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26 P&O Cruises Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Great Premium flight from Birmingham well worth the extra though why you should have to pay on top of £175 surcharge to reserve a seat baffles me. Smooth transfer to cruise terminal then super quick boarding less than 5 minutes after ... Read More
Great Premium flight from Birmingham well worth the extra though why you should have to pay on top of £175 surcharge to reserve a seat baffles me. Smooth transfer to cruise terminal then super quick boarding less than 5 minutes after getting off coach. Found cabin nice and spacious with large balcony. All ok there, luggage arrived within an hour or so. Muster drill delayed until a18:30 by late arrival of another flight so first evenings dining was a bit chaotic, no ones fault but quality of food was a sign of things to come unfortunately. Apart from Beach house (which we visited twice - very good) the quality of both MDR & buffet was underwhelming. Menus read well but failed to deliver most of the time. Entertainment. We like to see production shows and cabarets but except for 2 nights when a 7pm show was put on we had to choose one or the other as were on late dining. We’d book early or free time dining if booking P&O again though we did enjoy the company on our table. Ashore. Booked 2 excursions through P&O and 2 independently. St Lucia northern tour was very good with varied stops and good value. Taste of Antigua was poor value for money at £45 each for 20 minute bus ride to back street garden restaurant to tast 3 small nips of rum and a small selection of so so food. Did our own thing at St Maarten & Ponta Delgada. Tried most bars - planet was our favourite and felt prices were reasonable. Cannot see point of introducing package @ £40pppd unless they are going to boost bar prices to encourage take-up. We do not hold back but only spent around £350 on wine and bars in 13 nights. We tend to select cruises by itinerary so won’t say no to P&O again but we’re not sold on the brand yet. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We booked this cruise 18 months before departure so have been looking forward to it for some time. As this was a re positioning cruise we were bussed from return airport to Southampton. Everything went well and embarkation was efficient. ... Read More
We booked this cruise 18 months before departure so have been looking forward to it for some time. As this was a re positioning cruise we were bussed from return airport to Southampton. Everything went well and embarkation was efficient. We enjoyed this cruise. The food was good, and we met some good company when freedom dining in restaurant. The ship is in great condition throughout with the exception of Footlights theatre. We found the seating in there uncomfortable, although not too uncomfortable to enjoy shows. The only negative I had issue with was the timing of the shows, first one at 8.30pm and second at 10.30pm. This was an issue for us as in other ships first show starts at approx 7.30pm which allows you to see first show, have dinner in restaurant and then see second show. We mainly ate in restaurant for dinner and had breakfast and lunch in the limited menu Cafe Jardin (no cost for breakfast or lunch). Menu consists of a small buffet and limited served options, which we found more than satisfied us. I have never seen this option on other P&O ships. We do not generally like the buffet option (smash and grab) for our dining, but on the two or three occasions we used the Plaza buffet we were pleasantly surprised. I would say that the Plaza buffet was the best we have experienced on any ship. Initially we thought our cabin on the small side, we soon got used to it and everything was fine. In general we had a great cruise even though the weather was a bit colder than expected. We failed to land at Mykonos due to high winds. We felt that service, food and entertainment were great. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We have sailed twice previously on Oceana, once when she was quite new and once when she was looking ready for a re-fit. This time the re-fit had been completed and she was looking fresh with new carpets and furniture; but let down a bit ... Read More
We have sailed twice previously on Oceana, once when she was quite new and once when she was looking ready for a re-fit. This time the re-fit had been completed and she was looking fresh with new carpets and furniture; but let down a bit by not refitting the cabins or doing some general maintenance on things like balcony doors that needed a lot of power to open and were very hard for a woman to operate. But I have digressed a bit and will start with the transfer to Southampton. This cruise was a re-location cruise to Malta and we were transferred quite efficiently by coach from Manchester Airport to Southampton. Booking in and embarking the ship was one of the quickest we have experienced from Southampton, and as an added bonus the cases were waiting when we got to our cabin. The main thing we noticed was the pungent smell in the cabin, which we soon pinpointed to the shower curtain; why they dont just change them as a matter of course each cruise is beyond me. We were on fist dining in the MDR as it suits us due to medication issues, the food was always of good standard and served by a great team. The buffet was of similar quality and the midnight snacks and hot chocolate were also very good. The midnight buffet was a great place for a chat with the staff and wind down before bed. Entertainment in the theatre was some of the best standard I have seen for a while, and the entertainment in the bars were also good; just wish they didn't have to disrupt musicians with quizzes. Disembarking went well and we were transferred to Malta, not a long wait and back home. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was our first cruise with P&O having cruised previously with Cunard and Royal Caribbean. The coach transfer from Gatwick to Southampton was chaotic, meaning we arrived at the ship at 16.45! Once on board we found our inside ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O having cruised previously with Cunard and Royal Caribbean. The coach transfer from Gatwick to Southampton was chaotic, meaning we arrived at the ship at 16.45! Once on board we found our inside cabin to be fine and we had an excellent room steward (Martino). We were given the Freedom Dining option in the Peninsular Restaurant and we found the food and service really good. The entertainment was very good throughout the voyage and the entertainment staff were really good too. The problem with this ship is that it seems to have been designed to cram as many guests on board as possible, over 3600! One guest told us that the Headliners Theatre has a capacity of 1000, so if you want a seat to see a good show you need to be there quite early. If a good act is on in the Live Lounge you have little chance of getting a seat. Similar problems arise when trying to get on equipment in the gym. The walking deck is very small-I went to check it out on the second morning and, in terms of traffic, it reminded me of the M25! Sun loungers were definitely at a premium too! We still enjoyed the cruise overall and would cruise with P&O again, but on another ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Quick and speedy embarkation. We were wondering what the holiday would be like after reading previous reviews but we were impressed with the organisation, food, ship......maybe the service in the restaurants could have been a bit sharper ... Read More
Quick and speedy embarkation. We were wondering what the holiday would be like after reading previous reviews but we were impressed with the organisation, food, ship......maybe the service in the restaurants could have been a bit sharper and the overall cleanliness of the public areas could have had a bit more attention. However, our cabin and cabin housekeeper were first class. The entertainment team worked very hard and we never had a problem finding a seat in the theatre...the shows were very well produced and well presented. The Live Lounge was like a club and had a good atmosphere...the live band 'Pulse' were excellent and their Monsters of Rock set was great. The T/A crossing was like a mill pond the whole way...perfect...the food was first class..the ship was beautiful despite being huge! The return from Barbados on our Thomson flight on board the dreamliner was first class. we would certainly recommend and we will look forward to sailing with P&O again.... Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My main concern was with the number of people on board would there be queues at embarkation, restaurants, disembarking or even getting sun loungers? Well, there was no need for me to worry * Embarkation with luggage deliIt wavered ... Read More
My main concern was with the number of people on board would there be queues at embarkation, restaurants, disembarking or even getting sun loungers? Well, there was no need for me to worry * Embarkation with luggage deliIt wavered to the cabin during lunch was completed within a couple of hours * There was no waiting in line to enter restaurants * Disembarking to go ashore went extremely smoothly * We always found sun loungers Our overall experience was positive. However,...... P&O need to address the service in the main restaurants. Waiters were slow, did not have a proper grasp of English and sometimes were quite rude. It was if they were doing us a favour by serving our meals. It was an effort to get mustard , marmite or honey at breakfast for instance, Also, one could not get a swim unitl 0800. It was only after a little pesuasion that we managed a swim at 0715. Come on P&O , on a Caribbean Cruise get the pool open earlier. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We have just returned from the reposition cruise on the Britannia front the Caribbean to Southampton. We few from Manchester on a 15 year old TCX airbus that had great leg room and a great crew. At Bridgetown we left the plane straight ... Read More
We have just returned from the reposition cruise on the Britannia front the Caribbean to Southampton. We few from Manchester on a 15 year old TCX airbus that had great leg room and a great crew. At Bridgetown we left the plane straight onto the usual coaches to the port. I had chosen seats at the rear of the aircraft hoping that there would be front and rear steps to leave the aircraft but there was only front steps which meant quite a long delay leaving the aircraft whist the dodderers and chatterers left huge gaps in the queue to leave. At the ship we had a 10 minute queue before receiving a cabin cards and then proceeding through security onto the Britannia. Our cabin was ready and after about 10 minutes I spotted that my case was outside the staff lifts. One of the crew passed it to me. My wife's case arrived at our cabin about 30 minutes later. I always look by the nearest staff lifts as the poor stewards are so busy it can often be hours before they have time to deliver your case. We were on the starboard side of the ship which is the sunny side on the crossing to Southampton. Sadly we were on A deck which had a large overhang which meant that after about 2 hours from sunrise you are shaded from the sun. Another problem with our cabin was that between 4am and 5am every morning there was a sound like a 747 taking off as the staff in the buffet above moved heavy trolleys around then dropped something heavy on the floor above. I would not recommend A deck for those who want a peaceful night. At Dominique we parked at the berth about a mile from the town. Apparently the week before the ship had berthed at the town. It is pleasant 30 minute walk along the front into town or there is a private shuttle bus for 2$. Our next stop was Tortilla were we had a nice walk along the beach to the small colourful craft village 15 minutes away. Next was St Maarten where, along with the majority of the guests on the other 2 ships in port with us, we took the 7$ day return 5 minute boat across the bay to the beautiful beach. From here and after a few beers we had our Great British Sailaway party as we set off on the 5 day sail to Ponta Delgada. For the first 4 days the temperature slowly dropped from 27° to 22°. There was lots of sun and most people were sunbathing on the top decks. We had there nights were we lost an hour so the when we arrived in the Azores we were 1 hour behind UK time. The day we left the Azores the weather took a turn for the worst. We soon got a heavy gale with wind at 80mph and gusts of over 100mph. Britannia rode the winds and massive waves splendidly, it's huge hulk being steadied by her stabilisers. We then had a final hour removed so that we arrived in Southampton with UK time. We had a free P&O coach to return us from Southampton to Manchester Airport. We assembled in the theatre until our Group were called to go down one flight of stairs and disembark on deck 5. You then go into the large warehouse where the cases are all lined up in deck order. Make sure you grab a free luggage trolley as you enter as it is a bit of a walk to the Manchester coaches. After a bit of a search we found our cases, went through Customs and left the building.. We were directed to the Manchester coaches which were being loaded in arrival at your coaches order. We were lucky went on the coach used as the Southampton FC team coach which left at 8.45am. We arrived at Manchester Airport at 2.30pm, despite a section of the M6 being closed. You get off the coach at a coach dropping off bay next to Terminal 1. Overall it was another great trip on Britannia. The towels have lost a lot of their fluff since our last 2 trips but you expect that after a few years of daily washing. The cabin stewards now have to service 18 cabins. The centre lift stairs only go up to deck 7. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Had a lovely cruise. But found that there was nothing at night. Freedom dining . Went at 7. O clock and was lucky if we finished at nearly 9.pm which meant that the show at 8.30 we missed and had to wait till 10.30 for next one. If we ... Read More
Had a lovely cruise. But found that there was nothing at night. Freedom dining . Went at 7. O clock and was lucky if we finished at nearly 9.pm which meant that the show at 8.30 we missed and had to wait till 10.30 for next one. If we did not go to show not much to do we are not drinkers so just walked about. Only 2 nights were la te. I am an older person but I won't go on another ship with most older people too many wheelchairs. I am sorry for saying that I know that but for the graceful of God I don't use one.i can't jive about but love to watch other people. Had a great rest bed by 9. 30 most nights. Cabin was lovely Steward looked after us. The ports visited were great and weather was kind to us. I suppose there were lots of positives as well as negatives can't please all Thanks to all will be back on another ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Azura Transatlantic: not the cruise from Hell! Warning: long review! Just back from this cruise, with my oldest friend; it was certainly “interesting” and actually made me realise how P and O cruises (of which this was my 20th) ... Read More
Azura Transatlantic: not the cruise from Hell! Warning: long review! Just back from this cruise, with my oldest friend; it was certainly “interesting” and actually made me realise how P and O cruises (of which this was my 20th) usually do run like clockwork! This one didn't; however much of what happened was not the fault of the staff and was handled well. We had priority boarding and were aboard by 12.50 and in the fizz and canape lunch in Sindhu by just after one. As it was my 60th birthday I really enjoyed a glass or 3 and something to eat; what a start to the cruise and still dinner in Epicurean to look forward to! Our cases had arrived by the time we had eaten and chosen a library book each, so we unpacked, found plenty of hangers and our cabin steward Cliford, who was superb, got us some more as we'd slightly overpacked, despite the fact that we would be flying home from Barbados. Muster was a little late as there was a coach stuck in traffic, so we got some Peller Ice from the Glass House and watched the people boarding through the window as we sipped. This meant that we sailed late, at nearly 6 o clock, something we were to do repeatedly on this cruise though for different reasons! We had a wonderful birthday meal in Epicurean, with smoked salmon carved at the table; pea and ham soup, main courses of lamb and veggie option, and crepes flambeed at the table with Grand Marnier. There were little extras from the chef, and some very nice wine; shiraz for me and chardonnay for my friend. We were too tired and replete to see the show, so relaxed on our balcony before bed. We had a lovely A deck midships balcony which was an upgrade to HA category from the HD one we'd booked. It was opposite the midship lifts but there was no noise at all from them. The beds were soft and in no time we slept. For the next 3 days we were at sea, with very calm weather for the first 2 and only a little moderately rough sea on the 3rd, so we explored, and went to many activities. Films, shows, talks, quizzes and displays. We enjoyed the daily sudoku and crossword from Reception, though we quickly got to know the style of the crossword setter and got a bit irritated with his 2 and 3 word clues and the grammatical inaccuracy of some clues which led to wrong conclusions! However we got all or most of them right each day, and it kept our brains working along with reading, talks, quizzes and the excellent Murder Mystery which we absolutely loved. It's the first time I've done one on a P and O ship; more please! A retired detective, Terry Brown, gave 3 interesting talks on these first 3 sea days, leading up to the Murder Mystery on the 5 days to the Caribbean. He had 11 volunteer suspects from passengers, set the scene, and put the rest of us into teams of detectives who had to interview each suspect, ask for further relevant information, discuss, and then come to a conclusion on the final day. We got it wrong but that didn't detract from the fun. The sessions overran each time which was a bit annoying as it prevented us from doing other things in which we were interested, so perhaps the Entertainment Manager needs to allocate more time than the standard 45 minutes to sessions of this kind in future. But I'd love to do it again! We were allocated a table for 6 on 2nd sitting, but only ate there about half of the nights of the cruise, though we enjoyed both the company of our table mates and the menus, because as it was a special birthday cruise we had decided to do more speciality eating, and tried the Epicurean twice, the Glass House 3 times, Sindhu once and the Beach House twice. All were excellent, though Epicurean is the best of all and I shall be there again next time I cruise! We had chosen this cruise as there were a lot of sea days, as we enjoy time at sea. I heard some people complaining about the number of sea days (one of which was actually spent docked for reasons I shall explain) and wondered why on earth they had chosen a transatlantic repositioning cruise if they didn't like sea days! There was always plenty to do; a bit of something for everyone. Pub quizzes and bingo, talks, shows, bands, comedy, choir,art classes, dance classes both formal and informal, etc etc. No classical music though, which disappointed me as I love it. Nor were there any of the more “intelligent” art house type of films that the ships which have dedicated cinemas sometimes show; the seascreen was all very “popular” stuff and many repeats. We also enjoyed just chilling out on our balcony or on deck with a coffee, iced water, beer or glass of wine too. What sea days are all about! Sunbeds: well despite pleas in Horizon and announcements on deck, the Lesser Spotted Azura Sunbed Hog is still alive and well even if there are definitely enough beds for all when people use them considerately. One announcement actually told us that there was no real way of policing sunbeds and appealed to our better nature; that might work on Aurora, sunshine, but you've got to remember that the big ships attract a minority who don't have one! But we could always get a bed somewhere. During the cruise I enjoyed my Caribbean privileges of free champagne one formal night and at a sailaway, and the excellent lunch with the officers and engineers. Before we got to the Caribbean, things went wrong though I shall say from the outset that none of it (except perhaps the sadness we all felt on learning of the road accident) stopped us from enjoying our cruise. We arrived on day 4 at Ponta Delgada, where despite cool weather we spent a morning exploring the town. There wasn't a lot to see but it was new to us so we enjoyed it. Pouring 2 gin and tonics for drinking on the balcony as we sailed away at 6 o clock, we awaited the usual “bing bong” names of pax not aboard, but instead got an announcement from Captain Camby telling us that there was a mechanical problem and that engineers were working on it, and we would sail late, without an announcement if it was very late. We went to dinner and tried not to think of the possible consequences. We didn't sail, and the Captain updated us again. During the night I kept waking up and peering out of the balcony curtains to see if we were still there. We were. And we were in the morning. I went up on deck for an 8 o clock update from the Captain, who told us that parts were being flown in and the problem still being worked on. We eventually slipped quietly away from the Azores at about 9.30 that evening, as we were eating our dinner in Sindhu. The Captain had kept us regularly updated, but would not make announcements late at night. Apparently it had been quite a serious problem, but it was handled extremely well by the Captain and staff. Disappointing to be stuck in Ponta Delgada for another rather cool day, when we were looking forward to the sun, but better than having a problem in the middle of the Atlantic! We all felt for Captain Camby as his wife was about to give birth to their first child and he wanted to get to St Maarten to fly home to them. In the end she gave birth the day before we got there, to an “adorable” boy called Austin Robert after his father. We were all delighted for him and hope he is enjoying time with his new family. So we changed Captains, to Angelo Vago whom we didn't warm to nearly as much, in St Maarten, where we did eventually arrive only 4 hours late after sailing 30 hours late from the Azores! Quite an achievement if you ask me! Unfortunately, late arrivals did somewhat spoil our enjoyment of some of the ports at the end of the cruise. I didn't mind the heat, but the humidity really got to me, and while we could have coped with doing things in the morning, arriving after noon made walking about almost impossible, and I am quite fit! I used the gym every day until we arrived in St Maarten, but for the final 6 days just found it too much despite the aircon in there! We did walk to Philipsberg and were not terribly impressed. We walked around, got hassled by vendors, had a rather expensive rum punch, and visited a shop advertising “clean restrooms” to buy a bottle of local rum and use their toilets. The “clean restrooms” turned out to be a filthy toilet in a corrugated iron shack with no paper and a notice on the door saying “No poo poo only pee pee.” Culture shock or what! Wonder what the American tourists made of it? Afterwards we found a small beach and had a lovely cool swim, followed by a hot and uncomfortable walk back to the shopping centre near the docks, sand in toes etc. We did a bit of shopping, had a cold beer, and got back on Azura, hoping to be a bit more comfortable the next morning in St Lucia. Unfortunately the late sailings continued, as one of the trips was very late back to the ship after a rope got tangled around a boat propeller, forcing the passengers to have to be rescued by coach. I bet they were pleased! We eventually sailed in the late evening, having changed Captains (Vago didn't keep us nearly as well informed as Camby), which meant another late arrival into St Lucia, and leaving the ship in the full heat of the day. Waiting for a water taxi to the town, we were informed that we would be put into groups of 16 and there would be a 25 minute wait. I could have gone with this at 9am, but not at 1.30pm in the humid 32 degree heat! My friend and I reluctantly made the decision to forget going to town and just to explore on foot the area around the docks, shopping and gratefully subsiding into a seat at a bar for cold drinks. We stayed over an hour and listened to the local band playing which we enjoyed. At least the toilets, though simple, were clean here! St Lucia looked nice from our balcony. I'd like to see it from a boat or first thing in the morning another time. We still sailed late (another delayed trip) which was annoying as we had not had a single sailaway so far. I am not wonderfully keen on the manic activity round the pool, preferring to have a quiet drink on my balcony or in a quieter deck bar, but part of a cruise for me is that lovely moment when the ship's horn sounds and we pull slowly away from our dock. I was missing it keenly by now. However, as the distance was short, we were docked early in Dominica, so looked forward to going ashore after an early breakfast. Again we were disappointed. We docked miles out of town as Celebrity had the town berth (do they pay more?) and it was too far to walk in the heat. We expected a P and O shuttle as we were docked so far away but there wasn't one (nor anywhere in the Caribbean; are they not allowed or something) so we paid for a private minibus tour of the area, only to discover that we had to wait nearly half an hour for him to fill up and there was no aircon, only open windows useless in the humid heat. I hated every minute on that bus and was glad to be dropped near the port, opposite the Celebrity ship. We had a short walk in town and retired gratefully to a cafe for cold drinks, where at least there was a large fan which we sat behind! It was a little slice of life sitting drinking local beer and watching the world go by. We managed to get a private taxi back to the ship. But he tried to charge us twice. As we had paid the asked for 10 dollars at the start we refused to pay again, and were left still with a walk to the ship, though not a long one. We went to the market but most of the stuff was tat. The current exchange rate makes everything expensive so you only buy what you really want! Unfortunately that was the day that there was a road accident on Dominica involving a car and a minibus which was carrying passengers on a P and O tour. One was killed and a number injured. Captain Vago announced this at departure time though rumours were already around the ship, and asked us out of respect not to speculate, particularly on social media, as no names could be announced until relatives had been contacted. This was fair enough though we found out that it was already on social media by the time he made his announcement. I decided to ring my husband at home and get him to ring my friend's family, which was just as well as he was faced with calls over the following days from friends and family who had seen it on social media. We were Speciality dining that night and went for cocktails first in the Planet Bar, but the news took the shine off our and others' evenings a bit as we all felt for those involved. Eventually we sailed, again later, with some of the pax with minor injuries able to reboard the ship and continue their holiday, though several were left in hospital with relatives being flown out and the Port Agent taking care of their arrangements. We felt sad as we watched their cases being offloaded. The next day was Grenada, which was our favourite island of those we visited. We had booked on the Rhum Runner, originally in the afternoon, for a sail around the island, a beach visit and some rum punch! Our trip was changed by P and O “for operational reasons” to the morning, which actually turned out better for us. As Britannia the monster was docked opposite us, we guessed the “operational reasons”; their pax got the afternoon trip! As it happened, we got sunshine and they got rain! We were very apprehensive about the trip after the Dominica incident, but we really enjoyed the island cruise on the big flat bottomed catamaran, with a chance to see the marine life, and the visit to an idyllic beach with time to swim, drink and laze. And lots of rum punch, and a steel band and dancing all the way back. It was all good clean fun, no one was too drunk and we loved it! Getting back onboard for lunch, we enjoyed more swimming and lazing in the afternoon. This time we sailed on time, more or less, and looked in on the Great British Sailaway with Britannia and Azura trying to outdo each other, but found it a bit full on and took our cocktails back to our balcony instead for a more peaceful departure. I was up at 6 to see the last docking in Barbados, and was glad we'd gone for the 15 night cruise as it gave us a full day and overnight there. As it was early we tried a walk, and saw some of the town, but got hopelessly lost trying to find a nearby beach and gave in to one of the persistent taxi drivers. He of course took us to his mates' place on Carlisle Beach, but it was very nice, with cold drinks, chairs and umbrellas for hire, showers to get the sand off etc, and free wifi. We had a swim and a short sunbathe, then more cold drinks. The driver picked us up and delivered us back to the docks where we did our last shopping before getting back onboard to start the dreaded packing and get a quart into 2 pint pots acceptable to the aircraft! We threw a few things away or stuffed them into handbaggage! Cases outside and vanished within 5 minutes, it was time to enjoy our last night, where we ate in the Beach House, and then had a drink on deck. I went to the show and my friend went to see a film, (that was often our after dinner choice) then we met for a nightcap before our last sleep. I had never done a transatlantic fly cruise so didn't know what to expect, and it wasn't a good way to end a lovely holiday! We were picked up on time, the coach was airconditioned, but it was a long ride and we were waiting by the roadside for a time. The airport lacked facilities and the duty free was too expensive. The flight was on time but we were made to stand at the gate in the heat for an unacceptably long period. An 8 hour flight is not pleasant and I shan't be doing it again. The service on the aircraft was appalling, a complete contrast to the excellent service we had from all the staff on Azura, and when we landed there were no trains for hours. We spent a freezing 3 hours at the station trying to get warm with hot drinks. Not recommended! On balance, we really enjoyed the “cruise” part of this cruise: the food, entertainment, service, and the huge majority of the company. The Caribbean; well I'm unsure. I liked Barbados and Grenada, and probably would have liked St Lucia if we had got to see more, but wasn't impressed with St Maarten or Dominica. Maybe you can't judge after so few islands. If I return, it'll be on a cruise sailing both ways from the UK. We passed Aurora who was on her way home as we sailed out to the Azores and I was envious (we had a great horn competition!) We met lots of really nice fellow passengers, and unfortunately 3 very rude people; really not bad out of over 3000! One woman who thought we had pushed in front of her in a queue (we hadn't, and she wouldn't accept it and ranted on and on like a lunatic!) and a couple who obviously thought they were better than everybody else on the ship and got into a rant about our being “chavs” (we aren't). But it's Azura again. We've never had any rude pax on the mid sized ships! So much so that we have a phrase in our house when someone is rude or crass: “Oh how very Azura of you!” To sum up: a chapter of accidents, couldn't be helped and well handled. Some ports we loved, others not. Great food and service. Great entertainment though less for the more educated and more for the lowest common denominator; quite a contrast to Aurora! Made myself stay awake till the night after the sleepless flight, and rested now though a bit jet lagged. Can't wait for my next cruise (Aurora!). Might give Azura a miss for a while, unless the itinerary is a must! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
To begin with, it’s only fair to say that all things considered, our time with the P&O Azura on this 15 night Caribbean cruise was good. The crew, accommodation, facilities and entertainment were excellent. The restaurant food was ... Read More
To begin with, it’s only fair to say that all things considered, our time with the P&O Azura on this 15 night Caribbean cruise was good. The crew, accommodation, facilities and entertainment were excellent. The restaurant food was most agreeable, however, it took us four days to get the freedom dining that we wanted. Initially, we had been assigned a late sitting, fixed table with fellow diners that were at least 30 years older than us. No disrespect to these people, but we had nothing in common largely due to the age gap and conversation was very stilted. When assigning tables I think the restaurant team should try and aim to have similar aged people wherever possible. As the cruise developed, there were numerous problems and events which made it unforgettable for all the wrong reasons (prompting one passenger we overheard in the atrium to call this the ‘jinxed cruise’). For us, it all started with the transfer coach from Manchester to Southampton which was struck by a pheasant. Speeding along the motorway, the coach collided with the hapless bird which smashed the windscreen forcing the coach driver to halt the journey at a service station until a replacement coach could be organised. This meant that we arrived as the ship was almost about to sail. However, in the embarkation terminal, we found that owing to some sort of IT issue, we could not be processed and so had to wait for what seemed like an eternity until we eventually boarded Azura. Because we then had to attend the lifeboat safety drill, it meant that the first day was pretty much over. A few days later at Ponta Delgada (Azores), the ship developed a technical issue which meant that we couldn’t depart and so had to spend another day in this unexciting port. Mechanical issues happen with something as complex as a cruise ship and the captain did his best to expedite things and get us on our way. However, because we were so delayed it meant that we had to cruise as fast as possible in a constant attempt to catch up. Despite this, we were delayed in getting to our next port of call and so had less time there than expected. Later in the cruise, we were shocked when an announcement was made that there had been an accident ashore in Dominica and one of the passengers had been killed. There was a road traffic incident in which their sightseeing mini-van was involved in a collision. There were apparently several injured passengers along with the passenger fatality. The driver was also killed. This was really sad news and to be honest, it was worrying since it was reported that some of the busses used for trips had seatbelts that were less than ideal and witnesses said that seatbelts had mechanisms that was so badly rusted they couldn’t close. Again, something P&O need to investigate thoroughly. Later, there were other incidents such as a small ferry that began to sink with cruise passengers on board and needed to be rescued. On another occasion, our departure from one of the islands was delayed again as one of the boats on an organised trip had mechanical difficulties (something to do with the propeller being snagged by fishing line). Of course, the incidents described could not be attributable to P&O, however they did have knock on effects and it is hard not to feel that some episode or other was likely to befall us. Some of the passengers on board did seem to be out of place and they did bring the tone down somewhat. For example, a man was exceptionally drunk and caused trouble in one of the bars. Eventually, he was restrained and put into isolation (I guess in the ships brig). When he had sobered up a little, he was interviewed and promised to behave, accepting that he would not be allowed access to any more alcohol - if he could be allowed to enjoy the rest of his holiday. Later, he was spotted drunk again as apparently, a friend had procured for him a bottle of spirits. To round the holiday off, after returning to the ship from a very exciting submarine trip, we were dismayed to find our cabin had been flooded. We were not upset by the flooding (water was coming in from the cabin next to us), but the way in which we were treated. For example, our door was open (a definite security risk) and the whole room was in disarray with carpets being pulled up and our belongings strewn haphazardly all over the place. Additionally, there were two large hot air blowers running noisily. Further, the cabin heating had been set to full (in an attempt to dry the carpets) however, this made the atmosphere like a sauna and it made our hanging clothes damp. Cutting a long story short, it took several frustrating hours to eventually be offered an alternative cabin. We understand that issues can happen with plumbing, however, after writing to P&O, they accept that things did not go smoothly and lessons would be learned. We have cruised with P&O nine times now. Despite the many things that happened on this particular trip on Azura, the unfortunate events have to be balanced against the positives. One of the highlights for us were the genuine, lovely people we met (shout-outs to Jim, Phil, John and Christine!). For that reason, coupled with the hardworking ships company, we would cruise with P&O again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I'm astonished that it appears that over half of Britannia's passengers appear to have endured an unpleasant experience. Either their standards are infinitely higher than mine (possible) or they are more sensitive to ... Read More
I'm astonished that it appears that over half of Britannia's passengers appear to have endured an unpleasant experience. Either their standards are infinitely higher than mine (possible) or they are more sensitive to disappointment (equally possible). I've seen the decor complained about - others found it pleasing. I've seen the food complained about - others enjoyed it. I've seen the entertainment complained about - others had only praise for it. I've seen the staff complained about - I had no complaints. Are there niggles - of course. There were times when a mid ship staircase would have been appreciated and I found the deck area pretty slippery at times but I'm fortunate to be able to walk and it's no bad thing to watch your step. I probably wouldn't chose A Deck under the overhang again but my husband wasn't bothered by it at all and we had shade to read in the warmth of the Caribbean. The ship never felt crowded, the library was excellent and the performers in the Theatre exceeded my expectations. The talks that I chose to attend were informative and the Ship's Tour was one of the highlights of the Cruise. I would strongly recommend it. I think it's desperately sad if people didn't enjoy their holiday. What I find frustrating is that many of the reviews are both positive and negative but when it comes to rating Britannia they rate on the negative. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first cruise with P&O having previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, celebrity, NCL and Thomson. We didn't read the reviews until after we had booked it and once I saw them I was expecting very little. The cruise ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O having previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, celebrity, NCL and Thomson. We didn't read the reviews until after we had booked it and once I saw them I was expecting very little. The cruise was a 10 day repositioning cruise from Southampton to Genoa, stopping at Lisbon, Gibraltar, Barcelona, Cannes, Marseille and Livorno. Embarkation was the best I have ever experienced, the coach picked us up at Manchester airport where we were flying back to, and the check in was quick and easy. Unfortunately the sail out and the following 36 hours were very rocky due to storm Katie and then the bay of biscay. But the captain was fantastic constantly reassuring people, although from what I heard the water got quite high and some of the balconies were affected. The cabin was immaculate we had an inside and there was plenty of space for the 3 of us. The ships is generally in good condition, there are a few rust patches on the outside but you can't see them while on the ship and the places where the rust was would be impossible the reach unless you wanted to seriously injure yourself. The inside of the ship was immaculate and beautiful, plenty of shops to walk round (including a Pandora stand in the main shop with a very good range of charms). Staff were all very friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them. The entertainment was pretty rubbish, there was very little during the day and whilst there were a few good shows at night the rest of it seemed to be playing music or dance lessons and the cruise director really was none existent, whereas with other companies they are fantastic and outgoing he seemed to only appear when absolutely necessary, so that was a bit of a let down. The food was overall good. The only 2 let downs for me were chilli sausages for breakfast!!!! And 3 currys and not much else in the buffet for lunch and dinner. The food was always hot and very good quality. The ports were very good, although the weather in some of them weren't the best but that couldn't be helped. Gibraltar was my favourite. Disembarkation couldn't have been easier, they took our cases the night before and we didn't see them again until we got back to Manchester and everything was very organised. Overall we had a fantastic holiday aside from the lack of entertainment and would definitely cruise on this ship again and with P&O. I would also recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Boarding at Valparaiso went well. Our cabin was great, and we were on G deck, the lowest passenger deck. The cabin was very clean, and certainly larger than what we have had with other cruise lines at a similar level. What was good ... Read More
Boarding at Valparaiso went well. Our cabin was great, and we were on G deck, the lowest passenger deck. The cabin was very clean, and certainly larger than what we have had with other cruise lines at a similar level. What was good that our suitcases slipped under the bed, which we have not been able to do with some cruise lines. Our cabin steward Johnny was first class. Cabin was left immaculate each day. The ship was very clean throughout. Newsletters for the UK and Australia were available daily, which meant we did not feel disconnected from the World. The theatre shows were very much hit and miss for me. I have a low tolerance regarding entertainment, and if I am not enjoying a show within the first 10 minutes, I have no hesitation in leaving. I only stayed through 4 shows in the 20 days sailing. Some acts were dreadful unfortunately. We were on Freedom Dining, and unfortunately in the main, it was not a pleasant experience, to the point that we used the buffet more than the restaurant. We felt rushed most times, with being seated, handed a menu, and before we had even had time to introduce ourselves to the other table members, let alone time to study the menu, we were being asked what we wanted to order. The food was so so. My wife had to send her meals back twice due to asking for no meat to be served with blood in it, and having it delivered oozing blood. On one occasion, she ordered roast pork, and it was mainly fat and gristle, so she left most of the meal. If that had happened on our preferred cruise line, the waiter would have asked what was wrong, and would have offered a replacement, but the plate was just whisked away. Ordering the ice cream or sorbet was a joke, because each time itcould be drank from the bowl because it was melted. No good putting ice cream in hot dishes guys. One other thing on it. We are used to the table waiter going though the menu, explaining what each item was, and making his recommendations, then waiting a short while before taking orders. I am not French, and could not understand what some of the meals were with the menus referring to the meals using French words. A dumbo maybe, but surely, plain simple menus in English would not be too hard to do. The buffet was great. No problems there at all. The tables were cleared quickly, the choice of food was good, and we could take as long or as little time as we wanted to, to eat. Also, a nice touch seeing the tables in the buffet laid up for the evening dining. The pub, the Crows nest, and The Globe were evening hangouts for us, and we enjoyed each venue. The musical entertainment was good, the quizzes were good, the staff were great. The Battle Of The Sexes was great fun, but I would have liked to have seen some debates on World issues take place. The itinerary was not great, but we knew that, so no issues on it at all. Unfortunate that we could not get into Bora Bora, and disappointed to hear some passengers complaining about it. We have been there before, so no issue on not making it in. The dress code was relaxed in the main, though I think it could have been slightly more relaxed for the buffet in the evening, with the wearing of dress shorts and a shirt, or collared top allowed, especially so on boarding day and port days. It was good seeing the staff asking people to leave because they were wearing shorts, but disappointed that on one occasion they asked a man to leave, and 2 minutes later ignored a young woman that came In with thigh high cut off jeans with ragged ends. The dress code is a close thing, because on several occasions we seen women wearing what would be termed shorts being allowed into the dining areas, whereas a man wearing pants the same length would have been refused. Disembarking in Sydney was great. We self disembarked at 7:15am, though I staff member tried to prevent us leaving, because he said that he had not been informed that clearance had been given. We soon convinced him that it had, and that we were going off like it or not. From ship to the airport in 30 minutes using the train from Circular Quay. Cost $14 each, which included the airport access fee. (Seniors fare for Australians holding a Seniors Card. I think a couple of $$ more for those that do not hold one). This was a first cruise with P&O for us, after spending some years using another cruise line, so I guess the question is, would we book with them again. A close thing, but the answer would be yes. There was nothing drastic enough that would prevent us booking again with them. We managed the dining problems we encountered by simply using the backup option, and that was fine. When leaving the shows early, we simply went and listened to entertainment in another venue. Overall satisfaction was not excellent, but certainly good. Some tweaking of the entertainment and training of dining staff would have brought an excellent rating from us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
WE set sail in rainy conditions but the weather soon picked up as we were on our way to Tenerife, an Itinerary change that occurred just before we were to go. However i enjoyed the Mt Teide cable car trip even though we had to queue for ... Read More
WE set sail in rainy conditions but the weather soon picked up as we were on our way to Tenerife, an Itinerary change that occurred just before we were to go. However i enjoyed the Mt Teide cable car trip even though we had to queue for nearly 3 hrs before we finally made the ascent! After that it was sun all the way to St Maarten. Obviously as the sun got hotter the sunbeds became fewer which was a bit of a problem especially as they had been placed so close together. People were out bagging them at 7 am despite daily warnings in Horizon magazine not to. The entertainment was varied during the cruise but I particularly enjoyed Kiki Dee in the Limelight club, The Beatles experience and Peter Howarth (The Hollies). However it would be so much better if there could be 3 performances every night in the Headliners theatre for those eating on the late sitting as there are never enough seats and it would be better if they introduced a ticket system to stop people who have already seen the performances earlier watching again and blocking the seats . OUr deluxe cabin was great , very roomy and slightly bigger balcony than in standard size cabins. We had full size bath, dressing gowns, slippers, fruitx1, canapes x2, chocs and chilled champagne on departure.That was wonderful. The meals in the Epicurean and Glass House and Sindhu and Beach House were great. They always have such beautiful steak even in the MDR.We had a table of 6 and met some very nice people . Dominica was great where we did Whale watching, and Grenada the lobster snorkelling in a sailing boat ws also a great trip even though we were drenched with torrential rain at the end! Good flight with Thos Cook to Gatwick in Premier which i would recommend if you can afford it. Great holiday overall. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Having read quite a few negative reviews and comments about Britannia in her first few months of operation, we set off on our journey to Southampton with open minds, determined to try her for ourselves and to have a great cruise. We were ... Read More
Having read quite a few negative reviews and comments about Britannia in her first few months of operation, we set off on our journey to Southampton with open minds, determined to try her for ourselves and to have a great cruise. We were not disappointed! There is a lot that P&O have got right with Britannia. First, let's get the little "niggles" out of the way. In our stateroom, grade HF Balcony, there was only one set of bedside drawers - so - put your underwear somewhere else! There was no bedside light, only lighting that stretched right across the back of the bed - so - take a tiny torch so you don't wake your sleeping partner up by having to put the lights on. You can easily get lost on your first few days - it's a big ship for heavens sake - you more than likely will get lost. However:- The staterooms are well decorated with comfortable beds, a large, wall mounted, flat screen TV and, in our stateroom, two full length mirrors. The shower is larger than most with glass surround rather than a shower curtain and it has two very useful shelves inside, as well as a ledge which is useful to put a foot on to be able to wash your feet! Most of the public rooms are beautifully decorated with well chosen furniture and furnishings. We particularly liked the Crow's Nest, the Crystal Room and the Atrium. We never failed to get a seat in the Horizon buffet or the Costa coffee shop. We enjoyed all our food on Britannia and the service was excellent. Entertainment on board was, for us, fair rather than good, but we enjoyed all the quizzes and the LED screen in the theatre was a great enhancement to the shows. Dancing in the Crystal Room was ballroom, no sequence, which was a disappointment as it's a lovely room and great not to be having to dance in the Atrium, as on some P&O ships. Embarkation and disembarkation were quite reasonable. There was a slight hold up getting on the ship because of an air-bridge fault and there was confusion getting off because reception were giving different advice to that of the disembarkation crew. Our main "gripe" on this cruise was nothing to do with Britannia - it was, in fact, the behaviour of some of our fellow passengers. It is quite evident that some people just regard themselves as "special". We joke about some of our European cousins putting towels on sun loungers to reserve them but, believe me, some Britannia passengers beat them easily! There are plenty of loungers for everyone if people will not reserve them and leave them empty for hours at a time. Sadly, despite notices in the daily Horizon, this happened all the time. There are some very comfortable 3 seater settees on deck and you would see one person laying down on them whilst others were walking around looking for somewhere to sit. Almost all of our evening meals were disturbed by a young couple on a nearby table who insisted on bringing their tired and crabby toddler down to diner. In fact on more than one occasion the father literally dragged the youngster along the carpet to the table. The toddler, most nights, screamed his way through the meal. On disembarkation there was drama when one woman flatly refused to obey an officer's request to return to the deck above, even when a lift was called for her - pure soap opera stuff! The Atlantic crossing was a good one and overall we were very happy with Britannia and would happily sail on her again. Just bear in mind that she is a big ship and carries a lot of passengers and this is where, if we have one, our hesitation to travel on her again would be. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We had a wonderful cruise on Oceana and enjoyed our time on the ship and the different ports of call: Lisbon Cadiz Gibralta Barcelona Cannes Livorno Genoa, back to Livorno Naples Dubrovnic and overnight in Venice. Cabin good, food good, ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise on Oceana and enjoyed our time on the ship and the different ports of call: Lisbon Cadiz Gibralta Barcelona Cannes Livorno Genoa, back to Livorno Naples Dubrovnic and overnight in Venice. Cabin good, food good, entertainment good. Weather was perfect apart from showers in the afternoon in Naples. Sail in to Venice with a very good commentary was wonderful. Our only complaint and it was a big one: Lack of communication regarding transfer back to Southampton from Gatwick. We booked online following an email about the cruise and checked to see how we would get back to Southampton from Gatwick. No problem, there would be a coach transfer. No there wasn't! We only found out by talking to someone at dinner (freedom dinning is great) We asked at reception about a coach and were passed to future cruise desk. The lady didn't know but said she would look into it and to come back next day. When we returned the next day we were told by a very smug man Lee Mudkins that there wasn't a coach and that their contract with us ended at Gatwick, end of story, however he knew straight away the cost of a taxi £150. No help, advice, assistance given whatsoever. We were not the only ones in this position and one poor lady only found out as we disembarded. Poor show P & O. Lesson learned....phone and check everything! We eventually got back to Southampton at just gone 11pm and I cannot praise the parking people at "Meet and Greet" enough. After we phoned them to say we would be arriving at Southampton Central Station at gone 11pm the lady said not to worry they would bring the car to us at the station. They saved us a taxi trip to the port. Well done Meet and Greet. To rub salt into the wounds...people had phone calls or emails to say that they could leave their cars at Gatwick and a shuttle would be there to take them to Southampton. We didn't get a phone call or email. It would have been much easier for us to park at Gatwick which is 2 hours drive from us and we had to pass it on our way to Southampton. As it was a four hour drive to get home and it was so late getting to Southampton we spent the night in a Hotel and drove home next day. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
P & O bill themselves as britains number one cruise company if they want to keep this title they need to start thinking about there passengers. Although the cabins are kept clean by the hard working cabin stewards it is not matched ... Read More
P & O bill themselves as britains number one cruise company if they want to keep this title they need to start thinking about there passengers. Although the cabins are kept clean by the hard working cabin stewards it is not matched by the in cabin entertainment. Yes they offer and interactive TV system that has bbc & sky news and sky sports news the interactive tv programmes that you can watch is not well thought out yest they offer free films and what they calss as favourite tv shows that offers a variety of programmes however they could change these on a regular basis. For a cruise that had 8 days sailing the on deck entertainment could have been better the entertainment team did not do a lot during sea days in fact if it was not for the sail away parties or the daily table tennis competition you would not have known that there was an entertainment team onboard. The evening entertainment was not much better as they only tribute acts that they had was Phil Collins who was very good and a Cliff Richard tribute that is not everyones cup of tea. When it comes to disembarkation the reception staff seem to be unwilling to change the time of your disembarkation on unwilling to think about there passengers I contacted them snd explained that i had a train to catch from manchester to edinburgh that afternoon and asked if there was anyway that we could change the disembarkation time due to our time for the train I was told that this was not possible however we discovered that other passengers that were transferring from southampton to manchester airport were leaving the boat an hour earlier that us, this unwillingness to change our time resulted in us missing our train from manchester which resulted in us having to purchase new train tickets. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We travelled down from Lancashire the day before sailing and stayed in the Holiday Inn at Eastleigh. This was a comfortable hotel and a relaxing start to the cruise. Boarding was stress free as we had priority boarding and we were on ship ... Read More
We travelled down from Lancashire the day before sailing and stayed in the Holiday Inn at Eastleigh. This was a comfortable hotel and a relaxing start to the cruise. Boarding was stress free as we had priority boarding and we were on ship before noon and enjoying the complimentary champagne and lunch in Carmens. We had our hands squirted with gel 5 times before we actually got into Carmens. Cabins were ready for 2pm and we were pleasantly surprised by how clean it was and the amount of storage. It is a few years since we last had an inside cabin but as the balconies on this ship are at a premium we decided to book inside. The cabin was compact but it did fit everything in and we had taken a lot. Our cabin steward was friendly and professional as were all of the crew we came into contact with. The Captain Neil Turnbull was a character and probably the most informative Captain we have sailed with. His influence on the crew was apparent and it was a happy ship. Lots of different venues on this ship with many choices of entertainment. Large Cinema, theatre, show lounge, nightclub, crows nest, and various bars. We sampled them all during the 22 nights we were on board. The show lounge Carmens has a super dance floor and most nights there was ballroom dancing in there to a live group or CDs. The theatre shows were very energetic but this is an older ship and the theatre productions were more limited than on the newer ships. The Cabaret artistes were varied but no big names for a Christmas cruise. We had booked 1st sitting dining as we enjoy the evening entertainment and find there are more choices for early diners. We ate in the Alexandra restaurant on a table for 6. Great table companions and the food was probably the best MDR food we have encountered. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the alternative dining restaurants. These were very mixed in our opinion and not up to the same standard as the other ships in the fleet. The weather was rough up to Madeira and the ship hit many pot holes. I am not a good sailor but managed okay with over the counter medication. After Madeira the weather was sunny and got warmer each day. There were many sea days and lots of activities around the ship. We wanted a lazy relaxing cruise so didn't attend any of the day time activities. The pool areas were quite small for sun worshipers but the aft desks make up for this with lots of spaces for beds and chairs. The prom deck is wide which is also a bonus. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were very special with carol services, and the children watching out for Father Christmas. The Christmas Eve deck party was great fun with live music and dancing. Nothing better than spending Christmas Day on a sun lounger with a bottle of Champagne. At the ports of call which in the Caribbean were Barbados, Antigua, Tortola and St Maarten, we did our own thing. The trips were expensive and as we had been to all the islands many times decided to DIY. New Years Eve there was a deck party again. This was well attended and the Captain counted in the New year. Not sure what time the party went on till but early hours of the morning. On the return journey the weather was warm and sunny right up to the day before Southampton. We should have called at the Azores but this was changed to a 1/2 day call in Madeira due to a passenger becoming seriously ill after we left the Caribbean. Overall we liked the Aurora but it is in need of some TLC. There were strange smells in the corridors and buckets made regular appearances to catch water dripping from the light sockets. We were on C deck so not sure if this is the only deck with this problem. I think that we prefer fly cruising as this means more port of calls but this was certainly a relaxing cruise. Disembarkation was a breeze because we had priority and were off the ship by 08:30 collected the luggage without problems and car from CPS and were on the road before 9am. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Background: We're 60 year old Australians with 10 previous cruises on different ships (and many different cruise lines) with which to compare. This was our first cruise on a British ship except for cruising on the original Oriana ... Read More
Background: We're 60 year old Australians with 10 previous cruises on different ships (and many different cruise lines) with which to compare. This was our first cruise on a British ship except for cruising on the original Oriana way back in 1984! The official sector of the around the world cruise was from Sydney to San Francisco but we were allowed to embark in Brisbane. This added another 3 nights to the cruise making it a total of 28 nights. British pounds which are used onboard are now only $1.50 as our exchange rate has improved. Embarkation: As we live near Brisbane we drove and left our car at a nearby car storage. As our return trip would be by air from USA, they would collect us at the nearby international airport. Their shuttle service was efficient. Arriving after 11 am, we were forced to stand in line at the cruise terminal until midday when they opened the counter. The line moved slowly as only about 3 cruise staff processed the 300 odd passengers boarding here. Gradually more staff appeared (maybe they had been on lunch?). We couldn't understand why the process wasn't started earlier or more staff used as with other cruise ships at this port. With such a relatively small number of passengers embarking here, the process should have been quicker. Once on board, we were directed to our cabin where we left our hand luggage and went for lunch. Throughout the cruise we had 5 Cruise Critic meetings with our small group followed by lunch in the MRD. The Ship: Built in 1995, the Oriana was showing its age but the recent refurbishment helped it feel modern. Public areas were nicer than we expected. Carpets looked new and the crew were constantly painting and undertaking other maintenance. It had recently been converted to an 'adults only' ship. The recently added 'duck's tail' to the lower rear of the ship seemed to help it handle some rough weather near USA. With 1800 passengers it is a comfortable size and has a good layout. The promenade deck was very wide and great for walking. While the majority of the passengers were British, there were a large number of Australians. We did get the impression that some of the reserved Poms were taken back by the comparatively loud Aussies. As mentioned in previous reviews, passengers in the rear restaurant complained of noisy vibration. At a 'question & answer' session, the captain apologised for the excessive vibration and said it was due to the 2 propellers being slightly out of timing. He said that it was worse at certain speeds which they were trying to avoid. Fortunately we weren't in that restaurant but did find the noise from the vibration excessive when in the Pacific Lounge which is on the deck directly above the rear dining room. It appeared that certain performers were moved from here to the front theatre for this reason. After the captain's comments, the noise did appear to reduce. In the interest of hygiene we would have preferred if the public toilets had the main door left open as on many other ships avoiding the need to use paper towels to open them. Also some public toilets regularly were out of order. Cabin: The overall size of our inside cabin is not large, but sufficient for two people and our luggage. Unfortunately as we booked late (at a good price), we had a 4 berth cabin. The top bunks against the walls caused problems as we had the queen bed arrangement. Also there is no space between the end of the bed and the wardrobe on one side and the desk on the other. The shower was fairly small but the curtain didn't get sucked inwards. The flat-screen TV was a reasonable size. The a/c made the cabin freezing even on the highest setting (this was fixed after complaining). There was a small fridge which was handy for keeping our supply of Coke & snacks cold. Ice had to be requested (we had a standing order at noon each day). Also if you want a top sheet, ask for it. Food & drinks: We found the service in the main dining room to be fine but the standard & variety of food was inferior -- certainly not to the quality of food on American ships like Princess. There was a noticeable lack of seafood other than fish -- not even the usual prawn cocktails (as my DW is not a seafood lover she was reasonably happy with the quality). We laughed at their idea of tiger prawns - extremely little in size & in number. Even on the formal 'black tie' nights the food was nothing special! Our wine waiter was prompt & reliable. As this is a British ship there were strict rules on dress code in the MRD (we were aware this of pre cruise). There were 6 Black Tie & 7 Smart (jacket required!!!) nights on this cruise. This was different to the relaxed Aussie & American cruises. After experiencing the long lines at the buffet the first morning, we used the MRD for breakfast most other mornings. Also the food seemed improved and the atmosphere more relaxing for breakfast. We enjoyed the popular fruit smoothes but missed the large American style pancakes and freshly made waffles. Also fresh fruit at times was in very limited supply. We did use the buffet for lunch but wished the quality of the food was to a higher standard -- much of it looked like leftovers. Trays are still supplied. On some port days many passengers were late for the early sitting in the MRD. As a result there were long lines in the buffet as only one side was being used (the other side was kept closed in the evening as it led to one of the extra-charge restaurants on the rear deck). We did use this Italian extra-charge restaurant on the evening leaving Sydney. The view of the harbour as we sailed out was fantastic but the service was extremely slow and the food disappointing. To receive better quality food an additional payment was required! We were pleased to see hand-sanitizers at MRD and the buffet -- their use was strongly encouraged. Alcohol was reasonably priced. We used a soft drink card for post-mix drinks which only gave a small saving but was convenient and time saving. Surprisingly low-priced duty-free spirits could be bought and consumed in your cabin. Also P&O UK has relaxed views on the amount of wine brought onboard. Staff and service on board: Organization on the ship was generally excellent with the one exception at Honolulu where maybe USA customs clearance could have been handled better to avoid long lines. Tendering, which occurred at only one port, was well organised with no delays. The crew who were mainly from Goa, India were polite but didn't seem cheerful. Generally they were not up to Princess' standard. The reception staff were friendly and polite. Captain Camby, who was the youngest in the fleet, was very popular especially with the females as he was a John Travolta lookalike. We found him to be very approachable, humorous and conveyed information in great detail. Cruise Director, Michael Mullane was also popular and did a great job. Both performed well together one evening in the miming game, 'Give Us A Clue'. A 4 page daily newspaper printed for Australia as well as Britain was popular and much appreciated. Prices in the photo gallery were half that of Princess. Having several laundrettes on board was a bonus. Also surprisingly they were free but this can cause problems as some passengers used them to wash a few clothes only at a time causing delays. Entertainment: The program of entertainment was much organised with a full colour 'Your Cruise Overview' printed at the start of this sector. This listed the dress code and all the evening activities for each day. On cruises we enjoy the shows in the evening. The performers in the Headliner Company did a superb job. Also we were pleasantly surprised to find they did 8 different shows during the cruise -- certainly more than Royal Caribbean offer! These were the highlight of our evening. On 2 occasions we even saw their repeated show the next night. Unfortunately the main theatre (the Theatre Royal) had a design fault with the seating. Many of the flip-seat bases were sloping downwards causing us to slide forward. Also to increase the capacity of the theatre, legroom was minimal. The alternative entertainment area (the Pacific Lounge) was laid out like a lounge - as a result its capacity was limited. Also unless you arrived early, one's view could be blocked by supporting posts. Most of the guest entertainers were British (our favourites were a singer, Emily Reed and comedian, Richard Guantlett) and of an acceptable standard. This cruise consisted of many sea days. The program of activities was good and my DW loved participating in the passenger choir but missed not having Zumba. The many guest lecturers were popular (almost filled the theatre) and very informative -- every sea day had presentations by at least 2 lecturers. There was a cinema on this ship with good movies but we didn't have time to see any - for us days at sea go by quickly. We should mention that we were travelling with friends with whom we spent at least 2 hours each sea day playing cards. The only suitable location for this activity was in the buffet. Shore Excursions & Destinations: We normally try to avoid shore excursions organised by ships as we feel that they were too expensive although on this ship they were more reasonably priced than American ships. Armed with maps & information collected before the cruise (supplemented with detailed free local maps picked up on land), we easily explore ourselves. Also as we had been to New Zealand before this worked extremely well. The other Pacific ports of Bora Bora & Papeete were easy to explore ourselves; whereas, in Honolulu we with our friends found a great guide who copied the ship's sightseeing tour for much less cost. Disembarkation: As we had been cleared by customs at Honolulu everything went smoothly and on time leaving the ship. There was the usual line waiting for taxis but this was well organised. Conclusion: P&O UK proves that you get what you pay for. In our opinion the service and entertainment are excellent whereas the food was generally disappointing. There is certainly no heavy selling while on this ship. Generally we would recommend them as long as you remember these are British ships. While onboard we didn't take advantage of P&O UK's Future Cruise Credits scheme as it was too restrictive but would consider cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We drove the 150 miles to Southampton on the day before and arrived at the port by 10-30am on 17th december. The cases were unloaded and keys handed over, and we then arranged for assistance to board. The staff were excellent staying with ... Read More
We drove the 150 miles to Southampton on the day before and arrived at the port by 10-30am on 17th december. The cases were unloaded and keys handed over, and we then arranged for assistance to board. The staff were excellent staying with us all the way through check-in and took us up to Belvidear Resturant. We then found ourway round the ship arriving at our Stateroom by 2pm. G12 has a wet room and grab rails and has plenty of room for the wheelchair. After unpacking, muster was called, we went to our station in the Theatre on deck1 as stated on back of stateroom door, only to be turned away and told to go up lift to deck2. We were disgusted that this happened and what would happen in a real emergency. We did highlight our concerns with the Purser who said in an emergency we should stay in our cabin and be collected by staff.We are not happy as we might get overlooked especially as there was 64 wheelchairs on board. Our first stop was Madiera, I read in the accessable Tour Brochure that there was an accesable Shuttle bus, but on disembarkation we were told that the bus had been used for a tour and so was not available, we struggled on to shuttle coach but got a Taxi back to the Ship. When returning we found a letter from P & O stating that wheelchairs were not allowed on tours in the Caribbean. We had booked 3, although we got this refunded, we were given no help to secre alternative tours. The accessable tours were sold out and double the cost of normal tours. On enquiring about the distance to the railway in St Kitts we were told we could not get a cab there as they only took people on ships tours, so we did not get on the train. We were nervous about using taxis but all was well no thanks to P&O and we saved as tours by shared Taxi worked out half the cost of P&O tours and drivers happy to take the folded Wheelchair.A fellow passinger arranged for us to meet the Purser who we shared our concerns and said we should have read the FAQs on web site and he contacted Southampton and they are ? going to make it clearer in future and also change info re Madiera to remove mention of accessable shuttle instead of ensuring there is an accessable bus. This is not Good enough and causes disabled people not to be equal with others. The cabin was not cleaned thoroughly with dust and bins not emptied, and on occasions towels not replaced. Beds were not turned down and no towel animals appeared, P&O are definitly cutting corners to maximise profit. The theatre Shows were excellent as were the Acts with Tom O'Conner one of the best. However there was little in the way of live music during the day.IS this another economy drive? The gingerbread village which the chefs had made was brilliant. The food was variable with Steak very tough, but a good variety, A Diabetic on our table found that Melen was often the only starter suitable and requested Prawns or shrimps and was refused, We felt this was not an unreasonble request. Overall despite the issues we had with tours etc we had a very enjoyable cruise, with all the fellow passingers very friendly and the Cruise Director Jon and his team superb. Finally a mention of the excellent care we recieved from the medical Centre when Ann was taken ill on Christmas Day.We are so gratefull for their care and timely treatment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Embarkation. We boarded at The Ocean Terminal for the first time and found it to be excellent. The process of handing over the car the luggage and proceeding through check in and onto the ship was pretty well seamless. Arrived at terminal ... Read More
Embarkation. We boarded at The Ocean Terminal for the first time and found it to be excellent. The process of handing over the car the luggage and proceeding through check in and onto the ship was pretty well seamless. Arrived at terminal at about 11.15am and were on board by just after 12.30pm. I would have rated the process 5 but for the fact that there were about 400 Portunis Gold Club members, who, quite rightly had priority but given the numbers it took quite a while to process them. Service. We found to be excellent throughout the cruise and we were very well looked after by all the staff but particularly by our waiters Sebastian and Ajay on table 116 in the Meridian Lower Tier and by Loretta the chief bar keeper in the wonderful Rising Sun Pub. As mentioned in the cabin section our steward was first class. Food. On the whole was very good, as ever on P&O well presented and served. One or two issues with the Belvedere self service restaurant, probably the worst self serve out of Arcadia, Ventura and Oriana. In saying that my comments relate to breakfast and lunch, dining in the evening was good. The curry nights particularly were of a high standard. The two speciality restaurants are fabulous and well worth the cover charge, I am just sorry Gary Rhodes franchise is coming to an end. However, I am sure Marco Pierre White will do a fine job. Really we would love to see freedom dining across the fleet, I don't think you can get away from the fact that first sitting is too early and second is too late. Sitting at the same table with the same people at the same time is really quite low on our cruise wish list.Ports and excursions. The itinerary was superb and all the ports had something good to offer. New York was an undoubted highlight but they were all good. The excursions were varied interesting and reasonably priced. Particularly good was the JFK museum and library in Boston, the trip to Kennebunkport from Portland Maine,and, the Titanic experience in Halifax Nova Scotia. Entertainment. Absolutely the best on any cruise we have been on. The Cruise Director Tracy Clegg and her team (and a team is just what they were) gave their all. I have never known an entertainments team work so hard and so well. From Arcadia's version of Strictly Come Dancing to Quizzes and the ships own version of loose women called 'Loose lips' it was all fantastic. Our wonderful dance instructors Alan and Ginny Newman were lovely people, so kind and patient and they made learning to dance such fun. On the formal side Sam Kane, Brian Conley and the wonderful voice of Eve Sherratt were exactly what they are stars. I did hear a not of complaining the morning after one show, a comedian, and, I have seen something in a review on this site. However, cannot comment as were attended the dancing that evening. We both found the lecture programme varied and interesting, in fact some topics I would have not expected to be interesting turned out to be very good. Summary. Absolutely fantastic we loved it and will certainly never forget the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We agreed to join some friends on this cruise from Barbados back to Southampton as we hadn't tried a relocation cruise before with its many days at sea. We were slightly concerned by some of the comments about the ship looking tired ... Read More
We agreed to join some friends on this cruise from Barbados back to Southampton as we hadn't tried a relocation cruise before with its many days at sea. We were slightly concerned by some of the comments about the ship looking tired and in need of a refit but need not have been. It sounded from some of the views to be like a floating shed but honestly there were no threadbare carpets or second rate feel to it but was lovely throughout. Probably the most obvious area is the carpet in The Plaza restaurant area which was stained in many places and needed a deep clean though when it can be done would be difficult as this area is in use about 18 hours a day. Indeed, we thought that this was probably the best designed and run ship we have ever been on.The flight out using Thomson in Premium seating was very good (except they ran out of a choice of meals which is one of the features of Premium) and we arrived at Barbados totally relaxed having had the extra legroom, though the temperature was a bit of a shock having been scraping ice of the windscreen in the morning. Bags went straight to the cabin with no queuing for immigration only an amazingly efficient boarding system and we were onboard in no time and off to find a drink until our cases arrived.We only had an inside cabin but it had plenty of room for us, sparkling clean en-suite and a lovely steward, Grazie. Once I worked out that the corner shelves in the wardrobe folded up, there was plenty of hanging space and so many drawers in the beside cabinet and desk unit that we did not fill them all. The cabin was quiet as far as ship noise was concerned though the air conditioning unit had air flow noise and the thermostat needed to be put up as it was chilly.We would have rated the ship excellent but for the draughty and erratic air conditioning in the public parts of the ship. It tended to blow cold air down on you (one day the lady in front was wearing her NorthFace fleece in the theatre) and this could be in the restaurants or other venues, but another day it would be off and hot. It also seemed to me to be obtrusively noisy in Starlight or Footlights for lecturers and piano concerts so the AC is an aspect that needs attention. Remember that it can be cold and take a wrap.There seemed to be an amazing number of spaces on the ship to sit, not quite all with a bar attached. The library was small, no doubt to make space for the cyberspace area. Deck space was also large and split up into many smaller areas with lots of loungers. Despite some very hot days early on, I never saw all the areas full though there was competition around the central area. This was the area used for the sailaway party which seemed to me was something out of Butlins but I happily accept that it is not my thing and on the ship of its size easily avoided. This brings me to the entertainment. The Headliners, the ships song and dance company of 13 very fit boys and girls performed routines of a good standard and were enjoyable. However, the other cabaret acts were less good. Andre, the comedy magician, had some inappropriate material for the age range in the audience and you can always tell when the audience is not happy with it by the slightly nervous laughter. The age of material was largely ancient - I could not believe he used the gag of a message for Joe who is 111 - Oh no, he's ill. That must be circa 1956. He also used some Tommy Cooper routines eg the wooden duck choosing a card but he does not come near to Tommy Cooper but sounds like Jim Davidson mucking about with old tricks.It did not get better with the singer Rob Linacre. I sat spellbound as to how anyone could be so bad and be paid. It was like watching Adrian Chiles singing with his face screwed up with his eyes like slits with someone holding his privates to get the higher notes - indeed as he tastefully put it "To reach those notes my bum cheeks were so clenched you couldn't get a credit card between them". I couldn't take much of the female singer Jessica Lloyd either though part of that was the sheer volume that was coming at me. The classical pianist Simon Weale was competent and pleasant giving perhaps rather perfunctory performances some of which did not even manage 45mins. The guest lecturers were Professors, one specializing in Conspiracy theories and cover-ups who was good and popular and the other going into the history and structure of crime fiction who was interesting but a minority taste. I did not see Eddie the Eagle's after dinner talk. These are of course only my opinions and to others the acts were obviously popular.The weather stayed generally calm for the crossing and indeed the ship rode well up to the Force 7 we had, though there was more cloud and rain than we hoped. The sea days passed easily and the holiday did what we intended it to be as a relaxing break and back for spring. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
2nd time on the Ventura 1st time was on the Med, this time transatlantic to the Caribbean. Over all it was an enjoyable cruise just a couple of grumbles. But first the good points. Our cabin was an outside and was very comfortable, ... Read More
2nd time on the Ventura 1st time was on the Med, this time transatlantic to the Caribbean. Over all it was an enjoyable cruise just a couple of grumbles. But first the good points. Our cabin was an outside and was very comfortable, and the cabin layout was great, we particularly liked the open plan wardrobe, it gives you lots of space for cases etc, The in cabin entertainment was wonderful, with a great choice of free tv and free movies. The food was wonderful, the entertainment was amazing in quantity and quality, the cruise director Leon de Ste Croix was excellent. As were the guest speakers among which was Duncan Mckenzie who did a few wonderful talks and a very entertaining Q&A session in the theatre. We had about 5 comedians on the cruise 3 singers 2 groups and a classical pianist, so as I said amazing entertainment. Bar prices were excellent, UK pub prices in fact Also the ship its self is beautiful and well maintained. The minus points were, some of the passengers :-( P&O had drastically reduced the cruise prices just before the sailing date, so much that some of the passengers were from the lower end of the passenger scale and would have been better suited to "Butlins or Pontins". That may sound snobbish but i'm far from a snob (from a Liverpool council estate originally) but I have done 20+ cruises and I do know how to behave with people and how to consider other people. Anyway on with this review, most of the time it was not possible to get a sunbed with people reserving them from early morning 6 - 6.30am in some cases. One last thing was some of the staff in the waterside in particular the lads who were clearing tables, they were not as friendly or efficient as they usually are and were very very slow to replace cups and glasses in the drinks areas, quite often none of the drinks areas had any cups or glasses and you had to ask for them and then eventually got them. All that said it was still a good cruise and we did enjoy it. One last thing I must commend P&O for their transfer organisation it was brilliant both getting to the ship by coach from Manchester and getting to the airport in Barbados, one great thing was putting your bags outside the cabin on last night and not seeing them till Manchester airport, OTHER CRUISE LINES TAKE NOTE !! :-) Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Have cruised with Celebrity, R Caribbean, Costa and Princess, so have some reference points - ship is a bit tired, passengers almost entirely Brits, and although my wife and I had a great holiday, the frills were definitely missing. Some ... Read More
Have cruised with Celebrity, R Caribbean, Costa and Princess, so have some reference points - ship is a bit tired, passengers almost entirely Brits, and although my wife and I had a great holiday, the frills were definitely missing. Some good points - smooth crossing and reasonable weather; main dining room food and service excellent; usual stuff like newsletter of daily activities provided and quite a lot to do (essential of course for transatlantic) Lots of minor reservations on quality - self service food choice limited; speciality restaurant not impressive - more of a bistro; entertainment patchy in quality, and choreography/costumes for shows not up to competitors; staff attentive but glum; room service limited, often with extra charges; some localised maintenance lacking such as torn seats, toilet fittings and lights not operational, rusty spots on bulkheads on balcony, unvarnished handrails Just to add to things, there was a norovirus outbreak on board, with rigorous quarantine and sterilisation programmes from day one - all passengers in affected cabins (not just ill person)strictly quarantined to cabin for days - self service closed for several days. Anyone who had to visit the ship`s doctor was quick to express surprise at the level of (immediate)charges, and sometimes also the overzealous diagosis/treatment. This is not necessarily a criticism - better safe than sorry - but be aware. Computer system broke down for boarding, so long queues in a warehouse in the heat, after a wait in the bus due to multiple simultaneous flight arrivals. Balcony limited in size and is hole in bulkhead rather than glass like more modern ships. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This was our first 'proper' cruise with P&O, we have previously cruised with Royal Caribbean (to the Caribbean and Alaska) and have done weekenders on the Oceana and NCL. Ventura is a beautiful ship. The staff are immaculate ... Read More
This was our first 'proper' cruise with P&O, we have previously cruised with Royal Caribbean (to the Caribbean and Alaska) and have done weekenders on the Oceana and NCL. Ventura is a beautiful ship. The staff are immaculate and very helpful and courteous. I felt she lacked the initial wow factor when we boarded, however she is modern, elegantly furnished and there are some lovely areas that have been very well designed. the Atrium was smaller than I expected having seen photo's but was a lovely place to wander and people watch! Ventura seems to do a good job at catering for most people most of the time. There is the Exchange 'pub' for quizzes, karaoke , bands etc for those who want a lively entertained holiday but also bars like Metropolis which is calm and sophisticated with a pianist at certain times. One of the weakest areas of the ship is the outside space (or lack of it). There are just too many passengers for the space available. There are just hundreds and hundreds of sun beds filling every single corner of available space, and as soon as the sun came out they were all full - or reserved!! There were no clear walkways so it was virtually impossible to get from one end to the other. You could usually find a sun bed, it was just a case of picking your way through the crowds. We headed right to the front and sat in the semi shade of the old sports court which was very pleasant. Another weak point in my opinion was the casino. It was just small and drab. There were a couple of gaming tables and a very small area with lots of fruit machines and stools all crammed in which was also a walkway through. It is also adjacent to the pub and when something was going on in there the noise completely dominated the casino. Not good. We spent very little time and consequently very little money in there because of this. Our room was lovely, clean and tidy, well fitted out and kept spotless morning and evening - thank you Pascoal. I was surprised on the rest of the ship about the lack of enforcement of the use of hand gels. There were a couple (some not working) in the self serve area and that was it. You were not required to do it entering the dining rooms, re-boarding the ship etc, no wonder we all had colds and coughs by the second week. The food was superb all over the ship. The self service was excellent, always something different to try, we tended to go outside peak times to avoid the queues. The Saffron main dining room was also excellent, Bonny and Peter looked after us very well. Lunch and afternoon tea were also very good, possibly a little rushed but very nice. East - the Asian fusion restaurant was absolutely outstanding. The whole thing was superb from start to finish. We went twice in the evening and once for a curry lunch. Well worth every penny of the small supplement. The White Room - the food was very nice, the service was good but it all just seemed to lack something. We ordered 'Medallions of beef with rocket' which in fact translated to steak with lettuce on top. It was a nice evening but I didn't really think it warranted the much larger supplement. I felt that the entertainment was a little regimented, it was always the same band in the same bar at the same time every night. They never rotated. the Entertainment Team for me were not very entertaining or visible. If you like doing quizzes with your morning pint you were fine! There was only two hosted sail away parties the whole two weeks - we were all up on deck - where were they??? Overall we had a good cruise on a nice ship. It was all a bit 'British' for my taste. I quite like the mixture of Americans and Europeans you get on other lines, it makes it feel more like a holiday. I would cruise with P&O again and possibly on Ventura but only to the Baltic's or Fjords where sun beds would not be an issue. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
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