Having just got back from Ventura after starting off in New Orleans on new years eve. Well if P&O could do something to ensure Thompsons fly on time maybe the holiday would not have started on an all time low. 5 1/2 hours late out of Manchester, every flight to the ship was delayed with pathetic excuses the aircraft had had a fault, Gatwick, Manchester, East Midlands etc. All the Thompson fleet had faults on new years eve. More likely used elsewhere first.
2 hours to get to the ship from the aircraft, having to carry baggage though New Orleans airport. The whole thing about a fly cruise is you load ...
your bags at the airport and next see them in your cabin. Never try to go though the immigration procedure at New Orleans, huge queue and incompetent staff. 6 attempts to scan my finger prints.Read More
Arrive on board at 11:15 PM, a formal night, on embarkation day! My baggage didn\'t arrive until 1:00 AM, the restaurants closed, only the grotty waterside open. The bars understaffed as all on board celebrating new year, threatened by a drunk who failed to see I had been waiting to be served 10 minutes before he tried to pull me away from the bar to squeeze past me. So much for celebrating new year in New Orleans.
So start off with two days at sea. Good excuse to discover the ship, and quickly learn how poor the food was. Granted, my last cruises were a long time ago on the Canberra, Oriana, and QE2. I expect things to have changed, but not the quality of the food. Cheap cuts of meat, fatty paper thin bacon, excuses for sausage, no black pudding etc at breakfast. Steak tough as the soles of my shoes. chicken is now the cheapest leg cuts in the curries
Key West, a delight to explore then time wasted with Port Lauderdale and Port Canaveral. Off into the sun of the Caribbean.
Puerto Rico, a good tour and knowledgeable driver, St Thomas and the wife hits the jewellers with me and card in tow. Good sales techniques as they fancy they have a nibble at the hook and the rum is served. The more you resist, the stronger the rum.
St Martin, a beach paradise. If you overlook the dog faeces on the beach.
St Kitts, a comedian claiming to be a taxi driver, chief of police, attorney general and bishop. Even stopped at his house to get a tool for a friend, pity when he said he had air conditioning he failed to say it didn\'t work.
Dominica and Grenada, don\'t bother getting off the ship, they are not worth stopping at. Total dumps.
So back to the ship. Did I say the food was poor. OK towards the end of the cruise we had one night of delicious food (even sorbet between courses) and then whoops back it descends into the cheap/nasty. The white room was an experience. Pity the menus had just changed, we preferred the old, but the halibut was delicious.
Entertainment. What a mixed offering. From stale old has beens like Tom O\'Connor who literally sent me to sleep, superfly who make up for a lack of vocal talent by volume. and don\'t get me started on the Butlin rejects called the entertainment officers who would be better employed cleaning the decks. Yet other acts were good, Elton John and George Michael tributes, Jimmy James without the vagabonds were enjoyable. But the best was a guy whose name I cannot remember that had such a vocal range, claims to have been the kid who sang the Toblerone advert in the 60s
The bars were generally excellent, prices not scary. But P&O need to buck their ideas up and decide if they want to offer a Butlin service at sea. Or a prestige holiday. If you listen to the many rumours people were continually being put off for fighting and assaults.
Oh and whilst I remember I cannot comment on the beach house as both time I went I was advised a 1&1/2 hour wait at 7:30 PM so I never got there.
Freedom dining was my bag, a couple of times we had to wait an hour. So not exactly the freedom to dine when you choose.
Lesson learned on this cruise.
1) Chavs cruise to, but expect to behave/dress true to form.
2) Never start a cruise in the united states.
3) Never start a cruise on new years eve.
4) P&O have cut too much to be value for money. (Poor food, poor entertainment, poor locations)
Be critical of the official photographs and don\'t feel forced to buy. Remember it is your holiday but when the stairs take up a full A4 and you take up 2\" then perhaps they have got their framing wrong, similarly when they have you and the whole length of the ship in the photograph maybe it could be anyone!. So buy the ones they have right otherwise you will be charged a fortune for 2nd rate photographs.
Docked alongside us at one point was the Celebrity Equinox. Now that is the sort of ship I want to try next.
Tour Operator: P&O