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P&o Tirade

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Just back from 14 fabulous days on Ventura cruising the Caribean, the only complaint is I am fed up with orange & chocolate biscuits in the cabin, why not custard creams?. We travelled with my 4 yr old grandaughter who wanted to spend all her time in the Kids club it was that good. All in all it was "GOOD VALUE FOR THE MONEY".

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Whatever peoples complaints, cruising these days is good value for money. Many of the people on this forum have been cruising a long time, they mention Canberra - my first P&O cruise was on Canberra as was children s. I guess some of you may also have cruised on the Oriana -not the ship in the current brochures but the smaller model with the vibrating rear and the monkey bar. Prices were not that much cheaper than now, the beds were narrow bunks with horsehair mattresses. There were no tea making in cabins you rang for the steward, who appeared to be always on duty and would do anything from unpacking ironing to babysitting. After the first few days all veg was of the frozen variety. Dinner was a seven course banquet in the main dining room-no choice of venue. Mid morning drinks tea, coffee,and biscuits were served on deck mid morning. Or a odd tasting clear soup if the weather was chilly and ice cream in good weather. Has P&O gone downhill? No it has evolved to meet customer demands. Costs have been cut with staffing and less courses at mealtimes and slower cruising speeds, but comfort has been gained in better cabins. If a company wants to keep going it listens to what people say but also what they do, if bookings drop because prices have gone up they need to find a way of saving money to bring down the price to what people will pay. So if cruising with P&O is not quite what it was, it is good value, relaxing and a great holiday so I will Carry on Cruising.

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Personally I like P&O DEPENDING on which ship I am on. My favourite is Oriana, she is just the right size for us and I would go with her every time if she was sailing to where I wanted to go. I have been on Ventura once and never again, we did not like her at all. Because she is so big it took ages to get on and off, especially when we stopped at Monaco and tenders were used, we queued for about an hour and a half, partly in sunshine to get a tender back to the ship.

We like the adult only, dress code, the food and the entertainment. The Headliners Theatre Company are excellent and work hard. We have been with Princess once but the food and entertainment were not a patch on P&O. One evening I ended up dining on chicken and chips, the like of which I could buy from any Kentucky outlet. The same goes for Royal Carribean who, when we went with them, made a surcharge on drinks. Whereas if you are loyal to P&O you get a few small 'perks'. There was also an American comedian on Royal Carribean who, in our opinion, was awful so we walked out after about 10 minutes, but the Americans on board thought he was hilarious.

As for gratuities, my travelling companian thought that perhaps the waiters did not try to please quite so hard now they know they are going to get tips, just a theory!!! I know you don't have to pay them if you don't want to, but after watching a TV programme on the wages they were reported to get I feel I should.

However, I think it is a mistake to do med 'fly cruises' as for me and a lot of others the beauty of cruising is not having to spend hours at an airport. We shall see how it pans out.

I would also allege that P&O Vantage Fares were just marketing and if you read the small print the likelyhood of getting an upgrade etc via it are very small. I would like to hear from P&O the statistics on how many of full fare paying passenger in the first Vantage Fare year got upgraded or extra on board spending money, it would make interesting reading!!!

We use the excursions and although we know they are a bit more expensive than we could do it ourselves we find them excellent with very good guides and we can get straight off the ship on to the coaches and be on our way, not wasting any time, and we do see a lot more than people on board who do not go on them. We went on a open top bus in Lisbon, but it wasn't a patch on an excursion, by the time we had got the headphones working we had almost completed a circuit.

But P&O are our affordable favourites. Although it depends if a ship we want to go on is going where we want to go at a time we want to go. If one of the P&O ships excluding Ventura cannot meet this criteria, then we should, obviously, look elsewhere. I must say Britannia looks amazing, but so big!

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You are correct Kitty 114, Britannia is big, same size as Royal Princess. When I was on Britannia for the 'Float Out' prior to her being fitted out you could see from one end to the other and it will be amazing when finished.

It's a good thing that we all like different cruise lines for a variety of reasons. Personally I am a fan of Celebrity and RCI. Yes they charge 15% service on things but the basic cruise price is often lower than P&O. Drinks are more expensive but they use US measures which are larger. In fact one of their spirits singles is almost double the imperial measure which in some cases makes the drinks cheaper. I also love the can do attitude, glitzy ships and fabulous steaks. But most of all it's their loyalty clubs that actually give you something for nothing rather than having to spend more money and then get a discount. Automatic cabin upgrades, 2 for 1 offers, free wi-fi, free laundry and pressing. Reach Diamond or Elite level and its free drinks late afternoon and early evening. Each to their own but definitely Celebrity and RCI for me.

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Hi kitty well said I for one paid 15 months ago on a vantage on ventura last week in the Caribbean and we got neither o.b.c or an upgrade we spoke to a p and o assistant on board who didn't want to know she said the vantage promotion finished in December  yet again p and o moving the goalposts

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I too like Seawitch remember cruising as a child on the old Oriana, and Chusan. Memorable holidays, with the majority of cabins being inside, and outside cabins with a port hole! Bathrooms were at the top of the corridor. Special buffets were laid out sometimes on deck, with ornate carvings in ice or butter adorning the tables. Oh and of course, the band playing you out of Southampton, along with the throwing of streamers as you left the port side! In todays times I am sure the majority of complainers would be ultimately horrified to hear there was 1st and 2nd class passengers, and the two never mixed!!

Yes, certain things have changed and we have to move with the times, for me it is still a memorable holiday, and the ultimate one for us! :)

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Of course I was reading into what you said Ron - hence my acknowledgement of your wink - however I didn't say you were being derisive now did I - but a lot of people are - which is what I said.  

 

I have no proof either as to who pays gratuities, but there are many people on many fora who say quite willingly that they never pay, and there are also rumours of cabin staff receiving envelopes full of torn up paper.   As I also said, I really hope you are right, even without your proof, but as I said earlier, I very much doubt it.

I think anyone who request that the gratuities are reduced or cancelled entirely should have a black disc attached to their cabin door.

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Elderlycruiser,

 

My wife and I have sailed on 50 plus cruises, some with P & O and a few with Cunard. In my experience you will always find some people who will complain about almost anything, they just seem to enjoy complaining. My wife and I think that both companies do their best to ensure all passengers get the holiday of a life time. 

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Guest Lulucat

Elderlycruiser,

 

My wife and I have sailed on 50 plus cruises, some with P & O and a few with Cunard. In my experience you will always find some people who will complain about almost anything, they just seem to enjoy complaining. My wife and I think that both companies do their best to ensure all passengers get the holiday of a life time. 

I think you are absolutely right Elderlycruiser.    I have always felt that everyone on board does their utmost to ensure that the passengers enjoy themselves - and those that don't wouldn't enjoy anything IMO.   Luckily, we have met far more happy passengers than unhappy passengers - and sailing regularly over the Christmas period, we have met the same people on a number of cruises - all as pleased to see us as we are to see them x

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All above posts a very good interesting read. regards gratuites, they are added to your bill but with P O you can still ask for the envelope and tip what you think the service you have had is worth, with cabin steward, and in the resturant. Value of cruising i think is pretty good by todays standards, but at the same time i have seen some awful behaviour since cruising became more open to the masses, im no way a snob dont have the money to be that, im just a retired worker who has to save for my cruises, and dont want them spoiled by bad manors, loutish behaviour etc this i have seen a few times and rightly complained.

 

Overall though the average cruise works out at about £90 ish a day PP, now you think what you are getting for that FULL BOARD, all your shows entertainment , you can be as active or lazy as you want, use of gym etc, plus you are being carted all over the world, you compare that £90 a day to what you would get in say London, it would nearly cost you that just to park. A two week holiday in london in a four star hotel, full board, show every night""" you could have two cruise i think for the total.So overall not a bad holiday really.

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Have just joined this forum and read the comments with interest. Some people have made very valid points but as usual, there are the professional complainers evident. We have been avid cruisers for a number of years and visited some fantastic places during that time. However, we have taken objection to the revised Tipping Policy. Despite P&O's rationale for this decision being to 'avoid confusion and embarrassment', we all know it was because some people did not tip. Having tips added to your account is far more convenient but stewards and waiters only receive a percentage of  the monies paid, dependent on the results of the Passenger Survey. We have been told that they receive the full amount if they are marked as 'Excellent'. Yet, if another member of the team is marked as 'Good' or 'Satisfactory', then they all only receive a percentage of their tips. So, what happens to the remainder? I have asked the question and received 4 different replies. As a consequence of this, and until we are given a truthful answer, we have the tips removed from our account and give our cabin steward and table waiters receive their FULL gratuity in person. Therefore, it would not be appropriate for those who have the gratuities removed from their account to have a black disc on their cabin. We have met many people who do the same but I am sure that there are also those who refuse to tip. But how do you identify them?

To move on to the food, having just returned from 6 week trip, I have to say that I did notice a decline in the quality of meat used. Having allergies to peppers and spices, I cannot have many of the sauces used to accompany the main courses. The Head Waiter was fantastic and came to the table every night in order that I could make a selection for the following day. Sad to say, that more often than not, the food was tasteless. Whereas on previous cruises, I always knew what I was eating.  It was our belief that the Chef was operating on a reduced budget per passenger. Hardly surprising when there are less people paying the full fare. If P&O have difficulty filling 7 ships, one wonders what will happen when Brittania joins the fleet.....

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I think anyone who request that the gratuities are reduced or cancelled entirely should have a black disc attached to their cabin door.

I like it towny44. :)  Further - the tightwads should also have a black mark on their foreheads.  ;)

 

Some people come up with all sorts of varied and feeble excuses for not paying gratuities but for each and every one the real reason is they just don't want to pay up and they don't pay up. Sad really.

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I think anyone who request that the gratuities are reduced or cancelled entirely should have a black disc attached to their cabin door.

I can see your view point but before agreeing with such measures I personally would like to hear the persons reasons for taking the action of reducing or cancelling tips. It maybe they are having them removed as they prefer to tip in the time honoured manner of envelopes at the end. Prefer to look at all angles before making rash judgements.

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I have heard, from a cabin steward prior to the new P & O tipping system coming in, that a couple on a world cruise gave said steward £20 for the whole cruise between the two of them. I can see why P & O have bought the new system in as this example is a case of one extreme to another. If a person removes the tips from the on board account I have heard that both the cabin steward and the waiters know about it. When the system first came in I did ask the cabin steward which he preferred and he said cash but on recent cruises this has changed to on board account…. So it would appear that generally the staff are happy with the new system.

 

As regards black balling a persons cabin if they remove the tips, this is rather below the belt and could be deemed as a slur on a persons character without proof of intention of not paying tips. The staff know who have done it and I am sure that they endeavour to make their cabin occupants happy to ensure that they get the required tips.

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I have  also asked the crew which tipping method they prefer but have been met with a look of sheer terror in case I quote them and they lose their job. However, following reassurances, I was then told that they are not in favour of the new system. The ones I spoke to were reasonably happy with being assessed on their own performance but did not like being penalised for the lower satisfaction rating of others. Suppose that with so many staff, there will always be differing opinions and will no doubt depend on their previous experiences. Just like the passengers really .....            You can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

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I have been reading peoples comments on tipping on several threads any many have said they prefer to cancel the tips and tip themselves.

How does this work for those of you on freedom dining? As I have noticed the some of the same people recommending freedom dining are some of the same people who like to tip themselves.

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Tipping has always been an emotive subject and will remain so until the day comes when they are included in the base fare. I for one do not like the idea, as alleged to happen on P&O, of staff receiving gratuities according to the way they have been scored on the satisfaction card. I for one never give excellent as this to me is a rating that few will achieve as it represents perfection. To give this mark out of sentimentality to me is wrong. Take it a stage further, it means that if passengers have given an excellent mark solely to enable the staff to receive their full tip the cruise company are then receiving false feedback. I wonder what would happen if no one filled in the cards?

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This will only stop when people are paid a fair wage, why did all the British crew get replaced( MONEY) companies could get more crew for less than they had to pay British crew.

 

So instead of passengers back biting each other Lobby cruise companies to pay fair wages.( Oh no that would put the cost of the cruise up can't have that can we) :(Ron

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Guest shilly3191

Tipping has always caused many arguments on various forums having done 20+ cruises with P&O have always tipped the recommended tips whether it be the "old" system or the new added to onboard account. What worries me with the new system its up to me what I give the steward/waiters not P&O to withold some of my automatic gratuities. For the first time ever on a recent P&O cruise I wanted to remove the gratuities for the room steward but paying automatically didnt know how to do it without penalising the waiters who were excellent.

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It's a pity that cruise lines have not answered the queries about what staff get a bog standard low rate of wages and what staff get paid a higher rate according to their ability and grading.

I have also heard about the waiters and cabin stewards not getting their full percentage of tips and if they happen to mention it at all they loose their job.

I personally prefer to tip in hand to those that deserve ( not in an envelope) usually more than possibly the going rate, I am quite happy to sign a disclaimer at reception to return the tips to my account and pay to those I think deserve it. I would not want to do the cabin stewards job for the basic rate £ 6.00 an hour., or less.

A lot of people including me reclaiming their tips from reception are not skinflints, I just like to see fair pay plus tips for work well done.

There are many of the cruising fraternity's that wave paper money at the wine waiter in the MDR just to get better service and their drinks with their meals quicker.

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I must admit I have never seen a person waving money to get better service from a waiter…Also whenever anyone at my dining table has had wine etc it has always arrived in time for their dinner. The waiters always seem on the ball so to speak.

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Hello 'Oldworldtraveller'

That really is food for thought but  I think it would be very difficult to get all of the passengers to participate in this protest.

 

As 'Cruiseada' stated, it would be helpful if the cruise companies responded honestly to these concerns.

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