Great First Cruise
Maureen Forde | April 6, 2018 | P&O Cruises | Ventura
Left Southampton late on 11 May, due to a technical problem with the ship. This meant we had to miss the first stop in Cadiz and go to Vigo instead. This was disappointing as there was nothing happening in Vigo on Sunday evening apart from some Africans selling handbags. I accept this is part of cruising, but on reading that the problem had also happened on the last cruise, I would have thought that it would have been corrected. The sea was quite choppy on 2nd night, with 5 metre waves, although it didn’t bother us.
The cabins were lovely, very comfortable bed and Emily, the steward, worked very hard. It was always spotless, as was our son’s.
The food was delicious and the service excellent. We used freedom dining in the restaurant for breakfast and dinner and couldn’t fault the food or the service. We also enjoyed the pizzas and burgers on deck at lunchtimes. We never had a problem getting a table for the 3 of us at dinner and only needed to use the pager once.
The entertainment was very good, and we all enjoyed the fascinating talks by Ricky Bastin about aircraft accidents. I also liked the art talks by Alice from Whitehall galleries.
The bars were beautiful, particularly the Metropole at the top of the ship, where the views were amazing and it was really relaxing. We did, however, find the drinks very expensive and think P and O should offer an all-inclusive package.
The excursions were all very enjoyable with knowledgeable and helpful guides. On a negative note, I do not like P and O’s gratuity scheme. Why not include it in the price like some other cruise lines? £9 per day for each passenger adds quite a lot to the total cost. We reduced ours to half, but I know that some passengers were so angry that they cancelled it altogether.
My only other issue relates to drinking water. I believe strongly that people should reduce the use of plastic bottles. For that reason, we took our own water bottle with us. I expected that there would be water fountains around the ship and drinking water provided in the cabins. However, apart from one small bottle this was not the case and we had to pay £10! for six bottles of water, plastic of course. I was sad that the dolphins we were watching at sea could end up with some of that plastic in their throats. There is also the issue that drinking water is a basic requirement which should not be charged for.
Embarkation and disembarkation were both very efficient. I found all the staff on the ship to be very polite, helpful and friendly.
All in all, a great holiday. I hope P and O listen to the feedback. We would cruise again but maybe a fly cruise next time, where there would be fewer sea days.
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