We won’t be cruising with P&O again
Mr & Mrs | April 27, 2023 | P&O Cruises | Ventura
Ventura cruise – Canaries 6th to 18th April on Ventura
After years travelling with P&O we have experienced the quality going down and down and rapidly so since COVID.
Our first introduction to our cruise as we skipped happily into the ship’s terminal was to be handed a sheet of A4 by a smiling attendant. We merrily took this and carried on our naive way to book in.
My husband then started reading the info only
to realise it contained the alarming news that the ship had docked this morning and had experienced a Norovirus breakout and we must all take special steps to not get infected.
What a way to be greeted on your holiday. We were instantly on alert and didn’t want to be close to anyone in the queues even before boarding.
We felt this news could have been better given by leaving this in your cabin rather than hit you with it and worrying you immediately.
Throughout the cruise the Captain was telling us about more outbreaks which in the end we were counting the days to land back in Southampton.
All the little special touches have been stripped away.
The prices reflect the quality you are now receiving.
People were calling the Ventura a floating Butlins.
There is even no complimentary water in your room anymore.
No guide sheets to show the next day’s port and a brief map of the surroundings so you can decide what you want to do.
No trays in the restaurant anymore. What is that all about?
Urged to take the coach transfers just to get to the towns or beach at £4 per person each way when in fact a 10 minute stroll got you there each time.
One coach took about 2 minutes in total!
When we asked at Reception each time we were told there would be hardly any shops or cafes if we walked and needed the coach to get us anywhere decent.
This was completely untrue so we were pleased we ignored their advice.
All the rules laid down are being blatantly ignored and no one is reinforcing them.
Dress codes are ignored. Despite being told of them more people are ignoring them and wandering into restaurants in T shirts, shorts and flip flops including the speciality restaurants with no one challenging them.
The prices are now so low, with third and fourth travellers going free that we were seeing groups of families up to 10 charging through areas and making themselves known by the language, lack of respect to each other and disregarding the pleas from the Captain to maintain strict hygiene codes.
The booking system on Freedom Dining was a joke. Arguments were breaking out if you tried to go to the front of the queue to say your table was ready and you were being told to go to the back of the queue regardless of your place on the App. It was chaos.
Not freedom dining anymore. Often you would miss something as you still had no table or service so slow.
Evening meals were so slow we presume due to lack of staff as we were waiting ages in between even the bread roll and placing our order then no one clearing dishes away before next course.
All the usual rapport with the same waiters was not possible now as you could not book to have the same table anymore so that nicety has gone out if the window sadly.
Breakfast in the restaurant too was as bad, often being shown to tables that had not been cleared and having to clear then yourselves.
Staff were so busy you got left for ages with a cup of tea going cold and not many chances of it being topped up. You had to sit for ages again with dirty plates in the hope someone might bring some toast and then sheepishly ask for some butter or marmalade etc without the waiters making it seem like a big deal.
Main restaurant menus were bland with nothing like the variety of dishes we used to be given. Often this led to us paying extra in another restaurant or going to the help yourself or Smash & Grab as it was nicknamed.
A big question mark was the reason why trays were no longer available. It was a struggle for people to get their food and drink etc with no trays which was especially difficult for people with walking aids etc. this also meant that you had to keep going up again to get your next item etc making more unnecessary queueing etc.
When I asked a more senior member of the dining staff he said no one had any idea it was just an order from above and they would be in trouble if they did not adhere to it even though they did not agree to it.
We noticed there were a large number of people and children with chesty coughs and sneezing and complaints of sore throats amidst the messages from the Captain to be vigilant and follow the hygiene rules due to the number of Norovirus cases being reported.
Eventually I succumbed to a throat infection which I am still suffering from today.
As for the entertainment, that was really disappointing. The Headliners shows were revamped from ones we had seen before and the quality just wasn’t there.
There were a couple of good artists in their own right but the house band had no energy and the solo singer was on most nights, just in a different venue and very keen to talk more than sing.
The Pure Paloma was worse than on our previous cruise and only managed to sing 2 songs in the space of 20 minutes, after which we walked out as she was geeing up the audience into different groups to sing against each other. She has a good voice but keeps telling the audience that no one knew who Paloma Faith was we wondered why she bothered being a tribute to her.
One good thing was our cabin steward. He was always bright and happy and gave us more information about where we had landed and what to do whilst there than any of the ship’s information.
Be prepared to manage your expectations.
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