I took my family for a cruise along the Western Med in Sept 2011 on the P&O Ventura. I chose the Ventura as its is widely halied as a British Family cruise ship which I cannot fault.
From what I can gather most of the passengers had a good time, however there was a simmering air of under expectation and certainly talking to some of the passengers there was a air of disappointment hoering over the ship.
Why would this be. From my point I can understand. Although the Ventura has not been vruising for many years there as feeling of tirdness about the boat,its not any thing specific but the ventura just feels like its been arounf for alot longer and is quite worn in, when compaired to some other cruise ships.
It was very apparent that P&O have embarked upon a process of cost cutting, to such an extent that we struggled to get sufficient drinking water in our room until I actually complained.
The food was really quite appalling, I grew up eating school dinners but some of the stuff that was laid out was really even below that. I have to say I have never tased Oats porridge like that before.
One always got the feeling that the catering staff were watching to see that passengers didnt help themselves to too much food in the buffet resturants.
While I am at it I should also mention that the staff were a constant enigma to me. Often staff showed such indifference, it was just quite sad to see. The amount of time I saw staff mucking about together and ignoring passengers was far too often, there was just a feeling that P&O training has somehow slipped, as the customer service was plain and simply awful.
P&O have obviously tried to create an environment that sets traps for passengers to part with money and for the uninitiated it would be very easy to find oneself stuck with a very large bill at the end of the cruise, although this is no different to other cruise operators P&O seem to have conered the market of being blatanly obious about it.
On the plus side though were the ports opf calls were well organised, the reception staff were very professional and the cabin staff we had was impeccable.
For myself I will cruise again, but never on P&O, this is not for me, Considering I parted with few thousand pounds for this cruise I know I cand do better.