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5 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
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
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
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
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