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Iona shakedown cruise Monday 2nd August


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8 hours ago, Cathygh said:

On the book of visages there are lots of complaints about there being 80+ in a virtual queue for the MDR and other included restaurants. Breakfast today not much better. I guess the kitchenis being slow as thay are obviously nt up to speed. The other factor is the app, if you join a virtual queue you have to keep your phone open on the page and keep checking it or you lose your place. The slow kitchen is one thing, they will speed up, but there is no excuse for the app as it's been use don Britannia for over a month. I think P&O need t stop using the app until it's for for purpose.

I have also seen a video of a Conservatory Suite on Deck 8, you could see the head of someone walking by and it looks like the sunbeds are right up againast the balcony. 

But apart from that it looks like being a fab ship.

Oh gosh I’m worried about the restaurants! I’ve never done freedom dining, let alone during COVID times. All being well we sail on Iona on 14th August.  
Can anyone give an indication as to the favoured times for dinner, when would the virtual queues be the largest? 
 

Also is there no “popping in” to the buffet to grab some food and take it out on deck? Do you need to book a table to go in? 
 

The ship looks amazing, and loving seeing all the photos, just need to get my head round the logistics of the ship! 

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Lovely photos Molecrochip, thanks for sharing. You better keep them safe, especially ones that have pictures of tables, it won't be long before they are a different colour off all the bleach.

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11 hours ago, Slc334 said:

Oh gosh I’m worried about the restaurants! I’ve never done freedom dining, let alone during COVID times. All being well we sail on Iona on 14th August.  
Can anyone give an indication as to the favoured times for dinner, when would the virtual queues be the largest? 
 

Also is there no “popping in” to the buffet to grab some food and take it out on deck? Do you need to book a table to go in? 
 

The ship looks amazing, and loving seeing all the photos, just need to get my head round the logistics of the ship! 

On Britannia you couldn't bring food out but you could just pop in and they'd show you to a table .

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Posted (edited)

I will come back later and deal with most of the questions but I wanted to hit the virtual queue point into touch right from the start. The problem was not slow service from the kitchen.

 

Yes, there were problems with the virtual queue. This is the first time that it has had 3,000 passengers thrown at it and it identified a few week points. The main failing was there was no plan B. It took till 8pm on Tuesday night to identify a plan B but that now does exist (the 2010s method of using pagers).

 

Speaking with a few senior managers on board, I sense that they are going to try and identify which areas don't need a virtual queue. The Quays and Horizon worked better without. It was also clear that the system did not work well enough in general and they are going to spend 3 days working hard to resolve.

 

What was evident by Tuesday evening is that they were redistributing staff to try and mitigate some of the problems. Housekeeping staff were seen in the MDR showing people to tables and turning tables to free up waiting staff to focus on passengers once seated.

 

There is further work to do but I have every confidence that Saturday will fair better and it will continue to improve from there onwards. You can test guest functions as much as you like however its only on a shakedown cruise where guests get 'let loose' without any training that you really find out what works.

 

The was the whole purpose of the shakedown and those moaning on other social media sites should really look at themselves and remember what they signed up for.

 

 

Edited by molecrochip
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Thanks for your comments re virtual queues and problems. Some of the comments on social media were almost hysterical, one even saying he would never cruise P&O again. As you say, they knew what they signed up for at a cheap price and it is good to know it is being rectified.

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Thank you Molecrochip for your insight. I am reassured to hear that the problems have been taken seriously and I hope they can find solutions.  We all want Iona to be a success and I am looking forward to joining her soon. 

 

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2 hours ago, molecrochip said:

I will come back later and deal with most of the questions but I wanted to hit the virtual queue point into touch right from the start. The problem was not slow service from the kitchen.

 

Yes, there were problems with the virtual queue. This is the first time that it has had 3,000 passengers thrown at it and it identified a few week points. The main failing was there was no plan B. It took till 8pm on Tuesday night to identify a plan B but that now does exist (the 2010s method of using pagers).

 

Speaking with a few senior managers on board, I sense that they are going to try and identify which areas don't need a virtual queue. The Quays and Horizon worked better without. It was also clear that the system did not work well enough in general and they are going to spend 3 days working hard to resolve.

 

What was evident by Tuesday evening is that they were redistributing staff to try and mitigate some of the problems. Housekeeping staff were seen in the MDR showing people to tables and turning tables to free up waiting staff to focus on passengers once seated.

 

There is further work to do but I have every confidence that Saturday will fair better and it will continue to improve from there onwards. You can test guest functions as much as you like however its only on a shakedown cruise where guests get 'let loose' without any training that you really find out what works.

 

The was the whole purpose of the shakedown and those moaning on other social media sites should really look at themselves and remember what they signed up for.

 

 

Thank you so much for this. You are quite right; the shakedown is to find out what problems they have and then solve them before proper sailing! 
Would be lovely to hear more if you have time later. 

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4 hours ago, molecrochip said:

I will come back later and deal with most of the questions but I wanted to hit the virtual queue point into touch right from the start. The problem was not slow service from the kitchen.

 

Yes, there were problems with the virtual queue. This is the first time that it has had 3,000 passengers thrown at it and it identified a few week points. The main failing was there was no plan B. It took till 8pm on Tuesday night to identify a plan B but that now does exist (the 2010s method of using pagers).

 

Speaking with a few senior managers on board, I sense that they are going to try and identify which areas don't need a virtual queue. The Quays and Horizon worked better without. It was also clear that the system did not work well enough in general and they are going to spend 3 days working hard to resolve.

 

What was evident by Tuesday evening is that they were redistributing staff to try and mitigate some of the problems. Housekeeping staff were seen in the MDR showing people to tables and turning tables to free up waiting staff to focus on passengers once seated.

 

There is further work to do but I have every confidence that Saturday will fair better and it will continue to improve from there onwards. You can test guest functions as much as you like however its only on a shakedown cruise where guests get 'let loose' without any training that you really find out what works.

 

The was the whole purpose of the shakedown and those moaning on other social media sites should really look at themselves and remember what they signed up for.

 

 

You are so right, this is exactly what a shakedown cruise is for. Spotting any problem areas and then sorting them. I did read one report which stated that there was a long queue at reception, “moaning”. Well that is exactly what the company want. They want to know where the problems are. Some brainless clown commenting on the queue was berating them for complaining when they were having a free cruise. The reality of course is that is the purpose of them being there.

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I didn't know this was a shakedown / test cruise - thought it was the actual maiden cruise. How do people apply to go on one of those? If it was free, then people shouldn't really be complaining. In fact I'd treat like I was a beta-tester for a game (for this is exactly what this is in effect) and activtely try and break the system for 'bugs', and then go to reception to report them.

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2 hours ago, PJL1973 said:

I didn't know this was a shakedown / test cruise - thought it was the actual maiden cruise. How do people apply to go on one of those? If it was free, then people shouldn't really be complaining. In fact I'd treat like I was a beta-tester for a game (for this is exactly what this is in effect) and activtely try and break the system for 'bugs', and then go to reception to report them.

It was free for staff but only as they were expected to work as part of the shakedown conditions. Yes enjoy yourself but are you being served properly? Why is that table broken? Is everything in your cabin ok?

 

Beyond that there were a travel agent and media representatives.

 

Finally, staff could offer the shakedown voyage to friends and family for a reduced fee. There were very limited cabins, they sold out within 30 minutes when they originally went on sale back in February 2020 and staff members had to confirm they knew and accept responsibility for those who travelled. A very minor number of further cabins became available in July and rumours indicate that P&O received 25 calls for every cabin that was available.

 

For all the faults on social media, I still regard myself as very privileged to have been on the shakedown voyage and my feedback will be conveyed in the correct manner so that the public sailings, starting with the Maiden, are spectacular for the guests.

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Hi Molecrochip, great info on Iona in your postings, looking forward to our sailing on her on Sept 25th Spain & Portugal. 

Any insight into shore excursions,  some of which Include free time on your own , that's the bubble burst surely? 

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4 minutes ago, SarahHben said:

This is someone’s video of a walk round Iona’s promenade deck, showing the outside eating area and closeness of the conservatory cabins to where people walk by them.

 

 

Thanks for the info I’m so pleased we are on deck 9 in a conservatory suite not sure about being on the promenade deck overlooked by everyone, but the rest of the ship looks fantastic and can’t wait for two weeks time 👍

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2 minutes ago, lindylooellalouise said:

Thanks for the info I’m so pleased we are on deck 9 in a conservatory suite not sure about being on the promenade deck overlooked by everyone, but the rest of the ship looks fantastic and can’t wait for two weeks time 👍

I agree, I wouldn’t consider a conservatory suite on the promenade deck.

 

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Thanks for photos . 
 

Can I ask please which are the equivalent restaurants to the MDR on other ships as I was a confused when reading the info about restaurants.

 

Looking forward to getting onboard her soon, we were supposed to be sailing May and October 2020 now waiting for first cruise January 22.

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2 hours ago, SarahHben said:

This is someone’s video of a walk round Iona’s promenade deck, showing the outside eating area and closeness of the conservatory cabins to where people walk by them.

 

 

Thanks for sharing that. I enjoy walking a mile or more around a Promenade Deck for exercise when on a cruise and do so most sea days. I think it would be quite challenging to do so on this one.

It has been great to see all the videos but they do confirm that she isn't a ship for me. I have no doubt many will have a great time on her though.

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36 minutes ago, amajaa said:

Thanks for photos . 
 

Can I ask please which are the equivalent restaurants to the MDR on other ships as I was a confused when reading the info about restaurants.

 

Looking forward to getting onboard her soon, we were supposed to be sailing May and October 2020 now waiting for first cruise January 22.

Pearl, Coral, Aqua and Opal are the mdr restaurants, all offering Freedom Dining.

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3 hours ago, SarahHben said:

This is someone’s video of a walk round Iona’s promenade deck, showing the outside eating area and closeness of the conservatory cabins to where people walk by them.

 

 

Thanks for posting. 

I didn't like the idea of a conservatory cabin on the prom deck, but having now seen them I certainly won't be booking one.

I can't wait to get on board, we were supposed to be on her in July 2020 and again this month, but both were cancelled. Waiting now for January 2022. 

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On 8/3/2021 at 11:14 AM, daiB said:

We have 3 weeks booked for March 23. I agree about 7 night cruises far too short, for any ship. Unless they are B to B. 🙂

 

We have booked a week in May 7th- 14th just to see what she is like. We have also booked the Maiden on Arvia in the suite we should have had for the original Iona Maiden. Look forward to hearing what you think of her. Hope you are both keeping well. Stay safe.

 

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6 hours ago, Britboys said:

Pearl, Coral, Aqua and Opal are the mdr restaurants, all offering Freedom Dining.


Many thanks, so there are quite a few other included eating places as well are there? There seemed to be loads listed, they can’t all be ‘pay extra’ surely.

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1 hour ago, amajaa said:


Many thanks, so there are quite a few other included eating places as well are there? There seemed to be loads listed, they can’t all be ‘pay extra’ surely.

Most of the Quays eateries are included, but if you check out Iona on the website, the dining arrangements and whether they are included or extra charge are detailed.

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