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11 P&O Cruises Singapore Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise along with a trip to India. The ship is very tired and needs total refurbishment. The hot food in the buffet was inedible, cold food acceptable. The restaurants were good with a good choice of menus. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise along with a trip to India. The ship is very tired and needs total refurbishment. The hot food in the buffet was inedible, cold food acceptable. The restaurants were good with a good choice of menus. The entertainment was awful and it was very evident that the ships company were tired and lacked enthusiasm. There was a dreadful smell of sewage on the ship which was so bad we could not sit on our balcony. This ship is not good and certainly not the luxury experience we expected. The only saving grace was the staff who were exceptional and did their upmost to help you. We would never go on this ship again, in fact we are not sure if we would use P & O cruises again. It is a shame as we have been on P & O before and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The standards are slipping and it was certainly not luxury. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Price/smaller ship/traditional ship (2000 passengers?) The ship is traditional older class and embarks on a world cruise in Southampton UK once a year in January .Special deals are offered to fill some legs of the journey at reduced ... Read More
Price/smaller ship/traditional ship (2000 passengers?) The ship is traditional older class and embarks on a world cruise in Southampton UK once a year in January .Special deals are offered to fill some legs of the journey at reduced prices perhaps to sell the cabins and ours was Singapore to Fremantle section ...Last year we did Darwin to Hong Kong I can't believe how much the service and offerings such as restaurant varieties offerings and standard and general demeanor of staff has declined in just under 12 months since our last trip .Most of the staff including wait staff were very apathetic and had a "attitude"to dealing with any issues that arose and it certainly reflected(perhaps they were getting tired since commencing the journey of world cruise) There was talk on board that P&O are discontinuing the world cruise segment of this ships itinerary from now . Please be fully aware that a great deal of passengers due to age and physical conditions would be perhaps having their final holidays/cruise and many are quite infirm or lack a good deal of mobility .(Walking aids/zimmer frames and wheel chairs abound ) If you are looking for a fun /vibrant/exciting cruise holiday or ship then the Aurora is not it. The ship although once grand is very tired after 17years and very dated decor such as furnishings and carpets etc The balcony cabin my wife and i had was adequate although very dull and dated in furnishings and appearance . I was fully aware of the limitations and age of ship when booking after last year ,however my major concern was how much it has gone downhill in standards and service since then . In my opinion it is time for the Aurora to be retired from service due to age and condition Based on my experiences on this trip i would not be booking any future cruises with P&O as the competition certainly do it a lot better with more modern offerings Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We spent 19 nights on the P&O Aurora from Singapore to Sydney as part of her 2017 World Cruise. Overall it was an enjoyable experience with a few problems along the way. The weather proved to be a problem because before we got to ... Read More
We spent 19 nights on the P&O Aurora from Singapore to Sydney as part of her 2017 World Cruise. Overall it was an enjoyable experience with a few problems along the way. The weather proved to be a problem because before we got to Western Australia the outside temperature dropped considerably and as we had five more sea days to go before we got to Sydney only the bravest went out on deck as it was cold. During this period the ship was also cold as there were lots of doors open letting in cold air. It was also noticeable that the air conditioning was on in places where it was already cold. The ship was quite stable so those who were not the best sailors had no problems in that area. Food We dined mainly in the Horizon Buffet as we prefer the more exotic tasting food that is usually served on ships. We tried the restaurant a couple of times but found it concentrated more on looks than taste. Getting a table for two in the restaurant was also difficult. At the start of the voyage the food in the Horizon was quite bland and on asking one of the chefs why this was so he replied that if it was spicy nobody would eat it. However they occasionally excelled in that region and produced some good dishes. They have a different theme each night in the buffet so there were some interesting dishes to be sampled. The layout of the Horizon was quite good with plenty of tables for two. There were occasionally queues but nothing to worry about. The Raffles bar serves Costa coffee and all cakes were complimentary. That was not advertised anywhere. The coffee was not as good as Costa coffee on land. On the subject of coffee I had read in a few places that the coffee on Aurora was not good so I brought my own. I have to say that the coffee on board in the Horizon was quite drinkable and was made from ground coffee so I brought all my own back home. Entertainment On the whole the entertainment was mediocre with a couple of decent shows and several acts that excelled. The other entertainment put on in the small lounges was pretty awful and nothing like you would expect on a British ship. The resident band, called Caravan, were very good. We paid the full tips, they took the lot the first day but the day before we disembarked our cabin steward left an envelope and we put a small amount of money in it. The morning we left the ship he just gave us a cursory nod. We assume it was because of the small amount of money we left him. Was he not aware we had paid our tips? We shall never know. The staff on the shore excursions desk were not as friendly as the rest of the crew. The outside space was quite good with usually lots of free loungers. However, the loungers outside were hard and not very comfortable. Ports Semarang – We opted for the ships tour to the Buddhist Temple at Borobudur and the journey there, over two hours, was good with lots of nice scenery. However, when we got there it started to rain so ruined the visit somewhat. On the journey back the heavens opened for the whole trip. Bali – We booked a private trip and saw some interesting places but it could have been better. Fremantle – We took a ships tour which showed both Fremantle and Perth as well as a boat trip on the Swan river and a journey out to the Swan Valley for a wine tasting and lunch. Overall it was a decent day. Adelaide – We took the shuttle to the city and had a look around on our own. We spent time in the Botanical Gardens and the South Australia Museum. We spent all our time in there in the Aboriginal section as it was amazing with so many exhibits to feast your eyes on. It would take days to go through it all properly. As we came out we spotted an exhibit of animals of the world, called the World Mammals Gallery, set out in continents. I don’t know if the animals were stuffed or were models. Its a beautiful place and worth another visit. Kangaroo Island - The tour on Kangaroo island we wanted had increased from £75 to £95. That’s a 26% increase and that was not acceptable. When we got to Kangaroo Island there were a number of local operators doing tours in minibuses but we were unprepared for this. However, they were willing to charge any tours booked to the ship account as there was a desk there for that purpose. There was never any mention of this on the ship. We went for a long walk and really enjoyed it. It was so peaceful with beautiful fresh air. Melbourne – We took the free shuttle to Federation Square and from there we went to see St Patricks Cathedral, Treasury Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens. We had a look at Captain Cooks House and the Conservatory. We had a look around the shops before going back to the ship by shuttle. Sydney – The ship stayed in port overnight so we took a ships tour to the Blue Mountains. It was a good trip with a heavy rain shower while we were in the coach but otherwise the weather was very good. The one problem was that it took well over two hours to get to the first stop without a break and some people were quite annoyed about this as we then had twenty minutes to see the view from Echo Point but many people spent most of that time trying to get to the toilet. We stayed in a hotel for two nights after the cruise and had a wonderful tour of the Opera House. Unfortunately it rained for most of the two days so several planned trips had to be cancelled. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Having never experienced a 29 day cruise, we were a little unsure what we would think and booked this leg of the world cruise. we loved it so much we could have stayed on for weeks more. We are used to the various people who complain ... Read More
Having never experienced a 29 day cruise, we were a little unsure what we would think and booked this leg of the world cruise. we loved it so much we could have stayed on for weeks more. We are used to the various people who complain about many issues on all cruise ships, including this and we wonder what people really expect when paying these very reasonable prices mostly offered these days. We could point to some areas that can be improved on Arcadia...the evening meals in the buffet were very poor..leftovers mixed together, very little choice, and the dining room menus could be varied a lot more also. However we always found some very enjoyable food to eat in the dining room and it sure beats cooking it yourself! Staff were friendly..we had the most superb waiter..Sadashiva and will never forget his humour, kindness and great service to us and everyone we dined with. We tried out the ballroom dancing lessons with Jeffrey..what an amazing teacher and we soon found we were hooked an loving every session. To get such expert teaching as one of the included services onboard is wonderful..many people take these items for granted. Also Garry is a fantastic line dance teacher and soon had us exhausted but begging for more routines! We had an inside cabin, which we usually as we are really in our cabin. We were pleased with it's large size and had plenty of storage space. We thought the Arcadia handled the seas beautifully, in contrast to what others have said, and we never had a moment of seasickness. The Arcadia cough as it was called was certainly a worry for many people. We weren't affected but knew many who were and we doubted if the staff really accepted full liability that something had definitely become entrenched in terms of a virus on this ship and needed a whole ship disinfectant approach. Speaking of which it did disappoint us that mandatory hand washing on entry to all dining venues was not enforced...people were allowed to wander in and not wash their hands and this is one way the ship's crew can play their part in keeping viruses to a minimum. It seems P&O do not value the cruise critic group and did little to help organise meetings...the need to realise it is in their interests to promote the groups and learn from the valuable feedback from guests. Similarly there was not organised GLBT meetings which we would have appreciated and this is the first cruise line we have sailed on that doesn't have regular meetings gazetted..another area where P&O can lift their game. Evening shows were fantastic...the Headliners, ship's company, were the best we have heard on any cruise line and need to be highly congratulated...they were of international standard indeed, as were many other acts brought on for the cruise. As others have commented, unfortunately P&O is going down the same line as other companies...raising prices on all the extras that means they end up losing out. Photos were an extraordinary price...if lowered, many more would be bought..as it is, hundreds were shredded due to lack of sales. Ship's tours, like many lines, were way above acceptable pricing and again more competitiveness with land tours would please guests and mean better sales for P&O. Spa salon prices were so dear, walking past we often saw absolutely no one in there. Spa staff were placed around the ship trying to sell services, again with little interest from passers by due to pricing. These are areas we believe P&O could change, but taking a general view of the cruise, we would do it again and thought it was great value for money. We made some wonderful new friends whom we shall stay in touch with and treasure the memories for long to come. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
When we and our friends arrived in Singapore the transfer coach took us on an unscheduled tour as the ship was not ready to receive us for a few hours. We are glad to say it was an excellent introduction to Singapore especially for those ... Read More
When we and our friends arrived in Singapore the transfer coach took us on an unscheduled tour as the ship was not ready to receive us for a few hours. We are glad to say it was an excellent introduction to Singapore especially for those of us who had never travelled past Turkey. It was informative and comfortable and also FREE! The other port trips were also very good. When we boarded we were directed to our cabin where we were desperate to take a shower. Pity the water was only tepid and when we rang to request it be attended to we were told that they would deal as soon as possible but that the staff were dealing with a few leaks!!! It was a feature of the cruise that the plumbing on board would leak in corridors and bar areas ( the leaks in one of the bars were there for last 10 days of our section of the world cruise and the buckets never moved from the window seat area on the port side). The plus sides were the usual, the food was good and varied and individual requirements catered for. The ship was kept spotless and the staff were absolutely brilliant in the restaurants and pretty good elsewhere too. The entertainment was too dependant on the holidaymakers rather than celebrity guests which we found disappointing and also only had 45 minute acts or events. The cinema showed 10 year old+ films with poor quality display screens compared to the 6 month old or less films on the airplanes that we travelled on to and from the ship. Summary we will go for a bigger,newer ship and will embark and disembark in the UK from now on. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We are in our seventies and have sailed on Arcadia twice before about 5 years ago. We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Capetown. We arranged our own flights from Edinburgh to Singapore via Frankfurt with Lufthansa. Flights ... Read More
We are in our seventies and have sailed on Arcadia twice before about 5 years ago. We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Capetown. We arranged our own flights from Edinburgh to Singapore via Frankfurt with Lufthansa. Flights were excellent. We also had arranged three extra nights in Singapore staying at Traders Hotel. We can recommend this hotel not far from Orchard Road, and they run a free shuttle bus to Orchard Road. We organised a taxi to take us to the ship. Luggage was dropped off at the new cruise terminal which is still not complete. We were then taken by coach to the ship which was at the container terminal. The check in procedure was fast and efficient. STATEROOM. Our cabin was a disappointment because of lack of drawer space. small bathroom and no cushions for the settee. Same grade cabins on Ventura, Azura and Aurora are much better. Also no interactive TV. TV shows were repeated frequently throughout the voyage. Furniture on the balcony was only just OK. DINING. The food varied from good to awful in both the Meridian and Ocean Grill. We opted to do the Nelson wine night to complement the food in Ocean Grill. My steak was overdone, dry and tough. Most of it was left on the plate. Another time, lobster was a soft mush.It was either off or overcooked. Generally the food was overcooked, particularly the vegetables. Reading the menu can make the food sound good but there were occasions that you were served something different to what you had expected. Food in the Orchid was very good. Meridian food was sent back on two nights. Generally we find steaks not good so we tend to stick to seafood. MENU CHOICE. The menus have been changed to offer more main courses instead of the two alternatives that used to be available. Popular choices such as Prawn Cocktails were on the menu once in 35 nights. Passengers began to inspect the menus in the morning to decide whether to visit an alternative restaurant that night. It was obvious when the menu choices were not good as it was always difficult to get a table at the alternatives on such a day. In our case we found it necessary to dine elsewhere on eight occasions. We asked for mint chocolates with our coffee. We were told it couldn't be done so we bought our own ashore. Mints were served one night. PORTIONS. One day haddock was on the menu at lunch time. We opted for this. I was served what I reckon was a 1/4 of a haddock. I requested in writing to be advised how many portions were obtained from one fish - still waiting for a reply! After this I seemed to get larger portions than my wife. ACTIVITIES. My wife loved the 'Murder who done it' but we did not participate in any other activities. STAFF & SERVICE. Were both excellent. Inedible food was replaced if you wished with something more palatable without question. Cabin was kept clean and tidy. ENTERTAINMENT. Headliners were very good as were most other acts. One comedian was past his sell by date. The second seating show at 10.30pm is too late and needs to be moved to 7.15pm for 2nd sitting diners. There were always lots of empty seats. SHORE EXCURSIONS. We participated in only one - Signal Hill at Sunset with canopies and champagne at £70 each. The champagne turned out to be cheap sparkling wine and the canopies were nibbles and pretzels. We had bought a two day ticket on the open top bus in Capetown and discovered that we could have done this same tour free of charge on the bus. DISEMBARKATION.We had a flight booked which meant we had to be in the first slot to get off at 9am. I went to the purser desk several days before arriving in Southampton to make this request only to be told that slot was full - first come first serve. After some pressure, we were placed in the first slot. SUMMARY. The ship is tired. I believe that Arcadia missed its refurbishment slot due to Oriana overrunning time wise. Refurbishment was being carried out throughout the voyage with new carpets being laid etc. The main draw back to this voyage was the presence of what became known as the 'Arcadia Cough'. Many passengers were struck down with this, myself within 3 days of boarding. It lasted about 3/4 weeks and some full Odyssey passengers had it more than once. I suspect that the air conditioning had something to do with it. I regarded this as worse than norovirus which clears up after a few days. On the brighter side, I did manage to lose some weight! We are booked on a world leg on Aurora next year so hope the food and menus and mints are sorted out in time for that. Please note Carol Marlow. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was a cruise from Singapore to Cape town. We have cruised on this ship several times but never on a sector cruises so we were unsure what to expect. We were not disappointed but she is starting to need a bit of a refurbishment, ... Read More
This was a cruise from Singapore to Cape town. We have cruised on this ship several times but never on a sector cruises so we were unsure what to expect. We were not disappointed but she is starting to need a bit of a refurbishment, particularly the cabins. No interactive TV here like the newer ships. Without too much about the ship, the library is well stocked so you don't need to waste valuable luggage allowance on books. The Rhodes speciality restaurant has been replaced by the Ocean Grill by Marco Pierre White. This was good but not as wonderful as Rhodes, a cheaper cover charge but more basic and not as long or memorable a dining experience. The Orchid speciality restaurant was still as good as ever but we were disappointed to find that the evening dress code did not apply here. Meals in the main dining room - Meridian were good and whilst the buffet restaurant has lots of salads and cooked meats alongside hot dishes at lunch time it does become a bit boring. We were on second sitting which is a bit late at 8.30 -8.45pm but better for us than an early sitting at 6.30pm. Pity there is no flexible dining. The crew were all excellent and the Captain was one of the best we had. if you like atriums this ship doesn't really have one and events such as the Captain's Gala party has to be held around the main swimming pool. The weather was good to us crossing the Indian Ocean but if you don't like being out in the sun the daytime activities are a bit limited. The best was a build your own boat regatta. The cruise itself started by flying into Singapore. This was a bit of a shambles P&O rely on agents at the airport and their organisation skills were a bit slap dash. We were treated to a free trip around Singapore which we didn't know about in advance. A good idea but after an extremely long flight none of us were really interestedThis was obviously because we couldn't board the ship until lunch time and we had a few hours to kill. On the day of disembarkation again we were put in the hands of port agents and just dropped at Cape Town airport without any advice or instructions. Ports of call - Singapore is a huge container port so you need at least the shuttle service to get you out of the docks. We only had the complimentary tour here but have visited before and it is a place well worth visiting and is easy to walk around once you get to the centre. Kuala Lumpur - the ship docks at a cruise trminal in the middle of nowhere so a shuttle ,taxi or excursion is needed to go anywhere. We went on a trip to KL and saw most of the sites sometimes on foot and other times from the coach. We thought this was one of the better trips. Those who used the shuttle service said they only went to a shopping mall and saw nothing else. Note you need local currency to use public toilets here. Langkawi. Another docking in the middle of nowhere. The shuttle takes you to the nearest resort about 10 mins away where there is a public beach and a few shops and cafes. Our trip took in the rice museum and a cable car trip to the top of a mountian. It was expensive for what it was , there were long queues for the cable car, we waited about 40 mins. When we reached the top it was misty so the views were not as good as they could have been. We were told not to get off at the first station or else we would have trouble getting back on to the top. At the top there was also a suspension bridge which was worth visiting but lots of steep steps so not so good if you are not steady on your feet. Mauritius. We wished we had taken a trip because we didn't really see anything of the place. We were warned that taxi drivers tended to rip you off and a few passengers said that had been their experience. The shuttle took us across the bay to a tourist type shopping/ eating complex but there wasn't much there and the town didn't look particularly inviting for exploration. Reunion again a working dock and you needed a shuttle to at least take you to the dock gate if you wanted a taxi. We opted for a shuttle to a beach resort about 30 mins drive away. It was pleasant but it was a very small beach and after a couple of hours we returned to the ship. Again we wish we had taken some sort of tour. Durban - this port of call was originally not included as we were meant to go to the Seychelles but pirates put paid to that. We were given the impression that this wasn't a particularly safe place and not to go out on our own. We were told not to try to walk out of the dock but to use the shuttle. This seemed to made passengers book trips, us included but a quick trip around Durban by coach with a 40 min stop at a botanical gardens was about it. The gardens were lovely and we could have spent longer there but the trip was expensive for what is was. Port Elizabeth. This seemed to be a safer place but it was Easter Sunday and the shuttle took us to a shopping complex by a beach so we didn't see the city. Again we were told not to walk out of the dock area. A quick walk around and we were back on the shuttle in no time. Cape Town - this was the highlight of our whole trip. A lovely place, the shuttle took us to a Waterfront shopping and eating complex that was far better than all the rest. Lots of people went out on the two nights we were docked there to eat as it was very safe. We had a trip up Table Mountain as part of an excursion. If we were doing this again we would get the hop on hop off bus which includes this in its route. the beaches along the coast also looked inviting and could be accessed via the bus. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Having read other passenger reviews who sailed on Arcadia during this world cruise,there does appear to be a common factor, one which P & O will ignore at their peril.Arcadia, along with the likes of Oriana and I believe Adonia are for ... Read More
Having read other passenger reviews who sailed on Arcadia during this world cruise,there does appear to be a common factor, one which P & O will ignore at their peril.Arcadia, along with the likes of Oriana and I believe Adonia are for adults only. Far from being anti children it is just something that my wife and I appreciate when getting away from it all. It is a feature I am sure that attracts passengers back time and again. We sailed on her after her launch in 2005 and it was a wonderful experience. In 2012, nothing really has changed and if we draw a comparison against other cruise lines and ships, then Arcadia is ready for the scrap yard. It is crying out for a face lift, particularly with the cabins.Whilst the beds were comfortable the bathrooms were very tired and with no interactive TV entertainment was very poor if you chose to spend an hour or two indoors.Balcony furniture was way past its sell by date. The Meridien Restaurant needs a serious review, The menus sound good but in reality the food was bland and quite uninteresting.Staff were as always excellent, but good food is being wasted. On the other hand the Belvedere Self Service was, In our opinion very good. Just how much choice do some people want? And the theme nights. Well, personally we thought these were the highlight of the cruise along with a visit or three to the Orchid and Ocean Grill.The Spa area is overpriced and with stone beds and steam rooms out of operation little was made of a concession. Treatment prices were prohibitive which must have affected numbers. Coffee shop with Costa Coffee was fine but is far to small.But.......the biggest criticism of all was the lack of evening interaction generated amongst passengers.Sparsely attended bar areas with entertainers playing to themselves and waiters twiddling their thumbs. More like a Mortuary and a big downside for us as a group. Having said that, if you are on the ship for 109 nights then maybe you just don't want to socialise. On that basis we would never again choose a sector cruise. The itinerary was fine except the cancellation of our visit to the Seychelles.Was it pirates or the hike in insurance costs because of a perceived risk? We will probably never know. What is important for all of those who regularly cruise with P & O is, do they take any notice of what is written and said? Changes are needed to Arcadia and quickly. I for one will not be booking to go on her again until refurbishment has been undertaken and having sampled others who have upped their game, P & O are in danger of losing some very loyal but valuable customers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
I joined Arcadia in Singpore for a very relaxing cruise through Asia visiting Sihanoukville, Bangkok, Phu My, Ha Long Bay, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Nagasaki, Osaka, Rabaul, Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney. Overall it was an excellent ... Read More
I joined Arcadia in Singpore for a very relaxing cruise through Asia visiting Sihanoukville, Bangkok, Phu My, Ha Long Bay, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Nagasaki, Osaka, Rabaul, Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney. Overall it was an excellent cruise with some fantastic ports and excellent weather. I really did enjoy the cruise and found it very relaxing and entertaining. It had that laid back type of atmosphere onboard opposed to the fast paced mood of short cruises. Public Rooms - were all clean and well presented. Allot of the lounges and bars were spacious and it was very easy to find a place to sit down and relax and do whatever you wanted to do. Cabin - I had a balcony cabin on A deck which was clean and well presented. There was a little cosmetic wear and tear in the bathroom and on the walls, but there was no more wear and tear than you would find in a standard land based hotel. The cabin is excellent for a ship. It in no way compares to a 5 star hotel and if you wanted to compare it to a land based hotel you would be looking at around a 3 star + hotel. Dining/Food - Food is always subjective to the individual and what they like to eat. What I found on Arcadia was that the food served was far superior to any land based fast food chain like McDonalds, KFC, the average hamburger store, RSL/bowling club type food. If you have eaten at some place more upmarket then you will find the food on Arcadia does not compare to that. I found the Neptune Grill for burgers, hotdogs and fast food outstanding during the day and probably the best for day food on the ship. The Belvedere Buffet Restaurant was great for cold meats and salads but for lunch it was the slops line. Breakfast in the Belvedere was excellent as was Dinner. The Meridian Dining Room was always great and my selection always med with my satisfaction. As said above the food was much better than average land based places but not as good as the more up market places. In the 10 years I have been cruising with P&O the food standard has dropped considerably since the Carnival merger. Entertainment - This was excellent and the Headliners Theatre group always impress. The entertainment was run by a great Cruise Director and team who were very energetic and involved with the passengers. We had random guest entertainers to varied tastes on board. If you liked their style and genre then they were great. If the performer does something that your not interested in then obviously there is no point seeing them as you wont like it. Ship/Facilities - Arcadia is showing a bit of wear and tear. Whilst the public rooms that I described above are acceptable there are some small things that do pose a problem. 1. None of the whirlpool spas/jacuzzi's work at all. None of them blow any bubbles or have any jet pressure. They just dont work. 2. The pools are not being heated to a comfortable level. The Neptune Pool (the covered pool) is not heated due to it being under a closing roof and causing too much humidity when the weather is bad. Unfortnately the pool is unusable in cold climates. 3. Some of the decking is coming apart as well as some areas around the ship have leaks. There are pot holes in some of the carpet from the leaks. It is obvious that there are areas of the ship that need attention. It is not bad enough to ruin a holiday, but the lack of maintenance speaks volumes about the attitude of the management and their upkeep of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
GENERAL OVERVIEW: This was my 21st cruise, so I guess that I have now enough experience to offer a valid assessment of a cruise product. This was my first cruise on P&O. It exceeded my expectations and I left the ship ... Read More
GENERAL OVERVIEW: This was my 21st cruise, so I guess that I have now enough experience to offer a valid assessment of a cruise product. This was my first cruise on P&O. It exceeded my expectations and I left the ship quite satisfied. The itinerary, Singapore to Southampton, was not port-intensive but I love sea days. A cruise to relax indeed and enjoy the ship. Oriana is a beautiful vessel, which offers a variety of lounges and bars and its onboard activities were plentiful to keep one active if so desired. Most memorable were Anderson's, the Libary and Reading Room (Thackeray's) designed by HM's nephew and the panoramic Crow's Nest. Shore excursions were well organized and not expensive compared to other cruise lines. Incidentally, we always prefer booking the ship's own shore excursions for the peace of mind that they offer (the ship will not depart without you in case of a delay), especially in ports out of Europe or USA. This cruise was a great value for money for an excellent cruise product. Other companies charge much more for what P&O delivers. I liked the fact that tips were not automatically charged to our on board account, but we could tip individually at the end of the cruise. The suggested amount ot tipping is what I see as another sign of P&O's honesty towards its customers, as it is much lower than that of other companies, which offer similar standards and experience. Unlike them, P&O does not try to pay its employees by its customers' tips, and this was something that I appreciated much. Price of the drinks in the bars and restaurants were very reasonable and another welcomed feature of the cruise. We found that Portunus, P&O's repeater cruisers' club, offers 5-10% discount on your onboard account, which we found a very nice guesture, especially when compared to other cruise lines. Overall it was a beautiful cruise experience. I would recommend P&O without a doubt and I would travel on them again in a heartbeat. DINING We liked the variety and taste of food in the casual restaurant, the Conservatory. Actually I ended to have lunch exclusively there, while going to the main dining room for dinner only. Food and service in the main Peninsular restaurant were flawless. The menu offered many selections to keep one satisfied. Oriana keeps the old traditions of Silver Service and Petit Fours, which was another nice touch. Interestingly, I did not try the alternative restaurant. Food and service in the main dining room was so good that I didn't feel the need to try something else. ENTERTAINMENT I like going to lectures and these were generally interesting. I especially liked General Sir Michael Rose's presentations. Shows in the Theatre Royal offered a nice variety, following the standards of more expensive cruise lines. The singers and dancers of the Headliners Company were talented people and deserved much praise. STATEROOM We had a wonderful oceanview stateroom on Deck 11. Although we have travelled on larger cabins or suites, it was wisely designed, nicely decorated and we missed nothing. The position of the sofa in the corner enabled one to face directly to the window and enjoy the view when sitting or having lunch. It is a pity that this configuration is not used more widely in other ships and cruise lines. Storage space was ample for a long cruise, with many drawers. The bathroom (with bathtube) was so well designed that it put to shame baths on much more expensive ships and even rivalled some mini-suites in other companies. Our steward provided excellent service and my requests were promptly fulfilled. SERVICE I found the service in restaurants, bars, reception and my cabin flawless. All my requests were kindly and effectively addressed and the crew deserved all their tips. PORTS I would like to speak about ports rather briefly. Singapore was one of the highlights of the cruise. We stayed there pre-cruise at the Changi Village, a nice 4-star hotel with wide spaces and interesting design. We had a private tour of the city before embarking and were impressed by its cleanliness, its wide avenues and modern buildings. A 'Garden City' indeed, it is a western city in the heart of Far East. Don't miss Raffles Hotel in its characteristic British colonial style. Kuala Lumpur was similarly impressive, with its many trees and modern buildings, including the famous Petronas. Like Singapore, it was a pleasant experience to find a clean, western-type city in the East. Mumbai was a slight dissapointment. The city has wonderful buildings, many of them from the time of the British Empire, but they are not well maintained. I heart that New Delhi or Aggra are more interesting. Of special interest was Ghandi's house and the Museum of the Prince of Wales. Sharm-el-Sheikh in the Red Sea is a nice, if somehow sterile and soulless resort. Of special interest is the surrounding desert and its nice beaches. But the top highlight of the cruise in my opinion was the passing of the Suez Canal. As far as I know it is a rare opportunity to cross it by ship, and this is the best way to appreciate its uniqueness. Here the Crow's Nest, Oriana's beautiful front panoramic lounge proved valuable and provided exquisite views. Europe has its own beautiful charm and always fascinates with its culture. Athens, in the 'craddle of the Western civilization', with its Acropolis and Museum is just a 'must' for every traveller and I am sure most fellow 'Cruise Critics' have been there. Lisbon also is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This was my third visit there and I am always delighted with its characteristic atmosphere and its wonderful avenues and squares. Overall very interesting ports of call. As they were cushioned within enough sea days it was relaxing and convenient to visit them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We'd flown to Singapore from Phuket, arriving in the late evening on the 4th February. We stayed at the Excelsior Peninsular, a pleasant 4 star-ish grade hotel in what is known as the Marina area of the city. Quite good value for ... Read More
We'd flown to Singapore from Phuket, arriving in the late evening on the 4th February. We stayed at the Excelsior Peninsular, a pleasant 4 star-ish grade hotel in what is known as the Marina area of the city. Quite good value for money, at the internet price that we paid. 'Rack rates' in Singapore can be astronomical at the moment. As we live in Thailand, we'd taken the cruise only option, so we had little joining info to go on. The only information on the cruise ticket said: Arcadia will be docked in Singapore. Imagine your ticket saying: your ship will be berthed in Southampton We rang the port agents who told us to go to the Harbour Front Terminal at 1.30 and we would be taken to the ship in the container port. Having tracked down the tiny office at the back of the terminal, not inside it, we handed over our luggage and were shown outside again to wait in e midday heat, the arrival of the shuttle bus. The shuttle bus took over half and hour to arrive and when it did, people who were clearly P&O crew, (passes round their necks) barged their way onto the bus, in front of others who were waiting to get on. Once at the dock side the same group pushed their way ahead before anyone else was out their seat. Check-in desks were set up on the quayside under tented awnings. The heat was intense and then despite having given them the ticket, they said they DIDN'T HAVE A BOOKING FOR US. A supervisor finally came over, and after many other failed attempts, finally swiped my passport through another laptop that accepted our booking. Cruise cards were quickly issued, but no apologies for the delay, inconvenience, OR the embarrassment they had caused! Having finally passed that hurdle, we were then subjected to a further 15 minutes of unshaded heat, whilst awaiting the non-appearance of a phantom wheelchair passenger to disembark the ship, through the single gangway that was in use, for the entire ship. Again the ship crew came and went as they pleased, but we passengers still had to queue, until one chap finally had enough and insisted we be allowed to get on ship. Once onboard, further chaos reigned, as we went through the security,'sync'-ing our mug shots on the cruise card. Hand baggage was xray scanned and left to drop off the conveyor at the other end, in a heap on the floor, as people were sent back to place more items on the baggage scanner. Hindsight is a wondrous thing, yet I really wish I'd had my video camera going at the time, as that chaotic scene would be showing on You Tube by now, otherwise. Where was the cool, calm, smiling face of P&O in welcome? Simply put, it wasn't there at all. Absolutely NOBODY at all, to offer a hand, a kindly word, help pick up the pile of hand baggage on the floor and give directions towards the cabins perhaps. Seemingly nobody was in overall charge either, who possibly might have attempted to manage or take control of that utterly demeaning situation. A total disgrace from beginning to end. The cases took a further 4 1/2 hours to arrive. We had seen some case left out on the quayside standing in a pool of water in the pouring rain. We were told they were not our cases. (So that was okay then,yes??) Unbelievable. The cabin stewardess didnt show up until after 7.00pm that night, who when challenged about it replied, didn't we want her to have a break?? Well, that reply received a suitable reposte, and also safely kept another £10 note in my possession Safety muster was yet another farce, set for 8.00pm, at first it was to be just us joiners, then once we were all near enough assembled in the Palladium, they decided it had to be a full ship muster, even though many people were still off the ship sightseeing in Singapore!! All FIRST impressions that we desperately hoped would never be needed to be given a SECOND chance, in a real emergency. P&O, what were you doing on that dreadful day?? That first day set the tone for the entire cruise unfortunately, we found many to be unwilling and unhelpful, and there was plenty more back chat of a similar ilk to that of the cabin stewardess, from others when they thought they might get away with it.(They didn't!) Reception staff always gave the impression that they had something much more important to be doing that actually having to deal with passengers. Many bar staff just didnt seem interested whether they served any drinks or not. Similarly the guys at The Piano Bar, were quite reluctant to take the afternoon orders for wine at dinner, even though a menu is sent up there each day for that purpose. In the end I ordered our choice through the cabin phone Wine Line. Even at the end of the trip, when I wanted to leave 2 leftover bottles from our wine packages, to friends who were joining the ship as we (thankfully) got off, those same two guys just couldn't be bothered and told me to speak to the wine steward that night. (We were dining ashore in Sydney,that night). Where were the smiles, where was the friendliness, and more importantly where was the management team, who should have been keeping an eye on things? In fairness our table stewards and our wine steward were all very pleasant. No problems with them at all. Likewise we thought Marion and Graham from the tours team were fantastic. I didn't actually get to speak to Graham personally, but he had a wonderful way of sharing his experiences, more a friendly chat than a tours lecture. Marion was a wonderfully warm lady, always ready with a smile and a kind word. Entertainment was quite the best we have ever experienced, and Gary Glading and the show team were excellent. Whilst I doubt that we shall ever set foot on another P&O ship again, we felt it was the entertainment that gave us some feeling that we were there to enjoy ourselves rather than there under sufferance. Representations were made to the management team, but we were unable to see the Exec purser himself, other than a cursory smile in department store in Melbourne. The ship itself appears to be in good order, apart from our ill fitting cabin curtains and the lower deck rails also seemed to be in need of some varnish. I like the new aft deck and the side wings that provide some welcome added shade areas. This was undoubtedly the worst cruise that we have ever experienced out of 10 cruises now. Not a lot by some standards, I agree, but enough to know the difference surely? In fact, it is the only cruise from our point of view, where the need to even consider whether such a category ever existed. P&O was not like this in 2005, so why is it now?? We won't be back! Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
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