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

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
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
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
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