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184 P&O Cruises Europe Cruise Reviews

This was my 13th cruise but my first alone,after the death of my wife in 2015,_the Norwegian Fiords were a place we had on our bucket list but never got to do it together so I decided it was time to take the plunge and see how life onboard ... Read More
This was my 13th cruise but my first alone,after the death of my wife in 2015,_the Norwegian Fiords were a place we had on our bucket list but never got to do it together so I decided it was time to take the plunge and see how life onboard alone was, a inside cabin was a first for me but it kept the cost down besides which I only wanted to sleep and shower in it and it was fine for me other than it having fold away bunk beds either side of my bed that made it somewhat cramped. I opted for first sitting dining on a table of 8 and found myself in the company of lovely friendly people 3 others than were alone and conversation flowed readily, daily menu was well varied as you would expect and excellent quality. The onboard entertainment was as good as any cruise I've ever taken but the Dancers & Singers in the Show were the best I've ever seen. Service was good and as with every other cruise cabin staff were always happy and smiling. First port of call was Stavanger and it was a easy stroll from the ship into town and get a feel for life in Norway, a very expensive country. I did one excursion in Flam and that was on the railway that traverses up the mountain spectacular views. Olden was a poor port of call apart from walking around the Fiord it was a day wasted. Bergen: This was the highlight of the cruise we has sunshine all day and it is without doubt the most interesting place to visit such a loverly harbour and a trip up the heights to look down on it. The trip back to Southampton was a nice calm sea and pleasant cruising, so my first experience as a single cruiser at 73 years was a a flood of past memories and I enjoyed it, I will choose another and look forward to it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Just back off a lovely 2 week cruise to the Baltic on Azura. We booked our Parking with Parking 4 Cruises and this is the first time we have used them. Excellent service their staff were waiting for us on arrival and car was in the short ... Read More
Just back off a lovely 2 week cruise to the Baltic on Azura. We booked our Parking with Parking 4 Cruises and this is the first time we have used them. Excellent service their staff were waiting for us on arrival and car was in the short stay car park when we docked and we were on the road home by 8.40 am having chosen to keep our luggage in our cabin the night before our return. Embarkation was swift as we arrived at 3.45 pm so straight on the ship to our room R725 on deck 14. Inside room was fine and kept tidy by the Steward Mary who unfortunately had to go home due to her Father being ill. The location of this room is great for the pool deck at the rear of the ship and access to the Buffet and coffee/tea machines. The food in the Buffet was ok but we did prefer to have our evening meal main restaurants and all the meals were lovely except for the toast but when you have one guy making toast for 700 people it is no wonder it often arrives cold and hard. We ate most nights in the Peninsula restaurant and on 3 occasions in the Oriental. The main shows start at 8.30 and 10.30 but if you want to get a seat in the popular shows you need to be in the main theatre 30 mins before the start or 40 mins before to get a seat in a preferred location. We enjoyed most of the shows particularly Mike Doyle Comedian who was very funny on both occasions as opposed to Kane Brown who was completely un funny how he has got away with this act for 13 years is beyond me, it may be ok for the pub after 10 pints with your mates but taking the mick out of elderly people at the front of the audience who then walked out and left their drinks is cheap and not funny. The Headliners shows were good and the Evolution show was fabulous in my opinion not as keen on Dusty the Dusty Springfield story but we all have our own tastes. The male and female Opera/Musical singers were excellent and again we went to both shows on different nights. The Guest speaker was excellent and particularly enjoyed the talk about Rasputin and Russian History and the gentleman who gave the talk on the Paper Mache wooden boxes and how they were made and painted was very informative. We were extremely lucky with the weather most days were in the low 20s but St Petersberg was overcast and we had a short shower but this did not detract from the enjoyment of seeing this wonderful city. Price of drinks on board. Bottle of coke 330ml £2.95 Bottle of Peroni 330ml £4.20 Guinness can and Doombar 500ml bottle around £4.20 Bottle of Kopperberg alco free cider £3.50 Cocktail £6-£7 Large 1.5 litre bottled water £2.20 Average Bottle of wine £16-£20, Glass of red merlot £4.55 ( they will recork unused wine for next night) You can buy drinks packages but we felt they were way over priced unless you are a alcoholic The ultimate drinks package is £39.95 per person per day and you have to buy it for the full duration of the cruise and for all the adults in the cabin. The childrens package is included in this price Non Alcoholic drinks package is £19.95 per person per day Mocktails Mochas soft drinks and juices and primo sized Costa coffee,Teapigs tea and small bottles of water. Childrens drinks package, £7.95 per person per day. Draught soft drinks and selected juices and hot chocolate. Overall we had a great time, the ship is in need of a refit in parts with holes in the carpets in part of the buffet and discoloured and worn carpets in our room which will be reflected in the 4* rating for this review. Staff were good and efficient not much interaction but that was ok. Ports and places we visited. Waremunde Germany. This was a real bonus as we didn’t really know what to expect and it is a lovely town with a great sandy beach and a lovely harbour to walk around which is very close walk to and from the ship. We chose to go into Rostock and went to the railway station nearby where you will see ticket machines and opposite these you will see a shop. At the side entrance around the corner from the shop you can buy a 1 day rail and tram pass from the office for 6 Euro and the lady will give you a slip of paper that tells you to how to validate the ticket on the platform before getting on train then get off train at Rostock HBF ( 9 stops) yo then need to go down two levels to the tram Platform A Blue tram. Take tram 5 or 6 and get off at stop Neuer Market ( New Market) this is a lovely square with access to shops and nice buildings Trains are every 30 mins and trams every 10 mins. Easy Peasy . Then we came back to Waremunde and had a cocktail on the ship side of the harbour which was less busy. Helsinki, Here we got the courtesy coach to near the centre of Helsinki which if you pay select fare is free but if you are on saver fare it is £4 per person each way. Had to wait nearly 30 mins for return coach in a shower which was not fun. Had a nice walk round the centre of Helsinki then we went to the tourist information office and got details on the trams. We were told if we bought a Ticket 2.8 Euro this would last 80 mins and you can then get the No2 tram which takes you up one side of Helsinki then get the No3 tram which comes back down the other side. This number 3 tram changes its number back to number 2 near the centre and you have to stay on one or two stops back to the centre. Cheap way to see Helsinki. St Petersberg, Day 1 we went to Catherine Palace and we were lucky with the weather as it was sunny in the morning. Reasonably quick access into the Palace but we were in a group of 41 so had to wait for the group to regroup after a visit to toilets and cloakroom which you have to put standard size backpacks so leave on coach if possible to save time. Then you are herded through to an area where you have to put on some fabric over shoes to protect the floor. It if then a slow process moving from room to room which were lovely particularly the Amber room where you are not allowed to film or take photos. We had very little time to walk around the garden area due to a shortage of time and were told no time to shop but I saw this little kiosk in the gardens and bought a pack of 30 postcards that had lovely pics of the palace for 250 roubles ( about £3). Tip Here: we were told before leaving the ship we could not take water off the ship. There is a vending machine near the exit door you can use rouble notes or coins. You put the note (or coins) in the machine THEN select the number of the item you want i.e 52 for water it drops out the bottom and gives you change price of water 45 roubles (50Pence) or coke 65 roubles(80 Pence) much cheaper than aboard ship St Petersberg, Day 2 We booked the Picturesque St Petersberg trip and it started with a boat trip which went along the river /canal? Which was lovely and we saw some wonderful buildings then we went under some very low bridges you cannot stand up on the boat under these as you could be seriously injured. Suddenly this guy started appearing on the bridges waving like a tourist but then he would appear at every bridge on the way back then he was at the dock for our return and expected but did not push for a tip. Be careful here though because someone said after that with some of these they act in pairs look where you take the money from and try to pickpocket. We enjoyed this trip and then we were taken to the Church of the spilt blood which is fantastic inside, the mosaics are spectacular and look like paintings. We then were taken to a gift shop for free coffee or vodka. Try the vodka the coffee is cold and horrible due to lukewarm water also no milk. Talinn Estonia, This was our favourite place, you can walk from the ship to the old town centre in about 20 mins about 800m away to the edge of the town but do get your bearings here so you can find your way back. The square in the centre is lovely for a chill out drink and people watching. There was also a stage up with music and performances on the day we were there. Do be aware drinks in the square are pricey no prices listed you have to sit down and get a menu for prices so do this before you order. A 500ml saku beer and a cappuccino coffee will cost around 12 euro, nice beer though. Stockholm Sweden, I got up at 5.30 am to watch the ship head to the port through spectacular scenery, little islands with typical small wooden houses were lovely and the bird habitats on these small islands were nice to see. When we arrived in Stockholm again you needed to use the courtesy buses (£4 per person each way if not on select fare) which were delayed a bit due to roadworks in the town so had to wait 20 to 30 mins on the outward bound journey. Stockholm is spread out a bit so if you have difficulty walking then a pre booked tour may be a better option. Although it was ok walking through the town and seeing the palace we enjoyed walking around the harbour area more and in some ways wish we had booked a harbour tour. Copenhagen Denmark, Here we looked from the portside of the ship and thought we could see The Little Mermaid statue about 400 yds to the left of the ship so we walked in that direction from the ship but the statue was of a couple of Polar Bears, the little mermaid statue however was 200 metres over to the right of this statue just around the harbour. We followed the harbour round from here to what was a lovely church and fountain then onto the area where the tourist boats dock Nyhavn with its lovely coloured buildings. Again here the cafes are busy and expensive Small beer, coffee and a bottle of water 125 Danish Krone (£15). Great for the views and people watching. Then we went onto Christianborg Palace and the Royal Stables then to the Town Hall building with the Astronomical clock. By this time we were tired so we returned to centre to get a courtesy bus back which was most unpleasant as no Aircon and stop start traffic all the way back to the ship lots of people complained about the shuttle bus service here. We missed out Tivoli but if you are planning on going on an organised tour make sure you confirm how long you get there as some people were unhappy for 2 reasons the minibus transport no aircon black windows to see out of and only 30 mins at the gardens when they complained the tour team were not interested. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We have cruised on Ventura and on embarking found the Azura identical in layout so finding our way around the ship was simple.We booked a late saver fare and got a balcony cabin to the rear of the ship but found no engine noise to trouble ... Read More
We have cruised on Ventura and on embarking found the Azura identical in layout so finding our way around the ship was simple.We booked a late saver fare and got a balcony cabin to the rear of the ship but found no engine noise to trouble us.The cabin was clean and well presented kept that way by our lovely steward Bill.All crew we encountered were happy and well trained in their jobs .We were allocated second sitting and enjoyed the company on our table with much to talk about.We always find fellow cruisers good company and only too pleased to join in conversations. The decor on board is getting a bit worn in places we admit but understand that an upgrade is due soon. Entrainment on P and O we believe is probably one of the best at sea and enjoyed many of the shows.Much praise must go to the young troop the Headliners who were great in all their different shows.Singers,comedians and specialty acts kept us entertained. Food on board geared to British tastes of course was fine,nothing to complain about but also nothing to rave about either.Could do better.We believe that since getting rid of daily gratuities corners are cut in some places ie food quality and a hike in drink prices etc. Weather was good for us as in Britain it was wet and miserable,enjoyed the midnight sun experience on several nights.All ports we visited lived up to expectations and St Petersburg was the highlight of our cruise and we must say that shore excursions by PO Were well organised and very memorable. Disembarked easily at Southampton and now look forward to our next trip,must get those brouchers out. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We went on the Ventura specifically for the Strictly Come Dancing themed cruise from Southampton around the Mediterranean on 2nd June. We thoroughly enjoyed all the Strictly shows and meeting the Strictly dancers including Oti Mabuse, ... Read More
We went on the Ventura specifically for the Strictly Come Dancing themed cruise from Southampton around the Mediterranean on 2nd June. We thoroughly enjoyed all the Strictly shows and meeting the Strictly dancers including Oti Mabuse, Graziano, Alijaz and Janette and head judge Shirley Ballas. The entertainment was very good indeed and if you didn't want to immerse yourself in the Strictly theme there was always something going on in other areas. Our cabin was good for an inside cabin and it felt larger because of the clever positioning of mirrors however I would definitely choose an outside cabin if going again because that way you can sit outside. Our cabin steward Lourdes was so lovely nothing was too much trouble for her even getting me some extra hangers. We mainly ate in the buffet restaurant and there was a good selection of different food every evening but we did get a bit fed up of the same four types of English cheese on offer every night! The main restaurant was nice but we found the waiters abit brusque so we didn't go there very often. There was a varied itinerary of some nice places to visit including Gibraltar Cartagena Barcelona Marseille Monaco Corsica and Cadiz. We took two excursions one in Marseille which unfortunately wasn't very good it was a beach excursion with a quick stop in Marseille. It was a very hot day and the guide kept us on the coach for fifteen minutes in the heat while telling us about the history of Marseille instead of giving us that extra time in Marseille as we only had twenty minutes left. When we got to the beach we had one and a half hours but it was absolutely crowded and wouldn't be suitable for anybody with a walking disabilities to venture on as it was very hard to get in and out of the sea as the shingle dropped down. When I mentioned this to the excursion sales person on the ship he told me that I shouldn't be going on any beach with a walking disability! I was very offended and really think he should have been taught a tactful way of suggesting his paying customer might have been better to perhaps not go on the beach. I only wanted them to note that they should advise of this as no way in the shore excursion guide does it say it isn't suitable for people who have disabilities. The content of this particular excursion was not good and several people complained on return. However the tour of Monaco and Montecarlo was excellent and we were taken to the major attractions with a brilliant French lady who made the tour fun and interesting. Now for the terrifying part! We had been taken ashore on tender boats in the morning so after waiting 45 minutes in the boiling hot sun with no shade and nowhere to sit we eventually got on our tender boat to return to the ship and we we left the port the tender started to roll all over the place as the wind picked up and the sea was going right over the front of the tender, it gradually got worse and worse and one poor man became very seasick he was told to sit down as it was so dangerous on the boat and was passed a lot of bags. By this time people were panicking and one lady nearly passed out while another was being seasick. I was really frightened because the boat was rocking so much I could see even the tender pilot looked worried. We were stuck on the tender for an hour rocking and rolling and when they tried to bring it along side the ship it kept smashing into the platform where you get off. It took three strong men to help each person off by literally hauling them o to the ship incase they fell into the sea. Ours was once of the last tenders to actually make it to the ship after that the Captain halted the rest and left over a thousand guests on the shore in Monaco! Luckily later that evening we were able to put down ancho in Villefranche which had a calmer bay and all the rest of the guests got on tenders after being coached there and finally onto the ship late into the evening. People were exhausted and some had missed their medicine which was on the ship. This has completely put us off of ever going on a tender boat again. I don't often get freighted but that was very scary indeed! The overall view of the ship is that it offered a good variety of bars cafes theatre and restaurants and had good areas on deck to sit out on. The swimming pools were nice and big with one covered if it was cooler like when we left Southampton. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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
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
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
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
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
This was our second trip aboard the Britannia and chose the ship rather than the destinations because we loved or first cruise on her. She is a fantastic ship with all the modern facilities you would expect from a floating hotel. My ... Read More
This was our second trip aboard the Britannia and chose the ship rather than the destinations because we loved or first cruise on her. She is a fantastic ship with all the modern facilities you would expect from a floating hotel. My wife and I love the entertainment on board and enjoyed some very professional acts that kept us laughing and dancing for most of the trip. We also love good food and were not disappointed by the variety available on board. We had a terrific Indian meal in the Sindu an amazing wine and food experience in the Glass House. Although these restaurants make a cover charge for the meals the cost is minimal and no where near the prices you would pay ashore. We did a couple of excursions but would not recommend them as they are quite expensive and can be done a lot cheaper by local tour operators if you have the confidence. There are always down sides to every holiday in this was no exception. The room we chose was not ideal and I hold my hands up as it was me that chose it. It was on "A" deck and that was a big mistake as it is directly below the Horizon restaurant. Although there was little noise from the restaurant its self, the noise from the kitchens was incredible. It continued on some evenings until well after midnight. Just as well we are night birds. The most unfortunate thing was the fact that the service area access door for the Horizon was opposite our cabin (A612). The floor outside was constantly wet and the smell was sometimes unbearable. On our last morning aboard the area actually flooded and we woke up to wet carpets in our room. Not good P&O - you need to look into that. All in all the trip was enjoyable and we have booked another cruise on Britannia already. Ive chosen "C" deck this time so hopefully less noise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to visit Seville (via Cadiz) Barcelona, Pisa & Florence ( via Livorno ) and Rome. This cruise B912 , gave us all those options and we were able to celebrate My Wife’s 70 on board. Priority boarding with check in on ... Read More
We wanted to visit Seville (via Cadiz) Barcelona, Pisa & Florence ( via Livorno ) and Rome. This cruise B912 , gave us all those options and we were able to celebrate My Wife’s 70 on board. Priority boarding with check in on line was very smooth in Southampton, on board at a champagne lunch within 20 minutes. In our balcony cabin with suitcases delivered by 14.45pm. We chose Freedom Dining, the food was alright but nothing special so we ate in the Sindhu twice, Glasshouse twice, the Beach House and Epicurean . The food in these venues well worth the surcharges. The entertainment was usual stuff of tribute bands and old ( very ) singers but the star was Gareth Oliver, ventriloquist, he was outstanding. The Headliners shows Gravity and Astonished were excellent. Two generous cocktail parties and a Baltic/Ligurian lunch were splendid affairs. Unfortunately the dress code is becoming more dress down than up and black tie nights seem less popular with some wandering around like they just came from the beach. The crew were very friendly despite this being the first cruise without gratuities added to accounts or expected by stewards and waiters. It’s tricky what to do as some people still tipped fr service and others chose to tip nothing. Bar prices still reasonable ( London pub prices ) to some but some from up North thought they were a bit steep. The excursions were excellent with brilliant guides. The weather was very good until we left Gib for home and we encountered 50 knot winds and 4m swells so a bit lumpy. Finally, Captain Dunlop was very friendly, out and about and very approachable. He was leaving the ship as he is standing by at the construction of the new Iona which he will Master when delivered, good luck to him. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have become P & O fans, we like the style of cruising, the mix of formal nights of which there were two, the freedom dining, the choice of menu food, the staff, and great entertainment. We did three organised trips, The best of ... Read More
We have become P & O fans, we like the style of cruising, the mix of formal nights of which there were two, the freedom dining, the choice of menu food, the staff, and great entertainment. We did three organised trips, The best of Amsterdam, Ghent on your own, Saire Valley. The guide on the Best of Amsterdam Robert was the best guide we have ever had which made the trip extraordinarily good. Ghent on our own was very poor with just two hours in Ghent.The Saire Valley trip was ok but again too short. We had two comedians on board the first one Mr Heggarty from Ireland was without doubt the worst comedian we have ever endured, the second comedian Tucker was probably the best comedian we have ever heard. The Headliners were brilliant singers and entertainers. The duo in the planet bar were also very good. Our steward, Irenia kept our cabin spotless and replenished and the only thing about our inside cabin to moan about was the carpet could do with a clean. We dined in the Epicurean menu 2 and thought that the extra cover charge was worthwhile. The service was fantastic. We had all our other meals in the Meridian restaurant where the staff were outstanding and the food including steaks served to perfection. The tender service to St Peter Port Guernsey was pretty painful. We did not take an organised trip but instead took a public transport bus around the Island for just £5 each. I read other reviews before our first trip on Azura and agree with the good reviews, this Ship is the Ship for a very enjoyable cruise Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose the Fjords again as we cruised there last year in late July. This time, we wanted to see the snow on the mountains and we were not disappointed. Our check in was very quick due to using the online check in service a few days ... Read More
We chose the Fjords again as we cruised there last year in late July. This time, we wanted to see the snow on the mountains and we were not disappointed. Our check in was very quick due to using the online check in service a few days before we left. Once on board, we located our cabin on deck nine. We opted for an inside cabin this time. It was clean and cozy, the mattress and pillows were very comfortable and we slept really well. The only down side was the air conditioning. Every morning, we both woke up with very dry throats, not down to alcohol I can assure you. Also, my wife's asthma was really bad in the mornings. Our cabin steward was always smiling, very polite and helpful. We opted for freedom dining and ate mostly in the buffet on deck 16. It was good to see the staff were much more proactive in ensuring that passengers made use of the hand sanitising facilities before entering the dining venues. This was sadly lacking last summer and there was an outbreak of norovirus towards the end of the cruise. Overall, the food was good and the menus were varied. We also ate in the peninsular restaurant as well, again, no complaints. We chose this time around to make our own arrangements with excursions as the P and O excursions are ridiculously expensive. The best thing about the ports we visited, you did not have to go far to see stunning scenery or find gift shops though eating or drinking out in Norway is extremely expensive. After last year, we didn't bother with the entertainment as it was not to our taste. I think that the amount of money P and O are pulling in, they could get far better guest acts on board instead of has beens. The service we received on board was very good, I must pay tribute to the bar staff on the sun deck who had to endure very cold conditions whilst wearing nothing else apart from their thin uniforms. They still kept smiling whilst they served us. However, the photography department was like something off Fawlty towers. We ordered some photos from the gala night which they managed to lose twice, this after waiting for an hour in the queue. We did complain to reception and finally got our photos delivered to our cabin. I must add, we did get some four for the price of two as compensation. We discovered that others had encountered problems also. Disembarkation went smoothly, no problems at all. Even our coach got away on time. Would we go with P and O again?. Yes, having cruised a few times with them now, we are getting wise to all these little extras that are supposibly good value, and this includes the on board shops who claim that goods cannot be purchased ashore cheaper, when in reality, they can. But overall, yes, a pleasant relaxing time, very satisfactory Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise due to the interesting itinerary, as it was visiting a number of ports that were new to us. We had been on Aurora just 4 weeks before (see other review) so were interested to see the improvements. The ship did look ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the interesting itinerary, as it was visiting a number of ports that were new to us. We had been on Aurora just 4 weeks before (see other review) so were interested to see the improvements. The ship did look refreshed but as regular cruisers on Aurora (7 times in 2 years) we had been really looking forward to the new large screen TV's so were deeply disappointed to find that all balcony cabins and above had received them, except the 8 accessible ones (of which we had one). Very poor show P&O, made worse by the fact that our questions on board as to why this was the case were ignored - 3 times. Aside from that, we enjoyed the cruise with, as always, some highs and lows (others will no doubt feel differently but these are just our opinions); Good points - The service in the Medina Restaurant (Freedom Dining) was first class. Food was very good. We did the Chef's Table private dining at £75 a head and it was the best thing we have done on a P&O ship for years and in the company of lovely fellow passengers who are prepared to fork out for top quality. Absolutely superb in every respect. Great initiative P&O - please repeat it. Tony Babb (guest lecturer) gave some fascinating talks. The Headliners show called Applause was superb. The new show 'Astonishing' previewed on Aurora during our cruise. It didn't live up to the hype, but was a welcome break from the usual dated offerings. Best two ports for us were Oporto and Ceuta, the latter being the unexpected highlight (it's a Spanish enclave cut out of Northern Morocco). What a fantastic place. P&O should go there far more often instead of the dump that is Gibraltar (the two are opposite sides of the Straits of Gibraltar). La Coruna, Lisbon and Alicante were all very nice, but only the last of them was new to us. Sorrento is lovely but was a tender port (my wife cannot get off at those as she is disabled) and it took a long time to get off the ship, even though I was booked on a tour. I did a trip to Herculaneum and unfortunately it rained all the time we were there. Our port call to Propriano (Corsica) was cancelled due to rough seas and replaced with Ajaccio. Although we hadn't been to the former but had been to the latter (12 years ago) we were delighted with this change, as my wife would have been stuck on the ship in Propriano but could get off in Ajaccio, which is lovely. Bad Points - As I have said, we were irritated with the fact that our accessible balcony cabin hadn't received the new large TV's that all other balcony cabins (and above) had benefited from in the refit and even more irritated that our complaint about this was ignored, even when I chased them several times. Whilst most people liked Malta, we were underwhelmed. We did a tour around the island and thought that the place looked terribly neglected. Yes it got savaged in the 2nd World War, but we are 70 years on from that now and were struck by the fact that all the private houses were in a poor state of repair (we were told afterwards it's due to their tax structure - you save money if you don't complete it fully!), all the roadsides have stone walls that are either badly built, incomplete or falling down and their 'countryside' looks more like wasteland. Valletta itself was much better, but it took us 45 minutes from being dropped off from the tour coach until we got back on the ship for lunch due to the very poor cruise terminal (just two security lines and massive queues) so we aborted our plan to see more of Valletta in the afternoon as we just couldn't face that queue to get back on again. Messina was the other disappointment. We should have taken a tour here but stayed in the town. This was a mistake. Very little to see and a nightmare to get around with a wheelchair. We were also plagued there by taxi drivers and dotto trian ticket touts, as well as street hawkers. The guest lecturers for the first half of the cruise were of no interest to us whatsoever (one was about football and the other Anne Frank which then morphed into talks on food. Very odd.) Actor Robert Daws was on board for the second half but was put in the Playhouse or Carmen's which had inadequate capacity for the numbers wanting to attend. He was very good but we only managed to see one of his three talks (which had been reduced from four) and the promised repeats of the 2nd and 3rd talks on the cabin TV never materialised. Other things - We had high drama in Civitavecchia . Just after the morning tours left the ship was blown very slightly off the berth by 70 knot winds. For the rest of the day we had to be pinned against the berth by three large tugs and nobody was allowed on or off the ship for 5 hours. As a result we didn't get to look around the town, but spent the day watching the most spectacular seas crashing over the breakwater and damaging a parked car, all from the comfort of the ship, whilst 500 passengers had to wait in the cruise terminal for hours until it was deemed safe to let them back on. The Captain (I won't name him) was a marmite character. We liked him and found his regular announcements interesting and amusing. A number of other passengers found him to be extremely irritating. There was a very good classical pianist and we enjoyed the Take That style group (Beautiful World) .The Runaround Kids were good, even if their humour is a bit infantile. The Adele tribute had a great voice but completely ruined her act when she spoke between songs. I think she was trying to impersonate Adele but it failed miserably. It was excruciating. Apart from the shows that I have mentioned that we liked, the rest of the 'entertainment' was the usual P&O 1970's style TV variety show / holiday camp fodder (which was great in the 1970's but woefully outdated now). Not for us I'm afraid. Fellow passengers were almost all lovely. I'd say that the average age of passengers was early 70's (as is usual on Aurora). Overall an enjoyable cruise with some real high points and a few niggles, but that's a balanced review of the cruise as we found it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Short jaunt around the Bay of Biscay. Bipolar weather and last stop aborted so no guernsey sadly. I love Britannia. She’s a big ship and handles the rough and tumble of the Bay no problem. I met some lovely people on board who made ... Read More
Short jaunt around the Bay of Biscay. Bipolar weather and last stop aborted so no guernsey sadly. I love Britannia. She’s a big ship and handles the rough and tumble of the Bay no problem. I met some lovely people on board who made my holiday very special indeed. Grateful to Pete and Clarke for this. I also met some horrors too. If people can be nasty bigots in a public venue, I’m the antidote. These creatures were summarily dealt with and I moved on. P&O should DNA check some of its passengers. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. Very efficient and the staff were amazing. I simply couldn’t fault them. I love P&O for this. The ship is due for a refit this year and, although she’s a lovely vessel, she needs a bit of a makeover as my cabin bathroom stunk of urine! Not good when I’ve complained about the very same thing on Ventura before. I get that a few thousand people all using the bathroom is a monumental thing on a ship, but P&O must sort this out. Soon. In summary, I enjoyed my journey and Britannia is lovely, apart from her toilet habits!! Safe journeys y’all Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Embarkation The car drop off takes 40 mins waiting in the car, this is a poor parking system, we were told it is a holding pattern so not to block gate entrance, but no other dock in Southampton does it this way and the fast drop off at ... Read More
Embarkation The car drop off takes 40 mins waiting in the car, this is a poor parking system, we were told it is a holding pattern so not to block gate entrance, but no other dock in Southampton does it this way and the fast drop off at other terminals works fine. Maybe we arrived at the worst time @14:10, but the tickets told us to arrive for 14:30 and no more than half an hour before. Embarkation was busy but flowing and fast track good for people with limited walking. There were rather a large number of guests waiting in the assistance area and the process seemed slow, so even though my wife and I use sticks and usually use this service we continued through the lounge. As soon as we were on the ship, we were able to go to our cabin and divest ourselves of the hand luggage and suit carrier. This we were not able to do on some other cruise lines and lugging cases etc. around was very difficult. The large cases arrived promptly about two hours after we boarded, which was excellent. Dining The restaurant's have plenty of room between the tables. The initial waiter service was poor for how tables laid out during the first breakfast and dinner. We had to wait for more water/coffee and when asked another waiter he said someone would serve us but only from our team (which he didn't tell us and didn't pass message on), plus waited for menus themselves in some instances. The table layout is bad for both general waiting and wine waiter, as our table for dinner (93) is behind wall/piller for main waiters and at far end of area of wine waiter, so difficult to see or get hold of either of them. We had no wine menu on one night and again difficult to get hold of the waitress, when she finally arrived and we asked about the menu, she stated not enough menus to go round so only given to regular customers, as we ordered wine on two occasions and drank it over two days we were obviously not regular enough. This was outright rudeness! Oriental Restaurant set up not like typical cruise ship and dark decor, seems to try and mimic a restaurant rather than ship. Other restaurant are more open, but food provision in these restaurant is more chaotic, we have been told by others. Food for breakfast can be warm at best, again service depends on visibility. The porridge can be nice and hot, but also luke warm, it does vary a lot and getting there early ironically meant the porridge was colder. Toast is nice and crispy, not damp as with other lines who keep it covered to keep warm, but too soggy. Coffee in the Oriental very nice, also hot, but refills can be slow to come. If you ask for well done bacon for breakfast it comes crispy which is good. The general food quality in the Oriental Restaurant is good. We didn't try the buffet breakfast. It is good that the doors to the restaurant close to late guests in the Oriental Restaurant 15 mins after sitting commences. The separate vegetarian menu is good, however if you have food from this it takes longer to prepare than from standard menu, so you will have to wait, which is not a problem, guests just need to know. The vegetables can be sparse e.g. Quarter of a potato,10 thick cut chips with steak. For the vegetarian meals sometimes it would be good to include separate vegetables. Also need to understand that vegetarians don't want everything to be soft. The sweet corn risotto was not great, the rice was undercooked. Steaks come as asked for and are generally good. The salmon was overdone and dry. The pheasant was dry and the shredded pheasant had a bone in it (about an inch and a half long) that I nearly swallowed. The low sugar desserts seem to lack taste e.g. Coffee and hazelnut cake was just a slab of cake with no coffee taste or hazelnut at all. The thyme and lemon stuffing that came with the roast chicken, wasn't anything like stuffing at all, much closer to thyme and lemon breadcrumbs. The scrambled eggs were excellent, as were the soft boiled eggs. My wife ordered macaroni cheese with focaccia bread, it didn't come with the bread and that was not the first time the accompaniment didn't appear. Drinks on-board were excellent value and greatly appreciated after other cruise lines. Does make daily drinks package seem very expensive at £40 per person per day. The wine packages are a good idea. The buffet restaurant is generally good, with wide walkways and good seating, unlike other cruise lines where they "pack people in". There seems to be enough choice, but very limited fruit available during lunch, which is what we'd like to eat. Having had a good breakfast and dinner. My wife wanted to go to the Good Friday service at 08:30, so we arrived at the Oriental Restaurant before 08:00, as from previous breakfasts it took 20 to 25 minutes to finish. This breakfast room considerably longer with scrambled eggs on toast for my wife arriving after 25 minutes which she had to bolt down to get to the service and didn't get her Danish pastry at all. Yet from where we were seated other guests in a different area, had their main breakfast delivered nearly 10 minutes before we did. Cabin The TV is missing on board spend, which you have to go to reception and ask to be printed out, which is a waste of paper. The tv channels are very limited, however the destination videos are very interesting and worthwhile. The tv lost all channels on at least one occasion that I can confirm (around 17:00 onwards on Sunday the 14th of April) and I think on another occasion earlier in the cruise. Also lost signal temporarily a number of times. The room steward is very friendly and remembers names (Ratheesh), he looks after us very well. Other staff outside generally do not say good morning (some do)? Though restaurant staff are pretty good. This improved the longer the cruise went on and by the end most said good morning, when on my walks around deck. The bed is very comfortable and cabin E520 is quiet and nicely furnished. It does need small lights by each bedside for getting up in night/reading. Guests leave bathroom light on and door ajar with coat hanger so some light available, this wastes electricity. The balcony is small at around 1 metre in depth, this seems smaller than other ships we have been on and with the chairs and tables minimal room to squeeze by, especially if you have limited mobility. The shower is excellent and spacious, the bathroom is well laid out but not large, I can see where some guests would think the layout is not ideal, especially larger people. The non slip floor in the bathroom is excellent. General Ship The decor is a bit tired in places, floor 7 buttons missing in most lifts, some carpets, rails and stairs worn. The ship is generally clean and the staff look like they work hard to keep it clean. The lifts are a nightmare, they are too full for disabled people, miss floors when waiting and take an age, had to take stairs as gave up after 5 mins plus, others waited for over 15 mins. People end up getting in any lift going in the wrong direction. No stairs with middle lifts a massive mistake. When trying to get off for an excursion again had to give up with lifts after waiting 10 minutes for lifts in the middle of the ship and standing there with two sets of people with wheelchairs, as there are no stairs, a glaring mistake when designing this ship. Also as lifts don't go to all floors it gets confusing to go to deck 5 from the rear from deck 6, you have to go up 1 along to mid ships and then down and when it is busy and you are in a wheelchair this takes ages. Lots of complaints about lifts and queues. Plus the rear lifts are the only ones you can use to get to the Oriental Restaurant, you can't walk there from other lifts, so they get ridiculously busy at dining times, especially in the evenings. There are two independent lifts each side in the middle, so people press all three buttons (1 for the main bank of 4, and 1 for each of the side ones) then get in whichever they can, leaving the other two still stopping at that floor. All middle lifts need to be synchronised. As there are middle stairs (behind the doors) which can be used from floor 7 down, but not up, why not? On the lifts in the middle there are notices about letting less mobile people use them, these are totally ignored. As this cruise has a number of sea days, at the beginning and end, a few children have taken to pressing all the lift buttons as they are unsupervised. I understand this is difficult for P&O, but the parents do need to have responsibility. It was nice that bridge crew made an announcement over the tanoy when whales were spotted. On Palm Sunday, an important Christian event, there is nothing mentioned or even a room set aside, as there is for the Jewish community. It is good there are Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, though 23:30 is a bit late for the washing of the feet on Thursday and the liturgy on Friday (this is due to the crew being able to participate). I suppose this was the earliest P&O had rooms available? The Stations of the Cross on Food Friday was held in The Ivory Suite - a nice room, but only enough chairs for half of the people there, the rest had to stand. The lack of a promenade deck is disappointing as we like to stroll around the outside. There is an area outside to sit in which confused us as we thought it was the promenade. Doors really heavy and difficult to move. The facilities to keep hands clean (dispensers) are largely absent. My wife asked the restaurant manager and was told not necessary after a couple of days and also not that effective, soap and water much better, which is available (in the toilets by Oriental Restaurant so no one used them), in our view dispensers much better and more used, if they were there. The wash basins by buffet restaurant were used but only by a very few people. It is good that there are close buttons on lifts. Ports & Excursions The different ports were excellent, with lots of variety. La Palma was our favourite due to not being too commercialised, but all offered interesting aspects and not what you would expect of these islands. Docking was handled quickly and efficiently, though there were the inevitable queues at peak times. Excursions were good value (compared to other cruise lines) and pretty well run. Though on the one we undertook it was rushed to get the walks in and therefore faster than my wife or I can manage without discomfort (this was the one from the ship we did in La Palma - UNESCO wildlife and Rum). They did say they would take it easy, but certainly didn't for the last half, so we were the last to get to the rum tasting and worn out when we arrived. The tour of the facility was also rushed as we were quickly ushered between a couple of rooms with hasty explanations, to get to the tasting and buying something. At Lisbon, we had to wait nearly 10 minutes to get onto the ship, having gone through security and on the moving gangway, in very cold conditions. This was due to the positioning of the gangway being moved upwards for the tidal flow, which is fair enough. However, over half this time was waiting for someone from the ship (other than the security personnel) to confirm it was safe, despite the Portuguese operator of the gangway confirming to the ships staff that it was. When the P&O officer arrived he tried to blame the delay on the gangway shutting itself down, which the operator refuted and plainly stated it was down to having to wait for him to arrive. We were cold and just wanted to get onto the ship. Whilst we understand the need to be safe, this was clearly "jobsworth!" and nothing to do with safety. The dozen or so passengers were not at all pleased. Theatre & Shows The theatre was over packed for the Strictly interviews, it would have been much better to run 2 events. Also, there is a rush to get into events. Even for the "Astonishing" magic show (which wasn't even mediocre and was certainly not a magic show, just another dance show!) it was a ridiculous rush to get seats and for people who can't walk quickly very frustrating as all the best seats were taken. Theatre layout is curious as not only is it not big enough for the size of the ship (for 2 performances) the staggered seating near the front, means three rows are at the same level therefore if you're shorter, like my wife, and sit on row 2 or 3 of a level you struggle to see. So we had to try to get seats in the first row, which, due to the rush, was not always possible. Much more sensible to properly stagger the seating. If you dine early, like we have to (as I am diabetic), a third show at 19:00 is during dining time, so the show you go for will be 20:30 which is always the full one. The idea of having seats reserved next to aisles for disabled is great, but I recommend that the red signs on the deck 6 ones are made much larger and thus more obvious, as a number of people "didn't see them". It would be good to give out the "No saving of seats message" prior to a few minutes before the performance, as most shows were pretty full long before that and on a number of occasions people had been reserving seats for quite a while. Mind you on the flip side, neither my wife or I are particularly mobile so when doors open we can get caught in the rush to get good seats, so I try and go ahead, leaving my wife to catch up, which usually takes a minute or two. Michael Kushner is an excellent speaker and his talks are really interesting, the shame is due to a number of them being in the Live Lounge (that only seats about 250 people) we were unable to listen to a couple as all the seats were taken well over 10 minutes prior to starting. The Headliners theatre was a much better venue. There are a number of quizzes which are good fun, however the late afternoon one in Brodies bar starts at 17:30 and finished in about 20 minutes. Given that it takes another 10 minutes to get back to our room, we have 30 minutes to get ready for dinner and on formal night that is not long enough. The singer's in lounges are good with a variety of songs and moods. We were told by others the dance floor was much too small and it did seem so for the number of people trying to dance when we went passed, but it was a Strictly cruise and so this might have been an exception. Disembarkation The cases need to be outside at 20:30, which is much earlier than other cruise lines. The worse part of getting off the ship was that there is no place to store your luggage prior to disembarkation and you have to vacate your cabin by 08:00. So with both of us having mobility issues and needing sticks, we then had to contend with hand luggage and a suit carrier to take around with us, which made life very difficult. Some other cruise lines have luggage holding areas. Cabins have to be cleared by 08:00. Not surprisingly the buffet restaurant gets very full. Disembarkation requires you to go to a specific destination, ours was the headliners theatre. So you enter through deck 7 and have to make your way down the front (deck 6) as that is where they will start from. Walking downstairs is bad enough for us, but with 2 sets of carry on luggage and a suit carrier, plus 2 sticks it is almost impossible and leaves my wife and I knackered and very unhappy and hurt my wife’s shoulder quite badly. As we have some paperwork to hand, I left the theatre and met a P&O rep outside. I tell her about the difficulties of the process and how tired we both are and she says there is a disabled departure point (limelight club) that we should have gone to, or asked a rep before getting to the theatre. I said we weren't aware of the disabled departure (as it is not stated anywhere we found) and that by the time we knew how much hassle this would be we were already in the theatre. Also, there was a rep on deck 7 that saw us struggling down the stairs to get to the theatre (as APU the lifts were so jammed full of was impossible to get in the first 5 going down and people had been waiting over 10 minutes) who said nothing to us. So we were now stuck in the theatre waiting. My wife and I registered as requiring assistance, so P&O knew we'd need help for both on and off the ship. So instead of the rep saying we should have asked, P&O knew and exactly which cabin we were in therefore the should have told us what to do as disabled passengers (especially as we had not done this before on P&O). Also, there is an opportunity to self depart, which is a good idea, but we certainly couldn't cope with our main luggage. We asked reception about self departure and were told we would have to get all of our luggage off, and we stated there was no way we could do this having limited mobility, at no time did the receptionist mention assisted departure. An announcement was made about leaving the lifts for wheelchairs or others of limited ability which was more of less ignored. We understand that there is a process needed for so many people but some people ignored it and stood by the doors to get off first. There is realistically very little the crew can do to stop this. Our disembarkation time was scheduled for 08:45 to 09:15. The staff handling the process were OK, but made a number of completely inaccurate statements: 1. Once the process started it would go quickly: This started off in promising manner with the first 4 rows leaving at 08:40, then the next 2 at 08:45. We then had over a 20 minute wait for the next 3 rows (which we were in) and when finally called forward, more than the 3 rows requested tried to leave. We were in the 7th row and finally got out of the theatre around 09:15. One of your reps tried to stop us going out saying the queue was too big (which was ignored by the fed up guests), which it wasn't when we got there. 2. Adam knew exactly how we felt (and told us so repeatedly): No, he didn’t as he’d never struggled with his luggage (the way we had to) and then sat and waited patiently for nearly an hour, listening to statements that were clearly inaccurate. 3. This was the fastest way off and no one else would be getting off before us: When we finally got out of the theatre and headed for the gangway, lots of people (about half) in the queue for the gangway, had not come from the theatre at all. So, the best way to disembark was just to walk off! (especially as you didn’t need your departure sheet!) 4. You need your disembarkation sheet to get off at your allowed time: No, you didn't, just your cruise card as we never had to show the sheet to anyone. 5. This has never happened before: Well given the ridiculous nature of the debacle, if this was the best method P&O had of getting people off, then yes it would. Quite a few guests were vocal about the whole process and the fact queue jumping was going on. As there was still over 50% of the theatre to go after us and it was now well past 09:15, I believe this was going to get even more heated. Other cruise lines with similar size do not seem to have the same system and disembarkation is considerably easier. It would have been much quicker for use to just walk to the gangway on deck 5 and join the queue. Actually, getting off the ship was pretty straightforward, however finding your luggage was another matter. We had been told the luggage was sorted in deck order, in clearly demarked zones. We were on deck E and eventually found our luggage among suitcases from deck F. In fact, there seemed to be no demarcation between E & F at all, so wasted a lot of time searching what was supposed to be the E piles! At least getting the car from CPS was easy, so we drove off! The whole process was a farce and needs serious overhauling to stop it being so painful and exhausting. Overall Having been on multiple other ships and itineraries overall my wife and would mark this as 7.5 out of 10, as there were some very good points, and some very bad ones. On a scale against the other companies we would rate P&O above MSC and Royal Caribbean, on a par with Marella and below, Celebrity, Cunard and Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Embarkation. A bit chaotic, to say the least. We were due to check in at 15:30 but were still queuing to park the car at that time. Apparently there were issues with the airbridge connecting the ship to the terminal, although we were never ... Read More
Embarkation. A bit chaotic, to say the least. We were due to check in at 15:30 but were still queuing to park the car at that time. Apparently there were issues with the airbridge connecting the ship to the terminal, although we were never told officially. We eventually boarded at around 17:00, just in time to get to the emergency drill. Ship & cabin. It was our fifth time on the Ventura and the ship & cabin were spotless. She's a good ship with plenty of room and public spaces. Dining. Definitely gone downhill. First night's meal in the MDR was what I'd expect to be served in prison. It got better but not as good as it used to be. The food at the Sindhu was excellent, however, and well worth the £20 surcharge. The buffet is a bit of a bunfight; too much pushing and shoving in the queues and not enough seating. Entertainment. Singing and dancing is not our cup of tea but there’s plenty of it if you like that sort of thing. The comedian/magician was a bit amateurish and bordering on racist and didn’t get many laughs. The quizzes are good, though, and there’s a good atmosphere in the pub/bar (The Exchange). The Great British Sailaway was jingoistic and cringe-worthy. Ports. Vigo is not the most exciting port in Europe but we had a nice walk to the top of the hill and had a couple of drinks, getting back on board just before the heavens opened. Lisbon is a great city. We walked to the castle and had a good stroll around the squares. Sadly Porto had to be cancelled due to the rough seas. The captain was apologetic but one or two people were heard moaning. They’d have moaned even more if the ship had run into difficulties getting into port. Guernsey is a tender port and we decided to skip breakfast and get on an early tender. Luckily there was not much of a wait. A different story coming back, though. Some choppy seas slowed the tendering process down and we waited for 45 minutes to get back to our ship; a lot quicker than some people from what I heard. Disembarkation. A total shambles. We elected to self-disembark but so did half the ship apparently. They were totally unprepared and the queues were ridiculous. Took over an hour to get off of the ship. Nobody seemed to be organising anything and the crew just seemed to be helpless observers. Overall a good cruise but P&O are not what they used to be. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise as the Brittania is at present the flagship of P&O. We booked a balcony, again a first for us. We have to say we were delighted with the cabin and I spent as much time as possible sitting on the balcony. There was ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the Brittania is at present the flagship of P&O. We booked a balcony, again a first for us. We have to say we were delighted with the cabin and I spent as much time as possible sitting on the balcony. There was everything we would need in the cabin so no complaints there. The food was excellent in all the restaurants, however, the menus are very similar to the Ventura and Azura. The Sindhu......... brilliant. The food and the experience are superb and we would highly recommend a visit. The crew were helpful but we found the crew on the Ventura seemed more cheerful, saying that we do not have any complaints which we are pleased with as we wanted this cruise on the Brittania to be a pleasant experience. A bit disappointed that we didn't get to call in to Guernsey but fully understandable given the conditions, the other ports were pleasant although we would have preferred longer on our trip to Ypres. The only complaint about the tours are the expectations of a gratuity. They are expensive enough without the tour guide and driver waiting with their hands out......as pleasant people as they were. We would definitely go on Brittania again, but to different ports. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Wanted to see the Bulb Fields and Keukenhof, which we did under our own steam. Pity P&O did not put on their own excursions to Keukenhof, a world class venue. Embarkation was excellent, seems to get slicker each time. Some new ... Read More
Wanted to see the Bulb Fields and Keukenhof, which we did under our own steam. Pity P&O did not put on their own excursions to Keukenhof, a world class venue. Embarkation was excellent, seems to get slicker each time. Some new dishes on MDR menus but basically still the same over last few years, still lots of choice but some more new dishes needed on the menu cycles. Contrary to all the negative reviews on stairs/lifts we have never had a problem (other than people who will not step out the lift to let people out). Britannia buffet works well with the serving stations placed between the two sides of the restaurant, much better than the single file lines of other earlier P&O ships. But why oh why do people get a table first and then go off singly to get their food while one "guards the table? New shows like Gravity are not our cup of tea, much prefer "song and dance" A lovely cruise, Rotterdam a very good maiden port call. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a 60th Birthday Cruise. I contacted P&O prior to sailing to arrange a few items and sure enough they were in the cabin waiting for us when we arrived. From Curbside to cabin took less than 10 minutes. Excellent Job. ... Read More
This was a 60th Birthday Cruise. I contacted P&O prior to sailing to arrange a few items and sure enough they were in the cabin waiting for us when we arrived. From Curbside to cabin took less than 10 minutes. Excellent Job. Luggage beat us to the cabin. The muster drill was very well organized and the crew did an exceptional job with the Guests. We were able to watch the sail away from our cabin in time. Jason our cabin steward was top notch. The ship was clean and we could see the hard wording staff cleaning and polishing every day and disinfecting all common areas. We ate at all the specialty Restaurants and each and everyone was very nice. The service throughout the ship for the entire journey was perfect. We couldn't fault one member of staff. The entertainment staff and the Cruise Director were visible the entire trip. Disembarking in all ports of call were seamless. With the exception of our return to Southampton. The jetty was not functioning so we waited in the Havana Lounge for 3 hours before disembarking at 11:30 on Friday Morning. The only constructive suggestion would be maybe to designate two or 3 elevators to those with mobility scooters/walkers etc. As this took up most of the elevator space all over the ship. The only other issue we would mention is how miserable the majority of the older guests were especially to the hard working crew. There should be signage saying no abuse will be tolerated at anytime to any member of staff. They work too hard and long hours. We would sail P&O for sure but no longer than 7 days. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a cruise In Search of the Northern Lights, and sadly we didn't find them! Too much cloud cover. We didn't mind thought as the ship was lovely and we saw parts of Norway including Alta at the very top. Some people were ... Read More
This was a cruise In Search of the Northern Lights, and sadly we didn't find them! Too much cloud cover. We didn't mind thought as the ship was lovely and we saw parts of Norway including Alta at the very top. Some people were very disappointed as the tours were terribly expensive (£135pp for the northern lights tour and £210pp for huskies). We decided to stay on the ship and watch out from there. The itinerary was changed at the last minute, so the ship docked at Haugesund instead of Bergen, which was another disappointment. Haugesund is pretty enough but there is not a lot there. The next stop was Narvik. This is only the second time a P&O ship has docked there, and you can see why! If you are going to this port on a cruise, book an excursion, as there is very little in the town at all. On no account do what we did and walk in from the ship. We were told 40 mins but it was an hour and a half over snow and ice. Also do not be tempted to do the Ofoten railway independently. The ship's tour lays on a bus to bring you back. Without this you would be waiting 4 hours for the train to return. Alta our most northerly stop is of more interest. A visit to the Ice Hotel is well worth doing. Last stop was Stavanger which is a very pretty town to explore. The cathedral is closed for renovations and will be so for a couple more years. Aurora is a lovely ship. Our cabin was F190 which was fine. Midships and low down so it was quiet and did not move about too much. We did have a terrific storm after leaving Alta, and people high up and at the front had a bad night of it. Entertainment was mostly first class. There was a wonderful classical pianist called Philip Smith and a very talented duo of violinists called Elektra. The speaker, Jane Davey, was terrific. She is half Norwegian and gave really entertaining talks on life in Norway. There is certainly no lack of things to do on the ship. We were spoiled for choice. Disembarkation was speedy and trouble free. So a great cruise overall, but I wish the ports of call had been Bergen, Tromso, Alta and Stavanger. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
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