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171 P&O Cruises Europe Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise week long cruise to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We were given a time of 3pm for embarkation and were on the ship shortly after that time, it was all very efficient. First impressions of the ship from ... Read More
We chose this cruise week long cruise to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We were given a time of 3pm for embarkation and were on the ship shortly after that time, it was all very efficient. First impressions of the ship from entering the atrium was that it was very classy and elegant and put us in mind of the lobby of a five star hotel. This impression continued throughout the public areas. You can only pass through the interior of the ship on deck 7, which will take you end to end. You pass by the photography area, Sindu restaurant and, at the other end, The Live Lounge, where they host live bands and music in the evening. This whole area is elegant and sophisticated, but dark. All the curtains to the windows overlooking the sea are covered in elegant drapes; crystal lighting over the Sindu bar books elegant and refined. But here is where it is unusual, you have to look quite hard to see the sea from deck 7. The curtains close it off. In fact, apart from the Horizons buffet on deck 11, we found it quite hard to see the ocean from the interior - its almost like the ship is trying hard to be a posh hotel and is somewhat embarrassed by all that ocean outside. It should be the opposite because everyone cruises to see the ocean. If you want to go outside to see it from decks 5 to 7 (the interior of the ship) you can but only if you access the smoking areas either side of the ship. There is no promenade deck mid ship and it is not possible to walk the whole way round the ship from the promenade deck. If you walk from atrium on deck 5 or 6 you will dead end, only deck 7 takes you through the ship. There was much to like about this ship. People say there is no wow factor and I think that is a matter of personal taste. Its a beautiful ship and because the atrium area is relatively small, there is much more public space on decks 5 through to 7 for entertainment venues which means that you can get a seat in the evening This ship has numerous entertainment venues, you are spoiled for choice. We found this use of space to be much better than our experience on RC's Independence and Navigator of the Seas where the Royal Promenade takes out much of the public space. The other trump card for Britannia was the fantastic entertainment throughout our cruise. The theatre hosted Sam Bailey, who was amazing; as well as a number of other guest acts and fantastic shows put on by the entertainment team. A new show called Astonishing was excellent with really modern music and awesome LED backdrop. There was also fantastic entertainment in the Live Lounge where the band Pulse played up to date music as well as tributes to the likes of Dire Straits and the 80s. This band were top notch and it was a pleasure to listen to them each evening. If ballroom dancing is your thing, the crystal room catered for that. There was something for everyone and each evening was exciting with something to look forward to. We found this to be much better than our previous cruise on Navigator of the Seas, where the entertainment was so boring (a Beatles tribute being the highlight) we were back in our cabins by 10pm. The food in the main dining room was good. The service was reasonable. The menu was a little repetitive and if you were doing a 2 week cruise, you may want to try the speciality restaurants for variety. On a week cruise, we felt there was no need to bother. The Horizon buffet offered a reasonable choice of food throughout the day but got very busy and getting a table was hard work. Room service for breakfast solved that problem. We liked the 'grab and go' sandwich selection on the promenade deck. Very useful for a quick snack. On the whole, we would say the food was good but not outstanding. Our interior cabin was nicely furnished, modern, and had the most comfortable bed we have ever slept it. The best interior cabin we have ever slept in on a ship. The only criticism we have of Britannia was their apathy when it came to shore excursions booked through them. Your shore excursion ticket was left in the cabin but you were given little information on where to go on excursion day and were left waiting to get off the ship with all the other passengers, hoping you could get off in time for the bus and actually find it on the dock. On Royal Caribbean's Navigator, you were taken to the theatre, given a number and taken off the ship separately and accompanied to your tour bus. This was proper organisation and Britannia needs to improve on this as they are selling the tickets and are therefore responsible to ensure the tour operates properly. We would not hesitate to book this ship again. Looking at the 2 week med tours next year, we are dismayed to find that P&O have cut their ports from 7 to 6 over a 14 day period, which means 8 sea days - too many. May therefore stick to 1 week cruises with them. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My husband and i decided we would like to go on a cruise but was unsure where to go.We spoke to our friends who have been on many cruises and said they would come with us.We booked to go on the Brittania on 20/05/18 for 7 days.I did read ... Read More
My husband and i decided we would like to go on a cruise but was unsure where to go.We spoke to our friends who have been on many cruises and said they would come with us.We booked to go on the Brittania on 20/05/18 for 7 days.I did read the reviews before we went and was concerned as a lot of them said it was a dull and boring ship with very rude staff!!. Well the reason i am writing this review is because from start to finish i enjoyed every minute.The ship is amazing,staff very friendly,food always hot and entertainment very good.There was not one thing that i could complain about and would definitely recommend this ship.There are always memebers of staff around to help you and the ship itself is amazing and very clean.I enjoyed the sail away parties even in the rain!!!.I now have the cruising bug and have just booked my next one. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We were a party of four (aged 59, 60 & 70). We've tried to list the many highlights (of which they were lots) and to give a balanced review some things we think could be different (not many I can assure you). So here's ... Read More
We were a party of four (aged 59, 60 & 70). We've tried to list the many highlights (of which they were lots) and to give a balanced review some things we think could be different (not many I can assure you). So here's a go...... Embarkation - so quick meaning our holiday started immediately Staff - second to none especially the Waiters in the Meridian Restaurant (Saviour & Prakash). Ship - loved everything Entertainment - great team and the Headlines were superb Food - loved it - mainly ate in the Meridian but tried the Buffet and enjoyed that too Sindhu - loved it we went several times. Ports - all great.......cant say our favourite as enjoyed them all. Sail away parties - great fun Some things to improve or change.... Make the Taormina excursion longer - think this could be done easily Coach to Dubrovnik - we had a cab at a fraction of the price and right outside the Ship pick up and drop off Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Just back from a wonderful fortnight cruise on this beautiful ship. It was just myself and my Mum who has walking difficulties, so spends a large amount of time in a wheelchair. I’ve cruised before, but it was my first with P&O, and ... Read More
Just back from a wonderful fortnight cruise on this beautiful ship. It was just myself and my Mum who has walking difficulties, so spends a large amount of time in a wheelchair. I’ve cruised before, but it was my first with P&O, and it was Mums first ever cruise. I wanted it to be perfect for her, and boy it was amazing. Embarking was easy, quick and hassle free. We were sat eating lunch in the buffet by 1-30pm, and in the cabin by 2-30pm, luggage unpacked. A lovely balcony cabin on deck 12. We left Southampton late as there was a problem with the ship, but hey ho, we were onboard, an amazing hotel at sea and were not gonna let that annoy us. We had to miss our first port of call, Cadiz which was of course a shame, but these things happen at times. The ship was kept spotlessly clean, the staff, every single one had a genuine happiness about them, were so helpful polite and extremely hard working. From our lovely cabin steward, to the young ladies checking and keeping the toilet facilities so clean. A big shout out to each and every one of them. The entertainment was tremendously good, the shows put on by The Headliners,,, wow! We could of been in the West End. The stage settings, the standard of dancing and singing was brilliant. The dance teachers were so lovely, I even got to dance Salsa (the only dance I can do lol) with Andy in the Atrium. I loved that. My Mum being in a wheelchair, and a first time cruiser was so worried that a cruise would be difficult, but with such fantastic staff on the ship it’s made her realise that I was right in knowing it was an experience she would treasure and love. The fact that this cruise was a Strictly Come Dancing cruise added to her enjoyment. The Strictly cast onboard were stunning, friendly and humble. Even Craig lol. I can’t comment on shore excursions, Mum was having such a good time onboard, we pleased ourselves in port, in fact we only got off twice. Mum said in Rome that if the Pope wanted to see her, he could visit her on the ship!! The food, well what can I say. It was wonderful. Tasty, plentiful and full of variety. The waiters in Cinnamon were attentive. We had freedom dining, and met some lovely people each evening. Good conversations. I was a little worried knowing that we would be sharing tables with other guests, I needn’t of worried because we really enjoyed everybody’s company. The buffet option was also very good in our opinion. The tables kept spotlessly clean, and the staff willing to help at any given opportunity. Ok now just a couple of niggles. Firstly I wish the TVs in the cabins were replaced with slightly larger newer ones, and the pool with the steps rather than ladders going into them were not in areas surrounded by steps, as it made it difficult for Mum to easily swim. I know you have a hoist at the main pool but it’s not ideal using that. I had to have a winger about something before I finished my review. To round off my I’d like to say to anybody thinking of cruising on this ship please take no notice of bad reviews you may read on here. I’m well travelled, have cruised on other ships, and I can honestly say this is a beautiful happy ship that I would cruise on again. It was my first P&O and it won’t be my last, or my Mums who is already talking about a Caribbean cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
On reading the previous reviews I wanted to cancel this cruise but I am so glad I didn’t do this. We had a wonderful experience on the Oriana. We met a fabulous group of people for dinner. Yes our fellow passengers were a little older ... Read More
On reading the previous reviews I wanted to cancel this cruise but I am so glad I didn’t do this. We had a wonderful experience on the Oriana. We met a fabulous group of people for dinner. Yes our fellow passengers were a little older but they were so interesting and what stories they had to tell. Oriana is no tug boat and can cruise the Atlantic with the best of the cruise ships. The food was fabulous in all restaurants especially the beach house. Well done guys, a great experience. The entertainment was excellent, we really enjoyed the theatre each evening and then off to Tiffany’s for a late night drink and listen to the pianist. Although he did seem a little grumpy at times when people were talking or giving off a high pitched laugh. He would cross his arms and wait for them to stop. We found this very amusing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our third cruise on Britannia and we chose this itinerary as there were several ports which were new to us. We really like this ship - it has a pleasing, muted decor throughout, and despite its size, is relatively easy to find ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Britannia and we chose this itinerary as there were several ports which were new to us. We really like this ship - it has a pleasing, muted decor throughout, and despite its size, is relatively easy to find your way around. I have to say that embarkation has improved a lot since our first time, but it's nowhere near the efficiency of Celebrity. Once on board, however, the cabins are ready and our luggage was already waiting for us. Our cabin, a superior deluxe on A deck was spacious and kept really clean and tidy by our lovely steward Mira. She worked hard but was always cheerful and friendly and happy to chat to us whatever time of day. We chose freedom dining and ate in the Peninsular restaurant each evening. The food was delicious and well presented, with a good choice of menu, especially on the Gala Dinner nights. We found all of the restaurant staff to be friendly and efficient and we had a good rapport with our two waiters. It seemed to us that they were less rushed than on previous cruises, and always had time to chat about our day, or the next port. Breakfast in the buffet was again very good, with a huge choice available. Even on sea days you could always find a table at lunchtime. they do, however, need more sinks for hand washing as you enter the buffet - sometimes there was a hold up there. We are not big fans of cruise ship entertainment, so didn't go to many shows. The venue does fill up quickly so you do need to be early to get a good seat. We saw their new show 'Astonishing' - the title says it all. It seems to us that P&O have raised their standards in many areas and we'd have no hesitation in going with them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was our second cruise with P&O, and both times have been on Oceana. We have cruised once with Celebrity and once with Fred Olsen. As this cruise was to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary, we treated ourselves to a suite for ... Read More
This was our second cruise with P&O, and both times have been on Oceana. We have cruised once with Celebrity and once with Fred Olsen. As this cruise was to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary, we treated ourselves to a suite for the first time, and stayed in the Orissa Suite, C749. Our flight to Malta was scheduled with EasyJet. We had to check in online prior to the flights, and the EasyJet booking reference number appeared on the cruise personaliser about 2 weeks before we went. We paid £5pp per flight to sit together. Arrival at Malta was fine, and we got through security quite quickly, and collected our bags. There were lots of P&O staff directing us towards the waiting coaches, and we were quickly on the coach, but the coach had to wait for at least 20 minutes before leaving. Apparently there isn’t much space for drop-off at the port, so they sent the coaches off at intervals. I was disappointed that there was no priority embarkation or welcome reception for suite passengers. In the brochures you are led to believe that there will be, but somewhere in the small print it says that it doesn’t apply to fly cruises. There was a long queue for check in, but it did move fairly quickly. The cabin was the best bit of the cruise, and really made the whole holiday special. More details below...... It was our first experience of a butler, and I don’t think we made the most of it. It would have been helpful to have some kind of pamphlet explaining exactly how things worked when you are in a suite. Our butler appeared at about 5.30pm on the first day, and I had expected some kind of explanation but nothing was forthcoming and we didn’t know what questions to ask. We did ask about room service, but he tried to put us off by saying that by the time he brought the food up from the dining room it would be cold, as the kitchens were at the other end of the ship. No-one told us that there was a special area of the main restaurant specially reserved for suite passengers at breakfast, and we only found out by accident on our third day. The role of the cabin steward vs the butler wasn't clear, even over simple things like who to ask if we wanted a bucket of ice – it turns out it was the butler. It seems that the cabin steward just cleans the cabin and makes the bed. The butler takes away all the dirty cups, glasses, etc, and brings back clean ones. He brought canapes every evening at about 5.30pm, but could turn up at any time during the day. Although he knocked, we didn’t always hear! Luckily I had seen on social media that this might happen so we used the “Do not disturb” sign on the door a lot. That said, once we got to know our butler he turned out to be a very nice person. On our wedding anniversary he brought us a card, and he arranged for us to have a nice table at dinner that night. Food in the main dining room was mostly of a good quality. The special breakfast area for suite passengers was lovely, and another highlight of our holiday. Our waiter Shambhu was so cheerful and welcoming, and made us feel special. We could order from the Epicurean breakfast menu as well as the standard menu. In the evenings we ate mostly in the Ligurian restaurant on Freedom Dining. If you want a table for two you need to be there at 6pm. Otherwise, you face a bit of a wait with a pager. We didn’t bother with the pager, and if we were a bit late we just shared tables. We met some very nice people. I am milk intolerant, and the staff made a great effort to deal with this. I was invited to call in at the restaurant between 2 and 5pm on our first afternoon and met with the Head Waiter, a lovely chap called Francis. I was given the menus for lunch and dinner the following evening, and I ordered in advance. They were able to adapt most recipes, and I had some especially wonderful desserts – Baked Alaska, apple crumble with dairy free custard, and a chocolate tart were the best. Every night in the restaurant, Francis would come to the table and take my order for the following day. The butler also brought the menus to the cabin every day. He asked the chefs to give us special canapes too, which were usually smoked fish or ham. One disappointment was the buffet, which wasn’t as good as we remembered from our previous cruise. The food was fresh, but lacked variety, especially with hot choices. We particularly remembered the lunchtime curries back in 2013, but they were rare this time. Instead they had an Asian buffet several lunchtimes at additional cost, which we didn’t try. On the plus side, the buffet always had some kind of dairy free dessert or cake. With a couple of very minor exceptions, the service throughout the ship was excellent. Everyone was friendly and helpful. Our dealings with reception were good. Entertainment was of a very high standard. We particularly liked the Headliners shows – they are very talented youngsters. The Headliners singers ran group singing sessions on sea days, which were great fun. Beautiful World (Take That tribute) and John Courtnay (pianist/comedian) were also very enjoyable. In the evenings we went to the ballroom dancing in the Atrium. They were well run, but had slightly too many sequence dances for our liking. We did karaoke and a couple of quizzes. Our ports were Athens, Rhodes and Souda Bay (Crete). We were supposed to stop at Mykonos but it was too windy to dock. In Athens we went on the Hop on Hop off bus to tour the city (15 euros on the blue bus). In Rhodes we wandered the town and found a beach bar – shame we hadn’t taken our swimming costumes. In Souda Bay, we took a taxi to a lovely beach we had found on Google Maps called Agii Apostoli, which was sandy and had a couple of bars – it turned out to be a Greek public holiday and got very busy so we didn’t stay long enough to eat. We did have a very nice swim in the sea though. We phoned the taxi driver to come and take us back (18 euros each way). Disembarkation was well run, and we were given a time to meet for our coach transfer to the airport. Bag drop was a bit slow at the airport, but security was efficient. There wasn’t enough seating at the boarding gates, but they handed out water bottles while we waited. So in summary, it was a brilliant holiday. Life on board met or exceeded our expectations. Our suite was fantastic. In fact, we enjoyed it so much we have only been back a week and have just booked another cruise on Azura! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The Cruise was everything i expected from P&O the Staff, Cleaners, catering, bar entertainment was Brilliant, The ship was always clean and tidy, the cabin was kept by the staff immaculate at all times, the dining in the restaurant was ... Read More
The Cruise was everything i expected from P&O the Staff, Cleaners, catering, bar entertainment was Brilliant, The ship was always clean and tidy, the cabin was kept by the staff immaculate at all times, the dining in the restaurant was perfect, the food sometimes did let it down, but the choices we had in the buffet and other places to eat was entirely our choice, the entertainment was good, The service all over the ship was excellent. The excursions were always on top of our list, Rome was beautiful but very full on could have done with a stop over and taken out time. I would travel again with P&O perfect way to see the world. The entertainment was probably not too much to my taste as it was very strong with song and singing orientated and could include perhaps a nice drama, or a bit more theatre. Or the latest film from the cinema could have replaced one of the singing nights. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
A808 CCD cruise , enjoyed the same trip last year so booked again Very lucky with weather , previous few weeks had been very wet and windy but as soon as we entered the Med the sun came out and it stayed that way until the final sea ... Read More
A808 CCD cruise , enjoyed the same trip last year so booked again Very lucky with weather , previous few weeks had been very wet and windy but as soon as we entered the Med the sun came out and it stayed that way until the final sea day. Select dining excellent , brilliant service all round. Quality of food pretty good considering the overall cost of the trip. Lido deck port side balcony cabin perfect , if a little bit bouncy in Biscay. Wind picked up in Cartagena and we had to have a tug push us against the berth all day which led to diesel fume issues in port side cabins , also a jammed tender hoist caused five hour delay departing , leading to shortened stay in Gib. However all dealt with by staff as best they could. Final cruise day we were in lock down for about ninety minutes due to an emergency airlift by French Navy helo [s] . Could have been handled a little better , but passenger health care a priority and it isn't that often a cruise ship has to handle an emergency winch medivac. Not seen any media coverage of the event but hopefully all went well .Not quite sure why we didn't divert into Brest , maybe situation was critical. As for entertainment . Azuras new Playhouse digital screen is overused and overpowering at times.The set pieces were somewhat jaded although the singers and dancers tried their best and worked extremely hard. One final note. On our return we read that our captain was "wanted" by the French for using low grade heavy oil . "Cruise-ship-captain-faces-one-year-imprisonment-and-200000-euros-fine" Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
If you were to read many of the recent reviews on here it may well put you off cruising for life but in my opinion a lot of what I've read isn't a balanced view based on my personal experiance. Plenty of good points with the ... Read More
If you were to read many of the recent reviews on here it may well put you off cruising for life but in my opinion a lot of what I've read isn't a balanced view based on my personal experiance. Plenty of good points with the odd disappointment but no dramas on the scale some are portraying recently. Good aspects for us were the professionalism of the cabin staff (Sharon) A319, waiting staff in Meradian, reception staff and 99% of employees on board. Embarkation and disembarkation were quite simple painless processes and past with zero problems. Entertainment was excellent in some pretty rough seas, particularly enjoyed the on board productions but must also give a special mention to the Runaround Kids, illusionist (his name escapes me) and the in house band Accent who provided a real positive energy. Food and service were superb particularly in our allocated restaurant Meridian. Weather was pretty grim but we can't blame P and O for that and we tried to enjoy our cruise the best we could despite the weather conditions, did our own thing and managed to keep ourselves entertained, highlight for me was the museum straight opposite the dock in Cherbourg where the nuclear submarine Redoubtable is displayed it also houses an Aquarium and a museum dedicated to the Titanic for 16€ adults and 13€ children it was exceptional value for money. One or two niggley problems, food and service in The Beach House was disappointing (we were relectant to pay any further surcharges) and a couple of the entertainment team grated on us (Matt & Aaron) but I'm sure others will find them enthralling, hardly third world problems but thought worthy of a mention. All in all a great holiday for our family of two forty somethings with a twelve years old son and we wouldn't hesitate to book again. After all a holiday is what you make of it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Chose the cruise due to the ship and destinations. Embarkation and disembarkin went well. Allthough gangway failed on disembark. So we were lead to another. We had cabin D440. Balcony and central. Xavier our steward was brilliant. ... Read More
Chose the cruise due to the ship and destinations. Embarkation and disembarkin went well. Allthough gangway failed on disembark. So we were lead to another. We had cabin D440. Balcony and central. Xavier our steward was brilliant. Nothing too much trouble. We had the select price with freedom dining. Exellent. We ate in the Meriden most evenings. Waiters are exellent We had Philip and Amol. Great guys. A credit to the company. Food was excellent. Plenty of good Fish dishes. Wines reasonably priced. We didn't see any shows. Not really our thing. We did go to a couple of talks and the Crow's nest bar, which was good. Ports were good. I'd been to Bilbao Gijon and Cherbourg before. It was nice seeing them from the sea. I found it particularly heartwarming that there were many disabled people of all ages on board. All obviously enjoying every minute. Booked another cruise whilst on board. That says it all !! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was a toe-in-the-water for us, having always preferred organising our own sailing/driving/villa/touring holidays with all their inherent stresses. By contrast this was entirely stress-free - not one single argument! The ship is ... Read More
This was a toe-in-the-water for us, having always preferred organising our own sailing/driving/villa/touring holidays with all their inherent stresses. By contrast this was entirely stress-free - not one single argument! The ship is lovely. The food is pretty good but the premium restaurants are not worth the extra cost. We had a balcony cabin with a sofabed and a bed which lowered from the ceiling, which was a squeeze with 2 teenage boys, so we would definitely opt for larger/interconnecting cabins next time. The bed was uncomfortable, and I still have a stiff back 3 days later. My eldest son (15) loved the teen club and we hardly saw him. Onboard entertainment was not really our thing. We opted to go it alone on shore excursions - we were provided with perfectly adequate information sheets and maps for each port, and free shuttles were provided if the ship was docked away from the centre. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was not our first cruise with P.O. but definitely the worst, Cabin kept perfectly by Edward and were given all the attention needed. Entertainment mixed plenty to watch but the venues are stretched across the ship, and ... Read More
This was not our first cruise with P.O. but definitely the worst, Cabin kept perfectly by Edward and were given all the attention needed. Entertainment mixed plenty to watch but the venues are stretched across the ship, and people wanting to watch more than one programme per night had to traverse nearly the length of the ship. The theatre was very well built for the viewing of the shows/talks etc NOW the food, Having read the other reviews about the food being served I can qualify the remarks, I even saw the captain and commented about the uneatable FOOD being served and not a lot help was forthcoming, I then contacted the restaurant manager and arranged an appointment to speak about the matter, He was very polite and listened to the comments from myself and other cruisers, The sauces , custards gravies etc that were served was unbelievable just water and a colour of what it was supposed to be, Mint, Cranberry, Mornay, diners were refusing to have the sauce (water) put onto their plate. The creamed potatoes were at least 1/2 days old grey and when cut stood up like teeth.The manager said that the chef in charge had just come from another ship, he either needs retraining and the chefs beneath him need to be taught the correct way to make up the sauces, they forget that people will talk and comment about the food . The waiters in general were pleasant but some needed to retraining, some were leaning over another guest to retrieve the plate of another person who had finished his meal. We fortunately had two great ones, Garry and Ace, they attended their area with speed proficiency courteously.. Library was another nonentity with very little reading matter although a daily paper and crossword was published for the cruisers. Shopping was on three floors but expensive as usual. Our last time on the Azura after cruising on many other lines this was a complete let down. PattieJ Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My wife and I found the Azura absolutely spotless and we could not fault anything whatsoever! We felt like VIP's nothing was too much trouble for any of the very hard working staff! The entertainment was second to none and so was ... Read More
My wife and I found the Azura absolutely spotless and we could not fault anything whatsoever! We felt like VIP's nothing was too much trouble for any of the very hard working staff! The entertainment was second to none and so was the food! There was always something to do on the ship! They even had an excellent gym to work off all the calories from the constant eating! We felt pampered and special all the way through our journey! You do get the odd snob who always try to pick fault with something and love bragging about how many cruises they've been on!! but we just ignored them! We had an inside cabin on L deck 15 (L232) and we never heard any noise whatsoever! Jorzey was our cabin steward and he was always very pleasant helpful and chatty! There was an incident at the port of Civitavecchia when a freak storm actually broke the ropes on the mooring and blew the Azura to the other side of the port! We were returning back to the ship via shuttle bus when this happened and one of the ship's staff greeted us with what had happened said that nothing like this has happened before! But they handled it with great integrity and experience which kept everyone concerned very calm! We were looked after superbly! Well done ALL the crew of the Azura! The whole experience was superb!! Will be booking with P&O again very soon! Mr.and Mrs Caldwell. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Fantastic cruise yet again from P & O.Unfortunately this ship had been struck with the noro virus,which I suppose can happen to any cruise liner,just one of the hazzards,so we were somewhat delayed on getting onboard but we had been ... Read More
Fantastic cruise yet again from P & O.Unfortunately this ship had been struck with the noro virus,which I suppose can happen to any cruise liner,just one of the hazzards,so we were somewhat delayed on getting onboard but we had been pre warned of this via email but we were still allowed to arrive at our allotted time and sit and have a coffee and read papers etc,so no real upset. We embarked and were shown through to the champagne lunch reception which is such a nice touch and were immediately impressed again by the politeness of all the staff,they are second to none,don't believe some reviews telling you they stand and talk to one another and ignore you,utter rubbish!!!! Treat these hard working men and women with respect and you will get it returned. This was our first time on Ventura,previously sailing on Oceana and Azura,she is almost identical to the latter.I could not find any dirty areas,rust or tiredness which I had read about. Our cabin was spotless and I can't praise our steward Hadi high enough,he made the start of our day with a cheery "Hello" and always joking,what a star.Our butler Simon was fantastic also,nothing was too much trouble The food was of high standard also,although maybe just one more veggie option on the menu would be good,as one evening it was goats cheese for starter and main and I'm not a huge fan but we just went to the glass house and had a fab meal there at a very reasonable price. Not really into the ships entertainment,not our thing so can't comment There were only two niggles on this cruise,one was that we had to take a tender in Madeira which meant we had to be back on board very early and felt miffed that our day was cut short and I did feel so sorry for the disabled passengers who could not get ashore,hopefully they were compensated in some way.The other was that after passengers being told several times about hygiene due to the noro virus outbreak,we could still see them coming aboard and walking right past the had sanitizers,how selfish these people are but the staff were not enforcing it at the gangway,so we mentioned this to reception and they said they would pass on our information but nothing seemed to be done and folk were still ignoring the hand wash All ports were fantastic not as warm in past cruises but still nice enough to sit out and enjoy a beer or two or maybe four,can't remember. Well done P&O see you soon 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
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
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
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
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
I travelled with my Daughter , her husband and two Grand Daughters aged 4yrs and 6 months We had read some damning reviews and were honestly quite worried Boarding was quick and we entered the ship to a friendly greeting, and ... Read More
I travelled with my Daughter , her husband and two Grand Daughters aged 4yrs and 6 months We had read some damning reviews and were honestly quite worried Boarding was quick and we entered the ship to a friendly greeting, and glancing around first base my daughter and i looked at each other and both remarked that it was So Far So Good as everything appeared clean Our cabins were ready and we Loved them I was in P225 and my family were in a Family cabin a few doors down At this point i would happily stay in that cabin again , it was spacious and very clean ( the antic bac spray i bought with me was not needed, Jinty my cabin steward was brilliant , efficient and friendly We went to eat in the Self Service on arrival , there was so much choice there , my daughter and i are vegetarians and it wasn't a problem I could talk so much about this Beautiful ship , but seriously where do the bad reviews come from ? Ventura is so clean , we were up early with the baby and saw Staff hoovering and washing carpets , polishing lifts at all times of the day , antibacing the padded tables and chairs and so on The 4 yr old went to kids club , its so amazing there and she loved it , again everything was wiped clean for the afternoon session and the youth staff were Fantastic We ate in Saffron , loved the food and again our waiters were Brilliant , cannot fault the food or choice I had early morning breakfast delivered by a friendly young man , faultless, and then ate later breakfast with my Daughter and the children in Saffron , all beautifully served and lovely food ( My son in law ate a lot in self service as he could pile his plate up , at this point i will remark that he put on 20lbs , say no more ) The staff were nothing short of Amazing , they spoke to the children , made the baby smile all the time and cheered her up when she was having a moan Yes Amazing is a word i am using a lot , but it sums up everything about this Wonderful ship and her crew We have never sailed with P&O before and we are now Fans . I would love to sail on Ventura again . Yes she is having a refit soon but to my mind you cannot improve on perfection !!!!!!! A special thank you to the Captain who helped us when we needed it x Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our first ever cruise and we really had no idea what to expect. Reading some of the reviews; I was fairly concerned, particularly about the food. Our embarkation couldn't have been easier. We queued for ages in traffic ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we really had no idea what to expect. Reading some of the reviews; I was fairly concerned, particularly about the food. Our embarkation couldn't have been easier. We queued for ages in traffic coming through Southampton assuming it was because Ventura was in dock; the queues ended up being for IKEA, so we will circumnavigate this on our next drive in. We turned into the dock and instantly saw a member of the car parking valet team; it really couldn't have been easier. We unloaded our 65kgs of luggage out onto the pavement, handed ver the keys and unbelievably... we were on board inside 20 minutes. We arrived inside the Terminal at our Embarkation time and were fast-tracked all the way through. Once on board it took us maybe 10 minutes to get our bearings; but a member of the team told us our cabin was available so we went there straight away - our luggage was already waiting outside. We were stunned by how easy and smooth it was. Ventura is a large ship, particularly for first timers. We did spend most of the first week getting lost; but we loved every minute on board. It wasn't as glitzy or as glamourous as I expected; but our cabin was well appointed with tons of storage space, very clean, the bed was extremely comfortable, and there was no scuffed areas of carpet and knocks and bashes like I'd read about on reviews. The bathroom and shower is small; but it didn't cause us any problems. We only booked an inside cabin for our first cruise and we slept so well in it that we will probably always book inside cabin going forwards! Food-wise; we ate on the late sitting every night in the main dining room, apart from one night when we ate in the Epicurean. We had asked for a table of 10 booking; deciding to throw ourselves right in at the deep end with the whole cruising experience and be sociable... yet we spent the first 4 nights with that big empty table all to ourselves. After 4 nights of this; other tables had taken to feeling sorry for us and asked them to join us which we did and we enjoyed our dinners with another couple. We looked forward to our evening meals immensley and on the whole found the food to be very good. Desserts were a bit hit and miss, rather lacking in wow factor, particularly for the lady on our table who wanted a simple fruit salad and simply couldnt get one with anything other than oranges and apples in it! Breakfast and lunch we ate in the buffet; I will admit I came to hate trying to get through the narrow buffet aisles which just seemed badly designed; and particularly hated that I even had to fetch my own tea and coffee in what seemed the tiniest mugs on earth - but it didn't spoil our holiday. We also had pizza from the Pizzeria on deck 17/18? - which was alright. I did order room service on a couple of afternoons and was astonished how good it was. Far better than the buffet; although I can't fault the buffet on choice, it was always good. Entertainment; pretty good all round; we never made it into the Arena for an evening show prefering the bars and clubs on board; but everything we saw was pretty good. We did particularly enjoy late evenings upstairs in the Metropolis bar; absolutely beautiful being right at the top of the ship. The service we had throughout the whole cruise was wonderful. Nobody could do enough for us; we couldn't fault it, from the stewards to the waiters to the bar staff. Halfway through the cruise we found out that we could turn off the automatic staff gratuity; and we did this on the Reception desk, preferring to tip those that had given us good service. I will say the gentleman on the Reception desk that did this for us was fairly unsmiling and taciturn about doing so but this was the only time we encountered anything like this on board. We tended to do our on thing at each Port; apart from when we docked a journeys distance from the likes of Rome etc. Rome was one of the trips we did by coach; and the transfers worked well and it was comforting to know P&O had us booked onto the excursion and were looking after us. Each port is what you make it; oddly enough places we were immensely looking forward to visiting (Barcelona and Rome) we found to be loud, noisy, dirty - we will definitely be doing excursions to these locations next time and concentrating on one highlight such as Sagrada Familia or the Vatican rather than wandering round the streets by ourselves. Villefrance was a beautiful little place, we walked the length of the front and sat and had drinks with friends and just enjoyed the place. Cartegena and Cadiz were lovely, but in all spanish ports we found there to be alot of beggars. The formal nights were an unexpected highlight for us - i could barely persuade my husband into a black suit before we went but in the end he was not only wearing his dickie bow but really enjoying the formal nights. I would never have thought he'd have enjoyed it so much; but he was a real convert to it and even wants us to colour-coordinate on the next cruise. On our last day; we booked a cruise for 2018 on Britiannia, and shortly afterwards booked for 2019 on Azura. This is pretty much the best compliment I can give P&O. I would advise you to go with an open mind if you're a first timer; the things you don't like won't spoil your holiday, and the things you do will make it a worthwhile experience and you'll have lots of lovely memories. Tip: if you're sailing from Southampton, do not worry about your baggage. I panicked and split everything into smalller suitcases so that no bag was over the limit stated in the brochure. Apparently this is a non-issue as the baggage handlers simply stick a "heavy" baggage label on. Tip: When you're booking, pay attention to the location of the laundrettes. The machines are so easy to use and wash and dry in record time. We washed all our clothes the last day when the weather was miserable and brought home everything clean. We also did 2 washes of underwear etc during the holiday and it was super easy. Tip: If you have an inside cabin; put your tv on at night with the ships camera showing. At night when you go to bed you will have a dark screen; but when you wake in the absolute blackout; the screen gives you an idea of time - and also its' lovely to lie in bed and watch the ports get closer and closer on port days! Tip: Larger ladies need to be aware that all the dining rooms (with the exception of the epicurean) have narrow chairs with wooden sides and handles. I am a size 24/26 and i found sitting in the chairs absolute agony. I was fortunate in the main dining room that we were on a large table (these tables do not have chairs with arms) but in the buffet i could only sit on one of the bench seats. The chairs are ridiculously narrow. I hope that this is something that P&O will improve when refurbishing - it looks like Britannia is better. This is reflected in my 3/5 star marking for the dining experience. It didnt spoil my cruise but it would have done had i been seated at a smaller table. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
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