The flight with Thomas Cook out from Gatwick was well organised but the check in was very hard on anyone who seemed to have an ounce over in thier luggage.
However leaving the airport at the other end was super; bypassing border control and straight to the ship.
Priority embarkation to the ship for the suite passengers was a joke ie you just got your cruise card a bit quicker and then just joined the queue with everyone else.
Once on the ship friendly staff greeted us and basically just told us the way to the stateroom. Perhaps my expectation of priority boarding for the large sum of money i had paid for this cruise was wrong.
On getting to my stateroom i was quite pleased with the size of it and the layout but the much mooted butler service just did not happen -no champagne on ice waiting -no unpacking of the luggage for you as promised, no pamper pack, just stuff left in the fridge and a guy who introduced himself as the butler once he was well sure we had unpacked ourselves and told us "the room stuard does the toilet, i do the cups" the room steward was much better and more hardworking however.
The light of day came the next day and all was revealed: dirty walls ,the remnants of the last couples sporting activities on the bed valance,the shabby balcony with the old weather worn furniture the stink of smoke in the room.
After having the customer service manager in for a conference and laying down what i expected of service from the staff things got better but the impression was already there.
The staff generally on this ship were very friendly and polite and i would have to say had more class that the ramshackle bunch that made up most of the passengers -all over tattoos-compare the beer belly competitions in the sun very bad fake designer bags - get the drift this was the real letdown of this cruise- if your idea of a good time is a working men's club or the British Legion on a Saturday night - then this is the place for you.
Food on board was surprisingly good with the bay tree,white room ,east and ramblas putting on some really good food the exception however was waterside where i would eat with great caution esp poultry.
Bar prices were very fair with most things at pub levels and i found my on board credit went a long way.
would i cruise p and o again -yes- would i go on ventura again-not if you paid me.
As a foot note my partner came down with a really bad case of food poisoning at the end of this cruise and the only time we ate off this ship was on an organised tour as i said caution is the word.