P and O’s apparent race to the bottom.
Nick | October 18, 2023 | P&O Cruises | Ventura
My Wife and I have sailed with P&O for over 15 years, never again!
This was our 3rd time on Ventura, and the first after covid. It seems P&O are on a race to the bottom in the cruiseline stakes. Cost cutting is evident everywhere. There seems a distinct lack of staff.
On first boarding, the first thing our cabin steward said we had to ask to have our room cleaned every day now! There was no automatic cleaning and no turn down service. I’ve never been on a ship that has done this.
The food was abysmal, truly dire, especially the buffet. Uninspiring, repetitive, bland, predictable and downright terrible. We couldn’t wait to eat onshore. I spoke to one of the head waiters who apologised about the standard of the food but told us the menus all come from head office. He said he had worked for P&O for over a decade, but due to cuts, old loyal customers are just not returning anymore, and neither will we be.
The ship itself is incredibly dated and shabby. It has a sad, tired look about it and the cabins don’t look as if they’ve ever been refitted. I went on this ship after it was launched and it’s a world apart from where it was then or any of the cruises we’ve been on it since.
The ports were mostly ok, with Porto and Lisbon the highlights. Whomever thought of calling in at Santander and Cherbourg on a Monday really needs to do some research. The Bilbao museum which you get to from Santander was closed, and every shop in Cherbourg closes on a Monday. Superb planning.
On top of that there was a huge I.T. glitch on board which meant passengers had to be restricted to their cabins whilst the staff did a manual head count. This lasted several hours.
The problem with lower prices is it attracts the football shirt wearing crowd and all that comes with it.
P&O is so far from what it was. So few customers making the effort to dress up etc. I had the pleasure of many enjoyable decent cruises on P&O, but I very much doubt those days will return.
We spoke to several customers who said they can’t believe how low the standards are now, They’ll never be back, and neither will we.
One fellow cruiser hit the nail on the head when he said it had become ‘Butlins at Sea’.
How right he was.
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