Never Again !!
Richard Palmer | February 13, 2023 | P&O Cruises | Ventura
We are so disappointed, having cruised with P&O for 24 years and this was without a doubt the worst cruise we have ever been on with any cruise line and as result it is unlikely that we will ever use P&O again.
Where to start – the positives
Check in was OK but there was quite a long queue at 12:15 but the process was quite straightforward despite a little pushing and shoving from impatient fellow travellers. The welcome aboard lunch was good, with choices from a menu in place of the familiar buffet.
The C deck cabin was clean and tidy but a little tired but sadly there was no water left in the cabin – another cutback.
Some of the evening entertainment in the Arena Theatre was excellent but many we poor – see below.
The guest speakers were good but lacked variety, some people do not want to listen to the same subject for over a week.
The waiting staff in both Cinnamon and Saffron, and the crew in general, were excellent and we cannot praise them enough for their friendly and professional service despite having to deal with some really difficult fellow passengers.
The itinerary was excellent even if we did lose Grenada due to sea conditions.
We were disappointed with the change in health protocols so close to departure and as suspected this would lead to coronavirus being brought onboard. This was borne out by the fact that from day one the passengers in the cabins either side of us had hacking coughs and within a few days both were having all their meals in their cabins !!. We suspected it was Covid and this was proven when a letter to one of the cabins was incorrectly addressed to ours and gave details of their covid confinement. We were fortunate not to have been infected.
The food was generally disappointing and even not up to the reduced standards we experience earlier in the year and as the cruise progressed the quality and choice diminished.
We have had canapes larger than some of the starters, the choices had certainly been reduced – what happened to the always available prawn cocktail and salmon and the deserts were frequently bland and it was difficult matching the description to what was on the plate.
Lack of vegetables with evening meals, the vegetables on the plates were barely a garnish let alone a portion. We do not count two small cubes of swede or a fingernail sized piece of carrot or a small piece of ‘roast’ potato as a vegetable portion.
Food shortages – for the last ten days there was a noticeable difference in the menus and food availability and the Christmas Day turkey meal was a great disappointment, our local pub pensioner special is far better. The New Year meal was better but why did we have a very small finger of Christmas cake as a petit four. At breakfast most of the serials were not available as were prunes and yogurt.
The evening entertainment in the arena theatre and Havana was definitely not up to the usual P&O standards, it was if was an afterthought and anyone available at short notice was booked.
The headliners (frequently called the Bin Liners by fellow passengers) were the worst we have ever seen with very loud music from the orchestra and screeching female singers. It was so loud that even with hearing aids switched off it was painful.
With a few noticeable exceptions the entertainment in the arena theatre was mediocre to poor with poor vocalists, instrumentalists and tribute acts.
Pulse musicians were good but their singer was awful.
Communication or lack of :
It was impossible to hear the entertainment managers announcements because of her accent and speed of speech it was reminiscent of the old garbled and ridiculed British Rail station announcements (for those of us old enough to remember).
One afternoon we turned up at Bay Tree for the chocoholics only to be told that it was last week and it was a misprint in the Horizon ! and the one afternoon tea that took place in Bay Tree was a disappointment with a buffet rather than waiter service so we might as well have gone up to the Waterside.
The app is poorly designed, misleading and not intuitive and it kept locking up.
We only discovered that you could book breakfast and lunch on the app by accident. Most of the time the app showed that Cinnamon and Saffron could only be booked from 17:45 but 15 minutes before breakfast and lunch booking was available for Saffron.
Having booked the arena theatre when the acts changed this was not reflected in the app – very poor. It seemed to be a bit of pot luck as to what you would see as the acts in the app or even those advertised in Horizon were also sometimes incorrect.
On talking to our fellow passengers we discovered that some of them had paid half of what we had paid for the same cabin grade having booked shortly before the cruise. What this means is that you pay a significant penalty for loyalty by booking early and get a poor cruise as a result.
Overall a very disappointing cruise – come on P&O you can and must do better than this if only to survive.
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