Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: P & O Cruises
Sailing Date: August 24th. 2005
Itinerary: Canaries Explorer
My husband and myself booked this cruise with another two couples, one of which we have cruised with three times previously and the other two were very old friends who. We had chosen P & O for two reasons, the first being we did not have to fly as it left from Southampton and the second, it being an adult only ship. We love our children but they are now grown up and we fancied the holiday without other peoples, not that they bother us we just thought it would be a nice change.
I will take this review throuhg in stages. Firstly the embarkation was extremely quick and fuss free. We were given a card and went on as our group was called. The luggage was very quick and two of our cases actually arrived before we did, the final two following very quickly, so unpacking was done and dusted with. The stateroom we had was L332 and our regular cruises were next door in L334, our other friends were in C478 which was an outside with window but obscured by lifeboat. Our stateroom was very spacious with separate seating area which had a sofa and two chairs. The balcony was a nice size with two padded steamer loungers. We had the bed as a queen and there was plenty of room. The bathroom was a good size with full size bath and overhead shower plus a further shower attachment for use in the bath. Our cabin steward was Leonard and was very efficient and eager to please. Quickly brought extra bathrobes and corkscrew as we took wine and London Pride beer on with us for use in our rooms and there was no problem with this. Unfortunately the staterooms themselves did not receive any attention in the recent refit and the bathrooms were especially shabby. The safe was very small and only good for holding passports and money etc.
The above are the good points unfortunately it went down hill from then on. First both myself and Mrs Robins in the L334 had arranged surprise gifts for each other. I had arranged for pink champagne to be waiting in their stateroom and she had arranged a surprise spa treatment and had been promised that a card would be waiting for me with her special message. Neither of these gifts were there and it was not till after a lengthy phone call that Mrs Robins managed to get this sorted out but the element of surprise was gone. The champagne arrived warm just before we sailed and it was not pink, no ice bucket and we had to put it in the fridge.
The thing that was really upsetting was that the other couple travelling with us had arranged to renew their wedding vows as it was their 40th ruby wedding anniversary. All necessary paperwork had been filled in and sent off and as we had done this previously on the Grand Princess we had gone by our experience and told them that there would be welcoming note in their stateroom with times etc., As there was nothing alarm bells rang and when they phoned customer services no-one knew anything about it. It took three days for an officer to say it may take place but they did not know when and it was not until the 8th day of the cruise they were finally given a date and time for their renewal of vows. It may not have been the fault of P & O but we were at sea and I think that an organisation as big as that could have been a little bit more understanding in how upsetting it was for this couple. They did not even offer them a complimentary drink with an apology. It did eventually take place on the 10th night of the cruise when it had originally been booked for the 2nd night being the first formal night. This really did put a dampner on the whole cruise.
Cocktails were very small and expensive compared to the other lines we have been with, namely Princess and Royal Caribbean.
There are no complaints with the food in the main dining room which was excellent and the waiters were marvellous. The staff go out of their way to help.
The entertainment was not very good at all and on our last Saturday, which was the night our friends renewed their vows, the bar we used regularly suddenly shut at 12.30, we asked why and were told "because we want to". Not what you really want to hear when you are celebrating. It was explained that the majority of the passengers were elderley and that they didn't like the loud music and this attitude was also displayed in the disco. We had to request a karaoke evening. Unfortunately this ship is more geared up for the more mature passenger and we were told we should have expected this as it was an adult only ship. We replied that we thought this meant no children. We are not ravers by any means but we do like a bit of night life and for this reason we shall not be sailing with P & O again and have just cancelled our next cruise with them to transfer to Princess.
Rating wise I would do this as follows:
Cabin steward/waiters 10/10
Accommodation size 9/10
Accommodation decor 5/10
Customer Services 0/10
Value for money 4/10
The Artemis is advertised as the more traditional way of cruising but this should not mean it cannot be fun as well.