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769 P&O Cruises Family Cruise Reviews

I haven’t cruised with P&O for over twenty years and as this cruise coincided with school holidays I thought I’d give it a try. Very disappointing. To begin with the Indian and Philippine staff are perfect and a credit both to ... Read More
I haven’t cruised with P&O for over twenty years and as this cruise coincided with school holidays I thought I’d give it a try. Very disappointing. To begin with the Indian and Philippine staff are perfect and a credit both to their respective countries and to P&O. The problem on this ship is the U.K. staff. All very well being a ‘British’ ship but if you cruise with them you can expect a British attitude. The ship is run for their convenience and not for the passengers. The kids club needs decent management. Although there are lots of children on this cruise, opening time and registration is a disgrace. Once inside, the kids love it but you’re given strict instructions to pick your child up fifteen minutes before closing. If any of the officers (conspicuous by their absence) happen to read this can I suggest you attend the opening of the club tomorrow and witness the shambles for yourself. Does this ship have any officers? We’ve yet to see one. All the hot tubs are closed. Don’t blame the weather either. I’ve been in worse and it’s just down to them not being bothered in my humble opinion. No request goes answered and the miserable Scottish receptionist would be better suited to serving criminals in Barlinnie jail just outside Glasgow than deal with customers on a supposedly ‘luxury’ cruise. On the upside, the main restaurant is very nice indeed. Thanks but no thanks P&O. It’s a shame but it’s back home to Celebrity for us! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Made a mistake by booking Ventura - Very noisy ship especially in the atrium with dance classes going on all day so unable to relax in the bar or coffee lounge. This went on in the evening so instead of having a pianist we had blaring ... Read More
Made a mistake by booking Ventura - Very noisy ship especially in the atrium with dance classes going on all day so unable to relax in the bar or coffee lounge. This went on in the evening so instead of having a pianist we had blaring music to contend with -very unpleasant so went to Glasshouse. Excellent cabin and "Elvor" our cabin steward was very professional and did a excellent job. Waiters were excellent and always asked if everything was O.K. which it was. We even had the chief come round one evening and ask if everything was satisfactory. Entertainment and shows were a disgrace P&O must do better. Far too many people for size of ship. Could not get into shows talks or lectures. Had passengers playing cards in the restaurant at breakfast and no action taken by staff. Water bottles being filled from water machines while staff were watching and no action taken, Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Maybe we was on a different ship than what has been reviewed before. first of all a few bits of rust and worn carpets wont bother our holiday experience. Secondly I do not write letters to the captain with the slightest complaint and ... Read More
Maybe we was on a different ship than what has been reviewed before. first of all a few bits of rust and worn carpets wont bother our holiday experience. Secondly I do not write letters to the captain with the slightest complaint and proceed to tell everyone within earshot. we all know Azura is going in for refit but the ship is in very good condition considering over 3000 passengers use it 365 days a year. I think some people just want to moan about anything and everything. Cabin was perfectly acceptable kept clean by our excellent steward. we have been on azura about 5 times now . food in the main restaurants is very good and nothing is to much trouble for the waiters. we also did Sindu and the Beach house which were both excellent value. the buffet is not as varied as other cruise lines but you could always find something acceptable. this ship used to be p&o liveliest ship with great sailaway partys sadly this is not the case now. the sailaways are now more low key. Bring back Benny and Jo B. the best party used to be the great british sailaway but now sadly no more. I heard many people complaining to each other that this great event is now missing. the entertainment is now average at best but didn't bother us as we do our own thing. do not buy the drinks package as it is extortionate. a serious alky would struggle to get his moneys worth. drink prices for alcohol on board are same as uk. however the soft drink prices ie a small bottle of coke £3.10! we found the staff all to be pleasant and very accommodating. the ports of call are great as we do are own trips . would I travel on azura again most definatley . all in all a great cruise . do not be put off by the serial moaners. yes its not 5 star and improvements can always be made. have a great time. not got time to review all the ports just get out there and enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I chose this cruise as I have been on same one 3 previous times and enjoyed it very much. We were a group of 10 people, 8 of whom had been before so we have something to compare our experience with. I can understand that embarkation and ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I have been on same one 3 previous times and enjoyed it very much. We were a group of 10 people, 8 of whom had been before so we have something to compare our experience with. I can understand that embarkation and disembarkation is a massive headache for all staff so have no particular comment to make in that respect. The ship, however is a different matter. Sadly in need of a refurb which I believe is happening soon.....pity we booked this time of year (and paid more than ever before despite not being there over festive period ) Distinctly tatty in many areas. The cabin flooring was well worn and dated but our cabin steward was brilliant. All the staff were hard working and exceptionally polite. We ate in Meridian mainly but also the buffet and Beach House ( which has exceptional food quality and service ) We ate in Sindhu last time but had a bad experience so didn't want to go again. Entertainment was mainly excellent with one bad comedian. We all felt that P&O have cut back dramatically, no shower caps, no replacement toiletries and minimal to start with. One of the worst things was our amount of onboard credit....£45, a joke. I was under the impression that loyalty was rewarded but this amount was the least we've ever had. You shouldn't go to the Caribbean if you have an issue with the ports or how the locals live so all of that was fine. The biggest disappointment was the Rhum Runner excursion. It is billed as a 'Party Boat' which it certainly was not. The Captain droned on for 45 minutes whilst the crew served some sort of gruesome mix which purported to be rum punch.....totally undrinkable! It compared with sugar water so I asked for a rum and coke which I didn't think unreasonable when rum is the main export. The barman was inexplicably rude, telling me I couldn't have one despite me telling him I couldn't drink what was being dished out. He said I could BUY beer at 3 dollars a bottle. I explained that I didn't like beer and he then furtively found some rum under the bar and poured a very small rum and coke but told me that I couldn't have another and not to come back! My sister was behind me and he begrudgingly gave her one but when my son and brother-in-law asked for one they were flatly refused. So, one drink and we were deposited on a beach for 90 minutes. The return journey comprised of no drink as the barman totally refused to give me a rum and coke and when I expressed my feelings he said he didn't care. About 10 minutes from arriving back at the port ( in sight of our ship and anyone who cared to watch our arrival ) they decided to make it look like a party and tried doing conga and limbo. My son had bought me the excursion for Xmas so it was even more of a disappointment. There were some excursion staff awaiting our arrival and asking if we'd enjoyed it. You can imagine what we told them. My son tried to give feedback on board and was told they would make a note of our disappointment.....chocolate fireguard springs to mind. The worst trip I've ever done and totally not worth £50 per person In general the whole group found the cruise to be not good value as compared with previous trips on the same ship. We all said we would be looking at other companies. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Sadly cut backs are very noticeable on the Azura. Food was excellent in all venues. Cabin appeared clean and steward was great, sadly they no longer have time to do the wonderful animal towels as they now have a greater volume of ... Read More
Sadly cut backs are very noticeable on the Azura. Food was excellent in all venues. Cabin appeared clean and steward was great, sadly they no longer have time to do the wonderful animal towels as they now have a greater volume of rooms to clean. sadly when we pulled our suitcase out from under the bed it was covered in dust! Although we no longer pay tips on P+O most people still gave at least the cabin steward a tip. Despite announcements regarding sunbed hogging no staff were seen removing towels. Some greedy couples had 2 in the sun 2 in the shade. most also had towels and bag on the bed next to them to stop anyone being there. but lets face it they are the type of people who are totally selfish + completely ignore requests, you know the type that always push to the front of the Que for everything. 'So wished the staff monitored this and intervened. Guess p+o was on to a winner as we splashed out and booked into the Retreat. Entertainment manager was rubbish,saw him just once he left everything to his deputy who was excellent. Sewerage smell was really bad at times, noticed some new ship parts being loaded on in Barbados before we left 24/1/2020 lets hope its to fix the sewage fault. Very said to see the end of the "Last day great British sail-away". P+O say they want save on plastic so no flags (or another cut back) and to appeal to the international market. So out go the patriotic songs! Being to PC could lose British regulars be careful. Can they honestly expect the Americans and Europeans to be satisfied with p+o type of ships we love. With no water slides/ surf riders/ice-rink/ice cream on tap etc on board. Would they get our British humour and ways (or is that going too) P+O you have a cornered market all you will do is drive us away and have empty ships. I think the marketing/finance team need to review that idea. As for the normal daily 'Sail A ways' nearly every one in the whole of the two weeks was over before we had even left port! Entertainment had some good acts the best being comedian Mick Miller some acts not so good. Brodies could do with more seating during the quizzes. We have always chose for the company to pick our cabin option as they usually give you the middle of the ship which we prefer. However this time we lost out as our balcony was up on the 14th floor still in the middle but under the stick out ledge so we were in the shade a lot. The captain although good at arranging the changed itinerary? due to the windy weather, he was not very good at making speeches over the speaker system, which were few and very far between. Funny though on reading other reviews before and after our cruise 10th January 2020, He Cuts out st Vincent and he always arranged the alternative island as Martinique. Sadly the docking is always at the container berth as the cruise ones are already booked out.Not a pretty sight. I may have been mistaken but I'm sure he mentioned he lived on this french island for a few years! Most regulars we spoke to were like us and didn't enjoy Martinique and missed visiting st Vincent. Sadly with the windy weather, changed itinerary and this tiered, smelly, crowded ship , a lot of 1st timers to the Caribbean and 1st time cruisers on board said never again. Which is such a shame as previous trips this time of year to the Caribbean have been a welcome beautiful trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My Name is Steve Meredith. I have been in the catering service for 40 years and still going. I have worked in all aspects of the industry from five star hotels, Michelin star restaurants, private chef to deli & coffee shop. I ... Read More
My Name is Steve Meredith. I have been in the catering service for 40 years and still going. I have worked in all aspects of the industry from five star hotels, Michelin star restaurants, private chef to deli & coffee shop. I recently went on New Year Cruise UK Departure Date 29 Dec 19 Total Trip Nights: 5 I was very disappointed in the food and service. Food was of a very poor quality and standard, and presented like kids had prepared it. The service in all catering and bar areas was appalling. Enclose is a diary i kept. Day 1 29th Dec When we arrived at the terminal we were asked if we had checked in on line . We all had but then got told had we registered our credit card . No where did it say to do this . We was told no drink package on this cruise, every one moaned and you could feel tensions getting high. P O opened the exchange bar to purchase the drinks package, long que formed and took a hour to purchase . We went to buffet for lunch, small area and even smaller choice of food. Salads look like the end of the night at pizza hut and not much choice. Cheap food item were on offer. Went to room, this was good . First night dinner took 20 minutes to get in to restaurant, rolls were of a poor quality . Starters was good but main pork roast not so good, stuffing no taste, roast potatoes deep fried then roasted hard in middle and dark brown . Gravy had been left on hot plate to long. The steak pie that my father chose looked like a school meal, peas and carrots and a scoop of mash. Raspberry pavlova that i chose for dessert was not a pavlova. It was one of our guests 75th birthday . One of the head waiters I think white uniform ask who's Mark Acton . Mark said hello the head waiter just plonked this dry old cake by him and ran and I mean ran off . No candles or happy birthday singing . We went to the Havana bar it took 30 minutes to get a drink . Then ages for another. Day 2 Went to watch rocket man in the Havana bar no chairs out left to our own devices. Dinner took 42min to get a drink after I caught a head waiter sort of guy. Lamb steak full of bone tough and small portion. Sent it back another came, tougher then the first one. Powder mash, on other guests dinners the quality was poor . I had the Cheese and biscuits for sweet, says continental and British isles but all were British cheese . We did the elimination quiz they held it in the buffet restaurant. Only one drinks waiter on then was told the bar was closed at 1130 and could not get another drink. So we went with out. Day 3 Getting off to Hamburg we decided to get a take away tea. Was asked cold milk we said yes please . The lady asked the waiter to pass the cold milk. He ignored her and shook the hand of another waiter wished him happy new year. Wasnt new year yet. Lucky the pastry girl saw this and jumped in. Went to buffet once again small, poor choose and quality of food. News eve gala dinner . No one explained our menu and what we had to do. So we missed out on the sorbet course. The chicken soup should have had croutons none of us got croutons . The lobster tail on three of our plates were inedible had to be sent back. The creme brulee was definitely not a creme brulee but a mousse no egg custard or caramel to be seen. Cheese board had Parmesan cheese on. Not really a cheese for the cheese board but a cooking cheese. We sat out in the outside bar, for News Eve. No waiter service at all had to que to place our orders. Day 4 Machines in buffet restaurant only dispensing water no other drinks available. We booked the Afternoon tea in the white room. Was good but not enough savoury too much sweet stuff and very sweet. We waited once again ages for drinks at dinner . Only one wine waiter that we could see. Day 5 I chose the pork and sage roll to start at dinner . It was a two inch sausage roll not what i would call a starter. Mixed grill was small i asked for two. lamb cutlet was tiny over cooked steak and liver . No egg, gammon, sausage or onion rings that you would hope to find on a mixed grill. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
have cruised with P&O several times previously and fancied some winter sun with a company we were familiar with but we had some issues on this cruise. There was an horrendous smell of sewerage wafting around the ship over several ... Read More
have cruised with P&O several times previously and fancied some winter sun with a company we were familiar with but we had some issues on this cruise. There was an horrendous smell of sewerage wafting around the ship over several days of the cruise and it was most unpleasant!. Our itinerary was changed and we did not visit Grand Turk which was very disappointing as we were told this was the best place on out itinerary. I found out on the way home that this was apparently due to the grey sewage tanks being full to the brim and the port at Grand Turk could not facilitate the emptying of them so we diverted to Tortolla and Martinique was added to the itinerary instead. If this is the case, I think that is poor management! We stayed in cabin E215 above the playhouse theatre, we did experience some noise on an afternoon from the show rehearsals which did not really bother us too much but what did bother us was that we were kept awake for the first 4-5 nights of our holiday due to a compressor type noise that went off every 10 minutes or so all through the night, it kept us awake and drove us mad but after that it stopped, I believe P&O turned it off and operated it manually after the first few days. We could not fault the waiter service in the Meridian restaurant but the general waiter service around the ship was inadequate, there weren't enough waiters on the ship to accommodate the volume of people and you could never find a waiter around to order drinks from. The Azura is looking a bit tired and shabby in some places. I am not sure if I would cruise with P&O again after this as it marred our holiday quite a bit. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our second cruise on the Azura and are a couple in our 40s with a 8 and 10 year old. We had a really good time and enjoyed our time on board, but noticed slight differences from last time 2 years previously. The bar service ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Azura and are a couple in our 40s with a 8 and 10 year old. We had a really good time and enjoyed our time on board, but noticed slight differences from last time 2 years previously. The bar service around the pool. Yes it was busy on sea days, not as busy on non sea days as we did not get off at every port. But the bar service has slipped. Previously the waiters/waitress were always around to order a drink. I am not precious about using the waiters and happy to go to the bar, which had one or two people serving. Lots of waiting, not enough staff. We bought the drinks package which worked out well for us, as we got the kids drinks thrown in free so didn't have to worry about the endless drinks for them. The package included the costa slush drinks, hot chocolates and teas as well as the mocktails. Not all of these were allowed on the kids package but we just got them on ours. Back to the pool - reserving of sun beds!! age old problem on any holiday but seriously people were reserving beds as early as 6am. In the end I didnt bother with a bed and sat on the nice ratton seats by the outdoor bar. I got a better view of the pool and area anyhow to watch out for the kids. The staff were trying to do something about it by leaving tickets on beds. I watched from my ratton seat them put tickets on beds giving people a 30 minute warning. Hours later the tickets were still there, no one was on the beds and nothing was done. I had two negative experiences on our cruise that haven't affected my rating due to it hopefully not happening to anyone else. We tried to book another cruise on board. I won't go into chapter and verse but the staff were so unhelpful, kept me waiting days to finally tell me the holiday I was waiting for them to book had been sold to someone else!! We have therefore booked with Celebrity instead for the summer. The second was purely my fault, I know that. It has never crossed my mind to put my jewelry in my hand luggage. It was packed in my case and left outside my cabin as instructed before midnight before going home. When we got home, most of it had been taken from my case, leaving charms and bits in my case. Granted the items could have been taken from anywhere between Barbados and Mcr Airport BUT the cases were left overnight with staff from P&O until they sent them off the following day to the airport. P&O would not accept any responsibility when emailed when I got home. Yes I get it, it was my fault BUT I still had items stolen and left a bad taste in my mouth. The restaurants are good, the MDR, the beach house, the sidhu - we ate in them all. We had the early morning champagne breakfast in the Planet bar which was really nice! The buffet restaurant - the dark wood one is a really bad design, its almost a corridor where the food is set out. Miss something and you have to fight back through the corridor or go back round. Head for the lighter wood restaurant!! Food good BUT on reflection, its very British!! Yes its a British ship, full of brits BUT something a bit more adventurous to reflect the area we are visiting may be better as an addition? Kids had a brill time, met other kids, felt on ease with them wandering up and down. They used the kids clubs. Think it made it that they made friends. Trips - I have never done a P&O excursion. I research the port before we go, get a taxi and head off. You can always head to the same beaches P&O do for literally a fraction of the price. An example being - St Kitts, think it was 180 pounds with P&O for us four. We got our own taxi (all reputable), bought our own bed, a few beers and soft drinks for about 50 dollars!. Another tip IF you head to where P&O are, find them if it makes you feel better and walk down the beach, you wont all be sat on top of each other and its more pleasurable. We did this in both Antigua and St Kitts and somewhere else I cant remember. Trust me you will save a fortune if you just want to head for a beach or a walk around. I good holiday, we all had tears in our eyes when we left...but we are trying Celebrity next time despite being in the P&O Pennisular Club (kids got free hoodys on board which are quite good quality). Enjoy... or by the way we did notice 'the smell' but was infrequent aand we didnt care. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because it ticked a number of boxes with regards to islands visited, we boarded the ship on the 27th December 2019, the boarding process was very efficient. The first issue we had was the aircon did not work in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it ticked a number of boxes with regards to islands visited, we boarded the ship on the 27th December 2019, the boarding process was very efficient. The first issue we had was the aircon did not work in the cabin, we informed our cabin boy and also reception, it took two further days and a number of calls and requested before I had to insist someone visited to the cabin and repaired the system. The cabins are typical cruise ship small and the bathrooms are very small however we have cruised before so it was as expected. The itinerary was good and apart from the dropping Grand Turk for no real given reason the islands visited were good and as expected, we took a number of tours which were all very good in particular the champagne and lobster on Granada which was probably the best trip of this kind I have ever been on. The overall entertainment on board was poor apart from the live music bands that were generally very good. We are not heavy drinkers however we choose to purchase the unlimited drinks package for convenience, however it does restrict the type of drinks (particularly in wine) you can have and they are generally of a lesser quality than if you purchase direct, overall I doubt it cost any more or saved ourselves money but it did restrict the choice of drinks so I would not advise it unless you intend to drink 15 pints of Stella every day (which many did) The bar service on the boat is appalling, the staff in 90% of cases have contempt for the passengers, service is slow and very unprofessional. The quality of food served in all the restaurants was average particularly for a cruise ship, I would rate it as a poor 2 star all inclusive resort and certainly not what we have seen on other cruise ships. On most days and evenings there was no room on the decks, the ship feels very overcrowded and also very intimidating, the open decks are a permanent drinking frenzy and I watched numerous people downing pints of Stella like it was going out of fashion, a number of the older or more refined people on the ship told me they stopped going out on the decks as it frightened them. The tables were dirty and rarely cleared of glasses, the whole of the outside including all the areas around the pools are smoking areas, there was heavy smoking and drinking on most tables, also people smoking in the food areas outside and the children’s area. In my opinion the ship is no more than a very expensive booze cruise. If this is the new target audience for cruise ships we shall have been on our last cruise, I would certainly never recommend this this ship (or P&O) to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Good points The food and cabin where reasonable, the lady cleaning the cabin was excellent. The Headliners entertainment was excellent. Bad Points. The ship is in need of a make over, The main swimming pool area reminded us of ... Read More
Good points The food and cabin where reasonable, the lady cleaning the cabin was excellent. The Headliners entertainment was excellent. Bad Points. The ship is in need of a make over, The main swimming pool area reminded us of the comedy programme Benidorm,with the towels on sun beds and nobody using the beds,the drone of dated music, kids running and jumping in the pool when signage says not too. Idiots jumping in the pools that were closed on New Year’s Eve (that was adults ) no control over any of this behaviour. The evening dress code for gents was long trousers , many gents wearing shorts. The other big disappointment was we did not get to visit Grand Turk, one of the reasons we booked the cruise in the first place .We were told ship had mechanical issues . One of the trips we booked was a Jeep Safari it turned out to be a pick up truck experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We had an absolute ball! It was our friends 50th Birthday. Staff were pleasant and helpful. Special thanks to Elias our cabin lad. He was so pleasant and lovely and very attentive to our needs. Thank you Elias. R 616. The food ... Read More
We had an absolute ball! It was our friends 50th Birthday. Staff were pleasant and helpful. Special thanks to Elias our cabin lad. He was so pleasant and lovely and very attentive to our needs. Thank you Elias. R 616. The food and restaurants were spot on. Entertainment was ok, but not brilliant. Plenty to do on board to suit all. Loved the dancing ballroom, Latin and the Salsa class. Quizzes were great and set the mood for the day and evening. Overall it was a fantastic holiday. We didn’t go on the ships tours, but instead got Taxis and found wonderful, quite beaches, with bars and gentle entertainment (if desired). Azura herself is a beautiful ship, although looking a tad tired, but I believe she is in for a revamp this year. We really enjoyed our holiday and would certainly, do it again. You only get out of a holiday what you put into it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Family cruise. The good - nice ship and facilities. Food quality also good. Buffet was never crowded and never had to queue. The bad - Dining room service was hap-hazard and very slow. Clearly a lack of staff for the dining ... Read More
Family cruise. The good - nice ship and facilities. Food quality also good. Buffet was never crowded and never had to queue. The bad - Dining room service was hap-hazard and very slow. Clearly a lack of staff for the dining rooms. Aft cabin - no smoke/smut issues as others have recorded. But the carpet near the balcony door was dirty and very badly stained. They didn't refresh the cabins during her recent refit that's for sure. The p and o tours were awful - a whale watching experience turned into a beach day - after challenging the tour desk on return, got a refund. first it was unavailable, then they added an extra tour, then they cancelled on the morning, then they made it available on the dock side - total chaos! another tour was really just a drive to a dirty pool and dried up waterfall - described as a jeep tour - wasn't a jeep but a truck - is you like to drive in the heat for 4 hours with a crap stop, then book this. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise as we have been on Ventura before. I can't express how disappointed I and the rest of my party were. The headliners seemed under rehearsed, the special guests weren't special - comedians that weren't ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we have been on Ventura before. I can't express how disappointed I and the rest of my party were. The headliners seemed under rehearsed, the special guests weren't special - comedians that weren't suitable for a Christmas cruise, and a lack of entertainment during the day unless you are a fitness fanatic The dance lessons were in the central Atrium - who wants to learn with two left feet with people walking in and out I went to a talk in the Art Gallery - people were struggling to stand (if there were 40 chairs there were 60 people, not counting those that left!) - you couldn't lean on the walls or posts so people with zimmer frames and walking sticks struggling to stay. They did say it would be repeated for those that couldn't stay but no mention of when The same could be said for the Salsa class - got cancelled (understandably due to ship movement) after waiting in the room, to be rescheduled at a later time that never materialised (or wasn't made clear!) The cabin was fine, though again cut backs - no flannels, soap not being replaced when used, shampoo not being refilled. The bathrobes were available to buy, but as the threads were loose and "well worn" why wasn't the option to buy new ones? Also, considering it recently had a refit the area around the patio doors was less than acceptable The dining room and staff were excellent - food top notch in the restaurant, The buffet not so much, and you'd expect the same food to be in throughout the buffet - not so! Some things, like brown sauce and black pudding, were very difficult to find! Often there, but literally walking the full length of the buffet to find The gym was well equipped, but difficult to find - I went three times before realising I was in the right place due to pushy spa people wanting to sell a massage and what-not - you couldn't get to the gym without getting past them! Lastly, the route was ridiculous with the first port cancelled, it meant we didn't actually get to first port until the fifth day of a twelve-day cruise - four days, five nights at sea were slowly getting to us Would I use P&O again? Not this ship (The Arcadia trip I was on the previous year was fabulous - second to none!) Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Our flight on the Friday was on time and even arrived early into Bridgetown. The entertainment and food on the flight was fine and was a pleasant 9 hour flight. When we landed, a few showers delayed us getting off the plane however ... Read More
Our flight on the Friday was on time and even arrived early into Bridgetown. The entertainment and food on the flight was fine and was a pleasant 9 hour flight. When we landed, a few showers delayed us getting off the plane however soon enough we were on the bus straight to the ship. When we got there we were the first flight to land so there were no queues so we got straight on. We found our balcony cabin on B deck quickly and it was everything we needed and was really happy with it and our cabin steward who was fantastic throughout the cruise. Azura is in need of her refit which is due to happen very soon however we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. We had 2nd sitting dining in the oriental restaurant on a table of 6 which we enjoyed and the food was lovely and we dined in Sindhu, The Epicurean and The Beach House which were all stunning and worth the extra surcharge. We have been to all the Caribbean Islands we visited before so it was great to visit again and either visit some new places or go back to old favourites. We had fantastic weather with only a few showers which passed quickly. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas and like us many passengers decorated there cabin doors which was great. Santa arrived on Christmas eve and it was a lot of fun and the children on board looked to be having a great time. We have done this Christmas cruise a few times and look forward to being back on board again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Where do I begin? The cruise was absolutely fantastic. Whoever faults this cruise needs there heads checking. The ship itself is beautiful, In fabulous condition. The rooms were cleaned every day and night. Our room cleaner even left ... Read More
Where do I begin? The cruise was absolutely fantastic. Whoever faults this cruise needs there heads checking. The ship itself is beautiful, In fabulous condition. The rooms were cleaned every day and night. Our room cleaner even left little chocolates on our pillows which went down very well with our children! There was jam packed entertainment on throughout the day! The theatre shows were like going to the west end every night! Most of all we couldn’t get over how amazing the food was. A 4 course sit down meal every night! It was Michelin star quality. Even breakfast was a sit down meal! You could go to a buffet that served fabulous food all day if u liked but the dining in the main restaurants was too good to miss! The main restaurants even did afternoon tea every day at 4pm which was incredible! We ate like kings on this holiday and were treated like royalty. I read someone has put the food was basic in the buffet?? Is this person joking? I don’t know where these people eat but the food in the buffet was the best buffet I’ve ever experienced! I don’t know how anybody could complain about this cruise, I read reviews before we went away and some people said they didn’t like the captains sense of humour and that the service was slipping? What is wrong with people? Do people want slaves??? Every single member on the cruise gave top class service and was a joy to come across! The waiters couldn’t do enough for you, we were greeted with smiles from all sorts of staff everywhere we went on the ship. Even the man who stood at the front of the restaurant giving people hand sanitizer was smiling non stop and happily joking with our children making them laugh hysterically! P & O should be very very proud of all their staff, because they were honestly top class. I can’t wait to book again! This is an honest review, by a real family who went on this cruise hoping for a nice time. What we got was a holiday of a lifetime. Thank you so much. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our first cruise with P&O having cruised several times previously with Princess. We chose P&O due to the convenience of a direct flight from Manchester to Barbados. We will not be choosing P&O again and I would ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O having cruised several times previously with Princess. We chose P&O due to the convenience of a direct flight from Manchester to Barbados. We will not be choosing P&O again and I would advise anyone booking the Azura to think carefully. The most noticeable features were the poor standard of service and the poor quality of the food. Only a very few of the staff are friendly, engage well with passengers and show an interest and pride in their work. When you come across a smile it stands out against the norm. Most staff carry out their work to the minimum of standards; they are indifferent, appear to be unhappy and treat passengers as if they are commodities. The standard and quality of food in the formal restaurants is average and the choice and quality of food in the self service is limited and mediocre. However, the quality and standards in the Sindhu and Epicurean speciality restaurants is excellent, demonstrating that P&O can provide a good service when they choose to. Of course, you are charged extra for these restaurants. You pay for ice creams on board and these are expensive and the choice is very limited. For this reason there is little uptake from passengers and therefore the ice cream counter is rarely staffed. The coffee shop is a Costa, complete with paper cups. It offers a small choice of unappetising cakes and snacks and as passengers are not tempted by them they sit in the counter for most of the day. Though I like and often use Costa in the high street I do not consider them a luxury or highly 'star rated' coffee shop. The ship itself is tired and scruffy with clear signs of damage to some walls. The atrium, compared to other ships, is small and uninspiring. Overall, this was a mediocre 3 star holiday. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We last sailed on Oceana back in 2015 and felt the ship was really beginning to show it’s age. Some spectacular ports of call including Venice, Kotor, Florence, Rome and Capri together with beautiful long warm, sunny days more than made ... Read More
We last sailed on Oceana back in 2015 and felt the ship was really beginning to show it’s age. Some spectacular ports of call including Venice, Kotor, Florence, Rome and Capri together with beautiful long warm, sunny days more than made up for it. Due to recent events in the Gulf, Oceana was repositioned from it’s planned itinerary and this meant there were some really good bargains to be had. We decided to book a 7 night cruise in the English Channel and the North Sea in November. Despite the great value we felt it was a bit of a risk as we knew we would have to spend plenty of time inside the ship. As the Captain joked such an itinerary allows you to see all “50 shades of Grey”. Since last sailing on Oceana we have always preferred other ships in the P&O fleet and have sailed many times on Cunard and Princess (our most recent cruise being 2 weeks in August on Queen Victoria, which we always find to be absolutely immaculate in terms of decor). I have to say that Oceana really delivered, firstly the ship is looking far better than it was in 2015. All of the pool areas have had brand new tiling, new AstroTurf and loungers. The Yacht and Compass bar and Winners have been transformed with brand new furnishings and carpets. The Yacht and Compass is in my view the best looking pub at sea, far better than the Golden Lion on Cunard ships and Brodie’s bars on Britannia and Azura. It just seems a shame that the Hand pulled Real Ales have been added to the Winners bar. Despite this there is a brilliant selection of Real Ales and the Beer flights on offer in the Yacht and Compass (at good value). The Atrium has seen the dated Palm trees disappear and brand new carpeting throughout. It is without doubt the most impressive and most functional atrium in the fleet. It is the absolute hub of activity on the ship, in a way that even a refitted Britannia atrium can’t achieve. To put it into context the 4 level atrium can simultaneously host, professionally organised dancing on the lowest level, shopping on the level above, a musical act (whether it be a pianist, band or guitarist on the deck above) and the fantastic Cafe Jardin on the top tier overlooking all the action. Even by the end of the week you couldn’t help be wowed by the beautiful views, the Glass lifts, Grand staircases, Water features and Tiffany glass ceilings. Cafe Jardin is a real stand out! Serving complimentary breakfast and lunch, freshly cooked to order. Breakfast runs from 8am-10:30am and Lunch from 11am until 5pm. The food is delicious and it’s an offering incomparable to that found on other P&O and Cunard ships. You also have a buffet station with fresh salads and desserts should you wish to add further to your ordered dish. It’s especially brilliant when you return at 4pm from a trip to be able to sit down, order from a menu and have water, tea and coffee served to your table. We paid the additional £8.50 cost for the evening meal and had a really tasty meal. I wouldn’t describe the food as gourmet, it certainly isn’t as good as Epicurean or the Verandah on Cunard before they turned it into a steakhouse. However it’s well worth the cost and is a really refreshing alternative to the Main Dining Room. We didn’t try the Beach House on this cruise. We did back in 2015 and it was one of our stand out nights on the ship as we dined al fresco on the terrace. I think we may no longer be here if we had attempted to relive the experience on the North Sea. Despite the plaza buffet being more attractive in design than most ship buffets I felt the inside Beach House area was a little close to the buffet stations to convey the ambience you would expect of a select dining venue. The main dining room was good, dishes ranged from outstanding to generally good to occasionally poor. The Plaza buffet doesn’t have as wider choice as that on Cunard or the larger P&O ships but we found breakfast to be every bit as good on Cunard or the bigger ships. Lunch however was more average. The Plaza however has a great location at the front of the ship with great views and it’s all been completely refreshed since 2015. It has a really lovely ambience especially of am evening. Where Oceana really excelled was in terms of the entertainment. The theatre isn’t huge so the brilliant bonus of this is that each night the ship has two simultaneous shows. On our cruise that would be the Headliners (who seriously were far and away the best cast we have seen in dozens of cruises on P&O, Cunard, Princess, Thomson and RCI) in one venue a comedian/guest singer/group in the other. There would also be at least two other acts on from the resident entertainers, which included a fantastic singer and guitarist, vocal duo, pianist, party band and big band. We were often really disappointed on P&O Britannia (sailed on it 3 times) that despite the vastness of the ships there were often times from 6pm until 8pm when there was very little good live music (The same can often be said for Cunard). In terms of improvements we would love a Glass House, we are still surprised they didn’t convert Winners bar. However the bar has been really improved after the refit. The plumbing system is still a little ropey and we had one toilet failure that lasted a few hours and the occasional odour in places on the ship (it didn’t last for more than a couple of hours and was due to emptying or venting of tanks). The theatre lacks the brilliant LCD screens found on Britannia and the Cunard ships, which slightly compromised certain scenes in “Astonishing”, which required a wait for the old fashioned projector screen to move down and awkwardly projected unwanted images onto the cast. The TV system in the rooms is very dated and my iPad has a bigger display. The bedrooms are equivalent to those on Azura, not as nice as those on Britannia and the Cunard ships but storage space is the best I’ve seen. The bathroom however was probably superior to those on the Cunard ships in terms of layout and space. I really like the Sindhu Indian restaurant as well, so I’d love to see that onboard but not at the cost of Cafe Jardin which offers far more to the ship, as it was a venue we used twice every day. I’d only visit Sindhu once per cruise. In terms of drink prices P&O continue to remain very competitive in the cruise industry. The prices on Cunard, RCI and Princess have become ridiculous in our view and on Cunard in the summer meant many bars were empty and lacked any atmosphere. You are talking £9 for 250ml of wine (third of a bottle) on Cunard and £6 on P&O (£27 bottle Cunard compared with £18 P&O) and £5.50 for pint of Beer on Cunard compared with £4 on P&O) RCI are even more expensive than Cunard. In summary we fell in love with Oceana once again. It proved to us that small ships have a real charm and character that perhaps the really big ships (that we also love) lack. The atrium is spectacular and has a superb atmosphere and other public rooms such as the Yacht and Compass are absolutely top draw. The Headliners theatre cast were utterly outstanding (definitely the best we’ve seen) and the ship was always buzzing with music and life. Having two proper shows running simultaneously every night offers brilliant choice and sets he ship aside. Cafe Jardin is the best daytime complimentary venue on any P&O or Cunard ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Having visited the Caribbean several times on a/I holidays we decided to do our first cruise after taking some advice from our travel agent. Holiday got off to a good start when Thomas Cook folded and we were give Virgin flights as an ... Read More
Having visited the Caribbean several times on a/I holidays we decided to do our first cruise after taking some advice from our travel agent. Holiday got off to a good start when Thomas Cook folded and we were give Virgin flights as an alternative. Being excited but very apprehensive we got to the terminal at Barbados and check in was really quick and efficient. The boat itself was amazing, plenty of sun Ed’s although did get a little cramped on sea days but not really an issue, staff were good at removing towels from reserved beds after the allotted 30 mins. The food was really good, whether it was the buffet restaurant or the other freedom restaurants, no complaints at all about the food. The updates from the Captain and his crew were really good and informative, ports of call were great, some better than others which is normal, the entertainment was amazing, the shows in the theatre were like the west end, plus the guest acts were also really good quality acts, the staff don’t stop, ever, constantly serving, cleaning, always with a smile. The room (an inside cabin) was ok, comfy bed but would definitely consider a balcony on our next cruise. Overall we were both really really impressed with our first cruise and will definitely cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Due to the quite understandable cancellation of our Gulf cruise on Oceana we decided to book a Caribbean cruise on Azura. As my wife and I are not really ‘beach people’ this has never been particularly high on our bucket list. Prior to ... Read More
Due to the quite understandable cancellation of our Gulf cruise on Oceana we decided to book a Caribbean cruise on Azura. As my wife and I are not really ‘beach people’ this has never been particularly high on our bucket list. Prior to going on this ship I read some of the reviews on this site and began to worry about what I had let myself in for. However, from our experience I now wonder if we have been on the same ship. Yes, I agree that it is looking a little tired but P&O obviously recognise this as it is being refurbished in Spring 2020. The ship felt quite spacious helped by the glorious weather which meant that people were spread around. There was no evidence of the smell that other reviewers have mentioned. We had a balcony cabin which we found more than comfortable with plenty of storage and hanging space. Our cabin steward was charming, helpful and kept our cabin very clean and tidy. We ate in the Oriental restaurant where we received very good service from our waiters. The menu was varied and we had no trouble at all of finding meals to suit our tastes - my wife is fishy and I am meaty. There is the opportunity to eat yourself to a standstill should you wish. We enjoyed the little extras that we received. Our wine waiter proved to be knowledgeable when helping to choose a wine and was very attentive. Service in the other restaurants we used was also good. We had 2 excellent meals at The Sindhu restaurant - a real experience. Be aware that you have to pay an extra £20pp but it is worth it if you enjoy Asian food. Embarkation and disembarkation at Barbados was excellent. We walked down the steps of the plane and straight onto a coach waiting by the aircraft which took us straight to the ship. Our luggage arrived in our cabin not too long after we arrived. Everything to do with the Embarkation was undergone on the ship - immigration, airline luggage tags and boarding passes. On arrival at the airport we went straight to security and through to the departure gate. We didn’t have anything to do with our hold baggage until the carousel at Gatwick.. Organisation of excursions was good although it could be a longish walk from the ship to the coaches. All of the guides were very knowledgeable, helpful and also made the trips good fun. I have never drunk so much Rum Punch! The resident theatre group, the Headliners, were very good although the volume of their performances verged on excessive. Any of the headline acts that we didn’t enjoy as much was down to taste rather than quality. Our cruise on Azura was far beyond our expectations and we thoroughly enjoyed the ship and our Caribbean experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
We love cruising and love P&O but standards seem to be slipping a bit. Embarkation/disembarkation: Emabarkation was very smoothe. Cases taken at Southampton and was on the ship within the hour. The same goes for disembarkation, ... Read More
We love cruising and love P&O but standards seem to be slipping a bit. Embarkation/disembarkation: Emabarkation was very smoothe. Cases taken at Southampton and was on the ship within the hour. The same goes for disembarkation, very smoothe. We chose to take our own cases off and was off the ship by 09:00. Food/Drink The drinks package was good value for money but had such a stupid policy (not allowed to order a soft drink at the same time as an alcoholic?). There was a large group of us (6) and ordering a round of drinks was a mission! It took about half an hour to order a round which was very annoying, especially at dinner! Each drink had to be ordered individually on an individual card, we know the drinks package is relitively new and staff are trying their hardest to get to grips with it but I feel P&O should take a leaf out of other cruise line’s books (RCL/MSC) as their systems are a lot more smoothe. The food in the main restaurants was very good, excellent choice and excellent quality. Sindhu was fantastic, service great and food spectacular. One note though we do miss the fish course in the main restaurant. Cabin: Cabin was very nice. The beds are amazing and our cabin steward worked very hard. The bathroom is small but that is expected. The only negative thing is P&O have removed the onboard account from the stateroom tv’s? This made it quite difficult having to keep getting print outs of the account at reception. Ship: We love Azura so had high hopes for Ventura. The entertainment onboard was great but the ship felt generally shabby. A lot of the rooms need a good face lift, the furntitre was battered in some places and it just felt a little dated. We noticed that the promenade deck was dirty in some areas as well throughout the whole duration of the cruise. Overall we had a nice cruise. The ports were great (especially Amsterdam) and the food was lovely. The ship however leaves something to be desired for. It needs a good refit to bring it back up to standards! We are sailing on Iona next year so hopefully the drinks package would have sorted itself out by then. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
After looking forward to our second cruise with P&O, the first being on Oceana, I found myself doing lots of comparisons on the two ships and I must say that Oceana far outstrips Azura.. there is/was one particular reason for this... ... Read More
After looking forward to our second cruise with P&O, the first being on Oceana, I found myself doing lots of comparisons on the two ships and I must say that Oceana far outstrips Azura.. there is/was one particular reason for this... from day 1 on the Azura there was an almost constant smell of sewage on every deck which sometimes permeated down into main dining areas. Having spoken to several officers regarding the matter I never got any sort of logical answer other than the statutory "it's nothing to worry about, it's not harmful to your health". There was no way anyone on board could NOT have noticed the smell. On passing the Reception desk later on in the cruise I overheard one passenger complaining that they were unable to use their balcony due to the constant stink and the receptionist replied "what smell". A really good cruise was rather spoiled by both the smell and not getting explanations as to why it was there. There was also reconstruction work going on on the lido deck ( fitting new lift for disabled people) for the first week... this was not conducive to relaxation what with grinders etc being used. I am aware that these things have to be done at some point but it also had a negative impact on the holiday. Staff on board were very polite but waiters etc around the lido deck appeared less willing to interact with passengers as they were on Oceana. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have sailed with P&O since the nineties and last sailed on the Aurora during 2015 which was into the Mediterranean , so we were keen to try P&O again after having had four cruises with Celebrity . Cruise ... Read More
We have sailed with P&O since the nineties and last sailed on the Aurora during 2015 which was into the Mediterranean , so we were keen to try P&O again after having had four cruises with Celebrity . Cruise number R916 was to the Canaries and returning via La Coruna in Spain.The weather was fantastic and the seas were very calm the whole trip , we were very pleased with the whole experience. The ship is classed as mid size and is now child free after a part refit earlier this year . The ship was very comfortable and clean and the staff were very attentive and friendly. Our outside cabin was on the starboard side near the front and was well maintained by our steward Victor . The bed and bedding was a good standard as were the toiletries and the fluffy bath towels . The restaurants have either set times 6.30/8.30pm or any time dinning, we opted for any time since it is more flexible and you meet new people every night which we find more interesting.The food on this trip was first class and the waiting staff were very attentive, we never had to wait for a table , always willing to share with others preferring either a six or eight table size . The entertainment and the shows were the usual high standard and unlike previous shows they were not based on musicals, which were a change from the norm . The bars , bar staff and waiters were friendly and attentive and you found as soon as you sat down you were approached and served quickly. P&O now have a drinks package similar to the other cruise lines but this was not pressurised to buy and we found it was unnecessary since the drink prices are uk hotel prices ,not like the American lines which are very expensive plus service charge add ons . The Itinerary was the usual Madeira,La Palma, Tenerife Lanzarote and La Coruna on the way home . All the ports were easy to walk off and the people using walking aids , wheel chairs and electric scooters found this itinerary great since all harbours were near the towns . The only port that required a shuttle bus service was Lanzarote and the town supplied this to reach the centre also putting on a bus with a tail lift for wheel chairs etc , I thought this was a great facility to allow everyone to visit the town . The Aurora is only one of two in the P&O fleet to have a wrap round Prom deck which is well used for some fitness , this is a feature of more modern ships that is missing . Let’s hope the P&O fleet keep this size of ship but looks highly unlikely since they seem to be getting larger each time they are replaced. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Cruised on Ventura and Azura before and this year we tried the flagship Britannia. Food was considerable better on Britannia than above mentioned other 2 ships. But we expected good food as it was a Marco Pierre White cruise - he ... Read More
Cruised on Ventura and Azura before and this year we tried the flagship Britannia. Food was considerable better on Britannia than above mentioned other 2 ships. But we expected good food as it was a Marco Pierre White cruise - he joined only in the last port - Gibraltar. Our inside cabin on Deck 12 was adequate, comfortable and clean. Entertainment overall excellent - especially the Headliner`s Once Upon a Time show. The dancers were talented but the singers not so. The Entertainment manager Neil was absolute fantastic - we enjoyed the pool parties, sail aways, the flamenco program on Lido Deck in Barcelona day. The Cookery Club was something new and unique, I and my 8 year old daughter participated the chocolate cooking and we really loved it. However the children club Reef program was well below the P&O standard we use to on Ventura and Azura: sometimes boring, unimaginative and some of the reef rangers did not show interest towards the kids. We enjoyed the Lido Deck, the pools were clean, always found sun lounger or chairs. The only complaint I can raise is, that some of the bar staff was rude and selective of what drink they want to serve. The preferred to serve only alcohol, even mornings, and several times when I asked for freshly pressed orange juice - which was available in one of the pool side bars - the bar waiter said it is not available. So I just woke up from the sun chair, went to the bar, pointed to the pile of fresh orange and the juicer machine - and the bar tender made the juice for me. This happened to me few times and one matured bar steward even wanted me to change my order from fresh orange juice to Pepsi Cola - I guess it is easier to serve and the price is same. I really would love to see more healthy drinks to be available on a school holiday cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Some background detail first of all. P&O has been our cruise company of choice but I have been trying other cruise lines to review for my travel blog. This cruise was a long awaited return, after just over a year away from ... Read More
Some background detail first of all. P&O has been our cruise company of choice but I have been trying other cruise lines to review for my travel blog. This cruise was a long awaited return, after just over a year away from P&O Embarkation was relatively smooth apart from the appallingly managaged car parking which resulted in a half hour wait to drop off the car. Although strictly speaking not P&O's fault is is their recommended parking provider and provided as part of the select deal. We were traveling with other family members, two adults and two children, who had a family suite. Once parked check-in and security clearance was quick and even though we headed straight to our cabin once on board our bags beat us to the cabin - a promising start. We met our cabin steward, Cathy, who was friendly and personable - a good start to the onboard experience …… little did we know at the time this would almost be the zenith of the cruise. The safety drill was an improvement as you are no longer required to take your life jacket with you, although the demonstration was somewhat undermined by loud, fellow passengers noisily talking over the demonstration and / or finding the whole thing a joke. We had selected “Freedom Dining” as we didn’t want to be tied to a fixed dining time, this also means you are on a different table each night and this led to a mixed experience. We took advantage of Freedom Dining on four of the nights, twice with just the adults and twice with the children as well. Service was decidedly mixed, on two of the nights the service was really good, as one would expect, on the other two totally indifferent with the waiting staff simply going through the motions. It may be coincidence but the two better experiences were when we dined with the children. On another night we dined in the Sindhu restaurant and the service, as well as the food was exemplary with one of the best waiters we’ve ever encountered. In terms of the staff generally we were shocked by the contrasts. A large number offered the standard of service you would expect from P&O, however a very significant minority had an almost, couldn’t care less attitude. The ship just felt generally unhappy. A couple of examples, at one of the food outlets, the woman serving looked as though she had sucked a lemon and acted as if she was doing you a favour by serving you. Indeed a fair percentage of staff seemed to have lost the ability to smile or to be affable. Yes, there has always been the odd staff member on any cruise but here it was much more noticeable and prevalent. On another occasion we wanted an ice cream milkshake and were having trouble finding any on board. I went to reception to ask if any were available on board to be given the response “I don’t know, ask at one of the bars.” The jolliest person on board seemed to be the Captain, who also seemed to think he was a stand up comedian …… he was certainly a refreshing change from some of the aloof Captain’s we’ve come across but I have to admit, after a week, some of of his jokes were becoming a bit boring. I wasn’t overly impressed when he suggested two latecomers were cheered and applauded on board after being late back in Bergen – they may well have had a good reason for being late and the “welcome” could have been humiliating. The sail away from Olden was brilliant - although this is down to the town rather than P&O Turning to food, the food in the main dining rooms was of the usual high standard, although I don’t think I’m alone in being under the impression portion sizes are shrinking. Food in the buffet was more variable ranging from good to inedible – I made the mistake of going for toad in the hole one night – the single sausage was OK but the batter was stodgy and undercooked. The buffet was also too small for the numbers on board, especially at breakfast on the sea days. On the final evening a "Family Disco" was advertised .... the children were looking forward to this but it was a con and a shambles. It wasn't a disco and there were no staff running it ..... basically it was a dance floor with a pre-recorded sound track, most of which was unsuitable for children. The only staff were bar staff trying to sell alcohol to the parents. When one of the parents complined to one of the bar staff, he shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Obviously we speak to fellow passengers on board and it was interesting to note that everyone we spoke to who had sailed with P&O before all thought the standards on this cruise had dropped dramatically. More tellingly, the family members we travelled with are both ex-P&O bridge officers and this is the first time they have been on a P&O ship in ten years and they were appalled by the drop in standards. I wonder if it is down to the removal of the service charge and subsequent reduction in pay for staff …. Is this causing a reduction in morale? We also found from a cabin steward, not ours in case P&O read this and decide to victimise our steward, they are now being asked to look after more cabins than they used to. Whilst on board I had planned to book a future cruise with P&O to take advantage of the discounts and other benefits – after this experience I did not bother. In the past I’ve been happy to pay more for the superior level of service with P&O. I am now of the view I can experience the same level of service with another Carnival company, Costa, for around two-thirds the price of P&O. It will be a long time, if ever, before I sail with P&O again and that’s something I thought I would never say. It seems P&O are aiming to dumb down to the lowest common denominator rather than providing a class service. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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