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687 P&O Cruises Europe Cruise Reviews

The service received from P&O from the online booking to embarkation to the staff on board to disembarkation was superb, the cruise however was very disappointing. Oriana is a lovely boat in very good condition At 65 years young ... Read More
The service received from P&O from the online booking to embarkation to the staff on board to disembarkation was superb, the cruise however was very disappointing. Oriana is a lovely boat in very good condition At 65 years young I’d guess we were about 20 years below the average age and not needing walking aids we were in the minority. It was like being in an old folks home at sea.....not my choice of holiday venue. I felt that P&O dumbed down their offer to suite the age and expectations of the passengers. The entertainment was poor....when you end up visiting the cinema five times on a 14 night holiday it says a lot for what’s available.....when I saw colouring in as one of the activities the warning bells rang!! We normally like a drink in The Crows Nest in the day, we nicknamed it Gods Waiting Room....full of folk fast asleep with their mouths wide open. Seriously if the car hadn’t been tightly packed in a CPS car park we’d have jumped ship and flown home. The highlight of the holiday was the three other couples we shared our dining table with, very experienced cruisers, but like us new to Christmas cruises.....and like us all said the last time ever, sad really The Xmas atmosphere was zilch, at £4000 an expensive mistake Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Never again on the Oriana unless you are over the seventy age mark and would like to sit like zombies. The days entertainments were adult Colouring by numbers,Craft and Chat get together & knitting & Chat also line dancing and ... Read More
Never again on the Oriana unless you are over the seventy age mark and would like to sit like zombies. The days entertainments were adult Colouring by numbers,Craft and Chat get together & knitting & Chat also line dancing and they are only the high lights. Getting onto the ship was no trouble fill in the medical card, collect your on board cards and on to the ship you go and there the enjoyment ends. for four of five days there was a virus on board but we were not told, but when salt & pepper comes in little paper, hand antibacterial gel every where, on day five everything was back to normal. I must say that we did not have the best in weather 5 days of winds and bad seas but once we reach canary island the weather did get better for two days, who said go for the hot weather was not on the Oriana this December. The Conservatory [The Buffet] Poor meals Al Fresco [ Passable] Freedom Dining [Passable] If you like the formal evening you can eat and drink anywhere But if you not the buffet is all you get and you can drink only in one bar because you are not dress up for the rest. This ship I was please to get off and I was not the only one I'm sure. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise as it was visiting Hamburg, Oslo and Amsterdam sad well as Copenhagenn and Zeebrugge which we had previously visited. Unfortunately we did not make Amsterdam due to severe winds in the North Sea. We loved the food ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was visiting Hamburg, Oslo and Amsterdam sad well as Copenhagenn and Zeebrugge which we had previously visited. Unfortunately we did not make Amsterdam due to severe winds in the North Sea. We loved the food and always ate in the Medina restaurant on anytime dining and enjoyed the company of all the people that we met. The entertainment was brilliant especially Helen Ward-Jackson who sang Adelle as well as Cabaret songs on another night. We really enjoyed the Four tunes especially their rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. the headliners theatre group were also great to watch and possibly the best crew ship singers and dancers that we have experienced. We did three organised tours and we were more than happy with the costs incurred. Our cabin D143 was kept spotlessly clean by our cabin steward Val and he is a credit to P & O. Aurora is a lovely ship and a joy to travel on it is the right size of ship please do not decommission it as it is a perfect size! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Although one of the older ships in the P and O fleet, the Aurora is beautifully maintained. The Art Deco touches around the ship give it a real sense of style, and all the public areas are smart and attractive. Because it is a smaller ... Read More
Although one of the older ships in the P and O fleet, the Aurora is beautifully maintained. The Art Deco touches around the ship give it a real sense of style, and all the public areas are smart and attractive. Because it is a smaller ship, it is easy to find your way around, and feels intimate, but not crowded, and at around 1800 passengers, there seems to be space for everyone. This was a winter cruise, so it was no gauge of normal demand for sun beds, but we never had a problem getting a seat in the Theatre or a drink in the bars, and although peak demand at breakfast and lunch in the buffet meant it was very busy, it was still possible to find a table. This was my second cruise on Aurora, and it has become my favourite P and O ship. Personal preferences are very subjective, but for me it has a much better atmosphere than the much larger, more modern and bland, Britannia. There are several bars, with styles including Gentleman’s Club, pub and nightclub, and they are all beautifully decorated and well maintained. Waiter service was, on the whole, quick, friendly and efficient, with just an occasional (but understandable) slight delay at peak times, such as just before dinner. Some bars were not open during the day, but provided ideal spaces for those who like to sit and read, and for daily activities and quizzes. However, drinks were often available in these areas through waiter service from another bar. Prices seemed to be around the same as most pubs at home. Two main dining rooms offer Club dining and Freedom (anytime) dining, with Speciality dining (at an extra fee) offered in Sindhu, The Beach House and The Glass House. All are well decorated and attractive. On this cruise, we ate only in the Medina (Freedom Dining) restaurant, and the very friendly waiter service was exceptional. Despite it being Freedom Dining, we ended up in the same section (mostly on the same table) for several nights, and got to know our waiters as much as we would have in Club Dining. The waiters also got to know us and our preferences, and treated us as friends. This was an unexpected bonus, and very different from our Freedom dining experience on other P and O ships. The food was of very good quality and we enjoyed every meal in the MDR. However, the menu choices seem to have changed a little with P and O over the last few years. Presumably because of their emphasis on Food Heroes, etc., menus include a lot more “fancy” dishes. Again it is just a question of personal preference, but for me this restricted the menu choices a little, as I enjoy fairly plain food, and don’t eat a lot of fish. However, for those who like fish, there seem to be a lot more fish options on the menu. Unfortunately for us, the Beach House, which has always been a feature of our previous cruises, has changed the menu, so that the wonderful kebabs are now fish based, rather than meat. As is usual for P and O, the MDR menu includes “always available” items, such as steak and salmon, but these disappeared on Gala nights, which made menu choices very limited. Food in the Buffet was consistently good at breakfast and lunch, with varied choices, and service was efficient and friendly. I was travelling with a friend, so we had booked a twin larger inside cabin on B deck. It was spacious, with a full size sofa and plenty of wardrobe space, even though we had bulky clothing for the winter weather. Our steward kept the cabin and the bathroom beautifully clean. The entertainment was very good. The Headliners Theatre Company’s own shows were some of the best I have seen, and there were four during the 10 night cruise. Normally, cruising with P and O means seeing shows that you have already seen on other ships and cruises, but the shows on this cruise were new to me, and very well performed, and included a superb Christmas show on the last night. Guest performers included the Four Tunes (who are a P and O favourite, and are consistently good), an excellent ventriloquist/comedian, Gareth Oliver, Helen Ward-Jackson (vocalist and Adele tribute act). The port presenter, Sam from the shore excursions team, was one of the best I have seen, and made the presentations much more interesting than the usual “just selling excursions” type of talk. There was the usual selection of daytime activities, with the addition of two game shows, based on The Chase and Pointless. The Entertainment Team presenters were enthusiastic, but clearly too young to understand some of the questions and answers! The itinerary was what attracted us to the cruise. Ports of call were Hamburg, Copenhagen (overnight), Oslo, Amsterdam and Bruges. Hamburg and Bruges crop up on so many cruises, but I hadn’t been to Hamburg before. Unfortunately it was not only very cold, but wet, and we had to take refuge in a shopping centre to get dry and have lunch. Two Christmas markets, but we didn’t really get a chance to gauge what it would be like in better weather as somewhere to visit (despite driving round the city three times when our shuttle bus driver got lost!) We had visited Copenhagen previously, and loved it, but the overnight stop meant the opportunity to visit the Tivoli Gardens in the dark to see the Christmas decorations and lights, and this was magical. A beautiful city, and three more Christmas markets. We used the shuttle bus to go back to the ship in the evening, but the city centre is a reasonable (and very pleasant) stroll from the ship. Oslo was wonderful. It was a clear, sunny (but cold) day, and the ship was moored five minutes walk from the City Centre, alongside a military fortress which now has the grounds open to pedestrians, and this gave us some lovely views of the city, the port, and our ship. There was a very big Christmas market in the City centre, and a lot of great shops. We walked (about 30 minutes) to the Vigeland Sculpture Park; this was a pleasant stroll with plenty to look at, and the sculptures were amazing. Well worth a visit, but if you are able to walk it is not worth paying for a ship excursion to go there. Disappointingly, we had to miss Amsterdam because of high winds, and so arrived at Zeebrugge at 5pm on the Thursday instead of 8am on the Friday. Shuttle buses were laid on into nearby Blankenberg, and a couple of last minute evening excursions were arranged for those who wanted to go further afield. We did go into Blankenberg, but there is little to see or enjoy in the dark at this time of year! We had already booked a day trip to Bruges for the next day, and on balance we thought this was worth the extra cost. Despite being called “Bruges on your own”, there was a guide who gave a running commentary all the way there and back, and led the way from the coach park to the city centre, as well as answering any questions. A chocolate box pretty city, but unfortunately it was again a wet day, so we decided to take a mini-bus city tour and this enabled us to do some sight seeing in the dry. Embarcation was very quick and very friendly - we were on board within 15 minutes of leaving the taxi. Disembarcation was much slower, and it was crowded and hot being herded into the Theatre to wait until we could leave the ship. The North Sea was a bit rough, but no more than we expected at this time of year. (The very entertaining Captain, Neil Turnbull, apologised for the potholes in the road on several days!) This was a very enjoyable cruise, and at £75 pppn, very good value. There were many people on board who were doing the trip for the second or third time. As usual, we met some lovely fellow passengers, who became wonderful cruise friends. The Christmas decorations on board were wonderful, and on one day the Entertainment team sang carols in the Atrium, complete with surprise snow falling from the upper gallery. However, in their advance emails, P and O had emphasised the festive nature of the cruise, with the ship smelling of mince pies and mulled wine. No doubt mince pies were around somewhere, but I could find mulled wine only in the deck bar by the pool. Having said that, plenty of fellow passengers wore their Christmas jumpers to create their own festive atmosphere! All in all, a wonderful cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Have to praise the steward and butler who were amazing. Ship was really not up to scratch at all looks tired and dirty despite the constant cleaning. Food very mediocre although was able to have a reasonable breakfast in the white room ... Read More
Have to praise the steward and butler who were amazing. Ship was really not up to scratch at all looks tired and dirty despite the constant cleaning. Food very mediocre although was able to have a reasonable breakfast in the white room daily. Speciality restaurants very overrated for the price that is added on. Lots of relaxation of dress code evident and anyone allowed in all areas despite black tie nights which was very disappointing and not seen at all on our previous cruise on Arcadia. Paid for spa pass and wish we hadn’t nothing working and staff not bothered to make amends Entertainment reasonable but again everything seemed to be an real effort and staff looked totally bored at times and not keen to interact. The only place that was full daily was the pub and lots of people appeared to stay in their cabins Sadly will not be returning to this ship Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
How on earth did P&O get to this? It seems the desire to pack the big ships at all costs is precipitating a race to the bottom, particularly the type of people that now appear on this once great cruise line. We went on the ... Read More
How on earth did P&O get to this? It seems the desire to pack the big ships at all costs is precipitating a race to the bottom, particularly the type of people that now appear on this once great cruise line. We went on the Ventura when she was brand new nearly 10 years ago, and my how things have changed. The overall condition of the ship was OK, the food was satisfactory but could be quite repetitive, the entertainment was actually very good. P&O have generally always had an elderly demographic, but this cruise was like Gods waiting room. We are in our early 40's and felt like children on this cruise. The main issue, more than anything, is how standards have slipped. I am presuming to keep headline costs down to attract the masses, is why they are now charging for absolutely everything. Tea and coffee used to be available all day every day. No bathrobes and slippers anymore. But the real kicker, and this will upset people, is the standard of the clientele that are now on board. Areas of the ship now resemble a Butlins camp, with the type of clientele you'd expect to be there. The point of cruising with P&O, was that it was an experience that was special, exciting, something to really look forward to, out of the ordinary. However, now this is no longer the case. Dress codes have been even more relaxed to now include 'smart jeans'! Never have I seen this before. P&O what are you doing? Half the ship dressed smartly, half off to a football match, totally unacceptable. We spoke to a lot of seasoned cruisers who totally agreed with us.How did P&O go from Canberra to this? We all agreed on one thing, if you want class where everyone makes the effort, go to Cunard. That's certainly what we shall be doing from now on. A once great Cruise line now recuced to this. What a shame. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Needed a no fly cruise from Southampton and it was this or the Queen Elizabeth and the latter had no balcony cabins left. Disappointing weather but this obviously not P&O's fault. However, bad weather means passengers spend ... Read More
Needed a no fly cruise from Southampton and it was this or the Queen Elizabeth and the latter had no balcony cabins left. Disappointing weather but this obviously not P&O's fault. However, bad weather means passengers spend much more time indoors and with each other and in their cabins. Air conditioning always dries my sinuses so access to the steam room is always essential but on Day I I was told the free steam room was broken and would not be repaired for the duration of the cruise. However, for £20 a day extra I could use the steam room in the spa. I did a Ladies Pamper session and tried out the steam room which is tiny and decided it was definitely not worth spending any extra money to use it. We asked if I might just use the steam room - for ten minutes a day max and was told absolutely not, only if I paid. The spa feels dingy and although the hot beds are nice, I prefer them on ships where you can look out to sea. I asked about a haircut and how much they would charge. a girl disappeared to find out, then I spotted it on their price list...£51 it says. "From £51" she corrected me. Thats for short hair, yours is long so it would be more. Mine is shoulder length. I queried why it would be more, surely it was easier to cut longer hair? She shrugged. I didn't book. Clearly she could have charged me any sum she fancied. I briefly contemplated chopping my hair off in the cabin first so it qualified as a short hair cut but decided to just wash it instead. Half way through the cruise I picked up the inevitable cold as so many fellow passengers seem to think it is OK to sneeze as they walk around and even in the lifts without covering their noses. After that I spent most of the time in the cabin as I was feeling so rotten. This was where I began to notice all the things that need doing to make the cabin worthy of the description "Luxurious" - see below. A nice bath would have been great but was really difficult to achieve. Also the toilet stopped working on two separate days and each time we were told it was because of the weather and because we were right at the back of the ship!!! So, a temperamental bath and loo and I was feeling rotten anyway. But perhaps it was just as well we were cabin bound as on the penultimate day the Captain announced there had been an outbreak of Norovirus and that we should all take extra care. We took cover. frankly, it was a relief to get home. We have been on around 90 cruises on many different lines and have cruised on Ventura already earlier this year and have been on her before as well as most of the other P&O ships. I would say standards have gone down. Yes it is a friendly ship but management seems somewhat loose. For example, the jacuzzis were being regularly used by small children. So that meant adults like us couldn't use them because we all know that children are not as fastidious as they might be. In fact, maybe that's possibly where the Norovirus outbreak started? No decent films to watch on TV either so mostly watched the (Brexit) news from back home. Not a great holiday. Would not go on Ventura again. Have booked Azura with family in the Spring and just hope it's better - it was last year. However, will be cancelling the fortnight we had tacked on afterwards as I know a week will be quite enough. The only really good thing I can say about the food is that the puddings are pretty poor and as I usually have a sweet tooth, I have come home no heavier than I went away... which is unusual for me. Food quality is inevitably better in the restaurant than in the Wayside Buffet but the service can be very slow, especially as most parents seem to think it is Ok to bring their very small children into dinner and big family tables can be very demanding.The coffee is awful everywhere so you have to go to Costa....or make your own in the cabin which is much better. Shopping holds no temptations either....not good value and very limited range. Headliners were Ok, but not as good as they were last year when they first came onboard. But we were clearly in a minority as the theatre was packed out for every show. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our second trip to Bruges on a cruise ship but this time was disappointing. This ship carries too many passengers to make the trip to shore a pleasant, stress free experience within the time allocated. We did the organised tour ... Read More
This was our second trip to Bruges on a cruise ship but this time was disappointing. This ship carries too many passengers to make the trip to shore a pleasant, stress free experience within the time allocated. We did the organised tour last time so decided to go it alone and take in the local atmosphere at our own pace this time. There was limited information from P&O on how this would work. The cabin newsletter told us about the free shuttle bus to the nearest rail station where we could catch a train to Bruges, but failed to point out there was a limited rail service due to it being a Sunday - just 1 train per hour. This would have been fine if we knew the times of the trains - our shuttle bus driver announced (as we crossed the railway) that the train we could see below was leaving and the next one was in an hour! There was literally nothing to do in the town where we were dropped as it was shut for winter so we wasted an hour of our shore time waiting for the next train in the cold after a fruitless search for life in the surrounding streets. When we finally found Bruges it was a good 30 minutes from the rail station to the centre which was fine but it made us very aware of time and getting back to the rail station again so we didn't miss the ship! We didn't want to risk catching the last possible train in case of delays or overcrowding so we opted to head back on the 2 pm train. Bruges was heaving because of the Christmas Market so it was difficult to find a place to stop, relax and take in the atmosphere. We finally found a restaurant in a side street that allowed us a beer (although they really wanted us to eat but there was no time) and then the mad dash back to the rail station where everyone else had the same idea. The whole process of train, shuttle bus, gaining access back into the port took the best part of an hour and then the eternal wait while each bus queued outside the ship before being allowed to drop us off. We we outside the ship for another 30 minutes or so - it was really unacceptable. We felt like we were being punished for not taking the organised tour option and regretted going to shore after all, it couldn't be classed as a day in Bruges - more a fleeting half day at best. Very disappointing. The ship itself was tired (so were we in the end) but the cabins were lovely and well equipped, with good sized balconies. Service generally was slow but friendly and the restaurant food was good. We opted for the supplement Indian Restaurant one night and found that superb. However, the cattle market canteens on deck 15 were shocking. Over crowded, impossible to find a table, dried up food - just horrid. The whole experience was topped by a shambles of departure from the ship back at Southampton after a rough weather crossing (not the ship's fault). It was too dangerous to come into port at the scheduled time, so we were sent back to The English Channel until conditions improved. This meant the orderly system for leaving the ship deck by deck went completely out of the window with a 3,000 person queue making its weary exit 4-5 hours after anticipated. There was little food left for breakfast (what was there was dry and shrivelled) - every seat was taken - no cups for drinks while we waiting to dock - it was the party that no one wanted to be part of and we couldn't go back to our rooms as they were being cleaned. As I've mentioned before - it's just too many people in 1 place trying to do the same thing. Never again!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Getting on and off the ship first class, ship it's self was clean and tidy accept the rip in the seat in the Palladium. Cabin was clean but not dusted before or during our stay.I left my name on the stand of the TV in the dust. I ... Read More
Getting on and off the ship first class, ship it's self was clean and tidy accept the rip in the seat in the Palladium. Cabin was clean but not dusted before or during our stay.I left my name on the stand of the TV in the dust. I personalty own my own cleaning business, So wasn't happy. Entertainment great and the activities. Wasn't told there would be a formal night before we left so was very upset when there was one on board. The service in the restaurant was terrible, first we never had glasses or flowers on our table for the first 2 nights, 2 of the ladies had a bottle of white wine between them and had to ask for the bottle every time they wanted a drink, Three of us on our table of 6 didn't drink alcohol, but not once was we offered anything to drink. The food was bland tasteless and served with no grace everything was to much trouble, but the last night they fell over each other to serve us we even had soft drinks offered us. Would have helped if there was transport from the port to the centre of Amsterdam. Its was a good walk and being in our 50's, 70's and 80's we were tied to do much else. This was to be a warm up to my 60th birthday to see if I liked it to go on a longer one. Still trying to make up my mind !!|!!!!, All my friends are long term cruisers . One lady with us had only been home a week from a Caribbean cruise , she was served a bowl of soup the bowl was red hot but sadly she had to send it back as the soup was cold. Oh and to finish on a funny note.... our 82yr old member and 53yr member of the group was waiting for the lift on our last day, when it arrived there was a couple having sex on the floor of the lift. We did laugh but !!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Just got back from Arcadia’s first cruise after her refit. Everything was as you would expect apart from a few little niggles Cabin clean and tidy Celeste was a great cabin steward, unobtrusive but efficient. Food was standard ... Read More
Just got back from Arcadia’s first cruise after her refit. Everything was as you would expect apart from a few little niggles Cabin clean and tidy Celeste was a great cabin steward, unobtrusive but efficient. Food was standard P&O fare good but not over fussy, waiters all friendly and helpful Only niggle on the food was their decision to mash up the Stilton on the second night so the crust was served without any cheese. Didn’t make sense to me. Drinks were reasonable. Wine list very extensive. Those we tried were excellent. Heard some people being refused certain spirit brands on the menu not in stock. I was refused tanqery gin as it was out of stock. I guess this will be resolved by next cruise. All new carpets looked great the refit has improved the ship. Still some water coming through the ceilings in some P.O. lick areas and a couple of lifts not working. But to be honest we’ve seen that on lots of other ships. All in all great cruise pity we couldn’t afford more time off work for a longer cruise. We will no doubt cruise on her again Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
The Oriana is an elderly but pleasant ship with good lines. She looks good. She still retains the best of the original decoration of her designers, when she was the pride of the old P & O Company. She has good communal areas, with both ... Read More
The Oriana is an elderly but pleasant ship with good lines. She looks good. She still retains the best of the original decoration of her designers, when she was the pride of the old P & O Company. She has good communal areas, with both principal and secondary show lounges, and a comfortable cinema. So given entertainment which suits your taste or interest, there are good venues to satisfy them. Embarkation was standard, without too much waiting. The balcony cabin was pleasant enough, although there was little welcome - no bottle of wine, just two bottles of mineral water, a single bloom in a vase without water, two small and partly used shampoo and conditioner bottles sitting in the bath area, with two full ones beside the washbasin. And one small bar of soap. It didn't matter but it reinforced our opinion that over a comparatively short period of time, little economies have been creeping forward. Our cabin steward did his job adequately, but we had to ask for things which hitherto would have been checked, such as soap, room service menus, and towels. None of this was important but it may indicate something. Dining in the freedom section was fine, without much waiting and although the service was slow, the food was in the main acceptable. Not special. But not bad either. The buffet, which we used when entertainment would have been at risk through delays in the dining room, was, sometimes, very good indeed, with some interesting themed food evenings. So all in all, so far, everything average. What was not average on this voyage was the Music Festival. We booked this cruise last year specifically for the Festival albeit not everyone on board was aware of it, or appreciated it. But for us it raised a standard cruise to an outstanding one. There is no point in describing the content of the Festival. Suffice it that it went alongside the standard singing and dancing, show music singers, comedians and illusionists which seem the standard norm for today's cruise liners. If you like troupes like the Headliners then no doubt you would be satisfied although one show was cancelled due to illness which affected the ship, and one of the female Motown singing shows was cancelled due to rough weather. Service in the bars and restaurants was uniformally cheerful. At reception, well, I posed a request for information which would have come from the ship's bridge, and it was not answered. The impression I had that she could not really be bothered with it. That may not be fair, but there it is. The ports of call were interesting but of the three P & O excursions be booked before joing the ship, two were cancelled through lack of numbers. That left insufficient time to research what else to do. But no harm done. We found excellent alternatives at a fraction of the cost, refunded after our return. And what we really enjoyed on board , the table tennis table, just protected from the open deck but plentifully supplied with bats and balls - unique in our experience. No signing for bat and ball at reception in case, presumably, we stole them. Good fun and good exercise. Would we travel again with P & O? Yes, if they allow another Music Festival. No, if they do not. Without something like that, these cruises seem to us to become very much the same. And rather boring. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was my first cruise. My first impression was, this needs a uplifte looks tired. Few staff were sarcastic and belittling. I was not impressed like me don’t eat meat, choice offered was not interesting, found mashed potatoes we beaten ... Read More
This was my first cruise. My first impression was, this needs a uplifte looks tired. Few staff were sarcastic and belittling. I was not impressed like me don’t eat meat, choice offered was not interesting, found mashed potatoes we beaten so bad they all became like liquid, and so called wedges were always hard, they do t know how to make custard was always lumpy. Sweets or pudding, were not worth having.As for self service, was like a free for all and food kept running out and had to ask to be re filled, staff had lay back attitude in this restaurant, and too many people were picking food up and putting them down.. Lifts could do with more labelling, along with direction where to go... would be nice to have a little direction of where shops are . You had to pay £4 ew per person ew on shuttle bus. I felt cold in bars, the shows were quite good. bedrooms were very clean, and most places were clean. I did get annoyed the way staff just constantly kept coming up asking you to fill your glass, just as you get to bottom, and when you said no I’m fine, then next one comes and ask same question. I thought they put a mat down to show you did not want a drink. Must say get in on and off was very efficient. I’m only say saying what I feel for my first experience. I felt if we had had third person in cabin we would on top of each other . Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We picked the cruise because we had only been to 1 of the ports of call. Although we had visited Lisbon numerous times before it is a city that we like a lot so that was ok. We also visited Valencia, Alicante, Gibraltar and Cadiz - ... Read More
We picked the cruise because we had only been to 1 of the ports of call. Although we had visited Lisbon numerous times before it is a city that we like a lot so that was ok. We also visited Valencia, Alicante, Gibraltar and Cadiz - Alicante was supposed to be Cartegena but P&O seemed somewhat surprised that a marathon was being run there and so most of the town was closed down! We were livid about this, we really wanted to visit Cartegena and they must surely have known up front, if not somebody needs a demotion. We had heard that Ventura is getting abit tired - sure there are signs that she has been at sea for nearly 10 years now but it's nothing to be put off by. They were replacing carpets with nice new fluffy ones on some of the stair ways, it was done with the minimum of disruption. The wetaher was most excellent apart from a nasty storm we hit just south of Bilbao, that made me sea sick and I missed the only night they served lobster on board - most annoying but nobody's fault. Now we come to the food - it is in this area that you can see cutbacks particularly if you don't like fish. The choice is much less than it used to be, the servings of vegetables are tiny, the always available options of steak and chicken never change - they could offer different sauces but all you get is bearnaise with the steak, the chicken is always cooked exactly the same way and with no choice. There were too many fish dishes and not enough imagination. The dishes sounded good on the menu but were often a bit bland and missing the wow factor they used to have. The food in Waterside was ok but it's such a bun fight that we did not enjoy eating up there. The food in the main dining rooms was variable in quality, one night they served lamb leg steaks, I have brought it home to repair my work boots with, I expect it to last a few years as it is tough stuff :-) We went for freedom dining, which threw up a strange dislike - every night the conversation was the same and very boring. There seem to be so many people that just can't wait to tell you how many cruises they have been on and how big their houses are. It seemed to happen most nights and every attempt to talk about something else was just brought back to the same old topics by somebody on the table. Surely there are other things to talk about? I think it is some sort of snobbery, I have experienced it before but never to this extent. It's not P&O's fault in any way, just thought I would mention it. We would probably have swapped to fixed dining if we could as tables for 2 are rather scarce and even if you do get a table for 2 there will be someone on the next table that can't wait to tell you that their next cruise is already booked despite Bert's lumbago and the fact it's going to take 12 people 10 days to paint the back wall in their massive kitchen. Overall the cruise was very good, the entertainment was excellent apart from a couple of people that had been described as comedians being about as funny as a ruptured spleen. The cabin was always clean and tidy thanks to Sheldon , who was simply brilliant. Overall it was excellent value for money - the trip to the top of the rock of Gibralter was the highlight of the holiday. We will go again but next time I will take ear plugs. And sea sickness pills. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Hello All, Well I must admit that was one of the quickest embarkations I’ve ever had. Arrived at the Ocean terminal at 12noon and in the arrivals lounge on the ship by 12:15pm sipping on a lovely glass of wine (even better when it’s ... Read More
Hello All, Well I must admit that was one of the quickest embarkations I’ve ever had. Arrived at the Ocean terminal at 12noon and in the arrivals lounge on the ship by 12:15pm sipping on a lovely glass of wine (even better when it’s free haha) and munching on the wonderful buffet. We were staying in cabin L106 (Valetta Suite) right at the front of the ship next to the bridge. We'd only been in the cabin 15 minutes and it was superb, couldn’t fault it (especially for the price we paid - nothing like a good bargain) awesome wrap around balcony, I prefer the aft suites myself but this is certainly much better than I expected as I was told the balcony was rather exposed but the views and size is brilliant. The food, service, entertainment and staff were absolutely outstanding as always. I can honestly say the food in the main dining room in which we dined every night on second sitting 8:30 - ‘Bay tree’ was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. The shows we saw from the headliners theatre company, The Brit Tones, and The Freddie Mercury tribute act were again some of the best I’ve ever seen at sea. We Met some fantastic people throughout the cruise as always, in our section of the restaurant there was 6 tables of two - by the third night of the cruise they had turned into 2 x 6 seated tables - it just goes to show how great friendships are formed on cruises combined with the outstanding service and food provided by the amazing staff on-board. We even had our own little cabin party with our new friends, fantastic. The weather we had (as most of you saw from my previous posts) was unbelievable for the middle/end of November.... an average of 20 degrees throughout!! Very lucky indeed, combine this with the fantastic prices of cruises in Oct/Nov/Dec you really can't fault it. We visited ; Lisbon, Valencia, Alicante, Gibraltar and Cadiz. I must recommend one thing that you must do - we paid £25 for the galley tour! WOW WOW WOW! Unbelievable, the attention to detail, the team work and HARD WORK, that all the staff give every day was shown first hand in this tour. A glass of champagne and a glass of wine, plus a 3 course buffet (all you can eat) of some of the finest food I’ve ever tasted was included. Watching the chefs cooking, the waiters doing the food and taking the orders and how it’s all processed and even down to the cleaning and food wastage was simply outstanding. I have never seen such a clean kitchen in all my life. A must do tour , worth every penny and more! We also participated in wine tasting with Olly Smith which was also fantastic- too much wine of course!! A brilliant chap who really does know a thing or two about wine and makes everyone feel welcome. There has been little changes made to glass house menu, the epicurean and the beach house which is being introduced across all the ships soon. For the first time we are doing a back to back cruise (11 nights followed by 3 nights) only because our cruise on Oceana has been cancelled in December as some of you may have seen my previous post about them offering an extra night for free if we could sail on these specific dates, we were Lucky enough to say yes so in other words we’ve had a 14 night cruise instead of an 11 night one and a free night from turning our cancelled 2 night cruise into a 3 night cruise. Can’t complain about that right?! Turnover Day (passengers in transit as the ships company call it) Well, I literally can’t commend them enough.... that’s all we had to do was pack our valuable personal belongings, leave all the cases and all the clothes (which were on hangers) and in the morning it would all be transferred to our new cabin.... that’s all we had to do was get up, leave the cabin by 8am, lounge around the ship or go off if we wanted to and our new cruise cards were waiting at reception at 8am. Now, how can you fault that hey? I certainly would recommend a back-to-back cruise with P&O for anyone who might be thinking about it, it really couldn't have been any easier.... although if you are lucky enough to be able to stay in the same cabin then it would be even easier.... you wouldn't have to do anything haha. It’s very weird being one of the only few people on this ship currently on turn around day haha. Onto the next cruise and the Christmas markets in Bruges - I think it’s going to be a bit colder than the last two weeks !! Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
As this was our first cruise we did not have anything to judge it by. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the cruise very, very much and absolutely have not one thing to complain about. We spoke to a lady and she complained that of all things she did ... Read More
As this was our first cruise we did not have anything to judge it by. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the cruise very, very much and absolutely have not one thing to complain about. We spoke to a lady and she complained that of all things she did not like the toast as the bread was to thin. To be honest if that is the only thing wrong then this is definitely looking for trouble. There was so much to do on board on sea days that we did not know what to try or go to first. The food was excellent in the Bay tree restaurant also we had breakfast there every morning except for two when we went into the buffet. Lunch time the buffet was again excellent with so much to choice from. The shows in the evenings were wonderful and also dancing which was also great. We are looking forward to our second cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Booked as a party of 13 older women and were allocated different sides and deck levels of the ship, not the greatest of starts. Five of the six cabins booked were for 2 persons and the remaining one for 3 people. Embarkation seemed ... Read More
Booked as a party of 13 older women and were allocated different sides and deck levels of the ship, not the greatest of starts. Five of the six cabins booked were for 2 persons and the remaining one for 3 people. Embarkation seemed chaotic, and my, are the staff miserable and downright rude! They are discourteous, lack any customer service and basically couldn't care less. The ship in the main is very clean and looks very smart in most areas. Every bar has different drinks with different prices and you wait and wait and wait for a drink. Our very first order, two glasses of wine, took over 30 minutes, in a bar with 15 people in it, and we only got that because we insisted on going to the bar ourselves. This is the standard in all of the bars. Dining in the main restaurants is hit and miss. Firstly, it's a chore to get in the restaurant at your allocated time. Secondly, the waiting staff offer no eye contact or service Thirdly, again it's a major event to get your drinks. Fourth, Staff need training not to touch the customer! I did not appreciate having my arm moved from the edge of the table. When I challenged the waiter with 'excuse me' he just walked away!!! Five, food is generally very good and well presented albeit luke warm and a little lacking in choice. The Black and White night was a great night with everyone dressing for the occasion. The buffet Restaurant offers a better choice and the staff are a little more responsive. Daily entertainment is seriously in trouble, as in, there isn't any!!! For some bizarre reason they use the Atrium to do the dancing lessons!!! It makes the whole area chaotic and frankly quite dangerous as the surrounding area serves hot drinks??? Due to bad weather both shuffleboard and Quoits, usually held on the outside deck, were cancelled but nothing was offered in it's place. Bingo did take place one afternoon but was quite a disappointment as only half games were played. Evening show entertainment was standard cruise, but in the main, more than acceptable. Only one Port of call which was very smooth both ways with the shuttle bus and tour buses ready and waiting and all in a very timely manner. Plenty of excursions were available and depended on individual choice. Disembarkation was easy and very well orchestrated. Personally we would not travel on this ship again and I would be reticent in recommending it as I feel other ships and or Cruise operators offer better choices and service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Just love Oceana! Such a friendly ship, easy to get around. Yes she is looking a little tired in places but is going in for a refit at the end of this month. Just hope they don't change her too much. She has a beautiful atrium and has ... Read More
Just love Oceana! Such a friendly ship, easy to get around. Yes she is looking a little tired in places but is going in for a refit at the end of this month. Just hope they don't change her too much. She has a beautiful atrium and has an ease of flow. This was my second time on Oceana and after sailing on Britannia in September (which I also love for different reasons) I thought maybe I would not like her so much. Embarkation at Southampton was quick and efficient and on board and having lunch by 12.30pm. Cases outside my cabin when I arrived at 1.30pm.Service throughout the cruise was excellent - crew friendly and helpful. it was good to see the Captain Chris Bourne and the officers around the ship liaising with passengers. The entertainment was excellent. The Headliners doing their usual routines, the Blue Jays who were fantastic, soprano saxophonist Julien Smith amazing and comedian and serious speaker John Martin also very good. I also went to dance classes run by instructors Ron & Pat Cato and to line dancing expertly run by 2 of the dancers from Headliners. The cruise took in Spain and Portugal. My excursion in La Coruna was cancelled through lack of numbers but a long walk to the lighthouse in the sun made up for that. In Cadiz I went to Jerez to see the Spanish Riding School - amazing! Did my own thing in the lovely city of Malaga, got soaked in Gibraltar and had a ride on the historic tram in Lisbon. Dining - food was good plenty of choice. Had breakfast & lunch chiefly in Café Jardin and dinner in the Ligurian restaurant on freedom dining. Only went to the buffet twice to get a scone for afternoon tea. My lower score for value for money is only because I am a solo passenger and therefore pay nearly double - but that is my choice. Overall a super cruise - can't wait to go back on Oceana next year out of Malta. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Where to start! I was the lead passenger for a group of 10 travellers. All had sailed with P&O before, however, it was the general consensus of opinion from the group that on this trip standards have dropped. Although the general ... Read More
Where to start! I was the lead passenger for a group of 10 travellers. All had sailed with P&O before, however, it was the general consensus of opinion from the group that on this trip standards have dropped. Although the general condition of the ship was acceptable, it was evident that the ship had seen better days. Some of the carpeting in the public areas shows signs of wear and tear, being thread bear on a number of stairs. The wall covering in some of the corridors was heavily damaged with luggage scuff marks. Most days we had breakfast and lunch in the Waterside Buffet Restaurant, where we found the food choice to be of good quality and plentiful. Because this is a popular restaurant, on occasions there was a short wait for stocks to be replenished. Many of the chairs in this restaurant could have benefited from a good clean, as there was ingrained staining on the plastic covering. Guests are asked to self sanitise their hands to prevent the spread of germs and bugs, however, if the chairs aren't kept clean surely more germs and bugs are encountered. We opted for freedom dining in the Saffron Restaurant. The menu selection in this restaurant, although good, appeared to be less than we had seen on previous P&O menus, even the bread roll selection was limited. One of our party has a gluten free diet requirement which P&O were made aware of and frequently waited more than 30 minutes for their roll to be brought to the table. Being a large party we thought 2 hours would be sufficient time for the meal. On more than one occasion it was an hour to get to the main course. It seems the larger the party the longer it takes to be served. It was noticed that smaller groups of fellow travelers arriving in the restaurant after us, completed their meal and left before we got to the desert course. One evening we found it necessary to leave the restaurant before coffee to enable us to watch a show. P&O please serve people in a timely manner. Its nice to have a drink, that is if you can get one. Something appears to be clearly going wrong with the system for obtaining an a drink, both in the bars and the restaurants. Our group met each evening in a bar for a pre dinner drink, several waiters in the bar and no other customers. Okay so far. You are then subjected to the same service as a previous cruiser reviewed. I should add, we only ever ordered 2 drinks at a time. You cannot order your drink at the bar. A waiter takes your order, after you attract their attention. The waiter then returns to the bar to have the drink(s) made. 10 to 15 minutes later, your drinks arrive. A few minutes later the waiter returns for you to sign for the drinks and return your cruise card. On one occasion we waited 25 minutes just for the drinks to be made. On one occasion we found several waiters standing chatting for several minutes while we waited to order drinks. The cabin stewardess provided a superb service, keeping the cabin clean and tidy and replenishing supplies. The entertainment in the Arena show room was first class. A special mention needs to go to the Headliners, whose shows were to West End standard. Cruising with friends on P&O ships is great fun, but these minor irritations took the edge off it this time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We recently took a Spain and France cruise on the Aurora. This is a clean, comfortable ship with loads on offer. While not the largest vessel we have sailed on, it was of sufficient size to travel smoothly over a fairly choppy bay of ... Read More
We recently took a Spain and France cruise on the Aurora. This is a clean, comfortable ship with loads on offer. While not the largest vessel we have sailed on, it was of sufficient size to travel smoothly over a fairly choppy bay of Biscay. We found the embarkation process smooth, and the mobility assistance and general crew attitude welcoming. We boarded a little before the cabins were fully ready, but were take to the Alexandria Restaurant where a buffet and a welcome drink were waiting for us. The cabins were soon ready, and we headed off to a small but comfortable inner on the 11th Deck. This cabin (A227) had a soft bed (configured as a double), a small settee, and loads of drawer and wardrobe space for its size. The shower was easy to access, and the TV kept good reception the entire cruise. We didn't use any specialty dining on this occasion, but did eat in the Horizon buffet, and both the Medina and Alexandria Restaurants. Service was attentive, and care was taken for special diets. We attended a really interesting talk on Nat King Cole in the theatre, and took in a couple of recent release films as well. The entertainment provision was typical for cruises, and seemed to be enjoyed by most. Service was good, and we had a very professional steward, who kept a perfect balance of attentiveness without being "in your face." Other staff were accommodating and made for a pleasant cruise. The Bay of Biscay was dreary and blustery in both sea days, and the exposed pools were unusable (for both cold, and the sloshing of their contents over their sides), but plenty of indoor activities were on offer. Each of the ports (La Coruna, Bilbao, La Rochelle, and Cherburgh) were sunny, and the the first three warmer than predicted. Many passengers caught up on their pool time in these. We made two ship arranged excursions to Santiago and to Guernica. Both were informative, and made for a richer experience. The guide for Santiago was flexible and provided good "free time" recommendations. There is a "road train" tour available from the cathedral square, but it was bone jarring over cobbles. The Guernica excursion was also interesting, though the guide was a little less organised. We learned a lot about Basque culture and politics, and also had time in a small fishing port. The highlight was to see the tile reproduction of Picasso's Guernica. This was a very good cruise with great food, and good service. Minor annoyances came in the lift wait times, and the captain's daily announcements. He would introduce himself each time as the "Captaan" which is endearing the first two or three times, but wears thin. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
P & O have always given us first class service, and this cruise was no exception. However, Oceana is showing her age and will benifit from the forthcoming refit. The crew were not quite as friendly as previous trips, but no real ... Read More
P & O have always given us first class service, and this cruise was no exception. However, Oceana is showing her age and will benifit from the forthcoming refit. The crew were not quite as friendly as previous trips, but no real complaints. The food was nearly as good as last time and excellently presented and plenty of it. The entertainments were exceptional, with Headliners even better than last time. The ventriloquist was fantastic as were the various musicians on board. We hit a force 12 off Corsica, but everyone was calm on board and no issues arose. The crew were extremely professional throughout, especially when someone had to be dropped off at Alicante due to illness. I can't speak for excursions on this cruise as we did our own trips, but previous excursions have been very good, even though they appear expensive, well worth it for first timers. Happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Returned last week from a 10 day fly cruise from Malta visiting beautiful ports of call.. My first solo fly cruise and my first time with Pand O. Originally booked as only a small supplement for an inside double cabin for single use. ... Read More
Returned last week from a 10 day fly cruise from Malta visiting beautiful ports of call.. My first solo fly cruise and my first time with Pand O. Originally booked as only a small supplement for an inside double cabin for single use. The Oceana is a very friendly ship with hosted morning coffee for solo travellers. Other passengers chatted with me before and during dinner and l teamed with other solos for excursions and meet ups during the afternoon for the sailaway parties. Weather for 2 nights was very unpreditable with the usual sick bags placed everywhere and outside decks couldn't be accessed. A port of call had to be changed,Corsica instead of Marseille which was great but disappointing for some. My cabin was abit dated,shabby but very clean. I cannot fault the food and service in the MDR and the lamb shank was the best l have ever tasted! I also ate the vegeterian options which were equally as good quality and tasty. I purchased the soda package which saves about 10% but found l couldn't drink the 20 in 10days as they are served in very tall glasses. The Costa Coffee package worth the money. I loved the outside decks,hot tubs. The adult only tubs and pool was cold compared to the pools. I enjoy a ship that looks like a ship and not a floating resort and l took,advantage of the promanade deck on a daily basis. Fun range of activities, daily films, interesting lectures and no really 'hard sell ' which has happened on all the American ships l have been on. Oceana having a refit end of the month and does need it as carpeting is taped together in many places and some of the furniture requires upholstering. This did not prevent me from a having a wonderful cruise experience and would cruise again with Pand O when l can find a deal with a small solo supplement Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Very good experience.We have travelled on 8 cruises previously,mostly with P&O.On this occasion we booked on an early bird deal which was slightly cheaper which warned us that we could not be certain og getting the table number we ... Read More
Very good experience.We have travelled on 8 cruises previously,mostly with P&O.On this occasion we booked on an early bird deal which was slightly cheaper which warned us that we could not be certain og getting the table number we preferred which in this case was 8.What we were allocated a table for 2 but we had been warned so this was ok.However what we did not bargain for was that any shuttle requirements which are usually free charged early birders £10 per journey which in total was substantially more than the early bird saving.The cruise was from genoa to venice to genoa on the dates provided on this site Needless to say we have never travelled onP&O again.So be warned about such devious tricks.I have subsequently travelled on Cunard which is now more expensive due to working in dollars rather than .However the ports of call were very good but trips were little expensive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
As the headline says, we expected better from P & O. For a ship that is just over 2 years old it is starting to show signs of wear and tear and the lack of staff for general maintenance, cleaning and restaurant service is much ... Read More
As the headline says, we expected better from P & O. For a ship that is just over 2 years old it is starting to show signs of wear and tear and the lack of staff for general maintenance, cleaning and restaurant service is much apparent. Pros: 1. Very good food. 2. Very good live entertainment and daytime presentations by guest speakers. Cons: 1. The 'Freedom Dining' is an absolute shambles. The lack of waiting staff and co-ordination between, the head waiters and the reception staff meant that queuing was inevitable and the paging system used failed to work properly the majority of the time. Lack of staff also meant that tables were not cleared efficiently - thus the wait for tables. Dropped food and utensils were not picked up - staff training maybe? This is the main reason for the 2 * rating. 2. General cleanliness was another area that could (and should) have been easily dealt with. The windows in the Horizon dining area were absolutely filthy and not cleaned at all during our two weeks on board. The same applies to the glass on the outside decks - especially Deck 16. 3. People should also be aware of the terrible soot problem on the aft decks and balcony cabins. All in all, a very disappointing experience with P & O and we will not be cruising with them any time soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Chose the cruise because this was hyped as the P&O flagship, biggest and best. Embarkation was fantastic, car to cabin in about 10- 15 minutes, cannot fault it. Our balcony cabin was small, no sofa, bumping into each other all ... Read More
Chose the cruise because this was hyped as the P&O flagship, biggest and best. Embarkation was fantastic, car to cabin in about 10- 15 minutes, cannot fault it. Our balcony cabin was small, no sofa, bumping into each other all the time. Wardrobe space was ample. Toilet/ shower room was very small. Horizon restaurant , male waiting staffynnon were slow and poorly trained..on three occasions I was given knives point first, this never happened with female staff. Waiters just reaching over my shoulder to get dirty dishes, not just once, but often. Breakfast was reasonable, all other meals were just like fast food poorly cooked. Freedom dining, Slow service, missed some shows waiting for our food. Didn't enjoy one meal in either restaurants. Bars were OK, waiter service good, drink prices reasonable. Entertainment was average, Bernie Flint for goodness sake. Theatre show team need a fair bit of work. Pulse band were very good, so we're the other artists around the ship. Entertainment team did not interact with passengers, just did their bit and went. Too many quizzes all the time. Library geared to American users. Our cabin steward was fantastic, learn from him. Disembarkation was a disaster, only two of our cases where they should be, had to spend about 20 minutes hunting for the rest of the luggage. Would not go back on Britannia. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was my first P&O cruise chosen by the friend whose special birthday we were to celebrate. P&O were nice enough to upgrade the two of us and both the super deluxe and balcony cabins were a fair enough size but oh so beige ... Read More
This was my first P&O cruise chosen by the friend whose special birthday we were to celebrate. P&O were nice enough to upgrade the two of us and both the super deluxe and balcony cabins were a fair enough size but oh so beige and plastic. Quiet though and well positioned should we have had rough seas but one of the upsides of this cruise was the calmest of waters I have ever experienced. Let's start with the positives as the negatives were many. Embarkation was super efficient, suitcases were delivered promptly and there was lots of space in the buffet for lunch on that first day. We were most fortunate to be seated for dinner with two of the most interesting of couples and I can honestly say they enhanced the whole experience. As did the friendliness of the crew but, apart from warm and sunny weather at all destinations, that's where the positives ended. The ship is constantly full of inescapable loud music which can be heard even in the library. Worse, the ever cheerful patronising entertainments team was enough to make you scream: 'were you trained at Butlins?' Some of the evening shows were passable if you could have gagged those introducing them with the perpetual interactive question: 'are we enjoying ourselves?'. If you like this stuff then you'll enjoy Azura. The food was mediocre, sometimes cold with items often repeated from lunch to dinner making you wonder if these were made of leftovers. Given this was a 'Marco Pierre White' cruise that isn't a great recommendation. By the way he only boarded at the last port of call. The so-called enrichment programme was poor. There should have been a better selection for the thinking community. Shore excursions were, as ever, far too expensive for what was offered. Best to take a hop-on, hop-off bus. Internet too was expensive especially as it was never available in the cabin. I can't say I didn't enjoy the cruise, after all I found a new bridge partner, but little of my pleasure was down to the ship. Having experienced Cunard there is really no comparison. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
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