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96 P&O Cruises Europe Cruise Reviews

My experience on P and O cruises was a first however it sure will be my last. The buffet food is the same each night and is of a low standard. The entertainment onboard was next to none and they had an awful comedian who was on twice a ... Read More
My experience on P and O cruises was a first however it sure will be my last. The buffet food is the same each night and is of a low standard. The entertainment onboard was next to none and they had an awful comedian who was on twice a night and on, on more than one night. The drinks package is completely pointless unless you become friendly with the bar staff or walk from bar to bar as theres a 15 minute wait time on the drink and they serve the drinks in the smallest glasses possible it may as well be served neat. The customer service is appalling there is no Ps or Qs upon that ship and all the staff look unhappy except clifford in the Havana bar and he was the only one with any manor or able to crack a joke with you. Security dont know what day of the week it is let alone helping you out. Someone also made a noise complaint about me and my mate next thing there was two guys at 4am in the morning outside our cabin who came in arguing with us in relations to this and was very unprofessional. To top the entire experience of i was charged over £1300 when i got of the ship and had to get the bank to cancel payments as I was charged twice as well as that I was considerably over charged for the mini bar in the room. The toliet blocked over four times on the cruise and the last night we was informed it would be sorted but it never was.Overall would recommed celebrity, NCL or royal Caribbean. You get what you pay for on P&O and no more, if not less. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Hammering, Drilling and Maintenance We were on our third cruise with P and O. We were so looking forward to this which was my birthday present cruise in December. We thought our cabin had seen better days but had the very professional ... Read More
Hammering, Drilling and Maintenance We were on our third cruise with P and O. We were so looking forward to this which was my birthday present cruise in December. We thought our cabin had seen better days but had the very professional Hilda as our steward and she took care of usvand was always smiling. Most of the staff were wonderful and so happy. On boarding we decided to loaf around in the pool area and had to leave pretty quick as the pool was empty and being painted. I have asthma and paint doesn't serve me well. The paint stench last a few days. The Meridien restaurant was superb and the staff were magical professionals. MAINTENANCE... For a few nights we heard something like a ball continually bouncing above our cabin....then scraping and banging. It kept us awake for hours and we eventually informed reception who said we should call when it's happening (snotty attitude). Must say that Katarina at reception was superb and suggested a wonderful walking tour of Lisbon which included history and shopping at smaller stores. Our walking talking tour was the highlight of our cruise and we thank Katarina. MAINTENANCE... Bang, bang at night again. We called reception and someone was sent to check it out (above cabin A 098) We were told that it was kitchen staff washing dishes and prepping food which we thought was a lie as the ships map didn't show a kitchen above us. The banging eventually stopped and we couldn't sleep as we were too wound up. We are happy go lucky and easy going but this was too much. Next day I heard banging and scraping whilst in the buffet and there was a white sheet covering an area which hid a worker banging and scraping. I have a video recorded ready for YouTube. It seems the floor area and the mural above were more important than us passengers. Everyone was upset. I was as this was my 68th birthday and I was but days out of hospital and in need of peace. The first part of the cruise we were often, snottily, told that we couldn't sit in a certain area as it was for officers only. That's fair enough but a whole side which was never full??? One night there was a lot of banging in the balcony area of our cabin and a polite maintenance guy came and fixed it in the morning. We were given $200 extra onboard spend and a beautiful bouquet of flowers as an apology but what price an unhappy holiday? Is there anything that can be done to stop the stench of cigarettes wafting into the buffet? Or the awful people that smoke in the public toilets???? We thought the entertainment wasn't up to much and the sound testing could have been more professional - continual 1 2 ing is not necessary these days. The four piece in the Rising Sun looked terribly miserable. The food and service was very good in the Belvedere although the continual upselling at the tables was too much. The Meridien food, service and ambience was high quality. I hate giving bad reviews but be careful folks. I've been in the Hotel, Club and Entertainment business for most of my life and, ironically, not fussy but this was way too annoying for us. I feel cheated DS Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Give Ventura another try as this was only cruise from Southampton for Oct school holidays. This time not impressed with Ventura. Check in was quite slow Once on board we went to buffet, very poor selection available. Went to ... Read More
Give Ventura another try as this was only cruise from Southampton for Oct school holidays. This time not impressed with Ventura. Check in was quite slow Once on board we went to buffet, very poor selection available. Went to cabin which appeared to be ok visited buffet a few times, first occasion there was no cutlery available, once i can let go, twice and someone needs to say something, but this happened either no cutlery or no plates or no cups for tea and coffee 10 times which is inexcusable and shows standards are slipping. The Buffet itself is very poor, very little choice, poor layout, people going through exits and going wrong way causing problems. no-one to police this when entering buffet, first items you come across are the rolls and butter cut up into little blocks - put these little blocks onto your plate and in 30 seconds you have a big pool of melted butter on you plate. (will not put butter on tray as it could be dirty) Entertainment quite poor- we had 2 comedians. One was called Tucker, who came on with a song then spent the next 10 minutes talking to the late arrivals (in a 45 minute shoe this is not good) the second was Jack Ryan telling old jokes and basically dying on his feet. The Flyrights and Serious sounds were brilliant. Thank god for the Theatre showing some films. Quite a few quizzes and the Bingo - The Bingo is a major rip off, very high ticket prices £15 for a 6 strip book of 5 games £12 for a 3 strip book of 5 games Many people were paying the 6 strip approx 60-70 but the prizes only totalled £250 for all games (serious profit taking) Hardly saw anyone in the shops. On this cruise we has a man overboard and a few hours later we has to return to port for a medical evacuation. We missed a port of call to Cherborg due to high winds instead staying in the sea near devon seriously swaying all over the place for about 15 hours. Disembarking was a joke but not a bad a trying to get out of CPS car park (took over an hour) Clearly staff numbers have been cut which caused some of the problems will not be going on Ventura Again as not a lot to do. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was a last minute cruise booking because we had to cancel our earlier booking on Azura due to having to care for my mum. We have been cruising now for 4 years, my wife loves it. This is the third cruise with P 0 Cruises and second ... Read More
This was a last minute cruise booking because we had to cancel our earlier booking on Azura due to having to care for my mum. We have been cruising now for 4 years, my wife loves it. This is the third cruise with P 0 Cruises and second on Ventura. I have to say despite this bad review the staff and crew were always courteous and polite - could not fault that. Our issue started when we arrived at the docks - P O decided without forewarning any of its customers that no porters were available and you had to find trolleys and move the cases a couple of hundred yards and queue to drop off your cases. There were two places we finally got in the queue near the front, when we told them our cabin they told us we were in the wrong queue and ended up at the back of the midships queue no board or information stating which queue to be in. Our view, several customers who were older age struggled to load and push the trolleys, this was not the only time and many people were affected. Not a good experience when you have just driven for 4 hours to have to lug two trolleys as my wife couldn’t manage it. We get up to terminal and are given a card with a letter to wait (not like Royal Caribbean we got straight on board and far more efficient) we waited for over 2 hours, finally got on board. My wife wanted to go to Barcelona, the sail date was 6 October later than usual but that was my wife’s interest to see the famous church Sagrada Familia as we missed it last time. To be honest we did not look too much at the rest of the itinerary until we were on board but noticed that PO cruises had cut out a stop - instead of 7 ports we only had 6 - this was later confirmed on their 2020 bookings where cost cutting reducing a port seemed to be prevalent across even 19 day sailings. On our last cruise with Royal Caribbean we got a drinks package, we are not big drinkers but enjoy the occasional spirit or wine so we enquired about the drinks package we were shocked at the exorbitant prices £39.95 per day and my wife would have to have one too as we could not share it. So just under £80 per day for 14 days - you do the maths and is you do not use it up each day you loose the balance. So going offshore for the day could cost you £79.90 if you do not have a drink on board. Absolutely ridiculous and a ludicrous package. Next in the cabin we see cards about the footprint for the environment - yet PO decided to cancel the cabin tv log of your onboard spend and had to request a print out instead to see a statement - so much for being environmentally concerned. Over the course of the 14 days we became bored with the old fashioned, staid entertainment and activities and all the health and well-being talks ended up with a sell on expensive so called remedies. We got caught with this on our first cruise not again. The headliners singers were awful screechy female lead and the male lead was just as bad. The only decent act was comedian John Evans. There was nothing innovative nothing new - same old boring stuff. It is disappointing that no real effort had been made to change anything. How many people buy paintings on board none from any of the passengers we spoke to - why not put that enormous space to better use. Disembarkation - the biggest gripe by many, we wanted to get off early due to our long drive home, so we asked for 8-8.30, we were given 8-30.8.45 am. We arrived early around 7.30 as we had to vacate the cabin before 8 am. If we wanted to go earlier we had to carry all our cases down ourselves and we were booked with CPS which was some considerable distance from our car. We sat down on the Starboard side with many other early passengers. At around 8 am the so called manger responsible for our disembarkation arrived and started herding passengers to the port side, unbeknown to all the early birds, disembarkation was to be in sections port side first so all those who arrived after 8:30 am got off first. Not only that young and older passengers with prawns and wheelchairs had were given no consideration at all. It is not rocket science to organise the disembarkation more efficiently and give some credit to this passengers who ensured they were there on times during people with prams and disabled go off first. Get you act together PO. We planned to book the Greek islands next year with PO as that was the one we cancelled but PO are not running it next year in September and the one one in October only has 7 stops in the 19 day cruise. Overall there were many other niggles PO had cut over 500 crew on the cruise, and many times we had to wait for stragglers arriving back late after a day in port, there is no excuse for this yet PO do nothing to penalise these people. Overall we enjoyed the break but this cruise was lacklustre from all sides and we were very disappointed in this old fashioned boring cruise. We have decided to try other cruise lines who have been recommended as we were not the only ones who felt the same as us and we are pretty laid back but this time we had had enough. If you want to chill out and not drink, not participate in any of the activities then this is the cruise for you otherwise go elsewhere - we will not go again with PO until they improve. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
For this review, I have compiled the facts and written them in an easy, logical way to read, however, as will become clear, the information from the Captain was given after the acute crisis event, during a Q & A session, with a ... Read More
For this review, I have compiled the facts and written them in an easy, logical way to read, however, as will become clear, the information from the Captain was given after the acute crisis event, during a Q & A session, with a proportion of the affected passengers. This is a factual description of our experiences. Facts: 1. The Captain had warned P&O 3 years ago not to include Monaco in any itinerary during the annual 4 day Monaco mega yacht show (which this year was 25 -28 September 2019). This is because all hotels in and around the area are completely booked, areas are closed, the Monte Carlo pier and tendering is not available, taxis are not available, buses are limited, it is packed and you have to pre pay 280 Euros to walk in the harbour promenade; 2. The Captain informed us that 2 weeks before our sailing, they tried to change the port to Villefranche, but 2 other ships were already there; 3. The Monte Carlo tender port is notoriously choppy and unpredictable and a quick scan of the forums shows how frequently the tender port is cancelled or has to be suspended; 4. Google states that in 2003 a modern cruise ship pier was opened to prevent the need for tendering in the known unpredictable swells. So why do some cruise companies still not pay to use it and instead choose to tender? 5. Upon questioning by the passengers the Captain revealed there is a written P&O protocol and procedure for exactly what to do when tendering has to be suspended and passengers are stranded – the 1st thing is to acquire hotel accommodation. This was never going to be available during the yacht show. A simple, common sense, uncomplicated risk assessment by a layperson would reveal that no ships should ever tender during the yacht show and the P&O protocol could never be accomplished; 6. Monaco offered P&O a tender area adjacent to Monte Carlo called Fontvieille and P&O / Carnival took the risk, that despite there never being hotel availability and P&O not being able to fulfil step 1 of their emergency protocol, that they would tender there; 7. The Captain’s weather forecast was for “good boating” that day. We got on the tender at around 9.10am. We have always loved tender ports and are excellent sailors. We noticed how many passengers could never have fulfilled the compulsory “step” test and were being lifted into the tenders. There were many wheelchairs and scooters. Our tender was choppy and many passengers were bumping their heads and being thrown around in their seats. Other passengers said how later this became progressively worse and the tender operation was extremely slow and interrupted; 8. When we joined the enormous, return tender queue at 14.15, passengers told us that the tender operation was suspended and apparently had been for some time, hence the vast queue. We considered going back into town, but it is a long, hilly walk into Monaco Ville from Fontvieille and I could not physically repeat it. We opted to wait…..and wait……and wait. The queue must have had 400-500 passengers by 15.00hrs and then the excursion coaches arrived at around 17.00. I overheard the Intercontinental excursion man, upon meeting the guests, informing them not to join the queue and to go to the nearest shopping centre to use the toilets, get refreshments and rest. The queue had not been told to do this. Information was extremely minimal i.e. it was passed down the line that they were still trying to resume tendering. Meanwhile, the water canisters ran dry and there were no toilet facilities that were open and we all remained standing in the Monaco sun. In the Q&A meeting the hotel manager claimed, as per protocol, that there was plentiful water at the tenders. She had clearly not been informed that this had long ran out. And anyway, the exceedingly patient, compliant queue did not move from their spots to walk the 100-200 meters to where the water containers would have been. At one stage, as the queue was right in the sun, the excursions department manager and a colleague carried what was left of the water along the queue until it was empty. After the risk of heat stroke and dehydration, the sun went behind the buildings and the wind whipped up. It quickly became very cold and of course we were all in strappy T shirts and shorts; 9. At 18.00hrs, all the staff in the queue were gathered together and debriefed. At 18.10, these various staff members went along the enormous queue. We realised something was up, because suddenly the previously unmoving queue all moved to the right and into 2 tiny restaurants / pizzeria and a bar. Eventually we were told we could spend up to 20 Euros per person for food / drinks, which would be refunded. By the time we got this information, the small eateries were full. The 18.10hrs message also stated that there would be a further announcement at 18.30. There was no way we could get food anywhere within that time, so we stuck with the queue as did some others. There never was a further announcement, but staff did go along the line at approximately 19.30 hrs asking if anyone had any priority needs, e.g. medications. I have a brain tumour, which I volunteered and was invited to go to the front of the queue. As I look relatively young, fit and well, I knew (as indeed happened) I would get dagger stares for moving to the front and so I declined, but the staff member escorted me; 10. At the front the brilliantly assertive senior nurse, who happened to be on shore leave, was organising the immediate priority group 1 and the 2nd priority group, where I was put. We waited and waited and we then boarded 1 of these 2 tenders. It was extremely rough. Again, many passengers who could barely walk and certainly not unaided, were being lifted into the tender. There is no way that they would have been able to fulfil the “step” test. 70 passengers were in our tender, but then the exits of the tenders were completely blocked by numerous wheelchairs, scooters and buggies. The 2 tender crew had to keep climbing over them. The voyage to the ship began at approximately 20.30hrs in the pitch black of night. We have never experienced such a rough tender ride. Passengers were having panic attacks, some screaming, crying and virtually all were vomiting. We have never seen so much vomit and we are hospital / medical professionals. Our tender was unable to get up alongside the ship, as tender priority 1 had to abandon unloading half way through, as it was far too dangerous. Passengers on the ship watched in horror and disbelief at the extreme rolling and pitching of the tenders. After approximately 45 minutes of these awful conditions we got back to the quayside, but we could not go alongside, as there were 3 empty tenders parked alongside. We, as passengers, had to tell the crew to move the empty tenders, so we could dock and be unloaded. It appeared that the entire tender crews and officers on the jetty had no control and were floundering. Eventually we unloaded and stood right on the jetty water’s edge, in the pitch black, back at the front of the enormous queue. We stood there for some time and then the safety officer in a quiet, sheepish voice, barely heard by most said “the police and authorities have taken over”. We were all led for a 15 – 20 minute walk to a sports centre, attached to the football stadium; 11. This whole time we had no information and no clue what was going on. It was now approximately 22.15 hrs and we had queued for 8 hours without seats, toilets, food, water, or shelter. We were all exhausted; 12. Most passengers were led into the basketball arena with had massive, steep, concrete steps to climb, without rails, to the plastic arena chairs. 1 elderly lady face planted down these steep steps and was taken away to hospital. We found 2 chairs in the hall. Some wonderful, off duty, non-officer staff were sharing the foods they had purchased for their personal use; 13. Eventually, the tender crews managed to collect some boxes of biscuits, dry crackers, nuts, tortilla chips, bottles of water, towels and blankets – anything that could be thrown from the ship into the tender. We later found out this food supplies mission had to be abandoned at 23.30hrs as a crew member fell from the tender pontoon, into the sea, between the ship and the tender, sustaining multiple head bangs. Clearly, any food transit had to be abandoned. Thankfully, we can now tell you, that the crew member survived, but the Captain told us that as it was a near fatality, the entire ship’s crew were naturally very shaken; 14. At the point when the snacks, towels / blankets arrived the calm, pleasant, courteous P&O passenger characteristics changed into 2 groups……- the considerate, selfless, carers group and the self-centered, just look after yourself group. Whereas I took 1 biscuit, others were seen hoarding entire, large, wholesale packets; 15. The senior nurse demonstrated strong leadership skills, effectively prioritising those with life threatening needs. There was still no information; 16. At approximately 22.45hrs, a policeman, of which there were loads, asked us if we needed a bed? Of course, we did need one, but we thought others showed greater need, so we declined; 17. At around 23.45hrs, a sudden surge of police and Red Cross staff arrived. A policeman came to us and instructed us “follow me, bed”. We were led into the basketball stadium, down the extremely steep stairs and into a further hall that had been set up with 100s of stretchers as makeshift “beds”. The majority were barely off the floor, narrow and metal and were of the type seen on TV news during earthquake / person evacuation / disaster zones. It was at this point we realised we were there for the night. There was still no P&O information. It was a complete disgrace and a total failure of communication; 18. The influx of police and Red Cross volunteers formed a human chain, passing more stretchers into the hall, which they then assembled. We were given a “couverture de survie” – a life saving foil cover. In a way we were lucky to get 1 of these orange evacuation metal stretchers, as we found out from passengers the next day, that they had to rest on the cold floor, on tables, or on broken up boxes, or sit all night in the arena plastic bucket seats, which must have been even more truly awful. However, these passengers told us that they had seen many passengers hoarding 5 towels as pillows or multiple blankets. 1 passenger at 3am saw an empty blue camp bed with a neatly folded blanket on it. As she took the blanket, the nearby man shot up and shouted at her to leave it, as it was “taken”. A few hours later she returned and saw the same empty camp bed and neatly folded blanket. In our hall there were many Red Cross workers who gave out the tin foil covers, some table cloth type covers and some duvet type sleeping bags, which we used to soften the hard, metal of the evacuation stretchers. The Red Cross went around the hall all night, checking on people and covering them with the tin foil, however all passengers will relay how exquisitely irritating the noise of this foil was – it became a torture noise in our sleep deprived state. Some passengers managed to sleep, but the extreme snoring, was for most, a further noise torture. For me, the worst torture was the bright overhead fluorescent lights that were left on, so any rest was futile and broken by foil / snoring / fluorescent light and the hardness / narrowness of the stretchers; 19. At no time were any hot drinks available from the Red Cross, which was a surprise to us, as hot drinks are commonly used in any emergency first aid crisis. However, there was now plentiful water obtained from the ship and at 3am we found some other snacks in the main basketball arena. During this time we spoke to a shore side food and beverage man that happened to be visiting the ship. We asked him if there was any information and were told that we were going to be got up at 5am, to leave by bus at 6am, to go to the Monaco train station to get a train to Villefranche, to join the ship. This information had not been communicated to anyone outside the basketball arena, so at 5am we asked the officer in charge – the customer service manager to announce it to our hall and other areas where passengers were. My husband also asked him if the ship was actually in Villefranche, as it would be ridiculous for us to leave shelter with toilets, snacks and water to be left stranded in the outside, without any facilities. He replied “that’s the plan from above”. My husband suggested to him that he should confirm with the ship that they were in a position to sail to Villefranche, before any of us left the sports centre. He remained silent and did not move, so my husband went upstairs to the basketball arena and found the food and beverage man from before and explained that there were whole areas that had not been made aware of the plan and announcements needed to be made. The ship’s food and beverage manager officer then came to our area, but no one could hear him, but, as before, passengers followed other passengers’ lead. We tried to stay, but were told to leave. We now know, that at this stage, as we predicted, it was still not possible for the tenders stranded at the quayside to be loaded back onto the ship. A ship is legally not allowed to move without the tenders in place and yet the passengers still had to be moved from the shelter of the sports centre; 20. We were put in queue groups for public buses, which did not have many seats and were taken by police escort to the train station. We personally got the 7am train which arrived at Villefranche at 7.15 (there were 3 trains 6.30, 7 and 7.30). A further 15 minute walk took us to the newly reassembled, enormous queue, which we personally arrived at, at 7.30. We saw the ship sailing towards us in the distance, but by the time it arrived, anchored and dispatched the tenders, we had had to stand for another 2 hours, without seats or toilets, in a totally sleep deprived state, before getting on a tender; 21. At 7.07, whilst on the train to Villefranche, some passengers received a text from P&O, but most phone batteries were now dead. The text read “Good morning. We have now started the bus operation from the stadium to get you back to Azura. If you are not at the stadium, please make your way to Villefranche cruise terminal without delay”. A further text arrived at 7.45 “Good morning and thank you for your patience. Azura will shortly be at anchor and we plan to start the tender embarkation as soon as possible. Thank you once again”. When this arrived all 1000+ passengers were standing in the queue. It was noted by passengers how P&O had failed to send any texts of information until this point; 22. Whilst we were in this final 2 hour queue, we came across the Events Manager and I sarcastically asked him how this event had gone. Unforgivably, he replied “very well”!!! 23. We arrived back at the ship at 10.00hrs and were told to go to a particular restaurant for breakfast. We went via our cabin to wash our hands and found a letter of apology from the Captain, which included a statement “we will be refunding you a full day of your cruise (on a pro rata basis). Also, a gesture of £50 per person will be automatically placed in your onboard account today, for you to enjoy”. The letter stated that there would be a 16.00 hrs Q&A session and that we would be contacted to confirm the venue. Notification of the venue came in a letter around 14.00hrs, when most of the affected passengers were asleep and therefore did not know! 24. We attended the 16-17.00hrs meeting and the general, overwhelming themes were: a) complete failure of communication, b) failure of senior staff to manage, control, or lead the situation, c) the 1 day offer was insulting, as we were already on day 2 of impact and for the majority, it would take additional days to physically recover and a lot longer emotionally and d) the £50 “gesture” is empty if it is on board credit, as the money goes straight back to the company. Already flown in from shore side and present at the Q&A session, were a representative from guest experience and a representative from guest relations. It is interesting that despite the passengers having been given no information that P&O managed to coordinate 2 shore side staff members to be flown in to meet the ship. There was positive recognition and thanks of some P&O staff who were fantastic, particularly the non officer junior staff, who showed the greatest empathy and kindness, when they were also stranded in their off time. Summary P&O blame this event on a force majeure, however as outlined, we strongly feel this was a completely avoidable crisis. We should never have tendered during the yacht show as a risk assessment would clearly have demonstrated that there would never have been an ability to execute their emergency protocol (for hotel accommodation) in the event of tender difficulties, in an area of proven track record for unpredictable sea conditions and aborted / delayed tender operations. This was a foolhardy gamble that went wrong and could easily have resulted in crew and passenger fatalities or serious injuries. In this regard P&O were extremely lucky. Goodwill Gesture / Refund and Financial Remuneration: 1. The promised refund of maximum 20 Euros per person was applied as on board credit at an exchange rate of 1.25, giving £16 non-refundable OBC, therefore the money went straight back into the pockets of P&O. The Bank of England rate on the day was 1.12 = £17.86. Monaco is one of the most expensive places to eat and drink, so 20 Euros would not adequately cover a meal; 2. The one day refund was never increased, despite the shore side guest experience representative saying that they would reconsider it, so we personally got £117 per person simply for the loss of 1 day on the ship. There was never any recognition for the extreme suffering, physical and emotional distress, sleep deprivation, stress and disappointment and for us, the ruination of the entire 2nd week of the cruise and therefore half of the holiday; 3. A letter was received in the cabin to claim on insurance for the loss of the port in Corsica. As an additional point of note, this incident happened after the major news event of day 5, when the ship rescued 17 migrants floating on a dinghy. This 10 hour rescue meant that we could not reach Barcelona as planned; 4. A few days after the incident a bottle of Prosecco was brought to the cabin; 5. On arrival home an unimpressive, small hamper was delivered with a message “A warm welcome home for all to enjoy. From P&O cruises”. Lessons learnt for tender ports: 1. Before the cruise, research on forums the specific tender ports to establish if they have a history or strong likelihood of being aborted, delayed or cancelled; 2. Do your own risk assessment and assess the sea conditions before and on the tender out and immediately return if it feels unusually choppy; 3. Take emergency provisions for that and the next day – food, water, warm clothing, sun protection, inflatable pillow and mattress, spare phone batteries and chargers and most importantly any medications for that and the next day. Consider the need to carry all this in a carry-on luggage wheelie suitcase; 4. Captains’ weather forecasts can be seriously flawed – supposedly calm, good conditions can adversely and extremely change. Are you prepared to take the risk? 5. Beware that P&O itineraries still have tender ports at Monte Carlo during yacht shows in future years. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chose this cruise for convenience of date to fit in with our Golden Wedding anniversary celebrations, As such we booked the Strathaird Suite C751 Boarding and welcome buffet absolutely first class plus. Our suitcase was waiting at ... Read More
Chose this cruise for convenience of date to fit in with our Golden Wedding anniversary celebrations, As such we booked the Strathaird Suite C751 Boarding and welcome buffet absolutely first class plus. Our suitcase was waiting at the cabin door as expected. We entered the suite, first impression , dull drab and old looking furnishings looking very tired!! Gosh what have we done? Nearly £5K spent already just to get this far!! In due course the Butler arrived to explain what he could do for us but really was a passed master at explaining what he did not do.Frankly no need for this individual at all not even for the delivery of the stale canapes each evening The wash hand basin in the unheated bathroom was cracked, the sofa bed in the lounge area was so flat and uncomfortable the bottom on one side was falling away. Servicing by the cabin stewardess left a lot to be desired One excellent Perk of the suite is the invitation to breakfast every day in the White Room at the Epicurian fabulous service. Our special dinner there was exceptional. All in all a very disappointing cruise, the ship only actually sailed in and through the fjords at night and was either in port or at sea during the day Definitely NOT value for the money on this occasion Our dining experience in the Bay Tree restaurant was the food dull and uninspiring with 50% of the menu repeated every night Entertainment was quite good with Comedy from Tucker on two great nights and Magic from the Astonishing show Overall onboard was just ok but we have already cancelled our Christmas cruise on Ventura and booked on another P&O ship We found the public rooms a little too cool and the Costa area needing a good clean, eg The back of the chairs had coffee spillages on them and needed wiping and cleaning Service was just ok but we have seen better Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife and I have been regular passengers with P&O over the last 9 years having just completed out twentieth cruise. In August we sailed on the Arcadia and I have to say that there were a lot of things wrong with the ship. We have ... Read More
My wife and I have been regular passengers with P&O over the last 9 years having just completed out twentieth cruise. In August we sailed on the Arcadia and I have to say that there were a lot of things wrong with the ship. We have seen standards fall over the years but the situation is becoming critical. Where has all the serving staff gone? There are nowhere near enough waiters in the bars and it is almost impossible to get served anywhere without having to go to the bar and order there. This ties the one or two waiters to the bar area which stops them going around the tables to take passenger’s orders. It’s a Catch 22 situation. The quality of the draught beers was terrible with beers tasting of cleaning fluid which forced me to drink only bottled beer for almost the entire cruise. There is no bar service on the promenade deck at all leaving passengers to have to fetch drink from an internal bar and carry them all the way outside. The Cabin Stewards have been downsized so much that they now have to do around twenty cabins each and the strain is showing as, despite their best efforts, the stewards are not doing everything they should. Take balcony cleaning for instance: According to the Deck Managers I have spoken with on various ships, cabin stewards are supposed to clean the balconies daily but, yet again, my wife had to suffer dirty furniture, dirty glass, dirty handrails and a dirty balcony floor. We finally took action ourselves and asked reception of a mop, bucket and squeegee so that we could do the job ourselves. This had an effect as our steward was instructed to clean our balcony daily but it didn’t last long. Arcadia is looking tired and rusty and in port, she looks filthy with unclean glass and windows and rust everywhere. The cabin and bathrooms are showing their age. Most public areas are clean I’m glad to say. The food is just awful in the buffet restaurant, too little choice, poorly cooked and arranged in a totally illogical manner. The move by P&O to bulk sauce dispensers rather than sachets, has led to the demise of Salad Cream which has now been replaced with a substitute that is nowhere near as good. Who thought up the idea of serving frozen butter portions? It is impossible to butter a roll unless you wait 10 minutes for the butter to soften enough to be spread. What has happened to the availability of Flora spread? It has been replaced with a generic “Margarine” which tastes awful. The service in the Main Dining Room is just awful, too slow and haphazard and the food quality is poor compared with previous cruises. The waiters work very hard and I do not blame them at all but the management and P&O themselves need to take a step back and realize that passenger comfort and service are what really matters on a cruise ship. Everything seems to be about saving money! My wife and I have five more cruises booked with P&O and we are already considering cancelling some of them next year (luckily they were booked onboard so we paid only £50 deposit each). We very much doubt that we will sail with P&O after 2020 as we would rather pay more to get proper service and quality with other cruise lines. Arcadia was in Norovirus lock-down when we boarded and this lasted for four days.Everything is served to you, even a glass of water in the buffet. Thankfully it ended but the lock-down returned for the last four days of the cruise due to a “few” cases of Norovirus, our sources said that it was a large number of passengers affected. Considering that Norovirus was being reported on the Arcadia back in June of this year, they clearly have a serious problem. We still enjoyed our cruise despite all the above and we cannot fault the waiting staff and our cabin steward. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
we chose this cruise as first time cruisers and to see Etna, also to celebrate my big birthday. What a disappointment. First we were informed by P & O that we would not be stopping at Messina ( Etna ) due to remedial work that ... Read More
we chose this cruise as first time cruisers and to see Etna, also to celebrate my big birthday. What a disappointment. First we were informed by P & O that we would not be stopping at Messina ( Etna ) due to remedial work that needed doing in Malaga, Now a print out given to us on our last day a board stated that 22 divers plus equipment was coming over from USA to do the work, now that was not organised in 24 hours!! The work took longer than stated & we eventually sailed at 12:07 am four days later. During this time any information from the bridge was sparse, nothing from the Cap'tain' for 2 days. Norovirus then broke out.....just what you need on your holiday, again very little Health Education or advice from the Bridge, on one occasion the Captain could not even say the word 'symptom' Swimming pool had to be drained after what looked like faeces floating in the water. Rust on ship, and very little care taken to spruce her up. Davets on lifeboats would not retract one life boat at Dubrovnik, so more delays, also due to the long stay in Malaga we could not moor up at quay in Dubrovnik and had to use the tenders but only if you passed the step test which meant another location missed by many. Cabin adequate and bed comfy, Dining staff & waiters excellent and polite but officers rude and snobby. This cost £6.500 pounds, was it well spent? I dont think so. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My wife and I have cruised about seven times from the Caribbean through the Med: 5 with Thomson on various vessels and latterly on Britannia with P&O. The cruise on board OCEANA on 11th July to the Greek islands was the latest and ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised about seven times from the Caribbean through the Med: 5 with Thomson on various vessels and latterly on Britannia with P&O. The cruise on board OCEANA on 11th July to the Greek islands was the latest and the most disappointing. What we liked: The Atrium, reception area and the Costa coffee section was second to none. The shops were brilliant and my wife has no complaint there. The sun deck was good although crowded (not unusual for a day at sea etc). The cabin was spacious and wardrobe space more than adequate. What was wrong: the general points . . . 1. The ship decor was drab throughout 2. The lifts were unpredictable and extremely slow 3. We found the buffet food monotonous. Often we found there were no tea spoons available and we had to ask one of the officers in white to provide some. Once a female crew member who was responsible for providing a tray with cutlery repeatedly provided two forks without a knife or two knives without a fork etc. Twice during the voyage this happened to us. We found the crew to be rather sullen and didnt seem to want to interact with passengers. One actually made an inappropriate comment when the wife and I were making a decision on any pudding/sweet: I just joked with my wife saying they were fattening and this male commented: "Too late Sir". He then asked my wife and I had a twin brother (for what reason I do not know). The next time I saw him he rotated his eyes in different directions independently and he thought it was funny. I was not sure what his objective was. This occurred in the buffet by the way on two separate days. Specifically to us: 1. The bathroom was antiquated and particularly the toilet bowl had a black ring around it when we embarked which remained there throughout the voyage. The television was small and the programmes repetitive. There was only one three-pin socket to the entire cabin and that was used for tea making. The lack of sockets was very inconvenient. 2. I unfortunately cut my ankle slightly on the first day which bled overnight and which stained the lower sheet. That sheet remained on the bed and was not changed throughout the voyage. The cabin steward on a few occasions failed to replenish the coffee/tea making facilities and once failed to provide cups/mugs and we had to ask reception to get him to bring them along. 3. We were freedom dining: We often had to wait up to 45 minutes to get a table and this seemed to be case whenever we attended the Ligurian to dine. The service in the Ligurian was slow and often we had to attract attention that we were waiting another course. Again the waiting staff did not seem that interested in providing a good service. A factor which irritated us in particular was black tie nights. This was the first time I decided not to take a dinner suit or black tie. We were denied access during the two black tie nights in both the Ligurian and the Adriatic restaurants (on a 7 night cruise) and we had to eat in the buffet. This was not what we expected from P&O and has completely shattered our confidence. Frankly we were glad when we arrived at Malta so we could get off the ship. We are not going P&O again: Having written to them expressing our disappointment and pointing out our points we eventually received a wholly dismissive letter which implied either we were exaggerating or just a pair of natural complainers. that in itself was enough to put us off going with them again - this is the first time we have complained on any holiday (land or cruise) Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Wanted value for money to cooler place in summer. Had read mixed reviews . wanted to find out for ourselves. Speaking to others, you love it or hate it. Marmite ship was someones description. Geared to under 50s = constant background ... Read More
Wanted value for money to cooler place in summer. Had read mixed reviews . wanted to find out for ourselves. Speaking to others, you love it or hate it. Marmite ship was someones description. Geared to under 50s = constant background carcophany of pop music apart from last 2 days when the food also seemed to improve slightly too. Small balconies with swing doors requiring loungers to be in position to hold them open = noise. Pivot doors taking up space in already small shower rooms. Duvets too heavy and pillows with no resilience. Smaller lifts gave rise to queues.especially for disabled and some passengers were not overly polite or aware/bothered! Some plain rude.Spacious ship though = easier getting about. Public areas were freezing. Cold outside 11 to 13 degrees but do not expect inside to be the same! Complained = ignored! Contradiction was that many .passengers seem happy to roam in flip flops ,shorts and vest! Sunbathing even. How? Why? Booked car in St Petersburg.Kind helpful very pleasant in spite of having no knowledge of our needs from P&O. Complained = smiley apology! Cobbles we were aware but for wrong shuttle drop off presenting more huge cobbles.No.Other wheelchair users were so afflicted, Complained =smiley apology. Peninsular restaurant = yellow broccoli. Complained got extra dish of it! Black eyed potatos , Sloppy prawn cocktail, Plum pudding with scone for sponge on top. Carrot cheesecake =dry cake.Inadequate over embellished menu with slow service altering to rushed 1/2 hour before closing time. Limelight Club read Ruth Madoc and Hi Di Hi. Food and service abysmal, Starter was 4 small breadsticks and 8 1/2 inch cubes of something.... to share! This, spaced out over 2 hours because the act was scheduled to play in sections.Paid £70 pounds for this! Not happy. Gareth Gates was superb however.Excellent singer . Wish he had sung 1 or Frank Sinatra as his early years. Lecturer Dave Wright was also superb. Heard every word and entertaining delivery made for good assimilation of facts. = Romanovs, Russian Revolution, St George and Mary Queen of Scots. Amazed with 3,600 passengers and small lifts, self help people at disembarcation were given the same time as the rest for vacating cabins. Chaos! Some people were juggling 4 maxi size suitcases! [2 week cruise!] Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
SOS
Day 4 in Malaga due to engineering problem. This appears to have been kown about for some time - is its coincidence the remedial work was undertaken on a longer length cruise? I think not. On a 20 day cruise thats a lot of time. One post ... Read More
Day 4 in Malaga due to engineering problem. This appears to have been kown about for some time - is its coincidence the remedial work was undertaken on a longer length cruise? I think not. On a 20 day cruise thats a lot of time. One post missed so far with warning of changed itinerary to come Communication bad, yesterday found a message on return from day out to advise another day in port. With modern technology this could have been achieved by group email/ SMS. ship noticeably cleaner after infection control measures were taken to avoid potential norovirus outbreak. Food awful. Limited choice and poor culinary skills. It's truly a bad day when you are likely to return from a cruise lighter than you arrives onboard. Cabin and restaurant excellent. I can only conclude this is the reason many people are so loyal to them. In the present cruising climate they need a serious shakeup if they want to continue to make happy cruise memories. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Could not get a shore excursion as both my choices on wait list. So I put my name down for both. Rang up just before leaving and told no change so asked to come off wait list to book private. Told that not possible and it did not matter as ... Read More
Could not get a shore excursion as both my choices on wait list. So I put my name down for both. Rang up just before leaving and told no change so asked to come off wait list to book private. Told that not possible and it did not matter as I would be emailed and have 72 hours to reply if I did not reply it would just be dropped. Got on ship to find a ticket for one of the excursions, suddenly found seats only 36 hours after that call. But too late, I had booked privately. Went and stood in line, wasting my time, to give them their ticket back and they had to consult about cancelling it AND repaying the money to my onboard account. They then told me that I had another confirmed booking and been charged for the other wait list I had gone on the excursion was at the same time as the other one. They had to consult again to take me off and return my money and they had not even checked to see if we could do it. If you want this hassle then go on wait lists, but personally I was very cross that they had not told me anything a few hours before whilst on shore, that they refused to take me off the wait list, that they then booked me on both excursions WITHOUT asking me and took the money from my account and for all this gave me stress at the start of my holiday. Overshadowed and marred the whole experience., Dining was OK but I had to eat twice from the always menu rather than the daily one and two days of steak does not spell good food to me. Cabin was fine but we did have a mini-suite. Looked after well by Rosie. But all balconies are narrow in width and this was no exception, just that we had double the length. Just managed a chair. Entertainment was Ok but nothing outstanding. Thought the magician would be good, but whilst he got some very right he did a couple of tricks in such a way that gave them away. Did not do any day time activities and only one shore excursion, which was good, the issue was tendering, but that always can be a problem. 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
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
We have just returned from our holiday to the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Guernsey on board Azura. This was our very first cruise as a family and we were very much looking forward to the whole experience. However we were sorely ... Read More
We have just returned from our holiday to the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Guernsey on board Azura. This was our very first cruise as a family and we were very much looking forward to the whole experience. However we were sorely disappointed with issues we experienced onboard the Ship. Our shower room floor leaked for three days of the cruise causing a pool of water to the bathroom floor this was only rectified on the third day of the holiday following several calls and a visit to reception. The corridor of our cabin location on deck five often smelled strongly of fumes , if not fumes it was fresh paint or sewage. There was a lot of maintenance being carried out on this corridor during the holiday and a dehumidifier was left on all day and evening outside our cabin causing a lot of noise which i had to contact reception regarding as we were not able to sleep due to this. I understand that this is a working ship and requires maintenance however there seemed to be ongoing issues regarding the sewage systems onboard the ship, during our holiday, we encountered blocked toilets throughout the public areas and a strong smell of sewage was present to the public areas on deck seven especially to the malabar lounge which was noticeable throughout the week both when in port and sailing. The roof to the buffet restaurant was leaking badly all week causing saturation to the carpets in the dining area towards the back of the ship, water was running down the wall and through the ceiling as we were eating. The carpet was absolutely soaked and therefore caused a bad small of damp to a large area of the buffet restaurant which was very unpleasant and we reported to reception staff, they were already aware of the issue. Entertainment on board the ship was dire !!! The Irish so called comedian was awful i believe his name to be Shaun Heggaty, people walked out in droves complaining - Music acts on board pretty unoffensive but nothing really magical. The quiz's and so called entertainment in brodies bar was poor - there does not appear to be much effort put into this by the entertainment staff , The quiz host Pearl was quite rude and condescending to fellow passengers. Azura as a ship was very disappointing she seems shabby, tired and in need of some TLC - we understand she is a working vessel however we left feeling very disappointed in her current state and our first experience of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I have cruised with several different lines but P&O has always been my favourite. This time I was travelling with someone who had never been on a cruise before and so went with P&O and a cruise I had already done a few years ago ... Read More
I have cruised with several different lines but P&O has always been my favourite. This time I was travelling with someone who had never been on a cruise before and so went with P&O and a cruise I had already done a few years ago to be sure he would have a good experience, My partner did enjoy the cruise as did I, however, I was very aware of the difference (not in a good way) between this cruise and every other P&O cruise I have taken. I will not be going with P&O again. It was apparent from the outset that staff were 'going through the motions' Everyone seemed disinterested and as though everything was too much effort. Service and food in the main dining room was so poor that we choose to use the select dining options on most evenings. Mainly these were good experiences, in particular the Indian. My issue is that the experience should have been as good in those areas that are included as in those that you have to pay for. Usually this is the case, but sadly not this time. For example, meals arrived with bits missing, (sauce, dressings and veg on one occasion!) with no apologies and a take it or leave it attitude. We asked for an extra bread roll one evening, and after chasing it, it finally turned up after both starter and main course were finished. Made to feel a nuisance because we don't eat meat. Every single day they brought me the veggie menu once I had reminded them and we had to request a second one for my partner every time. All sounding like tiny points, and in the overall scale of things they are. This isn't my previous experience and so my expectations were not met. Long delays between courses and food clearly been sat under hot lamps for some time as congealed. Only thing that was consistently prompt was the drink bill for signature. Also, the little things generally missing, no robes in cabins any more. Shower cap not replaced even though clearly broken after second use. Room service breakfast failed to show up on two occasions! When it arrived on third try, toast was inedible, which actually was the case throughout. In buffet big delay if wanting veggie sausage as they are cooked to order, take ages and always loads of people waiting for them. Why not cook some in advance, like regular sausage. We did one trip, which was effectively a 15 min bus transfer from the port to the glacier and back. £120 for us both!!!! I could go on...... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them ... Read More
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them for the amount of passengers, of which there were far too many; one couldn't move in any of the swimming pools! We ate in the buffett restaurant, Saffron and cinnamon restaurants and the poolside grill. All food was OK but nothing really stood out, not even on the formal nights; A cheese board consists of 2 tiny bits of cheese and a couple of jacobs crackers! The ship is generally clean and tidy and in a good state of repair. P&O are the Ryannair of the ocean...EVERYTHING is extra! P&O need to stop being so greedy and bring the luxury back to cruising or they wont be around for much longer. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Not impressed with the food. Had breakfast in the main restaurant. Bacon was very fatty. toast was cold, and hard. Also not very much choice of daily dinner choices in the main restaurant. Four items were always on the menu. Had eggs ... Read More
Not impressed with the food. Had breakfast in the main restaurant. Bacon was very fatty. toast was cold, and hard. Also not very much choice of daily dinner choices in the main restaurant. Four items were always on the menu. Had eggs benedict one morning in the buffet restaurant, the muffin was very hard and dry. Had to pay extra in The Beach House for our evening meal to get food that you usually get on a cruise ship. Attitude of some of the staff where not what you normally get a on a cruise. Bit rude, and not very helpful. Not very much going on at the day at sea. Was looking forward to hear one of the guest speakers. Which we have experienced on previous P & O cruises. That did not happen. The entertainment was very good. We were very disappointed. Will not be cruising with P & O again Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Opportunity for sun after winter, family relaxation however it is the first time we have had such a poor experience with P&O. Hygiene was appallingly maintained for first week hence a significant norovirus outbreak. Passengers were ... Read More
Opportunity for sun after winter, family relaxation however it is the first time we have had such a poor experience with P&O. Hygiene was appallingly maintained for first week hence a significant norovirus outbreak. Passengers were allowed to regularly slip into buffet areas without any sanitising. Norovirus protocol resulted in staff serving you the buffet. Food was dumped on plates in ‘piles’ very unappetising. Evening and lunch meals, even when first in were luke warm. Breakfast service ground to a complete halt with the serving staff grappling with opening everyone’s cereal packets in frustration they threw half the contents in the bin. I had to ask for 3boxes to get an average bowl of cereal despite explaining this it was ignored. Had to return for milk, spoons etc, it was such a fiasco. They need training in how to plate up a meal if norovirus protocol requires them to. Smoking areas were far too extensive the coral pool on deck 15/16 was always heavily smelling of smoke. The Malabar on deck 7 had an awful unidentifiable smell to the area hence we avoided that too. ‘Surfers’ grossly overcrowded 100plus 5-8year olds. Absolutely ridiculous. The reef Deck 16 became a daily health and safety hazard with the sheer volume of children and parents. Queues of half an hour for every session and tooth brushing in the line with taking place to ensure a place especially in the mornings on sea days. Cabin was tired. Beds and bed linen quality was very pleasant. Service from cabin steward was good he was attentive, approachable and friendly. Recycling seemed to be taking place daily. Waiting staff varied greatly some were excelllent some were dismissive to the point of rudeness. Officers seemed ‘hands on’ especially in the dining areas, a very visible presence. Embarkation felt, for the first time, like a cattle market plus no hand sanitiser was given at check in which is shockingly poor for P&O. Disembarkation was yet again a complete farce with self help gangways doors changing at very short notice causing chaos in the waiting areas as those who had queued from 6am were left at the back of a very very long line. Royal carribean was fantastic as disembarkation in comparison. Adult entertainment shows were tired with such old well overused jokes and dated acts largely aimed at get a reaction from where passengers lived in the UK or the ugliness of woman. P&O need to massively modernise their entertainment in this respect as the ones we saw have been done to death. Children’s early tea was rammed. Older children 10-17 need a sepearte time as it became dangerous for the younger ones with loaded trays missing their heads by inches. The children enjoyed the magic shows and circus skills very much and despite how busy the reef was they thought the rangers, for the most part, were very nice, kind and caring. Partner enjoyed rock band UK a new addition for us to the daily entertainment. Astonishing wasn’t at all and extremely loud def take ear defenders if you decided to watch. The gym machines need maintaining and calibrating this wasn’t observed once. Nothing was said by the staff when toddlers were running around in the gym despite notices displaying a strict over 18 policy. The swimming pools were closed due to sickness one day, too much sun cream another day and ‘maintainance’ on a third day. The tv screen above the pool was a nice touch to watch a film of an evening. Staff were very attentive in offering blankets during the movie. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Had good responses from people using P & O. Having had Cruises with Royal Caribbean & Cunard, we thought we would see how they compared. Firstly, the boarding chaos was never explained by any P & O official. (It took over ... Read More
Had good responses from people using P & O. Having had Cruises with Royal Caribbean & Cunard, we thought we would see how they compared. Firstly, the boarding chaos was never explained by any P & O official. (It took over one hour & 30 mins TO check in). You were left in your car outside the dock for 45 mins WITH NO EXPLANATION before being herded into a chaotic receiving hall where we were given Numbers & told to take a seat (There were none) until your number was called. Cabin & Steward was excellent, & kept spotless during the voyage. Dining was very good in the Saffron Restaurant & waiters were brilliant. We also used the Self-service dining areas which were pleasant & fairly spacious & well staffed; However, the buffet area was quite small & crowded. There are activities but they are fairly low key & mostly appealing to children. One activity in the main Atrium was a display of how to make a Bed in under 2. 30 secs?! This actual drew a sizeable crowd, I think primarily because of disbelief that this could be a judged an 'activity.' People on holiday actually took part! The trips/excursions were a shambles. Oporto was called off because of rough seas, with the Captain sounding less than sympathetic! Spending an extra day in Lisbon. Then two full days at sea?! Until Our visit to Guernsey!! Where to begin... 21/2 hours queue to get a ticket to get into the 'Actual' queue for the Tender. 3hrs.20 mins set foot on Guernsey! Then, a 3-hour queue to come back. You couldn't invent it! The Ventura left 2 Hours later than the original 'back to the boat' They have no concept of how to organize any large gathering & Officers are nowhere to be seen. Finally, 2 hours to disembark! I shall leave the tale of Two ships there. Good Cabins & Good food vs laughable organization skills. I leave you with final Bon-Mot. An Illusionist was booked for the Area theater but couldn't be found? Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
A number of poor things in relation to the Britannia, some easy to change, others just poor initial design: 1. A real faux pas to not have stairs up the centre of the ship, makes orientation around the ship problematic, means people ... Read More
A number of poor things in relation to the Britannia, some easy to change, others just poor initial design: 1. A real faux pas to not have stairs up the centre of the ship, makes orientation around the ship problematic, means people gravitate to the lifts unnecessarily, really poor design flaw. 2. Incredible that hand hygiene was not a significant issue, no staff on entrance to any of the dining areas and buffets ensuring hand hygiene from passengers. 3. Very lacklustre staff attitudes, told that automatic tipping on P&O is disappearing, wonder if it is affecting how staff work. 4. Size of the gym to the size of the ship is laughable, one shower and one toilet in the changing area - 4,000+ passengers! 2 sit up bikes too. Very poor considering that we should be pushing a healthier lifestyle. Think they are too busy promoting the pay for spa instead. 5. Steam room in the gym was scolding hot, came out burnt after 10 minutes. 6. Complaints pretty much ignored, fits with lacklustre staff, number of occasions I received half service. 7. Cabins are small, trying to get too many on board I had a good break as a holiday, but will avoid Britannia in future. Think this ship is really poorly managed at present. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Been on Ventura 5 times previously, always felt it was really good value but not this time. It was a 12 night cruise but in actual fact it was more like a 10 night cruise stretched out to 12 nights. The food has gone downhill badly. The ... Read More
Been on Ventura 5 times previously, always felt it was really good value but not this time. It was a 12 night cruise but in actual fact it was more like a 10 night cruise stretched out to 12 nights. The food has gone downhill badly. The first meal we ever had on a cruise was on Ventura 10 years ago, it was so good we still remember it. This time sadly some meals were good but most were of a lesser quality than we have at home. One example was a Vongole that came with over cooked spaghetti - it was totally tasteless, the £3 Iceland version is considerably better, which is ridiculous. Another big disappointment was the timing of the shows - the tribute acts started before the main show in the theatre ended - we have never known this before and it was a real big issue that shouldn't have been. Some people were suggesting they are doing everything they can to keep people in bars spending money, I have to say it did feel a lot more "inwardly looking" than previous cruises. Nice little touches like little bowls of sweets in the cabins have also gone. The entertainment was generally good but the cruise director - Tom was hopeless. Every night he would introduce the acts with the same tired jokes, he didn't even bother waiting for people to laugh - always seemed in a hurry and like he had better things to do. As usual the cabin steward was spot on, sadly the waiters were a bit annoying. Every time a meal was left they were at great pains to explain how it wasn't their fault, on one occasion 4 separate waiters came over, it got rather embarrassing in the end and it wasn't their fault that the so called Chefs weren't on the ball. The final annoyance was upon disembarkation when the sky bridge broke and we were 2 1/2 hours late getting off the ship. In fairness that wasn't P+O's fault but having had a rather non relaxing holiday it was the final straw that broke the camel's back. Oh, another thing that was rather annoying - we were only in Gibraltar for about 5 hours - nowhere near long enough. Also it didn't affect us but the trip to Santiago De Compostela was slated by other passengers. P+O knew the cathedral was being renovated but still took 60 odd quid per person to visit it!! Come on, you just can't do that, it's immoral. Anyway, we won't be going with P+O again, it's just not good value any more, which is a shame. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Very poor entertainment, had a 10yr old with us that hated kids club (couldn’t blame her) same stuff on every night. The spa on the ship was appalling, still kicking myself for not walking out. Bar closed at midnight, nowhere else except ... Read More
Very poor entertainment, had a 10yr old with us that hated kids club (couldn’t blame her) same stuff on every night. The spa on the ship was appalling, still kicking myself for not walking out. Bar closed at midnight, nowhere else except room service to get a drink. Staff entertainment didn’t show up on numerous occasions. Was a complete waste of money, hated every moment of being on the ship. Luckily we managed to see some amazing places. Great thing was the room, always clean and tidy. Although they never topped up the mini bar. Found out towards the end that you had to ask and sign for anything after the first night. Plus only complimentary water on the first night! Just constantly felt like there was nothing to do, was definitely aimed at the older crowd. If you want to know how to get rid of fluid retention this is your ship *yawn* Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We enjoyed a Christmas Cruise last year with Royal Caribean and anticipated a similar experience - what a disappointment. Before we even started we found the website very difficult to navigate and actually speaking to someone on the ... Read More
We enjoyed a Christmas Cruise last year with Royal Caribean and anticipated a similar experience - what a disappointment. Before we even started we found the website very difficult to navigate and actually speaking to someone on the phone even more difficult. The coach trip to Southampton was well communicated and the coach was large and spacious. The fact that coach parked well away from the pick up point was a major problem as we had to man handle our luggage several hundred yards in wet conditions. ( This was true of the return journey too) Registration was smooth as was the emergency briefing. The food in the Horizon restuarant (breakfast and lunch) was on a par with a Wetherstones pub. Scrambled eggs made with egg powder and toast as hard as biscuits with no difference in choice from day to day. One egg station with massive queues. Lunch offered a more varied choice but the quality and presentation ( apart from desserts) was a low standard. Food apparently haphazardly piled into heated trays. Dinner in the Medina restuarant was much better but apart from Christmas Day the food on the two other formal nights was not special. Service in the restaurants and bars was mixed. The almost complete reliance on male waiters and bar staff was most surprising - some were very good but others surly and arrogant, particularly when dealing with my wife who is Asian and was ignored or looked down upon on many occasions. Evening entertainment was very limited. The Headliners sang and danced to popular groups/genres and were well drilled. Hardly West End show performers though and the 'shows' lacked creativity, uniqueness or any 'wow' factor. The stopping off points, Oslo, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Bruges were well selected and the best parts of our trip. The guests on board were mainly couples and for the most part elderly. My wife christened the cruise ship a floating nursing home as many many guests were infirm needing help in one way or another to get round the ship. The ones in motorized wheelchairs were reckless and seemed to have little regard for fellow passengers whilst the ones on sticks or walking frames seemed to block passageways by walking 2 or 3 abreast. All in all a very disappointing experience and one I will not repeat. The difference between the Royal Caribean experience and the P&O Aurora experience is so vast it cannot sensibly be measured in my view. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Having been on Oriana on a 17 day cruise around the canary islands, September 2017, my heart SANK when my wife told me that she'd booked a Xmas market cruise on Aurora. I've never had a good experience on this ship and this ... Read More
Having been on Oriana on a 17 day cruise around the canary islands, September 2017, my heart SANK when my wife told me that she'd booked a Xmas market cruise on Aurora. I've never had a good experience on this ship and this cruise was no exception. The Champions bar is an open area one side of the main thoroughfare with the fruit machines banging away on the other side, went there once on first day, rude, disinterested bar staff, never went back. Raffles bar was true to form, one day it was busy and hardly any staff, we were ignored for so long it was quicker to go to the self service on 12 and bring food down, another day it was very quiet and I had a pot of tea and a sandwich; I went back to the counter for a cake, Oh No! One pot of tea = one roll or a cake, you can't have both! As expected, disinterested staff and the ' One Cake Rule ' applied randomly. I went to deck 12 and brought back a plate of cakes. We complained to reception. Much use that was. We usually retired to Andersons Bar at 11pm for cocktails, an experience once again ruined by a cleaner coming along every night at about 11.15 with a faulty Henry vacuum cleaner that sounded like a small jet engine. I should not have to raise my voice or lean closer to hear someone talking to me because of that racket, lasting abour 20 minutes, I complained to the bar staff but was told " she's only doing her job". Disgraceful. Well at least there's the Crow's Nest, oops! no seats available. On previous cruises I was never able to get much use of the ridiculously small weight training section of the Gym, usually because Aurora staff were using it. I didn't even bother wasting my time on this cruise. Here's the good bit; we were freedom dining and happened to get the same table every night. The food was first class and the waiters were excellent. What a shame that Oriana is going, I've had many excellent cruises on that ship, I'll not go on Aurora again. And before I forget, the Beach Hut which is 'enhanced dining' doesn't do cheese and biscuits after the main meal, off to deck 12 again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
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