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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
To be quite honest I was not too keen on the idea of going on a cruise. My Sister who lost her husband almost two years ago was a frequent cruiser and had often said how much she enjoyed it. If fact they would sometimes manage to do two ... Read More
To be quite honest I was not too keen on the idea of going on a cruise. My Sister who lost her husband almost two years ago was a frequent cruiser and had often said how much she enjoyed it. If fact they would sometimes manage to do two a year. Alnong with two other very close friends we all decided that we would go on a cruise and selected Oceana for our maiden voyage together. We opted for a fly cruise for seven nights, flying out to Malta to pick up the ship. Our air transport was provided by TUI the newly branded Thomson airline. Even the cabin crew were getting confused with the change. Sadly this is where the cattle truck system does not make for comfortable travel. Myself, being almost 6ft and not too slim could just about squeeze into the seat. There was no legroom, fortunately I was able to change seats to an aisle seat where I could at least squeeze in with an arm rest placed in the upright position. As to being able to drop the table to a flat position, that was impossible. The upshot of this was that every time the trolleys went past my shoulders and elbows bore the brunt of the collision. It was no different on the return flight. Anyway, I’ve always believed that the flight forms part of the holiday so I would score this a poor 2 out of 5. On a brighter note our arrival at Malta was on time and we were swiftly directed out of the airport by a myriad of helpers brandishing P&O signs and on to coaches. Sadly these coaches had their seats crammed in to maximise the discomfort of tall or not so slim passengers. Some 20 minutes later we got off the coaches and stood in line whilst we all went through the process of being photographed and processed. This procedure seemed to take some time and the standing around in the heat was starting to wear thin by the time we actually arrived under our own steam onto the dock where the Oceana was tied up. We had been travelling for over 14 hours and I for one was getting tired at this time. Our ascent up the gangway onto the ship was very smooth and it was great to be able to sit in a comfy chair and grab a drink before finding our cabin. Initial impressions of the atrium and its lighting seemed to pick me up a little and i thought that if the rest of the ship is as welcoming as this then perhaps it might not be too bad. Drink, Drunk and we moved off to locate our respective cabins, directions were well signed and we soon entered the corridors for A deck. On arrival at our cabin our luggage was outside waiting for us. Brilliant! On opening the door and entering my first impressions were very good. Nice size for two of us with basically all that you need. On drawing the curtains and opening the balcony door there was ample room to sit and chill. Now it’s starting to impress me a little. We planned to meet by the lifts then go up to the sun deck for a drink or two before grabbing a light snack from the buffet. The sun deck was impressive although some fixtures and fitting looked as thought they had seen better days but I’m sure they were on the list of jobs to do. Dinner that evening was casual and the menu was very interesting. I chose for my main course Whole Wytch Sole, which when it arrived was not whole but de-headed, skinned and very over cooked to the point where it was inedible. I had no option but to send this back and chose a lamb dish which when it arrived was excellent. In order to keep this somewhat short as a review, the meals throughout the week in the Buffet and the Ligurian Restaurant were very good to excellent. The formal nights we all enjoyed and even got time to chat to one of the senior officers. Drinks were priced at hotel prices which was not too bad. The service throughout was very good. Our cabin steward was excellent and nothing was too much trouble for him. I for one used the gym a couple of times and was quite impressed with the available equipment. We spent plenty of time on deck either walking round the promenade deck or just leaning on the rail watching the world go by. Going in and out of the ports we visited would find us up on deck of on our balcony watching the procedures. We also did a couple of trips off the ship which we enjoyed but these really are documented by many that have gone before us. We went to a couple of shows which we all enjoyed and all in all spent a very enjoyable week. Needless to say I have now changed my mind about cruising. Would I do it again? Let me think? Yes of course! In fact we have already booked our second cruise on Britannia for 14 nights out of Southampton. No more fly cruises though! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was my first cruise and after reading some of the reviews I was slightly worried- but to no avail - we both had an excellent time. The ship is beautifully maintained and spotlessly clean . The atrium was a relaxing place to have a ... Read More
This was my first cruise and after reading some of the reviews I was slightly worried- but to no avail - we both had an excellent time. The ship is beautifully maintained and spotlessly clean . The atrium was a relaxing place to have a coffee or evening cocktail. Despite the size of the ship , it never felt crowded and we were always able to find somewhere to sit and only once had to wait for a table in the restaurant. All the staff were courteous and the service throughout was good. Food was variable but more good than bad. The choice was good and the service prompt. The buffet was always busy but on the few times we used it we were always able to get a seat. We ate in a few of the supplement restaurants- would really recommend the Lime light club and the Beach House - not so keen on the Epicurean.( fun for the experience but wouldn't do it again) although the afternoon tea was lovely. Entertainment was varied - the shows in the main theatre weren't to our taste but to be fair a lot of the passengers loved them. We did however enjoy some of the invited guest - we saw an excellent classical guitarists and Darren Day was very funny. If you get a chance to see a lecture by ' Park' don't hesitate - the titles may sound a little dull but he was very entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture that I went to. Our cabin was great - despite the bathroom being small the shower was very roomy. People have moaned about the size of the balcony but we found it more than adequate . The beds were very comfy and the rooms were well sound proofed so we were never disturbed by noise from adjacent rooms or the corridor. Excursions were expensive but well organised - thoroughly recommend the gardens in Stravenger . (We did these in the pouring rain but it still couldn't lessen our enjoyment) The Land of the Trolls a must! Excellent excursions- beautiful and varied scenery - good lunch and a great day out. We paid for an excursions in Olden but there are several options you can do on your own. A land train took you on a lovely hours ride up the valley or you could get a bus to the glacier. Read Less
35 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Avoid this cruise with Oceana with all your might as we have just diembarked thankfully 48 hrs ago !!!!!!!! P&O should be prosecuted for the hygene levels and food standards on this ship . We booked this cruise on 9th April 2016 and ... Read More
Avoid this cruise with Oceana with all your might as we have just diembarked thankfully 48 hrs ago !!!!!!!! P&O should be prosecuted for the hygene levels and food standards on this ship . We booked this cruise on 9th April 2016 and really looked forward to our cruise on Oceana and come the day June 8th 2016 flew from Newcastle Upon Tyne to Venice to board Oceana and then it all went wrong !!!!!!!! No luggage arrived till later in the evening but had to use the Adriatic resturant in our travelling clothes , the cabin was around 8ft by 8ft but even less than that with the cupboards etc reduced the area to around 6ft by 4ft for a cabin with 3 men aged 83 and 67 and 59 !!!!!!! . Then one of our party got food poisoning on day 3 after eating half cooked roast lamb which we complained about but got no response too , resulting in being cabin confined for 36hrs !!!!!! To which we missed the Corfu visit completely . Others too complained of stomach problems but dont know whether anything became of their situations , And we were made to pay £50 before any medical team member would look at our friend and on the last day we went down to medical centre to enquire about a reimbursment of this charge the waiting area was full of kitchen staff being diagnosed with Gastrointeritis !!!!!!!!!! So please be warned that this ship is a sailing disaster and P&O need to address the fact that the public need to know that this ship lost its CDC licence for disease control in Mid April this year and things have not improved at all ----- You have been warned . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
although the cruise was good in many ways the one disappointment to my friend and I was the balcony!!! we paid over 1,600 each for an outside cabin with balcony HA! Canada deck 099 room ok, balcony what a let down no glass front like ... Read More
although the cruise was good in many ways the one disappointment to my friend and I was the balcony!!! we paid over 1,600 each for an outside cabin with balcony HA! Canada deck 099 room ok, balcony what a let down no glass front like all the others, overhead blocking out any sun the bridge, also to the left a huge stantion holding up the bridge and a large light fixture on the left hand corner, the front was filled in so no view whatsoever unless stood leaning over the front we did not get any info about this nor did we get a reduced price we also never got any on board spending so what an absolute let down considering the weather was so good we could have had lots of evening drinks on the balcony very very disappointed so if anyone is allocated c o99 BEWARE!!! but on the bright side staff and entertainment brill cabin steward Helison fantastic think next time however go with cunard Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
First time cruisers and it won't be the last. From the moment we stepped on the ship we were not disappointed. The staff were exceptional. They couldn't do enough for us. Cabin stewardess was great. Food was out of this world. ... Read More
First time cruisers and it won't be the last. From the moment we stepped on the ship we were not disappointed. The staff were exceptional. They couldn't do enough for us. Cabin stewardess was great. Food was out of this world. Didn't do the buffet as was a bit of a cattle market. The main restaurants where you were very well looked after and the food was first class were excellent. The speciality restaurants were out of this world. Plenty of entertainment and plenty of seated areas to relax. Didn't do any excursions. We chose do do our own thing. All in all it was a fantastic holiday. Don't be put off by the size of the ship you wouldn't know there was that many people on it. O and if you get the chance have a pamper session at the spa. The girls are so nice and they made us feel really welcome and relaxed. I'm so glad I have finally gone on a cruise and chosen p&o we will definitely do it again. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Our first cruise and certainly won't be our last. Cannot fault the ship, everything kept spotlessly clean. The service was friendly and efficient. The cabin was spacious and cleaned twice a day. Didn't make much use of the ... Read More
Our first cruise and certainly won't be our last. Cannot fault the ship, everything kept spotlessly clean. The service was friendly and efficient. The cabin was spacious and cleaned twice a day. Didn't make much use of the balcony due to the poor weather but that is hardly the fault of P&O. We were upgraded to freedom dining which meant we could choose when and where to eat. The food was unbelievably good, especially so in the Sindhu & Epicurean restaurants both of which incurred a cover charge The entertainment was first class and Tom O'Connor was brilliant. Played table tennis everyday with a really good bunch of people. The only mild negative was the destination itinerary, La Rochelle was quite nice but didn't bother with Bilbao and the people who did weren't impressed but for us this was all about the cruise. We are already looking to book our next cruise with P&O. Read Less
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Only our second cruise having been on the Island Princess for a 12 night Mediterranean cruise last August so in comparison I'm afraid the Brittania cruise to the Norwegian Fiords fell a bit short. Embarkation and Debarkation was well ... Read More
Only our second cruise having been on the Island Princess for a 12 night Mediterranean cruise last August so in comparison I'm afraid the Brittania cruise to the Norwegian Fiords fell a bit short. Embarkation and Debarkation was well organised. Cabin was good and the entertainment was good and the food in the any time dining restaurant was lovely but the buffet food was dreary. Same food at all the stations and very limited variety. The food on the Island Princess was fantastic! I agree with others who say the Atrium areas was lacking in atmosphere as this was soulless and boring. Not enough variety of activities on board during the day but I liked the quizzes in Brody's Bar at night. Where is the giant screen for Movies Under the Stars? No free ice-cream and the burgers were terrible. Our cabin steward was friendly and generally all staff were pleasant. The shows were fabulous and we saw 3 different shows during the 7 night cruise. I am cruising again on the Brittania departing Southampton on 16th July on the Iberia cruise and have booked the Brittania for the Caribbean on 17th December 2016. Being a teacher the dates and destinations suited us but if I had travelled on this cruise earlier I would perhaps not have booked the Brittania again. Back to Princess cruises for us from now on because they offer more variety in buffet food and activities and more inviting pool areas. I hope the food situation is sorted out before our next cruises. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
cruise holidays I was very very disappointed...everything went wrong.... - staff on reception very unprofessional, miserable, unfriendly and unhelpful staff ( dont know why they are there?!) - cruise with no tv licence????? ... Read More
cruise holidays I was very very disappointed...everything went wrong.... - staff on reception very unprofessional, miserable, unfriendly and unhelpful staff ( dont know why they are there?!) - cruise with no tv licence????? -every tv series had only 2 episodes???? - Pay for internet??? every holidays we went to.. the internet is free of charge...but not on britannia....?! -pay for coffees, teas and ice cream??? free of charge on royal Caribbean cruise - day time entertainment very poor...5 quizzes join the day whats that all about ??? pool entertainment "pool quiz" wohooo very exciting...dont forget to mention pianist who sent people to bed !!!! -buffet food horrible....on Italian day we had lasagna, pasta and garlic bread nothing else...and they called it " Italian day" -our sitting time was 8.30pm we missed nearly every show as the show time join the night was at 7.30pm or 9.30pm and you have to be in theater least 40 mins before the show will start otherwise you wont have a seat !!!!! -we went to see kiki dee cost us £22 waist of money as everyone in a room was asleep..... she was very boring and the night didn't have soul.... - had to pay for a shuffle bus....free of charge on royal Caribbean -every port we went was terrible...apart from Lisbon -morocco was one of our ports never ever again!!!! we were followed by 3 people every where we went and felt so uncomfortable.... the night before we came to marocco we received a letter saying that it was dangerous and we need to stay in a groups?! why would you got there when you know its dangerous?! - another port was grand cannaria but they had a bank holiday and every shop was closed....waste of another day that was.... - shops on a board are bad... not enough choices....and quiet expensive!!! -cant see your bill on a tv you have to go to reception and ask for it every other day just encase they will charged you extra for something you never had or never used!!! -spa so expensive - our cabin was very small and didn't have enough space for 2 people....especially bathroom area where me and my partner proper struggled as only one person could fit in a bathroom and me being pregnant lady i found it very hard and didnt have enough space to move -lifts were a problem for some people never knew where they or the lifts were going -the only one good thing was night show but than every show was only for 45 mins Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
We wanted to go on the Britannia as it looked so British and she lived up to all we expected and more, cabin with balcony was great you need this for a 2 week cruise. Stewardess to our cabin was always on hand and such a lovely happy ... Read More
We wanted to go on the Britannia as it looked so British and she lived up to all we expected and more, cabin with balcony was great you need this for a 2 week cruise. Stewardess to our cabin was always on hand and such a lovely happy person lovely to see her every day and looked after our cabin with a great deal of attention. waiting staff in the restaurants were very polite at professional with a great sense of humour the very thing us British like, we used the Peninsula Restaurant most night as we got to know waiters Andrew & Flemis who look after us way beyond the call of duty plus a sign presentation of menus covering all the nights of the cruise, well done to you two you made our cruise and not forgetting our wine waiter true to his profession we had some great wines. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Always wanted to do a cruise never again, though we have been told we was very very unlucky, it was like an old peoples home age range between 75-100 no I'm not kidding, I like old people but wouldn't choose to be surrounded by ... Read More
Always wanted to do a cruise never again, though we have been told we was very very unlucky, it was like an old peoples home age range between 75-100 no I'm not kidding, I like old people but wouldn't choose to be surrounded by 1000s on holiday, even the old people complained it was like a depressing old people home. The entertainment was poor cheap, and once again for the elderly, no wifi unless you wanted to pay £85 for 2 weeks, the pools are very small also I was looking forward to being on deck listening to the sea and reading a book, but oh no loud music all day once again for the elderly, we was on A deck and woken some morning at 6am with noise from the deck above while it was being cleaned. Food was good, and service excellent also cabin maid excellent. It's worth trying the independent restaurants for an extra £15 per person very good value. Read Less
33 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Having read the awful reviews (stained carpets, bad smells, duct tape, bad food) I was really worried about my first ever cruise on Oceana. In fact it is the most beautiful ship- our cabin B753 was spacious, perfect unstained carpet, ... Read More
Having read the awful reviews (stained carpets, bad smells, duct tape, bad food) I was really worried about my first ever cruise on Oceana. In fact it is the most beautiful ship- our cabin B753 was spacious, perfect unstained carpet, granite work surface on mirrored wet bar, comfortable beds, lovely bathroom, loads of storage space, big balcony overlooking the wake. We had freedom dining in the Ligurian restaurant - the food was wonderful especially the lobster. The staff couldn't have done more to make our stay perfect- My 12 year old daughter got a taste for room service and they were quite happy to deliver spaghetti bolognaise at 10.30 at night. The entertainment (apart from the headliners) was wonderful and there was always space whether it was in the gym, the pools or the 2 theatres. We had a wonderful time- I cannot fault it (all this was despite the force 11 storm Katie which raged on the first day!) Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was a taster weekend to Bruges Brussels however the port was changed to Le Harve in France due to the terrorist attacks. We understood this but there is nothing to do in Le Harve and it was a terrible choice of port. Embarkation ... Read More
This was a taster weekend to Bruges Brussels however the port was changed to Le Harve in France due to the terrorist attacks. We understood this but there is nothing to do in Le Harve and it was a terrible choice of port. Embarkation - nightmare absolute nightmare we travelled as a family and were told we could board together, not so the check in staff were utterly rude to us really upsetting my elderly mum. Insisting she either board or wait another 3 hours until we were allowed to board. I found it all to be madness we booked this trip in August 2015 and to be told we could board at3.30 was disgraceful especially as we paid to upgrade our room to a cabin suite. Once boarding our luggage didn't arrive until 6:30pm so we couldn't make use of the swimming pool we were sent the wrong luggage labels and the cases went to another room! No apology here either, as first time cruisers we didn't check the luggage tags they sent us to our boarding card why would we! Once aboard service was slow waiting 45mins for drinks, half of the facilities were closed and only one jacuzzi open to the whole ship!! Unless of course you paid £25 each extra for the retreat! Erm who is prepared to pay this when we have paid £650 already for a weekend taster !! Disembarkation was like a cattle market no staff visibility people pushing in all over the place! It was awful and never been treated so bad from a tourist company. Expected more from P&O ship is beautiful but that is nothing with shoddy rude service and lack of ownership !! I would warn all people who are considering parting with their cash to think booking with another company Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was a taster cruise and as such was fairly inexpensive. You would expect however that this would be a chance to impress potential new customers. Couldn't have been further from the truth for us. We experienced 2 days of ... Read More
This was a taster cruise and as such was fairly inexpensive. You would expect however that this would be a chance to impress potential new customers. Couldn't have been further from the truth for us. We experienced 2 days of queuing, lacklustre service, poor communications, poor to non-existent entertainment and borderline incompetence. At our emergency muster, when we eventually got on board having been treated like cattle during embarkation, they didn't even explain how to put the children's life jackets on which were very different from the adults. Its our first cruise experience and we where flabbergasted at how low rent was. If your on a hen or stag do or just want to sit doing nothing but stuff your face in a canteen all day then it ideal. The ship is a huge, bland, poorly designed block of flats with no heart or soul. We where very glad to get home. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Our first cruise and we were very disappointed with the service , really terrible, the ship and the food brillant but the service was terrible and it really let P&O 's reputation down. This morning the service at the Penisular the ... Read More
Our first cruise and we were very disappointed with the service , really terrible, the ship and the food brillant but the service was terrible and it really let P&O 's reputation down. This morning the service at the Penisular the waiters were so unhelpful and they were so ignorant , really really bad! I have got nine years travel experience and I have thought highly of P&O thinking it usually it's a five star but it was more like a three star . My mum and dad have been on cruises before and they said this was the worst! My Mother in law also came with us and she travelled with Thomson's and she said Thomson's was much better. Waiting this morning to come home we were treated like cattle , queueing . Why do we aka us British people put up with it and why should we ? Also there was hen and stag do's on there which kind of lowered the tone of the cruise also . I would never go on a P&O cruise again and I would never travel with a British cruise company again . American's deliver the best customer service and they won't put up with bad service like queueing and having to ask for a refill of tea and coffee etc , that should be part of the amazing service of a 5 star company !!! The waiter actually tutted when we asked for a refill and he leant across my Mum to give us a glass of orange juice , we also asked for a jug of water this morning and was told this was not possible only glasses. I have never complained about bad service but i really do feel P&O do need to listen to their customers and work on this feedback . We did wonder if P&O have just shipped in temp staff so that the normal Staff would have time off as the 14 night Ant and Dec Saturday night takeaway trip Today . It was just awful!!! A lot of people like us tried this cruise as a taster cruise to see if they liked it , I can't see the conversion rate being high after today's / this weekends terrible service . Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We have just returned from a 2 night "Taster" cruise that was originally booked for Bruges, however due to the recent attacks, the destination changed to Le-Harve. This was OK with us as it was more about what holiday life on a ... Read More
We have just returned from a 2 night "Taster" cruise that was originally booked for Bruges, however due to the recent attacks, the destination changed to Le-Harve. This was OK with us as it was more about what holiday life on a ship would be like as this was our first cruise experience before we think about booking a longer 2 or 3 week holiday. On the back of this experience, I would not return to P&O. As with a lot of other passengers, we were considering booking a cruise as our main holiday and thought this would be a good way to try things out. Although the ship itself is great, clean, plenty of space in public areas, the whole experience from check in to disembarkation was one of the worst examples of customer service and service delivery I have experienced. Check in staff - Can’t recall one of them cracking a smile. When you board and go through security, our cards were snatched out of our hands before we could present them and then were pointed to a queue to join with as little enthusiasm and engagement as possible. Its difficult to give further examples of the poor service level as there simply wasn’t any. Remember, this is supposed to be a taster cruise.... a chance to sell and promote a product and this is the first experience we have. Once on-board, the experience continues in the restaurants. Waiting staff simply looked borderline angry, little dialogue, interaction, recommendations. I asked for a jug of water and was told "No....is not possible” before I could respond...he had turned his back and walked away. When asking for a clean cup, the waiter gave a long sigh followed by him walking away again with no idea if her was coming back. a short time later, he returned with a cup and just put it on the table....no dialogue, no interaction, no eye contact. They would be better placed in some kind of zombie movie, as Oscars would be a guarantee. Waiting time for drinks - gave up, and asked if we could order drinks and actually have a look at a menu as none on table. Again, remember...taster cruise....a chance to sell and promote a product. As for checkout - carnage. a 200+ queue to exit that had no organisation - people joining the queue wherever rather than the back, people jumping the cornered off areas whilst staff just stood there presumably rehearsing for the upcoming part in P&O Zombie "Apocalypse at sea" movie. Its such a shame as the Britannia as a ship is large, quality finished ship. The rooms are good and the beds are very comfortable. The whole experience is let down by those on shift over this last weekend. I am not sure if the tie in with Ant and Dec's Saturday Takeaway is part of the problem, in any case, as a paying customer, it shouldn't matter as part of customer service is delivering this in a reliable and predictable manner. We will not be booking P&O Cruises again and encourage others to avoid at least until some explanation comes from P&O to explain or justify such as poor delivery of there product. Read Less
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Looked into cruising a little, but always felt daunted by it. Took the plunge based on the rights dates and great last minute price. To give an idea of what type of travellers we are, We are a married couple, both 37, who enjoy good food ... Read More
Looked into cruising a little, but always felt daunted by it. Took the plunge based on the rights dates and great last minute price. To give an idea of what type of travellers we are, We are a married couple, both 37, who enjoy good food and wine, sightseeing and relaxing on holiday. We travel anywhere from traditional Spanish resorts, to Bali and Malaysia and skiing. Here's a list of what we thought. Travelling from and to Southampton was brilliant. There was a wait of around an hour to get on the ship, but so easy once checked in. We used the recommended car parking company and it was so simple, like meet and great. We chose self disembarkation. This is not really explained well, but basically means you leave before 8.45 in the morning. I.e. Before the hoards of people enter the massive luggage claim area to try and locate their luggage. Breakfast is best in the main restaurants, but only served to 9 on port days and 9.30 on sea days. The buffet is ok for breakfast, but of lower quality. I'd avoid the buffet at any other time, it's ok but there are so many better places. Not a lot was explained to you. Being a new cruising puts you in the minority. Thus, ask, read the horizon guide each night and explore the ship fully in your first day or so. We found food in the main restaurant bland other than on gala nights. They are catering for a mass market after all. It was very good, but needed seasoning, herbs, spices etc. The additional paid for restaurants are wonderful, and good value. Yes, you can eat for no extra cost, but for a feeling of going out for a meal, they are great. Service is quality and there is not the noise and bustle of a mass catering environment. The glass house is fabulous, a must try. They do wine flights, 3 x 125ml wines for around £10 or £11. Lots of different ones to try. The tapas plates are brilliant. Sihdu was also very good, with scallops and lobster on the menu. The beach house is a great American BBQ style, and excellent value. You get more generous portions in the paid for restaurants. Note, the glass house do a tasting menu with wine paring for £30 a head. This is something not advertised until the day before in the horizon magazine. However, all regular cruisers know about it, as they rush to reception to book as soon as they get on board. I don't blame them, but unfair of P and O not to advertise in advance so us new people can also get a chance to try. Other restaurants and events are easily booked on board, and some you can't book anyway. We never had a problem. Good tip, the glass house serves food till 10.30 ish, an hour after all other restauarants. There is so much entertainment, you have to pick what you want to do. Most is duplicated in the evening, at 8.30 and 10.30, which for us seemed too early to have finished dinner then go, and too late to always go after dinner. However, most things last 45 mins to an hour. Have a run around on the first night or two and work out what you like. We like live bands and music more than the shows, so planned accordingly. The live bands were very very good. There were two comedians on our cruise. One was brilliant, the other ( who has been doing the cruises since i was born) was awful, clearly the material is getting a little tired. Cabin (balcony) was bigger than I expected. However, it had a sense of the hospital room about it. Wiped down walls, plastic moulded work tops, bad pictures on the wall. The bed was comfy. The to was awful. News channel and that was it. Loads of films to watch but the to was so bad, the picture and sound was not good. There is free room service, which is good quality and fairly speedy to arrive. Shower is powerful. There is a full size bottle of white company shower gel attached to the wall, plus 100ml size of white company shampoo, conditioner and lotion. I'm sure you can ask for more if needed. The ship itself was impressive due to size. Some public areas were canteen like or reminded me of bars in Benidorm hotels. Other areas more elegant, such as the glass house, art gallery and metropolis bar. Something for everyone so you just find what you like. Getting on and off the ship was easy. We experienced a queue only when you had to use the shuttle bus, but it was only 20 minutes or so. Going from Southampton means you can take on drinks etc with you and keep in your fridge, just top up at each port. Drinks on board we brilliant. Extremely good wine list and all low prices, cheaper than in the uk. About £17 gets you a great bottle and most were in that region, rather than one or two then loads at higher prices. Cocktails about £5.50 to £6.50. The vast majority of men are in black bow tie for gala night. I dont think I saw a standard suit. However, there are areas you can dress casual ( the buffet). At other times though, this is not a posh ship. You get the odd one or two people who do dress up every night, but most people are casual or wearing what you'd expect for a normal meal out somewhere. Pools are all heated, which is fab. The two in the middle were usually busy and noisy. The adult only was closed the whole time we were on board, which is disappointing. There is a big mix of people. Apologies if I offend any regular visitors here, but I want to be honest. There are a lot of very old people, who would not look too out of place in a care home ( a cruise is cheaper), there are a lot of people who are less able (both medically and die to size), which could be due to being no fly. There were a few families and kids were all well behaved. Couples like us were in the minority, with most resembling our parents (daily mail in one hand, free glass of prossecco in the other). Spa treatments were good, but overpriced compared to uk, and come with a heavy sales pitch to buy products and Botox. Excursions were overpriced compared to what you get in port, but come with the safety net of not missing the ship. If the shuttle is paid for, generally means you don't need to use it unless you fall into one of the categories I've described above. I thought bingo and the race night were pricey ( no, not our usual sort of thing, but we'd thought we'd try it, especially with a last minute extra sea day due to rough weather). Every member of staff is brilliant. Genuinely helpful and happy. Not pushing for tips. Always there to offer you a drink or help, but not pushy. A real asset to P and O. Everything is cash free. You can even gamble and charge to your room ( dangerous). You cannot add tips on to any bill, so would need cash. That said, we saw zero people tipping. We decided to in the paid for restaurants though. The gym is large, but the equipment is not great quality. Runners were about usable. Cross trainers very light weight. It was also very hot! Overall, we loved visiting several cities we wouldn't have gone to otherwise in one holiday. It's wonderful to arrive in the port, go on a ( self organised) walking tour, stop for lunch, then hop back on the boat. Being on the ship was relaxing in itself, as you can't go anyway so just sit back and relax. The good and drink was excellent, which we like. The entertainment was great. People watching may not have been exactly what I was expecting, but it's good to know cruising is not always a stuck up affair. We will do a cruise again, and would use p and o and other similar lines. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Our first cruise on the Azura and last! We flew from Gatwick to Barbados and joined the ship there. We had to wait hours for our suitcases to be delivered to our cabin and then it was a rush to attend the muster drill and go for ... Read More
Our first cruise on the Azura and last! We flew from Gatwick to Barbados and joined the ship there. We had to wait hours for our suitcases to be delivered to our cabin and then it was a rush to attend the muster drill and go for our evening meal. We visited three islands on the first three days, two excursions booked directed with P & O prior to the holiday. Although the beaches we went to were fantastic (especially Tortola), the half day was not long enough and I could not understand why this was not offered for a full day. We had 5 days at sea travelling to the Azores and found the ship could not cater for over 3000 people during the day. There were not enough sun loungers and those there were crammed in tighter than sardines. There were four areas where you could lay; noisy, smoking, children's/family and only two small areas which were peaceful (these were always full). The Retreat is adults only but you have to pay for the privilege! Our cabin C418 had a balcony, unfortunately it was in the shade until mid afternoon). The bathroom smelt of stale urine if you switched the light/extractor fan off so therefore we left it on 24/7. On the last day we docked at Southampton at 6.30am but unfortunately there was no water to the cabins and we could not wash our hands, shower, brush teeth or indeed flush the loo. Although I had read that the ship had been refurbed a year prior, our room was a little grubby. The most amazing thing was on the last day we had to leave the cabin by 8am so we duly went for breakfast at 6.30am leaving our belongings on the bed etc and when we got back our bed had been changed ready for the next guests and our belonging placed back on the bed! In all of the years and all of the holidays we have taken not one hotel has used this practice and I found it very poor. The food and service in the restaurants were fantastic until the last night when the staff actually "switched off", the service was extremely poor, the meals came out with items missing, unless you asked for the cheese board you were not offered, it was as though tips had been given so bye bye were ready for the next lot of passengers! If you wanted to eat breakfast outside (which could have been a great start to the day), the only areas with tables and chairs which were near the restaurants were all smoking areas, so if you like a fag with your early morning cuppa .... yippee! Our overall experience of days at sea (8 in total) were picturing one of the most deprived run down council estates with a bargain booze, McDonald's, pizza place, bookies and a Wetherspoons with a kids fun annex and voila it's the Azura! Although we paid full price and therefore our expectations were high thus so disappointed, I would recommend you seek out the special offers if you want to have a glorified booze cruise on the Azura transatlantic cruise as you may get more of a value for money experience than we had. Overall we would go to the Caribbean again and the Azores was lovely BUT never on a P&O ferry/booze cruise! Read Less
100 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I decided to write this to hep advise all you new cruisers out there what to expect, now I have returned I am somewhat angry at the one sided and downright inaccurate reviews from some of the more seasoned cruisers who repeatedly compare ... Read More
I decided to write this to hep advise all you new cruisers out there what to expect, now I have returned I am somewhat angry at the one sided and downright inaccurate reviews from some of the more seasoned cruisers who repeatedly compare this ship to other ships and even companies. This trip was very special as it was mine and my husbands Honeymoon, I'm going to start straight off and say overall we absolutely LOVED this ship and we have officially caught the cruising bug and can't wait to book our next one with P and O whom we found are the best value for money. So firstly the overall look of this ship is fantastic the size is breathtaking, the decor we actually liked, many other people have said they found it too plain and/or dark, I can see P&O were aiming for a modern and contemporary look, the darker side of the decor gives the ship a real luxurious touch, we had a Balcony room which was clean, light and had a very comfortble bed, the bathroom was a little small but the shower screen and free toiletries were a nice touch, we personally found the balcony absolutely fine size wise and spent numerous occaions sitting on there enjoying the view. We decided to make the most of this trip and pretty much ate everywhere except for the Beach Hut. Our definite favourite restaurant was the Epicurean we tried their evening food and their afternoon tea and loved both, it is the definition of fine dining (in our opinion), their evening food is of michelin standard they had an amazing smoked pate which was bought under a glass dome filled with smoke and a creme brulee which they caramelize in front of you with a blow torch, the afternoon tea started by having a spray in front of your face which had a slightly sweet aroma and apparently activated your tastebuds followed by a sumptous selection including savoury salmon macaroons, eton mess in a small kilner jar were you add strawberry sauce from a provided pipette and stunning scones with an amazing selection of teas to try, I loved the nutty chocolate blend, my husband preferred the peppermint, it has candles, white linen table cloths classical music playing and dedicated silver service staff who really pull out all the stops to make this the place to try if you only do one extra restaurant. We had freedom dining and dined at the Penninsular, again this place had fantastic food, excellent hard working waiters and a wonderful upmarket atmosphere, we also tried Sindhu which had the best indian food we ever tasted again this is a select dining option so will cost extra but again is definitely worth the cost. Our 2 favourite bars were Brodies which is pretty much designed to be a local pub with a selection of bottled beers from various regions in the uk as well as cocktails and liquers it put on numerous quiz's, games, live music and karoake throughout the day and evening to make it the epicentre of bars ideally suited to a more british style of socialising. Our other favourite places were the Glass House which is predominately a wine bar with an amazing selection of wines, we were also fortunate enough to get the opportunity to do their wine tasting which was very informative and fun and also try their wine and meal tasting course which again was an absolute treat and we fully recommend you try it. Our other favourite place was the Crows Nest bar which is at the front of the ship and a fantastic place to sit when the ship is leaving a port and watching the ever changing views. My main disappointment was actually with the Oasis Spa which for me I'm very disappointed to admit was nothing short of a rip off, the services in themselves were fine but their attempts to extract more money out of me left a bitter taste, firstly I gave myself an extra treat by booking a pedicure whilst on board, I originally asked for a standard pedicure which stated on the price list was £30, the receptionist said I could upgrade to a fire and ice pedicure which included a hot stone leg massage and cooling leg gel treatment for another £5, I agreed to this, after I had the treatment I was then told it was now £47 plus a 10% service charge, I was not happy about this as I was clearly told it would be £35 and no mention was given of the service charge, they also tried to sell me a tube of this cooling gel for £35 (over priced deep freeze gel). They also mixed up the booking for a couple's massage that we had booked and pre paid for before our trip, again they charged us another service charge on top and tried to sell us a £35 bottle of massage oil, the hydrotherapy suite consisting of different types of sauna, steam, shows and heated beds was lovely and wonderfully relaxing but again awfully pricey at £25 to use for 1 day. I've been in 5 star hotels where this part is free to use or well over half the price of what they charged. Overall all the staff on board are hard working, friendly and dedicated to their work, the entertainment we found fairly mixed, some of it we tried and enjoyed other aspects we didn't even fancy doing at all and avoided completely however this is no doubt a subjective issue and I saw many people getting into the swing of anything they could so its a case of each to their own and if it isn't for you either you get yourself a sunbed, I would say on this subject don't bother trying to get near the pool it fills up very quickly unless you get their pretty early my advice is to look further away on upper decks where their is still adequate space available but still don't leave it too late, reserving has been an issue but the staff are becoming aware of this and have started removing belongings on sunbeds that have been reserved if they are left too long and tying a note to the sunbed so the person can come pick it up when they return. The other thing I would recommend is what we did which is to simply grab your favourite or current book and get yourself down to the atrium area where you will find lots of seats, sofa's and chairs, you can have a drink if you want, plenty of tea, coffee and alcoholic options they also have amazing sweet treats in the Market Cafe which I highly recomend you try or you can pass on this and simply enjoy the ambience, the views and simply relax. To finish overall this is a brilliant ship and I hopefully will return there at some point in the future. My last piece of advice is if you are new is that whilst this is a wonderful ship it isn't without its faults but overlook or avoid the bad and focus on what is so great about this place and you won't go wrong our biggest annoyance on this trip was the sheer volume of complainers notably from the seasoned cruisers who clearly think its their right to use the staff as verbal punch bags and in a number of cases get as much credit and/or free stuff that they can based on said complaints. I saw one woman loudly tell her rather bemused husband that she had complained about the Horizon Buffet restaurant (again used regularly, plenty of choice throughout the day, no complaints) not having instant hot chocolate available to have with her evening meal, he pointed out to her that this seemed a strange choice of drink to have a meal with and she informed him she had complained as a matter of principle rather than it being a specific issue, another woman I overheard bragging that she had complained about the temperature of the headliners theatre being too cold (and had clearly never thought of using a cardigan/jacket or jumper to solve this issue) in an attempt to get some spending credit. This is something that really annoys me as I go on Holiday to enjoy myself not complain and find things wrong. Enjoy all the wonderful things this ship has to offer and you will have an amazing time, we did and we can't wait to go on a cruise again. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem ... Read More
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem to spend most if not all the year cruising. Pricewise, the cruise is good value. Perhaps because of that, the ports of call were not particularly interesting and nor was the entertainment on board but if you want a relaxing time at sea, this ship will satisfy. Incidentally, I found Alotau one of the more interesting stops but I didn’t take any of the package shore excursions – I booked my own in advance through the local travel agent, Villink, located in the Alotau International Hotel. It was less touristy, the car was air-conditioned and I believe I learned more; and it was at a lower cost that the similar on-board shore excursion on offer. Don’t expect decent WiFi even if you are willing to pay the extortionate price charged for WiFi use on board – speeds are very slow, so at 50p a minute, best to wait to the next port of call to log-in. There were two safety alerts (a fire in an elevator; smoke from the incinerator) during the cruise. They were efficiently dealt with though I don’t understand why passengers were woken at 3.00 AM to tell them of the first alert (without further instructions or directions being given). Unless passengers are instructed to do something or to act in a particular manner (even it is only to stay in the cabin), I can’t see the purpose of ruining their sleep, causing panic (some passengers commented that they were concerned), or create unnecessary interest that might obstruct the crew (some passengers wanted to see what was happening). If this is an established safety procedure, it is a bad one and needs to be rethought. There is Sunday Christian worship and regular Christian Fellowship meetings take place. No other faiths are generally catered for though Jews do get to meet for the Jewish Sabbath. Observant Jews and Muslims need not apply (see ‘food’ below). The ship is generally well run, though I did get a sense of complacency, especially as regards the kitchens/restaurants. Overall, the ship is of the quality of a 3-star hotel but occasionally rises a notch higher. It needs to be said that most passengers were happy with the ship. Pros Friendly, efficient cabin stewards. Most staff are friendly and helpful. Dining options are adequate and cuisine quality acceptable, though not exceptional. Complaints do get actioned and rectified. P&O has been in the business a long time so knows what to expect – embarkation and disembarkation at ports of call are generally efficiently handled.. Good value for money overall (though some shore excursions are over-priced). Self-service laundry facilities are available on board (though cramped and insufficient for overall demand – be ready for some frayed tempers if you have not cleared your machine immediately after it has completed its cycle). There some nice, comfortable places to sit and while away the time looking out to sea, in particular the Crow’s Nest at the front of the ship. Cons Entertainment is basic and not generally high quality though there were some acts that were so good (e.g. Fogwell Flax) that the Palladium Theatre could not accommodate all demand. The films screened are basically DVDs (not in HD) and start times do not always accord with the printed schedule. The programme of talks is adequate and one or two even interesting but overall, worthy rather than stimulating. The scheduling was also not ideal as the talks frequently clashed with teatime etc. (see below). The talks had no relationship to the places being visited –e.g. on the history of Australia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Hong Kong etc.. Of course, there is a Port Talk before each port of call but that is more about sights, shopping and shore excursions, with modest historic background. The food is generally unexceptional. The ship does not cater well (at all?) for people with special dietary needs For example, it was not uncommon for 50% of the eight main course dishes on offer to contain pig products in some form (of the 4 main course choices during one lunchtime, 3 had pig products in them); and no effort was made to keep such products separate either in preparation or presentation from other dishes. There was usually one vegetarian option (out of 8) for dinner in the Meridian dining room. It is easy enough to keep pig products separate from others, to use a different griddle for grilling pork from other meats etc. but no such effort is made. Although most of the clientele might be reliving the 1960s and 70s, there is no reason for P&O not to make an effort to accommodate the 21st century (see also comments on electrical sockets and wifi). Also there doesn’t seem to be any great effort to give a taste of the cuisine of the ports to be/just visited (other than Australia). For instance, Papua New Guinea produces cocoa, coffee, bananas, fish, sago, cassava, yams – none of these appeared on the menu. Of the two main restaurants, the Meridian provides a silver service dining experience. The food can be good but too often is below par (e.g. sometimes microwaved and, consequently, dry and unappetising dishes often served lukewarm). There is also an element of complacency evident in the preparation – e.g. a mass-produced tart base is used for too many dishes. One particularly egregious example was a ‘macaroon tart’ which was the offending tart base filled with something that tasted like ‘Angel Delight’ with half a macaroon biscuit shell on top. The same tart base (a typical mass-produced casing used for quiches, tarts and anything else that comes to mind) was used two days later for a rhubarb and apple crumble ‘tart’. Cooking for large throughput is not easy and complacency has to be guarded against. One thing about the Meridian – it opens very late for breakfast (07.30 when in port, 08.00 on other days). Bearing in mind the age of the ship’s clientele, elderly folk who have difficulty sleeping, this is far too late. Also, on port days one wants to disembark as early as possible. A start one hour earlier would be better. The Belvedere is self-service and gives too much the impression of a staff canteen, in choice of dishes, layout and even smell. The quality varies from mediocre to passable. Access to the food is also not always easy – try pouring the soup without spilling it! A few design and style changes could easily make it a lot more appealing. The smoothies on offer are far too sweet (like most things on board, at least for my taste) – not really smoothies as I know them. With so many elderly passengers, diabetes might be a problem that needs to be more widely addressed (it’s not just sufficient to offer the occasional diabetic pastry). The specialty restaurants (Ocean Grill, Sindhu) are both good but the menus are fixed for the duration of the voyage so a couple of visits will mean you’ve exhausted the dishes you want to eat (or that don’t appear elsewhere on the ship). I was a little surprised to find that the Sindhu did not use tablecloths. Tea time was very short, lasting 45 min so if you arrive late, expect to be rushed out. Scones were usually acceptable, though sometimes stale. Clotted cream was served, so full marks (in the Meridian only) for this. It was impossible to find a decent cup of coffee on board. There were 3 establishments claiming to serve Costa Coffee (admittedly, not the best of the international chains) but if they were representative of Costa Coffee generally, then it’s time for a change. Why can one not get a decent espresso or cappuccino elsewhere? The attempts at cappuccino in the main restaurant were more like coffee dregs soaked in warm water and then swamped with milk. The baristas need some proper training. I also object to the misleading WiFi sign appearing at these 3 establishments – there is no free WiFi on board and the WiFi in the Costa Coffee places is the same as that for the ship as a whole (and available only at great cost). Drinks – the price of on-board drinks is comparable to what can be found in the UK (outside central London). The duty and tax savings are, therefore, not passed on to the passengers. Although good hygiene is important, the anti-bacterial gel that was not only offered at the door but almost forced on diners entering the restaurants, made one feel rather like being at school or hospital ward (doubly unwelcome when one takes into account the average age of the passengers). More effective would be issuing facemasks to people with coughs and sneezes! It was all a bit too much. And the injunction to wipe down machines after use in the gym was usually obeyed by the passengers but often ignored by the staff themselves. The gym is an adequate size/ well-equipped considering the age of the passengers, but might become inadequate if the average age fell by say 10 years. Incidentally, the gym is open between 08.00-20.00 only. As there is little or no supervision in the gym, I don’t understand why opening hours are not extended (to, say, 07.00-21.00). The Library has a reasonable stock of classic and modern fiction but not much in the way of good non-fiction (a lot of books on birds and a big collection on, often outdated, travel guides. In some ways this is understandable in view of the cost of books these days). There is comfortable seating in the library itself but there could be more of it. Although the Arcadia’s ‘Helpful Information’ claims that cabins are equipped with British style electrical sockets, in fact there is only one such socket in the cabin and generally the ship has US-style sockets throughout. Adapters were supplied by Reception (after the deficiency was raised as a concern). The ship lacks also an adequate number of power points in public areas to meet the needs of the modern age, for charging phones, computers, tablets, cameras etc.. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Having perused the reviews before we left, I was a bit unsure as to whether my best mate had made the right choice for this one......How wrong I was!!!! A fantastic ship, with the staff being more than helpful, even when I had an ... Read More
Having perused the reviews before we left, I was a bit unsure as to whether my best mate had made the right choice for this one......How wrong I was!!!! A fantastic ship, with the staff being more than helpful, even when I had an accident and ended up in a wheelchair for the weekend! The food and service for the whole duration, was second to none, and the prices were more than reasonable. Our check in was swift and slick, and nothing was too much trouble for our cabin steward. I stayed in a balcony room (5th deck, I think) and it was immaculate from start to finish. Didn't go ashore in Bruges, as I've been there before. Still, plenty to do on board. Disembarkation was smooth, and the food was excellent! It shows that the ship has undergone a major refurb since 2013, and I wouldn't hesitate to go again. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our first cruise. - Harsh but true.... Once on board, we were not shown or directed to our cabin, but had to find out own way. Cabin was much smaller than expected and not enough room for our clothes but hanging space and ... Read More
This was our first cruise. - Harsh but true.... Once on board, we were not shown or directed to our cabin, but had to find out own way. Cabin was much smaller than expected and not enough room for our clothes but hanging space and shower was adequate. Balcony small. Suitcases had not yet arrived so we went for a drink at the Glasshouse where we were overcharged by £9, this was addressed. Went to Reception to find out about dining options etc, the receptionist was quite rude and said that it was all clearly marked in the leaflet, she then underscored where we could eat that was included in the price. Back to Cabin deck 10 -didn't have to wait long for lifts throughout holiday. Entertainment was poor, just unknown vocalists, poor ventriliquist and one good show - Gravity with good special effects. Comedian was also good but standing room only unless you bolted your food or skipped a course to get there 40 minutes before the start. The Overtones were the best! Ship smelt of varnish as crew were masked up touching up, why when ship was not even a year old? Passengers were forever getting lost, poor directions. I would not even be able to find my way to the muster point if necessary. Food was mostly good, waiting and cabin staff...very good. Captain only made a brief appearance to upsell the café and spa (still I suppose someone had to sail the ship) Ports were excellent, we were first off at every port and last to get back on. It was like being locked up in a hotel from 6pm onwards. Gala nights (of which there were 4) "All dressed up and nowhere to go" Everyone looked bored. Everyday we were bombarded with more and more paperwork about quoits or silent quizzes or bingo or spa offers - none of which appealed. The passengers were friendly and some had been on several cruises and thought the Ventura was much better. Many people said they would not go on Britannia again, there was no promenade deck, the pools were too small, there were not enough sun beds and those available were extremely close to your neighbour, also there was no shade for the sunbeds. Shops, expensive and not much of interest. Overall very disappointing - this was our first and LAST cruise. Advise you to read cruise critic before parting with your hard earned cash! (wish we had) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
We brought the cruise forward, for family reasons, as it was planned for my retirement (end March) wife's 60th (early May) to be taken around end April. Very apprehensive, having read many reviews. Firstly the ship was beautiful, big ... Read More
We brought the cruise forward, for family reasons, as it was planned for my retirement (end March) wife's 60th (early May) to be taken around end April. Very apprehensive, having read many reviews. Firstly the ship was beautiful, big and well finished throughout all decks and bars/restaurants etc.Service was very good, never once did we experience any delays to attentiveness. Many aspects truly wonderful, Food, Entertainment facilities, its sheer size . Our inside cabin adequate, all the staff were helpful, you could talk with them share their lifestyle from home to here. We spent every port day out and about seeing what we could in the time we had. So many mentioned the stairs in mid ships, yes bad mistake for those who need midships stairs. Atrium, well more like a shopping centre, no central sparkle, except for the Chandelier!. Needs to have more of a focal point to entertain people, rather that it being a sit off area. Slightly holiday campish theme, sing alongs etc not our taste, towels/deck chairs, same old same old. We enjoyed eating well, Sindhu, superb. Nice wines, a good local beer, with real ale options in Brodies. Meridian suited us fine, food was excellent. All in all a relaxed, enjoyable experience. However, would not go again. Lacked a party atmosphere in the evenings, an explosion for all to let their hair down. Perhaps it wasn't meant to be on this ship, too relaxed a voyage, and too many 'long time cruisers' moaning that things weren't up to their standard or went to bed at 11. Really enjoyed the ports of calls, made the most of every day. Fabulous beaches, interesting people along the way. Sharing taxis, talking about each others lives and homes. Beautiful islands, worth a holiday there on there own. Day trips/excursions onshore, did all bar one without P&O, found their pricing very expensive compared to what we paid onshore with the Taxi/Mini bus lads. Don't be afraid to do your own thing, its exciting. We are a young/old couple who ain't giving up our youthfulness just yet. Next time RCI or Carnival. thanks for the experience P&O, you tried very hard but it was dull in so many areas. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
We wanted to complete Norway and the Northern Lights for sometime and after looking at various options we decided on a cruise aboard the Oriana would probably be the best solution. We are very independent travellers, and had some ... Read More
We wanted to complete Norway and the Northern Lights for sometime and after looking at various options we decided on a cruise aboard the Oriana would probably be the best solution. We are very independent travellers, and had some reservations but thought a new experience would be a good idea - especially to get to the Arctic Circle. The ship in general was fine, although we were delayed for 5 hours leaving Southampton and we lost all electrical power for 10 minutes on leaving Flam. In the dining room we often had a really bad 'vibration issue' on some nights from the engines or props - not a ship expert but it seemed to be directly under our table in the Oriental. Sindhu was very good, and we liked the Crows Nest and Andersons. We had 8:30 dining and the food and service was excellent. The ports of call were; Stavangar - Nice town, we did our own thing and explored the town and museums. Tromso - Not long enough and a pretty poor tour by coach which was rushed Alta - Saw Northern Lights from back of boat in Alta, did not book the expensive P & O Northern Lights Tour as we though we would see them from the boat - and we did. Flam - Spectacular location took the Norway in a Nutshell tour and overall good - just too many people - not something we are used to. Overall fantastic scenery with lots of snow covered mountains and fjords. Bad outbreak of flu on-board which affected many people and for our last few days we were both very ill. I suppose when you have nearly 3000 people confined within a small area it was bound to happen. You do not have the freedom 'normal' holidays offer and you only get a 'taster' of each location. For Northern Norway it was fine for us, but I would not go on another cruise, its just not for us. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our first cruise and we were both nervous and excited about our trip from Southampton to Bruges on P&O Ventura. Below is our review and some of the things that we would do differently should we decide to do another cruise that ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were both nervous and excited about our trip from Southampton to Bruges on P&O Ventura. Below is our review and some of the things that we would do differently should we decide to do another cruise that may be useful to other fist time cruisers. Parking and transfers - we used ACP (Alternative Cruise Parking) and the service was excellent from start to finish. All questions that we asked prior to arrival were responded to promptly. Upon arrival we parked our car and was on our way to the Cruise terminal within 10 minutes. The driver offered lots of useful information as well as trying to put nervous 1st time cruisers minds at rest. We were told when we got back and dis-embarked to call the office number and a vehicle would be there to collect us within 15 minutes and that was exactly what happened. Upon arrival back at the car park the lady that we dealt with (Sue) seemed genuinely interested as to how we got on. What a pleasure to deal with a company that actually delivers on it's promises. We would have no hesitation in recommending ACP to friends and family. Arrival and embarkation at the Mayflower Terminal Southampton - Our arrival time was 3pm and we arrived at 12:30pm. This was our first mistake as we sat for 2 hours having to listen constantly to a women making announcements every couple of minutes which although might be necessary did get on our nerves! Lesson learnt next time we will aim to arrive close to our embarkation time. Drinks and toilets were available in the "holding area". Cabin - once on board we arrived at our room to find our cases were already at the door. We had a balcony cabin on deck 12 situated in the mid aft section of the ship which was quiet with no noise from the above deck. The living / sleeping area was nice with plenty of storage space for clothes a decent sized safe and a very comfortable queen size bed. The balcony was nice with good quality recliner chairs and a table. The bathroom was disappointing. The shower was very small although the water pressure was good and always hot. The worst part was every time we lifted the seat on the toilet we were greeted with an unpleasant smell of stale urine. A special mention to our Cabin steward who kept our cabin spotlessly clean and tidy, thank you. Emergency Drill - Due at 16:15 but delayed until 16:45 due to inconsiderate individuals that feel that they are exempt! Although irritating this is a requirement by law. In our opinion anyone late should be given a heavy fine (suggest the cost of their cruise) or better still ejected from the ship unless a very good reason is given for being late! Bars - We tried the following bars:- Breakers bar, good fun nice pint but drinks served in plastic beakers. Exchange bar, good service, entertainment and nice drinks. Tamarind, rude miserable staff. Metropolis, flat beer and weak coffee! Restaurants - We tried the following restaurants:- Bay Tree - The first night we were greeted with an enormous queue going up the stairs at 20:25 for our 20:30 sitting. The 2nd night we arrived at 20:45 and walked straight in, another lesson learned! The food was hit and miss as the first night was awful i.e. prawn cocktail served with wilting salad and beef that was tough and tasteless! The 2nd night however was excellent. The service was excellent on both nights. Waterside, excellent buffet breakfasts, lunch & desserts. Frankie's Pizzeria, awful pizza's friendly staff. Frankie's Grill, nice food miserable lady chef! Disembarkation - we chose to self disembark which requires you to carry your own baggage off the ship. The ship docked at about 07:10 and we were off the ship by approximately 07:35 which worked well for us. Final thoughts - We were told by numerous people before going that we would not even know that the ship was moving. We found this to be untrue as the ship could be heard / felt shaking and rolling during our crossing. We experienced queuing on board but this can be avoided with a little planning. However in our experience there was always a considerable wait to get drinks from the bars but we found the prices were very reasonable and in line with what you would expect to pay in an average pub / restaurant. We found that this mini cruise gave us a very good insight as to what a cruise would be like. We enjoyed our first cruise but are still undecided as to whether to go on another. Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
My wife and I are 54 years old, this, was our first cruise. Never cruising before we have nothing to compare it against. However, we did read the mixed reviews beforehand. We made a pledge not to pay any attention to the moaners. ... Read More
My wife and I are 54 years old, this, was our first cruise. Never cruising before we have nothing to compare it against. However, we did read the mixed reviews beforehand. We made a pledge not to pay any attention to the moaners. Additionally, we were not going to play the I paid this and that, for my cruise game. Our first impressions of the Brittania. Well, we both looked open mouthed at this humungous, beautiful ship, docked in wonderful Barbados. For some odd reason we both burst out laughing. Both of us were so excited we just couldn't wait to get on board. Embarking was such a pleasure, your cases are taken straight onto the ship from the plane. Once we landed we were in our cabin in no time at all, what a joy. It took us a few days to find our way around the ship, but, enjoyed exploring and finding interesting parts as we went. The staff are from Asia - they are all supremely well trained, attentive and friendly. The best we have encountered anywhere. The food is fantastic - fine dining at it's best. We paid and additional fee's for the Sindhu, the Limelight Club and the Beach house. These restaurants were great but, how do you improve on food in the normal restaurants, when there food is pretty much near perfection. Just one simple example of this, is the eggs - just how did they cook them to perfection everyday for so many people? beats me. The Atrium was our favourite part of the ship we also enjoyed the Sunset bar. The ship offers something for everyone, fun filled packed days or just lazy days. Be it by a busy or quite pool. We chose the quiet Serenity pool. My wife never had a problem obtaining a lounger - P&0 have noted this as a problem in the past and appealed to it's customers not hog loungers. This seemed to work. We didn't do many of the shows at night - we enjoyed our balcony, t.v. and early nights I'm afraid the day time activities left us shattered at night. However, we did attend all four of the formal evenings, the Caribbean night and the Casino. The Casino staff are brilliant teaching my wife how to lose my money - no really, they were great. The Caribbean and formal nights were fab. The cabin was quite luxurious I think, we loved the balcony and tea making facility. I have never ever slept so well. The bed is super comfortable. We only have some minor critiques - I would estimate about 98% of people dressed appropriately during the formal evenings. It irritated me and many others, that, a few of the non conforming merchants did not dress accordingly. A number of scruff bags were turned away at the Crows nest and Glass house bars. However, a few did elude the P&O officers staged around the ship. Our other critique is nothing to with the ship but, with a few of middle England's rudest people. One elderly gentleman threw his serviette down on the dining table in disgust. All because his favourite wine was not in stock- shocking and slightly amusing. Another example of bad behaviour we didn't like was a huge heffa-lump of a woman from Manchester, blocking the lounger isles with her lounger preventing the disabled and infirm getting past. Her excuse was "I just have to be in the sun - horrendous behaviour, she had no shame. The day's onshore were fun filled sunny beach days. We particularly enjoyed St Maartin, St Kitts and Grenada. We will definitely cruise on the Brittania again. My wife I actually felt quiet proud to be travelling on such a fantastic ship. It is for all these for reasons above that my wife and I say our time cruising on the Brittania around the Caribbean s contributed to our holiday of a lifetime Read Less
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