Written on: 13/06/2011
My husband and I have just returned from a 14 night mediterranean cruise after a recommendation from my Mom who had previously been on board this ship when it was only 4 weeks old and had thoroughly enjoyed it (she was also with us on this cruise but kept apologising for making the recommendation because things had deteriorated!).
GOOD THINGS: I cannot fault the check in at Southampton which went smoothly and we were not kept waiting very long at all. Food, there were sufficient choices but some how P&O just manage to do it better (We were on Ventura in 2008). Staff - 99.9% were exceptionally friendly and helpful (special thanks to Burak - waiter in Romeo & Juliet - who went above and beyond expectations, there was only waitress who, at breakfast one morning, appeared not to want to be at work that particular day and was quite surly (but I guess we all have bad days).
NEGATIVES: 1) the number of children on board (despite having only a one week half term holiday there were in excess of 470 children on board - and didn't we know about it!) - I really don't have a problem with children travelling but we were woken at night by young teens running the corridors and despite reporting this to Guest Relations nothing changed; young babies were allowed to cry all the way through theatre shows, even as late as 11.00pm (perhaps they were trying to tell their parents it was past their BED TIME!) and even in the few adult only areas and quiet zones children were allowed to run around shouting and screaming without supervision. 2) Mobility scooters left in corridors outside cabins creating obstructions - this was a particular problem when there was an emergency call to clear the open decks following an explosion; the obstructed corridors slowed this process down - thank goodness we did not have to abandon ship! 3) Due to cold weather the pool areas were not fully utilised and therefore the indoor activities were put under additional strain with queues for everything. 4) Sales pitches - the vast majority of seminars and talks involved trying to sell things (e.g. teeth whitening, how to decrease wrinkles etc.), the only one my husband (and several others) went to did not actually take place as the speaker did not turn up!. 5) Evening entertainment - the advertised "Broadway style productions" were sadly lacking and the theatre shows were mostly singers or supposed comedians. There were two street parties during the 2 weeks we were on board - the first one we missed due to a complete lack of information and the second was just overly-loud music with the Cruise Director shouting down a microphone (making him inaudible); there were none of the fancy costumes or parades down the Royal Promenade like the ones RCI would like you to believe from their advertisements.
If you liked Butlins or Pontins in the 70's then this is probably the holiday for you (but in posher surroundings), it was not to our taste and we would not choose to travel on this ship again, we are however in the process of planning our next cruise holiday but will be returning to a P&O Ship.
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