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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We had previously cruised on Oceana and loved it. We chose Britannia as we could only travel in August and we liked the ports of call in the med. We had a balcony cabin on deck 12 midship. The cabin was modern and equipped with all ... Read More
We had previously cruised on Oceana and loved it. We chose Britannia as we could only travel in August and we liked the ports of call in the med. We had a balcony cabin on deck 12 midship. The cabin was modern and equipped with all we needed. Our cabin steward was very polite although he didn’t clean as I thought he should have, eg he never hoovered once in 14 days. Food was excellent in all restaurants. We had a dining experience in the Epicurean which was outstanding. We found all staff polite and welcoming. There was a packed itinerary of activities all day. In my opinion cruising is value for money. The gym wasn’t the best. There was lots of cardio equipment but the free weights area was somewhat lacking. There was one lat machine with only one side working. The main pool on Lido deck was very busy and noisy but the adult on section on the deck above was peaceful. The air conditioning inside the ship was set to quite cold so I’d advise a cardigan or sweater in doors if you are sensitive to the cold. Disembarkation was organised, we were able to find our luggage without any problems Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
My partner and booked this cruise as we felt like we needed a winter getaway. We also had a fantastic time on a January cruise in 2017 and wanted to explore more of the world using this excellent mode of transport. We are both in our mid ... Read More
My partner and booked this cruise as we felt like we needed a winter getaway. We also had a fantastic time on a January cruise in 2017 and wanted to explore more of the world using this excellent mode of transport. We are both in our mid 20’s and really enjoy hiking, exploring and just generally being active. The aim was to come back feeling relaxed but also like we gained new knowledge and experience. This would be our third cruise and first time with P&O. Embarkation and disembarkation I cannot fault, it is seamless from start to finish. We were on a charter flight and on arrival at Barbados we were whisked straight off the plane to the ship. We had no queue to check in and get our cruise cards created. On departure day everything is digitally signposted to make sure you know where you need to be and at what time. Our cases were taken the night before and immigration came onto the ship to handle our paperwork the day before we left. We were given our flight tickets around 4 days before departure along with our luggage labels and explanation of the process. The dedicated lane at the airport for cruise passengers was also super speedy, definitely the best we have encountered. Exercise & Leisure: There is a well equipped gym and running track on the upper deck, we used these everyday and found there was enough equipment for everyone without having to wait around (obviously there are peak times e.g. around 9am). There are free sessions such as the ‘morning stretch’ that you can sign up to along with classes such as spinning which come at a small fee. There is also a basketball court and golf area (no mini golf though which would be an excellent addition). Beside the gym is also the cookery school kitchen which looks fantastic, we did not get to experience this but there was always a variety of different classes advertised for a fee. The spa we did not use, on our first day at sea we went to have a look around at the thermal suite which appeared quite small plus it felt like a really hard selling approach to get us to purchase day passes. We did not receive our requested call back for availability and so we did not visit. There is also the ‘retreat’ open air spa terrace available for booking in conjunction with the thermal suite. Entertainment & Activities: Everyday you will find a full program of things you can get involved in within the cruise personaliser which is dropped off outside your cabin each night along with port information. We played bingo in Brodie’s bar purchasing a pack for £15 which included 5 games and a bonus 3 tickets for one game. We also really enjoyed the aqua fit classes which took place in the lido pool which was free. Throughout the day there are quizzes, talks from aviation experts, reflexology sessions, you can book your next cruise or just sunbathe out on deck. You will also find usually 2 different films showing throughout the day in the studio, there’s a great selection for all. We only attended one show in the theatre which was called ‘astonishing’, I won’t spoil it for those that haven’t seen it but we found it entertaining given its interactive nature. Shopping: Within the main atrium midship you will find a selection of stores selling jewellery, clothing and alcohol. They did a number of flash sales on products but we still found everything very pricey, however they do come in handy when you have an emergency such as not packing your tie (will set you back £12). Just opposite reception you will find another store selling biscuits, suncream, merchandise, playing cards (£3) and amongst other things the washing tabs you need for the washing machines (£1 each). Food and drink: I cannot tell you how many bars there are on this ship, they are everywhere! You can also get costa coffee at select places also. The market cafe on deck 5 also sells wonderful looking cakes and bakes designed by Eric Lanlard and also crepes and ice cream. We were allocated to second sitting dining (8:30pm) in the Oriental restaurant on a table for 2. I don’t eat food containing dairy and informed our travel agent when booking and I was looked after fantastically. I ordered my food the day before getting a sneak peak of the menu and everything was cooked for me with the same choice as everyone else minus the dairy. Our waiters were phenomenal and they really added to our meal times. We had 4 formal nights and the dress code is strict so don’t forget your tie or suit jacket! The horizon buffet is also always well stocked; if you need help with a dietary requirement you can ask the staff in the yellow ‘how can I help’ aprons. You have everything available at breakfast including cooked breakfast, fruit, pastries, pancakes, cereal, yoghurt, juice. Lunch is always something different but you can always have salad, fish and cold meats, soup along with a wide selection of hot dishes. Afternoon tea is served in here from 3pm and also in the oriental restaurant from 4-4:45pm. There are always numerous cakes, sandwiches, pies, scones, crumpets and unlimited tea. Outside either side of the lido pool you will find a grab and go section for quick sandwiches, fruit, salad etc at lunch and also pizza, burgers, hot dogs and chips served until around 6pm. There is also Jude’s ice cream and costa coffee here too. We also chose to pay extra to dine in Eric Lanlards restaurant ‘The Epicurean’ for afternoon tea. It was fantastic with a wonderful selection of food and experimental desserts along with a large choice of tea (including chocolate tea). The decor is also very light and airy, this is a must for any foodies and it was extremely reasonable price wise. You can also dine at other restaurants such as Sindhu and the Limelight Club (evenings entertainment by a known performer) for a fee. Ports & Excursions: We had a fantastic itinerary and loved each of the ports we visited. Our favourites were Grenada, Dominica & St Lucia. We booked the eco trek for Grenada which led us through a plantation, learning about all of the spices, plants and fruits the island holds. We then ended up at a waterfall in which you can take a refreshing dip. Our tour guide was fantastic however if you struggle walking up pretty steep hills on a continuous incline then this may not be for you as the way back is pretty much all uphill. We also had a to cross a river barefoot but this was all part of the fun! In Dominica we booked the hot springs trip. We swam through a gorge which was also one of the film areas for Pirates of the Caribbean, then onto the Bongo Baths which were wonderful. Naturally heated pools of water at different temperatures in a tranquil setting. You do have to take a dip in the cold before leaving to get your pores closed up (leaving open leaves you vulnerable). St Lucia we planned ourselves and already researched that we wanted to go pigeon island. I’m the port are there are always numerous people asking if you need a taxi, we paid $40 return for two with a pick up later in the afternoon. We had a fantastic time climbing up hills, taking in the scenery and relaxing on the beach; you must also visit Jambe de Bois for food and cocktails, it is fantastic! I would say don’t be afraid to do some pre trip research as shore excursions can be expensive. In Antigua we booked kayaking and snorkelling. Our guides/instructors were really superb and we had an awesome day, pretty arm intensive at the start but all worth it! We saw lots of beautiful sea creatures and enjoyed a few cups of rum punch in the sunshine. I would personally substitute Çuracao with Trinidad & Tobago as this port was the least active for us. We explored the local area and the Kura Hulanda museum but beyond this we would have needed to go further out to find some more activities. Cabin: We had an inside cabin which we found to be excellent value, we spent so much time out of our room we didn’t feel the need to book a balcony. The queen bed was great and very comfy plus we had numerous storage spaces and an adequate size bathroom. Our housekeeper cleaned at least twice a day, we could not fault how clean the cabin was. Overall we had a fantastic trip, we really did not want to come home! We want to travel with P&O again and cant wait for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Very poor entertainment, had a 10yr old with us that hated kids club (couldn’t blame her) same stuff on every night. The spa on the ship was appalling, still kicking myself for not walking out. Bar closed at midnight, nowhere else except ... Read More
Very poor entertainment, had a 10yr old with us that hated kids club (couldn’t blame her) same stuff on every night. The spa on the ship was appalling, still kicking myself for not walking out. Bar closed at midnight, nowhere else except room service to get a drink. Staff entertainment didn’t show up on numerous occasions. Was a complete waste of money, hated every moment of being on the ship. Luckily we managed to see some amazing places. Great thing was the room, always clean and tidy. Although they never topped up the mini bar. Found out towards the end that you had to ask and sign for anything after the first night. Plus only complimentary water on the first night! Just constantly felt like there was nothing to do, was definitely aimed at the older crowd. If you want to know how to get rid of fluid retention this is your ship *yawn* Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Did ncl Did royal caribbean Now done PO The seamless transit from london to Barbados and boarding the ship and returning to london was good. The only critic I have with that process is with the thomas cook return leg flight. Poor ... Read More
Did ncl Did royal caribbean Now done PO The seamless transit from london to Barbados and boarding the ship and returning to london was good. The only critic I have with that process is with the thomas cook return leg flight. Poor is the best way to describe it. Staff , entertainment, in flight meal , all poor. Captain of the ship on my cruise was brilliant and comical with his announcement. Staffing was mediocre and not very friendly some had difficulty giving reply to my queries. Food was mediocre in the buffet and the restaurant. Navigating around the ship was challenging as not all sides lead somewhere and some stair not accessible. Waiting for coffee cups at the drink station. Waiting for glass at the drink station. Side of pool drinking water containers , all 3 empty on a baking day. Buffet always been directed to go to a different part as they were closing the section I was going to. Was great visiting those 8 islands . Would I go on this ship again ? Yes IF THE PRICE WAS RIGHT. Low Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive ... Read More
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive cruise. We visited Gijon, it was meant to be la coruna but due to poor conditions the port was changed. A nice coastal resort worth walking to park and headland opposite old town. Bilbao we didn’t do an excursion we got the shuttle to town. Did an independent walking tour, took the funicular up for views. Took the metro to areeta, walked back via there to ship 3.5 km - nicer than central Bilbao. La Rochelle was lovely. €9 to enter all 3 towers. Loads of eating choices. No need for excursion if forecast is good. Cherbourg we went to mount st Michael. Our guide was rather eccentric and got only an hours free time after excusing ourselves of his company. Journey was 5 hours. Organised ship excursion and the most disappointing Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise for my wife's 60th having used P&O before on a number of occasions, sadly things are not what they used to be. The dining experience is now average in terms of product and service, green beans with everything, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for my wife's 60th having used P&O before on a number of occasions, sadly things are not what they used to be. The dining experience is now average in terms of product and service, green beans with everything, if they could serve them as a dessert I think they would! Waiters have had cutbacks and are overworked resulting in a poorer service which is not their fault. The dining room ceiling leaked form the air conditioning unit and we had this problem on 3 nights, eventually being moved table. The food was passable and you will not go hungry on the ship as there is always a buffet open somwhere on the ship. The ship is in need of the refurbishment it is currently getting in Brest,France. Our cabin was spacious as it was a deluxe cabin and it was also a bit tired, the grouting around the bath was black and carpets needed replaced. There was a leak in our balcony door which soaked the carpet. However saying all that the bed was very comfortable and cabin steward excellent always ensuring we had everything we need for a comfortable stay. The entertainment was of a good standard, other activities where geared for P&Os elderly clientele and was standard fair, is shuffledeck,table tennis, quizes, bridge clubs and not to mention the ballroom dancing classes in the atrium. The Atrium could be put to better use as it is the hub of the ship and we would have liked to see more live music in this area as it would have helped the atmosphere on the 3 floors which it serves. The Arena theatre is the main area for twice night shows and was very busy on our cruise as the ship was full, (in fact you needed to get to your seat 30 minutes before most shows to ensure a seat). The Havana lounge at the opposite end is a terrible venue and was known as the Meerkat lounge due to the high backed seats (the comedian mentioned he could only see the heads of the audience popping up and down like meerkats). The ports of call were good and excursions offered quite good but certainly not cheap. They do look after your safety though and tend to go a bit overboard sometimes, that was not a pun! Overall we did enjoy our cruise however would avoid going back on the Ventura even after the current refit it is undergoing. The ship is just not to our liking, the Arena's seats are to tight, Havana lounge enough said, no separate Cinema which should be a given on such a large ship. Carnival have striped bare much of the niceties of a P&O cruise and not replaced them with anything. We will try other lines in future to see if there is better value for money to be had. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Flight from manchester and transfer to ship excellent. Luggage delivered to cabin within a few hours. The hygiene standards seem to be slipping. Hand washing seemed to have been forgotten by a lot of passengers in the restaurants and ... Read More
Flight from manchester and transfer to ship excellent. Luggage delivered to cabin within a few hours. The hygiene standards seem to be slipping. Hand washing seemed to have been forgotten by a lot of passengers in the restaurants and when boarding the ship after excursions. It did not seem to be as strictly enforced by the crew as on our first cruise. It was only on our last day that a crew member was stood outside the restaurant with hand gel, and she ensured that we used it. Will it need a norovirus epidemic for something to be done? We never had any problems with service in the peninsular restaurant, the waiters were very efficient but not as friendly as i remember from our first cruise on britannia and on other ships. The food was always very good. We also enjoyed the special restaurants sindhu and epicurean - service and food excellent. We were quite disappointed with the entertainment in the theatre as having been on britannia before had seen most of the shows. We did go to see some of the shows and they were still very good, but would like to have seen something different. We found it impossible to get into the live lounge after 10.30. It seemed that the people on the early dinner sitting managed to get seats but no room for anyone who wanted to go in there later. We did not do any p&o shore excursions. They are always very expensive, and it is relatively easy to arrange trips ourselves using local taxis and guides. We would definitely go on britannia again and have had an excellent trip. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The original itinerary was changed by the hurricanes to substitute Guadeloupe for the destroyed Tortola in British Virgin Islands. As Hurricane Irma, Harvey, Maria and Katia barrelled their way round the Caribbean in the Autumn of ... Read More
The original itinerary was changed by the hurricanes to substitute Guadeloupe for the destroyed Tortola in British Virgin Islands. As Hurricane Irma, Harvey, Maria and Katia barrelled their way round the Caribbean in the Autumn of 2017, we became very worried about whether there would be enough left standing for us to enjoy. It was a needless concern, because we visiited nine islands and saw no damage. Boarding our P&O chartered Thomson's Dreamliner at Gatwick, we hopefully waved au revoir to our cases and settled in for eight hours of reading, announcements, meals to be eaten like a praying mantis and, of course, funny smells. It was a pleasant flight; the Dreamliner being what it is, we had to keep looking out the windows to make sure the engines were turned on because it was quiet enough to hear people scratching. Luckily, the driver found Barbados in the middle of nowhere and we duly landed to be greeted by a wall of heat and friendly faces. The forty minute coach trip to the P&O Azura was fascinating. Barbados is quite a flat island (the only one in the Caribbean that wasn’t made by a volcano) and so the loveliest scenery is mainly around the beaches. Our first trip to the Caribbean and the things we discovered. • Most places have taxi marshall's outside the welcome terminal. They will manage which taxi (minibus) you get in, leaving only when full (but at least they leave the AC on!). You pay at the end of your return journey after they pick you up at the appointed time. • Take US dollars and Euros. Don’t bother with Eastern Caribbean Dollars and be careful you know which “dollars” you are being asked for. Make sure your change is in US dollars. • Everywhere you go there is music. If you don’t like reggae, go somewhere else, because that is the theme running through most islands. • Rum Punch is often quite strong. Two will make you tipsy, and don’t mix it with their Carib beer at 5.2%, something I learned rather than heard. • Caribbean people are friendly, vibrant, kind, church-going Christians, happy and bring their children up really well. They seem to have proper family values and standards. They don't have drug problems - they have drug-trafficer problems because of their unfortunate geographic location between grower and user. • Wherever you stop, there is a terminal area with markets, shops, stalls, music and bars where you can buy duty free goods. These are invariably more expensive than in the town. Antigua (Pronounced “ANTEEGAH” - saying “ANTEEG YOU AH” singles you out as a “newbie”) A gorgeous and spectacular island, the inhabitants of which are 99% church-going Christians, and all of whom are lovely friendly souls. We went on the “Best of Antigua with Lobster Lunch” excursion for the best lobster I have ever had! Apparently another excursion with a lobster lunch was not nearly so good, so be careful which one you choose. This one visits Shirley Heights, Nelsons Dockyard (Lobster Lunch), the spectacularly beautiful rain forest and finally Mitties Bar by the beach. Verdict - Lovely island and people, safe as houses. Mitties Bar rum punches are stronger than you think. I know that now. St Kitts and Nevis A pretty little island with lovely laid back friendly people. We did the train journey round the island which had some lovely surprises, rattling and rolling it's way round that central mountain. Others did the beach and thoroughly enjoyed their day. The shops near the ship were great fun, as were the bars. Smashing friendly people. "Don't worry ...... be happy" Amber Cove - Dominican Republic This is a shopping and recreation centre built by Carnival Cruises as a clean safe oasis in the Dominican Republic. If you've been to Disney-World, it's a bit like Main Street USA. We didn’t find anyone who did the Puerto Plata (nearest town) excursion and enjoyed it on account of the fact that it seemed to be a tour through landfills. Nobody said they felt safe in the town and, outside Amber Cover, you can pay for a day at the hotel and beach next door. Those that did, didn't seem very happy with it. This Amber Cove “Carnival Cruises oasis” is clean, safe, ringed with steel fences and very well appointed. There are pools, loungers, bars, shops, water features and views, most of it being free. I loved it but others thought it was false and man-made. Which it was. I still liked it though. You don’t have to spend anything if you don’t want to. Unfortunately all telecoms were down so nobody could use the free WiFi or pay with cards. Rickshaws take you from the ship to the entrance.. It’s free, but a $2US tip per trip is gratefully received. Martinique (Actually, France, and therefore Europe) Much nicer than Guadeloupe. This was more up-market - the currency is Euros, very few take dollars. We did what most people do and took the boat from the dock to Pointe de Bout ($7 return per - person pay on board). From here you can walk to the right to a pretty, exclusive and expensive beach. Drinks here, especially on that little bar in the water, are shockingly expensive. Alternatively, walk straight on from the jetty through the lovely shops and bars (normal prices) to the big more popular beach. The boats also go to other nearby beaches which we didn’t visit. The people are lovely, friendly and helpful. And French. Yes I know. All the reviews about rudeness are unfounded. The boats are backwards and forwards from the dock every half hour. Some people walked round the town instead and reported it to be very pleasant, although a lot were closed because it was a Sunday. Guadeloupe (France again) Not our favourite stop. Use Euros and not dollars, try and speak some French if you can. We did the excursion called “Highlights of Guadeloupe” which might have been wishful thinking because some felt the highlight was getting back to the ship again. The waterfall was underwhelming, the botanical gardens a muddle and the plantation and distillery a health and safety nightmare. The rum shop was good though - every rum product you can imagine, so that made the trip worthwhile. People who did the excursion “St Anne’s Beach on your own” had a much nicer time and said it was quite safe and very pretty. Wish we'd done that! I’d like to be able to say all the people we met were friendly. Do not wear jewellery or use your mobile phone in the street. Some passengers didn’t take that advice, regrettably. Our tour guide advised us not to walk anywhere that has buildings above three storeys. Scary! The capital Point de Pitre is like downtown Marseilles. We wouldn’t walk round it, something the Captain advised over the ships tannoy before we docked. The reason that P&O haven’t been to this island for the last twenty years was no longer a mystery. Grenada Paradise. Take the water taxi from near the berth to the beach. $10pp return, $20 for a luxurious sunbed and very large brolly. A bucket of six beers, surrounded by ice costs $15 and is served by waiters who will come round to see if you need anything. Lovely beach for swimming and just chilling out. Water taxis are travelling backwards and forwards all the time. The island is safe and friendly, the people lovely, sand clean the landscape gorgeous. It used to be British. St Lucia Beautiful port, lovely friendly people. The terminal area is a chaotic mass of taxi drivers and tour sellers trying to sell you something. Just walk on, they have nowhere else to tout for business - it’s just not very well organised. People loved the beach trips and the kayaking. We found the people friendly and fun. The terminal building has shops on two levels. Whatever you do, make a point of going upstairs to Shirley's shop. She and her shop are wonderful! If you walk out of the terminal area, turn left and go to the local market a little way on the left. We had such a great time there laughing with the ladies and buying bits and pieces. If someone approaches you and hands you a handmade object or anything else, don’t take it because they will only accept money and will say you bought it by taking it. This isn’t dangerous, it’s just a nuisance. A couple went to Vigie Beach by bus. It cost $18 each return and everything they did was very expensive - umbrellas, chairs, drinks. They said they hadn’t expected to pay so much for a day at the beach and that facilities there were very basic. We were late leaving St Lucia and the Captain advised us not to venture into Castries after dark. It used to be French. St Vincent and the Grenadines A lovely friendly safe pretty island that’s almost more British than Britain. We went to the botanical gardens by taxi - $20 return. Very peaceful and beautiful place to spend an hour. Oddly, we spent two or three hours behind some beers in the terminal area which was totally the opposite of St Lucia - probably because of the people, the music and the beer! With reggae music in the background, and $3 for a local beer, why go anywhere else? Some people went to Bequie island by water taxi, where the beaches are beautiful, but there are no seats or umbrellas for non-residents. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
There were many issues and mainly to do with the dining experience, members of staff, certain basic food and drinks not being available. First, I would like to advise this was my first cruise. I travelled with my mother, and has been ... Read More
There were many issues and mainly to do with the dining experience, members of staff, certain basic food and drinks not being available. First, I would like to advise this was my first cruise. I travelled with my mother, and has been on many cruises but never P&O. My mother has always referred to the service as being outstanding on every cruise (cruise Maritime, Thompsons, Fred Olsen). First morning, I attended the buffet breakfast area (conservatory) at around 9.30am to be faced with huge queues waiting for hot food, these queues seem to be taking a considerable amount of time to move. I have been to many 4-5-star hotels all over the world and I expect to queue at busy periods but the queue would always move quickly. After observing for 10 minutes while I wait (moved ever so slightly in this time), it was instantly clear why the queues were not moving. The hot food was not being replenished quick enough, now this was simple things like mushrooms, bacon, fried eggs as so on (basic breakfast food that is normally consumed by most people). I queued and eventually selected what I wanted, but the overall wait was approximately 25 minutes. I did contemplate getting more but the waiting time outweighed the hunger. This continued throughout the duration of the cruise, (every day apart from the last day, this was mainly due to me and my mother arriving at 6am so we could disembark early). Day 3 and onwards, again I had to wait around the same time as above only to be told there was no mushrooms today or they had completely run out. One day that stands out, the 5th day 28th July 2017, I even asked the member of staff behind the counter, only to be told there had not been any mushrooms cooked and there is none being cooked. At my amazement, when I returned to my seat, my mother had mushrooms. Clearly, I was lied to and again they had simply run out, bear in mind, we always attended breakfast between 9am and 10am. The staff in the conservatory buffet seemed very under trained and had no idea how to interact with the guest. Not once did they say, "good morning", Good Afternoon", or Good Evening". Most of the time they spent talking amongst themselves, it also seemed they had their own game going on. I like to watch people, several of the staff would look at each other and make some form of facial gesture, the other one would then laugh, this was though they were insulting the guest and this made me and my mother very uncofortable. As a little test, I left my plate on the side of my table, 3 members of staff were just chatting and laughing, the plate was eventually removed after about 15 minutes. I am unsure what uniform the Management wear, but to me it was a clear there was lack of supervision in the so-called restaurant. I also witnessed a waiter clearing a table and rather than sweep the crumbs etc. from the table on to a tray or their hand, with my astonishment they just swept it on the floor, there was still around 2 hours of service left, appalling. Throughout the duration of the cruise There was no draught Larger in the Crow’s Nest, (well this is what we were advised). The first club dining night, our table (55) had to wait around 45 minutes between starter and main course. This was nothing to do with the waiters. I would like to say the club dining waiters were very professional and an asset to P&O. I I have made an official complaint via P&O website. I have received a reply (took 29 days which falls outside their complaints process, and only I feel i only received a response due to chasing twice) which basically told me what P&O set out to achieve (type of mission/vision statement) but nothing on how they will be dealing with my dissatisfaction. There was also no apology for the late response and they had the cheek to advise they would welcome me back on board. I have replied back to still state my dissatisfaction, and guess what no response. I have even called the customer services to be told we can not put you through to the complaints department, you need to send an email (trust me this doesn't work), I was advised a Manager would call me ASAP (this call took place on 6th September 2017 and i m now writing this on 7th September 2017, and surprise, surprise, I am still waiting for a call. To sum up. DO NOT BOOK A CRUISE WITH P&O and look for an alternative operator. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
First time cruisers. We normally travel then have a week or to chill on a beach, by a pool so this was quite the exception for us. We can’t compare this cruise to any others, just review it on its merits, and the people we met along the ... Read More
First time cruisers. We normally travel then have a week or to chill on a beach, by a pool so this was quite the exception for us. We can’t compare this cruise to any others, just review it on its merits, and the people we met along the way. The Norwegian Fjords were beautiful and this is what lead to booking of this cruise. Last minute decision so we were left with an inside cabin. Spacious, well planned, clean, comfortable. Place to sleep. We are used to high levels of service (stay 4 / 5 *, travel business class etc) and we were very impressed with the variety and choice and availability of food on board. Ship was also kept spotlessy clean, everyone encouraged to wash hands often. We ate at the buffet a couple of time. The rest in the Epicurean, Glasshouse, Beach Club and Sindhu. The Epicurean was good, though one of the menus suited our tastes more than the other. The staff were excellent, explaining the courses well and allowing us to tailor the dishes to our needs. Sindhu was also excellent. Again – 1st class service and food. The Glass House tapas/wine bar and the Beach Club also excellent – we ate here a couple of times. Both offered a good variety of food that came at a small extra cost, but this was well worth a visit. The staff were also extremely pleasant and knowledgeable about wine and also showed an interest in their guests. The benefit of these restaurants is that, as there is a surcharge, they are less busy and more likely to be quiet, refined select places to eat! Crow’s Nest bar was a great place to relax in the evening, watch the waves pass by and wait for the Seagull show to start. The switch them on at 5.00pm each night, for an hour. Ship entertainment was pretty good. Some shows were better than others. Some were excellent. Of particular mention – 3 Motown singers – name escapes me. The dancers were fabulous and their lessons during the day were excellent. Engine room tour and Bridge tour – both fascinating Cookery lessons were excellent. Dancing lessons also. Oh – I bought a watch. Massive saving on UK prices. The cabin steward (Jerry) really went out of his way to make sure things were perfect for us – even down to making sure we had a bucket of ice each evening! P&O is the only the only cruise line we’ve been on but we thoroughly enjoyed it and will be back in January… Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We had read the mixed reviews about P&O and decided to try Britannia out because of the good prices sailing from Southampton and because it was a new larger ship. It was probably the most straight forward journey into a ship we had ... Read More
We had read the mixed reviews about P&O and decided to try Britannia out because of the good prices sailing from Southampton and because it was a new larger ship. It was probably the most straight forward journey into a ship we had ever encountered. We were on in less than 20 minutes and the cabin was ready for us. We loved the balcony cabin (Reviewed below) and didnt find the balcony too small at all and enjoyed having breakfast on it in the mornings. Food was good and we didn't have one bad meal. We had room service every day for breakfast and this worked out well especially when we had an early start on a port day. The buffet choice is more restricted than with RC, NCL & MSC but it was still fine. The tea bags would run out and coffee machines seemed to work sporadically but often a waiter came around with jugs if this was the case. I loved the fact there was Zumba onboard so I didn't miss my regular exercise. There were classes each sea day and were very high standard. All abilities could join in as Keeley took it to three different levels. This is a trial so please P&O keep it going! The classes were full each day so the need is there! The ports were all very good, we hadn't been to most of them before, and I liked the fact they didn't charge for transfers as we had paid the higher rate when booking. Actually, we think the whole cruise was better value for money as drinks were reasonable too- the same as UK pub prices- with no added tips. We appreciated being able to have wine in our cabin without paying a service or corkage. Other cruise Ines charge to bring your own wine aboard so this was pleasing. We loved the Limelight club where we saw Jackie Graham and Chesney Hawkes on another evening. Both were very good and friendly after the gig at the meet and greet. It's a great concept with having a meal followed by music afterwards. I wish more ships did this. It was worth paying a bit more to see well known artists, in a more comfortable, intimate setting. All staff were friendly but in the spa perhaps too much so! We did a couples massage which my husband enjoyed (he had a delightful Thai woman who had just joined P&O). I was not so fortunate and had an average massage followed by a very hard sales pitch for 10 long minutes. This wiped out the relaxation benefit and was not appreciated or necessary. This member of staff will hopefully, with age, learn to be more customer cantered and talk less about herself. I also didn't need the hug she gave me at the end- most unexpected and inappropriate. We didn't use the spa again after this. The relaxation room was nice though. We would return to this ship in the future, although we probably enjoy NCL more. The staff on the ship are all pleasant but seem a bit unhappy. We missed having other nationalities onboard (we enjoy learning about other cultures) as it was almost 100% Brits. We hated the whole idea of the flag waving party but easily escaped to a more restful bar at the Crow's Nest. To sum up a fun, good value cruise on a larger, newish ship! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Lovely ports of call made us choose this itinerary and adult medium ship. Dining was excellent, lectures varied and interesting, the evening entertainment was on the whole very good but the Headliners on ship singers and dancers were ... Read More
Lovely ports of call made us choose this itinerary and adult medium ship. Dining was excellent, lectures varied and interesting, the evening entertainment was on the whole very good but the Headliners on ship singers and dancers were absolutely excellent. All very talented and ranked as good as any west end show. The cabin was the problem A86 mid aft four down from midships on port side. See cabin review and beware! Not worth the money. Excursions were varied and we took advantage of many in countries as Australia, New Zealand, Papa New Guinea, Japan, South Korea and China all well organised on time and educational. The dining area was well laid out although our table 48 was over the top of the propellor shafts and not only noisy but juddered from the vibrations. Most ships seem to think that rear ship for dining front for theatre and entertaining all at low level. Better if higher up, less shaking and stick the night club and gyms down the rear. Conversation had to be raised when ship moving above 17 knots, obviously designers never take a holiday on cruise ships. Still did not spoil a wonderful holiday (except cabin) see below. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We have cruised with P and O in the past and always enjoyed it. This is our second time on Britannia and we were a bit worried at all the poor reviews we read prior to getting on. Our first experience was great so we wondered what had ... Read More
We have cruised with P and O in the past and always enjoyed it. This is our second time on Britannia and we were a bit worried at all the poor reviews we read prior to getting on. Our first experience was great so we wondered what had changed. We are now wondering what people have got to moan about. The ship is beautiful, the staff great and the entertainment was better this time than last. The resident group Pulse were fantastic and we spent quite a few nights watching them. The only one negative that we have is the absence of a drinks package. P and O need to catch up with their competitors and offer a comprehensive package to guests. We are going to try Celebrity next year for a change and have bought a platinum drinks package when booking the cruise. We like a few drinks when on holiday and this can mount up to quite a bit by the end of the two weeks!! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We are back from our first ever cruise on Ventura. We would definitely recommend Ventura for first timers. We had a really good time. We were apprehensive but needn't have worried. We chose Ventura as it seemed to have everything we ... Read More
We are back from our first ever cruise on Ventura. We would definitely recommend Ventura for first timers. We had a really good time. We were apprehensive but needn't have worried. We chose Ventura as it seemed to have everything we needed. We didn't want to go on a really big ship with other cruise lines. We didn't want to be overwhelmed. When we arrived at the terminal in Southampton everything went so smoothly. There were lots of people waiting to take our luggage, which they loaded on to trolleys immediately and efficiently. As we entered the terminal, there were people telling us where to go to check in. We were given a big coloured letter and told when the letter was called we would be able to check in. Lots of seats in the terminal and very busy. Our check in time was 15 30. No sooner had we completed the health declaration our letter was called to check in. It was only 13 30! We checked in which took about 5 seconds,and went through security in about 10 minutes and then onto the ship! It was so smooth. No problems whatsoever. No hassle, no discomfort. S well organized. As soon as we got on the ship we were welcomed by a very friendly, smiling crew member who directed us which way to the buffet and our cabins, which we found eventually, which was fun! Very impressed with the buffet. I had read that on embarkation days the buffet is always a mad rush, but it wasn't! It was very civilized. The food was very good as were all our meals all through the cruise. Our meals in the Bay Tree restaurant were excellent every single time and the service was always first class. We had club dining which was fine as there was four of us and we had our own table for four which I preferred. Our time was 18 30, which we felt was a little early for us. We may try freedom dining on our next cruise. Our cabin was a balcony cabin. The balcony was quite large. The cabin was surprisingly spacious and the bed was very comfortable. There was plenty of storage space. Bathroom and shower was small but adequate. We explored the ship which was big with plenty of bars and restaurants. Our favourite bars were Metropolis and the Terrace. The atrium was lovely with plenty of seats, Costa Coffee, library and Explorers where we booked an excursion very easily and quickly. Our excursion to The Heart of La Palma was excellent and very well organised, but expensive. The entertainment was very good. We went to the Havana Bar and the Arena a few times. We did find that it was sometimes a bit of a rush to get from our evening meal to the venues in time to get a good seat, but we managed it ok We went to the gym and to a few lectures which were good. We also used the spa which was a little overpriced, but very nice. We thought the daytime activities were good, but a bit repetitive towards the end of the cruise. You can only have so many quizzes! Disembarkation was quite smooth. We thought we were in for a long wait but we were kept informed as to what was happening. We all had our own area to wait to disembark and it was all quite orderly. We collected our luggage fairly easily. All in all we had a wonderful time and we are looking to book our next cruise very soon Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We chose this as it was available! We thought P and O was a reputable company. The Oceana itself is very tired, and desperately in need of upgrading and modernising. Our first impression on embarking showed it to be dark and old ... Read More
We chose this as it was available! We thought P and O was a reputable company. The Oceana itself is very tired, and desperately in need of upgrading and modernising. Our first impression on embarking showed it to be dark and old fashioned inside. We had chosen a suite , so expected a few perks as we have had on other cruises when paying for a suite. But no Speedy boarding at either the airport ( it was a Fly Cruise) or the ship. The only benefit was breakfast where we had a quieter separate area for breakfast, and occasionally for dinner. Food was good n the whole. Wine list was good too.Staff were friendly and attentiveness on the whole. On other cruises perks had been reserved seating in the theatres too, not so here. However the entertainment was spectacular. We only used the tiny adult pool once. We don't enjoy busy tourist resorts, and the pool areas were just like this. They were heaving with noisy, beer drinking passengers. There should be larger pools, or perhaps one more? It was a bit like an upmarket Ibitha seaside resort i imagine . Our cabin suite was of reasonable size, though again, very tired. Furniture was dark and in need of upgrading. The balcony again, of reasonable size, needed freshening and making a bit more luxurious rather than functional. There wasn't a separate lounge area for Suite guests. We have enjoyed this on previous Cruises, being able to get snacks and drinks at any time of day. Any drinks or snacks on Oceana had to be paid for, after queuing . The lunchtime buffet, whilst looking to be quite good in selection and quality, was again heaving with people, with Butlin style queues. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
The booking, cruise personaliser, flights and transfers we're very well organised, we we're impressed, especially being on a bonded flight. The only downside was our suitcases didnt arrive to our cabin until about 5.00pm but we ... Read More
The booking, cruise personaliser, flights and transfers we're very well organised, we we're impressed, especially being on a bonded flight. The only downside was our suitcases didnt arrive to our cabin until about 5.00pm but we had the cabin at 1pm. This made visiting Venice a rush and we had to go in our "travel clothes", muster was at 5.30pm so we had to be back by then despite sailing at 10:00pm. Though it does seem names are not checked off and i did see some people doing it later but P+O don't mention this. Our cabin was A211 allocated as we booked a late deal and our meal was allocated at main dining 6.30pm. The cabin was much better and larger than expected, well equipped and in good repair, our steward Jason kept it in great condition and always tidy. As we we're at the front of the ship 2nd floor down we had no engine noise or music etc though you do hear "inconsiderate guests" who for reasons unknown allow there cabin doors to slam, when there really is no need. The TV has a good range of channels but is badly angled and small. Tea and coffee included in all cabins. I should mention we are not into formal nights or formal dining with strangers so as we didn't know what table size we had and didn't have freedom dining we choose to use the buffet for all our meals and this was perfectly fine by us and it seems is what a lot of others do as well, great thing about cruising, choices, you can really do what suits you. Now the buffet itself, or The Plaza, was probably the area we had the most niggles with. Generally only one serving side is open at any time and this does cause congestion. We also thought the buffet size and selection was small compared to our other holiday destination, Egypt, and lacked flair....despite that the food was generally tasty. Usually consisting of a themed buffet and a main English style roast. Hygiene was enforced on entry, dress code less so, infact we never did really grasp what the rule was...first night dress shorts we're worn by most, then other nights turned away, trainers seem allowed on women but not men...all very hit and miss. We have no issue with a code but either enforce or not. Drinks service in the buffet was also quite poor, most night your main was finished before you even got offered a drink. I should say drinks on the whole we're pub prices £1.95 for a large Pepsi for example (we dont drink alcohol sorry folks) Also one of the main features of the buffet it panoramic view is spoiled by dirty windows, this was from getting on to getting off. The rest of the ships public areas are well maintained and quite traditional in style of earlier cruise ships, this ship also has a full wraparound promenade deck. There are multiple bars all with different styles and atmospheres. Pool/sun areas are fore, aft(adults) and mid (main area), on sea days the main area is lively to say the least ! but peace can be found fore and aft. Despite was P+O staff say there are not enough sunbeds for everyone, come up after 9am and you will be sat on the floor as many did, the staff did try to police reserved beds but tbh it didn't help much. We never had an issue but we are early risers so at 8am choice is no problem, we found the splash pool area at the front suited us. Burgers/hotdogs and snacks are served from the grill by the main pool during the day. I should mention the only free drinks with meals are water or tea/coffee apart from breakfast when juices are available. The main thing we we're very impressed with was the evening shows, all we're topclass and highly recommended, the daytime speakers we're also very good. The ports on our cruise we're all good and apart from Rome could all be done via just walking, we even got to dock in Kotor so no tenders. Overall we enjoyed our first cruise much more than expected. The Oceana is no doubt aged-ed and if you look for it you will find rust but for the price its a fine ship for a first time cruise and we had no regrets booking it. It's very British, P+O dont hide that but this may or may not be to your liking, we thought the sailaways we're a bit "tacky" lots of flag waving in French ports...and unlike those lines that have dropped formal dining nights P+O hold onto them, though like i say you dont have to attend though you do feel a bit out of place not doing so. Overall recommended. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
we saw Britannia sailing the other way last year in the Med, it looked stunning so we promised ourselves to try it. We booked direct with P&O and pleased we did< Georgina was excellent, no hard sell, just a very knowledgeable and ... Read More
we saw Britannia sailing the other way last year in the Med, it looked stunning so we promised ourselves to try it. We booked direct with P&O and pleased we did< Georgina was excellent, no hard sell, just a very knowledgeable and approachable person. By booking direct we found we had a very acceptable on board spend allowance plus valet parking. The valet parking was smooth & efficient, the check in was a breeze, even better when I asked when our cabin would be ready I was amazed to find that it already was! One of the striking things about this ship is its décor, it's a cross between contemporary and art deco, no bold "n" brash purples and reds, instead mellow fawns, beiges, browns and greens that make for a calming, tranquil mood and that theme follows throughout the ship. The other most noticeable is the amount of thought that's gone into the public areas, in particular the decks and pool areas, instead of an open sprawl that seems to be the trend of many ships there are carefully sited glass screens and planters, gazebo's and different levels that gives passengers the feeling of privacy and seclusion, it's very good, also, no plastic loungers or chairs on this ship, instead it's a mix of Rattan or bespoke steal seats, The Serenity pool area is a good example of this clever design and it really is quite stunning. The main restaurant is the Peninsular which serves a comprehensive menu of very acceptable, nicely prepared and cooked food, there are several other dining options too, all excellent although some have a modest cover charge, there is a good pub serving many real ales and showing live premier league games pretty much non stop, they hold quizzes, bingo and various competitions too. There is a good sized (and well attended) ballroom, casino, the headliners theatre, the lime light cabaret, the live lounge and the crows nest both feature live music. This ship and its staff are a credit to P&O and anyone who says different should be taken very lightly indeed, in fact it was so good we've booked it twice more this year ! . Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We booked our cruise on Azura at the very last minute and was told by the travel agent that we had been lucky and got the very last cabin. This was very interesting as when on board we met a number of other couples who had been told the ... Read More
We booked our cruise on Azura at the very last minute and was told by the travel agent that we had been lucky and got the very last cabin. This was very interesting as when on board we met a number of other couples who had been told the same thing. This seems to be a marketing ploy by P and O to pressurise you in to making a booking. When we got on the ship we found the cabin was of a good size and the balcony although obstructed was very large and still very pleasurable to sit out on. The majority of the ship looks old before its time with lots of dark would and poor lighting, it is also very obvious that the ship is the same design as used by princess as some areas are almost identical in layout. The only true exception being the Glass house bar which is far more contemporary in colour and design. Food on the ship is very inconsistent and the organisation of the top floor buffet restaurant being a complete nightmare, tables where left uncleared and cups not being available at the beverage stations. The thing that really was disappointing was P and O's portion control on food and drink. If you order duck breast for dinner you would expect a whole breast but P and O give you two thin slices. This was the same for all portions at lunch and dinner. Drinks where another joke. We have never been on any other ship where they are measured to the point where a martini is served in what could be described as not much more than a thimble. The beds and pillows are so old and knackered that did not allow us to get a good night's sleep and desperately need replacing. Staff on the ship are also with few exceptions disinterested and not particularly helpful. This was our first cruise on P and O and as you may have guessed we won't be going back. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
We chose this cruise as we went on a P&O cruise for the first time last year and decided that P&O were our favourite of all the cruises we had done. The food was very good and we loved the Buffet meals, although it was a problem ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we went on a P&O cruise for the first time last year and decided that P&O were our favourite of all the cruises we had done. The food was very good and we loved the Buffet meals, although it was a problem at breakfast trying to find a seat (walking around with hot food, going cold). We visited Atul Kochhar's restaurant (this was absolutely excellent). The Verona restaurant was also excellent. The shows were really good and we loved all the comedians and the ventriloquist. It was also good to see Clem Curtis performing onboard. We were very pleased with our cabin which had a balcony, so it was good to watch going into and out of Ports from our Cabin. Although we are not great sunbathers it was almost impossible to get sunbeds, so it was just as well we could sit on our balcony. The (Bar waiters were a nightmare). They would follow you to your seat in bars. Interrupt conversations when you already had a drink (asking if you would like another. I was up on deck the one day reading and was interrupted to ask if I would like a drink. What happened to summoning a waiter when you want a drink, which is what we have always done in the past? Again, a good job we had balcony to sit on in peace. I love P&O but did not get the restful holiday I was expecting and needed.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
We're a young(ish) active couple in our early 40s who booked a week on Ventura cruising the Norwegian Fjords as our first cruise. We didn't want to spend a fortune or go for more than a week in case cruising wasn't for us. ... Read More
We're a young(ish) active couple in our early 40s who booked a week on Ventura cruising the Norwegian Fjords as our first cruise. We didn't want to spend a fortune or go for more than a week in case cruising wasn't for us. My husband hates flying so a cruise from Southampton seemed ideal. We normally holiday in the UK and enjoy walks, photography, good food and in my husband's case, a pint of two of real ale. This cruise appealed because is was sure to be scenic and seemed like a good introduction to holidaying at sea. We travelled by train from Nottingham to Southampton to avoid the stress of driving and the expense of parking. It was easier than getting to the pick up point for the coach. As soon as we got out of the taxi at the Mayflower Pier our cases were immediately whisked away and we joined the line for check in. The queue moved fairly swiftly and within about 30 mins we were on board. We felt a bit lost and not sure what to do but were handed a map of the ship and wandered off to find our cabin. On our way we came across our cases which were waiting on the corridor and wheeled them the rest of the way down to our cabin towards the aft end of the C deck. We'd decided on aft to save £100 each and had read that C deck cabins have the best balconies. This is true. Our cabin had everything we needed, was well tastefully decorated, comfortable and a reasonable size. Our cabin steward, Grazie, introduced herself almost as soon as we'd moved in. She told us where to find our muster station and made sure we were happy with our cabin. She did a great job keeping our home for the week clean and tidy and was always smiling and chirpy. After unpacking (and yes there was plenty of room for our stuff, our cases and enough hangers) we went for a wander and afternoon tea. Then it was time for the safety talk at the muster station (Havana). This didn't take long and was straight forward. We spent the first afternoon exploring although we still managed to get lost a few times, even towards the end of the week! The floors are a bit confusing as some areas don't seem to link up from all 3 staircases but we had some extra exercise finding our way round. We'd opted for freedom dining and ate in the Cinnamon restaurant each evening, We didn't see the point of paying extra to eat in the "select" restaurants as the food and service were very good in our allocated restaurant. We elected not to share tables and never had to wait long for a table for 2. We ate close to 6pm most evenings and were shown a window seat several times. We have no complaints about the food. There was plenty of choice and it was possible to request items that weren't on the menu if you're especially fussy. The service from the waiters was prompt and efficient. Some were more smiley and friendly than others but they were all good at their jobs. We sampled most of the bars on board and preferred the Metropolis bar over all due to the relaxed atmosphere and great views. We also liked the Red Bar as it was comfortable. The drink prices were reasonable and the service was attentive without being pushy. Even in busy venues, such as the theatre and Havana bar the staff did a great job in getting to you when you needed a refill and remembering who ordered what. I don't know how they do it! Hubby was happy with the range of real ales and I enjoyed working my way through the cocktail list and sampling the occasional liquor. We went to some of the shows in the theatre. The Headliners singers and dancers were very good and their shows were professional and entertaining. The comedians were ok but we didn't see any of them for a second time. The Neil Diamond and Tom Jones tribute acts were very good. The older ladies in the audience especially enjoyed the banter from the Tom Jones act! We didn't partake in the entertainment every evening. We were happy just to sit in the Metropolis bar with a drink, enjoying the sunsets and chilled out music. There was a fairly comprehensive programme of daytime activities but most of it wasn't really our cup of tea. We did use the gym which was very well equipped. The classes were a bit expensive but the free "fab abs" class was good. The treadmills and cardio equipment are arranged to give a great view out to sea at the front of the ship. Who needs MTV! There are plenty of swimming pools on Ventura but only a few brave souls made use of them. It was rather nippy in April! If you want to do "proper" swimming you'll find them a bit small. The endless pool wasn't working most of the time but it was too cold to use it anyway. The temperature around the only covered pool was reasonable and if that had been bigger or "endless" we might have used it. Ventura is a family ship so this area was a bit noisy for us although most of the time we didn't really notice many children elsewhere on board as it was term time. You can always get something to eat on the ship without having to pay extra for it. The 24hr buffet had a good choice of food. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea were fairly varied and of good quality. Seating was rather limited and at times we walked circuits around both sides of Waterfront and Beach house to find a table. It probably would be less congested in warmer climates when you could make use of the exterior seating. On our cruise we had 2 sea days and visited ports on 4 days. The excursions were very expensive. We only booked one - the Flam railway trip. This was also pricey but we don't regret booking it. There wasn't a lot to do in the ports other than enjoy the scenery. This was enough for us. Flam and Bergen are covered below. We also visited Stavanger and Olden. Both were interesting and pleasant to wander around. We liked the old town in Stavanger but it felt as though Ventura and its passengers took over the town in a rather imposing and intrusive way. It seemed as though it wasn't quite ready for the tourist season as not everywhere was open and quite a lot of work was being done in the port. Olden has some shops geared towards tourists. We didn't buy anything but lots of people did - they were packed! We found the old wooden church which was worth the short walk to find. Again, some of the shops were closed - they missed a trick there! The prettiest area can be found by turning left and walking down the road back along the Fjord. There's a wooden pier by some conifer trees where we took some lovely photos which look like paintings. There is something surreal about the colours of the landscape and the snow-capped mountains reflected in the water. Yes, Norway is expensive but cruising is a cheaper way to visit as there is no need to pay for food and drinks - you can get them on the ship! We only wandered around in the ports for a few hours between breakfast and lunch so didn't need to get on and off too many times. This was a good thing as queuing to get through security was a bit of a chore, albeit necessary and understandable. We had been a bit nervous before our holiday about rough seas. One night was quite bad although the staff were reassuring, especially the captain who had warned us that there would be a big swell and some noise from the bow slapping down on the sea (gulp!) We wore our anti sea sickness bands and didn't feel ill, just a little anxious. We propped ourselves up in bed and watched the TV most of the night to distract us from the noise and motion. There was some vibration from the stabilisers which i understand was worse on the lower decks. The rest of the time we were lucky to have fairly smooth seas and good weather. We knew it would be cold and packed accordingly. Disembarkation was swift and well organised but no drinks were offered wile we waited to be led off the ship. We would have happily paid for a cuppa in the bar as we'd had to vacate our room by 8am and were not due to leave until after 10am. We could have left earlier, taking our bags off ourselves but we'd have had a long wait at Southampton station. We were expecting the buffet breakfast to be rammed on disembarkation but we beat the crowds by eating before 7am. It was the quietest we'd seen it all week! We would definitely recommend P&O and Ventura and the Norwegian Fjords. In fact I've been missing the ship since we came home! It would be interesting to see how different the experience would be in warm weather when you could sit on deck and enjoy the pools. Maybe next time... Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
First time sailing on a P&O ship that was not a ferry and absolutely loved leaving from Southampton. Embarkation and Disembarkation was incredibly easy and quick (at least it was with a mini suite). Got to the dock from the hotel over ... Read More
First time sailing on a P&O ship that was not a ferry and absolutely loved leaving from Southampton. Embarkation and Disembarkation was incredibly easy and quick (at least it was with a mini suite). Got to the dock from the hotel over the road at 11:15 and was on board sipping champagne and eating nibbles by 11:45 and this included wasting 10 mins because the hotel car dropped us off at the wrong place. rooms supposed to be ready by 2pm, but we were in, unpacked and put away by 2pm. The mini suites are a little smaller than on more modern ships, but more than adequate for a 10 day cruise with just two of us in the room. The mini suite itself was a little dusty and looking a little tired from a fixtures and fittings perspective, but nothing to spoil the trip. Balcony was an odd shape at about 17ft by 4ft but perfectly usable and the cut out style does offer a lot of protection from the elements enabling us to sleep with the balcony door open just listening to the ocean without being cold or windy. Bathroom was a fair size and the jacuzzi bath proved to be very useful and welcoming after lots of walking during the day. We provided the room steward with a �£50 tip upfront at the start to show our intentions (even though P&O now have the auto tips system in place) and I am convinced this ensured our room was tidy and straight by the time we got back from breakfast every day and whenever we left the room, it got straignted up, coffee and biscuits replaced, cushions,beds and towels refreshed and bins emptied. Outside the room, the ship looks absolutely fine. I was a little worried with some reviews stating it looked very tired, but on the whole it was absolutely fine and very clean. There is an adequate amount of places to eat and drink around the ship and the food is usually of a high quality given the mass catering environment and the drinks prices and options where reasonable (spending most of my time in London usually means anywhere else is reasonable). An excellent gym meant I got away with only putting on 3.4lbs during the trip which absolutely amazed me as I took full advantage (and I do mean at least 4 big meals a day) of being able to eat and drink 24x7. Breakfast runs from about 6:30 to 10:30 and then brunch starts at 10:30 to 12:00 although the only difference between these to appears to be the special offer on freshly squeezed juice disappears at 10:30 and the cocktail specials start at 10:30. lunch is from 12 until 3 and then afternoon tea starts at 4pm until 5pm before dinner starting at 6:30. In between these, the BBQ on deck is open and then after dinner finishes at 9:30, late night dining or overnight room service begins. General Entertainment is OK if you like that sort of thing. Nothing special, but not bad either if you allow yourself to get involved and have a good time with plenty of options to be as busy as you want to be. Shops are OK but not many on Oceana but reasonable options and pricing for everyday stuff that you might need. In terms of Highlights, the Horizon grill in the evening serve limited, but wonderful food with waiting staff taking care of every little requirement very quickly. Due to inclement weather, the evening meals where held inside rather than on deck were they are normally held, but the views were still great. It costs a little extra (typically about �£15 per head) but well worth it. Niggles. There were a few things that were not as I would have liked them to be but to be fair, this is more about my expectations rather than a failing of P&O and the Oceana. Late night dining in the Marco Pieere White restaurant (when you want food after 9:30pm) was a bit of a joke. We requested a table for 4 and there was one quite clearly free (but already set for breakfast) and they would only provide 2 tables for 2 at separates sides which is not what we wanted having spent the day together, we wanted to eat together. The food available was left over sandwiches from afternoon tea and the cheese board had a block of cheddar on it. Decided to leave and order room services which was quick and very good. The SPA is a heavy sell zone and don't be surprised if having visited it you leave with a timeshare in Portugal and a set of encyclopaedias. Anything complimentary related to the SPA enviably ends up requiring you to purchases a mountain of things at exorbitant prices that you never knew you needed and can't understand how you have survived this long without. I had 3 different massages at 3 different prices (it was easier to just say yes rather then risk buying new double glazing for our mini suite) and they all felt the same. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the services, just nothing special either. Also, hardly an hour goes by without some sort of salesgoing on for stuff you never knew you needed. Lots of people seemed to enjoy these, but it made it feel a bit more like a closing down sale and I was little worried when parts of the ships started to come up for sale when you still have 1500 miles of cruising to complete (that might be a slight exaggeration). We got stung by the forex policies on the ships and ended up having lots of 200 krona notes left (worth about �£20 each) and they only except 50 and 100 krona notes. My fault as it does clearly state this in reception but unfortunatley I could not see that from the travellex burea the week before I boarded. Tours were OK and unfortunatley I had forgotten that I had promised myself not to bother again on a previous cruise. We had a wonderful time on independent trips in Amsterdam, Bergen and Geiranger and in fact liked the organised trip up Mount Dalsnibba. However, we paid a lot of money to see the glacier in Olden and only actually got to spend 10 mins at the glacier before having to head back and spend 60 minutes in the cafe and gift shop. The Stavanger trip to pulpit rock was even worse for us. 10 minutes in a coach, 30 minutes waiting for everybody else to arrive waiting on a old slow boat, 2 hours by boat to spend 5 minutes looking at a rock 600 meters above which although quite square, was still just a rock (ok a nice rock) to then spend 2 hours getting back and onto the ship and off and paid �£148 for the privilege. We did, however, get a free waffle. After touring the Ffords for the previous 3 days, this trip was pretty pointless. particular as there was other fast boats that did the trip in 30 minutes for a 3rd of the cost. My advise would be to check exactly what the trip entails before you book so as not to be disappointed. I am sure others loved the trip, but If I had done my homework, I would not have done two of the trips and saved myself �£225 which is a lot of junk gifts for the family or even a couple of beers in Norway. My last point, and this goes for most cruise ships I think, is the absolutely horrendous charges for photographs on board. P&O excel at this. �£17.95 for a 10x8 and a further �£5.95 for a copy of the image on disk. The charge applies (I.e �£23.90) for just the image on disk. I am sure there must be a smarter way for P&O to do this as I did not mind spending the money, but with just 3 photos to show for nearly �£60 quid, I begrudged spending any more on photos. In the end, out group ended up hijacking (probably should not use that word in a ship context) the photo locations around the ships and taking our own which may not be quite as good as the on board photographer's, but we had a lot of fun making them, hiding out in bars until the photographer went on a break and then just using their facilities. All in all an excellent trip and I looking forward to booking the next one with realistic expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Sailed on AZURA on her first cruise after her return from the Caribbean. We were delayed by 4 hours on departure by a computer failure, or was it deep cleaning!! We will never know. P&O excel at organisation compared to some other ... Read More
Sailed on AZURA on her first cruise after her return from the Caribbean. We were delayed by 4 hours on departure by a computer failure, or was it deep cleaning!! We will never know. P&O excel at organisation compared to some other cruise lines so everything was well organised. Avoid cafe at terminal - too expensive and awful coffee. We had a balcony stateroom on Riviera deck and never again. Our cabin was under the aqua deck and we could hear chairs being scraped on top of our ceiling at all times of the day and night. Surely for such a new ship someone could have thought of adequate sound proofing. Certainly price charged a bit too steep for these cabins. Dining experience in Oriental,Sindhu, Glass House all excellent. Verona and Venezia self service buffets good food choices but there seemed at times to be too many chiefs directing staff and not watching when areas were running out of food. Entertainment staff worked really hard and Cruise Director Neil Oliver does very well. However, too many comedians one after the other left passengers sitting through one comedian telling 6 jokes we had heard the previous evening. Better scheduling required. The tribute acts were good but the in house company should act less and sing more, that was their strengths. Jet Set and Azura orchestra excellent. I have to comment on the last singer Ritchie Sampson. I think most people walking out the first evening during your act should have been a clue. The second time when the theatre was nearly empty should have been a wake up call. Telling an audience to applaud the orchestra and give ourselves a round of applause 3 times in 15 minutes is unprofessional and not what we expect. Motown and Soul are great sounds but you killed it. Awful. Weaknesses were very little entertainment during the sea days. Security staff particularly female staff should smile more, passengers have paid for the pleasure of cruising we are not criminals. P&O should be very careful when not reacting to children running around decks and around lifts and corridors in the evening. If one goes overboard it won't be the parents who will be taking the blame.P & O excel at organisation compared to some of their sister companies. All entries at the various port of calls went smoothly. I would certainly travel with them again but will try a smaller ship next time. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Overall we 'quite' enjoyed the cruise, but it has to go down as one of our least successful. I'll get the problems out of the way first before giving an overview of the cruise ship. Some of the problems on this cruise were ... Read More
Overall we 'quite' enjoyed the cruise, but it has to go down as one of our least successful. I'll get the problems out of the way first before giving an overview of the cruise ship. Some of the problems on this cruise were caused by events in a previous sector, namely a major drug bust of 4 passengers carrying cocaine who were arrested in San Fransisco and Sydney, before we boarded. (Serious enough to have been reported on Sky News.)However, the result of these events meant that we were a marked ship, subject to the most rigorous screening (full cabin searches, dog sniffing and additional baggage and personal searches especially in remaining Autralian ports and in Bali. Bad luck for anybody carrying small amounts of recreational stuff for own use!)The worst aspect was that we were unable to visit Yorkey's Knob, from where we had hoped to visit the Great Barrier Reef after 30+ years of trying. This was because the Australian authorities decided that Yorkey's Knob didn't have adequate screening for such a dodgy ship, so we would have to be screened at Cairns - but our anchorage position remained the same, and it would have taken hours to tender all 2000 passengers and crew up to Cairns. So Captain decided not worth it at all - we wouldn't have got the the GBR that day. So that was the first disappointment. But there were other difficulties, including a taxi blockade in Bali preventing P&O shuttle buses leaving the pier (so going nowhere)coupled with the pontoon on the pier getting damaged by waves, so preventing tender boats coming to pick up stranded passengers. (Many of whom spent the whole day in a bar off the pier who must have thought it was Christmas birthday and anniversary all come at once.) The Bali authorities appeared to be unable to mend the damaged pontoon, such that engineers from Aurora were despatched to do the job. This took until about 3pm, by which time tours buses that had got through before the taxi blockade were returning. We got to the pier around 5.30 after our tour, to face a 2 and a half hour queue. Medics from the ship had been brought over to identify any urgent medical cases to get priority. Aurora finally left Bali several hours late, with some very disgruntled people (also some very drunk ones). The other 'external' cause of passenger fury was that local tender boats were used as well as ship's tenders in Koh Samui, and the one we were on had a completely incompetent crew incapable of tying up to the Aurora, so passengers sat or stood on open decks in 39 degree temperature stewing while senior P&O officers were sent down to sort things out. Being overheated temperature-wise certainly raised the emotional temperature too.On the ship itself, the only significant problem was the continuous dripping from the air conditioning. The sight of buckets everywhere, and dehumidifiers to dry out soaking carpets, became the butt of continuous jokes both by the entertainers on the ship and the passengers. The staff did what they could, but it was not an edifying sight. It has to be said the weather was very hot and humid for most of this sector. So having got the problems out of the way, how did I rate Aurora? We liked it / P&O a whole lot better than Cunard, which we also experienced this year. Drinks and excursions half the price, so less feeling of being ripped off. Most staff very good, especially cabin and dining room service. Loved the spa, and the gym (though gym far too small given the number of people attending classes), the pools were nice. Library was quite good, there was plenty of public area space, reasonably well kept (ignoring drips). There were some quite good enhancement offerings like art clubs, photo clubs and dance lessons. The theatre was quite nice but too small to accommodate half the passengers (i.e. all of first or second sitting) - which might not have been a problem had there been any alternative entertainment while the show was on. But most nights at 8.30 everything else shut down, so if you weren't having dinner and didn't want to watch the show (or couldn't get in) there was absolutely nothing to do, not even live music in a bar - oh, and the occasional quiz, which is fine if you watch TV a lot and can answer those type of questions. The standard of the food was mostly pretty good (much the same as Cunard, not as good as on the smaller luxury ships). However, the alternative dining venues were a disappointment. Marco Pierre White would not want his name put to what is served in his name in the Cafe Bordeaux. It was 'OK' but much the same as in the Alexandria / Medina restaurants. Te Pennant Grill was maybe slightly better but the heat and humidity made it a less than enjoyable experience up there. Overall, I think most passengers would have had a good time, there are a lot of very loyal P&O passengers. But for us, it confirmed what we thought after our Cunard cruise: we never want to go on such a big ship again. Having a large number of tender ports (over half) plus being forced to moor in big industrial docks well away from city / towns centres, requiring some long shuttle buses rides, the continual queuing for one thing or another, and fixed seating / timing in restaurants - not for us. We also would never go on a sector of a world cruise again.Too few ports and too many sea days, and a different atmosphere with some passengers doing the whole world cruise and the rest continually changing. I like embarking with everyone else (preferably fewer than 400 people) ans sharing the whole cruise in common with them. I did meet some nice people, and would not try to deter anyone from taking a P&O cruise. I just know I won't be doing it again. The itinerary wasn't that great either, once we'd lost Yorkey's Knob for the Great Barrier Reef. I haven't been able to rate all the ports because several are not on the list, and probably for good reason. The last few ports were very repetitive - basically the main attraction was the beach, which when it is really hot is maybe not where you want to spend hour after hour. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
I and 5 friends set sail for a two night mini cruise on the P&O Aurora, Southampton to Bruges mid-November. Although the embarkation line was long, it did move quickly. In fact we were on board and having lunch in under an hour of ... Read More
I and 5 friends set sail for a two night mini cruise on the P&O Aurora, Southampton to Bruges mid-November. Although the embarkation line was long, it did move quickly. In fact we were on board and having lunch in under an hour of joining the queue. My single cabin C102 was very comfortable. However I'd say you would be a bit hard pushed for space if it was sold as a double. The "White Company" toiletries were a real nice touch. The ship itself is very clean, lots of open deck space including a full wrap around deck (all with teak floors) and modern public lounge areas. For a mid-size ship, there were plenty of bars and lounges to hang-out and relax. Although this was only a two nighter, the second evening was a" formal dinner". That meant trying to pack a full, formal dinner suite into a small carry-on weekend trolley bag... Something I think is a little over the top for such a short trip. But it was fun nonetheless to dress up. The food on both occasions was tasty, presented well and the lobster on formal night went down very well. One thing I did notice different to the American lines is that the waiters make a bit of a "thing" if you ask to have more than one item of a particular choice. So getting a lobster and a steak or even two starters brings with it a real sense of "ummmmmmmm" wellllllll I'll have to ask! Another difference we all noticed was the friendliness of the staff. Don't get me wrong, all the staff did what they needed to do, but that was it.... The staff didn't seem to be able to have a laugh with you, have a joke with you or have any understanding of what it was you were talking to them about (if it wasn't to do with the task you had them do... i.e. bring you a drink from the bar). They often just looked at you and walked away. I have to say, doing a cruise longer than 2 nights with this sort of customer service fills me with dread, I think I'll stick to an american style service. I can't comment on what the ship tours of Bruges were like as I didn't get off the ship. Instead I managed to spend a few hours swimming in the heated pools and hot tubes, very relaxing indeed. The age ranged from the very young running around in nappies to the very old, snoozing in any area that had a couch. Given there were lots of stag and hen groups, the bars were often in full swing by late afternoon. Even the staff in the all night disco, were given their run for their money on both nights. So much so extra staff was needed to cope with a full house of party goers. As they say "all good things must come to an end", so I guess this cruise was no different. Yes I would cruise with P&O again but if it was for a cruise longer than a few days, I'll most probably choose an American line or Cunard first. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We have been on a number of cruises previously, on each occasion aboard "traditional" ships which are much smaller than Azura and all her other practically identical floating leviathans. Let me start by saying that P+O did ... Read More
We have been on a number of cruises previously, on each occasion aboard "traditional" ships which are much smaller than Azura and all her other practically identical floating leviathans. Let me start by saying that P+O did everything they claimed to do. Food was good, entertainment was very good indeed although sometimes not to our taste. The cabin exceeded expectations and no complaints at all about the service............. ........BUT............ Not having cruised with them before, we had been attracted by the sophisticated brand image of P+O. In actual fact we quickly became very disappointed with this aspect. Azura is simply HUGE!!!! It can carry 3000 passengers. Added to this, it is just one of very many similarly sized cruise ships that were travelling around the Caribbean in November. Cruising the Caribbean has clearly become a major tourist industry. In order to support at least ten ships, all with 3000 passengers every two weeks. P+O and the other cruise lines need to appeal to a wide cross section of the population. We were very disappointed that many of our fellow passengers were tattooed, had huge beer guts and non-existent manners and that was just the women! Clearly P+O needs to fill their many ships but the demeanor of the clientele clearly belies the image that they purport of sophistication and a chic atmosphere. Don't get me wrong. The ship is superb and the many venues aboard the ship were up to the marketing blurb but it was all let down by the "Benidorm mob" who monopolised the sun loungers, (despite frequent dire warnings by the ships crew) hoarded around the self serve food outlets, monopolised the inadequate number of tables at breakfast times and generally acted in an ignorant manner. YEUGH!!!!!!! One benefit of a more modern ship was that our cabin was superb. It was more like a modern hotel room than a ship's cabin. We had a lovely private balcony but there was however a problem there as well. The passenger on the neighbouring and upwind balcony insisted on smoking the most stinky cigars that you could imagine. Whilst he was outside, seemingly chain-smoking we could not use our balcony. The people at the Reception on the ship were very helpful here but we are not able to publish how they solved the problem for us. The food was very good, well served and reasonably plentiful. It did, however lack the spark of 'cordon bleu' that we had enjoyed on previous cruises with other lines. I guess that if you have to cater for 3000 passengers plus 1500 crew, mass production must take over. This was certainly the case here. Certain items cost extra. I guess that P+O are in it to make a profit but I would have thought the profit from extra charges for ice cream and certain dining areas is small. Entertainment was wide and varied ranging from the glitzy presentations in the ship's theatre that would do the West End proud to more intimate rock duo "View" in the ship's pub who were also very accomplished and very friendly. There were plenty of bits of entertainment in between but the ship seemed to lack a "hideaway" where you could sit quietly enjoying a drink without constantly laid on music. There were a few - too few lectures on the cruise. These were very well attended, engaging and well presented and I could not help thinking that it would have been lovely to know more about the history of the Caribbean and the slave trade for example. This is where P+O does not compare very well at all against "Voyages of Discovery". The port presentations on "Voyages of Discovery" had always been very informative and engaging and this was our expectation here. We attended a number of port presentations aboard Azura and were very disappointed because they just seemed geared up towards selling the highly priced shore excursions rather than telling the independent traveler what they could enjoy whilst ashore. The other big problem with P+O and the travel agent who booked our cruise was that they down-graded our flights and then initially refused to refund us. Eventually we ended up having to drive from London to Manchester Airport to fly out. This is a deal-breaker from ever booking with this travel agent again. So, would we do it again? Probably not. The ship was superb, some fellow passengers less so and the whole experience seems like a huge Disney park that is geared up to separating passengers from their cash. It's back to "Voyages of Discovery" next time for us. Read Less
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