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8 P&O Cruises South America Cruise Reviews

The opportunity to travel up the Amazon, Central America and Caribbean. The whole cruise was excellent in every way. The many ports of call, experiencing so many places, the excursions well organised. The crew were excellent, a happy ship ... Read More
The opportunity to travel up the Amazon, Central America and Caribbean. The whole cruise was excellent in every way. The many ports of call, experiencing so many places, the excursions well organised. The crew were excellent, a happy ship and you felt it. Nothing was too much trouble. The waiters couldn’t oblige you more. Entertainment on the whole good including the Headliners shows. The activities on board were very varied - excellent watercolour class and new popular Ukulele class. The celebrity speakers where brilliant - Rev Richard Coles, Eric Knowles, Wayne Sleep and Sue Holderness (Marlene from Only Fools and Horses). We travelled from South Wales by Cruise Connect, it was a long journey because of the many pickups. We eventually arrived in Southampton at 3.30 and eventually boarded at 4.30. Heavy seas on the way across the Atlantic, but Aurora coped with it well. Always found her to be a very stable ship. Would highly recommend this Grand Voyage. Have done the Amazon now so wouldn’t go there again as have now experienced this amazing place. Definitely Central America and Caribbean. Aurora is going Adults only in May, but there were no children on this voyage (only young son of one of the Officers) Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We like the Aurora for longer journeys having been on a world cruise on this ship. However were very disappointed with the entertainment on this South America Voyage. The majority of the acts - some good - were in the same vein ie songs ... Read More
We like the Aurora for longer journeys having been on a world cruise on this ship. However were very disappointed with the entertainment on this South America Voyage. The majority of the acts - some good - were in the same vein ie songs from the shows. We appreciate that it may be difficult and expensive to fly multiple acts long distances but perhaps P and O should take this into account when preparing these itineraries. The sailaways were poor - on one occasion the Ent. Manager was “shouting” to another ship! The Headliners shows were somewhat disappointing, most of which we has seen performed by other companies to a much better standard. Also the food is not up to past standard. The meals in the Sindhu and Glass House were very good. The staff are as always polite and always willing to help. Overall experience was average, we feel P and O need to take a better look at their clientele on these type of cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We were on Aurora's Grand Voyage in 2015 when we went round South America to Australia and back. The bits we missed on that trip we enjoyed doing on this one. Captain Pembridge who joined in Rio from his usual ship Britannia is ... Read More
We were on Aurora's Grand Voyage in 2015 when we went round South America to Australia and back. The bits we missed on that trip we enjoyed doing on this one. Captain Pembridge who joined in Rio from his usual ship Britannia is obviously a guy on the top of his game. We travelled with him on Aurora back in 2009 and were impressed then. When he joined we were confident that we’d have a good cruise. The highlights included getting into the Falklands where we had a great day with the quirky locals. It was obviously important that we got in as so many passengers wanted to visit the graves of friends and family. It was rather poignant. Going round Cape Horn three times in the sunshine was an unexpected treat and the Beagle Channel was seriously undersold by P&O. It was absolutely breath-taking. The scenery was a cross between the Norwegian fjords and Alaska – with huge snow blown mountains as a backdrop. Truly magnificent. We had first class commentators and wild life experts throughout the voyage. Maybe the only thing missing was a map of the complicated route we sailed through Patagonia. For us personally the best experience was our overland to Machu Picchu. It was four hard days but, as it was 1st class throughout it was absolutely memorable. The Monasteria hotel in Cusco was superb, as was the IncaRail dining train, and the guides were very good indeed. Our ‘bus’ had a reunion in the Beach House back aboard some weeks later and we were all still full of the tour. It’s too easy to get blasé about cruising but everywhere we went was bang on. It’s the first cruise we’ve been on where we not only got into all the ports but actually had an extra one – well, a second day in Martinique. That said 6 ports in 7 days on the trot in the Caribbean was a bit busy. However, if we had just done a couple and rushed home we’d have arrived smack in the middle of the bad weather in the UK so it was all for the best. The extras that made the cruise feel like a mini-world cruise we much appreciated. The Half Way Round and Farewell parties were exceedingly generous in terms of refreshments and very good at getting the passengers mixing well. They worked. Our address list is a mile long – and we already knew lots of the passengers from past cruises. The Ligurian 'Afternoon Tea' event at Sunbury Plantation House on Barbados was a very pleasant surprise - mainly because there was very little tea and copious amounts of champagne! We thoroughly enjoyed it (maybe because we were near where the food and drink came from!). Again, something P&O didn't have to do but which added to our enjoyment of the cruise. The entertainment was very well balanced for us. Mac Frampton and Graffiti Classics both stood out but we enjoyed everything we went to (even The Totties!) – and we also enjoyed a good few evenings off when there was nothing on that we fancied. Jon Bartram led a good team with his own style of energetic sailaways; he even managed to involve a surprising number of British on a neighbouring Royal Caribbean ship which all added to the fun. The quizzes never stopped and the only criticism we would level is that the live music in Champions preceding the quizzes was always far too loud. Teams had to get there early to get a seat and then we had to sit silently as talk was impossible. One for P&O to look at I think. A pity, too, that the standard of the food on the second half of the cruise was unusually average. Spaghetti bolognaise with Broccoli and Rosti potatoes? I don't think so. 65 nights is hard to summarise and I am conscious we’ve missed out mentioning all the lovely bar and restaurant staff whose company we enjoyed throughout the ship. Many passengers don’t deserve such a good and committed team. That said, there was much less of the all-to-common 'P&O moaning' than we’ve experienced in the past and I’m glad to say that when one couple of passengers unjustifiably let fly at the gangway staff on one occasion, everyone in the queue told them to shut up and behave! A ray of sunshine! If, like us, you like a long, non-sectorised cruise to get away from the British winter, these cruises are both excellent value and give you a chance to see distant parts of the world. I only wish that P&O would head out East again on a no-fly cruise one winter. It seems a long time since Adonia did it in 2014 Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose Oriana in order to get away from the British winter and to see if our last visit to the Amazon was a wonderful fluke. As in 2016, the Gulf ports were all interesting tho we necessarily visited fewer this time. Port highlights ... Read More
We chose Oriana in order to get away from the British winter and to see if our last visit to the Amazon was a wonderful fluke. As in 2016, the Gulf ports were all interesting tho we necessarily visited fewer this time. Port highlights included 1 Fort Lauderdale which we found clean, civilised, friendly and obviously very wealthy. 2 Key West. Very quirky and artificial but hot, sunny and fun - 'America at sea'. 3 New Orleans. This port is alays at the top of our list as it is unique. Docking in the middle of the city means you are in the centre of the action from the moment you arrive. We love the fact that music is everywhere and the food is wonderful. P&O had provided Chris Walker as a speaker. He is a jazz band leader, jazz fanatic and a thoroughly nice guy. His talks on the jazz greats were always fascinating and his final talk on what to do in the Big Easy was very helpful. The music he and the Oriana musicians performed were entertaining and innovative. You can hear his show on Radio Solent if you can get it. 4 Progreso Not a remarkable port but we berthed with Carnival Triumph and the antics (and size!) of some of the US passengers was worth sitting on the balcony for a couple of hours to watch. 5 Montego Bay. Take the Martha Brae raft ride excursion. Drifting down the quiet, scenic river on a 2-man bamboo raft was remarkably restful. OK the ship sailed without us (to make way for an MSC ship which had been pre-arranged but, as we were late back, unexpected!) but the splendid Captain Box arranged for a tender to pick us up and then gave everyone a glass of fizz as we boarded. See your ship sailing away, even if you know you won't be left behind, is an unnerving experience. 6 St Vincent. Take the catamaran trip to Bequia which is a real ocean passage on a big boat with a real 'desert' island beach to enjoy a few hours on. And a great lunch too! The Amazon. Last time we sailed the river (on Fred Olsen's Boudicca) it was not as hot and humid as on this occasion - up to 35 C and near 100% humidity. The visit to a native village and January Lake from Manaus were both unmissable as was the piranha fishing and wildlife boat trip from Santarem. We ducked out of the Boi Bumba festival show at Parintins as we had seen it before. Although a 'must do' it is a real threat to safe hearing and we did hear it quite clearly from the ship! What we also heard, or rather felt, was the deafening vibration in the Oriental restaurant as we manoeuvered at speed down the river in the evening. All taken in good part by the diners and again the Captain plied the drink the next night Oriana has a very imaginative Hotel team who ran their first Oriana 'Brunch' - fizz, galley walk through, a 'serve yourself' lunch seeing how the galley actually works and plenty to wine - and the Captain's Lounge Sailaways. For about £30 you join about 20 other passengers in what is probably the wardroom at the front of B deck and are fed canapes and cocktails as the ship sails. Our second experience at Manaus involved a delay in departure which meant the drink kept flowing for about 90 minutes - very unhealthy! Of course the Captain and navigating officers are all involved with the sailaway but Captain Box happily exchanged pleasantries from the bridge above us. We'll miss him. Of course all this is designed to be revenue earning for P&O but the crew enjoy the events and they are both good value for money. A fun cruise with an excellent itinerary, lots of good passengers who were very into cabin parties and an excellent captain and crew. And the refit had been a good one too - if only they had replaced the cabin cushions! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I was very excited to go on this cruise. We had been on several other cruise lines and this was billed as pure luxury. I was curious to see how much better they were then previous lines we had enjoyed. To my surprise this was not as ... Read More
I was very excited to go on this cruise. We had been on several other cruise lines and this was billed as pure luxury. I was curious to see how much better they were then previous lines we had enjoyed. To my surprise this was not as luxurious as other cruises we had taken, less courteous customer service and generally a lack of concern when questions were asked of the Destinations staff and the dining room service personnel. The first two nights in the dining room were annoying. We repeatedly asked for bread and were not given it. Everything took forever, dinner took nearly three hours. The third night we sat in another section and the wait staff was wonderful, Ferdie was an enjoyable personality and tried to find the food that would make us happy. I will say we are a picky group of eaters, having said that, we have had wonderful meals on other cruise lines with much less hassle. The two specialty restaurants were a better experience. The food was for the most part good and the wait staff much more attentive. The two people taking care of the cabin were excellent, Nathalia and a man that I unfortunately can't name. These three people were the highlight of the cruise in terms of service. Our friends traveling with us had terrible service from the destinations staff and the internet staff. Not only were they surly, it was incomprehensible how nasty they were. Additionally, when we asked for the concierge we were told it wasn't available. Now the procedure was to call reception and every time we called there was no one available. We had to ask to be called back. Other times when a question was asked we were told to ask someone else, even at Home Depot the staff take you to the place or person that can help you! If I were to guess on the problem with this ship I would say employee moral is very poor. The shore excursions were a mix. There were two tour guides that could speak very poor English. Which made it difficult to get information. One of the guides in Florianoplis was very knowledgeable, however, he let one person monopolize him with conversation that didn't include the rest of the group. Our pre-cruise experience to Iguaçu was the highlight of the trip. A stunning place to visit. Unfortunately, Oceania also stated breakfast the day of departure was included, (I have the information from the cruise line) yet when we went for breakfast it was croissants and juice. Since we didn't get lunch until after 1pm this was a problem. The day of the cruise departure I understood they were still deep cleaning the ship from a GI breakout. However, several fellow passengers were very unhappy with getting dropped at a hotel with little to no information when they would be allowed on the ship. When we did finally get on the ship there was absolutely no hospitality, not even water available while we stood in line for over an hour to check in. Considering this was a luxury cruise line, I would have expected some snack and drinks. It was already 6 pm. My experience with other cruise lines lead me to expect a hospitality station plus an organized check in process. I've never waited that long on any of the other lines. The entertainment was average. What I most enjoyed was the string quartet that played daily and the classical piano concert. Having the Yalba Duo three times in twelve days was too much. The actual condition of the ship is poor maintenance. We were in the pool and found it to have rust in many places, additionally the drain at the bottom of pool was not attached which creates a safety hazard. The hot tub didn't work, the actual jets barely had any water moving. We reported it to the maintenance and it was never fixed. The cost of this cruise is twice as much as other cruises. How they justify this is beyond me. Go to another cruise line. The value for this cruise is terrible. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our 4th Oceana cruise. Others were all on smaller ships which we prefer although this one was not overcrowded with the exception of the excursions.. Our biggest complaint is the extras. For the most part , they were all grossly ... Read More
This was our 4th Oceana cruise. Others were all on smaller ships which we prefer although this one was not overcrowded with the exception of the excursions.. Our biggest complaint is the extras. For the most part , they were all grossly overpriced and poor quality. The excursions were extremely expensive, large groups and very poor quality. The wine is over the top expensive and if you purchase a wine plan be careful as you will get lousy wine and pay a big price for it. One particular example to point out is the SPA. My wife had a manicure knowing that it would be 3 to 4 times more than she pays at home, however when she was charged an extra $35.00 to remove her old polish, she was in shock and this was NOT disclosed up front. I like to use the steam room when sailing and the SPA did not have a decent supply of toiletries available which I had to bring along from our stateroom. Overall, we had a good time but would think twice before doing Oceana again. The staff was great! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Would we book another cruise with P & O, NO! These are the reasons: We do not feel the P & O fulfilled their advertised cruise. Whilst we understand P & O's reasons for cancelling our ports in Argentina, they did ... Read More
Would we book another cruise with P & O, NO! These are the reasons: We do not feel the P & O fulfilled their advertised cruise. Whilst we understand P & O's reasons for cancelling our ports in Argentina, they did not notify passenger until it was too late to cancel not only their booking but also airlines & hotels, even though they must have known months before this was to happen. These four days were replaced by one extra port, Salvador, and an extra day in Montevideo to facilitate the disembarkation & embarkation of passengers, which would have previously taken place in Buenos Aries. When we reached the Falklands, the sea was too rough to put the tenders down, after two brief attempts, we sailed off. Those of us that were in contact with shore during this time know that by 11am, things had settled but too late for us & the Islanders, we were gone. We now had three days to make up, sailing very, very slowly & saving much profit for P & O in fuel & port charges. We believe with so much time in hand to the next port & after giving up so much to go to the Falklands, P & O priority should have been the itinerary commitment to their passengers. Easter Island, scenic viewing, the ship sped past the statues & stopped at the other end of the Island, out of our 12 travelling companions we scored one distant photo of the statues, we were a very long way out. Well done P & O. Did the captain turn the ship around to allow viewing from the port-side; NO, we just sat looking at a rocky island then sailed slowly off. (PS: Princess Cruises are tendering into Easter Island on their next World Cruise on Dawn Princess 2014.) The food was mediocre, the lowest standard of any ship we have been on, as was the entertainment with a few notable exceptions. The entertainment staff worked very hard but decisions as to content & timing of entertainment, was very poor. For example, no deck party during sea days in the tropics but Island Party at 1030pm on a day when the passengers had been touring in port all day. Allowed smoking on the pool deck made it very uncomfortable for other passengers, the stench also entered the Buffet dining room, when the doors were open. Quite often there were unused seats on this side of the deck & non smoking passengers crammed into the other smaller area with the bar. Time to come into the 21st Century with smoking laws P & O. Now to the positives: The Staff were great, particularly our cabin steward, restaurant & bar staff and the front desk staff. Our balcony cabin was good, plenty of room, well maintained. Price of bar drinks prices were okay & you could buy bottles of liquor for drinks in your cabin at a reasonable price. (A happy hour to encourage people to mix instead of drinking in their room may have been a better idea.) Weighing everything up, we intended booking the World Cruise on Aurora next year, the itinerary was great for us but after our cruise on Arcadia, no thank you. P & O we understand why you have needed to cancel some cruises, it isn't the world recession, you have stopped considering your passengers. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We have sailed on the Arcadia twice before (2005 and 2007) so I was looking forward to voyaging on this lovely, child-free ship again. Last January we went on the Ventura and I thought it showed a distinct drop in standards from the ... Read More
We have sailed on the Arcadia twice before (2005 and 2007) so I was looking forward to voyaging on this lovely, child-free ship again. Last January we went on the Ventura and I thought it showed a distinct drop in standards from the P&O cruises we have been used to, but thankfully this was not the case with Arcadia, which is as excellent as ever. After our 6-hour train ride from the North-East down to Southampton we were off to a bad start with the worst embarkation we have ever experienced in 31 cruises. We had to stand and queue for an hour and a half; no seating was provided (apart from plastic chairs placed there for those less able to stand) and no refreshments were available. Instead of the usual "called to board by deck number" it was simply a free for all; we learned later that some people queued for over 2 hours. Not a good first impression for those cruising with P&O for the first time. However, that was our only grumble as the rest of the cruise was excellent. Our balcony cabin, on Deck 6, was spacious, bright, clean and comfortable and was kept immaculate by Grenville, our cabin steward. We had opted to dine on 1st sitting and we shared our table (187) with three other very pleasant couples. The selection and quality of the food was exceptional with decent portion sizes and very quick, efficient service. There was also an extensive range of wines at very reasonable prices.The self-service buffet on deck 9 (Belvedere Buffet) tended to be a bit repetitive in its selection of dishes, but nonetheless the food was tasty and plentiful. As we were at sea for 12 days out of the 18, there was a wide range of daytime activities from craft classes, to dancing, to joining a choir or going to presentations and lectures; this in addition to the usual deck activities such as quoits, shuffle-board or the use of the golf and cricket nets. Evening entertainment tended to be a hit-or-miss affair; the guest performers were very good (a classical soprano, a male singer, a comedy magician, the Macdonald Brothers from X-factor and, on one night only, comedian Tom O'Connor) but the ship's own singers/dancers (Headliners Theatre Company) just put on the same old, same old music theatre excerpts. You know the ones I mean "Guys and Dolls", "West Side Story", "Singing in the Rain" with the cheesy songs and dances. We used to like to go to the Rising Sun pub every evening after the show, where we could take part in the themed quizzes, do a bit of karaoke or just relax and listed to one of the resident bands. The bar waiters were quick, polite and friendly and bar prices were just the same as those you'd find in a typical British pub. Our ports of call were: Tenerife, Recife (Brazil), Salvador de Bahia (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and disembarking the ship at Montevideo (Uruguay) and getting the ferry across the River Plate to spend a night in Buenos Aires (Argentina). For some people, Rio was the port they were most looking forward to visiting, but when we arrived the cloud was low and you couldn't see the top of Corcovado peak and Christ the Redeemer, although Sugar Loaf Mountain was visible. Luckily we've been to Rio before (for 3 days, in 2001) but it would have been disappointing for first time visitors not to be able to view the main sights. Can't help the weather though. We crossed three major lines of latitude: Tropic of Cancer, Equator and Tropic of Capricorn, and the Arcadia's entertainment team put on a hilarious Line Crossing Ceremony. All in all, we had a fantastic cruise and it was great to be back on board Arcadia again. The ports of call were a bit different (maybe not to everyone's taste) and we met interesting people in unusual places, while clocking over 6,300 nautical miles. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
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