you prepared to take the risk? 5. Beware that P&O itineraries still have tender ports at Monte Carlo during yacht shows in future years. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
P&O has done a Marks and Spencers act. It has ignored customer demand and gone for max profit. This cruise proved it. We ate onshore as often as possible. We are tired of the same corporate menu, cruise after cruise. No ... Read More
P&O has done a Marks and Spencers act. It has ignored customer demand and gone for max profit. This cruise proved it. We ate onshore as often as possible. We are tired of the same corporate menu, cruise after cruise. No imagination, no food uploaded along the route - so no local produce.(To ensure quality - we are told.) To ensure max profit is probably fact. We chose the cruise to visit Corsica - it never happened but for acceptable reasons. However P&O food gets worse each cruise. Every turn demands money - the only smiling staff for the 1st two days were those demanding money! The music has got louder and less appropriate to each venue. Azura appears to have no quiet area for relaxing. The staff are great but corners are being cut everywhere. If you like massive loads of average food, loud music everywhere and family movies like Dumbo - you will love P&O Azura. It is not for us - we do not go on holiday for endless loads of poor quality food, for over loud music and below average entertainment. Aurora was ok but even so, did not match RCI for food quality or entertainment. RCI per day was half the price too! Maybe we got a good deal but - 50% cheaper - that is something to consider even at full price! Better food by far, better entertainment and a more caring company. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Petroni on Azura - Embarkation and Cabin - Azura cruise A925 sailing 21st Sept 2019 Also Search for Petroni for info on food, wine and our adventures - rescuing migrants, Monte Carlo 'disaster' trapping 1400 ashore and ... Read More
Petroni on Azura - Embarkation and Cabin - Azura cruise A925 sailing 21st Sept 2019 Also Search for Petroni for info on food, wine and our adventures - rescuing migrants, Monte Carlo 'disaster' trapping 1400 ashore and a bunch of funny (and some not so funny) incidents Embarkation – brilliant! Slick and well organised. It would be hard to think of any way to improve on it. Well done! Cabin – gave it a ‘once over’ with an ultraviolet torch and it was pretty good, clean and tidy The usual over priced water offering (5 x 1.5l bottles for £10.50 with a 6th one thrown in for free). For the same price my local Lidl would give me 66 x 2l bottles, but hey, this isn’t Lidl. Bathroom functional and clean but not much else to say. Needed extra clothes hangers which were readily provided from the steward Television frequently not working as the satellite signal keeps getting lost as you rock when at sea but tends to work pretty well when in port. Could do with a larger selection of films as I had seen pretty much everything there was. No music on offer. These days you cannot get access to your account from your room and have to ask for a printout from reception instead. So much for progress with technology. Safe works easily. Storage space is adequate. Suitcases fit under the bed or on the shelf above the hanging wardrobe. Breakfast in bed is available (free) and many room service options (chargeable) are available. There is a phone in the cabin. Each deck is numbered and lettered so, for example, if you want to phone cabin A123 (deck no.4) you would dial 4123, cabin B123 would be 5123 and so on. Beach towels are provided (two per cabin) but, you should ask for extras if you intend sunbathing. You will need two per lounger. The smoke stacks/funnels spit out a fair bit of soot and any loungers down wind of the stacks can get dirty. So pop to Poundland, and get yourself a couple (each) of the big plastic clips that hold the towels on the loungers (as it can get very windy) and never sit on a lounger without a protective towel if you value whatever you are wearing. If you do end up with soot marks on your clothes, go to reception and they will give you a FOC (Free of charge) laundry clean but the item will be gone for 2-3 days. There are two 500ml bottles of water free when you arrive. To augment the water supply, you can either bring back a glass with you when you return to your cabin from any food area or, you can boil water in your cabin and when cool, refill the 500ml water bottles. Or you can pay the £10.50 (but I am too mean to). The mirror in the bathroom tends to get very misted up if you have a shower. Quick tip – rub a bar of soap onto the mirror and then clean it off with a small hand towel. The soap will clean the mirror up nicely as it dries leaving you a better chance of doing your hair, gel, wig etc. The tea coffee tray has the basics but if you need fresh milk, gluten free, skimmed etc you can ask the steward for some. Similarly, if you prefer a fruity tea, peppermint tea etc you can grab a couple from the self service buffet deck 15 and use them in your cabin. We take a bottle of gin and a couple of bottles of tonic and have a G&T as we get ready for dinner each night. Don’t forget to bring a little bottle of lemon or lime with you if you do the same. Avoids the need for knives, fruit etc. You can ask the steward for extra glasses for your cabin so you have some for the G&Ts and others for your water. There are laundries on every deck with washing machines and driers. We have never used them but they appear to be free. There are ironing boards and irons available there too. Washing powder/tablets/capsules are available on deck 5 (I was told) so you do not need to bring anything yourself. I hope this helps Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chose this cruise for the Greek islands. We only did 1 week. Excellent cruise very easy and quick embarkation and getting off was quick also. . Staff were all lovely very friendly. Clean ship amazing food noble problems there drinks a ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the Greek islands. We only did 1 week. Excellent cruise very easy and quick embarkation and getting off was quick also. . Staff were all lovely very friendly. Clean ship amazing food noble problems there drinks a bit on the expensive side but as tips have been taken of we expected that. Inside cabin was OK clean lovely guy looking after us. Irons on our deck did not work very well. Had room service breakfast 3 mornings it was OK. Did not pay for any excursions found them to be expensive. Did our own thing. Entertainment was excellent. Food was also very good. Nice atmosphere a round the ship. Shops a bit expensive but had some good sales on. Captain very good kept us all informed had to change itinery due to a force 10 gale during the night on the Friday that was Scarry but captain was very reassuring Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I've cruised twice before - Ventura (P&O) and Independence of the Seas (Royal Caribbean). I chose this cruise because we were limited in terms of the dates we could take annual leave from work. Overall I enjoyed the ... Read More
I've cruised twice before - Ventura (P&O) and Independence of the Seas (Royal Caribbean). I chose this cruise because we were limited in terms of the dates we could take annual leave from work. Overall I enjoyed the cruise however there weren't many people my age or younger. I would estimate the average age of passengers to be 65/70+. I preferred the Royal Caribbean as the age range was more varied and this was reflected in the activities and entertainment. Ballroom dancing seemed to feature a lot - holds little/no interest for younger passengers Far too many black tie nights. At one point we had 2 black tie nights in a 3 day period. When dining I would prefer to dress more comfortably and casually. I have to dress up for work everyday so like to be more relaxed when on holiday. One black tie night per week is more than sufficient. I thought the food on Britannia was not as good as Royal Caribbean and on P&O Ventura. Staff were excellent. Cabin was excellent, clean with everything we needed. Ship Sun Decks - even though Britannia is a bigger ship with more passengers there seemed to better provision of sun loungers than compared with smaller P&O ship Ventura and Royal Caribbean. Atrium - a very large space with no atmosphere or buzz, occupied mostly by people drinking coffee, reading or eating cake to background of piano playing. I didn't use this area at all. It felt like an upmarket old people's home. Drinks - Reasonable prices, better value than Royal Caribbean. Drink packages - unless you are drinking well over healthy recommendations on a daily basis (verging on alcoholism) the drinks package is not worth having. We bought our drinks separately. Some passengers with drinks packages were unhappy as the bars weren't open very late - possibly due to the age range of the majority of the passengers. There were very few people about after 12am - most had retired for the evening. Some said the packages limited them to 15 drinks/day. Spa - Didn't use this - very overpriced. I had a tension headache and enquired about booking for a 30 minute treatment. The shortest and cheapest treatment (with a discount) was reflexology session for 50 minutes at £89. I didn't book in, not because I couldn't afford it but because it was not good value for money as this would cost less than half the price back home. I appreciate that things will be dearer on the ship but would have felt ripped off if I'd booked in for a treatment. They didn't seem very busy - possibly because the treatments are overpriced. If they reduced the price I feel people would be more inclined to book treatments. The prices for nail treatments seemed more reasonable. Entertainment Not enough provision for younger passengers below pensionable age, I was often bored during 'at sea' days. I was 50 at the time of sailing so i'm no spring chicken however I'm not ready to spend my nights ballroom dancing or sitting drinking coffee and eating cake in the atrium. There were seminars but most wouldn't appeal to my age and younger - swollen ankles, foot problems, health ailments etc. Marco Pierre White cooking demo and Q&A was excellent Tony Green featured as a speaker on several days. His stories about various war battles were brilliant and his knowledge was extensive. This became a highlight of our 'at sea' days. Brodies - pub feel. Went to Bingo and quizzes here which were good. Sail Away - We left the first sail away due to the volume of the speakers, it was so loud it actually hurt my ears and I'm someone who regularly goes to concerts and festivals watching live music so It's not that I'm noise sensitive. For this reason we didn't attempt any further Sail Aways. Headliners Theatre - most performances were singing and dancing and this became a bit 'samey' so we only went to a couple.The dancers were excellent and I assume many also have acting skills so why not perform a condensed West End type musical with acting and offer a bit more variety. Terry Cotta comedian was brilliant, made a nice change from all the singing/dancing performances. Another comedian or variety act would have been appreciated. Good space but chairs are very narrow and the drink holders only have one side so I don't use them as it's easy to spill your drink. This meant I had to hold my drink or place it under my seat throughout a performance. Film - There is a small theatre showing films which is good, we went there a couple of times. It was empty a lot of the time and the space could have been better used/occupied with additional films being put on. Cookery club - We were lucky enough to to do a Masterclass with Marco Pierre White. Cost of £100pp. This was excellent and made our trip. Marco was brilliant, we saw him around the ship a lot and he was always charming and friendly towards passengers. Dining First meal in restaurant wasn't very good - bland, not hot enough. Subsequent meals were an improvement however the food on Ventura was better and Royal Caribbean were much better. Most meals weren't hot enough. Horizon - buffet, very good, lots of choice and open later at night for snacks, hot chocolate etc. Was much easier to get a table when compared with Ventura and Royal Caribbean. There were grab and go fridges for snacks and a pizzeria, burger bar which were really good. Epicurean - a fine dining experience. We went twice for a £25pp supplement - excellent on both occasions. Limelight Lounge - excellent (evening meal with entertainment). We paid £25pp and saw Chesney Hawkes and Eric and Ern (Morecambe & Wise act) - both were excellent and good value for money Sindhu - we went there once for a £25pp supplement. Excellent food and atmosphere. Excursions Rome - Tiber Cruise and Walk. Booked this as we did a full walking tour of Rome last year to the main places of interest and thought this would be a bit easier on the feet. The cruise element of this tour is negligible, we were only on the boat twice for less than 20 minutes on both occasions and there's not a great deal to see from the boat. The tour was predominantly walking. There were several flights of stairs up and down from pavement level to the river which proved difficult for some people. Tour guide was excellent Gibraltar - WW2 tunnels This was interesting and the guide also took us via the monkeys on the Rock which was a bonus as it wasn't included in the excursion. Tour guide was excellent Florence on your own. Would recommend Barcelona Short walk away from the shuttle bus drop off there are hop on/off tourist buses. We bought a ticket and hopped on and off at several locations. Would recommend. Caution - the tourist bus drop off point for Gaudi Guell Park involves a significant uphill walk to get to the park Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Wanted a cruise in the Mediterranean in September. Cruised several times before but not on Britannia. Huge ship and that means it is very spacious. At no time did it feel crowded. Lots of space on deck. Lots of sunbeds. If you meet ... Read More
Wanted a cruise in the Mediterranean in September. Cruised several times before but not on Britannia. Huge ship and that means it is very spacious. At no time did it feel crowded. Lots of space on deck. Lots of sunbeds. If you meet irritating people don't worry you will never see them again. Restaurants were busy. Lots of space to read. Enjoyed walking on deck. Nice pools. So smooth. Forgot we were at sea. Restaurants were busy but well organised. Top tips: Opt for freedom dining it worked really well for us especially on shore days when you want a rest before dinner. If they can't fit you in they will give you a pager and you can go off and have a drink or walk. Sorry to be negative but overall food in my opinion was poor. We have been on 8 cruises and we definately noticed a difference in food quality. Food was sometimes cold in the Horizon. Not the chef's fault but poor menu choices and poor ingedients. Steak and chips, liver, cottage pie lumpy mashed potato and tinned fruit is not what I expect having worked hard and saved for years for this holiday. Desserts were unexciting. Food reminded me of Butlins in the 80s. On the plus side I didnt feel constantly bloated and didn't put on loads of weight like other cruises. A lot of emphasis was put on paying extra for other restaurants. Well NO I am not paying extra I have paid enough. The mini bar in the cabin was an unnecessary extra too. On the positive side staff were so helpful, friendly and go out of their way to make your meal lovely. Top tips: Order breakfast to be brought to your cabin. IT IS FREE. Have it out on the balcony. A beautiful start to your day. Ours was brought to us by Francis so lovely and friendly. Ship was clean and tidy apart from the windows which need a good wash. Lots of handwashing facilities around the ship and public toilets were immaculately clean. Entertainment was good with a singer from the Hollies, a couple of comedians and an amazing acrobatic act. Top tips: Go to 10.30 show. It's much less busy and you can get a seat . Lots been said about lifts. Yes they are very busy after shows. Getting back on board ship etc.There are going to be 3,500 people wanting to use them so chill out. Wait a few minutes after shows, walk up the stairs a bit more. My husband asked people to sing in the lift and asked for deck 21 which got people grinning. Don't have lift rage you are on holiday. Loved the formal nights. So nice dressing up. Saw many great films on board. Really enjoyed them. Enjoyed seeing Marco Peirre White. Oasis spa was lovely and had the best manicure and gel nail polish I have ever had. Ports of call were amazing. We were very well informed about when we going to arrive. Weather ect. Nice port talks. Loved Rome and Pisa and Cartegina was just delightful. Look for the roman amitheatre. Entrance is via the museum in the shopping centre. Had a fabulous time. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chose this cruise for convenience of date to fit in with our Golden Wedding anniversary celebrations, As such we booked the Strathaird Suite C751 Boarding and welcome buffet absolutely first class plus. Our suitcase was waiting at ... Read More
Chose this cruise for convenience of date to fit in with our Golden Wedding anniversary celebrations, As such we booked the Strathaird Suite C751 Boarding and welcome buffet absolutely first class plus. Our suitcase was waiting at the cabin door as expected. We entered the suite, first impression , dull drab and old looking furnishings looking very tired!! Gosh what have we done? Nearly £5K spent already just to get this far!! In due course the Butler arrived to explain what he could do for us but really was a passed master at explaining what he did not do.Frankly no need for this individual at all not even for the delivery of the stale canapes each evening The wash hand basin in the unheated bathroom was cracked, the sofa bed in the lounge area was so flat and uncomfortable the bottom on one side was falling away. Servicing by the cabin stewardess left a lot to be desired One excellent Perk of the suite is the invitation to breakfast every day in the White Room at the Epicurian fabulous service. Our special dinner there was exceptional. All in all a very disappointing cruise, the ship only actually sailed in and through the fjords at night and was either in port or at sea during the day Definitely NOT value for the money on this occasion Our dining experience in the Bay Tree restaurant was the food dull and uninspiring with 50% of the menu repeated every night Entertainment was quite good with Comedy from Tucker on two great nights and Magic from the Astonishing show Overall onboard was just ok but we have already cancelled our Christmas cruise on Ventura and booked on another P&O ship We found the public rooms a little too cool and the Costa area needing a good clean, eg The back of the chairs had coffee spillages on them and needed wiping and cleaning Service was just ok but we have seen better Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
first time done a cruise and was not disappointed. When arrived at cruise terminal checked in was fast and once on the boat shown straight to cabin. Met so many nice people and everybody was friendly and spoke to each other which was ... Read More
first time done a cruise and was not disappointed. When arrived at cruise terminal checked in was fast and once on the boat shown straight to cabin. Met so many nice people and everybody was friendly and spoke to each other which was nice The food was excellent and different restaurants to eat at and bars to drink at and there was different entertainment every night. Lots of things to do gym centre and several swimming pools. The excursions were very good lots of choice. Staff very friendly and helpful and staff kept boat clean and tidy all the time. Reception staff and restaurant staff all excellent. The scenery of the Norwegian fjords are stunning so lovely to see when getting up everyday in a different port. Getting on and off the boat at every port the staff very friendly and helpful as you have to use your smart card to get on and off the boat and put bags through security and when leaving the cruise ship at the end of the cruise that went really smoothly no problems. Would go on a cruise again as had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Here is some info that I wish I would have known before I went, hopefully it will make your trip/cruise a bit easier. The car and ticket check in with security were very easy and relaxed. Just join the queue of cars, pull out your bags ... Read More
Here is some info that I wish I would have known before I went, hopefully it will make your trip/cruise a bit easier. The car and ticket check in with security were very easy and relaxed. Just join the queue of cars, pull out your bags onto the pavement , sign your keys over to the waiting staff and walk to the terminal, your bags appear by magic at your cabin shortly after. Our cabin on b deck is as small as a two star hotel but there is a big space under the bed for cases. The notice left on our dresser for freedom dining said we had to be at a specific restaurant at a certain sitting, which we later found was at 8.30 but apparently we did not have to go to that restaurant and could eat somewhere else if we liked at extra cost if using another restaurant or the buffet at no additional cost. There was ample wardrobe space for two of us for two weeks in a chilly Baltic arena. Not much time to unpack before the Southampton sail away party which was a loud way of introducing the entertainment crew who seem a nice bunch. Lots of elderly people in this cruise and we found out why later as it is a very relaxing way of travelling to new places with all your immediate needs catered for. Fridge magnets are a good idea to stick the daily itinerary to walls that are nicely finished plastic coated steel. Freedom dining was requested by us but apparently six months wasn’t enough time to secure this however when on a cruise with 5 other people it was a good way of catching up. The constant music in the outdoor Aquarius bar was a bit loud at times but other quiet areas were available .Just inside however the smoking area was too close to the door allowing the smell of tobacco into the buffet area. There are three areas to smoke on the Arcadia, all under cover but no indoor smoking at all so take a windproof warm jacket with a hood if going north. The buffet area is open most of the time so proving very difficult to keep the weight down but there is well stocked gym and three laps around the deck is one mile. The paid for internet is very very slow even when on the ships own pcs. If you use a cloud based photo storage system it would be quicker to wait until you are at home to sync your photos but wether or not the location tags upload correctly I will have to see. The staff are always milling around cleaning, clearing and maintaining but in general are pleasant with some being very pleased to see you at any time and others having a grumpy demeanour most of the time so just like all of us then. The ship “Arcadia “ has obviously done a lot of miles and looks a little tired in places, the most obvious of which is the back with rust lines running over the name so really time to paint that bit soon. Our balcony on Bermuda deck had a doorway between each of our neighbours that could be opened if required but it does rattle in the wind so new bushes are required. Apparently there is sometimes a “back of the house” tour around the ships workings for around £75 but it was not available on our trip which I was very disappointed about as an engineer myself, but it was quite cost prohibitive anyway. Our cabin had a 37 inch flat screen Tv with usb and hdmi ports which proved useful to plug my hard drive in to with my films on as the reception on the onboard channels was terrible and sends your eyes funny after a while. The TV also had screen mirroring but as it was a Samsung I did not have the app. Our cabin had a thermostat on the wall but whatever I put it nothing seemed to change and there was a constant draft around your head when sitting up in bed so we were glad to have a small settee in the room. The wine and champagne lessons where brilliant and by far the best on board entertainment. I could go on but that would just be boring. :) Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I write this review because of the absence of reviews prior to booking. It is only my second cruise, the first being Norwegian Fjords on Britannia 2018, which was perfect in every way. OK, so to start, remembering my first cruise was on ... Read More
I write this review because of the absence of reviews prior to booking. It is only my second cruise, the first being Norwegian Fjords on Britannia 2018, which was perfect in every way. OK, so to start, remembering my first cruise was on a very new ship, the bar was set very high. My first impressions were 'not as good as Britannia, bit tired, not a glamorous, or big'. This lasted for a day, and then I started to really like the ship and accept that she is just a bit older, so bound to be less perfect. It was spotlessly clean, with the same amazing shows, service, quality of food. Would I go on her again? Definitely. We had a balcony room D41 which was perfectly placed. I used the gym 10 out of the 14 day cruise - well equipped and never busy, and right at the front of the ship looking out to sea. We ate in the Select Dining Sinduh and Ocean Grill a couple of times - superb, especially Sinduh. We had freedom dining and ate around 8 to 8.30 each evening. We generally got a table for 4 straight way, but on a couple of occasions, were given a blepper to call you when a table was ready. This all worked perfectly, and was exactly as we had expected. We went to St Petersberg, and I can recommend it big time, I would also recommend the ship. It is also an adult only ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We had selected this cruise as many people do for a specific celebration, in our case a 30th wedding aniversary. We had also wanted to go to Russia. Having read some of the previous reviews I was a little apprehensive, but they were wide ... Read More
We had selected this cruise as many people do for a specific celebration, in our case a 30th wedding aniversary. We had also wanted to go to Russia. Having read some of the previous reviews I was a little apprehensive, but they were wide of the mark in my view. Yes the ship does look like you would expect it to having spent 25 years in salt water and all weathers, but it is well looked after and cared for. The staff were attentive but not at all pushy, food was very good both in the Belveder / Lido. We had chosen first sitting 6.30 in the main restaurant the Meriden menus every night were varied and the food of a very high standard, service was spot on. The entertainment was of a very high standard, especially the Headliners shows very much West End standard,as well as a great choice of things to do on sea days. The cabin was very good, only negative was just one socket- but this was not a problem. Tea and coffee and a plentiful supply of milk was excellent. Shore excursions were excellent especially in St Petersburg and Riga. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
To spend time with my son and enjoy activities on board and ashore. The quizes were fun but one of the quiz masters made them more about him and entered into the realm of vulgarity on a family ship at 12.30.pm. Not a good idea! ... Read More
To spend time with my son and enjoy activities on board and ashore. The quizes were fun but one of the quiz masters made them more about him and entered into the realm of vulgarity on a family ship at 12.30.pm. Not a good idea! The food was exellent at all times and service was fairly good. I would like to single out Milton for High praise, he was an excellent and couertous waiter and took a real interest in us. The drinks system took a lot of getting used to by us passengers and the staff. I am guessing that the ultimate drinks package is a new venture and staff were very slow at times to return the all important cruise card to us, I am sure these teething problems will be sorted out in time. All in all a very enjoyable experience bit not without glitches and some improvements could be made. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose the Ventura as this was the only cruise that suited our availability - we were not disappointed. We arrived at Southampton after a 6 hour journey to be greeted by the parking service. Speedy and efficient, my car was taken and ... Read More
We chose the Ventura as this was the only cruise that suited our availability - we were not disappointed. We arrived at Southampton after a 6 hour journey to be greeted by the parking service. Speedy and efficient, my car was taken and parked whilst we went into departures. No queueing, went straight into check in and on to the ship. This was my first time on Ventura and I was stunned. Glamorous and opulent, it was a beautiful sight. It was clean, bright and well kept, the decor sumptuous. Straight to our cabin, our cases were already there! I went in and our cabin did not disappoint. We'd selected E deck as my 80 yr old mother required to be near the entertainment decks and I expected a somewhat dreary cabin. I was wrong. It was lovely, the view unobstructed and the cabin spacious. It was bright, with and well maintained, no peeling corners but a spruce and well thought out design. The bathroom was super with a lovely shower. It wasn't big but certainly very useable. The cruise was excellent, there was much to do and the food was excellent. We ate on the Lido and there was so much choice. The waterfront restaurant was designed in a way that food was Centred on islands - you don't queue up like a canteen! The service was super and our cabin steward, Rajesh, could not have been more attentive. So many bars and restaurants, a lovely library, a super Arcade games room (which we enjoyed). Deck 15 pools are well designed, one with a retractable roof and it's not windy up there! All in all, a super cruise - I loved it. One thing, though. There's no cards room for adult games. I missed that. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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