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26 P&O Cruises Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise for my husband to experience the Panama Canal . Don’t expect to much of anything on this ship very poor in so many areas and ways P&O have really dropped their standards. Dated cabins with dirty stained sweaty ... Read More
We chose this cruise for my husband to experience the Panama Canal . Don’t expect to much of anything on this ship very poor in so many areas and ways P&O have really dropped their standards. Dated cabins with dirty stained sweaty pillows threaded quilt covers dirty shower curtain that wasn’t changed for the duration of our 24 day cruise, unhelpful rude reception staff ( females mainly) dirty ripped chair covers on the furniture ( horizon pool ) are only a few of our many disappointments and concerns for others planning to sail on this ship. The restaurant and waiting staff were very polite helpful and friendly however freedom dining doesn’t exist as even although we booked this dining we were revived a pager for each meal. This cruise was an expensive mistake however a lesson learned. I’m really not someone who normally writes reviews however If this saves even one other person parting with £6000 plus of their hard earned money then my time and review will be worth it. Think twice before booking this ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We booked this cruise for the advertised Panama Canal cruise. The ship had just returned from a refit. The cabinet drawers and wardrobe doors ‘danced’ in any rough seas. A large wooden plank, the full width of the cabin, it was the ... Read More
We booked this cruise for the advertised Panama Canal cruise. The ship had just returned from a refit. The cabinet drawers and wardrobe doors ‘danced’ in any rough seas. A large wooden plank, the full width of the cabin, it was the curtain pelmet, crashed down, had either of us been sitting in the single chair under it we would at the very least been seriously injured. There was one port where the lifeboats were being used as tenders. Two lifeboats were not operational, due to pressure of people going ashore we had to stay on board instead of exploring Grand Cayman. We entered the Panama Canal, passed through the first three, combined, locks, sailed 800 metres, turned round and stayed in the same place for four hours before exiting through the same locks. We did not complain about any of these, but answered a questionnaire. We were then ‘summoned’ to a meeting with the Customer Relations Officer. His first action was to look at his computer and highlight a legitimate complaint we made in 2012 while on a Cunard cruise. What relevance that had to the cabin falling to pieces or the lifeboats not working is beyond our understanding. We were treated like errant schoolchildren on ‘the naughty step’ instead of adults. We wrote to P&O, did not have any written response except when we advised our booking company. P&O then produced a letter they said had been sent to us, but mysteriously never arrived, We did receive what P&O grandly describe as ‘a hamper’, four items, a bottle of Merlot, 100 grams of cheese, 75 grams of cheese wafers and 198 grams of Yorkshire Relish. Waitrose, less than £10, Aldi, less than £5. There were good aspects of the cruise, the downside and lasting memories of this cruise continues to leave a bad taste. We have cruised for more than 150 days with Carnival. Luckily there are other cruise lines, perhaps they treat their customers in a proper manner Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
If this was our first cruise we would have thought well it was OK but, we have had 3 cruises in total so we had something to compare this cruise with. The balcony cabin was the smallest we had been in and not a lot of room for a lengthy ... Read More
If this was our first cruise we would have thought well it was OK but, we have had 3 cruises in total so we had something to compare this cruise with. The balcony cabin was the smallest we had been in and not a lot of room for a lengthy journey. The shore trips were too expensive and were not value for money. When the Captain gave messages over the public address system it was as if he was whispering and no one could hear what he was saying. We had a few hiccups.....smoke in the engine room, a fire in the launderette and divers in Barbados welding underneath the ship. The most disappointing part of this cruise....which should be the best...was the food. I liken it to ferry food, it was basic and served warm....we never had a hot meal. Also disappointing was that there should have been a restaurant for all passengers who did not want to wear evening dress and tuxedos, the Horizon cafe (this is the best word for it), offered this facility but amazingly passengers in full dress regalia used it instead of the restaurants.....perhaps they wanted bigger portions as it is self service. Evening meals in the Horizon cafe were totally forgettable, poor choice and quality and you had to eat here because you were not allowed in the other restaurants or bars if you did not have the correct attire. You knew that the puddings would be bread & butter, fruit salad and some kind of mousse. We will not be choosing P&O again. They should stick to what they are good at...Dover to Calais. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Britannia is a lovely ship but lacks the Wow factor of similar sized ships such as Celebrity's Solstice class. We had a basic interior cabin on A deck, about which we were quite happy, as the design was fine, and our cabin steward was ... Read More
Britannia is a lovely ship but lacks the Wow factor of similar sized ships such as Celebrity's Solstice class. We had a basic interior cabin on A deck, about which we were quite happy, as the design was fine, and our cabin steward was excellent. We had no problems at all with noise from above, as noted by another reviewer. We dined mainly in the Peninsula Restaurant where the food was excellent. Food in the buffet was not so special and the area was always too crowded. Theatre shows were excellent throughout, though so popular it was necessary to be seated well before the show or miss out. Most shows were on three times each evening. Embarkation and disembarkation were better than most othe cruises I've been on. General ship layout is a bit ordinary, dead ends in several areas and while ther are quite a few elevators, they are far too small, especially as there seemed to be a lot of wheelchair bound passengers on board. They also were enclosed black boxes rather than having the large open feel of Celebrity's glass lifts. Overall Britannia was just a little disappointing and I feel P&O have slightly missed the mark with this ship. Perhaps I will have a better impression after getting back on board today for her maiden Baltic cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Lima up the western coast of South America, through the Panama, up the Hudson River (New York City) at sunrise. Just doesn't get much better than that. Came early and spent 2 nights in Lima, wish I had made more time for exploring ... Read More
Lima up the western coast of South America, through the Panama, up the Hudson River (New York City) at sunrise. Just doesn't get much better than that. Came early and spent 2 nights in Lima, wish I had made more time for exploring the area. This is my first time on a 5+* ship. Have lots of cruises under my keel in 3 - 4 star lines. Food, staff, and most of all fellow passengers on Oceana all outstanding. One of the things I love most about sailing is meeting some many people with interesting backgrounds. Arranged all my shore excursions off the ship, either beforehand with Roll Call and Mix n Mingle on Cruise Critic or fellow passengers whom I met on board. Additionally, did research on Trip Advisor. They all worked out very well, but you must be flexible. I believe "O" shore excursions are a bit too pricey. Gym was clean and equipment kept in top shape. I usually went for early morning coffee in the quiet of the observation deck. One drawback, being a recently retired single male.... just did not find many single woman to meet and mingle with. Would I go again.... you betcha! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My mum and dad and,my husband and I,sailed on January 6th 2015,on the first leg of the world cruise,southampton to san Francisco, which ended in the death of my mother,in san Francisco. The ship was turned around the same day as she ... Read More
My mum and dad and,my husband and I,sailed on January 6th 2015,on the first leg of the world cruise,southampton to san Francisco, which ended in the death of my mother,in san Francisco. The ship was turned around the same day as she docked from the xmas cruise,our cabin had dust and fluff on the top of the wardrobe doors,my mums cabin had numerous ships crossword papers stuffed in the top of the dividing wall of the bathroom,our balconys were spotted with old paint drops , the glass, and floor needed a good scrub with a brush. The two swimming pools were emptied simutanously, because they had painted them with the wrong paint ,and passengers were getting paint on them,one sauna was out of action,the whrirlpools didn't work,the one on the aft deck was leaking and some of the floor was all spongy to walk on.Some of the waiters could not totally understand your order and I saw one waiter hiding near the funnels grill,out of the way from passengers ,looking at least three times at his watch,he stood there about 10 mins,another waiter was in a dream and didn't even know where to take the dirty trays, while another waiter served my meal by crossing over me,and on the wrong side.It was eveident there was new and totally inexperienced waiters being trained along side the experienced. Within a few days passengers began to have a barking cough,which rampaged the ship,we all caught it and felt so ill we stayed in our cabins , our appetite went and the warmer we got the worse it got.Our aircon didn't work properly on A deck,it was so hot up there compared to one deck down,we had the smell of food constantly wafting around our corridor. All these things were brought to the attention of the staff, excuses and untruths were relayed to us. The day before cabo san lucas ,my mother was taken to the medical centre,carged over £2000,for oxygen and anibiotics.and removed from the ship the next day,taken to a private hospital,and told by the ship we would have someone to take care of us,well, that's another story,after much stress and trauma of being in a first time port ,and lots of money we got back to the ship in san Francisco,but had no hotel or flights ,because the ship had cancelled them and offered no help to reinstate,saying they were to busy getting new passengers on.Had to pay for hotel stay,and own flights home,my mother suddenly died in that hotel room,that night.With no help from the ship,P&O, or the port agent, the stress and worry caused by the lack of care was responsible for this. Did you Know there is no regulation body to oversee,the cruise ship industry,they are charging what they they can getaway with and doing what exactly what they want to do ,knowing they can, with no questions asked, or authoritive bodies to answer too. Never will I sail with them again and will be cancelling next years cruise also,in fact I thing the cruise industry has got so big, and interested only in taking as much money of you as they can,i doubt wether we will cruise ever again,having had first hand experience when things go wrong,and don't expect your insurance company to be there either,they go through a system of paper work and anylisis to see if they are liable ,before you get any help,which is time ,emails to the uk doctor,time differences to take into account,etc,and on it goes. Arcadia,was the worst ship I have sailed in,and if you are sensitive to sea movement, she is not the ship for you,as she rolls from side to side,at the onset of swell. Old people beware,they wont look after you,you will need a lot of money to pay out first before you get any back off the insurance,even if you do,and you will find you could be in a strange place should you take ill and off load you in a port.Which seems to be the priority of the medical centre,could not get rid of my mother,and another passenger at the same time,fast enough. Fifty years my parents had cruised ,back to the days of Canberra,and this is how it ended. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
The cruise was the first leg of the World Circumnavigation and offered a very good trip calling at Caribbean Islands, Panama Canal, Mexico and finishing in San Francisco. We have cruised on the Arcadia three times previous to this trip, ... Read More
The cruise was the first leg of the World Circumnavigation and offered a very good trip calling at Caribbean Islands, Panama Canal, Mexico and finishing in San Francisco. We have cruised on the Arcadia three times previous to this trip, and I would consider we are well qualified to comment on the appalling decline in most aspects of the ship and service. Firstly, our cabin D70 was filthy, (I just could not believe that a high profile company such as P&O can get away with advertising pictures of cabins that are nothing like what you actually get) and what you might expect a bedroom to be in a low class B&B that might charge in the region of £25.00 a night. I always examine a room for cleanliness as I certainly did on this occasion. We found a dirty tissue under the bed, then I pulled out the bedside cabinets to find a build up of of fluff, dust and hairs that must have accumulated over several weeks, (I wish it was possible to show the photographs I took) the cabinets were not heavy and could easily be pulled out to vacuum the carpet and skirting. Behind the head of the bed was exactly the same. The sealant around the bath was dirty and mould stained and although the bath and basin were clean, many dry hairs from the previous occupants were to be seen on the floor. Worse still was the state of the bedding, the quilt cover and pillow cases were worn out and stained with small tears. The pillows were disgusting, smelt awful, and stained to such a degree that I just cannot understand why they have not been replaced. I made these comments on my Customer Satisfaction form at the end of the cruise, but to be honest I am sure they don't even bother with them as you never hear anything back from P&O. The food in the Meridian Restaurant was good and our waiters for dinner were excellent, but breakfast in the Meridian was a different story, the waiters couldn't wait to get rid of you and re-set the tables for lunch. Most ( and I mean most ) people on this particular cruise went down with the Arcadia Cough, as it has become known, a virus that a lot of people believe is in the air conditioning that you are unable to turn off in your cabin. Can you believe I actually heard the assistant in the shop saying that it's good for business as he has been selling so many cough and cold remedies. The ship doctor has made a fortune charging an initial £50.00 plus whatever medicines he gives you. Although I could go on and on, the only other thing I am going to mention is the smoking area on the open deck right outside the doors of the Belvedere Restaurant. This should be moved to somewhere different so you don't get the strong smell of cigarettes while eating your meal every time the doors open at that end of the restaurant. I shall not be wasting my well earned money on this cruise ship in decline again.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We booked onto this 22 night cruise on P&O Aurora direct with P&O on a vantage fair with a price guarantee stating that if the price reduces we will get the difference in onboard credit or an appropriate upgrade. When we found the ... Read More
We booked onto this 22 night cruise on P&O Aurora direct with P&O on a vantage fair with a price guarantee stating that if the price reduces we will get the difference in onboard credit or an appropriate upgrade. When we found the price £700 cheaper per person a few weeks before the cruise we were told that this was a getaway fare and our price guarantee didn't include this. After pestering P&O we were eventually offered an upgrade but not to the value of the price difference. Boarding in Southampton was swift, we were onboard quickly. We noticed that the age of the cruisers was nowhere near those in the photos on the website or brochure and at age 36 we were at least half the age of 90% of the passengers. Aurora is a beautiful ship and very well maintained but is also being updated at the end of 2014. Our room C290 was spacious and clean. On arrival we had some White Company body lotion, shower gel & conditioner. Bathroom had a small bath with shower. There was a lot of storage space. The food was exceptional. We had lunch nearly every day in the Orangery buffet. There was a great choice of soups, salad, cold cuts and hot meals with veg. For dinner we were seated on a table for 4 but for only my wife and I (which was good as we had asked for a table for 2) at the 2nd sitting in the Medina restaurant. Service provided by Jinesh, Kavesh & wine waiter Dixson was outstanding. Food served were roast turkey, pheasant, steaks and great selection of fish. Deserts and cheese (we mainly had Stilton) we're fantastic too. We had lunch once in Cafe Bordeaux which put us off booking for the evening. I had minute steak with fries & salad which was bland, my wife had a goats cheese pie which was ok. Deserts were the same as the Orangery. The other passengers, as mentioned, were mostly elderly, retired types nothing like the 40 something's on the website. Found most people to be be rude, snobby and miserable. If they did engage in conversation we were always asked if we were doing the whole world cruise and to our reply they would say 'only the short trip then'. We were on for 22 nights, this is not a short trip. They were happy to stand in your way, not return a hello or good morning and push in to queues. Daytime entertainment. As mentioned we were much younger than most passengers so the activities were not aimed at us. Knit & natter, quoits, shuffleboard, tennis, golf nets and quizzes. We usually did the individual quiz at 5.30pm just for something to do, we did one movie memory quiz but the movies were all from the 50s & 60s so we didn't know half the questions and the other quizzes were offered during our meal or show times so we weren't able to do them. As a 2nd sitting passenger we found the main forms of entertainment were aimed at 1st sitting guests. After a day in port there was a sail away party which was where you get the liveliest 30 minutes on the ship at 4.30pm. Cinema is good, films are not. We watched The Host & The Great Gatsby. Cruise director only likes really good cinematic films and thinks all new films are rubbish. Drinks are priced reasonably, cheapest bottle of wine is £13.95, beers are £3.45, g&t £4.50 and glass of prosecco £3.50. Some pubs charge a lot more than this so it's good to get these prices at sea. Entertainment in the evening, on the whole, was ok. Il Davina, Philip Browne (from Lion King), Dean Richardson (Freddy Mercury impersonator), John Udry (comedy juggler) all stand out. Roy Walker was good. The P&O singers and dancers were very amateur, after watching 2 of their shows we decided to miss the rest. Most others acts made you fall asleep which may have been the idea as every night the cruise director asked if we were going to bed now at 11.15pm. Of course, everyone did go to bed. Masquerades and DJ Charlie Brown. Is there any point of these being on the ship. At 11.15pm after the show everyone goes to bed. We walked all over the ship many nights to find a bar with people having late night drinks but it was always dead everywhere. Ports of call. La Coruña was not on the itinerary but due to bad weather we went here instead of Ponta Delgada in the Azores. The town is nice but due to it being 6th January (Spanish Xmas day) everything was closed. We just went for a long walk and a drink, might be ok on a non fiesta day. In Antigua we did the stingray sensation tour booked with P&O. I would highly recommend this trip. Swimming with stingrays and feeding them is an amazing experience. You also get to hold the stingrays and if they like you they stay in your arms for a long cuddle. The staff were informative and friendly. After we were offered rum punch and you could buy a photo if you wanted (not forced on you). I would recommend doing a trip in this port as there isn't a great deal to see in Oranjestad. Aruba, we booked a Segway tour privately with Aruba Segway Tours. We were picked up from the cruise terminal, had a 2 hour tour which went up to the lighthouse and back to Moomba Beach, then had 2 hours on the beach and were taken back to the ship. We then wondered around St Johns shops for a while. Transit through the Panama Canal, an amazing experience. The wildlife in this area is wonderful. We saw sloth, monkeys, toucans, vultures and much more. The canal system is very impressive. You get a new captain for the transit and he makes many announcements all through the day about the new locks being built, the wildlife, the building of the canal, etc... Put some sun cream on, get up early to get a good position on an open deck and take binoculars and a camera. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. We booked a P&O tour to hike the mombacho volcano. A great experience but more of a slow dawdle when you're with the elderlies from P&O. Lunch after in Grenada in a restaurant after being pestered by the locals to buy pots and bird whistles (a simple no does not work nor does walking off, they wait for you outside the restaurant too). Overnight in San Francisco. We were supposed to dock at 12pm so we booked a private Segway tour for 3pm. Ha! 4 days before getting there we found out by watching the port talk on TV about the immigration procedure. Something P&O don't tell you when you book even though they know about it. We actually docked early. We were under the Golden Gate Bridge at 9.50am, beautiful views of the bridge and Alcatraz, and docked by 11am. Immigration came on at 11.30am to do the face to face inspection which every passenger has to go through before anyone on the ship can get off. This took 4 hours. Then everyone tries to get off the ship after the announcement that we should all use the forward stairs to get to deck 5 which led to great confusion and arguments from the idiots that used the middle stairs as the people who did it correctly where then sent to the back of their queue. We got off the ship at 3.45pm. We missed our Segway tour. We had time to see the sealions, Coit Tower (closed for refurbishment) and China town before it got dark. We headed to the Cable Car museum but that was closed as was after 5pm. We then walked down Lombard Street crooked street and headed off for a beer on pier 39. We ate in Pier Market, clam chowder and Cioppino fish stew and the onto the bars in North Beach. We had been told by reception that we were not allowed off the ship in the morning as our cards would be taken as it was departure day and we wouldn't be able to get back to the terminal which infuriated us but we asked again at security on the final morning and they said it was fine so we went to see the sealions again. Pick up for the airport was at 11am for our 4.20pm flight arranged by P&O again. We were 5 hours early for our flight and everyone on the bus was on the same flight. I checked our booking confirmation and it states we should have been picked up in early evening. I have no idea why we were dropped off so early. We had to wait 2 hours for the check in desk to open. Had P&O informed us about the actual time we would spend in San Francisco we would have booked a hotel night and flown home a day later but on asking at reception they said this was not possible after the cruise had started. On the whole we had a fabulous holiday because my wife & I really enjoy each other's company but for us there were too many days at sea with nothing to do & we usually enjoy days at sea. P&O had annoyed us before we started the holiday with the price promise, then the entertainment and timings didn't impress and finishing with the San Francisco mis-timings fiasco we have had enough of this company. We have left feeling very disappointed. We'll stick with Royal Caribbean from now on, fun at sea!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Embarkation was a shambles as we arrived at our allotted time to find the queue snaking out the registration hall and for a hundred yards round the drop off area. It took us over an hour to get on board. We had booked with another couple ... Read More
Embarkation was a shambles as we arrived at our allotted time to find the queue snaking out the registration hall and for a hundred yards round the drop off area. It took us over an hour to get on board. We had booked with another couple and asked for adjoining cabins. We were allocated C67 & C68 which sounded great until we looked on the plan to discover they were on different sides of the ship. Evens one side and odd the other. According to the plan there was a passageway straight across between us next to the laundry. On board we found the passageway no longer existed and we had to walk through the incredibly narrow laundry. (Everyone complained about the smallness and restricted space and constant flooding. Anyone using the iron had to stop ironing to let someone through.) The food was good although the waiters seemed a bit stretched especially at breakfast. P & O no longer do silver service so all food was plated to the table. We ate at the signature restaurant 'East' on a couple of occasions and the food and service was superb. If you sat down by 6.30 your table got a free bottle of wine. We also booked for Ocean Grill specifically for the free wine, arrived at 6.25 to be told their rules were different and that we should have sat down by 6.15 so no free wine!! A bit churlish as we were the only ones in there. I was surprised to find there was a continuous phone and internet service available through MCP Maritime. Phone calls were £1.60 / min to make and £1.30 to receive, texts about 50p. Internet was £35 for 100mins (110 if booked within 3 days.) The service was fairly dismal with an extremely flaky logon and logoff system which saw many people queuing at the desk every morning complaining they had lost all their minutes. I consider myself computer literate as I use them every day but I struggled to get the system to log off with the egg timer just going round and round. Considering the average age and ability of the customers I found this to be a dismal offering from the software writers. As usual the trips ashore were quite pricey but the real rip off was the Behind The Scenes tour of the ships spaces, engine room, galley, bridge etc. They wanted a whopping £75 per person for a tour which effectively cost them nothing apart from a glass of champagne on the bridge with the captain. To finish on a high note we found the staff, cabin boy and waiters very friendly and the Footlights dance troupe were superb putting their heart and soul into their performances. Having been previously on the Oceana (excellent) and the Ventura (dull and too big) we will not be rushing back on the Arcadia. Friends who have just been with Fred Olsen say they are now clear winners over P & O. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Having sailed on a number of cruises with Celebrity and Azamara, I was getting rather fed up with their prices and their service charges. So a chance to sample another cruise line and I decided on a Panama canal transit with P&O ... Read More
Having sailed on a number of cruises with Celebrity and Azamara, I was getting rather fed up with their prices and their service charges. So a chance to sample another cruise line and I decided on a Panama canal transit with P&O Arcadia to Los Angeles on the first stage of their world circumvention. I was a little concerned with some of the negative cruise reviews that I had read but was prepared to accept some downgrade on standards for the fairly large difference in price. That said the first part started badly but that was not all down to P&O. We travelled down to Southampton by car and reached to within one mile of the cruise terminal to be met by total grid lock. Five cruise ships were departing that day and Southampton had road works but a big fat thumbs down to Southampton Council and the Police who did nothing to address or try to rectify this problem It took a further two hours to reach the terminal only to find a queue stretching and snaking out of the small terminal building (with no nearby toilets!). An hour plus later we boarded. No one to meet greet and guide and an immediate contrast in the lack of wow factor seen on Celebrity as we found our own way to our upgraded balcony cabin. The cabin was a good size with a nice large flat screen television but cleaning standards were not as good as they should have been however a complaint rectified this with the exception of the balcony which with many others was totally neglected from cleaning throughout the cruise. The negatives however stop here as there are many things that P&O do well. Firstly having criticised their cleaning in places the hygiene practices to combat outbreaks of the dreaded Norovirus were very thorough. Onto some more cheerful subjects. That night we made our way to the main dining room where we had booked to join a table of 8 on the first sitting. Our dining was extremely well managed by two very efficient and friendly waiters and a wine waiter with whom we enjoyed many laughs. Some regular P&O cruisers were bemoaning the loss of silver Service but in my opinion Silver Service is old hat with modern food presentation practices. We enjoyed some excellent food, very well prepared and served and for the first time in my cruise experiences it was served hot! Drinks were reasonably priced and without the 15% service charge. I do not like Celebritys $12;50 dollar daily service charge followed by drinks served with 15% service charge and a cheeky gap on the bill for extra tips to be given,. I do believe in tipping and do so well, directly to those who give me good service and hope that the £3.50 daily service charge reaches those behind the scenes. Staying on food for a little while, the experiences at breakfast and lunch in the self service restaurant were also very good with no delays and comparative ease in finding vacant tables. We did not frequent the theatre on many nights but those we did were to see shows delivered by the Headliners theatre company, and these were excellent productions. I also enjoyed some excellent lectures by ex flying squad policeman Ian Brown and some very good entertainment in the bars. The weather on this cruise was fantastic throughout and finding deckchairs to sunbathe on was never a problem on the many deck locations available. another first in my cruising experience. We went on a couple of tours, one in Barbados which was extremely good value with a top photographer taking us around some of the many beauty spots on the island. Tours in particular were better value than I have previously experienced on other cruise lines and the provision of free shuttle buses in some locations was a pleasant experience. If you have not transited the Panama Canal yet then I urge you to do this soon as the various enlargement works I feel will take some of the magic and excitement away. The transit was something that Arcadia performed exceptionally well. There were talks on the construction of the canal, an informative commentary during the transit and excellent back up information in the form of documentaries on the television. Finally the photographic team did an outstanding job recording the event and compiling an excellent DVD. Through the canal we sailed up to Guatemala and California. It would have been nice to have another stop on the way in Mexico, however the glorious weather and sea days watching Whales, Dolphins,Turtles and Flying Fish made some unforgettable memories. Well done P&O. Overall a fantastic cruise and very good value for money. Thank you to all the friendly and efficient staff we met who worked so hard to make us enjoy our cruise. We will be back.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We flew from Gatwick (Thompson charter) to join Arcadia at Barbados, sailed to Aruba, then through the Panama Canal, then Costa Rica, then Huatulco and Acapulco in Mexico, then finally to San Francisco, from where we flew back to Heathrow ... Read More
We flew from Gatwick (Thompson charter) to join Arcadia at Barbados, sailed to Aruba, then through the Panama Canal, then Costa Rica, then Huatulco and Acapulco in Mexico, then finally to San Francisco, from where we flew back to Heathrow (but via Munich on Lufthansa scheduled).These bizarre flight arrangements were not explained to us when we paid for our holiday - we only knew when the tickets arrived. If I had known of these Gatwick-out, Heathrow-in-via-Munich arrangements, I would not have booked. This is principally a criticism of the travel agency but is also indicative of P&O's indifferent attitude to customers' comforts off-ship.Our outbound flight was two hours late, which meant we hardly saw Barbados. More importantly, two other Thompson charter flights from Gatwick were 14 hours late, so the ship sailed from Barbados very late, and lead to a shortened visit to Aruba. After that, the ship went back on schedule.Arcadia is a good ship, and we were pleased with our balcony stateroom. it was a bit smaller than MSC, but was comfortable, and we had a supremely comfortable bed. The cabin steward (Lloyd) was superb, and helped us with minor problems like electrical adapters with no fuss.The ship is large but seemed to have an endless number of public rooms, so it never felt full (it was fully occupied). The facilities on board were excellent, and there was a very wide range of activities freely available throughout the trip to help pass the time - on this cruise we had at least 6 days at sea so it was important to have something to do other than read or sunbathe! Our main disappointment with this cruise was the choice and quality of the food, both in the self-service area, and in the main silver-service restaurant. We had assumed that P&O was a cut above the likes of Thomsons, but in fact the reverse is true in our view. However I have to say that the selection of wines and cocktails was superb and very, very good value.The entertainment in the main Palladium theatre was again reasonable, with a couple of very good celebrity acts, but their in-house dance troupe wasn't really good at all - again Thomson's were leagues ahead.The few shore excursions we did were superb value for money and well-organised - a real plus for P&O.The overall ship organisation left something to be desired. There were several cases of inconsistent information being given out. The worst fiasco was in San Francisco where having told us to be aware that we were under the Golden Gate Bridge at 0500 (and to be immigration starting at 0645) it took no less than 5 hours to process all the passengers for immigration by 12:00 - contrary to popular rumour, the American immigration staff were very friendly, fast, and armed to the hilt! It was Arcadia who forgot to tell passengers to come down for processing, having previously told everyone NOT to attend at the published times due our late arrival in port (due to headwinds, no one's fault).P&O did redeem themselves a bit in that they took us off ship to the airport at 14:00 (flight not due to 21:00) but treated us to an excellent 3 hour free tour of San Francisco - but why not tell us?! Most people didn't know they had a 3 hour tour, hadn't gone to the loo or eaten - they were just expecting a fast transit to the airport to sit around for 6 hours - as it turned out, we saw all the sights, and got to the airport just in time to check-in - excellent! All-in-all, a superb cruise, the highlight being our transit through the Panama Canal. The cruise director provided a superb commentary throughout.We did also dine in the Gary Rhodes 'franchise' restuarant for a modest extra cover charge of £10 - worth every penny - superb service and food -in fact just like the main restaurant shoud be.Bascally a very good ship and itinerary, let down by the standards of catering and entertainment, which smacks of dumbing dowm/cost cutting by Carnival Corporation. I am afraid I now wouldn't recommend ANY Carnival-owned line to anyone - stick with Olsen, Thompson or MSC. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
The cruise on P & O's Oceana appeared to have it all. Flying from Glasgow to Acapulco with Thomson Airlines and boarding the ship in this romantic spot (on Valentine's day) Thereafter sailing south on the Pacific Ocean before ... Read More
The cruise on P & O's Oceana appeared to have it all. Flying from Glasgow to Acapulco with Thomson Airlines and boarding the ship in this romantic spot (on Valentine's day) Thereafter sailing south on the Pacific Ocean before a daytime transit of one of mankind's historic engineering feats through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean. Followed by visits to four romantic and exotic Caribbean Islands. My wife and I were not to be disappointed. It was a dream come true. The flights from and return to Glasgow were on time and comfortable. Pre-booking seats took alot of stress out of the flights. Having read previous reviews with some discordant notes in relation to Oceana, we wondered what to expect as this was our first cruise with P&O. We had chosen freedom dining and had a balcony cabin on "A" deck. The freedom dining was excellent and allowed us to choose when and where to dine, at the same time enjoying the four formal nights immensely. Looking out or relaxing on our balcony was an absolute pleasure, especially with a malt whisky in my hand! We found Oceana and her staff to be first class and that includes, ship, staff, food and entertainment. As this was our first visit to this part of the world, we booked trips for every port except Barbados, where because of an afternoon flight we chose to walk into Bridgetown which we fell in love with. A wonderful experience all round. Well done P&O. In each of the ports of Acapulco, Huatulco, San Juan del Sur, Curacao, Tortola, St Marten,and Antigua, we found the trips to be interesting,colourful, and good value for money. The rum punch's were wonderful. Well done Oceana and staff, and well done P&O. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
There are two things that P and O are brilliant at. One is the glossy brochures trying to sell excellence. The other is the way they fleece every single penny from the punters once they are trapped on their ships. This was our ... Read More
There are two things that P and O are brilliant at. One is the glossy brochures trying to sell excellence. The other is the way they fleece every single penny from the punters once they are trapped on their ships. This was our first holiday for five years and we were sold on the wonderful brochure rhetoric about Oceana and the Panama Canal cruise Jan 2011. A mini suite seemed perfect for us to view all from the stern. Once aboard, after unecessary security worse than Gatwick, we waited 6 hours for our cases to be delivered to our cabin. 5 hours! A very bad start with no apology or satisfactory explanation. Everyone was fuming. Oceana is a tatty ship, carpet torn, stuck down with Duck Tape. Carpet edges lifting, rust coming through paintwork, unchanged duff lightbulbs, low pressure hot water, muck in the bottom of the pools and jacuzzi etc. If P and O spent as much money refurbishing this faded hulk as they do on glossy brochures it could be quite good again. OK, let's be more specific...... This was a very expensive cruise and we expected the luxury to reflect the price. Sad error here! This can only be described as Butlins at Sea. In fact the facilites, entertainment, food and ambience are probably better at Butlins for a fraction of the price. The prices on board for alchohol are an outrage. One cannot compare with UK prices. Remember, this a Bahama registered vessel and buys it's alchohol locally paying no UK excise. So, one is shafted twice over, the profit margins are obscene. Smokers are treated like lepers. EU(UK) law should not apply to a Bahaman registered ship in international waters with a mainly foreign and Asian crew. The full spectrum xray security measures coming back on board from ashore are not designed to protect but to confiscate any booze one buys ashore at sensible prices. They want a totally captive market. The entertainment team must have come straight from school, lacking any talent, childish and immature, all giggles, hyena laughs and corny. Not a pro amongst them. The cruise director? Lost for words here, where did they drag her from? The food, well, think Butlins, bland and average. The Plaza? Think 1970s Motorway Services at Newport Pagnell! The signature restaurants charge outrageous cover charges for food that is no better than your average town eaterie. Just remember, this cruise was advertised and sold at high prices!!!!!!! We are always happy to spend but want value for money, when you pay top dollar you expect top dollar. All in all, total rubbish, never again. Sorry P and O, everything about this ship is a disgrace. A two star experience for a five star price. A total miss sell! The only highlight, The Canal, amazing. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We flew in from Manchester and had a bit of a delay getting off the flight and also at the port actually getting off the bus. A bit of a delay booking in but they must had got more people on the desks as this queue soon went down. ... Read More
We flew in from Manchester and had a bit of a delay getting off the flight and also at the port actually getting off the bus. A bit of a delay booking in but they must had got more people on the desks as this queue soon went down. On board around 6pm but cases not arrived so checked out where we could get dinner which was in the Lingurian Restaurant (normally used for flexi dining) and had a very good meal before returning to our cabin to find the cases had now arrived. Cabin was a reasonable size we were in an outside on Deck 8, starboard side near the front. The bathroom was extremely small but adequate and there was a good selection of toiletries from the "White Company" which I assumed was the Luxurious Pamper Package. Had a wander round the ship to find our bearings and ended up on the top deck having a drink in one of the many bars and pleasantly surprised with the price of the drinks which were comparable to English bar prices and no service charge. I have covered our port destinations of St Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Punta Arenas & Acapulco separately. We also visited Zihuatanejo in Mexico before going on to Acapulco. This was by tender and we just got a local water taxi (around US$5 each way) to the Playa Las Gatos which was excellent plenty of space and we used the sunloungers and umbrella of a local restaurant on the understanding we had lunch at the restaurant, very fair deal as the food was excellent and drinks cold and a good price. You can snorkel here as there is a small reef a little distance from the beach and this makes the water quite calm. There were a number of talks whilst on board about the Panama Canal and navigation which my husband attended and he enjoyed them and found them very informative. The highlight of the holiday was going through the Panama Canal and we were very fortunate in having just a couple of showers of rain on the day but well worth it. The entertainment on the ship was very good in some respects, Steve Larkins (Freddy Mercury tribute), Dain Cordean (magician and comedian), Fogwell Flax (impressionist and comedian) and the shows put on by the Headliners which we went to were also very good. Some of the other acts not so good but you don't have to listen as there are other places to go. Disappointing though that there wasn't more on lots of things repeated. The entertainment team were a bit of a mixed bag and some things went really well and others not so. Mainly attended the quizzes just to while away sea days. If you could manage to get a teak sunlounger or chair on Deck 7 to us this was an excellent place to watch the world go by and read your book and watch the odd turtle pass by. We did not really attempt to go on the sun deck as we had heard so many passengers complaining about being able to get a chair and it was very hot up there anyway. Note that port side of Deck 7 allows smoking. We opted for first seating dining and shared a table with a lovely couple from Wales and had an enjoyable two weeks with them. The food although not as good as expected was still very good and there was no issues with having extra portions or a different meal if you didn't like the one you had chosen. We also opted for a wine package at the beginning of the cruise which averaged out the cost of the various wines to about £12 a bottle the usual price of the house wine. Overall we found the cruise to be very good and better than expected having read reviews of Oceana before we left. The ship is a little tired but maintenance was ongoing whilst we were onboard which didn't affect us at all. We were advised though that the Oceana is going in for a £5million refit some time in the next year so hopefully it will be back to it's former glory. As our last cruise was on Royal Caribbean on a Baltic Cruise, we found this a much cheaper cruise whilst on board and would certainly go on another P&O cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Oceana at 10 years old is a well founded and maintained ship, cabins are beautifully appointed and our steward Pankaj was telepathic, always on hand when we needed him, worked hard and always smiling. We were waited on hand and foot ... Read More
Oceana at 10 years old is a well founded and maintained ship, cabins are beautifully appointed and our steward Pankaj was telepathic, always on hand when we needed him, worked hard and always smiling. We were waited on hand and foot - didn't even have to collect our luggage in Barbados it was delivered from plane to cabin and were made to feel welcome on arrival. The food, standard of catering and organisation was for the most part faultless (minor complaint about hot plates for cold food on the buffet and the coffee not great). Lunches were superb in all venues and our dinners in the Ligurian (Freedom Dining) were awesome. Dinner at Cafe Jardin was not worth paying the extra for - lunches there were excellent but the dinner menu was the same for two weeks and the service poor in comparison to the main restaurants. Sightseeing was superb although in EVERY destination you would do better going ashore and taking one of the many tours on offer at half the price - most people like an easy life and Oceana's staff certainly provided that. Entertainment on board included Fogwell Flax (so very funny), a brilliant concert pianist, after dinner speaker Tommy Docherty (who was amazing and fielded questions from the audience with a true sense of humour), with shows and high octane dancing - they did really well. Daytime at sea there was so much to do we found ourselves racing from ballroom dancing classes to windows 7 seminar, go-yoga, how to improve your photography to talks and films on the Panama Canal. Which brings me to the highlight of the tour - The Panama Canal. Oceana had an expert historian on board with a wealth of knowledge, he kept us enthralled all day with his commentaries - a really fantastic experience. Now comes the downside of our trip Ionithermie: I went along to one of the many seminars 'how to deal with those troublesome fatty areas on your body' The answer was Ionithermie currently not available in the UK, it's a treatment with special clay and electrodes and you can lose up to 8" Too good to be true? I signed up for the free consultation and Stephanie told me I needed 3 treatments on board and she would give me a simple regime to follow at home. If I booked all three appointments there and then with the discounts it would cost only £189.00 - "wow" I said "that is a serious amount of money are you really sure it works with long term results"? She was very confident and said she would measure me before and after. I booked my three appointments. After the first treatment Stephanie displayed the items needed for the simple regime at home the cost...£200.00+ I queried why this wasn't disclosed prior to the treatments, she wanted to know why I thought it so expensive, she said some passengers had spent over £3,000.00 on stuff to take home. I felt very pressured and said I need to think it over. Afterward I cancelled my next two appoints (losing the discount and had to pay £89.00) I did lose 4" - I was measured in 8 places and the losses were aggregated IT LASTED ALL OF one day. Having got home I goggled Ionithermie and was so grateful I didn't spend any more money on it. I will be writing with my concerns to P and O. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
What a fantastic holiday we had aboard the Oceana..Staff were helpful and friendly nothing was to much trouble,our waiters Lucas and Dismish were wonderful and went out of their way to look after us nothing was to much trouble..Drinks were ... Read More
What a fantastic holiday we had aboard the Oceana..Staff were helpful and friendly nothing was to much trouble,our waiters Lucas and Dismish were wonderful and went out of their way to look after us nothing was to much trouble..Drinks were the same price as at home no rip offs.Tips were down to the individual.Cabins were comfortable with plenty of storage space, and the cabin steward always kept it clean for us.It was nice to be able to dress up on the formal nights as we don't seem to do that at home any more as things now are more casual.The one disappointment we had was after our 8.30 meal we could not get in to see one of the shows as many of the first sitting stayed to watch the comedian for the second show leaving not enough seats for the second seating.We were very disappointed as he was really good.This was noted and hopefully will be sorted out for further cruises. The highlight of the cruise was of cause sailing through the Panama Canal (which we were up at 5pm to get a good viewing spot) we had gone earlier to listen to the history of the Panama Canal so we could understand what it was all about, this was very interesting and we found it useful as we went through the locks, we could imagine the hundreds of men so many years before many who had lost their lives working on it.It is a truely a amazing piece of History. We also visited Acapulco (where we landed from Gatwick)Huatulaco,San Juan Del Su,Curacao,St Maarten,Tortola,Antigua,and finally Barbados for our flight home.Each place had its own places of interrest and we enjoyed each one very much. We highly recommend P&O Oceana and we are hoping to sail with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Arcadia,embarked Southampton 05 January; 1900 on board, mostly Brits with 400 Aussies going home on the return leg of a World Cruise. No virus on board, unlike the Vic,it stayed that way. The officers and crew took every precaution in a ... Read More
Arcadia,embarked Southampton 05 January; 1900 on board, mostly Brits with 400 Aussies going home on the return leg of a World Cruise. No virus on board, unlike the Vic,it stayed that way. The officers and crew took every precaution in a friendly and persuasive way. Bay of Biscay, into wind Force 11 going to 12, waves 12 metres high. Speed slowed, Due to the weather and possible damage to ship. Captain cancelled first stop Azores, This gave an extra sea day. Onto Barbados, where most passengers just stretched their legs. Then Aruba, crystal blue sea, spent the day on beach with the show's Headliner Dancers Needed to go to the clinic after that! Taxi to beautiful public beach for six people $30 each way. The ship's crew did a big build up on Panama Canal .Loved the experience, in at 0800 hours, out 1700 hours with commentary by Canal Historian. Fair to say no client disappointed. Then Acapulco for the day. Eight Brits took a sight see with a local guide in his people carrier, Saw the Acapulco homes of the famous ( 1940ish stars). Total cost , one third of price for the ship excursions to same places. San Francisco on 24 January and back to Heathrow, upgraded on BA. Belvedere Buffet food okay, but Trevor the Chief Executive Chef, had it laid out like school dinners with hot Brit pudding available every day even in 32C! Always dour, not many smiles in the Chefs Meridian parade. The Meridian restuarant staff were patient, kind and considerate. Headliners Show's were the best we have seen on 12 cruises. Four quizzes every day, plus " The Battle of the Sexes", men versus women at lunch time on sea days. Ladies built a tremendous lead due football being shown at same time. However, the men recovered to win by 203 to 202. This was because the final quiz had questions put forward by the Ladies to the Men and vice versa. Try being aware of the Chief Security Officer's surname and name the food and beverage computer program. Answer Crunch Time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Supposed to leave Gatwick on 20th December, however Thomas Cook plane delayed for 24 hours due to major technical problem, so put in hotel overnight and given chicken curry for dinner. On boarding plane on 21st they gave us for dinner, yes ... Read More
Supposed to leave Gatwick on 20th December, however Thomas Cook plane delayed for 24 hours due to major technical problem, so put in hotel overnight and given chicken curry for dinner. On boarding plane on 21st they gave us for dinner, yes chicken - unfortunately I hate chicken so now hadn't had decent meal for 24 hours, the snack was a cheese paninni which was awful. Entertainment on board flight dire, please P&O if you want repeat bookings don't use Thomas Cook again. We had booked emergency exit seats but found large people next to us - in fact I was unable to sit in my seat on the return journey due to lack of room - not pleasant and suffered backache for days afterwards. Eventually arrived in Acapulco and immediately left for Huatalco, cannot fault the arrival system at Acapulco or the on-board check-in, very good. However one day during the cruise my husband spilt a small amount of tea on the sheet which was still there 4 days later, this would never have happened 2 years ago. Entertainment (with the exception of Jimmy James on New Years Eve and Tony Guppa) not very good, on-board theatre company very amateurish and entertainments staff seemed more concerned with children than anything else. The Cruise Director was hardly seen apart from one night when he did "Call My Bluff" as a substitute entertainment for the dance troupe as one of them was ill. For instance, one afternoon we went to play Whist, however no member of staff from Entertainments was there - ergo no cards! We were given 1 days cruise back as "on-board credit" however nobody was told that if we didn't use it, it could be refunded, resulting in many people booking spa treatments etc. they really didn't want. It really wasn't good enough P&O - to be delayed 24 hours is bad enough, this was the holiday of a limetime for us, and was a treat for my 60th birthday. It took 3 days to get over the 24-hour delay and jet-lag, plus where our suitcases had been left on the tarmac at Gatwick, our clothes were all damp, meaning I had to spend quite a lot of time washing/ironing. I could have gone anywhere in the world for £4,500 but chose to have a P&O cruise due to the great time I had 2 years ago, but I won't be repeating the experience. My idea of holiday entertainment is not "Oceana's Got Talent" - this was not a 4-star ship, more Butlins, however the food was good and the service in the restaurants was good too. Please sharpen up your act P&O - on the basis of our cruise 2 years ago, I have actually recommended you to friends who are going on Oceana this summer for which I feel dreadful. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I wont re-iterate other reviews about our 24 hour delay due to Thomas Cook, but I would like to say that the organisation of the Arora Hotel in Crawley was fantastic. However, we waited almost 2 hours to retrieve our luggage at Gatwick and ... Read More
I wont re-iterate other reviews about our 24 hour delay due to Thomas Cook, but I would like to say that the organisation of the Arora Hotel in Crawley was fantastic. However, we waited almost 2 hours to retrieve our luggage at Gatwick and many of the cases were inexplicably wet! Having waited at the airport for nearly 12 hours everyone was exhausted. We finally got on our way having had a 4am call at the hotel and the plane was delayed another 2hrs 20 mins from what we had been told when checking in. When we finally arrived at the ship we set sail immediately and were sent to the Buffet dining for something to eat - nothing very appetising was available. Also, we were not taken to our cabins on arrival by staff and were just told to go to our level by the lift, which it turned out was not on our side of the ship, so we had to go back to the Atrium to find out where the appropriate lift was. I have to say that it took about 3 or 4 days to get over the journey and I slept for hours (which isn't usual). We booked cabins with limited view due to lifeboats being in the way, so no complaints there; as long as we had light to wake up to each day. We saw our cabin steward that evening and only saw him once more for the whole of the cruise. Cabin a bit small. There were no bed side tables but a 3 drawer chest of drawers on one side which was difficult to open and nothing on the other. I used the dressing table seat (all wood) next to my side. You couldn't walk round the end of my side of the bed, but I had to climb over the bed in order to get out. Otherwise cleanliness, toiletries etc were good. I was disappointed with the food and I think P&O are trying to cut corners. On previous cruises with other companies, if you want a main course as a starter portion you could have it. You could also have a second portion of anything if you wished. The Christmas Day meal was very disappointing. I think nearly all the Brussels Sprouts were sent back as you could not cut them with a knife let alone eat them. A lot of the food was tasteless - very disappointing. I actually lost weight on this cruise! We enjoyed afternoon tea, but they cannot prepare crumpets, they are just shown the grill and not toasted at all! Very limp and pale. The entertainment was mediocre - Jimmy James, The Fortunes and Tony Gubba were good. The show team were a bit amateur but what I couldn't understand was that each show was repeated the following night. Therefore we didn't get many shows. One night the show was cancelled as one of the cast was ill. What happened to "The Show Must go on"? I once went to see the skater Robin Cousins, he was ill and the understudy skated in his place. We had a fantastic night and booked to go again when Robin was better! We were not impressed with Marco Pierre White's Restaurant. Although we only went to lunch one day the food was not good. Also, I didn't like the idea that passengers trying to get from one side of the ship to another walk through the restaurant. It was just like a motorway service station. We didn't go on any trips organised by P&O and we had a good time in every port taking trips or booking taxis ourselves. Next time I book a cruise it will more than likely be with Princess or Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Oceana was the second cruise ship we sailed on, the first being her sister ship Adonia, which went back to Princess Cruises after a couple of seasons. We have been on Oceana 4 times now. We love the theatre and and the starlights lounge ... Read More
Oceana was the second cruise ship we sailed on, the first being her sister ship Adonia, which went back to Princess Cruises after a couple of seasons. We have been on Oceana 4 times now. We love the theatre and and the starlights lounge on Oceana. The staff always seem happy and friendly. Cabins are smaller than some ships, but perfectly adequate for a 14 night cruise. The public rooms and bars are good, and it is easy to find your way around the ship as you can walk all the way round on most decks. The best feature of the ship is the Atrium, which is much more attractive than on other ships. Overall, plenty of positives and no negatives I can think of. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
After a nightmare journey getting to east midlands airport through blizzards on the morning of 6th February, we boarded the flight to barbados and the holiday started then. Plenty of room on the A330 thomas cook flight no need to upgrade ... Read More
After a nightmare journey getting to east midlands airport through blizzards on the morning of 6th February, we boarded the flight to barbados and the holiday started then. Plenty of room on the A330 thomas cook flight no need to upgrade as plenty of leg room. Complimentary drinks and plenty of food. Took 8 hours and arrived 30 minutes early into barbados. Transfer to ship brilliant, cases took about 2 hours to arrive. Cabin was inside and was OK but could do with an update in the shower room. As flights were coming in late because of operational problems we had to stay in barbados an extra night and we had to miss our first island of Mayreau where we were looking forward to a restful day on the beach. Next we were of to Grenada and took a local taxi around the island, We would never book a trip with the Ship as these tours are simply brilliant as we did the same one 10 years ago. Next we were off to Margarita in Ven, this was made via tender and although described as mosquito hell it was your typical tropical island, people who visited inland said it was a dump with rubbish all over the place and not very nice, should have stayed on the lovely white beach and enjoyed a swim - not a mosquito in sight. next off to Curacao a dutch island that looks like amsterdam, lovely for photos. Day at sea then arrived at Colon, this was one time when everyone should take an organized trip as Colon and Panama City are very dangerous places to walk around. We went in a mini bus with 5 other passengers and was dumped in the middle of dock area and everyone had guns. We had wanted to go to the local mall but was taken to the warehouse quarter where you could only buy in bulk no less than a dozen items a time. Early the next day we started our transit through the Panama canal and I can only describe this as truly breath taking, it was fantastic, I will never never forget the experience, through the locks and into the gatun lake was unbelievable wow, wow, wow. A helicopter went around the ship and took photos and film which we could buy as a DVD for £16 it was well worth it as we could see ourselves at the front of the ship waving. Tell family that they can watch you transit the canal either via the ships web cam or the one on the side of the canal (panama web cam). Some mobile phones did not work while we were in Panama or the pacific. Someone said that the Panama authorities blocked them. My vodafone did not work until I was back in the UK. Then at sea and off to Puntarenas in Costa Rica. This was truly wonderful as we went on an organized trip to the jungle and went skywalking across several rope bridges (like the one in I'm a celebrity) fantastic and worth the £32 which the trip cost. Day at sea and onto Porto Quetzal in Guatemala more jungle trips if you wanted. Day at sea and off to Acapulco we berthed right by the beach and the town. we were looking forwarding to spending a day and night there but we were told that we had to move back out to sea for the night as the ship had to take on sea water for processing into drinking water. This caused some problems as people wanted to spend the evening in Acapulco and had to be back on board by 10.30, we got the letter telling us about this change after we arrived home. Don't do the trip Amazing Acapulco as it is the same trip that takes you back/from the airport. We went on a trip to see the divers and you could do this by hiring a taxi for a few dollars as it is only around the corner. Oh I forgot to mention Oceana, it was a very clean comfortable ship but is beginning to look its age and a passenger said she had heard that it was being downgraded to an Ocean Village but it may be just a rumor. Food was excellent and a good choice was available although I have had just as good on a Thomson cruise. Weather and sea conditions were perfect as one officers said it was the best weather he had every had in all the years he had been cruising, sunny and very hot especially in Acapulco. Diana Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
The dreaded flight to Acapulco. We left home for the drive to Gatwick at 11 pm on Thursday and arrived at the drop off point for the car at 3 am. We were first at the check in desk and only waited half an hour before they opened at 4 am. ... Read More
The dreaded flight to Acapulco. We left home for the drive to Gatwick at 11 pm on Thursday and arrived at the drop off point for the car at 3 am. We were first at the check in desk and only waited half an hour before they opened at 4 am. My case was a couple of kg over but nothing was said so a very relieved me headed to the departure lounge! The flight was just over an hour late leaving Gatwick then well over an hour delay at the refuel stop - Sanford FL for us. I must say I was so dreading this flight but to be fair it was not as bad as I expected. It was not pleasant by any means being so long, but we did get there in one piece, just so very, very tired! After talking to others I think our Thomson flights were the best. By all accounts the Thomas Cook flights were much worse. The journey to Oceana was a bit hair raising! The driving in Acapulco is certainly interesting!! I must say, nothing we saw on the drive made me want to explore Acapulco further. Then we saw her, as magnificent as ever - our 18th month wait was over and our cruise had started. We arrived just after 8.30 pm. Our friends who had flown from Manchester had arrived at 11am so they had had plenty of time to settle in. I was so shattered I just wanted a shower and my bed so retired without going for a meal. I was in the shower when our cabin steward Camillo arrived to welcome us - much embarrassment followed and he disappeared until the following day! My hubby went for a quick drink and a snack with our friends but we were all unpacked and tucked in by 10.30pm! I had forgotten how small the cabins on Oceana were. Small but perfectly formed!! We spent our day in Acapulco recovering from the long journey (nearly 16 hours!) Spent a pleasant couple of hours walking around Acapulco but then spent an even more pleasant time 'chilling out' around the pool. Our first port of call was Huatulco in Mexico. No tour planned so walked around the shops and spent the morning on the beach. We thought it a lovely place with friendly locals and a charming open sided chapel on the beach. To sit in a pew and see the Pacific and Oceana 'parked' was certainly different! Back on board in the afternoon and another swim in the pool. I love swimming so spent a lot of time around the pool area! The only time my hubby got wet was on the white water rafting tour! San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. We just walked to the beach here and had a beer. Not much to see apart from dreadful poverty. You know, I'm not sure what I think about visiting such places. Are we helping their economy by our visits or are we rubbing their noses in it? I'm really not sure. That evening we sat with a gentleman who was robbed at knifepoint!!! He lost his watch and camera and according to him $500 - why on earth he was carrying so much money beats me! We had been warned not to wander off and on his own admission he did just that. Fuerte Amador. Nothing to say about this port as we had a lazy day on board. Panama Canal. What can you say about this? This was what we had come to see and we were not disappointed. A memorable day. Limon, Costa Rica. Really enjoyed this port. After reading Cap'n Jack's report Chris and I did the Sloth Sanctuary tour. I was not disappointed! Sloths are lovely creatures, we really enjoyed everything on this tour and would recommend it. Cost Rica, we found interesting and would like to see more of this country. Aruba. Another ok place if you like wonderful beaches, lots of hotels and lots of Americans! Wish we had done a tour here. I'm sure the island had lots more to offer than we actually saw! St Lucia. Followed Cap'n Jack again here and did the St Lucia Land and Sea tour. Another good one! The volcano - interesting and very smelly! The Botanical Gardens are lovely, especially if you like gardening. It was so hot and we were so tired, we really didn't appreciate them. The ride on the catamaran was amazing, we loved it! We stopped for 40 minutes at a lovely small beach for a swim. I loved that. Then the best of all - around 50 dolphins gave us the most amazing show that was such a privilege to see. The captain of the catamaran said he had been doing this job for 13 years and this was only the second time he had seen dolphins in this area. A memory that will stay with me for a long time! St Vincent. We had been told by lots of people that St Vincent was one island to miss. It was 'seedy' and there was nothing much to see!!! So we enjoyed our last day on Oceana. In retrospect this could have been a mistake! We had to be out of our cabin by 9 am on Friday, we were leaving for the airport at 2 pm so only had a few hours to pass. An hour of this was passed having a 'nosey' around deck 10 to see how the 'other half lives'!! We promised not to touch anything! So were given permission to look at the suites and mini suites. Wow! They are lovely. I thought at first, the mini suite was a suite!! Until we saw the suites of course! Another hour spent imagining ourselves in a suite and it was time to leave for the airport! The flight home was only 7 ½ hours and once again better than I expected. Overview This cruise on Oceana was certainly our best to date. She is still looking good and still the friendly ship we remember from our first cruise in 2006. I saw all the Headliners shows and the classical pianist both were excellent. Husband and our friends saw the comedian and enjoyed him. Over the 2 weeks our initial disappointment at not being on club dining soon went and found our first time on freedom dining worked very well. As we were always willing to share a table we never had to wait and quite enjoyed meeting new people each evening. I can now see the benefits of freedom dining and if we could have the same waiters each time would be quite happy with it. Though I still think club is still more of an 'occasion' and would choose it for our next cruise. The food and service was as good as expected. They were especially good at giving me a lovely dessert suitable for a diabetic. We spoke with a few who had diet problems and all spoke very highly of P&O. Dress code was kept by 99% I only saw a couple of people not in formal gear and they were not in the restaurant. To be honest, I found the slightly relaxed dress code to be great. Hubby especially liked not having to wear a suit. I did not wear anything different to what I would wear on other more formal ships - it's just that I didn't worry about it!! Everybody still looked very smart and apart from the men not wearing suits it didn't look very different. Digital Living. I had 3 computer lessons. Computer Maintenance, Digital Photography and All about Wireless - all were excellent and Simon the instructor was extremely good. All in all good value for money (£50). I learned such a lot. Being fairly new to cruising I cannot say if standards have dropped - I just know we had a wonderful cruise on a wonderful ship and enjoyed every minute of it. We are hoping to do a segment of the 2011 worldie for our next cruise. San Franciso - Hong Kong 38 nights. It will mean having to go next year with no cruise as we will have to save hard - I wonder if we saved hard enough could we manage a mini suite???!!! Me thinks its going to be a 'be nice to hubby few months'!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
We only booked this Cruise at short notice as it was advertised as having Direct Flights from Leeds Bradford to Barbados and same on Rtn from Acapulco. Two wks before we were due to leave we were informed that our Flt to Barbados would ... Read More
We only booked this Cruise at short notice as it was advertised as having Direct Flights from Leeds Bradford to Barbados and same on Rtn from Acapulco. Two wks before we were due to leave we were informed that our Flt to Barbados would need to make a Technical Stop to refuel(Runway at LB too short to take off with full fuel load), we had a 20min Flt to Manchester where we sat on the Aircraft for 1hr 10mins whilst they refueled it. During the Flt we had free drinks and reasonable meals compliments of P&O served very well by Thomsons Staff, the Flt was operated by Thomsonfly on behalf of P&O. We arrived in Barbados on time and within 20mins were on a bus on the way to the Ship, Traffic was heavy and our Driver thought he knew a quicker way to the Ship/port, we eventually arrived 2hrs Later(normal time for rest of Buses was 1hr) we ended up in a queue of buses and sat for another 30mins before being allowed off the bus, just what you need after a 10hr+ flt. Check in when we eventually got there was quick and we boarded the ship and were shown to our cabin on A deck our luggage arrived 1hr Later. The ship itself was fine but did some signs of wear and tear but nothing untoward, we were allocated Freedom Dining which did work out quite well as we like to eat early and managed to get the same table every night, our 2 Waiters(Ved & Jo) were excellent. The food in the MDR was varied with lots of choices and quality was excellent. However our cabin A506 which was directly below the pool deck was very noisy with banging and scraping when the staff were arranging the sunbeds late at night and early morning, there was also some sort of machinery starting up on a regular basis which kept us awake, after bringing this to P&Os attention we were eventually moved to another cabin on the same deck A437 which was quiet while in Port but as soon as we sailed there was a constant Tapping from the bulkhead/ceiling, this was investigated and as it could not be fixed we were moved to B542, this cabin was fine with no noise other than normal ship noises. Entertainment was good with the CD being Mr Rob Boyd who in our view is one of the best CDs around, the Singers and Dancers were terrific with their shows and full of energy, guest entertainers were Ok and did 2-3 shows each wk of the cruise, John Sergent did a talk and that was very well received. We did miss Mayreau due to bad sea conditions but did get into St Vincent instead, we didn't find St Vincent to good, all other ports of call were completed and the weather was fine and hot everyday except for Colon when we had a Tropical Thunderstorm in the afternoon, so we can say we really enjoyed the cruise. Our highlight was a visit to a Embara Village with "My Friend Mario Tours" highly recommended. Now the Ugly, our rtn flt from Acapulco, we were informed on the ship that once again we had to stop to refuel this time in Miami, we took off on time then once airbourne we were then informed that due to the crew that was taking us from Miami to LB not having had enough rest, we would have a 2hr wait on the plane in Miami, however the 2hrs turned into 3hrs 50 mins as they did not to start to refuel the aircraft until 30mins after the new staff had got onboard, we had been told that with the 2 hr delay the air-crew would look after us however this consisted of 1 cup of tea or Coffee or a glass of water during the 3hr 50min wait, not what you would call being looked after, to complete the rtn flt misery when we were 20 mins from landing, we were told that due to LB being Fog bound we had to divert to Manchester and were then then taken by coach to LB. Not the best rtn flt from what had been a good holiday, all in all it took us 19hrs 30mins to rtn back to LB. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
My husband and I had done only 1 cruise before embarking on Arcadia in February 2008 to cruise the Caribbean, The Panama Canal and up to Acapulco. Our first cruise was on QE2 and so we thought it would be interesting to compare P&O ... Read More
My husband and I had done only 1 cruise before embarking on Arcadia in February 2008 to cruise the Caribbean, The Panama Canal and up to Acapulco. Our first cruise was on QE2 and so we thought it would be interesting to compare P&O with the Cunard experience. Our flight from Manchester to Barbados was good and we had upgraded on the First Choice Flight. We had been fortunate as people who had travelled with Thomas Cook also from Manchester were disgusted with their flight seats and the space, or lack of it, in economy. Transfer from the aircraft to the cruise terminal in Bridgetown was excellent and we were soon in our cabin. We thought the cabin was about the same size as the one we had on QE2. However, this time we had a balcony which was a definite advantage over the 2 portholes on QE2. The cabin was well appointed although there was no shampoo provided. I thought this was penny pinching to the extreme. You get shampoo in a basic motorway lodge in the UK. Also there were no dressing gowns which we had had on QE2. Our room steward was from Goa and he knew a hotel we had stayed at there some years ago. He was very polite and efficient. We had booked for second sitting at dinner but when on board discovered that this did not start until 20.45. As we did not want to eat that late we changed to first sitting at 18.30. The only alternative to this for dinner (unless you wanted to pay extra) was to go to the Belvedere Buffet Food Court which was about as exciting as a works canteen in decor and facilities. We soon found that dining at 18.30 was a little early as we missed a lot of the sailaway parties so we decided that if we cruised again with P&O we would choose Freedom Dining. The food was OK but a definite notch down from what we had on QE2. The waiter service in the dining room was good except for delivery of the vegetables on to you plate. They were plonked anywhere on the plate (often over the food that was already on there) rather than being nicely placed in a suitable space on the plate (as we had on QE2). Likewise, on QE2, the petits fours came on a large tray and you were invited to choose. On Arcadia, a few biscuits were literally dumped on a small plate - some not even the right way up and the plate just left on the table. I know the waiters are hard pressed to get diners out of the restaurant to get the tables relaid for the second sitting but it is these small things which leave the wrong impression in peoples' minds. The Belvedere Food Court was self - service. We had breakfast there most days but only dined there on 2 nights. It is the most confusing place to find your way around as they have different types of food on each side of the serving area. Getting a coffee or tea was often a scramble as people converged on the 2 machines dispensing the water and coffee. This was not a good place to be if you visited it at a busy time. About a week into the cruise, our wine waitress announced that they would shortly run out of bottles of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and this proved to be true. Then about 3/4 days before the end of the cruise you could not get a proper tonic anywhere on the ship. They had slimline which does not taste right with gin or vodka but no proper tonic!! We think that there should be some tightening up on the re-ordering of items to be taken on board at each port. The weather for the entire cruise was fantastic - virtually wall to wall sunshine every day. The itinerary was varied and interesting and involved new places for us to visit. The Panama Canal transit was the highlight. We did quite a few organized trips when in port. In Aruba we did a snorkeling trip which took us to a shipwrecked vessel. This was very dangerous and most people were out of the water and back on board the snorkel vessel within a few minutes. P&O should review whether to keep this trip on their books. We did an evening trip to Panama City which was billed as a walking tour. However we soon found out that the tour guides were to take us to 2 museums instead. This did not go down at all well with us and our fellow passengers. Spending time in a museum at 22.00 after a full day transiting the Panama Canal was not most people's idea of fun. The best trip was in Huatulco where we went on an Eco Bird Watch walk. We were not that interested in taking part in the daytime activities on board ship when at sea, preferring instead to find a sun bed and relax. However, the evening entertainment was pretty abysmal. As mentioned we were in first sitting for dinner and this meant that by 20.15 we were just about finished in the dining room and looking for some entertainment. We soon found that if you did not want to go to the show (or perhaps did want to go but could not get a seat) there was nothing else going on throughout the ship for at least an hour - say between 20.30 and 21.30. We visited various bars including the pub and when we got there the act was playing but as soon as the dining room announced that it was time for second sitting dinner, all the acts closed down and the place was like a ghost ship. This is not good enough. With about 2 days to go to the end of the cruise, it was announced that there had been an outbreak of the Norovirus disease and various cleanliness measures were brought in. Fortunately we were not affected but we thought that in general and prior to the outbreak of the disease, there was a more lax approach to disinfecting hands on entry to restaurants than there was on QE2. Unfortunately the night before disembarkation it was announced that our flight was delayed by 8 hours and as we had to be out of our cabin by 07.00 on the day of disembarkation, this made for a long hot and tiring day before we even got to the airport. It also meant that we were soon mingling with new passengers who had arrived at Acapulco early and who could not all gain access to their cabins!! We were very much on our own at the airport as there were no P&O staff in attendance. I thought this was surprising. It was as if once you had left the ship P&O were not bothered about you. In summary we enjoyed the cruise overall but there were some shortfalls and it was not to the standard we had on QE2. However, undaunted, we have booked to go on Ventura so will see if she is any different. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
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