We started cruising with P&O ten years ago, when we went on an almost identical cruise on Oriana for seven days to the Atlantic Coast, including La Coruna and Guernsey. We loved the experience so much we have now been on 22 cruises on various P&O ships, all of which we have enjoyed to a greater or lesser degree. However, if this had been our first cruise, it is doubtful if we would have returned. On the day before we were due to sail, we received an email from P&O asking us to delay our arrival at the ship by 5 hours, as it had been delayed due to “technical issues” returning from its last cruise. Unfortunately we were travelling by coach and this was not possible. although the coach driver did manage to lose a couple of hours by taking us to a retail park, We had to spend some hours hanging around in the cruise terminal. Our original arrival time had been set at 1.00pm but it was 6.00pm when we finally boarded the ship, and 7.00pm when we were allowed into our cabin. This of course had a knock-on effect. We were on fixed dining at 6.30pm so instead of the usual enjoyable first meeting with our dining companions, we ate on our own in the restaurant, still dressed in the clothes in which we had travelled down. Then, instead of enjoying the entertainment on offer, we spent the time unpacking. During this time it was announced that the safety drill would take place at 10.30pm. very inconvenient for parents with young children who could possibly be sleeping. After the drill we retired for the evening having had a very long, tiring and frustrating day. Also, the clocks were put forward that night, so an hour less of sleep. Although still a little tired from lack of sleep, we visited Cherbourg on day 2 in the morning. We were not impressed by the place but it was Sunday and most of it was closed. We explored the ship in the afternoon. Our first impressions were that it was a dark and somewhat gloomy ship in several areas. the artwork was uninspiring and we found it quite difficult to find our way around. In particular, as we were on Deck 8 midships we could not walk down a flight of stairs to the decks below as there weren't any stairs. Throughout the week, we found the lifts were often full by the time they arrived from the decks above as everyone had to use them because of this lack of stairs midships, and they were very slow due to the heavy use. I believe this is a major design flaw. The cabin has a socket for charging electric razors and this is mentioned in the brochure. What this fails to mention however, is that the two round pin sockets are European standard and a standard English 2 pin plug will not fit so we had to go to Reception to get an electric toothbrush, and an electric shaver recharged. The main swimming pools are situated next to each other, in effect making one large pool, and this area is invariably very congested on sunny days. Yet another design flaw, in my opinion , is the main theatre - the Headliners Theatre. This seems relatively small for a ship of this size and the number of passengers and the design is poor, perhaps even getting close to minimum safety standards, There is only one aisle feeding each of the left and right sections of the upper theatre. Therefore iIt is only possible to exit these seats in one direction. Also the aisles themselves are narrower than usual allowing only single file passage conveniently. There is no promenade deck on the outside of the ship, usually Deck7. A major inconvenience to joggers, walkers and passengers who simply wish to sit and relax. One good point here, the Horizon Restaurant on the top deck is well designed and spacious making it fairly easy to find a table. On two occasions the toilets on the upper decks where the swimming pools were situated were out of action and there was a notice stating the nearest available were on Deck 10. On the final day we dropped anchor in St Peterport harbour, Guernsey, and it was necessary to travel ashore via tender. We went to the Headliners Theatre to get a ticket but the queue was very long and we could not see where it ended. So we gave up and tried again straight after lunch. This time we got tickets without any delay only to be told there was a 45 minute wait. After 45 minutes we checked again and were told there was still a 45 minute wait and there were 5 tenders running. No explanation was forthcoming. During the time we had been waiting we had not heard any announcements of tenders being ready for boarding. This really is abysmal organisation. We subsequently timed the tender at 8 minutes from leaving the ship to arrival in St Peterport. Even including the time taken for passengers to get on and off, 5 tenders should be only several minutes apart. I think this ship’s design was driven by accountants with the aim of extracting as much income as possible by compromising on such things as stairs, prom deck, swimming pools, theatre and so on. It was certainly not designed with passengers’ expectations or requirements in mind.