First Cruise – AWFUL!
Naivecruiser | November 19, 2020 | P&O Cruises | Azura
Perhaps we have been naive……our first cruise happened to be a ‘Christmas Cruise’ and we went with high expectations. Many friends have been telling us for years to go on a cruise. Many friends whose judgement we trust I should add! Our disappointment was almost immediate. This was more like a holiday camp and not what we expected from a cruise ship. The quality dining experience we’d been assured of was certainly not. The menu’s were over ambitious and didn’t deliver. We wondered if the food being over cooked was a precautionary measure against possible food poisoning? My one and only salmon dish was like cardboard and the single pasta dish I had was truly awful. Other dishes ordered came with a ‘thick gloopy’ inedible sauce – awful! My husband and myself were surprised how frequently we opted for the ‘always available’ choice of a steak which I must say was cooked just as requested. Most meals were served cold and not together. On more than one occasion my husband was presented with his main whilst I was still eating my starter. If that wasn’t bad enough I could see my meal on the ‘island/workstation’ waiting for me. One morning at breakfast I was presented with the smoothie of the day having asked and being told it was strawberry. This was nothing like strawberry so queried it with a waiter. The waiter was insistent it was strawberry. My husband tasted it and informed the waiter it was banana, and asked the waited to try it. The waiter again insisted it was strawberry. We asked he double check with the kitchen. He did and returned apologising it was ‘strawberry & banana’ Not good for anyone having food allergies such as myself! Tables were very close together so a table for 2 wasn’t that at all as you were so close to the people either side of you, you may have we’ll have been on a shared table. We dined several times in the speciality restaurants, paying extra for this – the tables were spaced nicely apart. The 1st visit to Sindu being really nice, the 2nd visit being absolutely awful. There appeared to be no consistency anywhere on board. We had lunch twice and afternoon tea only once due to our disappointment. The entertainment was dire…..Roy Walker – headline act? Really! J’Adele tribute act…she couldn’t remember the lyrics and appeared to be either very high or drunk. As far as other entertainment was concerned, we just didn’t bother having been put off by the 2 acts mentioned. The behaviour on board by other passengers was the thing which surprised, and disappointed the most. Other passengers were either fiercely competitive, desperate to outdo other passengers boasting about the 30, 40, 50+ cruises they’d done – voices raised for all to hear. Or they were bad mannered, loud, cigarette smoking, excessive drinking slobs who clearly couldn’t care less about other passengers. We were put off by people turning up dressed in swim/ beach wear in the restaurants – despite the dress code ( including buffet) being mentioned in the Horizon leaflet daily – many, many people did not adhere to this, neither did it appear to be enforced. The filth on deck near the pool/large screen area was awful – plastic cups/ plates and general waste strewn everywhere. In every toilet visited on board at least one, if not all soap dispensers were empty. I could go on and on…… On a positive note our cabin was better than expected and our cabin steward was terrific. Bar prices were surprisingly reasonable – although the downside of this was some people clearly took advantage of this and drank from morning till night. We enjoyed some excursions (not P&O ones – the thought of being stuck with some of these awful passengers, and the cost put us off) we did them independently for half the price. Some of the staff on board were amazing – nothing was too much trouble, however we found service overall to be quite inconsistent. To add insult to injury we were presented with a ship snow globe as a Christmas gift – oh dear, what was the P&O marketing department thinking of??? A made in China 50p piece of tat, what did they think we’d do with it? This cruise fell considerably short of our expectations, and sadly has put us of wanting to try another.
Be prepared to manage your expectations.
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