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I cruised with P&O on the Oceana in the summer. Along with the 2 formal dining rooms, there is also the regular buffet and the other waiter-service dining rooms - on the oceana we had an italian restaurant less formal even though waiter service) and the informal pool-side burger bar which served basic take-away style food - burgers, baked potatoes. You won't be disappointed! I'm a vegetarian and I had no problem with the selection of food! Have a great time.
I think you are right to avoid P & O because although there are occasions when you can eat "freestyle" it is not what P & O cruises are about. Stay with what you know and like.....Nei.
Independence of the Seas out of S'ton offers a buffet for casual dining, as well as a full-1950s style diner for burgers, and 2 restaurants for fine dining that carry a small supplement. Try them.
Don't know why you would consider a P&O menu "limited". Looking at the dinner menus from my last cruise you have the following - starters, choice of three, soups, choice of two, mains, choice of five or cold meat and salads or if this is insuffient there is the "always available" menu which consists of caeser salad, grilled chicken breast, salmon, sirloin steak, total of 10 different choices, followed by six deserts, followed by cheese and biscuits,fresh fruit, then coffee/tea. The main (i.e. waiter service) restaurants are open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. There is also the option of using the self service buffet style restaurant and and smaller light bite type restaurants with waiter service. There are also speciality restaurants available for a surcharge for a special occasion. All in all, there are plenty of options for eating and there is always somewhere to eat 24hours a day.
On my one and only Royal carribean cruise, there was only the self service restaurant open at lunchtime, which resulted in it being very overcrowded and a bit like a motorway services on a bank holiday. Not my idea of a relaxing cruise. Howevr, you choose what appeals to you.
We travelled on p @ o aurora and used the self service for breakfast every day and lunch (when on board).We also used self service several evenings and found the choice impressive although it seemed very strange to be one of around only a dozen parties using a restaurant large enough to seat four hundred .The table staff seemed pleased to have something to do as most passengers were in the full service rooms.Our cruise was from southampton to Baltic capitals amd we enjoyed it so much we are thinking of repeating in a few years.(see our review 6th jan.
Have been cruising with P and O for many years (am 44 years old) There is buffet, and freestyle breakfast and lunch on all ships, they have themed lunches such as seafood and bbq. Indian cusisne nights and Asian nights.
They have introduced freestyle om most ships need to check in the brochure (no freestyle on Arcadia as I am booked on that for next year) You have the choice to dress informal or formal in the freestyle resturaunts.
They have world renowned chef dining rooms such as Gary Rhodes, and Marco Pierre White. Light snack areas separate from the main lunch and dinner areas.
Too much choice. The new Ventura, has 11 places to eat.... so sure will enjoy that type of choice. Hope thsi is of some help.
May I thank all who have taken the trouble to reply. Your comments have been very helpful. It was not right for me to infer that P&O evening menu might be unambitious having not had first hand experience of them, so I withdraw that suggestion.
On our last cruise with another major line, we did find the evening choices were somewhat repetitive and, having studied what was on offer that day, were grateful to have the option of the freestyle restaurant which was open for breakfast, lunch and evening meal - as well as afternoon teas!!
We will probably go with P&O soon, as Soton is very convenient for us, but I will try to pin them down as to which ships have a flexible buffet style alternative as I believe their ships may vary.