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687 P&O Cruises Europe Cruise Reviews

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
We chose this cruise for a relaxing end of summer break. Having been on the Ventura before, we knew the ship relatively well. Embarkation was smooth and the staff in Southampton were great. We had an inside cabin on deck 12, which was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a relaxing end of summer break. Having been on the Ventura before, we knew the ship relatively well. Embarkation was smooth and the staff in Southampton were great. We had an inside cabin on deck 12, which was well presented and our cabin steward was friendly and conscientious. We couldn't fault her or the standard of cleanliness. We found the dining experience to be, overall, very good. We ate in Sindhu on the first night, which was delicious and the staff were brilliant. We also had afternoon tea in the Epicurean on the second sea day. However, I feel the 3.30pm timing is a little late and we could have done with it being an hour or so earlier (we didn't eat lunch due to the reservation and we were hungry by the time 3.30pm came!!!) We opted for set time dining at 8.30pm. Having been on several cruises before, we know that, if you wish to change tables, the earlier you speak to a member of staff in the dining room the better. However, it took over 24 hours and five different members of staff until somebody actually listened to us and moved our table. We were given a table of 6 but wanted to sit on a table for 2. After being told many, many times that the staff in the Bay Tree Restaurant were 'working on it', we finally got a smaller table. It was confusing as to why it took so long, especially as half the smaller tables were empty all week... The staff in the Bay Tree were very nice but they were running around due to being incredibly busy. I found the food to be incredibly rich and had a hard time finding lighter choices whilst in the main dining room. Breakfast and lunch in the buffet were much more agreeable due to the variety of choices. I found the buffet to be quite calm whenever I went - we always managed to find a table. The entertainment was good, and I particularly enjoyed the addition of Sam and Mark and the Legend at Sea Steve Staunton. The Headliners group were decent and put on a couple of good shows. The ports were calm and relaxing, and we did have the weather on our side. Particular highlights were Santander and Guernsey - both beautiful destinations. I attended the port talks and found them to be useful. The organisation of the tender in Guernsey was seamless. When we disembarked, we opted to walk off the ship rather than wait for an allocated time and this was incredibly easy - we were in the car by 8am. Overall, a great trip and I'm pleased I chose P&O! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Embarkation was easy. Ship spotlessly clean and we could see the hard working staff cleaning and polishing every day and disinfecting all common areas. The service throughout the ship for the entire journey was perfect. Ferdinand ... Read More
Embarkation was easy. Ship spotlessly clean and we could see the hard working staff cleaning and polishing every day and disinfecting all common areas. The service throughout the ship for the entire journey was perfect. Ferdinand our cabin steward was top notch, cabin was always spotless. The quality of food on Ventura is of a very high standard for such a large ship. Restaurants very nice. The menus in the three main dining rooms change daily. Buffet servery is too crowded sometimes and too small. One area is opened while the other closes. Ideally should both be open. All made worse by impatient passengers who don't like queuing. Only did one excursion, but chaotic trying to get off, should be called by excursion instead of loads of people queuing. The entertainment was average, not timed correctly, had to leave evening meal early to get to the first show. The comedian was a bit to near the knuckle for an 8.30pm show as there was youngsters there. Singing and dancing is not our cup of tea but there’s plenty of it if you like that sort of thing. Not much on during the day. The quizzes are poor, if you won you got stickers, whats happened to getting a little prize? People that had been on the ship pervious week said questions were the same. Drinks package extortionate, the dearest on ship I have been on, and done twelve cruises with different companies. On the positive, drinks were very reasonably priced. The service throughout the ship for the entire journey was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Booked this cruise to celebrate a friends anniversary. They have cruised before, we hadn’t. Very disappointed. Ship is worn and dated with painting going on all the time. Pool at the rear is dirty with broken tiles. People squashed ... Read More
Booked this cruise to celebrate a friends anniversary. They have cruised before, we hadn’t. Very disappointed. Ship is worn and dated with painting going on all the time. Pool at the rear is dirty with broken tiles. People squashed around on sun beds with little room to move. Regularly felt sick from the sulphur dioxide and soot covering the back of the ship. Regularly had black spots all over my body and any clothes. Staff were not bothered when we complained and the pool didn’t get cleaned. Food is bland and tasteless, especially the fine dining. I have had better school dinners. Entertainment was tacky and more suited to black pool butlins! What a waste of money. Never again! Have travelled all around and this is not luxury. It is 3* at best. Could have flown to Thailand or similar and stayed in a 5* hotel for the cost of this trip. Save your money. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife and I have been regular passengers with P&O over the last 9 years having just completed out twentieth cruise. In August we sailed on the Arcadia and I have to say that there were a lot of things wrong with the ship. We have ... Read More
My wife and I have been regular passengers with P&O over the last 9 years having just completed out twentieth cruise. In August we sailed on the Arcadia and I have to say that there were a lot of things wrong with the ship. We have seen standards fall over the years but the situation is becoming critical. Where has all the serving staff gone? There are nowhere near enough waiters in the bars and it is almost impossible to get served anywhere without having to go to the bar and order there. This ties the one or two waiters to the bar area which stops them going around the tables to take passenger’s orders. It’s a Catch 22 situation. The quality of the draught beers was terrible with beers tasting of cleaning fluid which forced me to drink only bottled beer for almost the entire cruise. There is no bar service on the promenade deck at all leaving passengers to have to fetch drink from an internal bar and carry them all the way outside. The Cabin Stewards have been downsized so much that they now have to do around twenty cabins each and the strain is showing as, despite their best efforts, the stewards are not doing everything they should. Take balcony cleaning for instance: According to the Deck Managers I have spoken with on various ships, cabin stewards are supposed to clean the balconies daily but, yet again, my wife had to suffer dirty furniture, dirty glass, dirty handrails and a dirty balcony floor. We finally took action ourselves and asked reception of a mop, bucket and squeegee so that we could do the job ourselves. This had an effect as our steward was instructed to clean our balcony daily but it didn’t last long. Arcadia is looking tired and rusty and in port, she looks filthy with unclean glass and windows and rust everywhere. The cabin and bathrooms are showing their age. Most public areas are clean I’m glad to say. The food is just awful in the buffet restaurant, too little choice, poorly cooked and arranged in a totally illogical manner. The move by P&O to bulk sauce dispensers rather than sachets, has led to the demise of Salad Cream which has now been replaced with a substitute that is nowhere near as good. Who thought up the idea of serving frozen butter portions? It is impossible to butter a roll unless you wait 10 minutes for the butter to soften enough to be spread. What has happened to the availability of Flora spread? It has been replaced with a generic “Margarine” which tastes awful. The service in the Main Dining Room is just awful, too slow and haphazard and the food quality is poor compared with previous cruises. The waiters work very hard and I do not blame them at all but the management and P&O themselves need to take a step back and realize that passenger comfort and service are what really matters on a cruise ship. Everything seems to be about saving money! My wife and I have five more cruises booked with P&O and we are already considering cancelling some of them next year (luckily they were booked onboard so we paid only £50 deposit each). We very much doubt that we will sail with P&O after 2020 as we would rather pay more to get proper service and quality with other cruise lines. Arcadia was in Norovirus lock-down when we boarded and this lasted for four days.Everything is served to you, even a glass of water in the buffet. Thankfully it ended but the lock-down returned for the last four days of the cruise due to a “few” cases of Norovirus, our sources said that it was a large number of passengers affected. Considering that Norovirus was being reported on the Arcadia back in June of this year, they clearly have a serious problem. We still enjoyed our cruise despite all the above and we cannot fault the waiting staff and our cabin steward. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise as there were three ports of call new to ourselves. Lido Deck Too large a comfortable seating area earmarked for smokers, particularly when public areas (on land) are discouraging the habit. Dining ... Read More
We chose this cruise as there were three ports of call new to ourselves. Lido Deck Too large a comfortable seating area earmarked for smokers, particularly when public areas (on land) are discouraging the habit. Dining Surprisingly, choice of all three courses at dinner required when ordering. One does not always know whether one might even wish for a third course after the first and second courses but, if so required, the third course should then be allowed to be chosen accordingly. Lido Buffet 'Frozen' pats of butter taking 10 minutes + to soften and thus able to be spread by which time one's toast was even colder! Though 'Freedom Diners' we ate dinner in the Lido Buffet on several evenings as the menu was just as good as the Meridian Restaurant, without the waiter service of course. Sun Deck subjected to falls of soot particularates causing sun bathers to scatter and the Lido Pool to be temporarily closed for cleaning. Admittedly these are fairly inconsequential points, none of which spoilt our cruise but, nevertheless, may be worthy of note for the powers that be. We appreciate that everyone can't be pleased and conscious that there's a great deal to organise and be responsible for and for that we were grateful and contributed to a generally enjoyable cruise. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Cruised on Ventura and Azura before and this year we tried the flagship Britannia. Food was considerable better on Britannia than above mentioned other 2 ships. But we expected good food as it was a Marco Pierre White cruise - he ... Read More
Cruised on Ventura and Azura before and this year we tried the flagship Britannia. Food was considerable better on Britannia than above mentioned other 2 ships. But we expected good food as it was a Marco Pierre White cruise - he joined only in the last port - Gibraltar. Our inside cabin on Deck 12 was adequate, comfortable and clean. Entertainment overall excellent - especially the Headliner`s Once Upon a Time show. The dancers were talented but the singers not so. The Entertainment manager Neil was absolute fantastic - we enjoyed the pool parties, sail aways, the flamenco program on Lido Deck in Barcelona day. The Cookery Club was something new and unique, I and my 8 year old daughter participated the chocolate cooking and we really loved it. However the children club Reef program was well below the P&O standard we use to on Ventura and Azura: sometimes boring, unimaginative and some of the reef rangers did not show interest towards the kids. We enjoyed the Lido Deck, the pools were clean, always found sun lounger or chairs. The only complaint I can raise is, that some of the bar staff was rude and selective of what drink they want to serve. The preferred to serve only alcohol, even mornings, and several times when I asked for freshly pressed orange juice - which was available in one of the pool side bars - the bar waiter said it is not available. So I just woke up from the sun chair, went to the bar, pointed to the pile of fresh orange and the juicer machine - and the bar tender made the juice for me. This happened to me few times and one matured bar steward even wanted me to change my order from fresh orange juice to Pepsi Cola - I guess it is easier to serve and the price is same. I really would love to see more healthy drinks to be available on a school holiday cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had previously cruised on Oceana and loved it. We chose Britannia as we could only travel in August and we liked the ports of call in the med. We had a balcony cabin on deck 12 midship. The cabin was modern and equipped with all ... Read More
We had previously cruised on Oceana and loved it. We chose Britannia as we could only travel in August and we liked the ports of call in the med. We had a balcony cabin on deck 12 midship. The cabin was modern and equipped with all we needed. Our cabin steward was very polite although he didn’t clean as I thought he should have, eg he never hoovered once in 14 days. Food was excellent in all restaurants. We had a dining experience in the Epicurean which was outstanding. We found all staff polite and welcoming. There was a packed itinerary of activities all day. In my opinion cruising is value for money. The gym wasn’t the best. There was lots of cardio equipment but the free weights area was somewhat lacking. There was one lat machine with only one side working. The main pool on Lido deck was very busy and noisy but the adult on section on the deck above was peaceful. The air conditioning inside the ship was set to quite cold so I’d advise a cardigan or sweater in doors if you are sensitive to the cold. Disembarkation was organised, we were able to find our luggage without any problems Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Some background detail first of all. P&O has been our cruise company of choice but I have been trying other cruise lines to review for my travel blog. This cruise was a long awaited return, after just over a year away from ... Read More
Some background detail first of all. P&O has been our cruise company of choice but I have been trying other cruise lines to review for my travel blog. This cruise was a long awaited return, after just over a year away from P&O Embarkation was relatively smooth apart from the appallingly managaged car parking which resulted in a half hour wait to drop off the car. Although strictly speaking not P&O's fault is is their recommended parking provider and provided as part of the select deal. We were traveling with other family members, two adults and two children, who had a family suite. Once parked check-in and security clearance was quick and even though we headed straight to our cabin once on board our bags beat us to the cabin - a promising start. We met our cabin steward, Cathy, who was friendly and personable - a good start to the onboard experience …… little did we know at the time this would almost be the zenith of the cruise. The safety drill was an improvement as you are no longer required to take your life jacket with you, although the demonstration was somewhat undermined by loud, fellow passengers noisily talking over the demonstration and / or finding the whole thing a joke. We had selected “Freedom Dining” as we didn’t want to be tied to a fixed dining time, this also means you are on a different table each night and this led to a mixed experience. We took advantage of Freedom Dining on four of the nights, twice with just the adults and twice with the children as well. Service was decidedly mixed, on two of the nights the service was really good, as one would expect, on the other two totally indifferent with the waiting staff simply going through the motions. It may be coincidence but the two better experiences were when we dined with the children. On another night we dined in the Sindhu restaurant and the service, as well as the food was exemplary with one of the best waiters we’ve ever encountered. In terms of the staff generally we were shocked by the contrasts. A large number offered the standard of service you would expect from P&O, however a very significant minority had an almost, couldn’t care less attitude. The ship just felt generally unhappy. A couple of examples, at one of the food outlets, the woman serving looked as though she had sucked a lemon and acted as if she was doing you a favour by serving you. Indeed a fair percentage of staff seemed to have lost the ability to smile or to be affable. Yes, there has always been the odd staff member on any cruise but here it was much more noticeable and prevalent. On another occasion we wanted an ice cream milkshake and were having trouble finding any on board. I went to reception to ask if any were available on board to be given the response “I don’t know, ask at one of the bars.” The jolliest person on board seemed to be the Captain, who also seemed to think he was a stand up comedian …… he was certainly a refreshing change from some of the aloof Captain’s we’ve come across but I have to admit, after a week, some of of his jokes were becoming a bit boring. I wasn’t overly impressed when he suggested two latecomers were cheered and applauded on board after being late back in Bergen – they may well have had a good reason for being late and the “welcome” could have been humiliating. The sail away from Olden was brilliant - although this is down to the town rather than P&O Turning to food, the food in the main dining rooms was of the usual high standard, although I don’t think I’m alone in being under the impression portion sizes are shrinking. Food in the buffet was more variable ranging from good to inedible – I made the mistake of going for toad in the hole one night – the single sausage was OK but the batter was stodgy and undercooked. The buffet was also too small for the numbers on board, especially at breakfast on the sea days. On the final evening a "Family Disco" was advertised .... the children were looking forward to this but it was a con and a shambles. It wasn't a disco and there were no staff running it ..... basically it was a dance floor with a pre-recorded sound track, most of which was unsuitable for children. The only staff were bar staff trying to sell alcohol to the parents. When one of the parents complined to one of the bar staff, he shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Obviously we speak to fellow passengers on board and it was interesting to note that everyone we spoke to who had sailed with P&O before all thought the standards on this cruise had dropped dramatically. More tellingly, the family members we travelled with are both ex-P&O bridge officers and this is the first time they have been on a P&O ship in ten years and they were appalled by the drop in standards. I wonder if it is down to the removal of the service charge and subsequent reduction in pay for staff …. Is this causing a reduction in morale? We also found from a cabin steward, not ours in case P&O read this and decide to victimise our steward, they are now being asked to look after more cabins than they used to. Whilst on board I had planned to book a future cruise with P&O to take advantage of the discounts and other benefits – after this experience I did not bother. In the past I’ve been happy to pay more for the superior level of service with P&O. I am now of the view I can experience the same level of service with another Carnival company, Costa, for around two-thirds the price of P&O. It will be a long time, if ever, before I sail with P&O again and that’s something I thought I would never say. It seems P&O are aiming to dumb down to the lowest common denominator rather than providing a class service. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
OK, I admit, we didn't have very high expectations of the cruise but it turned out to be an amazing holiday. That's mainly because the Norwegian fjords are breathtaking. Some pictures attached to show you that a huge ship ... Read More
OK, I admit, we didn't have very high expectations of the cruise but it turned out to be an amazing holiday. That's mainly because the Norwegian fjords are breathtaking. Some pictures attached to show you that a huge ship like Ventura is dwarfed by the amazing scenery. In wow order : Olden - mindblowingly pretty, we just wandered around the town for a few hours rather than doing an excursion Flam - famed for its railway which was a great experience Bergen - beautiful Stavanger - our first port of call, hard to tell because it was pouring with rain and everywhere was closed because it was Sunday. We had never sailed from Southampton (and it was blowing a gale when we boarded) but the ship was stable and comfortable despite the weather. The CPS car parking and getting on board was a breeze. The captain, Neil Turnbull, made it so memorable with his dry Northern humour with phrases like 'my job is to try to go to the correct ports on the correct days' and 'I shall have you ashore with the speed of a thousand gazelles'. We feared the P&O regulars may be a little, how can I put it, mature - but there was a nice mix of ages on the ships as it was peak school holiday season (August 2019). Food - very good quality. Entertainment and shows - better than we have experienced on other cruises. Totally Tina was great, Sam and Mark from kids TV were on doing a show, singer Jaymi Hensley, the current Joseph in the West End, did a couple of nights and lots more. Fitness equipment and spa was the best we have experienced on a cruise ship. Oh sure, there were a couple of staff who hadn't got the memo that we were on holiday but it didn't spoil anything. Overall, we really enjoyed P&O Ventura but we absolutely loved the Norwegian Fjords! Alistair Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this due price and itinerary as we got a deal. We were very reticent about booking on P&O again after a previous trip on Britannia which was awful and we did not like the ship at all, other than the cabin. So, we were not ... Read More
We chose this due price and itinerary as we got a deal. We were very reticent about booking on P&O again after a previous trip on Britannia which was awful and we did not like the ship at all, other than the cabin. So, we were not really expecting much of this trip but it was an itinerary we had not done, at a good price which we booked very late. Well, on this occasion P&O delivered on all counts. We were both amazed and delighted. Ventura is a beautiful ship, loved the interior, the entertainment venues, the casual dining was great and the actual entertainment was absolutely outstanding. Best we have ever seen on a cruise ship and credits must go to the extraordinarily hard working entertainment team of singers and dancers who delivered 4 different amazing shows and performances throughout the week, the other days with alternative entertainment which was equally good. Huge credit to the directors and choreographers who staged it all. Our cabin was a balcony cabin at the stern, C753. It was actually at the rear corner and we had the most amazing views as we sailed down the Fjords and when docked in port. Flam was stunning, as was Olden, Stavanger's old district was just lovely with its old white wooden houses, and our last stop Bergen had the most amazing old area with wooden buildings and walkways. We were so impressed with P&O this time that we decided to book another trip on board for next year. We would definitely sail on Ventura again. Lovely staff, good food (and we ate casual the whole trip) and a clean well kept ship with great staff, especially the Captain who was hilarious. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The Oceana was recommended to us be relatives who had sailed on her many times. We stayed in cabin B405 (mini suite), the cabin was excellent and our cabin steward was outstanding however the balcony was slightly narrow. Our cabin steward ... Read More
The Oceana was recommended to us be relatives who had sailed on her many times. We stayed in cabin B405 (mini suite), the cabin was excellent and our cabin steward was outstanding however the balcony was slightly narrow. Our cabin steward could not do enough for us and she was very friendly. The ship was very clean and the staff were extremely friendly. There was an extensive range of entertainment however I feel that the entertainment was a bit lacking. I also thought that the music on the Lido Deck was a bit too loud so I preferred to stay towards the front of the ship on deck 14 as this was very quiet and relaxed. The dining was outstanding I tried the Ligurian, Cafe Jardin and The Plaza. The food was exceptional in all areas and the staff were very attentive. The ports of call were extremely convenient and the excursions arranged through P&O were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Could not fault anything from this cruise - size of ship, all staff and crew, food, excursions (and the guides). It was a very smooth embarkation and disembarkation, staff were very helpful. Cabin was kept very clean thanks to our ... Read More
Could not fault anything from this cruise - size of ship, all staff and crew, food, excursions (and the guides). It was a very smooth embarkation and disembarkation, staff were very helpful. Cabin was kept very clean thanks to our excellent cabin steward Agostinho. Really enjoyed the food (in the dining room and buffet) and the entertainment. The ship was ideal for us as it is mid size. Liked the shaded adult pool at the back of the ship. We found the drinks to be pub prices so no need for a package for us. The fee for the speciality dining we found was reasonable (but chose to eat in the dining room) . Loved the entertainment in the theatres, also the afternoon quizzes. We like to dress for the formal evenings and found that most people did as well. We booked 3 shore excursions and found these to be good value, the guides were very knowledgeable. We were happy with the food served in the Adriatic restaurant and the variety, the staff were very accommodating. In the Plaza buffet, again, the food was of a good quality and staff accommodating. We like the theme night at the buffet, one night was Indian - delicious. Our cabin was kept very clean, the steward vert helpful and friendly. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our time on Oceana. We hope to sail on this ship again. Thank you to all crew and staff for a very enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our second cruise, having been with Royal Caribbean before on a fly-cruise. We preferred going from Southampton as it was more relaxing and more time to get to know the ship before excursions began. However, the weather was pretty ... Read More
This was our second cruise, having been with Royal Caribbean before on a fly-cruise. We preferred going from Southampton as it was more relaxing and more time to get to know the ship before excursions began. However, the weather was pretty bad when we left in force 10 gale! We travelled with family and most of us felt a bit 'off' for the first 3 days. My teenage granddaughter was quite ill. But after that the sun shone and the seas calmed and we were able to enjoy all the benefits of the ship. Yes, the ship is old and tired but it didn't bother us. We had an inside cabin on C deck so no window but it was fine - we didn't spend much time there. Very small cabin but plenty of hanging space and decent shower and a comfortable bed. It was a quiet area of the ship so our sleep wasn't disturbed. Food in the buffets was a bit repetitive but very good overall. Staff always pleasant and helpful. We used the restaurants in the evenings where things were more relaxed and the food more varied. Waiter service was excellent - all staff very helpful and considerate. Entertainment was very good, especially the Headliners. Very talented young people. Didn't do many activities but did a quiz or two and had a bash at Pilates! Watched a few films on the on-deck screen which were pretty good. Our cabin steward, Vasilio, was a gem. Nothing too much trouble. Well worth a tip! Embarking and disembarking was very well run. We parked in the NCP car park so our car was taken from us, along with our main cases. Disembarking was much the same - very ordered and smooth. No complaints. Excursions were all enjoyable, (as was the weather). Most towns were close to the ports so very easy. Made use of the hop on buses to see the sights. Barcelona was particularly good as the architecture was amazing. We made the mistake of booking a tour to Mercia and then returning to Cartagina. Mercia was (for us) not worth the time and left such a short time to see Cartagina, which was really interesting and full of history. So we shall have to return there some time! The excursion to Pisa and Florence was very good. We found the information we were given on board very helpful for the port visits. They were not just trying to sell the excursions, which was noticeable to us, compared with our last cruise. All in all, a very pleasant experience and we will certainly consider cruising with P & O again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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