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2,846 P&O Cruises Southampton Cruise Reviews

Having just completed our first P&O cruise (aboard the Ventura )I thought I’d post my comparison with the Celebrity Solstice class ships, as most of the cruises we have done were aboard Celebrity, the last one being on the Silhouette ... Read More
Having just completed our first P&O cruise (aboard the Ventura )I thought I’d post my comparison with the Celebrity Solstice class ships, as most of the cruises we have done were aboard Celebrity, the last one being on the Silhouette this time last year. The ships are roughly the same size in tonnage , but Ventura carries more passengers, and I believe has a higher ratio of crew to passenger. So on that score the Silhouette seems to come out on top. I would also say the Silhouette has a plusher interior, but that said the Ventura is still a nice interior just not as glitzy. On the Ventura we had a superior deluxe balcony cabin, because it had a bath. On the Silhouette we had a standard cabin; albeit in the past we have had an Aqua Class cabin. Again the Silhouette cabin has a bit plusher feel, but doesn’t compare in size and storage to the Ventura. Without doubt the Ventura cabin wins hands down. Can’t comment on standard cabins on Ventura, other than to say a few passengers remarked on how tight the shower was. Obviously food and drink are a big factor in any cruise. We’ve never had any complaints on a Celebrity boat about food. Quality, choice, service have always been consistently good. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Ventura. In the main food was ok, but never exceptional, and in a few cases quite bad. Both ships have specialty restaurants, for which you pay a premium; although quite a bit more on Celebrity. We tried them all on Ventura and found their top restaurant – The Epicurean to be passable but not memorable, but did enjoy Sindhu, the Indian themed restaurant, and the Beach House. There was, generally, a noticeable difference in the waiter service, with Ventura being very mixed, and at times not overly efficient, whilst Celebrity consistently good. If you are a foodie then, based on our experience, Ventura is not for you. Conversely, when it came to entertainment we think Ventura was much better. The ship had an excellent entertainment team and programme. The shows in the main theatre were of a good standard, and the final show on the last night – “Astonishing” – was probably the most enjoyable production we have had on any cruise. All round the entertainment team was more engaged with passengers; even at disembarkation they were high profile and involved with folk waiting to leave the ship. Passengers on Ventura were 99% Brits; whereas Celebrity has a more mixed nationality passenger base., but mainly American. So many features on Ventura were targeted to British taste, including prices in sterling and 3 pin plugs. Certainly the Brits made more of an effort about dressing up on formal nights; in contrast Celebrity and others appear to be moving to a more smart casual style throughout the cruise. In summary Celebrity is a bit more upmarket, but of course quite a bit more expensive. If I had a choice between a like for like cruise, at same price, I think I’d opt Celebrity, but the lure of the Ventura cabin, with its decent size, and bath, might be hard to resist. Best on Celebrity – the food Best on Ventura – cabin; closely followed by excellent entrainment team. 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
I read all the reviews before deciding on a holiday so only fair that I should leave my own objective review. This trip was our first time on Britannia and we had a fantastic trip. The food choices were really good, we ate normally in the ... Read More
I read all the reviews before deciding on a holiday so only fair that I should leave my own objective review. This trip was our first time on Britannia and we had a fantastic trip. The food choices were really good, we ate normally in the Oriental restaurant and were very well looked after with the waiters always offering more if we wanted it or to change things if they though we weren't keen. We also ate in Sindhu and Epicurean both well worth the extra cost. The grab and go sandwiches were perfect for daytime. We stayed in cabin F728 right on the back of the ship and absolutely loved it, it seemed more peaceful than the cabins on the side and we saw loads of dolphins and even a couple of whales - the downside however is that you can feel the engine vibrating more at the back and if the wind is in the right (or wrong) direction you do get soot on your balcony as mentioned on other reviews. Other comments on the cabin are that they could do with a good clean, there was mould in the bathroom in the shower and round the sink and the balcony was permanently dirty. I am not blaming the cabin cleaners I think because the ship goes straight back out it never gets a deep clean. I would only give the cabin 3 star at most In addition although maintenance seemed to be on-going the ship had a lot of rust on it and some machines in the gym weren't working a particular bug bear of my husbands. The entertainment was varied and loads of choice so something for everyone. One comment to note is if you are on second sitting there is never seats available in the live lounge. There were a number of celebrities on board but the price of £25 each to see them seemed a lot to me, this was included in the supper club but surely dinner was included anyway in the price we paid for the holiday. The guy from the Hollies was free and really well worth watching. We did our own thing in the ports as we don't need the hand holding the organised trips provided and had a great time in all the ports - Don't let Anfusa put you off by saying you'll miss the boat because trains are unreliable. We were disappointed we only had a half day in Gibraltar as it doesn't give you time for anything more than a whirlwind trip. We didn't have any problems with service anywhere on the ship everyone worked really hard Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
After a lumpy Bay of Biscay crossing, the rest of the cruise was excellent. The ship was going into dry dock at the end of this cruise for a spruce up. We had sailed on Britannia before so we knew our way round the ship. The lifts ... Read More
After a lumpy Bay of Biscay crossing, the rest of the cruise was excellent. The ship was going into dry dock at the end of this cruise for a spruce up. We had sailed on Britannia before so we knew our way round the ship. The lifts are still a bit of a problem, mainly as at either end of the ship they are smaller and often full at busy times. Considering the wear she has had, I thought she is holding up pretty well. I was especially pleased with the standard of food in the MDR, both in terms of service and quality. We eat in the Beach House for the first time and was pleasantly surprised at the quality and value for money. Cabins and balcony are ok but we knew that the balconies are smaller than on Azura. Cabin steward very good. Other than the 'Rat Pack' the entertainment was very good. P&O please leave Frank, Sammy and Dean on shore next time please. Looking forward to seeing the newly refurbed ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
For this review, I have compiled the facts and written them in an easy, logical way to read, however, as will become clear, the information from the Captain was given after the acute crisis event, during a Q & A session, with a ... Read More
For this review, I have compiled the facts and written them in an easy, logical way to read, however, as will become clear, the information from the Captain was given after the acute crisis event, during a Q & A session, with a proportion of the affected passengers. This is a factual description of our experiences. Facts: 1. The Captain had warned P&O 3 years ago not to include Monaco in any itinerary during the annual 4 day Monaco mega yacht show (which this year was 25 -28 September 2019). This is because all hotels in and around the area are completely booked, areas are closed, the Monte Carlo pier and tendering is not available, taxis are not available, buses are limited, it is packed and you have to pre pay 280 Euros to walk in the harbour promenade; 2. The Captain informed us that 2 weeks before our sailing, they tried to change the port to Villefranche, but 2 other ships were already there; 3. The Monte Carlo tender port is notoriously choppy and unpredictable and a quick scan of the forums shows how frequently the tender port is cancelled or has to be suspended; 4. Google states that in 2003 a modern cruise ship pier was opened to prevent the need for tendering in the known unpredictable swells. So why do some cruise companies still not pay to use it and instead choose to tender? 5. Upon questioning by the passengers the Captain revealed there is a written P&O protocol and procedure for exactly what to do when tendering has to be suspended and passengers are stranded – the 1st thing is to acquire hotel accommodation. This was never going to be available during the yacht show. A simple, common sense, uncomplicated risk assessment by a layperson would reveal that no ships should ever tender during the yacht show and the P&O protocol could never be accomplished; 6. Monaco offered P&O a tender area adjacent to Monte Carlo called Fontvieille and P&O / Carnival took the risk, that despite there never being hotel availability and P&O not being able to fulfil step 1 of their emergency protocol, that they would tender there; 7. The Captain’s weather forecast was for “good boating” that day. We got on the tender at around 9.10am. We have always loved tender ports and are excellent sailors. We noticed how many passengers could never have fulfilled the compulsory “step” test and were being lifted into the tenders. There were many wheelchairs and scooters. Our tender was choppy and many passengers were bumping their heads and being thrown around in their seats. Other passengers said how later this became progressively worse and the tender operation was extremely slow and interrupted; 8. When we joined the enormous, return tender queue at 14.15, passengers told us that the tender operation was suspended and apparently had been for some time, hence the vast queue. We considered going back into town, but it is a long, hilly walk into Monaco Ville from Fontvieille and I could not physically repeat it. We opted to wait…..and wait……and wait. The queue must have had 400-500 passengers by 15.00hrs and then the excursion coaches arrived at around 17.00. I overheard the Intercontinental excursion man, upon meeting the guests, informing them not to join the queue and to go to the nearest shopping centre to use the toilets, get refreshments and rest. The queue had not been told to do this. Information was extremely minimal i.e. it was passed down the line that they were still trying to resume tendering. Meanwhile, the water canisters ran dry and there were no toilet facilities that were open and we all remained standing in the Monaco sun. In the Q&A meeting the hotel manager claimed, as per protocol, that there was plentiful water at the tenders. She had clearly not been informed that this had long ran out. And anyway, the exceedingly patient, compliant queue did not move from their spots to walk the 100-200 meters to where the water containers would have been. At one stage, as the queue was right in the sun, the excursions department manager and a colleague carried what was left of the water along the queue until it was empty. After the risk of heat stroke and dehydration, the sun went behind the buildings and the wind whipped up. It quickly became very cold and of course we were all in strappy T shirts and shorts; 9. At 18.00hrs, all the staff in the queue were gathered together and debriefed. At 18.10, these various staff members went along the enormous queue. We realised something was up, because suddenly the previously unmoving queue all moved to the right and into 2 tiny restaurants / pizzeria and a bar. Eventually we were told we could spend up to 20 Euros per person for food / drinks, which would be refunded. By the time we got this information, the small eateries were full. The 18.10hrs message also stated that there would be a further announcement at 18.30. There was no way we could get food anywhere within that time, so we stuck with the queue as did some others. There never was a further announcement, but staff did go along the line at approximately 19.30 hrs asking if anyone had any priority needs, e.g. medications. I have a brain tumour, which I volunteered and was invited to go to the front of the queue. As I look relatively young, fit and well, I knew (as indeed happened) I would get dagger stares for moving to the front and so I declined, but the staff member escorted me; 10. At the front the brilliantly assertive senior nurse, who happened to be on shore leave, was organising the immediate priority group 1 and the 2nd priority group, where I was put. We waited and waited and we then boarded 1 of these 2 tenders. It was extremely rough. Again, many passengers who could barely walk and certainly not unaided, were being lifted into the tender. There is no way that they would have been able to fulfil the “step” test. 70 passengers were in our tender, but then the exits of the tenders were completely blocked by numerous wheelchairs, scooters and buggies. The 2 tender crew had to keep climbing over them. The voyage to the ship began at approximately 20.30hrs in the pitch black of night. We have never experienced such a rough tender ride. Passengers were having panic attacks, some screaming, crying and virtually all were vomiting. We have never seen so much vomit and we are hospital / medical professionals. Our tender was unable to get up alongside the ship, as tender priority 1 had to abandon unloading half way through, as it was far too dangerous. Passengers on the ship watched in horror and disbelief at the extreme rolling and pitching of the tenders. After approximately 45 minutes of these awful conditions we got back to the quayside, but we could not go alongside, as there were 3 empty tenders parked alongside. We, as passengers, had to tell the crew to move the empty tenders, so we could dock and be unloaded. It appeared that the entire tender crews and officers on the jetty had no control and were floundering. Eventually we unloaded and stood right on the jetty water’s edge, in the pitch black, back at the front of the enormous queue. We stood there for some time and then the safety officer in a quiet, sheepish voice, barely heard by most said “the police and authorities have taken over”. We were all led for a 15 – 20 minute walk to a sports centre, attached to the football stadium; 11. This whole time we had no information and no clue what was going on. It was now approximately 22.15 hrs and we had queued for 8 hours without seats, toilets, food, water, or shelter. We were all exhausted; 12. Most passengers were led into the basketball arena with had massive, steep, concrete steps to climb, without rails, to the plastic arena chairs. 1 elderly lady face planted down these steep steps and was taken away to hospital. We found 2 chairs in the hall. Some wonderful, off duty, non-officer staff were sharing the foods they had purchased for their personal use; 13. Eventually, the tender crews managed to collect some boxes of biscuits, dry crackers, nuts, tortilla chips, bottles of water, towels and blankets – anything that could be thrown from the ship into the tender. We later found out this food supplies mission had to be abandoned at 23.30hrs as a crew member fell from the tender pontoon, into the sea, between the ship and the tender, sustaining multiple head bangs. Clearly, any food transit had to be abandoned. Thankfully, we can now tell you, that the crew member survived, but the Captain told us that as it was a near fatality, the entire ship’s crew were naturally very shaken; 14. At the point when the snacks, towels / blankets arrived the calm, pleasant, courteous P&O passenger characteristics changed into 2 groups……- the considerate, selfless, carers group and the self-centered, just look after yourself group. Whereas I took 1 biscuit, others were seen hoarding entire, large, wholesale packets; 15. The senior nurse demonstrated strong leadership skills, effectively prioritising those with life threatening needs. There was still no information; 16. At approximately 22.45hrs, a policeman, of which there were loads, asked us if we needed a bed? Of course, we did need one, but we thought others showed greater need, so we declined; 17. At around 23.45hrs, a sudden surge of police and Red Cross staff arrived. A policeman came to us and instructed us “follow me, bed”. We were led into the basketball stadium, down the extremely steep stairs and into a further hall that had been set up with 100s of stretchers as makeshift “beds”. The majority were barely off the floor, narrow and metal and were of the type seen on TV news during earthquake / person evacuation / disaster zones. It was at this point we realised we were there for the night. There was still no P&O information. It was a complete disgrace and a total failure of communication; 18. The influx of police and Red Cross volunteers formed a human chain, passing more stretchers into the hall, which they then assembled. We were given a “couverture de survie” – a life saving foil cover. In a way we were lucky to get 1 of these orange evacuation metal stretchers, as we found out from passengers the next day, that they had to rest on the cold floor, on tables, or on broken up boxes, or sit all night in the arena plastic bucket seats, which must have been even more truly awful. However, these passengers told us that they had seen many passengers hoarding 5 towels as pillows or multiple blankets. 1 passenger at 3am saw an empty blue camp bed with a neatly folded blanket on it. As she took the blanket, the nearby man shot up and shouted at her to leave it, as it was “taken”. A few hours later she returned and saw the same empty camp bed and neatly folded blanket. In our hall there were many Red Cross workers who gave out the tin foil covers, some table cloth type covers and some duvet type sleeping bags, which we used to soften the hard, metal of the evacuation stretchers. The Red Cross went around the hall all night, checking on people and covering them with the tin foil, however all passengers will relay how exquisitely irritating the noise of this foil was – it became a torture noise in our sleep deprived state. Some passengers managed to sleep, but the extreme snoring, was for most, a further noise torture. For me, the worst torture was the bright overhead fluorescent lights that were left on, so any rest was futile and broken by foil / snoring / fluorescent light and the hardness / narrowness of the stretchers; 19. At no time were any hot drinks available from the Red Cross, which was a surprise to us, as hot drinks are commonly used in any emergency first aid crisis. However, there was now plentiful water obtained from the ship and at 3am we found some other snacks in the main basketball arena. During this time we spoke to a shore side food and beverage man that happened to be visiting the ship. We asked him if there was any information and were told that we were going to be got up at 5am, to leave by bus at 6am, to go to the Monaco train station to get a train to Villefranche, to join the ship. This information had not been communicated to anyone outside the basketball arena, so at 5am we asked the officer in charge – the customer service manager to announce it to our hall and other areas where passengers were. My husband also asked him if the ship was actually in Villefranche, as it would be ridiculous for us to leave shelter with toilets, snacks and water to be left stranded in the outside, without any facilities. He replied “that’s the plan from above”. My husband suggested to him that he should confirm with the ship that they were in a position to sail to Villefranche, before any of us left the sports centre. He remained silent and did not move, so my husband went upstairs to the basketball arena and found the food and beverage man from before and explained that there were whole areas that had not been made aware of the plan and announcements needed to be made. The ship’s food and beverage manager officer then came to our area, but no one could hear him, but, as before, passengers followed other passengers’ lead. We tried to stay, but were told to leave. We now know, that at this stage, as we predicted, it was still not possible for the tenders stranded at the quayside to be loaded back onto the ship. A ship is legally not allowed to move without the tenders in place and yet the passengers still had to be moved from the shelter of the sports centre; 20. We were put in queue groups for public buses, which did not have many seats and were taken by police escort to the train station. We personally got the 7am train which arrived at Villefranche at 7.15 (there were 3 trains 6.30, 7 and 7.30). A further 15 minute walk took us to the newly reassembled, enormous queue, which we personally arrived at, at 7.30. We saw the ship sailing towards us in the distance, but by the time it arrived, anchored and dispatched the tenders, we had had to stand for another 2 hours, without seats or toilets, in a totally sleep deprived state, before getting on a tender; 21. At 7.07, whilst on the train to Villefranche, some passengers received a text from P&O, but most phone batteries were now dead. The text read “Good morning. We have now started the bus operation from the stadium to get you back to Azura. If you are not at the stadium, please make your way to Villefranche cruise terminal without delay”. A further text arrived at 7.45 “Good morning and thank you for your patience. Azura will shortly be at anchor and we plan to start the tender embarkation as soon as possible. Thank you once again”. When this arrived all 1000+ passengers were standing in the queue. It was noted by passengers how P&O had failed to send any texts of information until this point; 22. Whilst we were in this final 2 hour queue, we came across the Events Manager and I sarcastically asked him how this event had gone. Unforgivably, he replied “very well”!!! 23. We arrived back at the ship at 10.00hrs and were told to go to a particular restaurant for breakfast. We went via our cabin to wash our hands and found a letter of apology from the Captain, which included a statement “we will be refunding you a full day of your cruise (on a pro rata basis). Also, a gesture of £50 per person will be automatically placed in your onboard account today, for you to enjoy”. The letter stated that there would be a 16.00 hrs Q&A session and that we would be contacted to confirm the venue. Notification of the venue came in a letter around 14.00hrs, when most of the affected passengers were asleep and therefore did not know! 24. We attended the 16-17.00hrs meeting and the general, overwhelming themes were: a) complete failure of communication, b) failure of senior staff to manage, control, or lead the situation, c) the 1 day offer was insulting, as we were already on day 2 of impact and for the majority, it would take additional days to physically recover and a lot longer emotionally and d) the £50 “gesture” is empty if it is on board credit, as the money goes straight back to the company. Already flown in from shore side and present at the Q&A session, were a representative from guest experience and a representative from guest relations. It is interesting that despite the passengers having been given no information that P&O managed to coordinate 2 shore side staff members to be flown in to meet the ship. There was positive recognition and thanks of some P&O staff who were fantastic, particularly the non officer junior staff, who showed the greatest empathy and kindness, when they were also stranded in their off time. Summary P&O blame this event on a force majeure, however as outlined, we strongly feel this was a completely avoidable crisis. We should never have tendered during the yacht show as a risk assessment would clearly have demonstrated that there would never have been an ability to execute their emergency protocol (for hotel accommodation) in the event of tender difficulties, in an area of proven track record for unpredictable sea conditions and aborted / delayed tender operations. This was a foolhardy gamble that went wrong and could easily have resulted in crew and passenger fatalities or serious injuries. In this regard P&O were extremely lucky. Goodwill Gesture / Refund and Financial Remuneration: 1. The promised refund of maximum 20 Euros per person was applied as on board credit at an exchange rate of 1.25, giving £16 non-refundable OBC, therefore the money went straight back into the pockets of P&O. The Bank of England rate on the day was 1.12 = £17.86. Monaco is one of the most expensive places to eat and drink, so 20 Euros would not adequately cover a meal; 2. The one day refund was never increased, despite the shore side guest experience representative saying that they would reconsider it, so we personally got £117 per person simply for the loss of 1 day on the ship. There was never any recognition for the extreme suffering, physical and emotional distress, sleep deprivation, stress and disappointment and for us, the ruination of the entire 2nd week of the cruise and therefore half of the holiday; 3. A letter was received in the cabin to claim on insurance for the loss of the port in Corsica. As an additional point of note, this incident happened after the major news event of day 5, when the ship rescued 17 migrants floating on a dinghy. This 10 hour rescue meant that we could not reach Barcelona as planned; 4. A few days after the incident a bottle of Prosecco was brought to the cabin; 5. On arrival home an unimpressive, small hamper was delivered with a message “A warm welcome home for all to enjoy. From P&O cruises”. Lessons learnt for tender ports: 1. Before the cruise, research on forums the specific tender ports to establish if they have a history or strong likelihood of being aborted, delayed or cancelled; 2. Do your own risk assessment and assess the sea conditions before and on the tender out and immediately return if it feels unusually choppy; 3. Take emergency provisions for that and the next day – food, water, warm clothing, sun protection, inflatable pillow and mattress, spare phone batteries and chargers and most importantly any medications for that and the next day. Consider the need to carry all this in a carry-on luggage wheelie suitcase; 4. Captains’ weather forecasts can be seriously flawed – supposedly calm, good conditions can adversely and extremely change. Are you prepared to take the risk? 5. Beware that P&O itineraries still have tender ports at Monte Carlo during yacht shows in future years. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
P&O has done a Marks and Spencers act. It has ignored customer demand and gone for max profit. This cruise proved it. We ate onshore as often as possible. We are tired of the same corporate menu, cruise after cruise. No ... Read More
P&O has done a Marks and Spencers act. It has ignored customer demand and gone for max profit. This cruise proved it. We ate onshore as often as possible. We are tired of the same corporate menu, cruise after cruise. No imagination, no food uploaded along the route - so no local produce.(To ensure quality - we are told.) To ensure max profit is probably fact. We chose the cruise to visit Corsica - it never happened but for acceptable reasons. However P&O food gets worse each cruise. Every turn demands money - the only smiling staff for the 1st two days were those demanding money! The music has got louder and less appropriate to each venue. Azura appears to have no quiet area for relaxing. The staff are great but corners are being cut everywhere. If you like massive loads of average food, loud music everywhere and family movies like Dumbo - you will love P&O Azura. It is not for us - we do not go on holiday for endless loads of poor quality food, for over loud music and below average entertainment. Aurora was ok but even so, did not match RCI for food quality or entertainment. RCI per day was half the price too! Maybe we got a good deal but - 50% cheaper - that is something to consider even at full price! Better food by far, better entertainment and a more caring company. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Petroni on Azura - Embarkation and Cabin - Azura cruise A925 sailing 21st Sept 2019 Also Search for Petroni for info on food, wine and our adventures - rescuing migrants, Monte Carlo 'disaster' trapping 1400 ashore and ... Read More
Petroni on Azura - Embarkation and Cabin - Azura cruise A925 sailing 21st Sept 2019 Also Search for Petroni for info on food, wine and our adventures - rescuing migrants, Monte Carlo 'disaster' trapping 1400 ashore and a bunch of funny (and some not so funny) incidents Embarkation – brilliant! Slick and well organised. It would be hard to think of any way to improve on it. Well done! Cabin – gave it a ‘once over’ with an ultraviolet torch and it was pretty good, clean and tidy The usual over priced water offering (5 x 1.5l bottles for £10.50 with a 6th one thrown in for free). For the same price my local Lidl would give me 66 x 2l bottles, but hey, this isn’t Lidl. Bathroom functional and clean but not much else to say. Needed extra clothes hangers which were readily provided from the steward Television frequently not working as the satellite signal keeps getting lost as you rock when at sea but tends to work pretty well when in port. Could do with a larger selection of films as I had seen pretty much everything there was. No music on offer. These days you cannot get access to your account from your room and have to ask for a printout from reception instead. So much for progress with technology. Safe works easily. Storage space is adequate. Suitcases fit under the bed or on the shelf above the hanging wardrobe. Breakfast in bed is available (free) and many room service options (chargeable) are available. There is a phone in the cabin. Each deck is numbered and lettered so, for example, if you want to phone cabin A123 (deck no.4) you would dial 4123, cabin B123 would be 5123 and so on. Beach towels are provided (two per cabin) but, you should ask for extras if you intend sunbathing. You will need two per lounger. The smoke stacks/funnels spit out a fair bit of soot and any loungers down wind of the stacks can get dirty. So pop to Poundland, and get yourself a couple (each) of the big plastic clips that hold the towels on the loungers (as it can get very windy) and never sit on a lounger without a protective towel if you value whatever you are wearing. If you do end up with soot marks on your clothes, go to reception and they will give you a FOC (Free of charge) laundry clean but the item will be gone for 2-3 days. There are two 500ml bottles of water free when you arrive. To augment the water supply, you can either bring back a glass with you when you return to your cabin from any food area or, you can boil water in your cabin and when cool, refill the 500ml water bottles. Or you can pay the £10.50 (but I am too mean to). The mirror in the bathroom tends to get very misted up if you have a shower. Quick tip – rub a bar of soap onto the mirror and then clean it off with a small hand towel. The soap will clean the mirror up nicely as it dries leaving you a better chance of doing your hair, gel, wig etc. The tea coffee tray has the basics but if you need fresh milk, gluten free, skimmed etc you can ask the steward for some. Similarly, if you prefer a fruity tea, peppermint tea etc you can grab a couple from the self service buffet deck 15 and use them in your cabin. We take a bottle of gin and a couple of bottles of tonic and have a G&T as we get ready for dinner each night. Don’t forget to bring a little bottle of lemon or lime with you if you do the same. Avoids the need for knives, fruit etc. You can ask the steward for extra glasses for your cabin so you have some for the G&Ts and others for your water. There are laundries on every deck with washing machines and driers. We have never used them but they appear to be free. There are ironing boards and irons available there too. Washing powder/tablets/capsules are available on deck 5 (I was told) so you do not need to bring anything yourself. I hope this helps Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was the infamous cruise which left 1200 passengers (including me and my wife) stranded in Monte Carlo. We even made the papers. Don't believe the stories about the weather getting worse and the passenger couldn't be ... Read More
This was the infamous cruise which left 1200 passengers (including me and my wife) stranded in Monte Carlo. We even made the papers. Don't believe the stories about the weather getting worse and the passenger couldn't be tendered back to the ship. The weather was just a light breeze and the transfer of passengers should have been perfectly OK. The problem was that their was an excess of large boats in the area due to the annual boat show. They caused the wake which made conditions in return back to the ship difficult for the able bodied and impossible for most of the elderly passengers. Communications were poor. After up to a 7 hour wait, the local police and on shore crew members guided us all to spend the night in Monte Carlo's basketball stadium. Sleeping on top of a cardboard box (after evicting the dead cockroaches) on the floor of the stadium was memorable. We were eventually tendered back to the ship the following day. A special mention must be made about the work done by the ships crew. Some worked all day and then all night and then the following morning again. Provisions and medicines had been transferred from the ship in dangerous conditions. One crew member feel overboard and that to luck and some quick thinking but the tender operator managed to survive with just bruising. P and O must really think hard if they plan to visit Monaco when the boat shows on. Regarding the ship. It was my 4th cruise and this ship was my favourite. It's due a refit next year which should bring it back to being one of the fleets top ships. The food on board was incredible. Breakfast was top quality both in the buffet and the restaurants. We had the odd light buffet lunch, where there was a large choice, from soups to snacks to full meals. And the evening meals were just as good. We went to the Sindhu restaurant and had fabulous signature meal. Unmissable. The on board entertainment was good. But after the problems at Monaco extra activities and entertainment were added to the schedule. There was even a show in the afternoon. We are independent travellers when we arrive at ports. However we decided to take the excursion to Seville. The guides knew their facts and managed to bypass the large queue when entering the cathedral. Well worth the cost. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose the cruise due to celebrating my mother's 80th Birthday, she had not cruised before so we wanted a short cruise just in case! We have been on many P&O cruises before but not Britannia. The one problem with the ship was ... Read More
We chose the cruise due to celebrating my mother's 80th Birthday, she had not cruised before so we wanted a short cruise just in case! We have been on many P&O cruises before but not Britannia. The one problem with the ship was the lifts!! They are a lot smaller than the other ships and therefore if a wheel chair is in the lift this does not leave much room. My mother needed to use the lift due to mobility and each time we needed to use it we had to wait a long time as they were always full and two lifts were out of service for most of the time. Also when disembarking the usual routine of an allotted time and venue was detailed in a letter, however most of the ship decided to ignore this, the result being a very long queue to get off the ship. I discussed this with one of the ship attendants and he stated that a lot of the people had not been on a cruise before and did not know the procedure!! He said he couldn't do anything about it.! I feel all it would have took was a person standing at the end of the queue checking paperwork to ensure they were queuing at the right time, if not they could have asked them to sit down and wait. If this is not done then all disembarkment is going to be a difficult experience. Due to these two things I will not be going on Britannia again even if the itinerary is of my liking. Avoid this ship if you are less mobile and need to use the lifts!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have been with NCl and Royal Carribean before. This itinerary worked for us and just trying something new. So Disappointing.The positives first. Embarkation was easy and well organised. Cabin L224 inside was fine. Staff were ... Read More
We have been with NCl and Royal Carribean before. This itinerary worked for us and just trying something new. So Disappointing.The positives first. Embarkation was easy and well organised. Cabin L224 inside was fine. Staff were very nice. Nightly entertainment was good . Plenty of outside space and sunbeds. Food was seriously poor. The mdr was terrible and the 4 times we were at it always someone at the table sent it back.(this is people who i do not know) The buffet food tasted fine but the selection was poor.You had a choice of tea coffee or water to drink except in the morning where there was orange and apple juice. Bars were totally under staffed. There was times i had thought they were brewing the beer. The staff new this and asked for this to be put into the survey. You had to go to deck 15 for a tea or a coffee or deck 5 and buy it at costa. No atmosphere on this boat at all.This may not be the cruise lines fault but the live music at the pool was good but for sleeping to. Ballroom dancing or knitting day time activities. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I've cruised twice before - Ventura (P&O) and Independence of the Seas (Royal Caribbean). I chose this cruise because we were limited in terms of the dates we could take annual leave from work. Overall I enjoyed the ... Read More
I've cruised twice before - Ventura (P&O) and Independence of the Seas (Royal Caribbean). I chose this cruise because we were limited in terms of the dates we could take annual leave from work. Overall I enjoyed the cruise however there weren't many people my age or younger. I would estimate the average age of passengers to be 65/70+. I preferred the Royal Caribbean as the age range was more varied and this was reflected in the activities and entertainment. Ballroom dancing seemed to feature a lot - holds little/no interest for younger passengers Far too many black tie nights. At one point we had 2 black tie nights in a 3 day period. When dining I would prefer to dress more comfortably and casually. I have to dress up for work everyday so like to be more relaxed when on holiday. One black tie night per week is more than sufficient. I thought the food on Britannia was not as good as Royal Caribbean and on P&O Ventura. Staff were excellent. Cabin was excellent, clean with everything we needed. Ship Sun Decks - even though Britannia is a bigger ship with more passengers there seemed to better provision of sun loungers than compared with smaller P&O ship Ventura and Royal Caribbean. Atrium - a very large space with no atmosphere or buzz, occupied mostly by people drinking coffee, reading or eating cake to background of piano playing. I didn't use this area at all. It felt like an upmarket old people's home. Drinks - Reasonable prices, better value than Royal Caribbean. Drink packages - unless you are drinking well over healthy recommendations on a daily basis (verging on alcoholism) the drinks package is not worth having. We bought our drinks separately. Some passengers with drinks packages were unhappy as the bars weren't open very late - possibly due to the age range of the majority of the passengers. There were very few people about after 12am - most had retired for the evening. Some said the packages limited them to 15 drinks/day. Spa - Didn't use this - very overpriced. I had a tension headache and enquired about booking for a 30 minute treatment. The shortest and cheapest treatment (with a discount) was reflexology session for 50 minutes at £89. I didn't book in, not because I couldn't afford it but because it was not good value for money as this would cost less than half the price back home. I appreciate that things will be dearer on the ship but would have felt ripped off if I'd booked in for a treatment. They didn't seem very busy - possibly because the treatments are overpriced. If they reduced the price I feel people would be more inclined to book treatments. The prices for nail treatments seemed more reasonable. Entertainment Not enough provision for younger passengers below pensionable age, I was often bored during 'at sea' days. I was 50 at the time of sailing so i'm no spring chicken however I'm not ready to spend my nights ballroom dancing or sitting drinking coffee and eating cake in the atrium. There were seminars but most wouldn't appeal to my age and younger - swollen ankles, foot problems, health ailments etc. Marco Pierre White cooking demo and Q&A was excellent Tony Green featured as a speaker on several days. His stories about various war battles were brilliant and his knowledge was extensive. This became a highlight of our 'at sea' days. Brodies - pub feel. Went to Bingo and quizzes here which were good. Sail Away - We left the first sail away due to the volume of the speakers, it was so loud it actually hurt my ears and I'm someone who regularly goes to concerts and festivals watching live music so It's not that I'm noise sensitive. For this reason we didn't attempt any further Sail Aways. Headliners Theatre - most performances were singing and dancing and this became a bit 'samey' so we only went to a couple.The dancers were excellent and I assume many also have acting skills so why not perform a condensed West End type musical with acting and offer a bit more variety. Terry Cotta comedian was brilliant, made a nice change from all the singing/dancing performances. Another comedian or variety act would have been appreciated. Good space but chairs are very narrow and the drink holders only have one side so I don't use them as it's easy to spill your drink. This meant I had to hold my drink or place it under my seat throughout a performance. Film - There is a small theatre showing films which is good, we went there a couple of times. It was empty a lot of the time and the space could have been better used/occupied with additional films being put on. Cookery club - We were lucky enough to to do a Masterclass with Marco Pierre White. Cost of £100pp. This was excellent and made our trip. Marco was brilliant, we saw him around the ship a lot and he was always charming and friendly towards passengers. Dining First meal in restaurant wasn't very good - bland, not hot enough. Subsequent meals were an improvement however the food on Ventura was better and Royal Caribbean were much better. Most meals weren't hot enough. Horizon - buffet, very good, lots of choice and open later at night for snacks, hot chocolate etc. Was much easier to get a table when compared with Ventura and Royal Caribbean. There were grab and go fridges for snacks and a pizzeria, burger bar which were really good. Epicurean - a fine dining experience. We went twice for a £25pp supplement - excellent on both occasions. Limelight Lounge - excellent (evening meal with entertainment). We paid £25pp and saw Chesney Hawkes and Eric and Ern (Morecambe & Wise act) - both were excellent and good value for money Sindhu - we went there once for a £25pp supplement. Excellent food and atmosphere. Excursions Rome - Tiber Cruise and Walk. Booked this as we did a full walking tour of Rome last year to the main places of interest and thought this would be a bit easier on the feet. The cruise element of this tour is negligible, we were only on the boat twice for less than 20 minutes on both occasions and there's not a great deal to see from the boat. The tour was predominantly walking. There were several flights of stairs up and down from pavement level to the river which proved difficult for some people. Tour guide was excellent Gibraltar - WW2 tunnels This was interesting and the guide also took us via the monkeys on the Rock which was a bonus as it wasn't included in the excursion. Tour guide was excellent Florence on your own. Would recommend Barcelona Short walk away from the shuttle bus drop off there are hop on/off tourist buses. We bought a ticket and hopped on and off at several locations. Would recommend. Caution - the tourist bus drop off point for Gaudi Guell Park involves a significant uphill walk to get to the park Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Wanted a cruise in the Mediterranean in September. Cruised several times before but not on Britannia. Huge ship and that means it is very spacious. At no time did it feel crowded. Lots of space on deck. Lots of sunbeds. If you meet ... Read More
Wanted a cruise in the Mediterranean in September. Cruised several times before but not on Britannia. Huge ship and that means it is very spacious. At no time did it feel crowded. Lots of space on deck. Lots of sunbeds. If you meet irritating people don't worry you will never see them again. Restaurants were busy. Lots of space to read. Enjoyed walking on deck. Nice pools. So smooth. Forgot we were at sea. Restaurants were busy but well organised. Top tips: Opt for freedom dining it worked really well for us especially on shore days when you want a rest before dinner. If they can't fit you in they will give you a pager and you can go off and have a drink or walk. Sorry to be negative but overall food in my opinion was poor. We have been on 8 cruises and we definately noticed a difference in food quality. Food was sometimes cold in the Horizon. Not the chef's fault but poor menu choices and poor ingedients. Steak and chips, liver, cottage pie lumpy mashed potato and tinned fruit is not what I expect having worked hard and saved for years for this holiday. Desserts were unexciting. Food reminded me of Butlins in the 80s. On the plus side I didnt feel constantly bloated and didn't put on loads of weight like other cruises. A lot of emphasis was put on paying extra for other restaurants. Well NO I am not paying extra I have paid enough. The mini bar in the cabin was an unnecessary extra too. On the positive side staff were so helpful, friendly and go out of their way to make your meal lovely. Top tips: Order breakfast to be brought to your cabin. IT IS FREE. Have it out on the balcony. A beautiful start to your day. Ours was brought to us by Francis so lovely and friendly. Ship was clean and tidy apart from the windows which need a good wash. Lots of handwashing facilities around the ship and public toilets were immaculately clean. Entertainment was good with a singer from the Hollies, a couple of comedians and an amazing acrobatic act. Top tips: Go to 10.30 show. It's much less busy and you can get a seat . Lots been said about lifts. Yes they are very busy after shows. Getting back on board ship etc.There are going to be 3,500 people wanting to use them so chill out. Wait a few minutes after shows, walk up the stairs a bit more. My husband asked people to sing in the lift and asked for deck 21 which got people grinning. Don't have lift rage you are on holiday. Loved the formal nights. So nice dressing up. Saw many great films on board. Really enjoyed them. Enjoyed seeing Marco Peirre White. Oasis spa was lovely and had the best manicure and gel nail polish I have ever had. Ports of call were amazing. We were very well informed about when we going to arrive. Weather ect. Nice port talks. Loved Rome and Pisa and Cartegina was just delightful. Look for the roman amitheatre. Entrance is via the museum in the shopping centre. Had a fabulous time. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chose this cruise for convenience of date to fit in with our Golden Wedding anniversary celebrations, As such we booked the Strathaird Suite C751 Boarding and welcome buffet absolutely first class plus. Our suitcase was waiting at ... Read More
Chose this cruise for convenience of date to fit in with our Golden Wedding anniversary celebrations, As such we booked the Strathaird Suite C751 Boarding and welcome buffet absolutely first class plus. Our suitcase was waiting at the cabin door as expected. We entered the suite, first impression , dull drab and old looking furnishings looking very tired!! Gosh what have we done? Nearly £5K spent already just to get this far!! In due course the Butler arrived to explain what he could do for us but really was a passed master at explaining what he did not do.Frankly no need for this individual at all not even for the delivery of the stale canapes each evening The wash hand basin in the unheated bathroom was cracked, the sofa bed in the lounge area was so flat and uncomfortable the bottom on one side was falling away. Servicing by the cabin stewardess left a lot to be desired One excellent Perk of the suite is the invitation to breakfast every day in the White Room at the Epicurian fabulous service. Our special dinner there was exceptional. All in all a very disappointing cruise, the ship only actually sailed in and through the fjords at night and was either in port or at sea during the day Definitely NOT value for the money on this occasion Our dining experience in the Bay Tree restaurant was the food dull and uninspiring with 50% of the menu repeated every night Entertainment was quite good with Comedy from Tucker on two great nights and Magic from the Astonishing show Overall onboard was just ok but we have already cancelled our Christmas cruise on Ventura and booked on another P&O ship We found the public rooms a little too cool and the Costa area needing a good clean, eg The back of the chairs had coffee spillages on them and needed wiping and cleaning Service was just ok but we have seen better Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
first time done a cruise and was not disappointed. When arrived at cruise terminal checked in was fast and once on the boat shown straight to cabin. Met so many nice people and everybody was friendly and spoke to each other which was ... Read More
first time done a cruise and was not disappointed. When arrived at cruise terminal checked in was fast and once on the boat shown straight to cabin. Met so many nice people and everybody was friendly and spoke to each other which was nice The food was excellent and different restaurants to eat at and bars to drink at and there was different entertainment every night. Lots of things to do gym centre and several swimming pools. The excursions were very good lots of choice. Staff very friendly and helpful and staff kept boat clean and tidy all the time. Reception staff and restaurant staff all excellent. The scenery of the Norwegian fjords are stunning so lovely to see when getting up everyday in a different port. Getting on and off the boat at every port the staff very friendly and helpful as you have to use your smart card to get on and off the boat and put bags through security and when leaving the cruise ship at the end of the cruise that went really smoothly no problems. Would go on a cruise again as had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We wanted to go on this particular cruise as we have heard nothing but great reviews about the Fjords and we have sailed on the Ventura before. We drove down to Southampton from North Wales and this was probably the best trip down we ... Read More
We wanted to go on this particular cruise as we have heard nothing but great reviews about the Fjords and we have sailed on the Ventura before. We drove down to Southampton from North Wales and this was probably the best trip down we have had. There weren't any hold ups and after reading on CC that parking and portering had changed, we were pleasantly surprised that it was exactly how it was on our earlier cruise in March. We left the car with CPS outside the terminal and the porters took our luggage, all we had to do was to make our way to the terminal where we waited for no more than 30 minutes before we boarded the ship. Our cabin was ready virtually straight away. The one criticism about the cabin was my wife had to ask the cabin steward to change the duvet cover as it was dirty. The cabin was as expected, we had a sea view cabin and it was absolutely fine. The food on the ship was first class, albeit very similar to the previous cruise. I suppose the old adage ` if its not broken, don't fix it` comes to mind. The staff work tirelessly and nothing was too much trouble for them. I could list several names but they all deserve recognition. The food in the self service restaurant was equally as good as any of the main dining rooms and as such proved to be very popular and the knock on effect of this is that it is a free for all trying to get a table, saying that, we did manage to find a table....eventually. We went to see the Headliners twice, they were excellent. The work that they had to do to get the show as good as they did must have been phenomenal, very smooth and polished performances on both nights. We went to see the comedian Tucker. We have never heard of him before and we both thought he was hilarious. In -fact we were in stitches throughout his routine. The service from the crew was excellent. We had to call reception at 5am as the toilet wouldn't flush, they sent a plumber to fix the problem within 10 minutes. |We both feel that it would be preferable if P&O put the account back on to the TV in the cabins. Its a bit of a pain to have to keep asking for a print out at reception, it may also help to reduce their carbon footprint( every bit helps ). We didn't go on any excursions, I did fancy having a go on the RIB boats but chickened out in the end, we decided to walk into the ports and explore them ourselves. We chose to disembark the ship by ourselves due to the distance we have to travel, this was very easy to do and we were in our car by 7.30am. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Here is some info that I wish I would have known before I went, hopefully it will make your trip/cruise a bit easier. The car and ticket check in with security were very easy and relaxed. Just join the queue of cars, pull out your bags ... Read More
Here is some info that I wish I would have known before I went, hopefully it will make your trip/cruise a bit easier. The car and ticket check in with security were very easy and relaxed. Just join the queue of cars, pull out your bags onto the pavement , sign your keys over to the waiting staff and walk to the terminal, your bags appear by magic at your cabin shortly after. Our cabin on b deck is as small as a two star hotel but there is a big space under the bed for cases. The notice left on our dresser for freedom dining said we had to be at a specific restaurant at a certain sitting, which we later found was at 8.30 but apparently we did not have to go to that restaurant and could eat somewhere else if we liked at extra cost if using another restaurant or the buffet at no additional cost. There was ample wardrobe space for two of us for two weeks in a chilly Baltic arena. Not much time to unpack before the Southampton sail away party which was a loud way of introducing the entertainment crew who seem a nice bunch. Lots of elderly people in this cruise and we found out why later as it is a very relaxing way of travelling to new places with all your immediate needs catered for. Fridge magnets are a good idea to stick the daily itinerary to walls that are nicely finished plastic coated steel. Freedom dining was requested by us but apparently six months wasn’t enough time to secure this however when on a cruise with 5 other people it was a good way of catching up. The constant music in the outdoor Aquarius bar was a bit loud at times but other quiet areas were available .Just inside however the smoking area was too close to the door allowing the smell of tobacco into the buffet area. There are three areas to smoke on the Arcadia, all under cover but no indoor smoking at all so take a windproof warm jacket with a hood if going north. The buffet area is open most of the time so proving very difficult to keep the weight down but there is well stocked gym and three laps around the deck is one mile. The paid for internet is very very slow even when on the ships own pcs. If you use a cloud based photo storage system it would be quicker to wait until you are at home to sync your photos but wether or not the location tags upload correctly I will have to see. The staff are always milling around cleaning, clearing and maintaining but in general are pleasant with some being very pleased to see you at any time and others having a grumpy demeanour most of the time so just like all of us then. The ship “Arcadia “ has obviously done a lot of miles and looks a little tired in places, the most obvious of which is the back with rust lines running over the name so really time to paint that bit soon. Our balcony on Bermuda deck had a doorway between each of our neighbours that could be opened if required but it does rattle in the wind so new bushes are required. Apparently there is sometimes a “back of the house” tour around the ships workings for around £75 but it was not available on our trip which I was very disappointed about as an engineer myself, but it was quite cost prohibitive anyway. Our cabin had a 37 inch flat screen Tv with usb and hdmi ports which proved useful to plug my hard drive in to with my films on as the reception on the onboard channels was terrible and sends your eyes funny after a while. The TV also had screen mirroring but as it was a Samsung I did not have the app. Our cabin had a thermostat on the wall but whatever I put it nothing seemed to change and there was a constant draft around your head when sitting up in bed so we were glad to have a small settee in the room. The wine and champagne lessons where brilliant and by far the best on board entertainment. I could go on but that would just be boring. :) Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I write this review because of the absence of reviews prior to booking. It is only my second cruise, the first being Norwegian Fjords on Britannia 2018, which was perfect in every way. OK, so to start, remembering my first cruise was on ... Read More
I write this review because of the absence of reviews prior to booking. It is only my second cruise, the first being Norwegian Fjords on Britannia 2018, which was perfect in every way. OK, so to start, remembering my first cruise was on a very new ship, the bar was set very high. My first impressions were 'not as good as Britannia, bit tired, not a glamorous, or big'. This lasted for a day, and then I started to really like the ship and accept that she is just a bit older, so bound to be less perfect. It was spotlessly clean, with the same amazing shows, service, quality of food. Would I go on her again? Definitely. We had a balcony room D41 which was perfectly placed. I used the gym 10 out of the 14 day cruise - well equipped and never busy, and right at the front of the ship looking out to sea. We ate in the Select Dining Sinduh and Ocean Grill a couple of times - superb, especially Sinduh. We had freedom dining and ate around 8 to 8.30 each evening. We generally got a table for 4 straight way, but on a couple of occasions, were given a blepper to call you when a table was ready. This all worked perfectly, and was exactly as we had expected. We went to St Petersberg, and I can recommend it big time, I would also recommend the ship. It is also an adult only ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We had selected this cruise as many people do for a specific celebration, in our case a 30th wedding aniversary. We had also wanted to go to Russia. Having read some of the previous reviews I was a little apprehensive, but they were wide ... Read More
We had selected this cruise as many people do for a specific celebration, in our case a 30th wedding aniversary. We had also wanted to go to Russia. Having read some of the previous reviews I was a little apprehensive, but they were wide of the mark in my view. Yes the ship does look like you would expect it to having spent 25 years in salt water and all weathers, but it is well looked after and cared for. The staff were attentive but not at all pushy, food was very good both in the Belveder / Lido. We had chosen first sitting 6.30 in the main restaurant the Meriden menus every night were varied and the food of a very high standard, service was spot on. The entertainment was of a very high standard, especially the Headliners shows very much West End standard,as well as a great choice of things to do on sea days. The cabin was very good, only negative was just one socket- but this was not a problem. Tea and coffee and a plentiful supply of milk was excellent. Shore excursions were excellent especially in St Petersburg and Riga. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We really enjoyed our 14 night cruise to the Baltic. We have cruised with Cunard, Celebrity and P&O in the past and Arcadia exceeded our expectations. Admittedly, the atrium doesn’t have the wow factor of other ships but it more than ... Read More
We really enjoyed our 14 night cruise to the Baltic. We have cruised with Cunard, Celebrity and P&O in the past and Arcadia exceeded our expectations. Admittedly, the atrium doesn’t have the wow factor of other ships but it more than compensated in terms of friendliness and entertainment. We found the food in the dining room consistently good both at lunch and dinner. The buffet could be very busy especially on sea days but we enjoyed the freshly cooked burgers at the grill near the pool. Afternoon tea in the dining room was a real treat and eating at the Sindhu (especially when there was an offer on) was a delight. There was plenty of choice of entertainment and everyone should find something to suit their taste. I really enjoyed the orchestra and the Headliners put on some excellent shows. The cinema ( free but you must book seats at the library desk) gave me an opportunity to catch up on some recent blockbusters. This was a good way to spend an afternoon either on sea days or if you had some spare time after a visit to a port. Generally the staff were very good - we came across a few morose waiters but a smile and thank-you from you, as the customer, goes a long way. Our cabin steward was very efficient. We were a little apprehensive before we joined the cruise with some very poor reviews and lots of talk about the ship being ‘tired’. Yes, some areas which saw heavy traffic were a little worn but generally we were happy with the look of the ship.Overall, we had a great cruise so if you’ve booked with Arcadia, please don’t be put off by the critics. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
To spend time with my son and enjoy activities on board and ashore. The quizes were fun but one of the quiz masters made them more about him and entered into the realm of vulgarity on a family ship at 12.30.pm. Not a good idea! ... Read More
To spend time with my son and enjoy activities on board and ashore. The quizes were fun but one of the quiz masters made them more about him and entered into the realm of vulgarity on a family ship at 12.30.pm. Not a good idea! The food was exellent at all times and service was fairly good. I would like to single out Milton for High praise, he was an excellent and couertous waiter and took a real interest in us. The drinks system took a lot of getting used to by us passengers and the staff. I am guessing that the ultimate drinks package is a new venture and staff were very slow at times to return the all important cruise card to us, I am sure these teething problems will be sorted out in time. All in all a very enjoyable experience bit not without glitches and some improvements could be made. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I'll get my moan out of the way first ! We booked the cruise last January, specifically for the overnight stop in the centre of Amsterdam, to allow us to easily come and go from the ship, and venture back into the city for the ... Read More
I'll get my moan out of the way first ! We booked the cruise last January, specifically for the overnight stop in the centre of Amsterdam, to allow us to easily come and go from the ship, and venture back into the city for the "night life". A month after our booking, we were told that for "operational reasons" we would now be stopping at Ijmuiden overnight Instead, and being coached in an hour each way. A few months later we were told the schedule had changed, and we would not sail the first day but rather go straight to Ijmuiden, so we didn't arrive at 8am but rather at 10.30am, so we didn't get into Amsterdam until 12 noon. This cocked up our plans and we were given the option to cancel but lose our deposit, and not given the option to pay the tax ourselves. A bit of investigation identified that the operational reason was that Amsterdam have introduced an €8 per person tax, and they aren't willing to be dictated to, but despite repeated e mails and calls they aren't willing to admit this. There is no way that the fuel used sailing there faster, the coaches through the night, and the 385 nautical miles sailed before our next port ( 100 miles away) make this a good decision for anyone. Now that I have got that off my chest, the rest of the break was excellent ! We went on Ventura a couple of years ago, and it has had a refit since, so all the public areas are well maintained. We have been on a couple of TUI cruises since we last went on P&O a year ago, so have something to compare them to. Without any doubt the decor and the food quality / choice on P&O is better, with more in the way of activities. However, the standard of service is far below that of TUI, and has dropped since we last sailed P&O (since the dropped the tipping?). It's not that it's poor service, it's more that it is just functional, and there is no attempt to interact with passengers, which does have a big impact on the atmosphere onboard. The show team at night of drama school kids were of as high a standard as we have seen at sea, and all their shows were excellent. I can't say the same for the other entertainment that came an left the ship, who unfortunately appeared more than once, especially the comedienne. Our stop at Bruges was very good, but unfortunately our stop at Guernsey was cancelled due to high winds preventing the launch of the tenders. I can't vouch for its accuracy, but other passengers said that it was the fifth time this year that they have aborted the port, which makes you ask why they bother if this is the case. Embarkation at Southampton was speedy, as was our disembarkation which went very smoothly an hour ahead of schedule. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our August/September Golden Anniversary Cruise was on P & O’s Ventura, a ship on which we have travelled before, in fact it was on our first cruise just 2 years ago. We chose the itinerary primarily because the date of our ... Read More
Our August/September Golden Anniversary Cruise was on P & O’s Ventura, a ship on which we have travelled before, in fact it was on our first cruise just 2 years ago. We chose the itinerary primarily because the date of our anniversary was mid-cruise and the week-long itinerary included the island where we had our honeymoon back in September 1969, Guernsey, where we could relive all the fond memories of our time there. We had very high hopes since we love Ventura and I had pre-booked a meal in the Epicurean , the ship’s specialist fine-dining restaurant, on the night of our anniversary. That meal was spectacular and the staff were amazing. Apart from being delicious, the food was so imaginative – how about fried custard on your dessert? It was a really lovely surprise, believe me. So, Ventura scores very highly in terms of food and service including the excellent support my wife has for her special dietary needs, and our super cabin steward, Morris. Unfortunately, it was not the cruise we had hoped for in respect of the shore experiences. The first disappointment was to be told, in advance, that we would not be berthing in Amsterdam but at the distant port of Ijmuiden and that a bus shuttle service would be provided. At the time I received the notification I guess I wasn’t too concerned because I hadn’t visited Amsterdam before and didn’t know what impact those arrangements would have on our time there. We were given the usual ‘operational reasons’ excuse. Because details were not divulged, everyone, and I mean everyone, I spoke with believed it was down to the tax imposed on cruise ship passengers. I wonder how much money was spent on the shuttle services and how passenger experiences were thereby enhanced. Come on P & O! Amsterdam is a fascinating city for loads of reasons. It is just the sort of destination that really benefits cruise visitors when they are able to pop on and off of their ship at will. Sadly, a bus shuttle that took between 40 minutes and over an hour in each direction killed that opportunity. Equally, long delays waiting, in blazing sunshine (well at least we had that!), for return shuttles that got stuck in heavy traffic was not the most pleasant experience other than for sun worshippers! This problem must have been known of in advance and precautions taken to alleviate the misery. This was particularly an issue on our first day when we had booked an evening canal excursion that meant we had to ‘shuttle’ back to the ship in order to pick up the excursion bus to travel back in again, thus cutting our time in Amsterdam on our own severely. The actual excursion was great and you can imagine that we really dug into the cheese and wine provided, especially the wine. However, the real disappointment came when we arrived at Guernsey. I queued early to get a reasonable tender time and was given two spaces on the first tender departure. We were thrilled to have such a long time ashore to relive all those wonderful memories. The thrill was quickly stifled when the captain announced that the winds were too severe to operate the tenders although he would ‘hang around’ for half an hour because the forecast was that the winds would reduce. No such luck because, after 30 minutes had elapsed, we were told that it was too dangerous to operate the tenders. We were both so upset, my wife in particular. I am well aware that safety of passengers is paramount and I cannot take issue with P & O over the decision. What I find hard to take is that, having spoken to so many passengers both on and off the ship at the time and since returning home who have suffered the same experience, I don’t understand why either the destination is not removed from itineraries if it is so dangerous or that the largest possible ‘health warning’ of the likelihood of ‘failure’ is prominently published in all the appropriate literature, including glossy brochures. A Golden Wedding comes only once and is so special. Our celebration left a real curate’s egg of memories from the joy of Epicurean to the real sadness of missing out on re-visiting our honeymoon island. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose the Ventura as this was the only cruise that suited our availability - we were not disappointed. We arrived at Southampton after a 6 hour journey to be greeted by the parking service. Speedy and efficient, my car was taken and ... Read More
We chose the Ventura as this was the only cruise that suited our availability - we were not disappointed. We arrived at Southampton after a 6 hour journey to be greeted by the parking service. Speedy and efficient, my car was taken and parked whilst we went into departures. No queueing, went straight into check in and on to the ship. This was my first time on Ventura and I was stunned. Glamorous and opulent, it was a beautiful sight. It was clean, bright and well kept, the decor sumptuous. Straight to our cabin, our cases were already there! I went in and our cabin did not disappoint. We'd selected E deck as my 80 yr old mother required to be near the entertainment decks and I expected a somewhat dreary cabin. I was wrong. It was lovely, the view unobstructed and the cabin spacious. It was bright, with and well maintained, no peeling corners but a spruce and well thought out design. The bathroom was super with a lovely shower. It wasn't big but certainly very useable. The cruise was excellent, there was much to do and the food was excellent. We ate on the Lido and there was so much choice. The waterfront restaurant was designed in a way that food was Centred on islands - you don't queue up like a canteen! The service was super and our cabin steward, Rajesh, could not have been more attentive. So many bars and restaurants, a lovely library, a super Arcade games room (which we enjoyed). Deck 15 pools are well designed, one with a retractable roof and it's not windy up there! All in all, a super cruise - I loved it. One thing, though. There's no cards room for adult games. I missed that. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise for a relaxing end of summer break. Having been on the Ventura before, we knew the ship relatively well. Embarkation was smooth and the staff in Southampton were great. We had an inside cabin on deck 12, which was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a relaxing end of summer break. Having been on the Ventura before, we knew the ship relatively well. Embarkation was smooth and the staff in Southampton were great. We had an inside cabin on deck 12, which was well presented and our cabin steward was friendly and conscientious. We couldn't fault her or the standard of cleanliness. We found the dining experience to be, overall, very good. We ate in Sindhu on the first night, which was delicious and the staff were brilliant. We also had afternoon tea in the Epicurean on the second sea day. However, I feel the 3.30pm timing is a little late and we could have done with it being an hour or so earlier (we didn't eat lunch due to the reservation and we were hungry by the time 3.30pm came!!!) We opted for set time dining at 8.30pm. Having been on several cruises before, we know that, if you wish to change tables, the earlier you speak to a member of staff in the dining room the better. However, it took over 24 hours and five different members of staff until somebody actually listened to us and moved our table. We were given a table of 6 but wanted to sit on a table for 2. After being told many, many times that the staff in the Bay Tree Restaurant were 'working on it', we finally got a smaller table. It was confusing as to why it took so long, especially as half the smaller tables were empty all week... The staff in the Bay Tree were very nice but they were running around due to being incredibly busy. I found the food to be incredibly rich and had a hard time finding lighter choices whilst in the main dining room. Breakfast and lunch in the buffet were much more agreeable due to the variety of choices. I found the buffet to be quite calm whenever I went - we always managed to find a table. The entertainment was good, and I particularly enjoyed the addition of Sam and Mark and the Legend at Sea Steve Staunton. The Headliners group were decent and put on a couple of good shows. The ports were calm and relaxing, and we did have the weather on our side. Particular highlights were Santander and Guernsey - both beautiful destinations. I attended the port talks and found them to be useful. The organisation of the tender in Guernsey was seamless. When we disembarked, we opted to walk off the ship rather than wait for an allocated time and this was incredibly easy - we were in the car by 8am. Overall, a great trip and I'm pleased I chose P&O! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Embarkation was easy. Ship spotlessly clean and we could see the hard working staff cleaning and polishing every day and disinfecting all common areas. The service throughout the ship for the entire journey was perfect. Ferdinand ... Read More
Embarkation was easy. Ship spotlessly clean and we could see the hard working staff cleaning and polishing every day and disinfecting all common areas. The service throughout the ship for the entire journey was perfect. Ferdinand our cabin steward was top notch, cabin was always spotless. The quality of food on Ventura is of a very high standard for such a large ship. Restaurants very nice. The menus in the three main dining rooms change daily. Buffet servery is too crowded sometimes and too small. One area is opened while the other closes. Ideally should both be open. All made worse by impatient passengers who don't like queuing. Only did one excursion, but chaotic trying to get off, should be called by excursion instead of loads of people queuing. The entertainment was average, not timed correctly, had to leave evening meal early to get to the first show. The comedian was a bit to near the knuckle for an 8.30pm show as there was youngsters there. Singing and dancing is not our cup of tea but there’s plenty of it if you like that sort of thing. Not much on during the day. The quizzes are poor, if you won you got stickers, whats happened to getting a little prize? People that had been on the ship pervious week said questions were the same. Drinks package extortionate, the dearest on ship I have been on, and done twelve cruises with different companies. On the positive, drinks were very reasonably priced. The service throughout the ship for the entire journey was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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