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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise as it took in 7 ports of call of interest. This was our 5th cruise with P&O but the first time on Arcadia. Weather was fine and calm which helped, but everything from food to entertainment was the best we have ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it took in 7 ports of call of interest. This was our 5th cruise with P&O but the first time on Arcadia. Weather was fine and calm which helped, but everything from food to entertainment was the best we have experienced. In the past some dishes in the restaurant were a little soggy such as chips and battered fish therefore we had avoided them but not so on this ship. Executive chef was Trevor Glass, well done to him and his team. Entertainment we saw most included Jo and Liv, Blue Wave and the Headliners all of which were excellent. Ship was well maintained and clean, staff very friendly and attentive, although there was the odd Arcadia pipe leak with a bucket under catching the water until repaired but don’t let this put you off. Thoroughly enjoyed by my wife and myself together with our friends who were first time cruisers. Mark W Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise as we went on a 7 day cruise for the first time last August on P & O's Britannia and we decided there and then that we would do the Mediterranean this year and as we had such excellent treatment with P & O ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we went on a 7 day cruise for the first time last August on P & O's Britannia and we decided there and then that we would do the Mediterranean this year and as we had such excellent treatment with P & O Cruises, we would use them again. Our cruise had seven ports of call and seven sea days and every part of it was wonderful, from the crew, waiters and waitresses, entertainers, chefs, cabin steward and shore excursions, the whole deal was perfect! On our arrival back at Southampton, I said that I could gladly do the same cruise again as each of the ports of call, you could visit and see something totally new the next time. It was our first visit to Italy and our excursions to Rome, Sorrento and Pompeii were stunning. Our cabin steward, Ramesh was such a happy, cheerful guy, always greeting us every morning, before starting his long day. Then again in the evening Ramesh would wish us an enjoyable evening on our way to dine at the restaurant, it was a pleasure to have him looking after us throughout the cruise. Having now done two cruises with P & O I can honestly say that the entertainment on board their fleet is second to none and the Headliners dancers, singers and musicians are extremely talented and so pleasant. The entertainments team work so hard doubling up with various tasks throughout the cruise and are helpful, polite and fun loving. From comedians, shows, speakers, illusionists, singers, etc. our entire cruise was non-stop entertainment, and it didn't cost us a penny! We dined in the Bay Tree restaurant each evening and our waiters, Rally and Mario were so much fun and so hard-working - they never stopped. Our wine waiter Johnathan was also a hard-worker, I regularly saw him working the various parts of the ship during the day, our restaurant at night and in the clubs after the restaurants had closed. The Ventura is a family friendly ship and there were young families on board, yet it didn't impact on anyone's enjoyment, well not on ours anyway, in fact there is nothing better than the sound of youngsters enjoying themselves. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose this particular cruise as it fitted in with other plans we have for 2017 and as we had not been on Oceana for many years, we thought it would be a nice change. We liked the itinerary. We went with another couple who are frequent ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise as it fitted in with other plans we have for 2017 and as we had not been on Oceana for many years, we thought it would be a nice change. We liked the itinerary. We went with another couple who are frequent cruisers like ourselves. Some aspects of the ship we enjoyed....the mid-evening disco, the quizzes and the excellent service from the crew. Our big disapppointment was the positioning of the quoits and shuffleboard . These took place on the promenade deck and it was a case of dodging the thoughtless passengers who took no notice of a game being played and just carried in walking through. There were also not enough seats on the promenade deck and quite often parts of this deck was closed for maintenance. The quality of,some of the food served in the dining room was also questionable. Fish was always excellent but steaks, beef and especially the lamb were of poor quality and badly cooked. We, and plenty others around us, were constantly sending food back. We did like the introduction of a daily sundae as an alternative to the main desserts. Another major problem on the ship was the air-conditioning which was very erratic. Some nights everywhere was freezing cold and other times too warm. They could not seem to regulate it. Apart from the rip-off currency exchange rates offered on board, the over-priced excursions and the inflated bar prices, there was little,else to,complain about. We enjoyed the fact that Captain Andy Willard participated in many onboard events. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This cruise picked up where the last trip for the Riviera dropped off passengers two days early because of the noro virus. The ship was at this stage undergoing deep sanitation when we arrived for embarkation. People with spray bottles and ... Read More
This cruise picked up where the last trip for the Riviera dropped off passengers two days early because of the noro virus. The ship was at this stage undergoing deep sanitation when we arrived for embarkation. People with spray bottles and gloves were spraying the counter surfaces for new passengers in the embarkation area. Once on the ship we went to the buffet for lunch. Service people were walking around with buckets and gloves cleaning all tables and chairs as new guests finished eating. No one was permitted to sit down until table tops were completely dry. People were waiting around for 20 minutes or more for the process to be completed; a true inconvenience. We all stared at each other wondering what to do. This went on for several days. The bucket brigade was everywhere washing walls, washing tables in all areas, etc. Keeping the noro virus at bay delayed services to passengers and called a halt to the start of other services until there was an assurance that the noro was under control. That may be fine as a safeguard and we appreciate that, but having paid for a full cruise, passengers did not receive the full benefit of full services, or full staff, as people were tending to noro cleaning and sanitation. Cabins were neglected, food was of the poorest quality, service at poolside was virtually non-existent. It wasn't until days 4-5 that things started moving along. Nevertheless, food selections were limited at best, services mediocre at best. Linens unchanged entire trip. Total waste of money. Could not wait to get off the ship from day one. Oceania now owned by NCL, not independent. Decline everywhere in quality and not because of the noro virus. This cruise was costly at best with little pleasure or value received based on our expectations, especially with what we were told about this ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Just arrived home from two great weeks on the Britannia. The balcony cabin was excellent, our steward Ebinson - fantastic. We loved ALL of the food. Spa services were great - Millie so obliging and helpful. No real problems. However: ... Read More
Just arrived home from two great weeks on the Britannia. The balcony cabin was excellent, our steward Ebinson - fantastic. We loved ALL of the food. Spa services were great - Millie so obliging and helpful. No real problems. However: the Sunbed fiasco was unbelievable. Signs are displayed on tv screens with 'rules' - not sure anybody reads them. At 0700 one morning, there were NO sun beds for our day at sea. 90% of these were vacant with towels and bags on them. So frustrating. This was the norm. Additionally, the noise level outside was mega - so much that my husband and I could not hear each other, three feet apart. We had to go inside. The day pass for the Hydropool area in the Spa at £25 each was reasonable value. However, only Earl Grey Tea and water available with Luke warm water in flasks. Also the Bath Robes would only fit a size 8 at the most. Britannia really need to get to grips with these issues and quickly. All age ranges use the outside facilities - not simply loud music lovers. Even the music played on the PA system was really loud. Such a shame as this colored our whole view of the cruise. The inside of the ship is immaculate and staff are so welcoming. Such a shame about the issues I have outlined. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2015
This was our 4th Oceana cruise. Others were all on smaller ships which we prefer although this one was not overcrowded with the exception of the excursions.. Our biggest complaint is the extras. For the most part , they were all grossly ... Read More
This was our 4th Oceana cruise. Others were all on smaller ships which we prefer although this one was not overcrowded with the exception of the excursions.. Our biggest complaint is the extras. For the most part , they were all grossly overpriced and poor quality. The excursions were extremely expensive, large groups and very poor quality. The wine is over the top expensive and if you purchase a wine plan be careful as you will get lousy wine and pay a big price for it. One particular example to point out is the SPA. My wife had a manicure knowing that it would be 3 to 4 times more than she pays at home, however when she was charged an extra $35.00 to remove her old polish, she was in shock and this was NOT disclosed up front. I like to use the steam room when sailing and the SPA did not have a decent supply of toiletries available which I had to bring along from our stateroom. Overall, we had a good time but would think twice before doing Oceana again. The staff was great! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My husband and I have just returned from a cruise aboard Britannia to the Med. I was very sceptical having read the numerous bad reviews about the ship but we both went with an open mind. It is the second P & O ship we have been on ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from a cruise aboard Britannia to the Med. I was very sceptical having read the numerous bad reviews about the ship but we both went with an open mind. It is the second P & O ship we have been on and hoped this cruise would be better than our previous one. We had said we would never go on a P & O cruise again but decided to give Britannia a try. We had previously cruised with Princess and Seabourn. As soon as we stepped aboard Britannia we loved it. The décor/colour schemes were beautiful and the whole feel of the ship was very classy. The art work was amazing. We opted for a midships suite on B deck which was very comfortable with a floor to ceiling divider housing a large TV in the lounge area and on the reverse a further large TV facing a lovely comfortable queen bed. There was plenty of drawers and wardrobes and we were pleased to see dozens of hangers. We had 2 patio doors leading to a balcony with 2 little tables, 2 footstools and 2 chairs and there was plenty of space to sit. There was a separate toilet with washbasin with a door leading to the very well appointed bathroom with spa bath and large shower. Everything had been well thought out and there was plenty of space for toiletries etc. The whole suite was immaculate. Our butler, Arun, was very helpful and, Christopher, our steward kept the suite spotless. There was never any problem getting around and it was no big deal to walk to the stairs instead of waiting for the lifts. At least it was exercise. We had freedom dining and the 2 restaurants - Meridian and Peninsular were beautifully laid out with plenty of room between tables. Only once did we have to wait for a table but we had a buzzer and sat for a short time in a bar until we were called. The food was excellent and there was plenty of variety and choice and always hot. We found the waiters very courteous. Being in a suite we were able to breakfast in the Epicurean restaurant on deck 16 which was the most beautiful room to have a leisurely meal in. The choice of food was excellent and the cooked-to-order breakfast was always piping hot. We also had dinner there once for which there is a supplement but well worth the extra charge. The food was superb and very quirky - the first time we have had a "fried egg" before our dessert, a pina colada lollipop as an amuse bouche and a candy floss cone petit four. No wonder many people were taking photos of their food. Something which I hate but I really couldn't blame them on that occasion. We ate in Sindhu on one occasion which had a very intimate feel about it and excellent food. We also had snacks and lunch a couple of times in the self-service Horizon restaurant and the array of food was quite outstanding. It did get crowded at times but you soon learn when the quieter times are. Again it was well laid out and very clean. The Glass House was very nice and we had a very good lunch there. The Crows Nest on deck 16 was a very comfortable place to sit with a drink, or like a lot of people did in the morning, to read. We went into Brodies Bar for the quiz each day which was always popular. There are plenty of places for coffee and cakes and although there are a lot of passengers it never appeared crowded. The shops are the usual ones on a cruise ship with the regular sales. The Gym was large and very well equipped. There were some sunny days and the pool was a popular place to relax. Although there were a few children on the cruise (don't know why as it was not half-term) you wouldn't have known they were there. I did hear that the children's club was very well run. There was lots to do each day and of course excursions at the ports. The Lladro tour in Valencia was very good as was the tour of Barcelona. We didn't book tours for the other ports of call, just wandered around exploring and took an open topped bus in Ajaccio which, although breezy, was a good choice. As the weather was not too good in Cannes the Captain decided not to dock there for safety reasons with the tenders. However, he docked just along the coast at Tulon where courtesy boats had been arranged. We thought this a good idea as we have been on cruises before where we have had to miss out ports because of the weather and had to stay on the ship. Embarkation and disembarkation were hassel free. I liked the way the midday announcement told us about the sea and weather conditions we could expect and I felt reassured that when told there may be a little swell and high winds we may feel a little discomfort but there would be nothing to worry about. In fact we hardly felt any movement at all in midships. Needless to say, the Atrium was a very popular place and certainly had the wow factor. Only one thing which we were surprised about - the entertainment was not as good as on our previous cruise (The Arcadia) as the acoustics are poor and the music/singers far too loud and screechy. Something I heard several people complaining about. All in all we loved the Britannia which is a well run beautiful ship certainly not worthy of some of the comments about her which, quite frankly, I found hard to believe was the same ship we had an idyllic holiday on. I suppose you always get the moaners (some lady told me she'd hated it but had been on it twice!!) anywhere you go but go on the Britannia and make up your own mind. You certainly won't be disappointed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
P&O have a strange way of boarding people you are given a time to arrive then a letter or colour to sit with until you are called to board the ship. Most cruise companies provide complimentary drinks while you are waiting but not ... Read More
P&O have a strange way of boarding people you are given a time to arrive then a letter or colour to sit with until you are called to board the ship. Most cruise companies provide complimentary drinks while you are waiting but not P&O. We had a fairly late boarding time, and we had been on 2 motorways with very heavy traffic, so the journey took twice as long as it should have. By the time we parked, went through check-in and boarded it was time for the lifeboat drill just prior to sailing. This was at 5pm and we had not eaten since 7am, so it was not a good start. Brittania is a lovely ship, but because of her size takes some time to find your way around. We were sailing to the Norwegian Fjords, a first time visit for myself and husband and something we had wanted to do for a long time. Our first day was a sea day and I had booked a massage at the spa, the treatment was first class but you are then expected to buy Elemis products before leaving (and it is difficult to get out without purchasing). We had a balcony cabin which was very nice and was designed to give you more hanging space without taking up most of the room, there were plenty of hangers and enough space for a large case the beds are high off the floor so a large case fits beneath. We opted for freestyle dining as we like to eat at different times. We were however not seated on arrival on any evening we were given a bleap to take away and wait until a table was available. The dining experience was the worse I have had in many years of cruising, mainly due to the surly waiters, they didn't speak, banged the plates down and generally ruined what is usually one of the nicest parts of cruising. It was as if they had been told to "get them in, feed them and get them out quick" P&O are charging 4 star prices for 2 star service. One evening we ate in the Epicurean and had a lovely meal in a nice atmosphere and the service was as it should have been in the main dining area. I do think the cover charge is too high though. The self service restaurant can get a bit crowded, especially at breakfast and you can spend some time wandering about looking for a table, the food is pretty much the same each day, a bit more variety would be better and they could be a bit more generous with the fillings in the afternoon sandwiches. Again, that feeling that things are being done on the cheap. We booked several shore excursions, which we enjoyed, the P&O staff seem very disorganised especially when getting people ashore by tender, we have experienced this before with this cruiseline on a different ship everybody tells you something different and people start to get very annoyed. The evening entertainment was good, we like to go to the theatre shows after dinner and the shows themselves did not disappoint, however the seating was the worse I have ever found on a cruise ship, you are jammed in like sardines and the chairs are more uncomfortable that the smaller airline seats. They may be ok if you are a size 10 most people are not, and they are even worse when you are wearing a formal evening gown. We set the alarm early most days so we could look at the amazing scenery coming up the fjord to dock in lovey quaint villages. Through the early morning cloud to see the spectacular mountains and waterfalls is a sight we won't ever forget. We had a trip on the Rauma Railway which was also amazing, coming down the mountain seeing fast flowing rivers and waterfalls. The weather was probably typical of Norway, 4 seasons in one day, overall it was not too bad, but there was a fair amount of rain which prevented us from spending much time out on deck which was disappointing. Disembarkation went surprisingly smoothly, we were able to pick a time to suit to leave. The other thing that has left a lasting impression is the endless waiting for a lift, they are not particularly big , you are asked, quite rightly to give priority to wheelchair users but one motorised chair and carer fill the lift. For those of us with bad knees walking up stairs to the 10th deck is not a comfortable option so you wait and wait, to get in a lift. Perhaps a couple of wheelchair only lifts might be a good idea. Overall, I liked Brittania, but most of the staff do not seem very happy or particularly friendly which can make or break a holiday so they need to address this. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
Lima up the western coast of South America, through the Panama, up the Hudson River (New York City) at sunrise. Just doesn't get much better than that. Came early and spent 2 nights in Lima, wish I had made more time for exploring ... Read More
Lima up the western coast of South America, through the Panama, up the Hudson River (New York City) at sunrise. Just doesn't get much better than that. Came early and spent 2 nights in Lima, wish I had made more time for exploring the area. This is my first time on a 5+* ship. Have lots of cruises under my keel in 3 - 4 star lines. Food, staff, and most of all fellow passengers on Oceana all outstanding. One of the things I love most about sailing is meeting some many people with interesting backgrounds. Arranged all my shore excursions off the ship, either beforehand with Roll Call and Mix n Mingle on Cruise Critic or fellow passengers whom I met on board. Additionally, did research on Trip Advisor. They all worked out very well, but you must be flexible. I believe "O" shore excursions are a bit too pricey. Gym was clean and equipment kept in top shape. I usually went for early morning coffee in the quiet of the observation deck. One drawback, being a recently retired single male.... just did not find many single woman to meet and mingle with. Would I go again.... you betcha! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Just a bit of background.... We have cruised with NCL once, around a dozen times with Thomson and this is our third time on Oceana. This is more of a comparison between P&O and Thomson than a review. We are a middle aged couple ... Read More
Just a bit of background.... We have cruised with NCL once, around a dozen times with Thomson and this is our third time on Oceana. This is more of a comparison between P&O and Thomson than a review. We are a middle aged couple also travelling with an older couple one of them is in a Wheelchair. As we were in 2 cabins I list the details here. Cabin C532, inside midships. A good cabin, some music noise from winners bar just below, but not thumping bass, just the band until midnight, it never bothered us as it wasn’t too loud. We had it set out as a double, but there was much more usable space as 2 singles, we asked William to change it for us the next time he changed the sheets but he did it straight away. Ice and Lemon was delivered ever day as requested, they never missed once. Cabin B618, Balcony, midships/aft. Small balconies on Oceana, Water was not getting hot, but fixed straight away. Air con not getting hot and that took 3 goes to fix. Skimmed milk was delivered every day, missed only once. The bathroom was quite small, the inside cabin one was bigger, had a big shower too. Cabin Steward Vilas was excellent. Mini suites and suites have much wider doors so would be able to get a wheelchair through. Food. In general the food was better than Thomson, more fruit variety (eg, Strawberries) but less cakes at buffet breakfast, just pastries. Bacon and sausage much better quality, fresh mushrooms, not tinned, and both tinned and fresh grilled Tomatoes available. A speciality sausage each day and various changed dishes daily (eg, Devilled Kidneys). Coffee from machines was ground not instant and the fruit juices were proper from concentrate not like squash. Jams were good quality not the cheap Spanish stuff, tiptree in jars served in sit down breakfast. Quality yoghurt too, from Littletown Dairy. The served dining was also better than Thomson, better quality ingredients, more variety, eg Gressingham Duck, Monkfish, Lobster, Prime rib of Beef, Lamb Shank, well presented and well served. A proper cheeseboard with a quality choice not just a plate of small bits thrown at you. Always 2 after dinner drinks on offer at £2.50. Having Steak, Chicken and Salmon available from the left side of the menu meant you could always find something if the main choices were too fancy. No charge for the steak as well. We used Cafe Jardin a couple of times and the Horizon grill for burgers, again they were excellent. Entertainment. Much better than last time on Oceana. The Headliners have much improved, Grant from Spirit and Chris from the Dream are on the Summer team. They are now doing 4 shows a week during the summer. The Singers and Dancers are much better than previous, very little difference between them and Thomson’s usual standard. However it sounds like there is a very much overdubbed chorus backing track being played rather than the live chorus backing that all the Thomson showteams provide. The production of the shows is bigger and better than Thomson. This will be down to the budget rather than the staff, I know some of the Thomson production staff and the job they do is excellent. The Musicians around the ship are excellent and varied, I only found the trio playing blues and Steely Dan in the Pub on the last night, wish I had found them earlier. The Orchestra are also fantastic, how they back the performers so perfectly is amazing, they are real professionals. P&O also do more than just the one UK guest act a week, over 17 nights we had; 2 magicians, (one Matthew McGurk, was great, the other not so) a violinist, a classical guitarist, 4 vocalists, 3 Comedians, the Opera boys, and the Spinettes. Along with guest speakers on the sea days. A bit disappointed there was no crew show. Drinks. The drinks are a similar price, £3.95 for a pint, but the spirit & mixer works out dearer for a smaller measure. The 12 bottle wine package we bought was good, there were some really nice wines on there and that worked out at £13.50 a bottle, similar to the house wine price on Thomson. Clientele. There has been a lot said about this, but we found little difference, didn’t meet any snobs on this cruise and it was a livelier crowd than the past Oceana cruises. The disco was used a lot more. We did notice a difference between the 10 and 7 night portions of the cruise, the last week was younger generally and there was a lot more Children as you would expect over Easter holidays. I still think that Thomson attract more of a partying type of customer. People seem more reserved on P&O. Staff. A lot friendlier than before, not as standoffish and more amenable to a laugh and a joke. Service excellent in both the waiter served and buffet Restaurants, tables cleared quickly, empty food trays quickly replenished. Disability access. Better than Thomson, ship easier to navigate with a wheelchair than Dream or Spirit. Having some of the disabled toilets inside the normal toilets was a problem though, they are difficult to access, holding doors and going around corners at the same time. The best one is the opposite Starlights which is straight out onto the corridor. It’s a shame some people without any mobility problems think they can just use it rather than walk half the width of the ship to use the standard toilets. Getting on and off the ship is better too, there are 2 lifts that go down to deck 4 where the ramp without steps is situated, they put notices outside these lifts asking that they be only be used by those with limited mobility, a nice touch. We don’t think that the mobility questionnaire we completed beforehand was passed onto the ship, as the cabin steward didn’t know about the stool we requested and the head waiter didn’t know about the wheelchair (we were initially allocated a table at the rear and up a step). These small issues where dealt with calmly and efficiently, nothing was too much trouble. The wheelchair user has very limited mobility but found getting around the Balcony cabin OK, we took a couple of those suction cup handles and found they stuck well in the bathroom. They didn't work on the last two Thomson ships (Dream and Spirit) due to the textured surface. A great service on the Southampton transfer leg, a seat reserved on the lower deck of the coach at Manchester Airport, a 40 minute stop at the services and we were off the coach in Southampton at 12.15, sat in the Plaza having lunch by 1pm. Transfer back using Venice airport was good, the assistance staff provided by the port and airport all really nice, helpful and spoke good English, P&O gave us a note to reserve the front seats on the coach, and having the luggage bonded the night before was really good, next time we saw it was Manchester Airport. Summing up, the difference between P&O and Thomson is that P&O seem a bit classier, the ships are more modern, no juddering, smarter decor. Entertainment is improving and is a lot more varied. Staff are still not quite as friendly as Thomson, but the service is excellent and you could still engage with most of them. The food is better in many respects. Having another taste of P&O after a few Thomson cruises has us leaning more to P&O or another line for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We took a short cruise to Amsterdam & Zeebrugge from Southampton on 3rd March. Arriving at check in we were confronted by a large queue, fortunately a meet & greet gentleman noticed I was disabled & ushered us to a check in ... Read More
We took a short cruise to Amsterdam & Zeebrugge from Southampton on 3rd March. Arriving at check in we were confronted by a large queue, fortunately a meet & greet gentleman noticed I was disabled & ushered us to a check in purely for those with a disability.We were soon on the ship but the cabin was not ready so we went to the Plaza self service restaurant. Again, we were met by a huge queue & when we finally selected our food Had a problem finding somewhere to sit. Eventually our cabin was ready, on entering I was surprised how small it was despite having a balcony. However being only a 4 day cruise we would not be too inconvenienced by the lack of storage space & cramped accomodation. The cabin steward was good & attended to our every need with courtesy & a smile. The theatre entertainment in the evening by the Headliners was not as good as previous tears with too much ensemble stage movement & singing rather than good solo performances. Other entertainment in alternative venues were much of a muchness & certainly nothing to get excited about. We had preferred dining but had a longish wait for a table so often dined in the self service diner. The food lacked a decent variety & would be very boring on a longer cruise & was often cold. We went on 2 excursions one an evening cruise of the Amsterdam canals with wine & cheese tasting & one a tour of the coutryside & outskirts of Bruge & a visit to a chocolate factory, both being very enjoyable although a little overpriced. All in all I feel that the standards of the Oceana have fallen since our last cruise on her (April 2014) Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Having read (yet again) some bad reviews on this ship,we really are having a problem understanding who these people are. This is our third cruise on Oceana and we thought,this time,we are going to keep our eyes peeled for all these dirty ... Read More
Having read (yet again) some bad reviews on this ship,we really are having a problem understanding who these people are. This is our third cruise on Oceana and we thought,this time,we are going to keep our eyes peeled for all these dirty tables,litter,bad service and rude staff.I'm pleased to announce,we encountered none of the above.This ship is spotless,the staff bend over backwards to accommodate,if you do meet one who is maybe not as polite as you may hope for,please,give them a break?They work seven days a week,thirteen hours a day and for nine months on the trot,wouldn't you have the occasional bad day? We've seen first hand some of the rudeness from some passengers they've to put up with and not once have we seen them be rude back and believe me,they would have every right to. Our only gripe this time round was that P & O seem to be dropping their standards when it comes to the dress code,only three black tie nights out of twelve and the rest casual.Now that to some passengers is old jeans,leggings,t shirts and baggy jumpers.Would you turn up to a 5* hotel dressed like this?We're glad to say,the majority of passengers still turned up beautifully dressed but P & O need to beware,as we're not sure who they are trying to cater to these days.We really don't want to dine next to a table of drunken louts,singing and talking loudly and on one occasion,we had to.On a previous cruise,one table had a food fight!! We are going to monitor this over our coming cruises and if it worsens we will be looking to cruise with another fleet such as Cunard.We are definitely not snobs and all classes should enjoy cruising,it's just that some people don't quite know how to behave and there doesn't seem to be anyone on board to uphold the ships standards. All in all though we had a wonderful cruise, albeit a bit choppy at the Bay of Biscay and a few green faces(including mine) Don't be put off by some reviews,this ship is not "dated" nor is it filthy,the staff are amazing and our small concerns definitely didn't ruin our trip,we will be returning for our Xmas cruise again this year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
My wife, two teenage daughters and I recently spent 11 nights on the Oceana cruising to the Med. We have cruised numerous times on the major cruise lines but this was our first time and P&O. We read the various reviews of both the so ... Read More
My wife, two teenage daughters and I recently spent 11 nights on the Oceana cruising to the Med. We have cruised numerous times on the major cruise lines but this was our first time and P&O. We read the various reviews of both the so called pro's and past cruisers and were thinking we would be getting at minimum 3.5 star if not 4 out of 5 star experience. End result, don't believe what you read! The ship itself is configured in a strangle way with food and entertainment scattered throughout bow and stern of the sip and on various levels making passenger traffic flows haphazard. In addition the highest indoor deck at the front of the ship is occupied by the buffet so there is no quiet place to sit and either read or watch the scenery without hearing the noise of others eating all around you. If you want to see where you are going you must go outside. The service crew on board like most cruise ships are from all over. They are extremely polite and accommodating. With spending more then a week on board you can actually get to know some of them and they are very engaging. We occupied one of the very large suites on board as we prefer to all be in one room as this usually gives us the most space and in the past the best value for our room cost. This is not the case with P&O. Simply put don not waste your money on a suite. While most large cruise lines give significant perks to "suite' passenger, outside of priority boarding there is little else. They claim you get "butler" service. We saw little of our butler and as we can do most everything ourselves on board the butler service was of very little value. Two large balcony rooms would have been just as good and substantially cheaper. Now for the food. Remember in the 1970's and 80 when everyone who travelled to England would comment on how bland the food was, well P&O have spared no expense in recreating that culinary experience. In fact on every menu in the main dining room they state how they spare no expense in creating tradition English fare. The problem is that the rest of the world has moved beyond "pot pies" and mushy peas which forms the basis on most meals on board. While dinner in the main dining room can be at times better stay away from the buffet for any and all meals. As for the specialty dining locations the Café Jardine is good but why the need for a streak place "Horizon Grill" is beyond me. Let's face it cooking steak is not a European thing with, the meat is not great and the result is at best cooked medium but usually comes well done. Again don't waste your money. The end result is that P&O has carved out a niche market for itself. If you are a 70+ British pensioner from anywhere in the U.K. other then London you will fit right in and feel like you never left home. If you are not a "Brit" the ship is not for you! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
We had 13 nights which was certainly enough. Our only other cruise was with Cunard and the difference is startling. The pressure to buy drinks, especially by the pool, was at times insolent. The food was standard British fare, plenty of ... Read More
We had 13 nights which was certainly enough. Our only other cruise was with Cunard and the difference is startling. The pressure to buy drinks, especially by the pool, was at times insolent. The food was standard British fare, plenty of potatoes, at least two different ways every meal, well that will fill you up. Chips everywhere. On this note, Marco Pierre White why did you lend your name to this poor excuse for an exclusive restaurant on board? With a stairwell coming out in the middle, people strolling past, and food no better than the main restaurants I cannot see why he did it. Most cruise ships have a signature restaurant which you make a booking for and pay extra and which you are happy to pay for as the food and service is special Not so here. This one was free except for a dinner surcharge and as such gave no special food or presentation. Menu read well but the presentation and cooking was ordinary. Please Marco review your involvement. The theatres were small and the entertainment was constantly suffled around to fit people kn if an act was popular. On a positive note the cabin, balcony, was excellent, great to have a bath and a good sized bathroom. Our cabin steward did his job well. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Cruise no E330 - OCEANA - 19th - 29th Dec 2013 Been on this ship a number of times, always had a good cruise. We were looking forward to a wonderful Xmas experience on board this trip what a big disappointment and may I add waste of ... Read More
Cruise no E330 - OCEANA - 19th - 29th Dec 2013 Been on this ship a number of times, always had a good cruise. We were looking forward to a wonderful Xmas experience on board this trip what a big disappointment and may I add waste of money. We are not party animals, but there was no Christmas atmosphere on this cruise, which is why we paid the extra for this cruise. 2012, we went on a Warner's Xmas break, better than excellent, P&O could learn from Warner's Xmas festivities. Everything about this cruise was not up to what is promised and expected of P&O.  Even the presentation and quality of the food was not up to the usual standard. The entertainment was also not of the calibre expected and Headliners were rubbish, compared with other cruises. This was also voiced by other passengers. Our plan was to book in advance while on board a 2014 Xmas Cruise, but as we found this cruise to be so poor, we declined and are considering another option. Unfortunately we have already committed ourselves and our payment is now due for a cruise on the Azura departing 19th April, and are not looking forward to this. We can only hope Azura's standards are a great deal higher. If not it may well be our last cruise with P&O. Having cruised a number of times we have only cruised with P&O and have always been satisfied. Our friends are asking if we had a good holiday, they are not sold on a cruise with P&O. The only efficient part of our holiday was the service by Eavesway coaches, and now I am told to use another company for my next cruise. The cutbacks were extremely noticed by all who have sailed with P&O. Considering Oceana has had some refurbishment, having cruised on this ship a number of times it was not noticeable.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
We booked this Cruise in December 2012 at a travel agency, she was so upbeat abiut it and had been on the same cruise so we thought about it over Coffe and decided to "Go for it" and so glad we did. We were looked after from ... Read More
We booked this Cruise in December 2012 at a travel agency, she was so upbeat abiut it and had been on the same cruise so we thought about it over Coffe and decided to "Go for it" and so glad we did. We were looked after from strat to finish. Ist the coach for us we were picked up at Knutsford Servics(8.45am)to a very warm greeting,after a some timne and a comfort stop(1hour)we arrived in Souhampton, we never saw our cases from getting on the coach to reacining our Cabin....fantastic service.Check in was run so smoothly and in an orderly manner(no stanining in a que)once aboard ship we were informed of our cabin and proceded to go there,we got changed and ready for the "Sail away party"(more yet to come)our fist evenng dinner was casual dressing......there is a daily on board newspaer delivered to your cabin to inform you of all the activites going on where/when/time...so you can plan your day, this also informs you of the Dress Code for that evening.Formal/Casual etc.We chose to take the resauraunt Dining on 2nd sitting(8.30)on a table of six, we all go along very well. The service was excellent and no fault found(it was like something from upstiars downstairs)I was refered to as "Mam and My partner as Sir as wre all the guests...wonderfull experiance,we had the sames wainint staff all week and they got to know your likes and dislikes, they even remembered how I like my after Dinner Coffee(WOW)W cannot fault the service and the food (choose from the individal menue) was amazining, Steaks done to perfection, wine glasses topped up for you......ecxellent, what more could one want???? at the end of the week we were presented with all the menue's we had had over the past week and the front covers were signed by our team of waiters, this was all done with great expertease. We had an inside cabin cosy but thats all you need, agani service great and 24/7 if needed.....Trips we pre booked and was taken care off when we docked, we were ashore first, all transport taken care of (no need to carry pasports) your "on board Cruise Card" takes care of all that. (you need to carry this with you at all times) as it is not only your cabin key but you will need to produce it when ordering drinks/shopping on board.The Ship had a fantastic Atriumn and most of thre dining goes on around this area, the Buffett dining can be found on Deck 14, great if you sleep in and need breakfast or any other meal to suite you. There was plenty of Entertainment going on in the Theatre's one at each end of the Ship. We were lucky enough to see Clem Curtis (of the Foundations, Build me up Buttercup....etc) fantastic and managed toget a pic with him......also a great comic Fogwell Fax...very funy.great shows from the Headliners Theatre Club on board for the week.......fab shows they all work so very hard and some of the group come to the door of the Theatre as you are leaving to ask if had enjoyed the show.......never have I had such wonderfull treatment on any other kind of holiday...all Embarkation and Disembarkation was made so easy, not forgetting to clense hands......this was also done before entering any dining area.....fantastic clenleness...The photographers were out in force and were great at any time of the day /night you were given the opportunity of "posing" for a shot, the formal nights for this were great, all dresed up waiting to have you pic taken. We heard the birth of the Prince whilst we were away so the day after he was born we were on yet another "Sail Away" we had Champagne to "Toast the new arrival" we were in the plung pool at the time what a way to celabrate!!!! Childeren wre not with us but we understand that the Chldrens activites were also great and kept occupied with many things to do, Pirate days, Treasure Hunts and the like, all in all I would say a great time can be had by all age groups as there is something for every one in the Oceana. I cannot comment on other Ship on the Fleet but I am sure all will be very similar, and Ilook forward to Cruising again, if not on The Oceana then on one of her Sister Ships, so we can recomend. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2011
This cruise line is touted as an upscale cruiseline. We have been on Sea Dream so we know what that means. I would place this cruise one level above Carnival. The food was very mediocre. Had to send it back the first night in the dining ... Read More
This cruise line is touted as an upscale cruiseline. We have been on Sea Dream so we know what that means. I would place this cruise one level above Carnival. The food was very mediocre. Had to send it back the first night in the dining room. After the second night in the dining room, we gave up and only ate in the buffet restaurant where the food was actually better than in all the other restaurants, including the ones you had to make special reservations for. The staff seemed untrained. They tried hard, but did not have their act together. The room was really small even though we were on the Concierge level. Don't really see the benefit of paying extra to be there! Fortunately, we got off every day. The excursions were great, but when we got back on the ship, nothing but aggravation. No nightlife to speak of. Fortunately, had jet lag most of the time. Would not recommend you spend this much money for this cruise line. Have cruised with Royal Carribean and they are heads and tails above this line. We could have gone all out on Royal Carribean and still only have spent half of what we did with Oceana and had a much better time! Save your Money!!   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
We sailed on ORIANA from our home port of Southampton on May 3 for a 17 day cruise, had not been on this ship for six years and learning it was having a refit in November, i was a lttle concerned , but tese proved foundless, the ship is in ... Read More
We sailed on ORIANA from our home port of Southampton on May 3 for a 17 day cruise, had not been on this ship for six years and learning it was having a refit in November, i was a lttle concerned , but tese proved foundless, the ship is in excellent condition, immaculately clean ,the decor athough a little aged now was in good condition, the food was the best we have had tis year and this was our third cruise of 2011, also top class entertainment, quite alot to do on board as opposed to the other ships we have sailed on, an excelleent movie shown daily , and a chance to learn bridge, which i attemted and not only did i enjoy but i made many friends, the ports were good, and disembarcation was well done, mostly with folk meeting on the quatside and collecting their stickers, whereas normally one has to congregate in the theatre, the arrival on the ship was good as when we departed, not the usual crowds of passengers crowding around.the Captain HAMISH REID is one of the most amusing Captains ever, and when he retires in August i think he will be missed.The evening they did Call my Bluff, was the funniest thing imaginable, which he participated in,All in all a great trip, and i now look forward to our next two which will be on AZURA and OCEANIA I think we will stick with P/O for a while as i cannot think of anything negative to say.ELIZABETH WILLIAMS Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2011
My wife and I went on a Caribbean cruise from 5/2/11/ to 20/2/11.I would like to offer the following information for your perusal:1) Flight out (TCX76K)Unable to view the seating plan on the internet and unable to choose any seats. ... Read More
My wife and I went on a Caribbean cruise from 5/2/11/ to 20/2/11.I would like to offer the following information for your perusal:1) Flight out (TCX76K)Unable to view the seating plan on the internet and unable to choose any seats. Telephoned Thomas Cook at Manchester airport and P&O at Southampton and both were unable to help. As we were booked on a charter flight it seemed we had no choice. We flew out in separate seats and rows. Had we known it was a charter flight we would not have booked the holiday.2) Return flight (TCX76L)Clearly, one has to pre-book, or pay extra, or both, in order to have any choice in seat allocation. Again we were separated.I cannot believe that it is not possible to place passengers, who occur in twos, in seats which are adjacent to each other. 3) Stateroom/CabinA trifle on the small side but adequate. The gentleman responsible for the daily cleaning and tidying was excellent. The biggest problem with our room's location was the sound. Several times during the cruise there were events which did not end until after midnight and one could hear the thumping. I did call for a cabin steward to explain the noise but he could offer no explanation. I do not think it is satisfactory to be in one's stateroom and bombarded with the sounds if one is trying to read or rest! On joining/returning to the ship we were encouraged to use the facilities available to wash our hands. This facility did not last long. About half the 14 days? I made some comment. To no avail! 4) Peninsular RestaurantInitially, far too warm. A gentleman on a table next to me collapsed with his head on the table. I was surprised to be told that medical attention could be declined unless requested. Eventually, medical aid came to the table. What would have happened if the diner had suffered a cardiac problem? The first 30 minutes are crucial! Excess heat I would suspect. The "maitre d'" arranged for a lower temperature for the remainder of the cruise; to everyone's delight. The food was excellent and the care and attention offered for our menu was exemplary. We are vegetarians. The afternoon teas were well-presented and served well. There was a noticeable lack of sandwiches for those of us who do not eat meat or fish. It is quite embarrassing to have to ask for an alternative option almost every day. My wife thought that some of the cutlery was not as clean as it might have been and there were occasions when the uniforms were a little grubby, in places. 5) The SeaScreen areaThis is truly awful. For those who wish to swim, read and use the loungers then this is dire. There is no solitude to be had. You may say that there are other areas but not if one wishes to indulge in swimming (the pools were not very good), reading and lounging/listening to one's own music. There is a feeling of being "cut-off" from this area because of the ambient noise levels. 6) Coral Pool and BarIn my naivety I had expected the decks to have parasols under which one could shade. The Coral Pool area had none. The loungers were so tightly packed that it was impossible to move them in order to find some shade, when required. There was the general feeling of claustrophobia and that the general philosophy of the ship was to maximise the density of passengers in such areas. 7) Breakers BarExactly as one would expect and nothing more. There is, clearly, a bad design fault in this area because after a heavy shower of rain the deck was flooded and showed no sign of clearing. The drainage system did not cope with the deluge. There were pools of water in several places and these presented a hazard to the passengers. I mentioned this to the deck manager and suggested his colleagues might sweep the water into those drains present; instead of making paper boats and floating them in the puddles! To no avail.8) The RetreatWhen my wife and I joined the ship on Saturday, 5th February we went to the Retreat and asked for some reservations. There were none. Another area of the ship "unavailable" to us.So, if one wants a relatively quiet time swimming, reading, listening to music and lounging on a sun bed there is little space available. We did try the Terrace Pool bar area but the amphitheatre layout was not conducive to the above trio of activities; and there was little shade to be had.9) Seventeen restaurantWe tried to arrange a meal in the above. To no avail.10) SindhuWe had dinner in the above and were very impressed. Excellent service, good food and a very relaxing atmosphere. To be commended.11) The PlayhouseWe found the theatre to be very comfortable with good acoustics and views. The entertainment was of an above average standard although there was one comedian for whom we felt a degree of embarrassment and pity. 12) Promenade DeckMy wife is a keen walker and this ship does nothing for her activity. The decks are too narrow and cluttered with loungers, etc making it difficult to move with any speed around them. The fundamental problem is, of course, the fact that the architect had the wisdom to design a ship which did not have a promenade deck which was continuous!! To build one ship with such a flaw was tolerable but to build another smacks of carelessness!SummarySo, in conclusion, we found the cruise less than satisfactory for the reasons outlined above.The ship is far too crowded, claustrophobic, poorly designed, noisy and lacking in the areas we would wish for. It would seem to cater for those passengers who do not mind such constraints and impositions. Many of my fellow passengers registered the same complaints. I am not an experienced traveller as this is only my second cruise; the initial one being February/March 2010 on the QM2, for 42 days, from Hong Kong to Cape Town so I can make some sort of comparison between relative sizes and facilities, etc. For example, there were no "shuttle buses" to take passengers into the centres of the ports. I thought the trek into Bridgetown from the ship was a trifle far and we are very good walkers. It was very pleasant to have had two weeks in the sunshine, to have visited different places, be entertained and catered for but it could have been a lot better. We would give 6/10 for an overall score. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Oceana at 10 years old is a well founded and maintained ship, cabins are beautifully appointed and our steward Pankaj was telepathic, always on hand when we needed him, worked hard and always smiling. We were waited on hand and foot ... Read More
Oceana at 10 years old is a well founded and maintained ship, cabins are beautifully appointed and our steward Pankaj was telepathic, always on hand when we needed him, worked hard and always smiling. We were waited on hand and foot - didn't even have to collect our luggage in Barbados it was delivered from plane to cabin and were made to feel welcome on arrival. The food, standard of catering and organisation was for the most part faultless (minor complaint about hot plates for cold food on the buffet and the coffee not great). Lunches were superb in all venues and our dinners in the Ligurian (Freedom Dining) were awesome. Dinner at Cafe Jardin was not worth paying the extra for - lunches there were excellent but the dinner menu was the same for two weeks and the service poor in comparison to the main restaurants. Sightseeing was superb although in EVERY destination you would do better going ashore and taking one of the many tours on offer at half the price - most people like an easy life and Oceana's staff certainly provided that. Entertainment on board included Fogwell Flax (so very funny), a brilliant concert pianist, after dinner speaker Tommy Docherty (who was amazing and fielded questions from the audience with a true sense of humour), with shows and high octane dancing - they did really well. Daytime at sea there was so much to do we found ourselves racing from ballroom dancing classes to windows 7 seminar, go-yoga, how to improve your photography to talks and films on the Panama Canal. Which brings me to the highlight of the tour - The Panama Canal. Oceana had an expert historian on board with a wealth of knowledge, he kept us enthralled all day with his commentaries - a really fantastic experience. Now comes the downside of our trip Ionithermie: I went along to one of the many seminars 'how to deal with those troublesome fatty areas on your body' The answer was Ionithermie currently not available in the UK, it's a treatment with special clay and electrodes and you can lose up to 8" Too good to be true? I signed up for the free consultation and Stephanie told me I needed 3 treatments on board and she would give me a simple regime to follow at home. If I booked all three appointments there and then with the discounts it would cost only £189.00 - "wow" I said "that is a serious amount of money are you really sure it works with long term results"? She was very confident and said she would measure me before and after. I booked my three appointments. After the first treatment Stephanie displayed the items needed for the simple regime at home the cost...£200.00+ I queried why this wasn't disclosed prior to the treatments, she wanted to know why I thought it so expensive, she said some passengers had spent over £3,000.00 on stuff to take home. I felt very pressured and said I need to think it over. Afterward I cancelled my next two appoints (losing the discount and had to pay £89.00) I did lose 4" - I was measured in 8 places and the losses were aggregated IT LASTED ALL OF one day. Having got home I goggled Ionithermie and was so grateful I didn't spend any more money on it. I will be writing with my concerns to P and O. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
I was so much looking forward to sailing on Azura but the first impressions were disappointing.Too many passengers cared for by too few staff:the deck activities were mainly "non-hosted" and there was a feeling of over crowding ... Read More
I was so much looking forward to sailing on Azura but the first impressions were disappointing.Too many passengers cared for by too few staff:the deck activities were mainly "non-hosted" and there was a feeling of over crowding at certain periods especially the needless queueing to gain a place in the theatre which often resulted in bad words and scraps by certain passengers.Although the ship was clean it was not exactly welcoming with sun loungers jammed too close together and a lack of suitable shade at times.Why pay extra for Costa coffee and ice creams during the day:it is a long hike to the cabin and the life saving coffee maker or to the NAAFI style canteen for their tea and coffee.The food quality was similar to a city cafe or pub:nothing really special and not too appealing either.The breakfast buffet had bacon and eggs swimming in fat and not too appetising as a result.Afternoon Tea in the Venezia cafe was forgettable:always remember certain other lines make the tea a spectacle with cakes and excellent service. Why was there no hand steriliser outside the main restaurants in the evening? The few children on board needed supervising especially by the pools where notices indicated that diving and jumping were not allowed.Really it went on all the time with nobody to control a situation which may have been dangerous at times. The entertainment was frankly pathetic with too many tribute acts by talentless nonentities and even poor old Des O'Connor was past his sell by date.Tom O'Connor was good on Christmas Day:a real professional.Third rate comedians and so called entertainers made up the rest of this month cruise on a much hyped ship. I have written to P&O to state my complaints and comments as well as saying that I have already cancelled a forthcoming cruise on Azura and am prepared to lose the deposit.Azura? Never again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2010
Norwegian Fjords - July 2010 - Second sitting Oriental Restaurant OVERALL A wonderful week on a great ship. Spectacular scenery, a photographer's dream trip, lovely service on board and brilliant food and drink at good prices. What ... Read More
Norwegian Fjords - July 2010 - Second sitting Oriental Restaurant OVERALL A wonderful week on a great ship. Spectacular scenery, a photographer's dream trip, lovely service on board and brilliant food and drink at good prices. What more can you say! ITINERARY Southampton, Stavanger, Nordfjord to Olden, Alesund (A pretty town on an island in a fjord), Bergen, Southampton. WEATHER Unbelievable. Apparently they say in Norway that if you can see the mountains, it's going to rain. If you can't, it is raining. It rains 265 days a year. We never had a drop - We were so lucky - weather fabulous and the North Sea was like the Mediterranean! Everyone got a tan. GETTING ON AND OFF AT SOUTHAMPTON. Really surprised at just how efficiently P&O can do this normally horrendous bit of the cruise. Big praise for CPS car parks as well. It cost £80 for the week but it was well worth it. We arrived in the car beside the ship. Gave the car keys to CPS and P&O took the cases. We walked trough the brilliant check in process and made for the bar. I advise you to get there early, we were on by 11.30 so we got lunch as well (they had a BBQ and Champagne waiting for everyone!) A TIP I WISH I'D KNOWN You get to Nordfjord for the 60 miles inland to Olden at around 4am. I strongly advise you get up, get your camera, go out on deck. We got our pictures on the way OUT of Nordfjord against a setting sun. We could easily have been unlucky with the weather and then regretted for ever that we hadn't got up early to see the magnificent sights which unfold on the journey. You usually only get one chance in your life to see scenery like this. It makes you realise where Grieg's music was inspired - the light and scenery keeps changing, so keep snapping away, then you can go back to bed until brekky time. CASH We paid cash up front, we don't like using cards. On the last evening they balanced up and gave us cash in hand. At Bergen, there was a local Norwegian tax official dealing with tax-free purchases (at a table beside reception). He was also happy to change any Norwegian Krona coins back into sterling. That was very useful indeed. CLEANLINESS Everywhere we went on the ship, the attention to cleaning and hygiene was outstanding. The whole ship was spotless. There are the usual gel dispensers in and out of every eating area but more than that is the way they deal with leaving a toilet area by supplying a tissue to open the door with. No more wrenching the little finger or trying to open a round handle with your elbow! The cabins were serviced twice a day, the usual choccie on the pillow. What impressed us was that they almost seem to watch for us leaving for dinner and breakfast so they could slip in and do the cleaning. Very well organised, many thanks to our chap, who had been given the name Jerry. THE KITCHENS After the chocoholics session on the last afternoon (just when you thought you could eat no more!), we went for a walk round the main kitchens and, predictably, they were absolutely VAST and completely spotless. FOOD - MAIN RESTAURANT This is our fourth cruise and the first with P&O. It would be difficult to overstate the quality of the food. We had lobster, venison, every other kind of meat and fish. How on earth they managed to cook steak perfectly for each person, with the variations of medium, rare, well done etc I don't know, but they did. And they did it again and again. The variety of food was outstanding and the quality was always excellent. FOOD - THE CONSERVATORY This is where you can have breakfast if you like, plus eating at any other time of the day. The variety was mind boggling and the quality - especially English breakfasts - faultless. Never a problem finding a seat, tables cleared all the time, and wiped down. If only we had places like that in the UK! Even the coffee was good. That's a first! One night is CURRY NIGHT in the Conservatory, and we dined there instead of the main restaurant that night. A great curry with all the trimmings. A special mention for the breakfasts because of the very wide variety and the way the fried bread was always perfect! CABIN We were on "A" deck, near the back of the ship but this is the first time we have not had a balcony. Good decision. We were ten paces from the terraces at the back of the ship, which effectively turned out to be our balcony. Complete with pool! When choosing a cabin, I recommend up high (A deck) near the back, it seems to be the best place. Oddly enough, we found sitting on the beds reading was quite relaxing because the window is so large and the mirror opposite means you can see the view behind you. Amazing what they can do with the space. We thought we'd spend very little time in our cabin. Hair-drier and tea making facilities included, plus soaps etc in the bathroom. One nice touch was the cooling gel eye-pads. Not seen that before. Great flat screen TV with BBC news, all very clear all the time. On board mobile phones work all the time but slowly because it's uses the ships satellite uplink, but it works. There is the usual daily bulletin left beside the door saying what on, plus a nice "What's happening in the world and the UK" news letter as well. NOISE The pool at the back of the ship is quiet, the one at the front is hi-de-hi, the one in the middle disco music. You choose the one you like, none of them spoil the peace at the back of the ship. All were spotless and there was a constant bar service from helpful and friendly waiters. FACILITIES Special mention about the sun chairs scattered round the ship. They are very comfortable indeed and I slept quite a lot without my usual aching back afterwards. Always plenty of seats and loungers (towels supplied in the cabin) A bar for every kind of person, depending on how you feel, loads of quiet areas round the ship, and of course you can eat your way to freedom, any time of the day. There are also two other restaurants where you can pay quite a lot for the food (£15 cover charge per person!?!). A Gary Rhodes and an Al Fresco. We didn't go there because the food we were enjoying in the main restaurant was as good as anywhere we've been. SHOWS AND ENTERTAINMENT Something for everyone here, we watched the Broadway or Las Vegas type shows but it's not our thing, very well done though. We did like Alan Stewart, I nearly bust a rib laughing! There were surprises too. In the Crows Nest bar (the best place to be on sailaway!) we watched a concert pianist performing Chopin and Schuman. They stopped serving ten minutes before the recital and you could have heard a pin drop. It was magical listening to this while sailing through beautiful fjords. A very special mention to Carlos Paul Santana, lately of Paperlace, the group from the seventies. He surprised everyone, he starts off with a medley of songs which he does well, but then he starts singing in Italian, he plays amazing guitar and his encore .. well, I'm not going to say what he did.. but it is the first time I have been on a ship when the entire audience springs to their feet clapping and cheering. What an amazing artist. DRINKS AND PRICES Another surprise. £2.60 a pint of beer, £12 a bottle of wine and £2.85 for a Pina Colada. Better than most pubs! SERVICE GENERALLY It would be true to say they the vast majority of the staff just couldn't do enough to help. They were all very busy though, and didn't always have time to chat. Quite understandable. SERVICE - ORIENTAL RESTAURANT We were served by two Indian gents who had been given the names Douglas and Cyril. I would have preferred to use their real names but that's the way they do it on P&O so I guess that's fine. I honestly believed they really wanted to do the very best they could regardless of tipping, and it was the first time we both felt that we WANTED to leave a tip rather then feel obliged to. These guys were just wonderful and everyone we came into contact with in the Oriental restaurant, especially Chandra the Maitre Di, were the same. EXCURSIONS We never do the excursions, so we can't comment on them except that they seemed a little expensive for what they appeared to promise. We think the same everywhere we go, so we always do internet research beforehand and go exploring. STAVANGER A very pretty town indeed, very picturesque and lovely to walk. Berth is right in the town centre. We were there on a Sunday when the shops were shut, but the cafes and bars were open. They suggest you look around the area near the dock which has the old houses and cobbled streets. Nice for about ten minutes, then make your way to the other side of the dock (left hand side when facing into the dock) where the high street is. Very nice indeed. (Why do they always assume you want to see just the history, we like seeing the people and their town)Fantastic sailaway round the islands to head north NORDFJORD, 6o miles inland to OLDEN - make sure you have camera memory that can handle hundreds of pictures. Breathtakingly beautiful fjord. Not much you can say because words just can't describe it. Do take the wally-trolly in Olden, which helpfully is waiting where the ship berths. it's £15 each but it's worth it. Also there is the trip to the glacier, £25 a head with the local taxi drivers who sit waiting in a minibus for the ship. An awful lot less money that the ships trip but the last one goes at around 12 noon so get down there earlyish. Unbelievable sailaway ALESUND A lovely town, lots of walking if you want to, highly recommend the wally-trolly because it takes you high up for spectacular views over the whole island and surrounding areas. Lovely sailaway BERGEN A big busy town, big shopping area, nice market on the front but we were in a commercial dock away from the centre. That didn't matter because there was a constant free shuttle, 15 minutes into the town centre. We would have taken the funicular railway but took the wally-trolley instead and found ourselves half way up the mountain so the train ride seemed a bit pointless after that. Gorgeous sailaway up the fjord for about 2 hours (listening to a Chopin recital) DOWNSIDE. The only thing that I have seen better elsewhere was the ship's shopping area. On the Oriana, it's not really a walk along a row of shops like other liners, it's just a large shop selling different things. It couldn't spoil our trip but it was the thing that stuck in our minds. There was a slight glitch with hot water early evening on one of the formal nights. To their credit, they dealt with the early-sitting ladies who were beginning to panic, and they fixed it in time so all's well that ends well. Other reviews and their negative comments. I read one review on another site entitled "rubbish" that says the Conservatory restaurant was disgusting. That is neither true nor is it fair to P&O or the crew. I'm afraid to say, people like that are probably not suited to cruises because, with any holiday, you'll always find something to complain about. Comments about "school food" left me puzzled too because everywhere you eat, the food is brilliant. They did not mention any of the good points I have covered, which puzzles me a little. In fact in their entire review, they didn't even mention the places they visited. People have mentioned in reviews the shuddering - especially in the Oriental restaurant. Yes, it does shudder a bit, we haven't been a ship that doesn't, its certainly not a problem - 69000 tons of food, flesh and steel being pushed at 21 knots through the ocean, you're bound to feel some engine vibration, I would be nervous if I didn't! Entertainment was mentioned and someone said it was like a holiday camp show, they seem to have missed the classical recitals in the Crows Nest. Pity, because they were magical. People who write that sort of thing should consider this - 1000 people with many different tastes. Some like this, some that. The ship has to cater for them all. I didn't like the showpiece glitzy shows with dancers. But they were very good and very professional, the guys and girls worked very hard, as good as any west end show - I personally just don't like that kind of thing. However, I certainly wouldn't complain, because hundreds of others DID like them! Some people didn't like the comedian that we thought brilliant - you can't please everyone all the time but - P&O, you did the best any company could do, trying to please everyone, so well done you! A reviewer on another site thought the average age of passenger was 75 and it was like an old people's home. Absolutely not true at all. The mix was every age and every ability, from 6 months old babies to centenarians. From the super fit to the poignant souls, obviously believing they are on their last ever holiday, but we hope they're not! Some youngsters were there courtesy of charities, which just goes to reinforce the fact that real genuine and fine British people generously extend warmth and compassion to all types of people, and those that feel unable to do that, would probably be better off staying at home. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2010
I just thought I'd share my experiences with those who are interested. Travel to and from Southampton We travelled by Eavesway Coach, which turned out to be a great, hassle-free choice. We had 3 cases each, which we ... Read More
I just thought I'd share my experiences with those who are interested. Travel to and from Southampton We travelled by Eavesway Coach, which turned out to be a great, hassle-free choice. We had 3 cases each, which we never saw again until they arrived in our cabin, plus hand baggage and although it's a long journey, it didn't seem like it. A word of warning.... The very front seats (which we reserved a year ago) are very cramped for taller passengers, although a great view compensates. The coach was excellent, as was the driver, who kept us informed of timings throughout. Embarkation / Disembarkation Much easier and quicker than I thought it would be - very well organised. Must remember to make my cases more easily recognisable for collection in the terminal building - all large black/brown cases look the same. Seasickness From thoroughly miserable experiences of travelling on smaller ships in the distant past, I was prepared, with ginger chews, ginger biscuits and pills from the chemist. I had a few sweets, then biscuits before sailing. They were nice, so I finished them off during the next day or two. Then I forgot to take the pills and found I didn't need anything anyway. Even during force 9/10 winds between Greenland and Iceland, I was fine with the bumpiness. Ship and Staff Lovely ship, great facilities, nice cabins, but Aurora is showing signs of age....wood veneers coming off in some public areas, light showing through cabin curtains. Those things didn't in any way spoil our cruise. The staff are wonderful, always smiling, with friendly greetings. Internet very expensive and VERY slow. How does the Captain manage a consistently good smile / pose for photographs? I've tried and practiced and failed. It usually looks like I've got wind and am about to fall over. Dining. We sampled most dining areas and were most impressed with Cafe Bordeaux. Nothing the matter with the Alexandria or Medina, the choice and quality of food is excellent, but they are frantic places at times, with staff almost running at times, trying to serve so many people at once. In Cafe Bordeaux, there's a better ratio of staff to customers, so it's much more relaxed and calm. The food there is that much better and to us, it was worth the cover charges to have dinner there four times. The Orangery varied, with some really quiet times and some rugby scrum occasions, but there was always enough choice of food for anyone's taste. You could eat as much or as little, as healthily or unhealthily as you wanted - we did both and both. Afternoon tea in the Medina was well worth doing occasionally, but a bit rushed. Entertainment. The Port Talks were excellent, as were the series of talks on air travel. The Headliners shows in the Curzon Theatre were always superb (how do they dance in heels when the boat is bouncing around?) as was the Music Festival at sea. If it's any help, the front seats of The Curzon are a good deal cooler than those higher up at the back. I wish folk would respect the requests of the staff and turn OFF mobiles and cameras, it's very off-putting when you are looking down on dozens of little screens lit up between yourself and the show. We went to Carmens one formal evening to have a look and saw some new variations in some of the dances as the sea was a bit choppy - they were enjoying it though and so did we. Ports of Call. An excellent choice, the main reason for us choosing this cruise and we were blessed with superb weather too. Some amazing scenery on the way into and out of ports. Excursions (general). An excellent choice of excursions for all tastes and abilities, we thoroughly enjoyed ours. Why do people feel they need to behave like animals, pushing, shoving and running to get excursion stickers and to get to the buses? We all get a time and a place to collect stickers and we WILL all get a seat on a bus / boat. Also, why do passengers not put a little more effort into getting back to buses on time at the end of planned stops. I do agree that some "comfort breaks" didn't allow sufficient time and toilet queues were huge, but some folk were within sight of the bus, yet still taking their time. Our Excursions / Shore Trips. Cobh ..... Excellent tour of Cork and Jameson Distillery. Tour guide was knowledgeable and funny. We arrived back too late for dinner and so went into Cobh for Fish and Chips. A bad choice of chip shop saw us waiting ½ hour, with some other customers walking out even after ordering. Still, we thought sitting on the seafront eating them would be nice - it wasn't, they were undercooked and greasy - but hey, that's life. Dublin..... Nice tour of Dublin, with Irish dance show. Shame that speakers at rear of coach weren't working - so didn't hear a lot that the guide said. Irish dance show was excellent and fun. Qaqortoq.....Lovely little town for taking photos on a superb sunny day. Very colourful houses and lots of wild flowers. We went ashore early, had a walk around and returned after an hour to eat, drink and enjoy the scenery. Nuuk........ Beautiful location, partly ugly concrete housing blocks, partly colourful old part of town. Don't believe that there's not much to do, the tourist office at the quayside sell tickets for all kinds of trips / excursions. We went on a wonderful "Scenic Fjord Tour" that we had pre-booked before we left. The little boat took us at remarkable speed on a 40 / 50 mile trip round local fjords, that were so calm and glassy once the sun came out. We saw no whales, but had a few very close-up circuits of a small blue iceberg and saw huge mountains rising straight out of the sea as well as glaciers. There's lots to do in Nuuk, but get in touch with the Tourist Office first, for a brochure and price list. Reykjavik......Fantastic trip on giant 4x4 to glacier, waterfalls and hot springs. Extremely bumpy at times and not a trip for anyone with back problems - but great fun and spectacular scenery. Another warm and sunny day. Akureyri.......Trip to see town and botanic gardens, followed by tour to Godafoss waterfalls. Town was pretty and in stunning location. The visit to the gardens was a bit brief, nothing special as gardens go, but truly amazing for this far North. Godafoss was beautiful and I got lots of good photos, but toilets in hotel had big queue later, causing delays to bus departures. Our guide was nice and she was happy learning some of the intricacies of the English language - like duck and ducks, does not work out to goose and gooses. Alesund......Lovely place in lovely location. Had a walk around in evening, to see harbour area. We did "Land of The Trolls" trip. Partly spoiled by someone who had "done it" before and had to tell his companions in a loud voice, what would happen next - it was funny when he was so often wrong. A stop at a gorge and waterfall had some "interesting" unisex toilets, with ceiling to floor metal doors and dodgy locks. It was funny to see people come out of them looking shocked after failing to realise that the hand basin taps were automatic and to see those who had worked out the taps yet failed to find the paper towels well hidden underneath. Further on the sheer drops just a couple of feet from the bus wheels had some window side passengers trying to move inwards, but the locations were spectacular. Our guide offered to show us a walk to a viewpoint and when we saw that it actually jutted out 20ft clear of the mountain, with a sheer drop of several hundred feet very obvious through the glass walls of the platform, it made us stop and take a few deep breaths before going there. The views down to the tiny vehicles on hairpin bends below were breathtaking. A meal stop was a buffet style and people started the feeding frenzy, putting coats on chairs and pushing into queues. Very glad to get outside again. The visit to "Troll Wall" capped a great day - why would anyone want to jump off a rock 3,000ft up? Apparently the Base Jumpers do, despite it being illegal. Geiranger......Probably the one of the most beautiful locations a cruise ship can get to. A great trip out to the "Roof of Norway" and Mount Dalsnibba, after a bit of a problem with a family of 4 trying to occupy all 9 rear seats, leaving the P & O escort with no choice but to ask them to move so she could have a seat. Another lovely day, lots of snow to be seen, more hairpin bends and outstanding scenery. Amazing views from Dalsnibba, but the tourist visitor centre had to close the toilets - maybe too many visitors at once. We had a really nice waiter-served meal at a hotel at another waterfall, but what a shame so much of the food was sent back. Bergen.......Another lovely day and a trip to Lysoen Island. More nice scenery and a nice little boat trip to see a well preserved summer-house. We got waffles, sour cream and jam - lovely, though didn't realise the thin slices of "fudge" I put on also, were actually cheese - still tasty though. Had a walk around Bergen later, seeing various dancing / keep fit in the streets. Also had enormous ice creams at £3 each. Stavanger......Beautiful, but noisy from beach volleyball competition. Did very scenic tour along Lysefjord to Pulpit Rock. Another warm and sunny day, with yet more amazing scenery and one more stop for waffles. Had time for a walk around Stavanger later. Fellow Passengers Mostly really nice people, sharing experiences of cruising. A few rude people, some of whom do not even know they are being rude, and some who do, but don't care. Also, some of us need to take a good look at ourselves in the mirror before we leave the cabin, would we really dress like that at home? There's only a certain few folk who actually look good in shorts and only young people look cool in young fashion clothing. I'm not criticising, just observing - I've seen some of my own photos and cringed. There you go, it's not a proper review, just some memories shared. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
The Ventura certainly lived up to the hype in the P & O brochure with one exception. The holiday cruise was a joy from the moment we arrived at Birmingham airport through to our flight home. The excellent service with the staff on ... Read More
The Ventura certainly lived up to the hype in the P & O brochure with one exception. The holiday cruise was a joy from the moment we arrived at Birmingham airport through to our flight home. The excellent service with the staff on board going out of their way to ensure we had everything we wanted to make our holiday perfect. We had a superb stateroom with balcony on deck 11 - great views when sailing into the islands, very quiet and great location close to forward lifts. 24 hour room service available at no extra charge - great choice for breakfast on sea days Impossible to get any cold water - design problem possibly. Excellent maid service in room. Dining arrangements and the food offerings were outstanding with ample choice of food choices with too many options generally the norm. The onboard facilities, swimming pools, gym, pub venues, snack bars, shops and the art gallery are all first class. In all these areas the Ventura excels however just one major area of disappointment was the entertainment. The choice was very varied however it was below standard compared with everything else on Ventura - one favourite comedian Manual Martinez we have enjoyed on previous cruises was scheduled to perform and although spotted on the boat never performed ! The inclusion of an ex BBC weather reporter for the late night entertainment in the main theatre remains a mystery. The other complaint we had ( and also voiced by other passengers) was the hideous design of the Havana night spot/bar which comprised seating areas with barriers which restricted the views of the artists! A design fault which should be rectified. Was the cruise value for money -yes without a doubt Are we going to travel with Ventura again - yes definitely (Can't believe the entertainment would be this poor again) Would we recommend the boat to friends and relatives - undoubtedly Highlights - the food, the service, the friendly staff and the sublime food in the White Room (Pierre Marco White restaurant) We will be talking about this holiday for a long time.. If you are thinking about cruising on the Ventura - book now you won't regret it Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
My husband and I have only sailed on small "boutique" boats prior to this trip. By comparison the Oceania's 700 or so passengers was large. Friends who cruise often had told us about this cruise line and praised it so off we ... Read More
My husband and I have only sailed on small "boutique" boats prior to this trip. By comparison the Oceania's 700 or so passengers was large. Friends who cruise often had told us about this cruise line and praised it so off we went. We were not disappointed. the boat is well managed and maintained. The strongest plus is the international and ultra warm staff. They are well trained and up to the task of making you feel at home. The food in both the main dining room and the two specialty restaurants compares favorably with any top New York restaurant and the Open Seating policy is a great way to meet other people if you are so inclined. For our sailing most of those traveling were couples - from 40 - 80 with the majority in the 60+ range. Predominantly American with a smattering of British and Canadian. Many had cruised on more expensive lines (Crystal, Seabourn' said that this ship compared favorably. A word of warning - if you like glitzy entertainment and lots of on board organized activities this is not the boat for you. The major fault we found was with the excursion desk. If you took the cruise tours each day - no problem. We took one and were pleased with it but doing multiple tours doubles the price of the cruise itself and you get so much more local color going off in a small group or on your own. The negative is if you are "independent". Each port has a tour agent that comes on board to help you arrange your day. These people are very knowledgeable but only come on board or are available once the ship has docked. The staff at the itineraries desk provides meager information so, unless you've really done your homework, this can be very disconcerting. The ship does provide a loop DVD and dailytaped itinerary briefing but it might be better to have a daily in person port of call seminar. You are always conscious of arranging your day so that the boat doesn't sail without you (and they will). Overall our experience was a wonderful one - we would definitely sail with this cruise line again Read Less
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