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94 P&O Cruises Southern Caribbean Cruise Reviews

We chose this ship and P&O because Cunard did not sail at the time we wanted. It was our first time to the Caribbean and coincided with our 40th Anniversary. We had not expected Ventura to rival Queen Elizabeth and chose a Superior ... Read More
We chose this ship and P&O because Cunard did not sail at the time we wanted. It was our first time to the Caribbean and coincided with our 40th Anniversary. We had not expected Ventura to rival Queen Elizabeth and chose a Superior Deluxe Balcony cabin for the extra room and facilities indicated. In this respect Ventura provided all we asked for with a good walk-in clothes space and a generous-sized bathroom. However the soft furnishings were rather shabby and the bed/settee sagging and uncomfortable. This is inexcusable when you have paid extra for a comfortable cabin which you want to spend time in. Nor did four days without heating help - or the lack of interest by the staff on reception - one of whom suggested we were lying about ever having complained. All was eventually sorted - but it is not how you wish to start your holiday. At least we were near the lifts and just two decks up from the main dining rooms, so it was easier to walk. Our cabin steward was friendly, efficient and helpful. Whatever else the Ventura is, it is not Cunard and has little wow factor or style about its public areas. The grand atrium is anything but and the scenic lifts are bit of a gimmick. I was surprised to learn that the dance floor at the bottom was introduced in a recent refit as it seems something of an afterthought. Photographs of the tightly packed sun loungers around the various pools on the upper decks suggested these would be like Clacton on a Bank Holiday Monday and so they proved. As we are not into sunning ourselves to a dark shade of mahogany this was not on our agenda and one advantage of cruise liners of all kinds is that you can pick and choose the parts you wish to inhabit. My partner, however, greatly appreciated a swim at the crack of dawn with a few other hardy souls. Both of the daytime speakers - criminologist going out and army/war-time expert on the return leg - were excellent. And they played to packed audiences. There were some good films on most afternoons and later on we discovered more were available on the TV. Entertainment could be found in some of the bars and club areas but the headline acts were in the theatre. The Headliners house troupe of singers and dancers were excellent and of West End standards. But the support acts on other evenings were somewhat second rate and the three comedians without exception terrible. One was so bad we walked out - only to find half the audience following us. Someone needs to do some equalities training within the entertainment department. Some of the 'jokes' are not acceptable in the 21st Century and given that the average age of the paying guests on this trip were 60 and over these comedians need to tailor their acts rather more - it is not clever to insult your audience. Food - well there's plenty of it. But not of very high quality, rather bland and, with very few exceptions, very forgettable. The menus are huge - and given that you are given very little time to peruse them it would be better to reduce the options and improve the quality. Marco Pierre White was supposed to have devised menus for formal nights but this got a bit out of kilter on this trip which rather spoils the point of dressing up for something special. And expensive ingredients are sometimes highlighted but are actually subservient when they appear on the plate which is just not on. We had a regular table for two on the second sitting and I must say our table crew worked their socks off and were always affable and obliging. There are other dining options at extra cost. The Epicurian calls itself fine dining and aims higher but falls victim to gimmicks which are unnecessary at best while on a long 28 day cruise like this one become stale and rather irritating. Wine is generally far cheaper that on Cunard albeit with a more limited choice. Another paid-for dining experience is Sindhu - an Asian establishment overseen by Michelin starred Atul Kucher - but we found it very little if at all better than our local in London. And who ever thought that the horizontal bamboo screen was a suitable sound barrier from the cacophony of chatter as people walked by on the main internal deck? Or for that matter, the walls of passenger mug shots outside to gaze upon? The biggest surprise was Ollie Smith's Glasshouse wine bar. Food can be a bit hit and miss at many wine bars but this had that standout ingredient TASTE. My first lunch here was calves liver - two large, tender, perfectly-cooked pieces simply bursting with flavour. On later visits we had excellent fish and chips and you could also opt for light bite platters by choosing three items from an extensive list. All excellent. Port and shore excursions were generally as we expected but while initial embarkation had been faultless disembarkation was a nightmare. This was made worse by us being from the theatre. We were encouraged to come down from the rear of the theatre - where most people enter from - and then the person in 'charge' got all huffy about people standing and started spouting health and safety. All the outer seats were taken by people with mobility issues so we had to scramble over them carry heavy hand luggage. My back was put out for several weeks as a result. The MC then said people would leave from the front row but he completely ignored dozens of others streaming down from the higher tiers on the far side until people in the second and third rows complained very vocally. To be fair he was on his own and back-up stewards were really required to prevent cheating. But this fiasco made a mockery of health and safety. The cruise was good overall, with calm seas and excellent weather. That said we will probably not venture on the Ventura again or any other large P&0 cruise liner. We have booked Oriana later in the year and hope that this may be more us. We've heard good reports and it has just had a refit. Here's hoping. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We were really looking forward to this cruise as it was our first with P&O (although we have been with Princess, Carnival, Disney, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity before) and with this being new and large we thought the ship, ... Read More
We were really looking forward to this cruise as it was our first with P&O (although we have been with Princess, Carnival, Disney, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity before) and with this being new and large we thought the ship, entertainment and service would be excellent - what a let down ! The Ship - the layout and feel of the ship feels strange and the main public areas i.e. lido deck and theatre are far too small for the amount of guests and because there is hardly anything going on then this makes more people congregate at these places. Also i think the ships cleanliness needs improving generally, especially for us was the cabin which was not the cleanest and we had an aft balcony cabin with the balcony and furniture looking disgusting due to the soot from the funnels blowing onto it but if this is the case then P&O should be onto it to keep it the way it should be. The entertainment - poor, poor, poor - hardly anything going on of any interest especially when compared to other cruise lines. The service - in the speciality restaurants the service was fine as you would expect when paying more ! but in the main restaurants the service was appalling apart for one or two waiters and then trying to get served with drinks throughout the ship was a joke, we could not understand this as we were not on a drinks package and therefore if they were more on the ball with serving you then we would have ended up spending a lot more !!! all the staff looked disinterested and did not want to be there. i could go on and on, we do not like to complain but some things have to be said - the only positive thing about the cruise was the itinerary around the southern Caribbean - needless to say we will not be going on another P&O cruise unless things changes drastically - how can P&O's parent company get this so wrong when they have it right elsewhere ? Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This is primarily a review of the Britannia.....P&O's latest and largest cruise ship. Personally I think they missed a few opportunities when designing this vessel and it just doesn't compare to other P&O or most American ... Read More
This is primarily a review of the Britannia.....P&O's latest and largest cruise ship. Personally I think they missed a few opportunities when designing this vessel and it just doesn't compare to other P&O or most American ships. Firstly, the cruise, food and staff were fine. It was just the ship that didn't live up to expectations - no 'wow' factor. Here are the negatives: 1. No staircase in the central atrium, meaning the wait for the already slow lifts, (elevators) was unbearable. The best alternative was to walk to the front or back of the ship if you wanted any chance of getting a timely lift that wasn't already full be the time it reached your deck. 2. The main restaurants, have no ambience, mainly because of low ceilings and compartmentalised layout. 3, To get to the 'Oriental' restaurant on Deck 6 from say, 'Brodies' pub also on deck 6 you had to go up one deck, walk along and then drop down again. Not so great for the disabled who had to wait for the slow lifts. 4. Access to seats in the theatre was only from the central aisle, meaning if people sit at the near end you had to disturb them getting in and/or if you didn't like the show and wanted to leave early. Why did they not allow access from both ends of the rows? (Probably to ensure no escape from some of the dire shows). 5. No real evidence of 'class' around the ship. They pride themselves on the art that is displayed, but basically it is boring and repetitive. 6. The cabins are small, as you would expect but to towel dry your back in the bathroom you needed to open the bathroom door as it is that small. 7. The shower was not great. You'd get more pressure form holding up a watering can. 8. On returning from a day at the beach you could not get any replacement towels if you wanted to sit around the pool. I was advised that towels are only available in the cabins! So you had to hold onto you wet towels or go without. 9. Be aware the shaver/electric toothbrush socket in the bathroom is a non-British standard. Fortunately my cabin steward had an adaptor. Why should this be when the mains sockets are all to British standard? 10. Although cabins have smart TV's they did not offer some basic functionality such as being able to access your on-board account or see that evenings' dinner menus. Nor did they show recordings of the live entertainment in case you missed something you wanted to see. Final gripe was that the 'Brioche Bread & Butter Pudding' appeared 9 times of the menu. This was described as a P&O favourite, and it may well be but it isn't the customers' favourite!. Come on P&O you can do better. Again the cruise itself and food etc. was fine, but why didn't P&O take the opportunity of building a spectacular new ship instead of one that caused my and many others to find fault. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise because of the direct flights to Barbados with no overnight hotel in, say, Miami as we have had before. The ship was lovely, the decor understated and the food was excellent. We managed to find some wonderful waiters, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the direct flights to Barbados with no overnight hotel in, say, Miami as we have had before. The ship was lovely, the decor understated and the food was excellent. We managed to find some wonderful waiters, Gajendra and Elvis as well as Irene in the Sindhu bar area. Unfortunately many of the staff were not as friendly as we are used to and several waiters in the Peninsular could have learned to smile and respond to us better. The Epicurian was an experience for our wedding anniversary and the food was wonderful, if a little unusual at times, the staff were first class here too. Unfortunately our holiday was spoiled by a very long delay after leaving the ship. We flew Thomson to Birmingham. I would be intrigued to hear from other passengers who flew a couple of weeks before from Barbados to Glasgow (on the same replacement plane as us) as I understand they were also delayed a long time. However, P&O were awkward about letting my husband use his Travel Scoot Mobility aid in a normal cabin. We argued this andwere eventually allowed to take it but had to collapse it into the cabin each time (which we had no problem with). Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
P & O were brilliant in sitting their singleton guests and my fear of feeling a bit surplus was overcome by the grace and friendliness of the restaurant staff.. and my very lovely fellow diners. Each evening we grouped round our table ... Read More
P & O were brilliant in sitting their singleton guests and my fear of feeling a bit surplus was overcome by the grace and friendliness of the restaurant staff.. and my very lovely fellow diners. Each evening we grouped round our table to exchange stories and sometimes pictures of the day. The others were all very much more experienced than I but at no time did I meet anyone who wished to crow about their holiday expertise; instead I met with enthusiasm and good advice. I have a sneaking feeling that all cruisers are like this. Sensible arrangement of pools meant that those who wanted their holidays a little quieter between the wide range of excursions could still be able to dip in and out of a pool. Longer deeper pools were available for those who wanted a more physical water experience between baking. My bed was heaven and I slept like a top, waking up each morning with a sense of excitement as we were coming into port. The cabin staff greeted their guest each morning with wide smiles. Good food is important to me and this gave no disappointment this time round. During the day I used the more casual dining venues in an effort to maintain some control but any self denial flew out of the window with the wonderful things offered to us during the evening. If you do make good friends, do ensure you exchange details well before disembarkation day. There is no notice board and P & O may NOT forward any correspondence. Do take everything you need. Sometimes you will require things for excursions and they are not necessarily supplied in the on board shops, ie water shoes. Do take a travel toothbrush and paste. You may have to put out your luggage the day before you leave and have packed your rechargeable electric brush! Good news.. if you use the Thompson Dreamliner premium economy flight they might kit you out! The flights itself is really worth the money. Lastly, if you are going to the Caribbean do take a few dollars. The people who host your excursions, and those who provide back up and local colour, are not rich and a single dollar from each passenger gives the local economy a good boost and puts an even bigger smile on everyone's face. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this cruise having been on a similar cruise the year before. P&O isn't our favourite cruise line but we like the 14 day Southern Caribbean itineraries, the covenience of flying from Birmingham, the variety of ... Read More
We chose this cruise having been on a similar cruise the year before. P&O isn't our favourite cruise line but we like the 14 day Southern Caribbean itineraries, the covenience of flying from Birmingham, the variety of entertainment and the reasonable drinks prices! We're not too keen on the food except breakfast and don't like the limited hours and selection for lunch and the fact that the only soft drink available in the Horizon buffet was water. We are also not fond of Asian food, but that's just us. We find the atmosphere too exclusively British, and there were far too many Great British sailaways - once is enough! Having said that the room service was excellent, we appreciated the tea/coffee making facilities and the introduction of "deckchair hog policing" on sea days. All in all a good value for money enjoyable cruise but it could be so much better. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I've been on over 20 cruises and have never had such a bad dining experience as on the Britannia. Waiting on staff inexperienced, paying no attention to what was needed at the table, constantly asking them to fill up your water glass. ... Read More
I've been on over 20 cruises and have never had such a bad dining experience as on the Britannia. Waiting on staff inexperienced, paying no attention to what was needed at the table, constantly asking them to fill up your water glass. First week, left the food constantly in the Meridian dining room and not one waiter asked what was wrong with it or asked if we would like something else. Not much variety of food especially deserts. Steaks were like pre-packed, uneatable. I thought that the staff had no leadership, they were standing around talking amongst themselves, not good. Not looking after the paying guests. In the Horizon buffet always waiting for a fried egg and during this time the rest of the food had gone cold. I think P&O are losing their standards and cutting down. Been on the Azura twice and the standards and food were a lot better. Food is big part of cruising holidays and it was a big let down. The entertainment was good. However, this ship has not got the wow factor for me and I recommend you choose another cruise line. No way is this four star cruising. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Some notes on what we did - I hope my ramblings and informative. All prices quoted in $US or £. Summary - we enjoyed the Azura itinerary - the weather was good and generally the food was nice. We found the service on board excellent. ... Read More
Some notes on what we did - I hope my ramblings and informative. All prices quoted in $US or £. Summary - we enjoyed the Azura itinerary - the weather was good and generally the food was nice. We found the service on board excellent. The flights and transfers were all fine, although Barbados airport has always been awful and it's not improved over time. We did find the ship busy at times. Azura is generally rated as 4* and that's about right. We're both 60, live on the Wirral near Chester and have been retired over 5 years. We have a holiday approx every 6 weeks - a mix of long and short haul. We booked this trip 10 days before we flew out, purely for some winter sun. We've been to the Caribbean over 30 times before, but we've only cruised it 4 times. We've cruised with various lines and have no real loyalty to any particular one, but we do find P&O vey homely. Like many things in life, you tend to get what you pay for. Our favorite ship to date is the 6 star Oceania Riviera, but it was twice the price of P&O. Cruising is our third choice way to travel, with independent travel and organized tours above. Day 1 Sat 23rd - outbound. A fast check-in at Thomas Cook Manchester. Flight TCX 624 took off on time at 10:30. The 23kg baggage allowance was plenty for me, even with a DJ, though Barbara's bag was 23.5 kg - check in didn't notice. The Airbus A330 looked new inside. We had pre-booked seats 22H & K. There was no remium economy available. The seat configuration was 2-4-2. Reasonable leg room for a charter flight. Food was OK, but the entertainment was limited and you had to pay extra for much of it. The flight took 9 hours due to strong headwinds. At Barbados we boarded coaches direct from the plane to the ship. Though the queues for Azura registration were long, the numerous check-in desks progressed everyone very quickly. Our bags went direct to our cabin, arriving after a couple of hours. 5 P&O flights had arrived close together, 3 being delayed by fog at Gatwick. It was very well handled by P&O considering the numbers involved. Time difference -4 hours from UK. A few days before we flew, we were allocated a port side forward cabin D206 on deck 9 - a Superior Deluxe balcony cabin - DE grade. It is larger than the standard balcony grade and the balcony sticks out further than those above. It does mean your balcony is overlooked from above, but you do get more sun. When we booked, we were offered a standard balcony at £1599pp or the superior grade at £1799pp, we chose the latter. Cabin - DE grade balcony. You get a full size bath and a larger bathroom. You also get a much larger living area. The cabin was fine, perhaps a bit dated but all very acceptable and kept very clean and tidy by our experienced steward Victor (16 years with P&O). Superior balcony guests also get a bottle of champagne & chocolates on arrival and periodic canapés and fresh fruit. Atlas & binoculars. Lots of storage space and 34 hangers - surely sufficient for any couple. Barbara likes White Company toiletries. Easy to use 4 digit safe. Good aircon. 2 TVs, one for the bed area and one for the seating area. BBC World, Sky News & Sky Sports News, plus the usual navigation and tours channels. Hairdryer. Comfy double bed, but average quality pillows and sheets. Kettle for tea/coffee. Good size fridge. 2 x UK 3 pin sockets. Complimentary water to start. We bought a water pack of 6x1.5 liter bottles (£9.75), which lasted us all of the trip. There are water fountains around the ship, but they ask you to refrain from topping up your water bottles due to hygiene reasons. After settling into our cabin, we had a light supper at a buffet by the pool and went to bed at 22:00 exhausted. Day 2 Sun 24th - at sea. 30C max. Sunny with a light breeze. After a room service breakfast, we had some much needed sun on deck for a few hours before a buffet lunch. We had no problem finding sun loungers at all. We were allocated 18:30 fixed dining in the Oriental main dining room. P&O were very late to the "Freedom Dining" concept, but have now fully embraced it, with 2 out of the 3 main dining rooms on Azura now allocated to it. 1st Black Tie evening and the Captains Cocktail Party in the Atrium. After dinner, we saw the Headliners show - a sort of "Dancing from around the World" medley. It was high energy stuff - though Barb fell asleep!! She blamed the jet-lag!! Day 3 Mon 25th - Bonaire. 28C max, clear skies and sunny. We docked at 07:30 at Kralendijk port. Room service breakfast. There's a helpful Tourist Information on the pier. 2 hour shared minibus island tours on offer for $25pp. We took a cab to Sorobon Beach in Lac Bay on the east coast. $5pp in a shared minibus. It's a 10 min journey. There's a nice but narrow beach at Sorobon, with a few bars and loungers to hire ($5pp). Lots of windsurfers to watch. It was quite windy, but we enjoyed it for a few hours. Back onboard by 15:00 from Sorobon Beach by minicab ($5pp shared). Dinner in Oriental, then a fine comedy and impressions show by Mark Walker in the Theatre. Later we went to the "Sail away under the stars" at 10:30 - it was very lively by the pool. Then a Tina Turner tribute act by the pool. The pool deck was jumping - it was great fun, but too late a night for us - we're lightweights!!! Day 4 Tues 26th - Curaçao. 29C max. Sunny and breezy. We docked at 07:30. Room service breakfast. We docked in Willemstad. You can see the high bridge soaring above the landscape. There's a good Tourist Information on the pier. It's a 2 minute stroll to the Rif Fort (World Heritage Site) and the Old Town. Inside Rif Fort there's a selection of shops and bars. The fort is free to enter and you can walk around the walls. A few more minutes walk and you reach the Queen Emma pontoon bridge, which straddles the St Anna Bay harbour mouth. It swings open to let the ship's through. It wobbles a bit in the sea swell and is a fun experience to cross. Lovely brightly coloured Dutch style houses line the harbour on both sides. On the east side of the pontoon bridge is the pretty Fort Amsterdam, now Government buildings. Again free to enter and walk around. We did some shopping, had a beer and caught up with emails etc. There's plenty of free wifi about. It's a very pleasant town. Lunch in Penninsular, then a few hours in the sun. We departed Curaçao at 18.30. After an excellent dinner at Atul Kochhar's Sindhu restaurant (£15pp cover charge), we watched Paul Eastwood's rapid fire comedy show in Manhattan. Later we caught the 10:30 Headliner show in the theatre - the foot tapping "Blame it on the Boogie" - everyone likes a bit of '70's funk!! Day 5 Wed 27th - Aruba. We arrived at 08:00. 30C max with some cloud and breezy. Not a very pretty quay. 5 cruise ships were in. Room service breakfast. We took a shared minibus to Eagle Beach ($5pp) - about 10 mins away. We hired sun loungers on the beach opposite La Cabana Resort Hotel from the water sports hut ($7.5pp). The beach is large, has beautiful white sand and azure blue water with gentle waves, but a bit windy. There's a free iced water machine by the beach bar. You can use the rest rooms in La Cabana - across the road from the beach - through the resort gate and the rest rooms are on the left. We stayed for 2 hours, then paid the water sports guy $10 to drive us back to the ship. After lunch in Penninsular, we spent an hour in the sun on a breezy deck. Dinner in Oriental. As it was a lovely mild evening, we watched the sail away from our balcony at 20:00 with a bottle of champagne. Once out at sea, the wind and waves picked up and we had quite a choppy night. Day 6 Thurs 28th - at sea. Still quite choppy sea conditions but sunny and max 28C. Room service breakfast. Barbara joined the Azura choir. Lunch in Penninsular, then a few hours in the sun. Second black tie evening. Dinner in Oriental then the Headliner Company in the theatre performing "Curtain Up" - songs from various musicals. Day 7 Fri 29th - Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. We arrived at 07:15 at the new quay - opened 6 months ago we heard. Shortly afterwards, the Costa "Delsomething" arrived and blocked our nice view. Sunny with light cloud and a gentle breeze. 29C max, but felt much hotter. Room service breakfast. We've stayed in Dom Rep 4 times before. It's a nice island with some very luxurious hotels. In Puerto Plata there's a fort, the Brugal rum factory, lots of cigar makers and a cable car up to the botanical gardens. There's an impressive "Christ the Redeemer" statue in the gardens - not as grand as Rio, but still good. Amber Cove is a Carnival owned resort with a nice pool, free loungers and clean rest rooms. There's a restaurant and a pool bar. Barb had a go at the zip wire, which flies overhead across the resort. It costs $12 for as many goes as you want. Amber Cove is situated next to the Riu Bruchetta Hotel, where we've stayed before. The sun was strong and required regular pool dips. Lunch in Penninsular, then an hour in the sun on deck. A beautiful sunset sail away at 18:00. Dinner in Oriental, then a second Mark Walker's comedy show in the Theatre - great entertainment. Later to Manhattan for the Headliners singing a medley of Tamla Motown classics - everyone of our age grew up with these songs - a fun sing along show. Later we sat on the Promenade deck finishing our wine and savoring the mild Caribbean air. Day 8 Sat 30th - at sea. Sunny with clear skies and calm sea conditions. 29C max. Room service breakfast, then a couple of hours in the sun. Later, Barbara went to the Azura choir practice and I went for a run (40 min run in the gym, then a 20 min run on the Prom deck). Lunch in Penninsular followed by a couple more hours in the sun. 3rd Black Tie evening. Dinner in Oriental, then the Headliners show in the Theatre - "My Generation" - songs from the 60's - Beatles, Stones, Who etc. An ok show - but not my favorite. Day 9 Sun 31st - Tortola, BVI. We arrived at 07:30 at the small pier in Road Town. Celebrity Summit joined us. Sunny with some cloud and a light breeze. 27C max. A nice sail-in past numerous islands. Room service breakfast. There's a Tourist Information at the pier - $8 to $12pp for shared buses to various beaches. We chose a 3 hour Island Tour for $25pp at the pier (it ended up as 4 hours). It started at 09:30 and stopped at various view points around the island. It's hilly with some very steep roads. I tried a "Bushwacker" cocktail at a bar - liquid dynamite!! We also stopped at the Callwood Rum distillery. You can try 4 rums for $1 - be impolite not to. After driving through the hills, we landed at Cane Garden Beach for a 1 hour stop. Nice sand and shallow water for a paddle, but it was very busy. We chilled in the Paradise Club beach bar. The tour buses were mostly open sided "toast rack" types - which were fine, with a cool breeze blowing through. Back at the pier by 13:30. Lunch in Penninsular, then an hour in the sun on our balcony. A lovely sunset sail away at 18:15. We enjoyed it so much (with a GnT of course), that we missed our 18:30 dining slot in Oriental. We went to the Beach House instead, but there was an hour wait. So we went to Freedom Dining. You are officially not allowed to change your dining type or time, but we thought we'd chance it and the Maitre d' was quite relaxed about it and took pity on us. Day 10 Mon Feb 1st - St Maarten. We arrived at 07:30 at the quay in Philipsburg. Room service breakfast. Weather cloudy and max 28C and a burst of rain at 08:30, which quickly passed. There's s Tourist Information on the quay with maps, prices etc. Lots of shops at the end of the quay. We caught a shared minibus to Maho Beach ($8pp). It's a pleasant beach with azure blue water, though the shore break can be strong. There are bars at each end and public toilets. Maho is world famous for the low flying planes. They pass very low over the beach as they land and is deemed one of the "World Top 10 Most Dangerous Landings". Our bar had a list of the plane landing time and the sun lounger guy shouts out when a big plane was due. We hired sun loungers and a shade for $10pp. We really needed the sunshade, as the sun was fierce. Planes land regularly, but the fun is when the big ones land. You can also get sandblasted as the big planes take off - we resisted the temptation!! I loved Maho Beach - fun for both the young & young at heart. It's a unique place. $8pp shared minibus back - we were back on board by 17:00. We do enjoy the food in the MDR, but we also like variety, so we ate in Epicurian ($28pp extra) - Azura's fine dining restaurant. Having eaten a few times in Marco Pierre White's restaurants on P&O, I felt underwhelmed with Epicurian. The location is nice, and we had a nice table, but I found the food average and I wouldn't rush back. Later we went to a pool party and then watched some ball room dancing. Day 11 Tues Feb 2nd - Antigua. We docked at 08:00 in St Johns. Room service breakfast. Weather sunny with some cloud and a light breeze - max 26C. We've holidayed in Antigua 5 times before, but it's our first time cruising here. About 09:00 we got a cab to Dickinson Bay ($6pp). I love Dickinson Bay - we've stayed here at Halcyon Cove Hotel once and Sandals 4 times before, so we wanted to rekindle some memories. We walked along the lovely Dickinson beach and chose sun loungers by Sneaky Pete's Bar - $10 for good quality loungers and a shade. I did a barefoot run along the beach for about 40 mins, then went for a swim. We had a hot Jerk Chicken lunch at a beach bar and enjoyed the sun. It's still a lovely bay and I'm sure we'll be back. The downside of cruising that you can't stay longer somewhere that you really enjoy. $6pp cab back to the ship by 14:00. By now the clouds were building and it had started to rain. After a buffet lunch, we caught up on some sleep. There were 3 other ships in dock and the town did seem quite busy. A fun, full on P&O style flag waving, "Land of Hope & Glory" style sail away, to the utter bemusement of the other ships in dock. Dinner in Oriental, then we watched Gareth Oliver (Britain's Got Talent ventriloquist) in the theatre - a very funny and talented man. Then a quick dash to Manhattan to see comedian Manuel Martinez's good comedy and magic show. Day 12 Wed Feb 3rd - at sea. Room service breakfast. Sunny with clear skies and a light breeze. It felt hot in the sun, though the official temperature was only 27C. The sea was calm as we poodled along at 7 knots - a lovely Caribbean day. We spent a few hours in the sun in the morning, then Barbara went for her final Azura choir practice. After lunch in Peninsular, we spent another hour in the sun. 4th and final formal night (black & white). At 18:00, the Azura choir gave their performance in the Atrium. They were brilliant and cheered on by a large audience - very proud of her. Dinner in Oriental - we chose the Marco Pierre White gala set 5 course meal. The chef's did their "parade" to the cheers and serviette waving of the happy punters. Then swiftly off to the Theatre for the Headliner's "Reel to Reel' show - good foot tapping songs from UK films. Day 13 Thurs Feb 4th - Grenada. We docked in St George at 07:45. Sunny with light cloud and a liht breeze. 28C max. There's a Tourist Information at the pier end with a good island map. Many people were getting a water taxi from the pier to Grand Anse beach nearby. We took a shared minibus island tour for $20pp for 3 hours. Only 4 in our minibus, so we had a row of seats each. We drove into the mountains and visited Annandale Falls. Then we saw some more of the island and visited a rum distillery ($2pp for a factory tour and 4 rum samples). Later we went to Grand Anse beach - it's 2 miles long with nice sand and lovely water, but due to it's proximity to the ship, it was packed and we did not stay long. Then a driving tour of the town, Caranage Marina, the Sendal tunnel and back to the ship. A good tour. Lunch in Peninsular, then an hour in the sun. A lovely sail away into the sunset. Dinner in Beach House (the waiter service evening part of the buffet). There's a £5pp cover charge. The food was nice, but service was slow and we had to jog the staff along. Then another really funny show by Gareth Oliver (ventriloquist) in the Theatre, followed by a fine comedy/magic act by Manuel Martinez in Manhatten. Day 14 Fri Feb 5th - Barbados. We docked in Bridgetown at 06:30. Half of the ship were leaving today. Everyone, whatever day you're leaving, have to fill in a Barbados immigration form and present it to Barbados Customs in Manhatten. Each flight has an allocated Customs slot time. It was very efficient. Weather overcast today with some showers - humid and 26C. We've stayed in Barbados 4 times before. Twice at the Sandridge Hotel, once at Almond Beach (both Speightstown) and once at Crystal Cove (Holetown), so we have fond memories of holidays here. Our first time cruising here. We walked off the ship at 09:30 and caught the public bus from Bridgetown to Speightstown ($1pp each way) and had a walk around and a beer at a beach bar. The main bus station in Bridgetown is a few minutes walk from the quay. They take US$ or BD$. Local bus back ($1pp) and on board by 14:30. Lunch in the buffet, then sadly we did some packing. Weather still cloudy and humid. A goodbye dinner with our regular table guests in Oriental, then a stroll around the ship & shops. No main show tonight. Bags outside of the room by 24:00 latest. Day 15 Sat Feb 6th - Barbados. Departure day. Room service breakfast. You need to be out of your cabin by 08:00. We sat and read in the quiet Planet bar for a couple of hours - deck 18 aft, then had lunch in Penninsular. Disembarking passengers are well informed about coach pick up times etc on the PA. Unfortunately our coach to the airport had no aircon and we boiled. It's been 9 years since we've been to Barbados airport and it hasn't improved one jot. The departure hall was crowded with long queues and no aircon. Fortunatley as we'd been through Barbados Customs the previous day on board, we bypassed most of the queues. The airside area was hot and heaving, with no spare seating. The business lounge wasn't much better - packed, dirty and scruffy. At least we got a seat and some free wine. The business lounge wifi was as good as useless. No wonder people have voted with their feet and stop staying in Barbados (many hotels have gone bust). Note to P&O - Please move your Caribbean base to another island". A sad end to a pleasant holiday. Overall we enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
in jan the weather in uk is rubbish so why not do a caribean cruise from southampton to break up the winter . .the drive from scotland is 450 m so we stop near oxford for an overnight break and then on to southampton the folowing day.the ... Read More
in jan the weather in uk is rubbish so why not do a caribean cruise from southampton to break up the winter . .the drive from scotland is 450 m so we stop near oxford for an overnight break and then on to southampton the folowing day.the port parking in southampton is so expensive we use park at my house .com or similar and use taxi to get to p&o terminal .in the past we allways payed the tips up front but due to lack of intrest from some off the staff on board we now cancell tips and reward the staff that we think deserve the tips .at this point i would have to say p&o represent good value for money and you do get what you pay for . the majority of the staff are very good and unlike most off the cruise ships we are permited to bring a bottle off spirits on board for consumpsion in the cabin.p&o are very uk orientated and are used to uk market the bars are pub prices the wine a litle expensive in the restaraunt .we book our own shore excursions with an independent company.day time entertaiment at sea is very good.embarcation and disembarcation is a hit or miss. our first cruise with p&o was on the canberra p&o decided to cancel all our previous points attained with them and also with the princess line .princess which was sister ship company to p&o have given all the all the points for p&o cruises that we have done so sailing with princess we have lots more benifits and loyalty with princess than we have with p&o which is a little sad but there you go .its good you can wash your clothes in the laundry and get all the gossip much more goes on on a cruise ship than you think good bye Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Where do I start? A good holiday, the Britannia has many good points, but has several points needing attention urgently. One of the things we like to do is, get up early as we are coming into port, take those lovely sunrise pictures, ... Read More
Where do I start? A good holiday, the Britannia has many good points, but has several points needing attention urgently. One of the things we like to do is, get up early as we are coming into port, take those lovely sunrise pictures, this is impossible on the Britannia, you simply cant get to the front of the ship, no proper promenade or access to the front. This ship is all about getting as much money per square foot as possible. Market Café –what a waste of space on the ground floor of the atrium, also expensive. Decoration throughout the ship minimalistic no art gallery, very few paintings. Atrium very pretty, but what a waste of space, needs using, dance floor / piano music. I liked the reception being just off the atrium no queuing in thoroughfare. Cabin – inside on deck 12 C midship Really liked new shower with glass doors and proper shelves, very smart vanity area, but no indentation for the soap, we ended up putting the soap on the face cloth. The cabin was very similar to Ventura in layout, the plug socket still useless for charging phones etc. much too close to the vanity top again. The lighting needs looking into, no separate bedside lights, and confusing switches. Beds were very comfortable, plenty of storage space. Access to on-board account through the TV as the Ventura I thought would be standard on all new ships, when I questioned this I was told the accounts software doesn’t work with the other services on the TV [surely a custom built interface would overcome this]. Midships stairway – it needs one urgently! Even if you are going 1 floor you need to use the lift, madness! After waiting over 5 minutes to go up to the lido deck [3 floors] we decided to use the emergency stairway through the midships next to the lifts, there were several people were doing this. The MDR- Peninsular similar to Ventura, but the food not so well presented, a bit slapdash. Only 1 or 2 wine waiters seem to be working the whole room, you can wait a long time for a bottle of wine. Horizon – the buffet – Excellent layout you can always find a seat, food very good quality and variety. Glasshouse – top of the atrium, not a great place within the ship layout as on the Ventura, but the food still excellent. Brodies – excellent pub atmosphere where quizzes are played, some of the music very loud. Crows nest – lovely quiet cocktail bar, we had a pre-dinner cocktail most evenings, very good g&t menu. Staff – our cabin steward was very good, I found the bar staff very attentive and helpful, the only people we found not helpful was the waiters in the Peninsular, quite rude. Itinerary It was quite good before someone ‘forgot’ to book a berth at one of the islands, and the order was changed, which caused problems for some people and Sunday opening hours, market days on island etc. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
After a great flight on Thomson Dreamliner we arrived into the chaos that was embarkation at Barbados. We were luckier than some as my Mum is in a wheelchair so we got fast-tracked but I felt sorry for the crowds awaiting processing. ... Read More
After a great flight on Thomson Dreamliner we arrived into the chaos that was embarkation at Barbados. We were luckier than some as my Mum is in a wheelchair so we got fast-tracked but I felt sorry for the crowds awaiting processing. Britannia is a 'nice' ship but a few things do need looking at. The entertainment was awful. What happened to the big names that used to put in shows in the evening? Apart from one comedian it was truly dreadful in Headliners. The P&O crew tried their best but we really didn't want to see the staff singing and dancing and had hoped to see some proper headline acts. The ex BGT ventriloquist was dire. Having recently gone on an NCL cruise the difference was really highlighted as the entertainment was excellent on NCL including a Cirque du Soleil show. A better system too of booking tickets in advance so that there is no scramble for seats at the shows. For some reason though, you cannot get a drink in Headliners. There is no bar and no waiter service which is odd. I have never before known a P&O member of staff say 'no' previously but my Mum's request for a different starter before dinner in the Oriental was met with a firm 'no' one night. This upset her and she says she will never cruise with P&O again, certainly not on Britannia. On many occasions our wine arrived after our starter and one night my fiancé made a point of asking if we could have the wine with our meal for a change! The other big problem was pools and sunbeds. If you put notices up saying 'don't reserve sunbeds' please adhere to your own rule. It's simple to monitor. Employ a member of staff to accompany people to the sunbed of their choice with a fresh towel. When they leave the bed, the staff member takes away the towel. If they want to come back, they take another bed. Yes it is a lot of towels but would save so much aggro. And don't get me started on the loud music round the pool. Totally too much so we sat away from the pools when we could get a bed. And they were absolutely packed in like sardines round the Serenity pool so that wasn't an option. Things we liked were the Limelight Club, Sindhu and the range of tours on offer. The shops are far too exclusive and so we didn't shop onboard. We did use the spa and my fiancé had the foot analysis and has been out of pain ever since. Well worth the money. Also there were plenty of bars but they didn't feel too intimate. We drunk mainly outside Sindhu or in the Crows Nest where the pianist (who also doubled as a lifeguard!) was excellent. One final comment was regarding Mum's wheelchair. Whenever we disembarked we could not take the wheelchair on the tours but we had to take her as far as possible in the chair as she cannot walk too far. However on leaving the ship the P&O staff were very unwilling to let us leave it at the disembarkation point and it very much depended on who was on duty as to whether we had to have a fight to leave it there! Sometimes we just took it with us and left it in the local tourist office who were far more accommodating. Very un P&O-like. Having said all of this, my fiancé and I have booked to go back next year though Mum will not be returning with us so it will be interesting to see if anything has changed although we will not have the wheelchair to contend with next time. So not looking forward to the queue on embarking! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Our first cruise and first time away at Xmas. We had two adjoining balcony cabins (wife and me in one and sons 21 and 18 in the other). Cabins were mid ships (F420 deck 9). Balcony divider opened between the rooms. We had a great ... Read More
Our first cruise and first time away at Xmas. We had two adjoining balcony cabins (wife and me in one and sons 21 and 18 in the other). Cabins were mid ships (F420 deck 9). Balcony divider opened between the rooms. We had a great view, unobstructed by life boats, and mid ship so close to lifts and main facilities below and above. We set high standards as this cruise was a lot of money but we were not disappointed. The accommodation, staff, food and entertainment were excellent. We were not overly impressed with some of the islands especially Jamaica (Ochio Rios) and the areas around the port in Grenada. Some of the other though were beautiful. We had the freedom pass so we could have flexible eating times. Well worth it. We heard several more experienced cruisers complain about the busy lifts and design of the ship but as first timers we have nothing to compare against. It was a very expensive holiday and I'm not sure overall the experience was any better than a much cheaper family holiday in Mexico (Xcaret is my favourite) for example, but we are pleased we tried it and had a terrific time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We have cruised 17 times before, but this was the first time we had cruised with p&o and our last time, even if p&o offered us a free cruise, no thanks, what a complete waste of time, money and annual leave. really would liked to ... Read More
We have cruised 17 times before, but this was the first time we had cruised with p&o and our last time, even if p&o offered us a free cruise, no thanks, what a complete waste of time, money and annual leave. really would liked to have flown home after day 2, enough was enough. P&O please reimburse me.... I know I am probably asking too much but, you never know The good bits are as follows; 1.liked the fact that cases where handed over at the airport and you did not see these again until you boarded the ship. 2.The flights outward and returning were with Thomson , on the Dream liner 787, fabby, so not all completely wasted, thanks to a great crew on both flights 2. No service charges automatically added to each order at the bar 3.free self service laundry - used a lot as there was nothing to do onboard, i would have done ironing for anyone who asked to pass the time away on this boring ship. 4. Bring your own alcohol on board - how ever this then has a negative effect, people go mad and cant refrain themselves and curb bad behaviors 5. The best thing was getting off the ship at each port and spending the day away from the bad points listed below 6. Being able to eat something decent in each Port of call, this saw us through to the next morning when the only edible food was breakfast BEST OF ALL - THE CRUISE ENDED AND WE WERE SO GLAD TO GET OFF THIS FLOATING HOLIDAY CAMP- SO LOOKING FORWARD TO RETURNING TO RCI AND OCEANIA The Bad: 1; RUDE RUDE RUDE Crew, 2. BAD attitude of crew, unhelpful, not interested and certainly could not be bothered to assist 3. Tacky, Butlins like entertainment 4. Ship is not well kept and for the first cruise ever i felt very unsafe and that the ship may go down,not happy 5.Appalling food, if you wanted something, aside from what was on the menu, believe me you get shouted at for even daring to ask 6.Everything tasted of curry 7. No Caribbean food, no Caribbean vibe 8. Cheap entertainment, poor shows 9. Managed to use the pool once - full of kids, although school term had not finished until a week into the cruise..... 10. Could not get in the hot tubs, children as young as 17 months with a young adult, otherwise full with kids all day every day, unsupervised 11.Sun bed grabbing, reserving then clearing off most of the day 12. Washing machine / dryers being filled and then left for the full cycle to only finish and then not emptied, i like my face the way it is so did not dare say anything 13. The ship did not flow at all, very confusing 14. Asked for large print menus and large print news letter before the cruise, only received one menu, and six news letters for the whole cruise 15. No WOW factor on this ship 16. Expensive intermittent WI-Fi on board 17. Expensive photos 18. Poor specialty restaurants, food no better than the dining rooms 19. Wine knowledge shockingly poor, asked if any of the waiters in the Glass House were Sommelier or had a good knowledge of wine, when i asked a few basics in regards to wine, no idea what i was asking and no idea as to giving me an answers, if you are a Sommelier or wine buff, you should have known the basic stuff 20.no genuine feel god factor or excitement on the whole ship,crew were seen most nights on deck 16, drinking and partying, and cavorting with each other, on ever other cruise crew do not party in front of guests, that is what we have paid lots of money for. 21.The annoying announcements and the robotic daily updates and tip of the day from the captain Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Review on the P&O ship Britannia, on our voyage from Barbados 5th December 2015. We have had previously sailed on Royal Caribbean Jewel of the seas, Vision of the seas, Adventure of the seas and Independence of the seas. Also ... Read More
Review on the P&O ship Britannia, on our voyage from Barbados 5th December 2015. We have had previously sailed on Royal Caribbean Jewel of the seas, Vision of the seas, Adventure of the seas and Independence of the seas. Also Princess cruises Grand Princess. So we are comparing the Britannia with these ships. Has the ship got the 'Wow Factor'? Well the answer to this is No.! It is a strange ship that let's itself down in many ways. From first walking on to the ship you are not wowed because of its very depressing colour schemes. Far too many charcoal grey walls and browns. The colour scheme seems to run throughout the ship even into the lifts. The atrium also is disappointing lacking in hight and light. The main theatre was also a bit of a let down. The seats not being as lush and plush as we have experienced on the other ships. Drink holders on the seat arm being not fit for purpose. No drinks served in the theatre, you have to bring them in. Again, no Wow factor when you walk in and again the colour scheme depressing. We ate in the Peninsular dining room. Again colours are drab but the service and the food were superb. 5 star for this. The ' live lounge ' again colours not uplifting and maybe a tad on the small size as lots of people wanted to watch the live shows in the evening an was often very full. What lets the ship down is the flow of the ship as in terms of getting around the ship. Just getting around the lido deck is difficult. You are met with a number of glass panels to obstruct you. Very annoying. Trying to get from one end of the ship to another can be challenging. On the days when we were at sea getting around was more difficult as people were blocking the stairs exit with sun beds. I think this is a safety hazard and I left comments to point this out to P & O. I think it is fair to say that most used lifts on the ship are midship lifts. At busy times you have a long wait as you can't get on one. But the strangest thing is you have no alternative as there are NO stairs as an alternative from deck 16 Down to deck 7. So you can't walk down one or two flights of stairs to help ease congestion. There were many people commenting on this. A very poor design. The music volume on the lido deck was excessive at times to say the least. I did a decibel reading from my iPhone and it peaked at 95 db and this was a time when it was not at its loudest. The sail away party was much much louder. I worked in industry and we had to wear ear plugs above 80db and at 92db it was impossible to talk and make conversation. Maybe an age thing but most of the guests were over 50 in age. The cabins below the lido deck were disturbed by the volume levels. We had an inside cabin and it seemed smaller the any inside cabin we have had before. I haven't checked the square footage though to compare. We went into the Lime Light club for a meal and see the "Eric and Ernie" show and a meal. Very nice. Maybe a choice on the menu would have been good rather than set menu. Smoking was allowed on the ship in a few areas. It was not nice on the Lido deck as the smoke seemed to linger under the canopy. This was then sucked into the entrance port side to the Horizon restaurant and even though to the mid ships lift area. This smoking area could do with being moved to another area where is was more open as it is affecting the other passengers!! So just to say we had a lovely cruise, and hope some of the points I have mentioned can be addressed, but it's too late for others without refurbishment which will not happen for many years. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
P&O Arcadia 25/11/2015 to 19/12/2015 Madera – Antigua – St Kitts – Grenada – Dominica – Barbados – Azores – Vigo The cruise was uneventful and very relaxing as you spend 16 days at sea and even in a force 10 on the way ... Read More
P&O Arcadia 25/11/2015 to 19/12/2015 Madera – Antigua – St Kitts – Grenada – Dominica – Barbados – Azores – Vigo The cruise was uneventful and very relaxing as you spend 16 days at sea and even in a force 10 on the way home which is why we could not get into the Azores and went to Vigo instead the ship was as steady as a rock. The condition of the ship was a different matter as for 11 days decks 2,3,4,5, mid ship stank of sewage and drains which was very strong at times, there was also a problem with the slatted aluminium roof strips on the viewing deck 11 port side as several had been ripped off by wind and others were rattling loose and had stress fractures which should they have come loose could have taken your head off and after reporting it to the reception, security and 2 bridge officers over 5 days I was amazed nothing was done even thought it was at most a 15 minute job to secure the strips. The person who said the stern cabins were brilliant on the Arcadia did not have the Benidorm lot we had on the ship ( A165 ) cabin is the last on the starboard side before the corner suite and right under the rear sun deck and the Benidorm contingent decided at 6am to come and throw their sun loungers in position before the rush and even after trying to be nice and ask them to be quite the abuse from their welsh spokes women was so bad the crew taped off the deck every night and did not open it until after 8am so we could sleep which was appreciated. The problems with the food was the variety as we had theme nights and the Asian night was curry the Indian night was curry the Thai night was curry which gets a bit much for anyone but all food was cooked well just one comment for the Neptune grill please get some proper beef and onion burgers and use the sausages we had for breakfast not the German boiled bratwurst and small finger rolls with proper fried onions not stewed tasteless sea weed, we as adults do not need American style giant hotdogs do them like we do on the barbi at home. Freedom dinning is great the meals are well cooked and if you want two steaks it’s no problem and the cheese and bickies are great. All praise to the Captain who can put this ship against a lolly stick of a jetty better than I could do with a rowing boat and his skill and attitude was a great inspiration to the wellbeing feeling of us and the crew. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our first cruise ever, and I'm glad to say the ship is wonderful. Very elegant art deco style, lovely ballroom and dining areas. The staff are very polite and professional, and very smartly dressed. The only complaint is, on ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever, and I'm glad to say the ship is wonderful. Very elegant art deco style, lovely ballroom and dining areas. The staff are very polite and professional, and very smartly dressed. The only complaint is, on sea days you can't get a sun bed, and there is no shade from the hot sun. Apart from that we thought everything was almost perfect. A lot of people complained, about the ship being too big, or the food was not good. In our opinion the food was good and service very efficient. Lots of well travelled cruises, felt the other ships were better. We found there were a lot of moaners over nothing, or people were cruise snobs. Its a lovely big ship and everything was pristine, its almost perfect. The entertainment could be average on some nights though. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Good flight out on dreamliner, quick efficient service to ship, lovely cabin superior delux d218 only drawback first nite not much sleep as directly above lifeboats and noisy where maybe a rope or something was loose and made banging ... Read More
Good flight out on dreamliner, quick efficient service to ship, lovely cabin superior delux d218 only drawback first nite not much sleep as directly above lifeboats and noisy where maybe a rope or something was loose and made banging noise, but was sorted next morning, visit lovely islands our favourite was Grenada, food good chose freedom dining in the Saffron restarant, charming young boys as waiters, new lots about the food being served, entatainment quite good but could not always get a seat, all staff went out of their way to help you, looking to book another cruise for my husbands 70thtaking our daughter who has special needs so will need to choose the right cabin. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We had a great cruise on Azura. All staff were most pleasant and friendly. The ship was very smooth. The cabin was adequate (E607) and well serviced by Wilson who was always very attentive and helpful and willing to talk cricket! There ... Read More
We had a great cruise on Azura. All staff were most pleasant and friendly. The ship was very smooth. The cabin was adequate (E607) and well serviced by Wilson who was always very attentive and helpful and willing to talk cricket! There have been comments about the cleanliness of the ship but we did not find this. Some carpets are due for renewal but we're certainly kept clean! The restaurant meals for dinner were varied with plenty of choice. I found the fish to be particularly tasty and well presented.. The speciality restaurants that we used ( Sindhu and The Trattoria) were excellent. The restaurants at lunchtime provided some excellent meals and always had a 'light choice' My only complaints would be the timing of shows which were so organised that it was difficult to fit in some of them being on late seating for dinner and the lack of early evening live music in the bars. There were a good variety of ports visited and it was easy to make prior arrangements for our own tours in most of the ports or join up with other passengers in local taxis when leaving the ship. All in all we had an excellent trip and the Caribbean and it's people were very welcoming, as usual! Walking off the ship on Grand Turk and stepping onto a paradise beach in minutes was amazing! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. It was a lifetime experience for me. The service was excellent, the cabin was excellent and the food was excellent. There was plenty of good entertainment, all for free. I would go again given a chance, but ... Read More
I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. It was a lifetime experience for me. The service was excellent, the cabin was excellent and the food was excellent. There was plenty of good entertainment, all for free. I would go again given a chance, but my partner had a tough time of it. She had bronchitis whilst on board as the air conditioning was too dry for her. She could not breathe very easily at all. She spent many hours in the medical centre having nebulizers and oxygen. Because of this we could not get off the ship for some of the trips we had booked. The cabin we had was excellent as we were upgraded to a larger cabin with a separate sitting area. Cabin No. 193 C level. The one thing I did not like was the Marco Pierre White restaurant. We had to pay £25 just to go in there. It was no better than all your other restaurants, in fact it was lacking in choice of food offerred. There were two separate menus for different nights. We did not know this and were not told about this. We therefore did not have a choice as to which menu we chose from. The food was no better than that provided by all your other restaurants which were excellent. Why is the Restaurant there. It is a complete rip-off. The staff looked untidy too as they had greyish long aprons which looked a mess on them. The short aprons that all other waiters had were much better, and looked much smarter and cleaner. I cannot complement this ship and staff enough, everything was brilliant, from the boarding system and the disembarkation system. Why can't all airports that run like that. It was brilliant. The ship was pretty stable even though we were in quite a rough sea. The stabilisers did their job. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Mixed feelings regarding our Christmas cruise to the Caribbean. The flight form Gatwick, chartered to Thompson was refreshingly pleasant as we booked in premiere and were treated very well indeed with complimentary drinks and very ... Read More
Mixed feelings regarding our Christmas cruise to the Caribbean. The flight form Gatwick, chartered to Thompson was refreshingly pleasant as we booked in premiere and were treated very well indeed with complimentary drinks and very comfortable seating, the interactive entertainment menu again very good. Arriving in Barbados again was a nice surprise not having to go through airport customs but being "ordered" on to a very old and tired small coach. Reaching the dock was not too bad but the check in procedure was awful we were herded like cattle in a pen without facility for refreshment for the best part of 45 minutes in very hot and humid conditions without any explanation as to how long this procedure would take "More information from P&O" would have been nice. The cabin was pleasant and clean and the cabin steward was friendly and informative. We opted for freedom dining which was a good choice as the 'sail away' party was just another excuse to join a long queue for average food. Breakfast is normally overcrowded and our party of 6 struggled to get a table most mornings having to circumnavigate both venues before being able to breakfast as a family. The breakfast & dinner on the whole was excellent especially our visit to the White Room. Having a "Costa" in the atrium was a pleasant surprise and we used this facility most afternoons but the service on 10 times out of 13 was nothing short of disgusting sometimes waiting up to 25 minutes for someone to take our order when at most there were two or three tables awaiting service. We used the Spa facilities once (on a special offer) and were induced to buying overpriced products whilst we were in a totally relaxed and near sleep condition, almost ready to agree to anything. (We were told that the therapists are trained to hard sell to their clients after the massage which I must say was excellent) I got off light after buying some Gell and oil for £70 but my wife ended up being sold creams for £195 this is on top of the treatment price - a bit over the top, a 10% gratuity was also added, this was not too bad as the treatment was on special offer. The entertainment was every enjoyable and refreshing and the appearance of Roy Walker was a nice bonus. These entertainers work very hard and the production team are to be applauded. Trying to get a Sun lounger when we had our "at sea" days proved to be something of a challenge, so we did not bother as the only areas that we could sit were very loud with lots of children running around. Yes we did try the adult area and again the only place to sit was the bench style seating next to the swimming pool. the hot tubs were very good though one always seemed to be cordoned off. Overall the Islands we visited were as expected with gorgeous beaches but St. Vincent was a little bit of a let down. Most items on board if not on special offer were a bit pricy but I suppose P&O have a policy of trying to extract every last pound from their passengers. It would be nice to know how exactly the amount added for gratuities was divided, as the staff manning the Ice cream machine & Pizza ovens on the whole thought they were doing you a great favour by serving you. Attitude of staff on Sun decks really could have been a lot better, as this was not a cheap cruise. I have to say that I had different expectations and the overall experience is not one I would wish to repeat.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Once again a great pre xmas break. A good Dreamliner flight out from Manchester, very easy transfer to the ship, bags arrived in no time. We were given cabin C518 with the extended balcony, couldn't fault the cabin , the location or ... Read More
Once again a great pre xmas break. A good Dreamliner flight out from Manchester, very easy transfer to the ship, bags arrived in no time. We were given cabin C518 with the extended balcony, couldn't fault the cabin , the location or our steward Merton. 9 islands visited with only Dominica not impressing. Bonaire was particularly good with the snorkelling and diving a must for the active. The food on the ship has improved from last year. The entertainment was good from the majority of the acts, Clem Cutis was superb, but the on board P&O team were poor and appeared disinterested. The great British Sail Away, which should be a feature of any cruise, was a big disappointment with the P&O entertainment team mumbling and miming there way through most of the songs. The tales of not being able to get sunbeds are untrue it's just that some people want to congregate in the same area, the ship is vast and there are always beds to be had if you move away from the popular areas. That said there are still the selfish people who snag the beds with their towels not to return for hours. P&O have to address this issue or stop pretending there are rules. Overall great value for money, a good crowd onboard, roll on next year. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Having cruised twice before in the Med with Thomson and having enjoyed my experience thoroughly as a special treat I decided to book a surprise cruise to the carribean for my wife's 50th Birthday. We booked a week prior to travel and ... Read More
Having cruised twice before in the Med with Thomson and having enjoyed my experience thoroughly as a special treat I decided to book a surprise cruise to the carribean for my wife's 50th Birthday. We booked a week prior to travel and flew out from Manchester T1 early on the 6/12/2014. The chartered flights with Thomas Cook airlines went very smoothly, good quality food and service and the fact that this was chartered by P&O which meant we loaded the cases in Manchester and then didn't touch them again until they arrived at our cabin door on the ship made the flying experience really great. We arrived in Barbados to gorgeous warm sunshine and where then off loaded by P&O directly onto the transfer coach and taken directly to the port, no hassle with customs etc. on arrival at the ship we then went through a short process to take our photographs, present our credit card and be issued with our boarding cards. Again this was very swift and professional. The ship as an awesome site, biggest that we have been on. The cabin allocation again was swift but we did encounter a problem in the cabin with the set out of sleeping arrangements, we had requested a double room but where allocated a twin and unfortunately this couldn't be changed to a double due to the configuration of the lamps attached to the bedside tables, this was the main weak area of the service we received as INfeltvthat P&O didn't do enough to rectify the fault.. The facilities on board are great, choice of 4 swimming pools, plenty of sun beds, great waiter service, brilliant gym, sauna, spa and plenty of places where you could escape and relax. Food on board was good, plenty of choice and most of it served 24/7. We also used the Beech House for a small surcharge which was good, the MarconPierre and Athol Cuutcher restaraunts also seemed nice. We had early dining in the Bay Tree restaraunt at 6:30 which we found too early. Service again was outstanding but portions where a little small. Evening entertainment was good, we did the theatre after dinner then onto an internal bar such as Havanah, Tamarind or Metropolis and finish off the night with a few drinks on deck. The Headliners theatre company who performed in the theatre are a must to see, as is a comedian by the name of John Martin. Beer pric scare not bad but be aware that some of the bars do not serve draft beer, only from cans or bottles. We did feel that entertainment on board overall wasn't as good in some areas as on the Thomson ships. We where also a little disappointed by the formal evenings which didn't seem to be a celebration of a special event unlike the Thomson ships. The ship overall is neat and tidy, consistently cleaned, quite spacious and modern. The ports we visited on our Itinerary where good although some are up and coming ports which do need further development, the nicest places where St Maarten, Tortola, Curaçao, Bonaire and of course Barbados. I do still struggle to understand why the ships sail so early ( 5pm ) from some ports when the next port is only a short distance, we would have loved to stay ashore at places like St Marrten and Curaçao to get a taste of the nightlife. Same withnthe 2 days at sea on the return journey to Barbados, we could've called at one more stop on the way. All of the islands accept the US dollar but be aware that a couple of places have their own dollar so some change could be given in this currency which can only be spent on that Island. In Barbados also most prices are quoted in Barbados dollars to which there are 2 to every US dollar, make sure you ask when buying something or quoting a price for a taxi. You also need to try the flying fish in Barbados, yummy. The people in the Carribean can't do enough for you, very friendly and eager to help. Taxis are positioned at each port as well as numerous tours etc which are priced reasonably, the Beaches are stunning, the water is just as you imagine in a brochure and the climate is a steady 27 to 28 day and night, the humidity takes a bit of getting used too as does the 4 hour time difference.. Overall our first experience with P&O was good although we did feel that it could have been better, we do love the Carribean and will re visit. We would recommend P&O cruises to others and will be cruising again with them   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We had a wonderful first cruise, with P&O on the Ventura, to the Caribbean. The cabin was wonderful (D327, Superior Cabin with Balcony), the food good and plentiful, and the cleanliness superb. We scheduled our trip to be during a time ... Read More
We had a wonderful first cruise, with P&O on the Ventura, to the Caribbean. The cabin was wonderful (D327, Superior Cabin with Balcony), the food good and plentiful, and the cleanliness superb. We scheduled our trip to be during a time when there wouldn't be many children (whom we love, but we needed some quiet time), and there were only a few onboard. The staff was very friendly and helpful, responding so positively to all our requests that we felt very pampered. We wish there had been better lectures, particularly about the history (including slavery, trade and social/political developments) of the region. We loved being on the Freedom dining plan, which meant we could dine when we wanted to, without table assignment. All the logistics were great - embarkation and then leaving the ship, luggage transfer, room assignment, etc. And the spa was fantastic! Have as many services as you can, particularly the seaweed wrap and massage and the facials! They will spoil you rotten there, which is a major reason for taking a cruise, no? The entertainment was spotty - we didn't like the comedian's sense of humour in particular, but that's not to discourage anyone. The singers were good as were the orchestra and dancers in the large Arena. Contrary to other reviews, although the ship was full, we didn't find any problem with locating sun beds to lie on. We wish we could have danced more in the Atrium, but it seemed to be allocated to structured dances for those who took lessons onboard. We also wish the Black Tie evenings were made more special than by just putting on fancy clothes. In sum, we had a great time with only minor things we would have changed if we ruled the world! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
If like me and you have enjoyed your last seven cruises then you have a quality bench mark set within your mind. My wife and two other friends arrived at the airport twenty four hours early to take advantage of the 'hand your luggage ... Read More
If like me and you have enjoyed your last seven cruises then you have a quality bench mark set within your mind. My wife and two other friends arrived at the airport twenty four hours early to take advantage of the 'hand your luggage in early option, as stated in the brochure. We were informed politely, that as we were travelling with P & O, Thomson was now a chartered flight and they were not allowed to take our luggage. 'Check brochure,' we exclaimed! The Thomson representative told us she had spent all night telling other would be passengers the same story. Having dragged our suitcases from the car and deliberately passing our hotel, we now found ourselves re loading them back into the car and paying the unnecessary parking charges. This was an omen of the things to come. We arrived at Barbados after a very good flight and were greeted by the awaiting coaches to take us to our ship, the Azura. This is a very good service and makes the journey so much better. We had paid to renew our vows earlier in the year and we had completed the paperwork months in advance. The form asks you what date you would like the ceremony to take place and where would you like to dine. I could write a very long list of the total farce this became. We were told there were no tables left in XVII the day of our renewal and yet we'd given four months notice. The ridiculous thing was, when we arrived on board we went to look at Seventeen and was told by the person taking bookings that we should not book as we had a co-ordinator handling our requests. Just as a heads up for all those people reading this thinking they can book when they arrive on board, think again. We arrived a day earlier than our sailing date and struggled to book anything. We managed to book Sindu for a meal but struggled to book other venues. The retreat could not be booked as it was already fully booked from online bookings and you needed to have a spa package to get a place (strangely enough the retreat seemed empty, even on sea days) some people even cottoned on that you only needed to lean over the small deck gate to unlock it and walk in, as no one checked who should actually be in there. Here are some tips for you to know in advance and may help for plain sailing. The Italian resteraunt which is actually the buffet is very good and the food is good too. However above this dining location is the children's play club and the thumping noises that came through the ceiling was incredible. Just outside from this location is the back of the ship. There is a bar here which is a good chill out area in the evening. Unfortunately the smell of smoke and fat coming through the doors drifting over you is obnoxious. Sea days are when P & NO s shows it's true Butlins spirit. Overcrowded, sunbeds blocking walkways, loud rock music,people eating in the pool. Other ships have carribbean music, steel drums,something that tells you why you chose the carribbean. The ships carpets are dirty, the lifts are dirty and there is never any visible cleaning taking place. When it rains it doesn't just pour coffee in costa it rains inside too. Leaky parapet over counter area. The staff in Costa love watching the dancing in the atrium which is were they are based. In fact all five staff behind the counter had to be coerced into serving waiting people. On the top deck we ordered drinks from a waiter who never returned. We became concerned as we had an appointment to attend and so went to the bar to see what had happened to our service. We found the barman with a cluster of about twenty sea passes and a trolley full of drinks. We cancelled our drinks but we noticed some time later we had indeed been charged for these drinks. My friends also spotted that they had been charged for not attending the resteraunt Seventeen. They had not made a booking and questioned this, they were told it was an error. You may think that this review has completely focused on the negatives we'll let me explain this justification further. When you see a woman seated playing roulette in the casino while holding on to a two year old child and this is viewed as perfectly normal then I'm at a loss. If you see this as acceptable and your list of priorities fall in the order of labour club home from home. Sausages must be English mate, karaoke, bingo and choice language, then you will be right at home. The sunbed stampede starts around 6am (don't you dare tarnish the Germans until you have witnessed this) every sea day. If you snooze you lose,your punishment is to walk for eternity looking at empty sun-beds with towels, books and clever clues to say 'hands off.' This has got to be the closest thing to carry on cruising you will ever see. Never again will I want to be surrounded by so many Brits. The crew are not the happiest bunch of people you will ever meet either. Cabin staff were marvellous and the back of the ship had some friendly staff too. Another piece of important information is to consider the following. My friends and both my wife and I took a ship organised tour, kayak and snorkel,Curaçao. When we finally arrived at our destination we were asked to line up and sign a piece of paper. I thought this was for a head count as we were going out on the sea. My friend was last to sign it and noticed that on the other side of the paper was a disclaimer which we were not advised we were signing. We asked about this on our return to the ship at the excursion desk. I will not make a comment regarding what I was told but I would certainly check your own holiday insurance regarding any activities you plan to do. Could be a legal loop hole ahead, don't break a leg! My advice to P & O is simple, clean up your act fast. You may be launching a new ship soon but Azura will still have it's paying passengers, who if not first time cruisers, will turn out to be your last time cruisers. Incidentally, my friends had travelled o. The Aurora and commented on the stark differences. You pay for ice cream No ice machines Food is ok but nothing like some other ships for variety. Eggs Benedict special on a Tuesday, no other days. On all other ships they were just a normal breakfast buffet food. Cramped buffet area. For gods sake put the butter on tables or somewhere that doesn't cause unnecessary congestion. Why did so many people on this ship seem to have a cough? I don't want my photo taken every time I get off the ship and when I'm having a meal. They also charged £25 per photo if taken at renewal of vows or special occasion. Quay side pictures were around £11 plus. In the days of I phone cameras and people doing selfies. Also with the emergence of Go pro cameras you really need to reduce your pricing to get some of those endless walls of pictures shifted. How much do they cost to process? You have wonderful touch screen viewers in the gallery,just put them on there and let people browse. On the way home we were kept on the plane (Dreamliner) for two hours before taking off. This was due to technical fault with breaks. No offer of drinks or refreshment, or even water. I was told that the cabin stewards were four staff short due to illness. Six hours into the flight a person took seriously ill and the pilot asked if a doctor was onboard. We were then told we needed to turn back for the Azores to get this person medical assistance and off the plane. We were then informed by the pilot that he would exceed permitted flying hours if he continued to the UK and therefore we had to stay overnight until 10pm UK time before commencing our journey the next day. Thankfully we were informed that the gentleman who had taken I'll was making a recovery. Looking to other cruise lines.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Having cruised on carnival , msc and windstar, I have to say this is the most disappointing cruise we have been on. There is no wow factor on this ship. The atrium is small and boring - looks like a hotel lobby. All other ships we've ... Read More
Having cruised on carnival , msc and windstar, I have to say this is the most disappointing cruise we have been on. There is no wow factor on this ship. The atrium is small and boring - looks like a hotel lobby. All other ships we've been on have a real wow about them but not this one. It is confusing to get around. It has taken us 2 weeks to just about find places as the signs are virtually non-existent. Heaven help you if you need a loo in a hurry. The cabins are small in comparison to other cruise lines and the pool towels are threadbare and thin, though you can have as many as you want. The ship isn't particulalry clean in the communal areas. As I write this I have just passed a chip that has been on the stairs on deck 12 for 3 days. So no one has bothered to pick it up nor has the carpet been hoovered! Other than staff wiping handrails (due to novo virus outbreak ) I didn't see anyone hoovering or cleaning anything else. The table pedestals in the buffet were filthy. As there was an outbreak we had to be served our food in the buffet and it took forever. Not that the food was so worth waiting for. Comparing to carnival it was like a works canteen. The food was boring, not nicely presented and the mixtures of food were baffling. It was ok If you liked curry every day. There was clearly an Indian influence at work. The Verona Italian was the best meal. With a cover charge of £5 each and a fillet steak on a hot rock for just under £3 it was very good. We did not try the other speciality restaurants as they were very expensive (around £30 each) and from what people said pricey for what you got. The entertainment wasn't great. You could never get a seat in the theatre as it was far to small for the number on board. Consequently we never saw any shows other than the pantomime and tom o'connor which we had to stand up for. If you are under e age of 65 then this ship isn't for you. The 'puffy legs' seminar wasn't my idea of a fun cruise! It was typical of what people think of cruises -full of old people (not that I have anything against older people it's just that it was all geared up for that age range) If you want fun and some life then go on carnival. Most of the staff were miserable (except Nazareth our steward) who was great. So, there were some good things: you can bring drinks onboard, drinks are not expensive, there was premiership matches on for my other half. We met a few nice people - shout out for Fiona and Neil! But the upshot is we wouldn't cruise with P&O again. We spent a lot of money and were disappointed. But despite that we still had a good time! But It's back to carnival for us!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
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