Good value but at the cost of good service
Julie Sherlock | September 12, 2023 | P&O Cruises | Ventura
The four night cruise on the Ventura to Amsterdam was excellent value and the trip went smoothly. However, the little things that made cruising special are noticeably absent: evening turndown, very casual dress codes, poor ‘sailaways’. There was a distinct lack of emphasis on hand hygiene and although there were dispensers in all the restaurants, there wasn’t much in the way of encouragement to use them! The drinks service is noticeably slower in all the bars and I suspect this is due to fewer staff serving the same number of passengers. In 25 years of cruising, we have never had to queue for the buffets (breakfast, lunch, tea); however, there were huge queues for every meal of the day on this ship. A large part of the problem was the lack of trays in the buffet. Because you had to carry everything you wanted in your hands, people were constantly going back into the buffet which simply exacerbated the problem. If the idea behind removing trays was to limit spread of infections, it has had the opposite effect of creating queues of people in close proximity and the buffet itself was so crammed with people you could barely move. Bring back trays!!!
One final negative observation was the number of children in the adult only areas of the ship. Parents were having to be reminded to take children out which was embarrassing for the crew. I loved cruising with my children when they were small, in fact, they were with me on this trip as adults, but parents please use the Kids club – it’s fantastic – and give yourselves and other passengers a break from your overtired toddler!
To end on a positive, the sail into Amsterdam through the locks and canals was really interesting and one of the best sail ins I’ve experienced. Hands off to the crew for their excellent navigation skills!
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