We sailed from Southampton on a 35 night voyage to the USA and Caribbean and back.
We have done several similar trips previously and found it a pleasant way to avoid some of the UK winter, see a few exotic ports, mix with like minded travellers and be waited on hand and foot!
Unfortunately our experience on the Ventura was the worst of all our many cruises – from dawn to dusk, P&O played loud piped disco / party music in all the public lounges, bars, passageways, around the pool, in the atrium and even in the buffet! It proved just impossible to relax, concentrate on a book or knitting or chat for 5 weeks! This may have been acceptable to partying teenagers or even young twenties / thirties on a short party holiday, but to 2500 pensioners in their 70s and 80s it amounted to torture!
We and many others asked for it to be turned off, at least in one bar or lounge, but P&O staff told us that “most people want it” or they can’t stop it “just to suit a minority”. (in 55 cruises, we’ve never been asked our views on piped music so how they would “know” must people want loud, jarring disco music is beyond us). However, P&O staff did helpfully suggest that if we wanted peace and quiet to read, we could sit outside on Deck 7 (this was in the North Atlantic in February!) On our return, P&O HQ wouldn’t even acknowledge it was an issue!
We are aware that many passengers complain about P&O food and service, but we found the food adequate, if not the best at sea, and the service from the Stewards and Waiters as good as even Regent or Oceania cruise lines. However the P&O junior entertainment staff continue to be far and away the most puerile at sea – one round of questions in the “Battle of the Sexes” asked 70 & 80 year olds to identify the fictional planets that various blocky, low res cartoon “superheroes” came from!
Having visited many times, we like the US ports, New Orleans, Key West, Miami and Port Canaveral, but have never been big fans of many of the Caribbean ports – they can be dirty, dangerous and damp (albeit warm). This time there was a further problem, with the proliferation of large cruise ships, many of the ports were hideously overcrowded – in St Maarten there were 7 super size cruise ships with around 25,000 passengers (+off duty crew) filling the port area. St Lucia, Barbados & even Key West were almost as bad.
We have spent 83 weeks & £100,000 travelling with P&O but never, ever again! It’s absolutely clear to us from this trip,the continuing introduction of bigger & bigger ships, and their response when we asked for some peace and quiet, that P&O don’t want to carry or cater for the older & wiser passengers anymore.