Curate’s Egg – good in parts
Ann Clayton | June 23, 2018 | P&O Cruises | Arcadia
Our first P&O cruise. Cabin excellent, food likewise – meals in Meridian were plated, not silver service, but we found this perfectly acceptable. Cabin steward gave excellent service, as did waiters and wine steward.
The downsides were:
1. Tours organisation very mixed. Long queues to get on and off the ship, muddled instructions as to where we should go for the gangway ashore, and about whether we would need passports at each port. Announcements often hard to decipher due to poor speaker quality and sometimes heavy accents of speakers, who often spoke too quickly. Our day excursion to Venice lasted 5 hours, with no opportunity for comfort break – guide said she could not wait for us, we were taking too long etc. Older members of our tour group were in distress.
2. Activities on at-sea days: quite honestly, we were bored stiff!! Only one speaker was on board, giving talks on drugs day after day. We could see endless opportunities missed – history, music appreciation, art appreciation, current affairs, economics, biographies of famous people connected with our ports of call etc. There were far too many gym/spa/beauty therapy activities and not enough to exercise the brain cells.
3. Internet/WiFi: we were charged ?35 for 100 minutes, which we feel was extortionate. Access to WiFi was so convoluted that a special seminar had to be held to show people what to do. When you thought you were offline, you could easily fail to shut down properly and your minutes were all eaten up.
4. Onboard charges – trays of orange juice and wine brought round on arrival and at a chocolate afternoon buffet – you were led to believe they were complimentary. As soon as you said “Yes Please”, you were asked for your cabin card and the drink was charged for. We were first timers with P&O, but we soon learnt what was happening… A tour “behind the scenes” of the ship was advertised – enquiries revealed that ?75 would be charged for this – outrageous!! We declined…
5. Cabin TV – poor quality of picture and sound, and very limited choice. The live football was good though.
Overall, disappointing – we felt that once we were on board, P&O was concerned to feed us well and its staff gave good service in the “hotel” side of things, but otherwise we felt boredom and quite a measure of exploitation.
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