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P&O Standards dropped, probably never again.


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4 hours ago, Windsurfboy said:

I think the general consensus is

 

Arcadia  and Aurora are similiar atmosphere to Cunard , similiar market demographics,  especially on longer cruises , very similiar dress standards  etc  Anyone who liked Cunard should like these and vice versa. Never met a snob on Cunard , only on Cunard Cruise Critic. Never met a Yobo on P&O ,  again just appear in posts on CC,  so I ignore these rumours.  I'd go on either cruise line if the intinerary was right.

 

However , the Big  P&O ships , Brittania,  Iona and expect Ariva , different atmosphere to smaller ships, they are busier ,  a more lively , for a family  market.  I don't know if they are more similiar to Carnival than to Cunard , but British . Not better or worse than smaller ships just different. 

 

Both have their place , both Essentially P&O , but they are different sub brands.

 

As for which is more up market  Cunard or P&O,  I wouldn't like to or  couldn't say.  Neither are classed as luxury lines.  Both differ from more luxury lines in offering a much wider range of cabins and prices , both have cabins ranging from inside to large suites.

 

The thing that separates the upmarket lines is the size of the smallest cabin normally all balcony , which are all bigger than P&O deluxe balcony or Cunard's balcony cabins.  Hence a much higher minimium entry price and a smaller difference in price between cheapest and more expensive cabins. 

 

The only British cruise line that fits this criteria is Saga.  Which is in some ways different to the luxury lines like Silversea , Seabourn , with bigger ships much more similiar to Viking. 

 

 

 

I’ve been on all the current P&O fleet (apart from Iona) and , to be honest, the atmosphere on all the ships seems the same to me. But I’ve never sailed during the school holidays. Outside of that time, most of the passengers are adults on whatever ship you go on. 

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1 hour ago, Dermotsgirl said:

I’ve been on all the current P&O fleet (apart from Iona) and , to be honest, the atmosphere on all the ships seems the same to me. But I’ve never sailed during the school holidays. Outside of that time, most of the passengers are adults on whatever ship you go on. 

Once again, it just goes to show how we all experience things differently. Neither of my two cruises on Azura were in school holidays but I felt the general atmosphere on board was totally different to that I have experienced on Arcadia, Aurora and Oriana. Food, service and entertainment generally fine and similar but for me, that's where the similarities ended.

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12 hours ago, jeanlyon said:

I was a grammar school girl - Fat lot of good it did me.  I hated every minute!  LOL

 

We've already booked our flu shots for late September before everybody else gets in first!


I quite enjoyed my school days on the whole but was ready to leave when the time came!

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Britboys said:

Once again, it just goes to show how we all experience things differently. Neither of my two cruises on Azura were in school holidays but I felt the general atmosphere on board was totally different to that I have experienced on Arcadia, Aurora and Oriana. Food, service and entertainment generally fine and similar but for me, that's where the similarities ended.

It's a while since I sailed Arcadia, but only 2019 since I sailed on Aurora. However apart from Aurora being quite a bit more claustrophobic, and Arcadia having too many dead ends and the plainest atrium I have seen, the similarities between the passengers on them and their 3 big sisters was identical.

Which again proves we are all different in the way we view things.

Edited by terrierjohn
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4 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

It's a while since I sailed Arcadia, but only 2019 since I sailed on Aurora. However apart from Aurora being quite a bit more claustrophobic, and Arcadia having too many dead ends and the plainest atrium I have seen, the similarities between the passengers on them and their 3 big sisters was identical.

Which again proves we are all different in the way we view things.

I think you are correct.

Yes, many on here are experienced cruisers, who can sniff out the nuances between individual ships, but,  is there really that much difference between, for example, Azura  and  Ventura ?

  

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8 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

It's a while since I sailed Arcadia, but only 2019 since I sailed on Aurora. However apart from Aurora being quite a bit more claustrophobic, and Arcadia having too many dead ends and the plainest atrium I have seen, the similarities between the passenger on them andt their 3 big sisters was identical.

Which again proves we are all different in the way we view things.

Absolutely it does John. I found it to be sufficiently different enough to make me decide I would only cruise on Aurora and Arcadia with P&O. As I said in a recent post on here, we all pays our money and takes our choice.

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10 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

It's a while since I sailed Arcadia, but only 2019 since I sailed on Aurora. However apart from Aurora being quite a bit more claustrophobic, and Arcadia having too many dead ends and the plainest atrium I have seen, the similarities between the passengers on them and their 3 big sisters was identical.

Which again proves we are all different in the way we view things.

With P&O we have only sailed on Britannia. Lots of cruises on different lines. Our first cruise on Britannia was on her maiden Caribbean fly cruise and the most recent was last week. 5 cruises on her. As far as we are concerned, no difference in quality. No dropping of dress standards on formal nights, certainly no vests and shorts etc in MDR, just passengers and crew mainly happy to be at sea again. Sure, the cruise last week was a bit different with Covid protocols, but so is Starbucks, the local restaurant and no doubt le manoir. Finding fault is easy and not always accurate. 

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Just now, zap99 said:

We had coffee and a sandwich today in Costa. The tables were a bit closer together, but ok. Sugar,salt,pepper,help yourself. A teenager and his nan came up to the next table, she looked a little nervous. I said , hang on, we'll move along a bit and give you some more space. Oh thanks young man. I'm 71. No thank you madam. No wine list though.

Strange isn't it, that silly things like sugar sachets suddenly become worthy of attention.  There is absolutely no reason why they cannot be left out for people to help themselves.

I wonder if the accountants have suddenly decided that this would be a good time to stop people taking 5 sugar sachets when they really only need 4 !

 

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I have to smile. It's been a while since I visited these boards which were at one time, full of posts condemning falling dress standards.

 

The opening poster has been serially chastised by the easily disgruntled who cannot see through the mists of honesty whilst they proffer their 'we are all the same in my eyes' blurb.  My educated guess is that you can be pretty damned certain the same folk wouldn't want their Bank Manager to have facial tattoos or Funeral Director to turn up on the big day wearing shorts and flip flops. But of course they'd never tell you that!😉

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9 hours ago, wowzz said:

I think you are correct.

Yes, many on here are experienced cruisers, who can sniff out the nuances between individual ships, but,  is there really that much difference between, for example, Azura  and  Ventura ?

  

I think the ‘difference’ between Ventura and Azura  is down to the way the ships were originally marketed at launch. Ventura was going to be the family ship and Azura was presented as offering a more ‘sophisticated’ experience. I think this marketing has stuck in people’s heads, even if they don’t realise.

 

I have only been on Ventura two times, for Caribbean fly cruises. I’ve been on Azura 4 times, not because I prefer the ship, but because I preferred the itineraries. I would sail on either in a heartbeat. Indeed, pre Covid, I was considering one of the 35 night cruises on Ventura. I would also be as equally as likely to sail on Aurora or Arcadia.  Any small differences are outweighed by similarities in the P&O style of cruising.

 

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10 hours ago, wowzz said:

I think you are correct.

Yes, many on here are experienced cruisers, who can sniff out the nuances between individual ships, but,  is there really that much difference between, for example, Azura  and  Ventura ?

  

Azura's Blue Bar is red.  Ventura's Red Bar is blue.  Or is it the other way around?  Can't remember, over a year and a half since I've been on either of them! 😄

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11 minutes ago, Son of Anarchy said:

Azura's Blue Bar is red.  Ventura's Red Bar is blue.  Or is it the other way around?  Can't remember, over a year and a half since I've been on either of them! 😄

Depends on how many pints of Stella one has consumed.

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Retractable roof on Ventura and outside movie screen on Azura.We are happy to cruise on either but if cruising to a cooler climate would choose Ventura because hubby can still swim.

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5 minutes ago, ann141 said:

Retractable roof on Ventura and outside movie screen on Azura.We are happy to cruise on either but if cruising to a cooler climate would choose Ventura because hubby can still swim.

 

I've only been on both Azura and Ventura once each. Given the choice, I would probably go with Azura. We sailed on Azura for my MIL's 70th and had a lovely trip. Even my wife, who isn't really a fan of cruises, had a nice time. 

 

We sailed on Ventura a few years later where it had issues with its propulsion, and Porto was omitted from the itinerary. Not an issue for me - I quite like sea days, but my wife had been looking forward to it. Looking back, I do wonder if the engine issues were related to the problem Ventura had a little later when they had to be helped limp back to shore by tugboats.

 

Obviously neither trips guarantee the same experience, but it does kind of shape your personal judgement. I tend to try a new ship each time if I can anyway... I like to find the little nooks and crannies that most people overlook, like the "secret" promenade on the bow of Azura.

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Posted (edited)

Just home from 4 nights on Britannia. Was last on there exactly 2 years ago. Another fabulous trip this time, with some terrific highlights. We had fears it would be a kind of naff booze cruise but it really wasn’t. A few glitches along the way (as with any holiday) but they did not mar the experience overall: the excellent elements far outweighed the glitches - for us, at least:

 

The excellent

- an outstanding team of staff throughout - really impressive, very helpful and a credit to their profession. The staff really are the stars of the ship and deserve the highest praise. 

 

-  social distancing measures and excellent compliance from fellow passengers. Really clear, felt 100% safe at all times. Great.

 

 - The speciality restaurants. Sindhu was excellent still, as were Epicurean and The Glasshouse. I think some folk had felt these as gone downhill before the pandemic but I felt they were still top class and worth every penny. These venues, for us, made the food part of the cruise special rather than a lot of the other food on board in the buffet and other restaurants which we found to be mostly pretty basic: pleasant but just not exciting food that would enhance a holiday. Maybe I am a bit too much of a critic as food - esp. good food - is an important part of my life - and I get how hard it is to cater for so many different palates. But thankfully there are the speciality restaurants to lift the culinary stakes somewhat.

 

- Being back on board. Even though they were fully sea days, it never once felt we were killing time. It gave us the opportunity to relax and not madly rush from one thing to another.

 

- Evenings in the Crows Nest: marvellous. Set a great tone to evenings before and after meals. Ok, the cocktails helped but it is such a lovely venue.

 

- the concept of the MyHoliday app…brilliant idea in theory, and when it worked it was outstanding. But in practice…hmm! My thoughts on the reality of it below.

 

- the entertainment: ok, had seen some before as expected but there were plenty of other acts and we saw several very good shows

 

- breakfasts in the Epicurean. Top class and a proper fine start to the day. So lovely to dine leisurely in the morning in calm, quiet gorgeous surroundings.

 

The not so great: and these are really very minor things in the grand scheme of things!

 

- meals in the main restaurants: functional food, cooked well but nothing to look forward to. Kind of like a nice looking holiday camp on water: not bad at all, just very unexciting. But the evening menus step it up a little bit and there were at least some outstanding dishes among the routine. But all in all this is pretty much how we felt in those restaurants pre-pandemic.

 

- The actual workings of the Myholiday app: lots of long queues at reception the 1st couple of days with it not working with many, Ours worked on the 1st day then failed until later the following day. BUT when working it was excellent. So easy to use, so well organised - unlike P and O's other IT! A few bookings we had issues with were booked at reception easily for us which kind of defeats the point but problems are solvable. But once they iron out the teething troubles it will be a marvellous addition to the whole cruising experience. It did have an “intriguing” glitch the last night when we were in a virtual queue, so enjoyed a cocktail at a bar while we waited. We eventually got down to the last two and then it crashed and we were back to about 60th in the queue! But the staff at reception were brilliant and got us straight in.

 

- sorry, food-related again: Afternoon tea in the Meridian restaurant (the free one, not the excellent Eric Lanlard one which remains a real pleasure). Seriously dreadful: this was the only real low point, but in perspective was only a tiny part of the whole experience. But it really was terrible: thick, dry sandwiches, minimal filling. The cakes looked quite nice but were very synthetic and cheap tasting: it came across an afternoon tea for folk just wanting any carbs with neither flavour nor excitement. I never thought I'd be almost begging for our daily canapés!!

 

 

Overall, though, the issues were sorted fairly swiftly and with good grace if you ask (nicely!) for help. There were a few who clearly are not happy unless they have something to moan about and want to get something for free etc….and some really liked the sound of their own voice yelling their demands at reception - but you get those types anywhere! But if I could get back on again now I would do without hesitation.
 

Edited by Camberley
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4 hours ago, AndyMichelle said:

My late mums handbag was full of sugar sachets, salt. Ketchup etc that she took on every visit to the cafe in BHS etc... 

She never even took sugar in her tea, but would take a handful... Just in case... 

Andy 

DW said, ' sounds like someone else I know'🤣

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Camberley . Very interesting,  we're not cruising till next year.  But I think we have a similiar philosophy.  Food and wine very important.  Quiet breakfast in  Epicurean,  or  equivalent on smaller  ships. Maximum use of speciality restaurants glad you think still up to scratch,  good wine list , then  P&O can offer as luxury an experience as Cunard grills, but P&O offers I think better entertainment.  In final analysis intinerary in most important  of course. 

Edited by Windsurfboy
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On 7/27/2021 at 7:46 AM, reef112 said:

I must apologise to my fellow passengers for being 'obese'. I didn't realise it created a problem for others.... Though surely a cruise is the perfect holiday for my kind, with all that food available.

Give me all the cake! 

hahaha

Obese people in particular “couples” may cause problems for those who fly in coach, having middle seat between two obese.  Happened once on a business flight from HK, since then note to self “thou must not fly coach”.

🙂

 

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1 minute ago, PORT ROYAL said:

Obese people in particular “couples” may cause problems for those who fly in coach, having middle seat between two obese.  Happened once on a business flight from HK, since then note to self “thou must not fly coach”.

🙂

 

 

I thought Cunarders automatically turned left , what where you doing turning right?

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Windsurfboy said:

 

I thought Cunarders automatically turned left , what where you doing turning right?

This when the Company travel office booked the first available flight and only Coach available.  After this nightmare one took one’s flights out of their hands.

Having to spend hours between to loud Chinese speakers, ordering “pot noodles” and drinks every hour from attendants, resulted in zero sleep.

Subsequently, advised that obese people travelling together, refrain from booking physically adjacent seats in coach and WT+ to ensure their own comfort.

Edited by PORT ROYAL
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Camberley, thanks for the excellent balanced review. 
 

so looking forward to our cruise in September, just wish we could book a back to back and not just a single week

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16 hours ago, Dermotsgirl said:

I’ve been on all the current P&O fleet (apart from Iona) and , to be honest, the atmosphere on all the ships seems the same to me. But I’ve never sailed during the school holidays. Outside of that time, most of the passengers are adults on whatever ship you go on. 

I agree. Little or no difference on Aurora/Oceana and then Ventura/Azura/Britannia, and for me, that includes the school holidays too!  

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1 hour ago, amfc_lenny said:

Camberley, thanks for the excellent balanced review. 
 

so looking forward to our cruise in September, just wish we could book a back to back and not just a single week

Enjoy it when September comes. Yes re: back to back, We had booked a back to back initially but then had to cancel given the rules against them.

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