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687 P&O Cruises Europe Cruise Reviews

Food in the MDR was good. So was le Jardin and the Beach House. Also sampled the Asian lunch taster. The Headliners provided excellent entertainment as per usual. The room was clean however there was a constant odour from the toilet even ... Read More
Food in the MDR was good. So was le Jardin and the Beach House. Also sampled the Asian lunch taster. The Headliners provided excellent entertainment as per usual. The room was clean however there was a constant odour from the toilet even after it had been evidently cleaned. (Suspect old piping etc) Travelled with a child who constantly used the small sports area with goals, a net for tennis and a basketball hoop. The weather was excellent throughout the cruise. The cabin was an outside cabin as no balconies available for families when I booked. The room was bigger than we had feared however there was no private area to get changed outside the bathroom, which was definitely to small to do so. All the crew were nice and friendly. The public areas were in good condition. Used the kids club once and the lad enjoyed. We would travel on the Oceana again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
In general myself and my husband were pleased with the cruise . We wanted a medium sized ship with good entertainment facilities and a variety of ports. This was our third cruise but first time on Oceana. Our main criticism was the ... Read More
In general myself and my husband were pleased with the cruise . We wanted a medium sized ship with good entertainment facilities and a variety of ports. This was our third cruise but first time on Oceana. Our main criticism was the subbed situation. We liked to have a fairly relaxing breakfast on sea days but once we got up to top decks, sun beds were very scarce! People had draped towels over them and gone off, and it took a few treks round the decks to find any free ones! Well, there were plenty free but all had towels left in them, books and bags etc left beside them! We felt that staff should be stopping this from happening somehow! I must admit that, had I known this would be that difficult I would never have booked this shop for a med cruise!!! Even down on deck 7 where you could sit in the open air without a pool, it was crazily busy and towels again draped in all seats! I used the pool one day out of the 14, and would have loved to have used it more, but was just not quick enough to get a subbed. Even when I did use it we had to sit on upright seats by a table! The food was consistently very good & we were able to easily get a table for two. Ports were lovely but very very busy! All staff were excellent! Our cabin was ok but not as roomy as the one we had last time on Oriana, and could have done with updating, plus only one socket which was a pain! Entertainment was good, and places to have a drink were fab! We found people in this ship very dressy, lots of sparky evening dresses which I wasn’t really prepared for, but would be next time! This was an enjoyable cruise around Greece and Croatia & we have booked to go with P & O again (on a different ship) as we found them very efficient! I personally would think twice before booking a med cruise on Oceana again unless I knew the subbed situation was better though unfortunately! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Embarkation at mayflower terminal in Southampton was excellent and trouble free. By the time we had a quick lunch on-board, our luggage was to be found outside our cabin on Egypt deck. The cabin was exactly as we have become accustomed to ... Read More
Embarkation at mayflower terminal in Southampton was excellent and trouble free. By the time we had a quick lunch on-board, our luggage was to be found outside our cabin on Egypt deck. The cabin was exactly as we have become accustomed to on P and O ships – small, clean, and adequate for what we need. We knew in advance that the window was totally obscured by a life-boat and so it didn’t bother us. The cabin was kept spotless by Lorie who worked her socks off during the cruise bless her. The only gripe about the cabin was that although it was nice to have a bath in there, the water was never hot enough. We enquired about this and were told that the water temperature was regulated to avoid anyone being accidentally scalded. I would think that since I’m over 50 years old, I could be trusted with hot water by now! The entertainment on board was mixed to be honest. The Headliners probably were the best that we had ever seen, being really professional to say the least. Not surprising really since they’d come to the end of their contract and hence their performances were polished due to so much practice. The other entertainment was not particularly to our taste so I’d best not criticise unnecessarily as that wouldn’t be fair. We liked the cinema with its massive armchairs, but be warned, booking in advance is required. We witnessed people being asked to move when ticketholders arrived and found interlopers in their seats! Food. We opted for freedom dining for evening meal in the Meridian which worked out very well. I think it reasonable to say that of all the P and O cruises we’ve been on, the menu and quality of the food on Arcadia was probably the best we have experienced. There appeared to be a lot more choice and the presentation and temperature of the meals was praiseworthy. The Belvedere buffet (or, ‘the canteen’ as we liked to call it) offered food that we could describe as perfectly functional and adequate. Not fancy but OK. The reason we were less enamoured by the Belvedere was simply because the sheer number of people using it made it a scrum to get ones food. Also, having to search for a table was frankly a pain. This was not helped by horrible couples occupying a table for four or six who made it clear that other people were not welcome to join them, despite there being a shortage of seating. Hence, some people were seen to wonder around the buffet looking quite glum just hoping that a table would become free for them to occupy. Because of this we decided to skew our dining times so that we ate when we hoped the least amount of other guests would also be eating (for example, breakfast at 11 am, lunch at 3 pm). Crew. All excellent, polite, friendly. No issues to report at all in the bars, dining room or shops etc. The ships officers were best described as a little aloof and not too willing to engage with passengers. This was evident at the Captains reception when there were plenty of officers present, but they just looked like the event was a chore and didn’t engage with passengers – or if they did, it was perfunctory only. We saw this again at the private cocktail party we attended (for those guests of Mediterranean tier) where the officers gathered in little groups to chat among themselves and the fact that they were really supposed to be mingling and interacting with guests like ourselves who had been on P and O ships several times appeared to pass them by. Ports of call. Fabulous, especially St Petersburg - but Skagen, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Warnemunde were very good too. We walked literally miles around these cities using Google maps to guide us with no issues to report in terms of harassment by locals or anything else. Even St Petersburg in Russia was awesome with none of the potential problems such as pickpockets that one sometimes hears about. Overall, P and O did a good job and we were happy with the cruise on Arcadia. Can’t say any fairer than that! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise as its an adults only ship, which is in some ways rather nice but even though I'm of a certain age its nice to mix with some younger people. Having said that most people on the cruise were very friendly. Getting ... Read More
We chose this cruise as its an adults only ship, which is in some ways rather nice but even though I'm of a certain age its nice to mix with some younger people. Having said that most people on the cruise were very friendly. Getting on the ship at Southampton was trouble free and very efficient. The ships is really nice, just the right size, the public areas and bars have been updated, are nicely decorated and comfortable, nice little areas to sit and chat or play cards, read etc. it all flowed very well into the central atrium . The restaurant is quite nice but there are far too many large tables, we were travelling with our friends so preferred a table for 4, we did share a table with other guests a few times but after a long day touring sometimes we preferred just us 4, this was a problem some nights and one of the staff who showed you to tables was very rude indeed so much so that we reported him to the manager for bad customer service. However, most of the staff were very pleasant, especially Jeff Beck, yep that's correct that's what he was called and very customer focused, he was brilliant, he told us he will be on the new Iona, so we will see him again next year as we are booked on it. The food varied from very nice to ok, served hot and if you wanted more it wasn't a problem. We tried Sindu as we had previously on the Azura and it was really good then, this time I'm sorry to say it wasn't nearly as good and not worth the extra money. The cabins (we had balcony) were pleasant, comfortable and spotless, we were cared for by Heidi, he was lovely. The beds are comfortable, plenty of storage space and the cases fitted nicely under the bed. Bathrooms were of a decent'ish size and had White Company toiletries. Entertainment:- FANTASTIC the Headliners shows were amazing, like west end shows every time, unfortunately that was the last trip that particular group were performing together, such a shame they were unbelievably professional truly amazing. Also a group called The Waves were extremely good, very versatile in all music and got everyone boogying, the singer was brilliant as was all the group. Guest appearances were also very entertaining, we had a comic singer Berni Flint was exceptional and pianist/singer (cant remember his name) was very good too, got a standing ovation!! We even had Valerie Singleton guesting, talking about her life, she was very interesting and funny. Also a Geologist giving talks about the earth, dinosaurs etc, very good. I would recommend this ship, its just the right size, very pleasant to be on and easy to get around. Looking forward to going on the new Iona, although its rather large, we tend to keep to the smaller ships but it'll be worth going on a brand new ship. All in all my summery of this trip to the Baltics was very enjoyable, we saw some great places and in general had a very good cruise. I like P&O on the whole but customer service ( only in some parts) need a bit of refreshing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We loved our cruise of the Baltic on board the Arcadia. Having been disappointed by many aspects of life on Britannia we were a little apprehensive about another P&O ship. We didn’t need to worry Arcadia met up to all our ... Read More
We loved our cruise of the Baltic on board the Arcadia. Having been disappointed by many aspects of life on Britannia we were a little apprehensive about another P&O ship. We didn’t need to worry Arcadia met up to all our expectations. We were surprised to find out that the ship had actually been built for the Holland America Line which we love and several aspects of the ships Design were clearly echoing what we have grown to expect on Holland America. The food was very good but not outstanding. The entertainment was excellent with the Headliners the best troop we have seen on any ship. The ship was spacious with plenty of places to find a quiet spot to relax. All in all we would definitely travel on the ship again and loved the relaxed friendly atmosphere on board. The Baltic itinerary was excellent with lots of interesting ports of call . Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We'd only been on one cruise before, and that was with Royal Caribbean on their Vision Of The Seas ship, which is about 80% of the size of this one, I think. This was a cheap cruise, so we decided to (despite the not fantastic ... Read More
We'd only been on one cruise before, and that was with Royal Caribbean on their Vision Of The Seas ship, which is about 80% of the size of this one, I think. This was a cheap cruise, so we decided to (despite the not fantastic reviews) plump for it and see how it went. We didn't have elevated expectations and unfortunately we were right to have had that attitude! I was absolutely blown away by the difference in service levels. Ventura is full of staff who simply do their job. Too many of them have forgotten that they are only there because the customers need them to be - and that people go on holiday to have fun and enjoy a little bit of luxury. Don't get me wrong, none were rude, but none had any real spark, minus a guy in Metropolis. --Bay Tree restaurant-- To begin, our dinner in the Bay Tree restaurant on the first night, blimey. Steak and chips, fish and chips, ham egg and - yep - chips were three of about 7 main options. The others weren't interesting either; I'm not just excluding them to make the review look poor! One was pie I think. The menus every night were just not exciting. After a day of being at sea, or on a black tie evening, it's nice to be wowed by a fantastic menu - not just be "fed". The staff in this restaurant were amongst the least interested in great customer experience I think I've ever experienced! Their main aim, it seemed, was to get their job done in the easiest way possible - so for example serving my wife and I alongside the three tables of two around us, at the same time. So we all got our orders taken at the same time, all got our food at the same time and waited for each other to finish before we could order the next course. We had to flag someone down to order a drink other than the (really chlorinated) water we were already given. When I ordered a glass of red, I was sent the "wine waiter" - a lady turned up who didn't offer any knowledge on wine, just wanted me to tell her what I'd like. She couldn't take payment either, that was the first guy's job. Cheese and biscuits? Bizarre! We were first given a side plate each and a knife. Then our waiter turned up with a large slate of cheeses, but not to leave it with us - he wanted my wife and I to select each cheese, bit by bit, and how much of each we wanted. Then, after this process was complete, he returned to get us to do the same with the biscuits! I had to explain to him that the idea of cheese and biscuits is that the choice is made as you're eating it! Also, having to beg for five minutes before eating is frustrating and unnecessary. As for breakfast in this restaurant, it's even worse! Lots of staff serving (/cleaning) empty tables instead of the guests sat down already, means you have to forever catch someones eye. The toast was never anything but stone cold and solid (even when we asked for it to be warm). There's no going off the menu in terms of options. I wanted (on the Monday morning) some smoked salmon with my scrambled eggs - the chap told me that wasn't on until Sunday. So once in the week we were allowed smoked salmon (and by the way when Sunday came, it was mixed in and therefore cooked, with the scrambled eggs). I'm not a greedy person but am used to being able to have a certain level of creative licence with breakfast! I don't know why they can't just offer a buffet system - they appear to be withholding any ability for the guest to just have a good breakfast, and with it, being really slack on service. --The ship-- We found the layout really annoying. The absolute main reason for this is that there's no one route around the whole ship - meaning after dinner when you fancy a walk, you can't do this without either worming through the interior spaces of one of the decks (7 I think), cutting through bars and restaurants, or going out on deck and walking through sports areas and using stairs to complete a circuit. It doesn't sound like a big problem until it's a sea day and all you want to do is get a few steps done! A weird feeling of cabin fever when you can't just go for a walk. The atrium isn't very big, meaning there's no real reason for it being there - on Vision (RC) last year, the atrium was constantly used for nice evening celebrations and displays. There isn't therefore one large, spectacular area on the ship for people to all be in, on for example a black tie evening reception. We found it strange that there wasn't a common area for people to begin their evening. --Things to do-- There was loads to do, as long as you're either with a child, or you're a child. We were travelling as a couple and basically there's only one place with any level of atmosphere that's laid back and slightly classier, which is Metropolis Bar. Every other space for "lounging" either has no music on (and is therefore just an area for people to sit looking at each other, waiting for their next meal) or is full of kids. They were all very quiet, abandoned spaces during the day. And because there's no one large open area in the ship for people to gravitate towards, everywhere felt deserted. Exchange bar was nice enough, but treads too much on the Butlins method of holidaying - people drinking Fosters and playing bingo or watching the football. We avoid places like this at home so didn't use it on the boat. We consequently found sea days pretty boring without our own things to do - books etc. We never found this on RC's Vision. Their public spaces were all vibrant and well laid out; nice enough to spend time in just watching the world go by. --The great things-- We loved Metropolis. Only complaint really would be that it kept being booked out for private events, meaning that the one decent bar was pretty much out of action for these times. It's also (as mentioned above) the only classy, atmospheric bar on the ship, so got really busy in the evenings, so much so people were jostling for tables. (Tamarind was nice in the evenings too, but no view as it's low down in the ship and the curtains were shut!). Sindhu, absolutely incredible. A fantastic way to spend an evening, away from the crowds. Food was top notch and the service was great too. The show - Paradise City - was great. Not the longest show, but absolutely perfectly put together! --The cabin-- We had an interior cabin, to test the theory for our summer cruise which we hadn't booked at the time of sailing. It was absolutely fine - a little strange not knowing what was happening in the world outside but that's normal for an interior cabin. I liked the layout, of the dressing area by the bathroom, with the bedroom as its own separate area. Nicely equipped too, with a kettle and fridge. Could have done with more hangars and a bigger telly. Also somewhere to sit would have been nice! Not sure if it's normal for interior cabins to be so small. --The destinations-- If I'm honest, I'm a bit simple with culture. Not really a museum-goer, so a wander around the town is good enough for me. The destinations were nice - but one of them was on a bank holiday day, so nothing was happening (and the city wasn't particularly pretty anyway) - this could have been scheduled a little better I think. The excursions were really fairly priced - and I heard good things about them. --Summary-- I think basically, 7 days is the maximum time I could spend on this ship. It's a little too poorly designed and there's not enough to do, without making your own entertainment. Also, it was value for money given what we'd paid. Had I paid lots of money for a summer holiday on this boat, I would be very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
A 7 day trip to Norway fiords. Very enjoyable apart from the weather which unfortunately we can’t order. This ship is big but well organised with plenty to do, good shows with choice and excellent dining in restaurants. Self service not ... Read More
A 7 day trip to Norway fiords. Very enjoyable apart from the weather which unfortunately we can’t order. This ship is big but well organised with plenty to do, good shows with choice and excellent dining in restaurants. Self service not so good, very repetitive. We were well looked after in our cabin by our friendly smiley Steward. The ship was full as it was half term but we enjoyed being with a large mix of ages and families. A change from the usual oldies like us. It was a pity a lot of the scenic cruising up the fiords took place in the early morning about 4am onwards. Afraid that’s too early for us. Also there were only 4 stops, the last one being Bergen where there is plenty to do but we had to be back on board for 2pm which spoilt it. The whole experience has been soured since we arrived home as I found I had left my keys on board in the bedside drawer. I phoned as soon as I got home about 12.30pm thinking as the ship didn’t sail again until that evening the keys could be brought ashore and posted to me. I was so wrong! All you get is an e mail telling you that if you haven’t heard within 21 days they haven’t been found. How unhelpful is that? This wasn’t just a bag of make up, this was a very expensive remote controlled car key and house keys. P.O. just treat everything the same no matter what items you have left aboard. In other words they make no effort to locate lost property. I haven’t heard anything. I put in a formal complaint. After two and half weeks somebody finally phoned to address it. The usual platitudes about their procedures and how much lost property they have to deal with. All about them not about their poor customers.We had to pay £160 to replace the car keys. I know, should be more careful etc. Agreed. However you have to be out of your cabin by 8am and it is such a rush to get out get breakfast before all eating places close that you end up in too much of a rush. We have been given money off our next booking with P.O. but that doesn’t really make up for all the stress and time taken up trying to get P.O. to take this seriously and the trauma of obtaining new remote keys, not something that happens quickly, they have to be ordered and then programmed. All because nobody was willing to make a simple phone call to the ship while it was still in port at Southampton. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We cruised with P and O for many years up to 2014 when we decided that as their standards had dropped so much we would try other cruise lines. We found these other cruise lines were still up to the standards that P and O had before 2012. ... Read More
We cruised with P and O for many years up to 2014 when we decided that as their standards had dropped so much we would try other cruise lines. We found these other cruise lines were still up to the standards that P and O had before 2012. P and O had been in contact with us over the years trying to convince us to try them again assuring us that the standards were once again on a par with other cruise lines. We decide to use them during the May half term and go on Britannia on the 25th with the Grandchildren. We wish we hadn’t. The ship was late in due to some mechanical problem, (which we now know they had before they left on the previous cruise, so using it with this problem made it worse) and we were delayed many hours, but the worst of it was that having driven over 4 hours down to the port with children in the car we were them held on the port by CPS in a car park for at Mayflower terminal for over 3 hours without any facilities, refreshments or information. People who were not booked with CPS were allowed on the ship but anyone booked with CPS were kept away from the ship until almost 9pm. The organisation was terrible. Having got on the ship it was chaotic and we were unable to get any food until after 10pm, but had to leave it for the muster which was at 10.30. Because of all of the chaos on the ship continuing during the muster our granddaughter was lost in the crowds and no one would take it seriously saying that they would look into it after the muster. We refused to wait and one of us went to the reception to report her as missing, whilst one of us continued to look for her. The Captain went on and on during the muster, far longer than necessary, whilst the reception said they could do nothing. We eventually found her sat outside the room, 30 minutes after the muster, having found it by asking people where the room number on her ships map was. So generally a very poor start to the cruise, still we decided to put this behind us and enjoy the time together. Unfortunately, despite being told that because we had children, we would have a table for 4, but they put us on a table for 7. We tried to change it but were told it was unlikely that we would be able to move. In the end we had to transfer to freedom dining which we don’t like when we have children with us, it is never a problem on other cruise lines they always accommodate us. To turn to the cruise itself, the ship was a bit chaotic throughout the week, culminating in passengers not being able to get off the ship by tender at the last port for over 2 hours. There were several late night or in the middle of the night announcements, none of which made any sense. The Costa café was very poor, the service was virtually non- existence and when you went to the counter to seek a coffee you were treated to insolence. Many people left the café without ordering and we only went twice due to the issues. The food was okay but a bit samey and mediocre at times in the restaurants and the waiters were a bit hit and miss. The buffet was better than the normal with good access to tables. Since the last P and O cruise we were on the singers were better but the Headliners were not as good and the shows were poorer with less sets etc. There was also less shows generally. Daytime activities were also poorer and unlike other cruise lines, there is a lot less to do for older children during the day, although the kids club for 9 years olds was excellent and could not be bettered. We have been on most P and O ships and Britannia is the worst, is far too big to be so disorganised and whilst P and O are still pushing for bigger and bigger ships, they need to get their organisation Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Embarkation was a disaster. P&O sent an email out the evening before but hardly anyone got it. They should have rang each party leader. The boat didn't arrive until 5pm on the day then there was 2-3 hours of guests getting off ... Read More
Embarkation was a disaster. P&O sent an email out the evening before but hardly anyone got it. They should have rang each party leader. The boat didn't arrive until 5pm on the day then there was 2-3 hours of guests getting off until everyone else could get on. PO staff were telling arrivals one thing, whilst the car parking company told everyone something else. They laid nothing on for anyone. No refreshments - just pandemonium as 100's of cars jammed the roads surrounding the port. After an hour in the embarkation area we eventually we got on at 9pm and went straight into the canteen, i mean buffet for some mediocre food before going to our cabin. For losing an entire day's use of the boat we were given a paltry £20 each "credit" so not even real money. The boat itself was a real disappointment. Very dark and disjointed. All the lift areas had no natural light. It was like the dim entrance to a cinema screen. Queing for a lift for 2-5 minutes every time we used them - and they stop at every single floor they pass. There is a 2-storey section in the middle which doesn't really work and it also makes getting from the back of the boat to the front a chore of going up and down levels to pass it. The restaurants did not have a very grand feeling to them. They rely heavily on indian staff whom dont really have much to say. Usually on say royal caribbean, you'd have everyone from Peru to the Philipines - all smiles and fun. The staff here lacked any sort of personal feelings and none made conversation. "Do you want a bread?" and then you'd pick a bun out of a basket. "Order sir?" then you'd roll the dice on the main course which were edible but nothing special at all. For example on say the Independance of the seas, the soup would be like French Onion soup with melted Gruyere cheese and baked mini loaf. Whereas on Britannia it was powdery tomato cup-a-soup complete with croutons. Served in a little cat bowl ! The only food that we thought "mmm this is nice" was the pizza place near the pool. The rest of the places were similar to what you'd eat on a ferry. The pool area was poor. There was too very small jacuzzi and there was always teens in there splashing each other in the face and squealing. Nobody really policed it. There was two pools and one was shut - so the other was utterly rammed with kids aged 5-12 all bombing and diving. Whereas on other boats there is a big screen playing movies or music videos, the Brittania had nothing. There was a bit of a DJ whom played banging music like Baby D 'Be my fantasy' and Robin S again and again, every day. No classy chill out music - it was more like Butlins. When we visited Guernsey it was a complete farce. We went to the buffet for breakfast and qued like cattle to get a clean table, then we went down to like Deck 5 to get the tender - and we were shuffled into the Theatre and given a raffle ticket. The entire theatre was full to the brim at one point - and they'd call off a couple of dozen people every 15 mins on to the tender. We sat in the theatre at 11.35am and it was bang on 1pm when we landed on land !!! We sat for half an hour on the tender itself for no reason at all. As it happens, my friend and his family were on the Sapphire and they were there at the same time. We text each other. They had 3-4 boats taking them to land it start to finish it took 20 mins. Why did we take 1hr and 25 mins ? The only saving grace was the room was nice and quiet. The bunk bed system worked well. The balcony was really small. On Royal Caribbean you can order food or view your bill via the interactive TV menu - but nothing like that on Brittania. Even room service or breakfast was done via a form that was completed and put outside of the door. Breakfast choice was poor - toast, coffee, croissant or this panini thing with tomato and sausage in. It was damp and soggy. Room attendant was utterly useless. When we got there the first night, for a moment we thought our two kids were sleeping on the tiny single-sized sofa bed. We hadn't noticed the bunk that drops out of the ceiling. I called in the attendant and she shrugged and said yes it must be that they both sleep on the sofa bed ! then later on she was in our room with another woman who magically dropped the sofa out of the ceiling for us. Why didn't she know this when we spoke to her? there was no animals made out of towels on an evening. We just had 2 naff chocs left on bed (there was 4 of us in the room!) I spoke to several other guests and nobody was impressed. Several said the other P&O boats were better - but after experiencing the food etc, it just is nowhere near as good as RC's. Not even close. Finally - kid's club.... the negativity continues. It was terrible design. My son is 11 and on Indy he could sign himself in and out - but not on Brittania. He didn't have much to do except Ping Pong. My youngest would go to club after evening dinner and they sat them all in the corner and put on a film. No fun whatsoever. Meanwhile all the staff stand chatting in the office having their own little social. No painting, no music, no fun whatsoever. They were bloody ignorant as well. The time we'd stand there buzzing the door and they would just ignore and ignore it. A parent in front of me had a little row with the woman in the room with 5-8's in it after she knocked and rang the buzzer for about 5 mins and the staff stood chatting to themselves. We were fuming. In closing , the entire trip was very very very average. I will likely never try P&O again. Certainly not the Brittania. I picked this boat as it's the biggest and newest. Dont make the same mistake as us. It's garbage ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first cruise and sadly it didn’t start well with 6 hours delay on Embarking. This was described by P&O as a “slight” delay who offered a £20 onboard credit by way of a very limited compensation. Our room was not ... Read More
This was our first cruise and sadly it didn’t start well with 6 hours delay on Embarking. This was described by P&O as a “slight” delay who offered a £20 onboard credit by way of a very limited compensation. Our room was not entirely clean with items left behind from the previous occupants and dirty marks on the pillowcase. Our steward did swap out the pillowcase when I asked him to do so and advised that he had just come on duty that day. The good points - the balcony was worth the additional cost. The tea and coffee was replaced twice a day so we never ran out. Restaurant staff are polite and work really hard. There is a great shower in the bathroom. La Coruna and Santander were stunning. The library was a good edition and the attendant was really helpful. There was a great view from the crows nest and it was a quiet space in the madness. The food in the table service restaurants was mostly very good. The bed was really comfortable. Drinks prices were reasonable and the Restaurant staff offered good wine recommendations. We had no problems sharing a table at meals and as a result we met some great people. The experienced cruise goers were quick to tell us we had been unlucky on our first cruise and “it’s not normally this bad”. The disembarkation process, for us, was pretty smooth with no real delays (there was that efficient library steward again) so that at least ended the holiday better than it began. The middle ground - The entertainment was of variable quality. Films on show in the cinema were older but good. The ship is basically a massive floating hotel with the majority laid out as hotel rooms and the balance with public space feels a little off. The decor is ok but doesn’t set the world alight. There is reasonable fare available in the shops and prices are reasonable. The dress codes were not strictly enforced which is either good or bad depending upon you opinion. A shorts playsuit over a swimming costume did seem to be pushing it a little as acceptable wear for the evening restaurants though and we saw that a good few times. The gym equipment looked pretty good although it was hot and very busy. The bad - The announcements from the captain were patronising and more akin to a bad holiday camp than a ship - who knew “P&O voice” was a thing! After the really long delays on getting underway we had a muster station drill at 10:30pm, There were exhausted children and parents and the captain droned on and on about the trip and the area not taking the hint that people had really had enough by that point. The cleaning was sketchy our room was seriously dusty by the end of the week and we considered tippexing PLEASE onto the make up our room sign. The room next door had breakfast in their room each day and the tray was often still outside the door at lunchtime and once in the late afternoon after we returned from visiting a port. It was half term which was a rookie error on our part consequently there was no chance of using any of the pools or pool area which were all “reserved” by some pretty territorial families all day. This included the adult pool where adults only was clearly not enforced. The Horizon canteen was an experiment in survival of the fittest with variable quality of food. The staff again worked really hard and in pretty difficult circumstances at times. The tenders to Guernsey were disorganised with delays of up to 3 hours. A staff member with a mic kept telling everyone that they were doing really well and it was the same on every cruise ship. Clearly proven not to be the case by the Princess Cruise ship also in port which was managing their tenders much more efficiently. There were long queues on the way back too and again Princess were handling it much more efficiently. The menus in the main restaurants were a little repetitive so if your cruise is more than a week choice could become limited. There were also some long delays in getting a table at times and the pagers were malfunctioning. The WiFi was another frustration we opted not to use the overpriced ship WiFi and stick with our mobile provider and in-port only. Listening to people who had paid for the service it sounds like this was a good call as they had little good to say about it. As newbies I thought onboard signage and commas were very poor. There are plenty of newsletters which tell you lots about paid for options but offer little useful information on getting around the ship, where and when to eat etc. I genuinely recommend getting an offline App in play to enable people to navigate the ship and it can do so much more to improve people’s experience. The lack of stairs midships was frustrating with 3-4 lifts coming through at peak times before any come in with space which again caused some people aboard to get territorial. I wish I had researched this more thoroughly before boarding. We received a missive in our room on the last day offering a £75 discount on a future cruise (in the next two years) per person because of the issues this time. There is no email or postal address on the letter as I guess they don’t want to encourage the complaints. I can not deny I was very disappointed in this holiday. My parents go on cruise holidays 2-3 times each year, they recommended P&O and said we would love going on cruises. I guess we may try another cruise holiday at a later date with a different provider but based on this experience P&O badly failed to live up to expectations time and time again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
As we are limited to school holidays we reluctantly booked this cruise on Britannia thinking it would be too big and busy for our taste. However, we were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed the ship. Having been on over 20 ... Read More
As we are limited to school holidays we reluctantly booked this cruise on Britannia thinking it would be too big and busy for our taste. However, we were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed the ship. Having been on over 20 cruises previously, we found the food and service in the buffet and main restaurant to be absolutely fine. When people complain about the food on a cruise we can only be envious of how they must be eating at home! We never had any problems getting a table in the buffet at breakfast or lunchtime. There were issues getting a table in the Freedom Dining restaurants in the evening but this is not a problem exclusive to Britannia. We do wonder how with ships getting larger, Freedom Dining can work. We had a very enjoyable evening in Sindhu and thoroughly enjoyed the food. We found the public areas and outside deck space to be perfectly adequate for the number of passengers. However, we missed having the shade of a promenade deck and unless you wanted to pay for the covered area of The Retreat the only option is to remain in full sun. The lack of ship’s staircase midships is a major design flaw; which at least has not been repeated on Iona. We do not bother too much about the entertainment but were disappointed with the limited choice of films in the cinema. The weather was better than expected (we have done a similar itinerary in July and only saw the sun once). The embarkation delay was unfortunate and not a pleasant experience for passengers or staff alike. This was our first experience of such a problem and we commented that it could put you off if you were a first time cruiser. However, once we were in Ocean Terminal the process went smoothly and we were on the ship within an hour. Self-disembarkation was well organised and straightforward. Overall, an enjoyable and relaxing holiday leaving us relaxed and refreshed. We would go on Britannia again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We had sailed last year on Britannia as a couple. We loved the ship, service and food so chose this half term cruise to take our granddaughter who is 10 years old with us, so this was her first cruise and she was super excited. For ... Read More
We had sailed last year on Britannia as a couple. We loved the ship, service and food so chose this half term cruise to take our granddaughter who is 10 years old with us, so this was her first cruise and she was super excited. For those of us that were on the cruise I think the start was pretty horrendous for the majority of people. Firstly P&O sent a text message asking for a 5 hour delay to check in as Britannia had experienced problems, not great start but stuff happens. But for us this resulted in a check in time of 8.30pm, 1st disappointment for the three of us. An email followed with £20 compensation per person. We arrived at the port at 7.45pm to complete chaos. Queues and Queues of cars. We sat patiently for an hour before being told to join another queue which led to another queue and another queue. People were becoming very stressed and tempers were fraying. I said to my husband it was pointless all three of us sitting in the car as we were all tired and hungry. So we deserted him at about 9pm. He finally got on the Britannia just gone 10pm. I’m not sure whether the chaos was caused by P&O or CPS parking but it really was awful. Muster was called at 10.30pm. We were exhausted. Babies were crying, people were moaning. Luckily our granddaughter seemed to take it in her stride. Cabin (C733) was good but a bit tight as she had a sofa bed so when this was out there was very little room. Balcony was great size compared to say the Aurora or Ventura. Steward Ritish was always smiley even in the face of a ten year old’s Mess every morning. Cabin was cleaned to a high standard on a daily basis. So we tipped at the end of the week. We purchased the soft drinks package for our granddaughter at £7.99 per day. She loved ordering her own drinks and signing for them. P&O’s alcohol drinks package at £40 per person per day I thought was totally ridiculous unless you were someone who did no trips and sat at the bar all day everyday. We knew we would not consume £80 worth of alcohol each day so didn’t buy this. They really need to review this. We had first sitting in the Oriental Restuarant. On average the food was very good, but a bit hit and miss, tender steak one evening, grisly steak another evening. The Waiters work extremely hard and it is appreciated. Our waiter let his stress show quite a lot which made us feel uncomfortable and rushed. We went to the Beach House one evening and enjoyed watching our granddaughter cook her own steak on the lava rock, she is still talking about it!! An evening meal in the buffet was not that good and disappointing whereas their lunch time food we thought was far superior. Although our granddaughter loved eating chips at 11 at night, real treat! We found the pool food to be really good, especially the pizzas. We were very lucky with the weather so it was a bit of a shame one of the main pools was out of action for two days. On a ship full to capacity with families this did have an impact on the swimming fun. However, we splashed about with our granddaughter and sunbathed. Staff work so hard and we found the ship to be very clean. Bar staff were excellent. Everyone was always so helpful and caring. I think the shops on the ship are okay, nothing great. We found the P&O trips to be good, husband did the 9 hour landing beaches trip and said it was excellent. We did an afternoon trip to three villages and shopping but as it was Sunday most of the shops were closed. Our last trip on Guernsey we thought was brilliant. Vintage coach, little chapel and cream tea, all three of us loved it. P&O’s management of the tender was organised chaos resulting in them giving financial credit towards a future cruise. We just enjoyed the whole experience. We found the entertainment average, have experienced far better on previous cruises although our granddaughter did enjoy the juggler. The Bay Of Biscay was calm, the sun shone, and all in all it was a good cruise experience. Our granddaughter loved everything about it and wanted to stay on board for another week!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this ship/cruise because it was stopping over at the Monaco Grand Prix (although more of that later). The trip was out of Malta - a 1st for us - and arrival embarkation was faultless and well staffed. The ship is a bit ... Read More
We chose this ship/cruise because it was stopping over at the Monaco Grand Prix (although more of that later). The trip was out of Malta - a 1st for us - and arrival embarkation was faultless and well staffed. The ship is a bit 'tired' in parts but the cabins are of a good size (we were on C deck) and clean/tidy. So why only 2 points:- Drinks Package Unless you want to engage in a constant battle with staff my advise is stay well clear of the 'Ultimate Drinks Package'. Way too many rules and regulations. Diet Coke is not included but Diet Pepsi is (who makes these rules?). You can order a small bottle of water but not a large one. Don't try the "OK so can I have 2 small bottles then" because that will be met with "sorry I can provide one small bottle but you have to have drunk that one before I can supply another small bottle" (I guess that I should not blame the staff someone told them that this was a rule). You cannot order a large Pina Colada but you can get a small one and then order another when you have drunk that one........Really! Internet To be fair this is true on most cruises but only 2 words adequately describe the Internet access packages (there are 3 levels) and they are the words "rip off" Staff and Service Sorry P&O but your staff have to be amongst the most grumpy that we have ever encountered. Some exceptions of course but mostly in need of retraining in customer service and simply how to smile Activities Generally good. We went on some sort of adventure pretty much every day that we were not at sea. The only day that gave cause for complaint was ironically the day that mattered most. On the day of the Monaco GP the ship was docked in VilleFranche and therefore access to/from the port was via tender. The day before the daily newsletter announced that last tender back to ship would be at 5.30pm. Keep in mind that the GP didn't start until 3.15pm. There was very little chance that we could watch the entire race and get back to the tender for 5.30pm. I will acknowledge that we spoke to a number of officers and they all did the nod and wink thing and said don't worry I am sure that it will be OK; but no-one offered any sort of certainty. The only comfort that we drew was that the 'official P&O' trip to the GP was by coach (we were travelling by train) so we convinced ourselves that we would beat that trip. As it transpires the last tender was around 7pm; but really P&O; you promoted this cruise as one that offered an opportunity to attend the GP and then set the last tender return at 5.30pm and promptly gave rise to a worry (all day) that took the edge off the whole experience. Food I would rank the food as OK but the selection offered to casual diners at the restaurant on top deck (The Plaza) was pretty poor. I would include breakfast in this observation. Breakfast at Cafe Jarden on Deck 8 was waiter served, options limited but the poached eggs were excellent. We were 'free diners' for an evening so we were allocated a restaurant called the Liguarian. Wait times on a table for 4 was always around '1 hour' so we ended up sharing. I know lot's of people love sharing a table with strangers (my wife is one of them) but I would rather pull my teeth out with a pair of pliers. Hey ho. We spent most of the time at one of the extra fee paying restaurants which were fine (my personal favourite being the Beach House). Entertainment Good Disembarkation Was very good - probably the best we have encountered - they didn't insist upon you leaving cases outside of the cabin until mid-night - nice touch which meant that you could don your glad rags for one last evening of merriment and the whole trip to the airport - bags checked directly on to flight - staff at airport to point the way - was excellent - sadly in my case it did mean that I ended up sitting across the isle from my wife - who is not a good flyer - but this might have happened anyway. Smokers To be fair to P&O this is an issue that I could make of most cruises we have been on over the past few years - but do you have to make us smokers feel like 2nd class citizens. No smoking on balconies, few enough 'smoking areas' and those areas also had the crappy plastic garden furniture. Maybe the cruise we attended was the exception to the rule but of an evening the crappy furniture smoking permitted area was rammed and its sister area across the other side of the ship, an area with excellent furnishings was empty. Why make smokers feel so unwelcome and if that is the point then at least be honest and ban smoking altogether. Overall Not great and not sure that we will hold the provisional booking we have made on another P&O ship for next year Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first cruise with P&O and it came up short in comparison with the line we previously used. In my opinion the Azura is in need of a refurbishment. Many fixtures and furnishings were worn and in poor condition and the beds ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O and it came up short in comparison with the line we previously used. In my opinion the Azura is in need of a refurbishment. Many fixtures and furnishings were worn and in poor condition and the beds in our cabin were very uncomfortable. Dining options were limited and the buffet food quality was very poor with very limited choice and the service was not available for long enough per day. The food quality in the restaurants was very good however although coping with the high passenger capacity was a problem. Complimentary room service for breakfast was very welcome and convenient. Whilst the quality of entertainment was very good indeed, all of the entertainment areas had insufficient seating to cope with the number of passengers. Frustratingly, the small atrium was constantly used for dance classes preventing it's use by other passengers for other purposes. With the exception of our cabin steward the staff were generally not as friendly and helpful as we were expecting. Embarking and disembarking was carried out smoothly and quickly at all ports. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The cruise was wonderful. Food and service in restaurants was perfect. Cabin R519 was good and kept very clean. Disappointed we had the overhang from above casting shadow on balcony Entertainment was OK ,but not as good as other ... Read More
The cruise was wonderful. Food and service in restaurants was perfect. Cabin R519 was good and kept very clean. Disappointed we had the overhang from above casting shadow on balcony Entertainment was OK ,but not as good as other cruises we have been on. The best entertainment was the historical murder presentations. Destinations were fantastic although only 6 hours in Gibraltar was disappointing. We only booked in April 2019 and did via the select option mainly because we thought we could get the first sitting and a table for 2 and was put on the waiting list. However once onboard we were informed that all the first sittings for a table for 2 were fully booked in Nov 2018 and we had no chance of this. We needed this because of my wife's poor hearing and cannot hear other peoples conversation. The outcome meant we were in Freedom and always had to wait for a table for 2. This should have been explained at the time of booking and perhaps we would have changed our decision and booked the early saver. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Norwegian fjords on Britannia in May, great weather overall. Ports and excursions great. Embarkation was smooth although delayed 2 hours. disembarkation was chaotic due to arriving late due to issues with Britannia and then coinciding ... Read More
Norwegian fjords on Britannia in May, great weather overall. Ports and excursions great. Embarkation was smooth although delayed 2 hours. disembarkation was chaotic due to arriving late due to issues with Britannia and then coinciding with a Take That concert in Southampton. The area around the port was absolutely chaotic. We were due originally to be leaving ship at 09:45am and got off eventually at about 6.00pm! Port staff in car park didn't have a clue. We have cruised with other operators and this the first time with P and O, We were really excited to be going on Britannia but have been left a little underwhelmed to be honest. The ship just didn't seem to have the Wow factor for us compared to others, maybe just our taste though. The cabin was great, and our porter was superb, really friendly and helpful. The dining was ok, we did freedom dining, and the available restaurants were ok, but choice of food was to us a little limited and sameish. The Horizon buffet was very canteenish, but the food was plentiful, but the buffet was very very busy most of the time. Restaurant staff very hard working and friendly. Didn't take up the option of paying an extra £35 for a three course meal listening to Gareth Gates sing. Quite good daily information regarding next days entertainment of which there was plenty to do. Although a lot of people onboard there was always somewhere to sit so that was great. Drinks onboard are very reasonable. Nearly purchased the wine deal, glad I didn't. We did see quite a lot of dehumidifiers working on carpets, so must have some plumbing issues? We were woken up two nights, once at about 02.00am with the tannoy calling for emergency crew to attend a suspected fire. Not what you want to hear. We were told about half an hour later by the captain that it wasn't a fire and all was under control. Still left us nervous. The following night the ship lost all power at about 04.00am, woken up by the tannoy going bing bong. No lights in cabin, and engine power lost, captain again apologised later saying all was well. But not for me I'm afraid. One night the toilets wouldn't flush. It was sorted out quite quickly to be honest. Too many things for me though, ship needs a bit of tlc I think. Maybe these things happen?? All that said I still enjoyed the cruise, fjords lovely, crew friendly (apart from some frosty reception staff), just no overall Wow factor. If it's meant to be contemporary, it looks dull to me. Would I go on Britannia again, no. P and O? Not sure. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose to go on Britannia as it's the onlt P&O ship we haven't been on. After reading some reviews we were a bit unsure of what to expect, alot of people didn't seem to like Britannia, but we needn't have ... Read More
We chose to go on Britannia as it's the onlt P&O ship we haven't been on. After reading some reviews we were a bit unsure of what to expect, alot of people didn't seem to like Britannia, but we needn't have worried it was amazing, in fact my wife & i both said it is now our favourite ship. The balcony cabin was excellent loads of room & very modern, getting around the ship was extremely easy also in the reviews quite a few people said navigating the ship was a problem for them but i can't understand why, we found it to be very easy. I thought the sheer size of the ship & the amount of passengers would be a problem, for seating at shows or the Costa places but we never had a bad experience at all seating wise. The food in the restaurant was very good, we went into the Epicurean one night & we weren't very impressed with it, the venue & service was first class but the food was not for us just not our sort of thing, what i can recommend is the Limelight Club, this is a well known artist plus a three course meal & you stay in all night. This was the best night of the cruise & well worth the money, the artist was brilliant & the food was to die for really good. We don't normally use the buffet on ships but tried this one on Britannia & was very impressed. All in all Britannia really was a very good ship & we will certainly use her again Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I have a few things on my bucket list, and visiting Croatia is one of them. I'm using cruises to identify the places that I'd like to spend more time in, in the future, so the Oceana itinerary suited me just fine. The ... Read More
I have a few things on my bucket list, and visiting Croatia is one of them. I'm using cruises to identify the places that I'd like to spend more time in, in the future, so the Oceana itinerary suited me just fine. The itinerary was changed about a month before we sailed. Split was removed, to be replaced with Hvar, and the other ports were re-ordered - allegedly so that we could return to Malta from an EU port. Hmmm. This was my second cruise, and the first from a non-UK port. It went really well. I'd booked into a budget hotel at Gatwick for the night before embarkation (a purple hotel chain right next to Gatwick North - would recommend to anyone who needs for the convenience and for potential views from hotel room) so it was just a case of waking up in time and walking over the road to check in. From Malta it was a simple coach trip to the port and then the route to the ship was very well posted and every 100 yards or so there was a sign directing us in the right direction. We'd left Gatwick at 07:30ish and were onboard by 14:30ish, from memory. Valetta looks pretty and I wish I'd had more energy to explore. There's a fun lift, which only costs 1 euro, to take you from port level to the town. The Upper Barrakka Gardens, which are right off here, are quite attractive. I also visited St Paul's Shipwreck Church, which is a few streets away - has a couple of reliquaries of St Paul and is very impressive. I spent the rest of the afternoon just chilling out and familiarising myself with the ship layout, since it was the first time I'd been on Oceana. The next port was Kotor, Montenegro. Luckily I woke soon after dawn so was able to watch the sail-in - so quiet, I assume we were being tugged. And then came my first tender experience, which was enjoyable although it's a nuisance taking so long to get to/from the ship. I'd booked the Best of Montenegro P&O excursion, and enjoyed it thoroughly! My only complaint for the day would be that I would have liked to spend more time in Kotor. After the tour had finished we only had a couple of hours left before the ship left (around 1630ish I think), and I wasn't comfortable spending too much more time looking around the town when I knew I wanted to be back onboard in an hour or two. Would recommend this excursion though - we saw a lot of the countryside, learnt a lot about the town and also got to sample some of the local produce :) The next day was Zadar. I will be honest now and say don't bother with the Discover Zadar on Foot excursion. It took 4-5 hours and could quite happily have been done in around 2 hours, unless your hobby is Benedictine Nuns and their reliquaries (relics?). It was informative but spending an hour or more in the nunnery did not add to the experience at all in my opinion. There is also little of interest to see in the town itself: I will not be going back there. That evening I had my dinner in Cafe Jardin. It was most enjoyable! The staff were friendly and I liked the decor although I think P&O still struggle with ambience when they place these restaurants on mezzanines. Port 3 was Venice. I have never seen such rain! To add some context - the last time I owned an umbrella was 30+ years ago when I was doing my A-levels... I bought an umbrella in Venice! (I don't speak Italian. *Me pointing at an umbrella for 20 euros - I have no idea how much 20 Eu is - , saying "Poco"* *Shopkeeper erupting in Italian bringing out several models and quoting prices at me* *Me finding one for 7 Eu and subsequently finding out that's a pretty decent price for a functional umbrella *) Anyway. Venice was interesting. It was a way-point on the way to the Croatian ports so nowhere near any sort of highlight for me, but it was good to see. I would 100% recommend St Mark's Basilica to anyone. It is absolutely stunning and I wish I could have had more time (and fewer crowds) to appreciate it. If you're in Venice then you really should make the effort to see. Doge's Palace was nice but I had some 'gilded ceiling overload' - there are only so many you can see [around 3] before the wow factor is gone. Sorry to the Doges Palace artists x. Oh, the other note about Venice is get off the ship asap. I went out around 08:30ish. It was deserted and very pleasant [until torrential rain stopped play and I had to go back to change into dry clothes :P ] By the time the tour happened in the afternoon it was like Piccadilly Circus, not nearly so nice. The fourth, and final port, was Hvar. This was a late replacement for Split so I didn't know too much about it before I arrived there. I'd booked the Island Highlights tour, and enjoyed it hugely. We had a quick walk around Hvar then hopped on a coach and saw some of the island before stopping off in Stari Grad for a short visit, then did another quick tour of attractions before returning to Hvar. It might be because this was the first nice day of the cruise (the rest were all grey and/or chilly - we were so unlucky with the weather), but I really liked this town and it's on my list to revisit if I ever get the chance. Overall I enjoyed the cruise. I had concerns about Oceana but she's a lovely ship and there's nothing really wrong with her - I had a nicer vibe on this cruise than I had on Brittannia 2 yrs ago. I loved Montenegro and Hvar; could take or leave Venice and Zadar. But it was all enjoyable and would overall recommend to anyone else considering. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The Journey to Southampton We got the free coach as part of our Select fare from Bolton to Southampton.  Thankfully we did, as there was a crash on the M6 which closed the motorway. After a long, nearly 9 hour journey through the back ... Read More
The Journey to Southampton We got the free coach as part of our Select fare from Bolton to Southampton.  Thankfully we did, as there was a crash on the M6 which closed the motorway. After a long, nearly 9 hour journey through the back roads of Wales, we arrived in Southampton at around 4:45pm.  We were due to arrive before 2pm, with Aurora sailing at 4:30pm.  If we had not taken the coach, conceivably we would have missed our cruise departure.  The coach itself was fairly comfortable, it was a new 19 Plate one of the grade given to football teams by Ellisons.  Sadly, the seats were slightly hard as they had not yet been broken in.  All in all, it was fantastic and we will definitely take the coach to Southampton as it was a stress free way to start the holiday. Checking In Process We hurried into the terminal after getting off the coach, and were processed very quickly by the team at Southampton.  They were happy that the final coaches were arriving, and they could finally get Aurora underway.  Check-in was very smooth, they scanned my husband's card for payments, took our passports, and gave us our cruise cards.  They did retain my husband's Australian passport (but returned it before St Petersburg.)   After checking-in we went through security quite similar to an airport.  All hand bags were scanned through x-ray machines, and we went through metal detectors.  These are quite sensitive, and security staff were telling everyone to leave on their watches and keep their wallets.  This led to some frustrations when the detectors kept going off.  Just a heads-up that you might want to put everything in a jacket pocket to go through the x-ray to avoid the pat down/run over with wand mess. Boarding Aurora We then went on board Aurora at reception on Deck 5.  First impressions were that it was a lovely ship, with a bright vibrant interior.  Not overdone, and more classically decorated.  There was a photographer at embarkation, but he was busy with a larger group so we slipped by unnoticed.  We grabbed the midship lift to deck 10 (B Deck) where our cabin was located in the forward section.  I quite liked the new carpets on B Deck.  We easily located our cabin, which was a large inside.  It had a large King size bed, full size sofa, desk/dressing table, small coffee table, 2 side tables with four drawers each, a large 4 drawer chest, safe, coffee/tea making, and a large wardrobe (2 doors full length with shelf above, 1 door had space for hangable separates).  The bathroom was small but serviceable (and a rather nauseating pink colour) with a shower, toilet, sink and cabinet for goods.  As we were having a look at the cabin, we had a knock on our door with our cabin steward, Elvis, letting us know that our luggage had arrived.  He helped us lug it in, but there was no time to unpack as we needed to attend the muster drill. Muster Drill One great thing about P&O is that they make sure that you are always aware of where you are supposed to be going, with our muster station A printed on our cruise cards.  Our muster station was the Curzon Theatre on Deck 7.  We made our way there through the crew staircase which we were directed to by Elvis.  The drill itself was painless, we grabbed seats near the front, sat through the demonstration, donned our lifejackets and it was time to go.  Even had time to unpack, and enjoy a drink in the Crow's Nest watching the sailaway (and seeing Celebrity Edge go on her maiden) before dinner. Dining on Aurora My husband and I choose Freedom dining, which meant we had to dine in the Medina restaurant on Deck 6.  It is a lovely restaurant, yet again with an understated decor.  Her staff are what makes her a gem, they were all lovely, apart from one pair of waiter's who work near the main doors near the windows.  We had them several times for breakfast, and always found them to be slow, consistently forgetting things, and just didn't seem very interested in their jobs.  This was the only time we ever encountered poor service on Aurora.   We ate most of our meals in the MDR, party because my husband has a disability which makes eating in the buffet difficult for him.  We did not regret this choice at any point in time.  The menu's were varied, we could always find something we wanted to eat, and freedom dining was perfect for us.  If we did not have freedom dining, it is likely that we would have needed to go to the buffet some more as the select times are either a bit too early or too late for us.  On average we ate at 7:30pm each night, some nights we joined a table and others we waited for a table for two which would usually take no more than 20-30 minutes.   The Medina had four sessions of food service a day: Breakfast (varying from a 7am start to a 9:30am finish - this depended on whether it was a sea/port day) Lunch from Noon until 1:30pm Afternoon Tea from 4pm until 4:45pm Dinner from 6pm until 9:30pm There was never any issue with the quality of the food for us in Medina.  We did hear several remarks from people who said they didn't fancy the food and preferred the buffet.  As we did not eat in the buffet much, I cannot comment on the quality and consistency of the food, however, I can certainly state that having a sit down meal is better than the savagery I witnessed in the buffet for the one breakfast and dinner we ate there. The Buffet We went for two meals at the buffet - one breakfast and an evening meal after the first day in St Petersburg.  I have never seen such appalling behaviour from people who are truly old enough to know better.  One of the highlights for me was when I was getting some fruit, my tray on the counter sliding along, selecting things, a woman old enough to be my grandmother kept repeatedly slamming her tray into mine, sighing and making passive aggressive comments to her husband about me.  That was enough.  The food quality as we saw it was fine, but I couldn't bring myself to go back to the buffet after the behaviour.  Additionally, you can never be 100% sure if the food has been contaminated by people who came before you.   The Lido Grill We had a lunch at the Lido Grill, and the food was quite nice.  It was also a bit easier than wading into the buffet as the seating area in front of it is quiet in comparison.  They stock a nice selection of sandwiches, salads, desserts, along with hotdogs, pizza, burgers and fries.   Sindhu Sindhu was a highlight for us.  In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we went there twice, once for an ordinary meal and the second time for the tasting menu.  The food was wonderful, and the amounts were incredibly generous with the lobster biryani containing two full lobster tails.  I fully intend to eat at Sindhu the next time we are on board a P&O ship. The Beach House On the final black tie night neither of us could be bothered getting dressed up so we went to The Beach House for a meal.  It was lovely food, and incredibly well priced.  I would go back anytime I didn't want to dress up again in the future, which is a major bonus for us if we are just knackered and can't be bothered.  If it was an evening casual night, it is unlikely I would go, as while the food is good I do not consider it different enough from the fare in the MDR. The Bars There is a wide variety of drinking establishments on Aurora which are designed to suit your particular wants and needs.  Some are more suited to coffee and tea, and others to boozy concoctions.  We found that we spent most of our drinking time in Anderson's or The Crow's Nest.  The bar staff from Anderson's (in particular) were fantastic.  One quick note about Anderson's and the refurbishment - if they did the Anderson's carpet in the refurb it is already coming up in the back corners and has multiple pulls in places.  Additionally, outside in Charlie's there are several parts where duct tape has been affixed to the floor owing to loose/coming up laminate. The drink selection and pricing on Aurora was incredible.  I was never disappointed with a drink poured to me, and the wine selection in the Glass House and MDR was quite good.  Our bar bill was incredibly reasonable - coming in at around £500 for the two of us over a 14 day period.  We did not deprive ourselves of anything, as we drank what we wanted when we wanted, and had a bottle of wine every night with dinner.   One complaint was that Champions would advertise that they were going to be playing sport, but would then instead host quiz or music with branding of these events also being shown on all TV's.   The Entertainment We did not go to many of the shows as they did not sound like our cup of tea and spent more time listing to the musician's who were all talented.  One show we did go to was to see Deano as Phil Collins - I suspect I did this as much to bother my husband who dislikes his music as I did because I wanted to see it.  Being married has to come with perks, right?  The Laundrette Wow.  Just wow.  The laundrette was both useful and a massive bone of contention among passengers on the ship.  When I first went to the laundrette, I was confronted in the Deck 11 Forward one with eight very angry pairs of eyes staring into mine silently demanding to know what the hell I was doing there.  Feeling so unwelcome I backed away and went to one on Deck 5 Forward.  This is a much tinier laundrette and can be quite hard to find.  I managed to do my laundry there, and while talking to a crew member, a call came through that there was a 'disruption' in the Deck 11 Laundrette.  I'm glad I didn't stay there. The second time I used the laundrette, I made sure I was outside the Deck 11 one when it opened at 8am.  Someone had left clothing in the dryer from the evening before, and waltzed in at around 9:30 am to collect it which left some people waiting for a dryer.  If it had been me I'd have put it in a basket, but no one else wanted to do that. The machines on board are quick with a wash taking about 45 minutes, have cold and warm water settings, and have the option for an extra rinse.  The dryers work very quickly with it taking about 45 minutes to dry a large load.  There was no facility to purchase washing powder that I saw. The Internet In a word: Useless.  My husband needed to use the internet at sea to complete something which at home would have taken 30 seconds.  Speak to the in-charge in the library who tells us each webpage will be max 1 minute to load.  So we decide to use PAYG.  Never again.  30 minutes later it booted him, which is something we didn't know could happen, and he never accomplished what he needed to.   We complained to reception about the service they provided and the information we received from the internet in-charge.  They did not care and offered a derisory 20% off.  So I complained by letter to the HGM who righted it within ten minutes of reading my letter and refunded the charge with an apology.  It shows that the best way to have things dealt with is to consult management rather than the people on reception who seem relatively unable or unwilling to act in this case with the reception manager. The Dress Code On board we had four black-tie nights and ten evening casual nights.  For the black-tie nights we attended (three out of four) we conformed to the dress code with tuxedos and gowns on display.  However, I did get some snarky comments from people lining up for dinner at 6pm when we were off to Anderson's for our pre-dinner tipple.  Apparently to some individuals on board conforming to the dress code is 'showing off' and being 'overdressed'. The Evening Casual nights said no jeans for women, casual separates or a dress.  However, as the cruise continued I became a little more lax in my dresscode and my dark jeans were never questioned in the MDR.  They are, however, quite dark.  I did take a selection of cocktail-like dresses with me which were never worn and I stuck to my long flowing skirts mostly.  I also, on the final evening, got away with wearing my bright coloured trainers in the MDR, this may have been because they were feeling charitable knowing my clothing had made its way to the bowels of the ship and I was attempting to drown my sorrows in beer and wine. I think the major takeaway regarding the dresscode is that on black-tie nights, especially as the evening moves on, adhering to the dresscode is recommended and quite enjoyable.  I only usually get to dress like that very rarely so for three nights it was ideal.  I probably will never go to one of the black tie nights on cruises, just to give myself a break, and its also an excuse to enjoy the Beach House.  The evening casual nights - don't sweat them too much - a nice sundress, casual (non-jean) pants and sweater, or a neat business dress are all perfect.  You won't feel overdressed or out of place.  One interesting thing on Aurora was that Black and White night was not adhered to as strongly as I suspected it would be.  Many women were wearing pastels or bring sparkly red jumpsuits!  I did my bit though. The On Board Upsells We admired P&O's restraint when it came to the on board upsells.  The photographers were there - in the Horizon they told you where they would be and you could line up for a photo - but they were rarely, if ever, in your face attempting to force you to have your photo taken.  The way they sold photos was much better than MSC, where the photographers grabbed and shoved people to take their photo.  It was not at all intimidating, and there was no obligation to buy if you did opt to have the photos taken. The shops were lovely, had some nice things for purchase on board, but we did not purchase anything from them - not even duty free.  On board, P&O had brought on a speciality seller of Baltic goods including Amber jewellery and Russian arts and crafts.  Some of these were incredibly expensive - with a set of nesting dolls I saw purchased costing £2,250!  I did buy my amber jewellery on board, and found it to be good value versus what I found on shore in St Petersburg which may have also been fake.  Later in the cruise they had a lovely Russian market where we got a book about St Petersburg and some bits and bobs. I'll detail the other events P&O ran which we took part in below. The Wine Tasting This started at 11:30am, and I would have much preferred if it had instead started at 1:30pm.  We started with a glass of prosecco and moved on to taste five different wines.  They were all lovely, and Samir, led the talk well.  It was an informative, and very alcohol soaked experience which I would gladly do again.  Thankfully no spit buckets! Scenic Sailaway The Scenic Sailaway from Stockholm took place on the forward deck sections on each floor - we were allocated to B Deck (10th floor).  We were treated to a large variety of cocktails distributed on our deck by the lovely gents from Anderson's.  A favourite of mine was when one bar steward thanked us for making his tray lighter every time we took a drink off.  Was very enjoyable and managed to sup back about six cocktails.  Oh and be called crazy by the Captain after waving at him like a mad woman when we saw him on the bridge.  He's probably on to something! Champagne Galley Tour This event started at 10:30am, with a glass of champagne in the Medina Dining Room.  We were then taken in groups to the kitchen to meet the Executive Chef and learn how the kitchen operates.  We saw the hot and cold food sides, plus the bakery and wine storage.  It was very interesting to see, and meet the staff who work so hard to make so many tasty meals.  It is interesting to hear their experiences, especially the poor dishwasher who was not sure what to do when people started asking myriad questions about the industrial dishwasher.  After the tour we exited in the Alexandria Restaurant on Deck 6 Aft where we had more champagne and some canapes.  Overall, it was a lovely tour and I'm pleased we did it. Martini Class Finally, a great start time for an alcohol fueled day drinking session: 1:30pm!  This was held in Anderson's Bar at the counter, as we were told about four different martini's: the classic gin martini (with shaken and stirred varieties shown), the cosmopolitan, the English Breakfast martini and the French Martini.  The English Breakfast martini was my favourite, while my husband was partial to the French martini.  The English Breakfast martini is not on the menu, but you can ask for it in Anderson's and they will make it.  I would definitely do this talk again, for the cheap martini's if nothing else! The Ports Kritiansand In a word: Boring.  We left the boat early when it first docked, took a fetching photo of my husband with a stuffed moose, walked around the town centre, picked up some souvenirs and reindeer salami and went back to the ship before 11am.  We then spent the rest of the day at leisure.  I believe there was a lovely nap.   We did check the prices out for having lunch but found the cost of everything around the fish market and cruise port to be prohibitive.  So we just ate on board the ship.  There were no shuttle buses running as it was a simple walk into the centre.  Pretty, but nothing much to do. Copenhagen We had been to Copenhagen before and did the best thing in the city in our opinion: Feeding Hammerhead sharks at the aquarium.   This time we decided to focus our attention on the historical palaces and touristy areas.  So, we once again got off the ship, took the shuttle into Copenhagen and started following a map for our very own photographic walking tour.  We looked at all of the palaces, along with the parliament buildings and some other historical sites.  After we finished our walk we took a canal boat tour, which ended up being a lovely way to spend our mid afternoon.  After we got off the boat we went for lunch in Nyhavn, which was expensive but tasty and washed it down with some Tuborg.  After lunch we decided to walk back to the ship along the waterfront which was a lovely way to end our day in Copenhagen.   A few things about Copenhagen: 1. It is expensive 2. The Little Mermaid is disappointing for most, yet also manages to be the busiest site in the city.  Key word is in the name: Little. 3. Remember your sunscreen - it was quite sunny there with limited opportunities for shade and my husband caught the sun.   St Petersburg Rather than take a ships tour, we booked the two-day All Highlights tour through TJ Travel.  On Day One we started at the Hermitage, which was an impressive building for its architecture and design.  The building and the art collection are lovely.  However, it was a pity that the Impressionists had been moved out to a new building, and I will need to revisit one day to see the Hermitage's collection.  We enjoyed the museum, but were not able to visit the gift shop, which annoyed my husband as he usually buys books from large museums which contain some of the photos of their collection. After the Hermitage we went to the Church on Spilt Blood which was a lovely church, which is unfortunately undergoing restoration works.  Our guide informed us that after the summer it will be fully under restoration for up to seven years'.  We then had lunch, which was god awful, under-cooked chicken, and soup which was a chicken leg floating in broth.  I was going to be hungry today.  After lunch we drove to Catherine's Palace to see the Amber Room.  It was a lovely palace, and we got lucky in that we got in before the major crowds.  People on other tours said that they had to wait a few hours to get in because of the crowds, in particular large Asian tour groups. We then drove back to St Petersburg and saw the Peter and Paul Fortress.  It was interesting to see it, and take some lovely photos.  After this my husband and I were going on our evening tour and met our guide at another area of the city.  Our new guide was incredible, and helped us understand Russia as it is today.  We went on the Russian Experience tour which included six shots of vodka.  I now think everyone needs to try horseradish vodka once in their life.  Just try it, don't think about it, it sounds like a horrible idea!  We had a lovely time that evening, I managed to buy my father a bottle of vodka, and we got a taste of Russian stout which was quite nice. Our second day in St Petersburg was an earlier start.  We drove into the city and did a canal tour of St Petersburg.  The highlight of this, was not the glorious scenery, but a young man who managed to run from bridge to bridge waving at us for the entire journey.  We gave him 5 EUR, as my husband said he certainly earned it.  We then took the hydrofoil to Peterhof and viewed the fountain park.  As stated above we did not get to see the opening ceremonies, which I would have enjoyed the spectacle of.  We did get a nice tour of the gardens, but it would have been nice to have been consulted regarding how we went about it.  After this we then went to lunch, which was slightly better than the previous day, but was still not very nice.   After lunch we went to Yusupov Palace, which was an interesting experience given the history of the place as the site where Rasputin was assassinated, and also that of the family.  I think it was a highlight of the second day.  We were advised by our guide to not buy the photo ticket and many in the group were unhappy with this advice as they decided they did want photos of the Palace.  Our final stop was St Isaac's Cathedral, which was a lovely church but by then I was all churched out.  My husband and I went through the motions, glad that the tour was nearly over.  We were then shuttled to the TJ Travel office, where we could pay for the tour, and do the 'shopping'.  I think that TJ Travel should be more open about the fact that the only shopping offered on the tour is in the souvenir shop where their office is located.   We quite enjoyed St Petersburg, however, next time I am there I would probably use my cruise line tours.      Tallinn Our next stop was Tallinn, Estonia.  It is a lovely small city with heavily cobbled roads.  As we were walking around the city touring the historical sites, we saw the tourist train as it was going over a set of cobbles.  It was bouncing everywhere and sounded incredibly loud, the poor passengers looked like they were regretting their life choices.  I was pleased we didn't get suckered into using it.  We greatly enjoyed our walk around Tallinn, and we then found a lovely bar underground where we sampled Estonian beer.  We had a lovely, pleasant day, and returned to the ship mid-afternoon and took advantage of the Lido Grill. Stockholm We took the shuttle bus into Stockholm after disembarking with the 'speed of a thousand screaming ABBA fans' as our Captain would say.  After getting off the bus we then just wandered, somewhat aimlessly, through the streets of Old Town Stockholm, enjoying the gorgeous weather.  After our long, mindless amble, we found a lovely restaurant and ate a truly glorious meal while drinking copious amounts of Swedish beer.  Good day all around.  When we were done shopping we got the shuttle bus back to the ship. Warnemunde The final port on our Baltic Adventure was Warnemunde, a lovely German seaside resort.  While many on the boat took the train to Rostock, we decided to just spend time in Warnemunde itself.  We did some shopping - mostly beer and sausages - for my father, and wandered back with our haul to the ship.  After dropping off our mass of goodies (which contrary to his belief I DID manage to pack in our cases) we wandered back into Warnemunde.  There we found a nice bar to have a few pints of pilsner (you can see the theme with our travels?)  After our morning of drinking we went and found some lunch which consisted of sausages in buns, fries and more pilsner from a lovely boat which sold fast food.  During our meal a massive queen bee decided to make my husband her *****, and sat on his head for quite some time.  I ran away.  Thankfully, he's Australian and is much better at dealing with creepy crawlies than I am, and casually allowed her to sit on him until she grew attracted to his ear and decided running along it like a treadmill was a good idea.  There were quite a few bees in Warnemunde - just a warning for those who are bug haters like I am. After lunch we got a lovely soft icecream with chocolate dip.  Mmmm...  And found another bar nearer to the train station where we sat and had a lovely conversation with a German couple over google translate.  We had a fantastic time in Warnemunde, even though we didn't climb the old lighthouse because we're too damn lazy - plus stairs are our mortal enemies.   The Staff The staff on P&O were on the whole exceptional.  Apart from the Reception Manager and the one pairing of waiters in Medina as mentioned above.  Everyone was friendly and armed with a "Good ".  They never let you feel like a bother even when you were disrupting their work.  I would say that the staff are a great asset to P&O, and they are very lucky to have them.   Elvis Our cabin steward was incredible.  Nothing was too much effort.  I asked for ice one day and he brought it every day of the holiday.  He was quick, very efficient and always kept our room at the highest standard - even when my own standards slipped.  He gave great advice during our first days on board which allowed us to make the most of the facilities.  We got to know about him, his home and his family.  If you are on Aurora - or whatever other ship he moves to after November - and you get Elvis from Goa - you are very lucky indeed.   Captain Neil Turnbull The man of the hour, the Captain Neil Turnbull.  Unfortunately, due to a rather serious infection I was suffering from renewing our vows on board was not possible, but if we were to have done it I'm sure he would have been an interesting officiant.  I enjoyed his morning addresses - though I know some did not - and his musings on his two specialist subjects children and Derbyshire.  He always said he would get us off the ship with the speed of a thousand gazelles (or Cossack gazelles, or screaming ABBA fans...) and when we came back he was always pleased someone had not run off with a fisherman.  We met him on the first say in St Petersburg and he seemed to be a lovely affable man.  It was amusing when he complained during an announcement about people complaining about his route to Russia because he was never going to get us there and would ruin their holiday.  His simple reply was that he did not want to scrape his bottom off going any other way.  Backseat driving is bad enough, but I'm not sure I'd handle backseat ship steering from people with such good humour. Things I Would Take Again and Those I Wouldn't So, I packed way too much stuff, but live and learn.  I'll just give a quick list below of things I will and will not take again: Will: Shoe holder for over the bathroom door for toiletries Magnetic Hooks Air Freshner for the Bathroom Electronic tea lights Plug for charging multiple USB devices First Aid Kit Nail Clippers E-Reader Will Not: More than five days' clothing (with the ease of using the laundrettes) Microfibre towels Books (very heavy) Final Thoughts...and will I cruise P&O again (drum-roll...) Finally, we loved P&O.  I must admit that I was concerned we would not like it very much and would be disappointed about the money spent.  The reality is that we have a cruise booked on Aurora in November, and then a transatlantic Caribbean for October 2020 on Britannia.  So, would I cruise with P&O again?  Absolutely.  You need to have your expectations set fairly, you need to understand what you are paying for and what you are not.  Reality is £100pppd for room and full board is a bargain, especially with the high standards P&O hold themselves to.  You also cannot underestimate the value of sailing to and from Southampton (if you live in the UK), especially with free coach travel offered by P&O as part of your select fare.  I look forward to being back on board Aurora, and to enjoying many future cruises on P&O in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Very disappointing, ship tired and staff very lacklustre, not one member of staff went that extra mile, Hygiene not enforced at all surprising considering that they had noro virus a few weeks before. Entertainment team non ... Read More
Very disappointing, ship tired and staff very lacklustre, not one member of staff went that extra mile, Hygiene not enforced at all surprising considering that they had noro virus a few weeks before. Entertainment team non existent, buffet food appalling, dining room just satisfactory, poor service and no interaction, served as if we were in a fast food establishment. We had an issue with over charging so went to Customer relations to sort out, assistant started to deal with our problem then just answered the telephone whilst we were in the middle of a conversation when I pointed out that this was rude he replied that it was a medical emergency, but surely these calls should be taken in private, I don’t think it’s very professional as I heard all the details of the illness and their room number. Guest were cross between benefit street and Butlins, unfortunately P & O have lowered their prices so this has resulted in dropped standards in all areas. If you like Benidorm then this is for you, but personally I will rather spend more and go on Celebrity or Azamara. We found it quite amusing that our room steward hardly spoke to us at all for the entire cruise, but on disembarkation he was hovering around no doubt expecting a tip, which we would have gladly given if we had any form of service from him. Disembarkation an actual farce, we chose to take off our own luggage but they couldn’t even get the right deck number to exit some we’re saying deck 6 whilst our paperwork said deck 5! Wouldn’t rush to book another P & O cruise unless I was desperate for a cheap no frills get away. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We are a couple in our 50s who have done plenty of cruises before and have actually been on Azura twice before. This was a last minute cruise – 7 nights in the fjords, booked (when we unexpectantly managed to get a week off work ... Read More
We are a couple in our 50s who have done plenty of cruises before and have actually been on Azura twice before. This was a last minute cruise – 7 nights in the fjords, booked (when we unexpectantly managed to get a week off work together) about a week before we travelled. As such we ended up with a guaranteed inside cabin when we usually hand pick the balcony we want!! We were assigned midships on deck 5 quite near the atrium and the room was fine. It was clean and comfortable and well serviced by our excellent cabin steward Rajesh. I always check the reviews on these sites and I was a little bit concerned by the number of negative reviews on sites relating to the Azura. It was said that the food is terrible and cold, the staff are unhappy and unmotivated, and the ship is in a state of disrepair and smells!! Well I am happy to say that we did not find any of this to be true. We were on freedom dining and enjoyed every meal we had. The buffet was also fine. I know breakfast can be difficult when it is busy but this is down to the design and I still always managed to have a nice freshly cooked omelette in the mornings. We did not use the select dining restaurants as there was no need, and we have done them before. We were very happy with the staff. Our cabin steward Rajesh was as good as we have ever had, and we thought the service from all the staff in the bars and restaurants was exactly what you would want. I know the ship is coming up for a refit but did not find it particularly tatty in any way. Also I did not notice the smell that previous reviewers have mentioned, so hopefully that issue has been resolved. The weather was fantastic in each of the 4 ports (Stavanger, Flam, Olden and Bergen). We particularly enjoyed getting up early to enjoy the sail into Olden. We tend to go hiking independently and had a great day in Olden in 20 degrees plus sunshine. We took a picnic from the buffet / grab and go, and enjoyed a lovely lunch by the lake which is less than an hour walk from the ship. The entertainment was good overall. There were 4 headliner shows in 7 nights – two of which we had never seen before, and the usual mix of singers, bands and comedians. Embarkation was brilliant and disembarkation even better. We self-disembarked the ship before 730am and I was in my car (booked via CPS) within 10 minutes of leaving the ship. Would I go on the Azura again? Yes without a doubt. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I liked the size of the ship , not too big, embarkation was much faster (10 min queue) rather than for Britannia (2 hours queue). But the whole ship needs a total refurb , all the chairs and sofas are incredibly low, some almost ... Read More
I liked the size of the ship , not too big, embarkation was much faster (10 min queue) rather than for Britannia (2 hours queue). But the whole ship needs a total refurb , all the chairs and sofas are incredibly low, some almost impossible to get out of, in the dining rooms you felt like a child sitting at the tables and a lot of people made the same comment. Our superior balcony was quite spacious with a sofa which could become a sofa bed and tables and chairs, 2 , 24” flat screens TVs one facing the bedroom the other facing the sitting room, limited shows and movies and sometime didn’t work due to poor signal. We had a bath and dressing gowns and slippers they provide basic toiletries and there is a small fridge which you pay if you use anything in it. We got complimentary :a bottle of champagne, a bowl of fruit, a box of chocolate, 2 small sparking and one large plain bottled water. There is a kettle , tea , coffee and milk sashes which they renew every day, you also have a turned down service in the evenings, which they clear up any rubbish replace used mugs, glasses and open the bed with a small chocolate on the bed for each. There is only 2 UK sockets ( plus one for the kettle) and one American socket .I phoned up before departure to ask what kind of sockets they use & was told European & Uk. But no European in the cabin and funny enough the hairdryer ‘s plug is American ! The queue for breakfast is massive and no where to sit, so we ordered free of charge room service breakfast, which was sufficient and if you look on line it includes sliced cheese & meat but NO IT DOESN’T. Food is generally just acceptable not as good as Cunard. I has a very good shoulder, neck & back massage twice at the Oasis spa. 50 min of absolute bliss for £72 each session, the second one I had as a couple massage with my husband which we paid on the day we booked 3 days before but they charged us again on the day too and it took us a lot of explanation, back and forth to the spa and reception to get e refund. It ruined the experience. There is The Oasis swimming pool for adults only, if you look on line it says it has a currant that you swim against , but no it doesn’t and thank goodness. However it is not heated and I was only able to use it when it was a warm sunny day which was only one day during the whole 7 day cruise and on the last port day (Fri) the pool was closed and empty of water. Very disappointing there are 2 jacuzzis on either side of the pool but they didn’t work one day as they were doing maintenance why they couldn’t do that during the night god knows ! There is a sauna and steam room as well which have good temperatures. Evening entertainment is very basic and mainly comedy , Madonna tribute was in a bar with limited stage background and she was out of tune.the last evening they showed “Astonishing” which we saw on the Britannia last year, we thought they would change it , but unfortunately it was exactly the same magic show with exactly the same tricks, very disappointing. On the 5th night the Captain announced that the is sea a bit rough on the Bay of Bisque and he was going to detour to avoid it, but it could still be a bumpy ride so hold on to the handle bars and be careful. A Bumpy Ride?!! The whole ship was rocking from side to side then from the front the back making awful sounds as if it was falling apart it started at 10 pm and became worse from mid night to 4pm the next day. But still very very unstable even after that with huge 10 metre high waves hitting the side of the ship. It was a very uneasy experience and we felt very unsafe. Another night we were woken up by the Captain at 5.30 am to say there was a very unwell passenger who had to be helicoptered to a hospital in France , he asked us to stay in our cabins and not even go on our balconies, but we saw it from our patio door coming towards the ship & leaving , later on we found out there is no helicopter pad on the ship so the patient had to be lifted up to the helicopter by a cable ! Scary . Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was a last minute decision - booked only a week before departure. We have sailed from Southampton before and this time used CPS to park the car - a very smooth experience when you get to Southampton. No time to look around ... Read More
This was a last minute decision - booked only a week before departure. We have sailed from Southampton before and this time used CPS to park the car - a very smooth experience when you get to Southampton. No time to look around Southampton upon arrival, straight into the embarkation process, which - in our experience - is always very efficient and enjoyable. You feel as though your holiday has already started before even getting on board. I knew where our cabin was and so we went straight there and it was a pretty decent cabin with a fair balcony - all very adequate for our purposes. The only issue for us was the height of the shower head - we are both tall and so kept banging into it and as it was bolted to the cubicle there was nothing we could do about it. As we were a late booking we had no choice about whether we had first or second sittings for dinner and so we were second - 8.45 on embarkation day and 8.30 thereafter. Frankly too late for us (first sitting was 6.30 I think) and so we dined in the buffet on Deck 15. That was great, lovely food and where we had breakfast and lunch thereafter. We also dined there on our last night so that we had time to get packed afterwards. We looked at the drinks pack and decided that £40 per person per night was ridiculous so we took a litre of gin aboard - you are allowed by P & O but only one 1 litre bottle each and anything you buy after Southampton has to be stored until you leave the ship. They also charge £20 corkage if you bring a litre of wine on board and want to drink it with your dinner! We then had a single glass of wine for dinner for £4.15 each and that was that. We've had drinks packs with other cruise lines and they are fine - and you make use of them! But this was perfectly adequate and we didn't think we'd missed out. We only watched one show - which was very good but after eating at 8.20 and not finishing until after 10, we didn't feel inclined to watch a show if we were off the ship the next day. We used the gym only a couple of times but there isn't much head room on a cross trainer if your 6' 4" tall! We also went on a talk about 'losing weight by eating more' This was run by a chap called Christian De Beer and a very nice chap he was to. This was really an opportunity to see you Elemis detoxing stuff. I agreed that 'we' would go for a test and a talk. Should be £50 each but doing two for £50. My other half decided that she didn't want to do it after all so Christian charged me 'only' £43 ! Interesting - I am suffering from acidosis it seems and need a 21 day detox (Cost about £150) and then 3 months worth of stuff costing, I think, about £80 a month so call it £400 all in. Ever felt you've been had? I have since read that this has been going on on cruises for at least 10 years ands it is worth googling Elemis 21 Day detox for a bit of opinion - it works for some but not for al by any means! I think my other half had the right idea! But I still need to look at my diet and maybe some sort off detox would also make sense - more Googling and eBay required!! Great cabin service - our chap was Sunny and very attentive he was to - great feller. I did a trip to the Omaha beech and St Mere Eglise on Day 1 when we went to Cherbourg but my partner didn't go as she didn't think it would interest her and so, for £60 would have been a waste of money. She had a look around the marina at Cherbourg. We didn't do ships excursions for either La Corunya or Santander but had a good walk around both. Our last destination was Guernsey and we did the excursion to Sark - which was brilliant and reasonable value at £50 each. Mind you the carriage (horse and trap!) trips cost £15 apiece and I saw a cheeseburger for £8! Large coffees cost £3 so not bad. Disembarkation went well. We stayed on Deck 15 until about 30 minutes before our exit time of 9.45 and discovered that everyone had moved out of the meeting place a few minutes before. Thereafter getting off the ship was extremely quick and easy and we found our baggage and then the car! Great !! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I'm on the same "eventful" cruise Mr. Unknown had been (previous review). Key points to address: 1. Nearly no cruise ship has a helicopter pad - airlifting is standard procedure, as is evacuating rooms / restricting ... Read More
I'm on the same "eventful" cruise Mr. Unknown had been (previous review). Key points to address: 1. Nearly no cruise ship has a helicopter pad - airlifting is standard procedure, as is evacuating rooms / restricting balcony access. This was all done in strict accordance with safety procedures, and I have to say the crew did this well despite inconvenience this might cause. 2. We did have quite strong rolling due to strong winds and sea conditions. The captain altered course to avoid the worst of the weather, but he can't control the weather. An unsteady ship in strong weather conditions, along with all the creaking and banging waves are inherent risk of sea travel. I felt as safe as can be given the circumstances (which wasn't at all outside of crew's ability). Some might have argued that the ship should just not sail instead, but if that happened, I guarantee you there would be complaints that we skipped destinations / was stuck somewhere. As regards to some other reviews: It's not a luxury cruise with servants, but has all the amenities for a pleasant journey. If you feel like you can't stand the poor or indeed the wider society, do spend more on a smaller boat or purchase your own yacht. There's no complaints from me for the fellow passengers - you can be perfectly left in peace. Out of thousands of guests onboard, hardly anyone has left me a outrageously poor impression. There definitely are a good number of passengers who just love a moan (indeed, it is the British national sport). Heard about a man who had to leave his cabin when the helicopter came in as standard procedure, and he thought he's entitled to a personal apology from the captain! Service on-board was adequate. My restaurant waiter had engaged in great conversation and was quite friendly (1/2). I don't expect them all to do so (although quite a number do), as other passengers might not understand they work 11 hour shifts a day often every day, serving multiple tables waiting for their food. It's unreasonable to expect them to be available at your leisure. Overall the restaurant is what I expect of a good restaurant, and the food was great. Cabin service had also been good, with our steward making up our cabin multiple times a day. Zero complaints about cleanliness. No he did not loiter around waiting for tips at the end of the trip. And no, I don't expect him to be my private butler. Embarkation and disembarkation were both decently good. Not a huge time to wait. Disembarkation was actually ahead of schedule. It was held within different venues (which are often on deck 6), and then we were lead to deck 5 (I think) to disembark. The instructions were not misleading as I recall. As to entertainment and enrichment activities - I'm speaking as a 20 something having lived in other countries. When I see the programs I can see how they are tailored to the demographics they had on board - old and very British. The music acts were all trying to pay homage to artists that once were a big thing, the comedy bringing up British TV celebrities that have been in the business for decades and now largely irrelevant (for me). I don't blame P&O for giving customers what they want, but of course, would hope for some more. Gym is decent. You could do most things. Would benefit from at least a pull-up bar for back. Weights can be limiting when it goes up only to 22kg, but then again with no foam flooring, so no dropping of weights, it might be the wise choice. Enjoyed the free fitness classes this time (last cruise Sep 2018, the PTs weren't very good). Plenty of public rooms / spaces you could hang out at. I had an inside cabin, and planned to be out of the room except when sleeping. That plan came to fruition as much was on offer. Sauna, steam room, gym, dining, etc. If weather was warmer, the swimming and lounging would have been great. I went to the sauna almost every day before bed, and nearly never anyone there. My own real complaint - it might not be apparent to the passengers on board but there were a lot of aggressive sales tactics for the spa / retail sections. If you go for a haircut, be warned they'll also try to sell you shampoo, conditioner, and whatever else. They do so aggressively by saying "I'll put this in your bag" by default, instead of asking if you would like to purchase. The spa / wellness is also exempt from the new no tip required policy - a 10% service charge is added by default, and they will not tell you this is optional or ask how much you would like to give. Further, they've got a number of seminar type events where they'd spew out even more fake science, the type I'd think the elderly would easily believe by the young immediately see through. Lastly, not entirely sure if this true, but the biggest sales events are always held on sea days when you probably have no internet and do a price check. Quite predatory in my opinion. The ship is starting to show its age - a refurb might be needed. You can see some of the handrails losing paint from so many guests hands having brushed them. The rust on balconies and window panes. The drab carpets. But overall, this had been a wonderful trip despite the events that were unavoidable and inconvenient. I feel relaxed and refreshed. The food had been great. The views had been great. The lifestyle on board had been great. Service had been great. Though, yes, it's not the private butler lifestyle some other passengers might feel they are entitled to at merely less than £90 a day (inside cabin). For me it's well worth the money. Highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Positives... arriving at Southampton it was easy to embark as we had already checked in online no waiting straight on board. Our cabin steward introduced herself (Rona) when we were able to get into our cabin, she was excellent very ... Read More
Positives... arriving at Southampton it was easy to embark as we had already checked in online no waiting straight on board. Our cabin steward introduced herself (Rona) when we were able to get into our cabin, she was excellent very friendly & helpful. The cabin was clean and fairly spacious with plenty of room for our clothes. We had booked freedom dining and found it easy to get a table each night, the food was of a reasonable standard the staff were quite efficient and friendly. Negatives.... The cabin needs to have better lighting, individual bedside lights its difficult to read if other person sleeping. The bedding although clean looked as if it needed replacing. The bathroom needs a magnifying mirror suitable for putting on make-up & shaving. There was a lack of amenities in bathroom no cotton wool or cotton buds. No bath robes were provided. The buffet in the Horizon was very hit and miss, lunchtimes food seemed the same every day. We found the entertainment very basic only one or two decent acts we gave up going in the end. However we did enjoy the after dinner speaker ( David Gower) in the limelight club although there was an extra payment of £28 p.p. Service in some bar areas was very slow. Could have done with more interesting daytime activities there only seemed to be bingo or quizzes.We enjoyed the Art talks, Needs more demonstrations and class activities. and interesting speakers. There should not have been charges for wine & gin tasting events . The ports we visited were fine we did not take any organised trips as prefer to explore on our own.We thought an extra events port could have been put into the itinerary maybe on Corsica or Sardinia . There were an awful lot of sea days! The cows nest seemed to be full of older people almost like a rest home! The pool area was always crowded on the hot sunny days again bar service around the pool was quite slow, also charging for ice cream we did not think appropriate. Did not use spa or gym Disembarking at Southampton was a complete mess with long queues and people having to wait until noon before they could leave, we carried our own cases and managed to get off at 9.45. Over all the ship looked tired and in need of refurbishment. We have cruised on other lines but P &O does not come up to expectations Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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